Fun? There was fun?

Monday, May 30, 2016

Well there must have been quite a bit of it somewhere out there, because I don't mind telling you this month has FLOWN. How can it be that school is over already? Not that I'm complaining, mind you. Nope, nary a bit. For some reason, though, the end of school seems to have snuck up on us superquick. Can it really be almost June? I'm toiling away in the yard at home (yes, still). I'm trying to hurry and finish everything I want to do before it gets too darn hot to be out there. We've hit 90 for the first time already this year, which is alarmingly quick for this area (hoping it's not an unhappy harbinger :o\ Have to tell you though, that one of the neatest little things I've come across in the garden center this year is succulents. I have had this old blue soup ladle (photo inset) for EVER. As in, I have no idea where (or who) it even came from. Nana, maybe? Not a clue. I'm pretty sure the ladle has been housed in every single drawer in my kitchen over the years in an effort to "get it out of the way". Ridiculous, I know, but I just couldn't bring myself to get rid of it because (for some strange reason) I absolutely love it. Do you ever do that? Anyhoo... to make a short story long, I found this itty bitty succulent to put in it (yes, it's real) and hung it on the wall by my kitchen window. He seems to be quite happy there. Since I smile every time I see it, I'm happy too. Guess we have a win-win then, don't we ;o)

I didn't have enough time last week between work and home (where there was more work waiting *laugh*) to finish this post, so I'm going with pictures and a pitiful parody of a poem (three cheers for random alliterations). I've taken a few progress pictures in the garden to share with you this week. Now that school's out, I hope to be able to post a bit more regularly; not to mention catch up on my blog reading. I've really struggled with making it all work (and vis-a-vis my sporadic posting so far, it clearly didn't ;oP
Photo Inset: A closeup of a Coreopsis flower. They're smaller than a quarter, but they are beautiful blooms. Doesn't it look like the colors were airbrushed? Actually since it's God's artistry, I guess they were at that.

I took the pictures below, 
that you might know; 
How does the garden grow?

Merrily, verily, and somewhat contrarily.

It's taking forever,
though the fifth of never,
Could be here before I know.


Whoooo's punchy? (see me sheepishly raising my hand). Um, yeah. *AHEM* Sooo anyway.... Don't quit your day job, Jennifer. Right. Let's just move along to the photos, shall we?

Remember the Alyssum in DH's old lunchbox? It has filled in nicely (though I didn't take this shot at the best time; the blooms are fading). Happily, this plant blooms continuously. It was one of those bargain basement specials. Not bad for a buck, eh?

I did, however, get a decent closeup of the blooms for you before they started to fade:

The Lemon Thyme seems to be quite happy in its new space. I like the shade variance in the leaves, which are incredibly tiny. Smells good too!

I came across this little pretty in a clearance cart for $1; it's perfect for the hanging basket. It's called a Superbell, and this particular variety is "Apricot Punch". I have to say, though, it's a rather slow grower, but I really like the colors over the [recycled] wheelbarrow planter.

For those of you who prefer something a little closer to instant gratification in your garden, the mints grow fairly quickly. They are, however, also quite invasive which is why I put all of the mint I planted in pots. This one is Chocolate Mint, which smells divine. Rub a leaf and think Peppermint Patties and mint chocolate chip ice cream ;o) Yummy. The photo on the left is a better shot of how it really looks (though the leaves are wet). It has rich green leaves and "chocolate" stems.

I think my favorite "quickie" has to the the Sweet Potato Vine. It grows rapidly; as in several inches a day. It's perfect for the spill in a pot (as in: the "fill and spill" rule for planting in pots). There is a bright green variety (like mine) and there is also a burgundy variety which is spectacular. This one was another $1 rescue (pronounced onedollah *laugh*) my favorite kind of plant!

