Garden Blogs I Dig
Leucanthemum 'Becky' - Shasta Daisy
Sometimes I page through shiny magazines with amazing, glossy photos of meticulously manicured gardens and I think “one day, when I’m retired, my garden will look like that.” At that point, I’m interrupted by a babbling toddler, an over-boiling pot, a husband calling about dinner plans – or very easily, all of the above. Abruptly, I’m back in the hectic world of a garden-loving, full-time working mom.
Deep down, I know my garden will never resemble those highlighted in fancy gardening mags. This is why I’ve adopted the philosophy of casual gardening. Perfect, pristine gardens are beautiful, but they just don’t fit in with my reality. While I sit in front of a computer 36 hours a week, the weeds in my garden are plotting their malicious conquest. While I chase after my rambunctious son, the once-glorious peony blooms, now brown and waterlogged, beg me to put them out of their misery. Eventually the weeds are pulled and the peonies are deadheaded, but there’s always some other chore lurking in the shadows ready to pounce.
I admire those spectacular magazine gardens, but I also appreciate my imperfect garden. My husband and I have put in too many hours of work not to enjoy the fruits of our labor. And really, when it comes down to it, the common denominator of gardeners are the plants. No matter what level of gardener you may be or what style of garden you tend, the plants bring us together.
The thrill of planting something new, the anticipation of the first ripe tomato and the trial-and-error of the whole process keeps me growing. And my favorite part of all may be sipping a glass of wine while meandering through my casual garden, admiring the beauty…..and overlooking the weeds.
Lilium lancifolium - Tiger Lily
While wandering through the Des Moines Downtown Farmer’s Market last Saturday this Canna caught my eye. I LOVE the bright lemon yellow flowers. Unfortunately, before I had a chance to pot it up it took a beating in a torrential downpour, but I’m confident it will bounce back.
I wasn’t familiar with the ‘Futurity’ variety of Canna. Upon further research I found that it is a dwarf variety, reaching about 18-24” tall, perfect for planting in a container. Its also labeled “self-cleaning.” Apparently, it will drop its old flowers after blooming, in turn producing new flowers faster. Even more, the unsightly spent flower blooms will no longer hold out for me to deadhead them – bonus!
I’m hoping to overwinter this little fella. The last time I overwintered Cannas I lost my entire crop due to extremely cold temperatures. The rhizomes just couldn’t take the consistent below freezing temps in our shed and I was left with the rotten remains of my beautiful ‘Tropicana’ variety. As a woman scorned, this year I’m scoping out a cool place in the basement where I can keep an watchful eye on the hibernating Canna.
For now, I’ll enjoy the brightness ‘Yellow Futurity’ brings to our patio.
My father-in-law is our family’s veggie-growing guru. I tend to focus more on herbs and a tomato plant or two. But Grandpa Dave has been tending to a vegetable garden for over 50 years, starting around age 15! This year his garden is full of onions, cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes big and small.
This is the most recent harvest he sent home with us. We had the best BLT sandwiches for dinner last night – yum! This is the only time of the year I eat tomatoes. I don’t bother with store bought (gassed) tomatoes that are tasteless and either hard as a rock or a mushy mess – gross!
We’re really looking forward to these pumpkins Grandpa Dave planted for our son to carve jack-o’-lanterns with this Halloween. They’re coming right along and should be ripe n’ ready come October.
Check out these huge sunflowers. Dave says their tallest one he’s ever grown, topping 13 feet!
I’m thankful we have someone in the family with the space, the patience and the know-how to grow delicious organic foods. I’m glad he’s willing to pass on his knowledge……and that he shares!!
Come to think of it, this is the time of year I tend to get a bit lazy – in terms of gardening. Flowers have bloomed, veggies have ripened and fall is just around the corner.
Blazing August scorchers are perfect days to stay cool inside and work on an autumn chore to-do list. I’ve been thumbing through my cherished Brent and Becky’s Bulbs catalog, jotting down a wish list for my fall order. I’ve also been taking inventory, noting plants that need to be divided or relocated.
So, I guess I’m not being completely lazy, just avoiding the heat – can’t blame me there!!
After six or seven years, many plants in my garden are fully matured and have grown into big bullies! Lately I’ve notice a couple trouble-makers who are pushing out their smaller, less aggressive neighbors.
For instance, this Aster, which I’ve cut back twice earlier this year, is huge! There used to be a couple mums resting at its feet, but they are suspiciously missing.
I’ve battled this Persicaria for years. I should know better: its known to be invasive, spreading my rhizomes. In the past, I’ve successfully maintained it by pulling out the unwanted rhizomes after cutting it back in the fall. However, since having my son there is less time to maintain and in turn its gone berserk. My plan is to dig it up this fall, bury some bottomless buckets or pots and replant the rhizomes in the buckets. I’ve heard this is a good way to restrict aggressive plants.
I have to take some sort of action. I saved this poor Penstemon from a choke-hold the Persicaria had on it last month. Poor guy still hasn’t fully recovered from the attack. Why not just get rid of the Persicaria all together? Well, I really like this plant other than its bullish attitude. The flowers are long lasting and a stunning vibrant magenta, and it provides great height.
In the same bed, I have this gigantic sedum. This guy is less aggressive and more just…BIG.
Its so enormous that its not strong enough to hold up the weight of its own flower heads! A couple good rains and it went limp.
My goal for this fall is to divide and conquer these garden bullies. No more Misses Nice Guy, you plants are going to shape up! I’m sure with a little TLC we can all get along.
I love gardening and all things green. I have a background in gardening – I even earned a degree in Horticulture from Iowa State to prove it. However, like many others, I’ve found myself earning a paycheck in an area that’s a far cry from my educational background. To keep my horticultural juices flowing I’ve decided to blog about gardening!
I’m married to my extremely supportive husband, and together we are raising a very energetic, bustling young boy. We live in an older neighborhood in central Iowa (zone 5); there’s a lot of shade and an abundance of rich, dark soil. Since moving into our home in 2002, we have been on an ongoing mission to recreate the landscape. Major strides have been made, but as many busy gardeners know, there is an endless list of chores and projects to tackle, not to mention maintaining the existing plants.
My goal with this blog is to journal about my personal garden experiences and to add my two cents on horticultural happenings. In the midst of this goal, I’m looking forward to connecting with fellow garden enthusiasts, so please read and comment often.