As always, thank you for reading this far! Stay safe, pray for our military past and present and their families, and have a very blessed Memorial Day ;o)

...and a Moanin' and a Groanin'

Saturday, May 14, 2016

In the last post, A Weedin' and a Seedin', I talked about my exciting spurt of industriousness over the past few weeks outside in the yard. More specifically, in the flowerbeds okay, okay, more like weedbeds, around the house. Unfortunately, once you get to a certain *ahem* point in your life, overly enthusiastic productivity tends to come at a price. Well, I paid for my little weed-fest with some horrible stiffness followed by some pretty intense pain in not one, but both arms/elbows (because if you're going to mess yourself up, you should take care to do it fairly and evenly *snarl*). Since the pain was followed by increasing swelling in my upper arms (as in edema; the kind that didn't go away), I paid again for the doctor to diagnose me with acute tendinitis. Not that I thought it was cute. At all. So, I suppose that would make it more like twice the price, eh? The doctor gave me some anti-inflammatories to help with the swelling (so why don't we make that thrice the price), and tossed in a shot to jump start the process (oh, goody). I have, of course, now slowed down to the speed of sloth. That was on Friday. On Saturday, I woke up with a nasty chest cold (just because I could). Clearly, not my best week (of course it wasn't my worst, either! *grin*). I spent the next couple of days hoping I wouldn't cough up a lung (though it wasn't for lack of trying) ;oP
Photo Inset: The Dusty Miller I planted in front of the recycled garden cart (even with newspaper and/or feed bags under the mulch - which I ran out of - some grass still snuck through. ARGH!

Down, but not out. Ha. Anyhoo, back to some productivity (albeit at a much more mundane pace). One of the coolest things I learned recently was about bananas. I'd already read about planting a banana peel in the garden, but we have fire ants here. Hateful, nasty little things that multiply worse than guppies and you can just bet said bananas I am NOT going to feed those evil little beasties. Ever. BUT - somewhere on Pinterest, I found a handy fertilizer hack. Idiot-friendly, easy-peasy and all (my most favorite kind!). Eat a banana (or two), then take the peels and stick them in a mason jar. Cover with water, and let it sit for up to a week. Not only do you wind up with some nifty (not to mention thrifty!) fertilizer for your plants, you also have an uber cool science-experiment-looking concoction sitting on your shelf. Your plants will totally appreciate the potassium kick; mine sure do! I added a pinch of eggshells to mine (rinse them out first), for a calcium boost.
Photo inset: Fertilizer in the making (Dr. Frank-un-schteen, I presume. Hee ;o)

Here's another awesome idea I came across: Take some clean plastic bottles (I used juice) and poke a pinhole or two on the side at the very bottom, then bury it by your plants for underground irrigation. You can even use the cap to help regulate the flow; e.g. the tighter you make the cap, the slower the flow. I left mine loose, since these are new plants. I also added my own twist to it: I bought some el-cheapo fishing bobbers which enabled me to check the water levels from a distance. Looks like everybody but one needs a refill. See the bright orange bobber on the bottom right? Gotta love that lazy gal gardening! As soon as Hobby Lobby puts their drawer pulls back on sale, I think I'm going to get some and put them on top of the bottles. What do you think?
Photo Inset: I'm still working on this bed, but the flowers, in case anyone's interested, are Coreopsis (front and center), Echinacea/Coneflower (behind left/right), and Argeratum (the purple stuff all the way in the back).

Speaking of bottles, (and garden hacks ;o) I also learned that wine bottles work wonders as irrigators in both pots and in the ground. Although I bought one set of "plant nannies" (terra cotta spikes that fit over the bottle), I found the bottles seem to work just as well without them. Just fill, flip, and stick 'em in there. A most welcome revelation, that, since those little terra cotta boogers were quite expensive (for me, anyway). You would think that the water would just run right out, but it doesn't. Pretty cool, eh?

Looks like it'll be daylight soon, and there is plenty of work left for me to do out there. *sigh* Here are a few more pictures for you...

Just look at how the Alyssum has blossomed since that last posted photo! (here)

I planted some Bee Balm and Belleza in front of the Plumbago, which is just now beginning to bloom - though I took too long to get two of them in the ground (they look a little sad right now, but hopefully they'll bounce back soon). I can hardly wait until that Bee Balm starts to flower!

Since the Orange Mint (top of the ladder) looked a little lonely sitting by itself, I moved the Lemon Thyme into the back bed to keep him company. The thyme looks much happier there than it did where I had it on the patio. Sure do wish I had more of those fabulous clay planters though.

Have a hug and blessed week ya'll - and, as always, thanks for reading this far!

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