Posted by: Dotsie

gardening...ahhh - 07/26/03 04:57 AM

Life doesn't get much better than weeding, clipping and being IN the garden.

I feel so peaceful with the bees swarming(they never sting me, I think they know I am taking care of their flowers), the sun shining, flowers
blossoming, and the mulch and dirt.

I love watering and seeing the rainbow in the spray with the sun behind me.

This has become a part of my morning ritual after walking and it makes my heart sing.

The best part is cutting the flowers and bringing them indoors. Any other gardeners? [Smile]
Posted by: Vicki M. Taylor

Re: gardening...ahhh - 07/29/03 10:10 PM

hi Dotsie, does container gardening count?

I grow my herbs in containers outside. The containers are situated all around my pool. The Florida ground is either too salty, too sandy, or too rocky to put in anything other than indigenous tropical plants. However, I have had a poinsettia in the ground for nearly 3 years now and it's doing well.

I start most of my herbs out by seed in small pots on my patio, then as they grow and get stronger, I put them in bigger pots and give them a spot on the pool deck, depending on their need for sun or shade.

My St. John's Wort is really bushing up. I have Basil growing like crazy, and the mint does well under the shade of my palm trees. The catnip keeps getting knocked over by the neighbor's cat.

My calendula loves the hot sun as does the sage. Mullien, mugwort, lavender, chamomile, all love to grow in containers.

Most of them are on rolling plant sitters so I can try different spots to see which plant likes what area.

Not many weeds to deal with, but still have to pull the occasional grass shoot.

I leave the clover growing in the pots when they sprout.. kinda looks cheerful!

Peace & Hugs.
Posted by: Gera

Re: gardening...ahhh - 08/01/03 12:54 AM

Yey for gardening!!

I love my garden. I feel it is a place to pray, think, relax and learn. It is a very different kind of garden. I love the wildness of it. It's like having a managed mini forest with all kinds of wildlife habitats right outside your door. On a hot day it is 10 degrees cooler here.

I plant mostly native species with a few special plants in between. I keep it very wild. There isn't any lawn in my back yard. I let the leaves fall and it works much like a mulch no weeds. I created several paths which will take you past the fish pond, through the wildflower garden and if you peek around the corner you will see about 100 fern mixed in with mountain laurel, blueberry, hucklebery, & sweet bay magnolia.
I have a large fish pond with two waterfalls that I dug and built myself. Recently a had a visit from a Black Crowned Night Heron. The little bugger was stealing my fish. I had about 50 fish in the pond so I guess it's ok. They need to eat too. It seems just as I have a overload of fish something like this happens. Last year I had an Egret stealing my fish. "The pond will take care of itself" to quote an old friend. I use plants to filter the water so I don't have to deal with filter problems. I have had this pond for 10 years now and my system works great.
I have been visited by raccoons, opossums, chipmunks. All kinds of birds, I have 3 bird baths for them. I don't need to put out seed the yard feeds them well.
Friends and neighbors are always amazed when they open the gate and look into the backyard. It's truly an amazing place.
Posted by: Maggie

Re: gardening...ahhh - 08/01/03 02:07 AM

Your gardens sound wonderful. Love the wildlife.
My husband plants,weeds, and etc. I get to pick everything and finally convinced him that I know when its ripe. He wouldn't let me pick anything at first. It was annoying except the garden was so pretty. I think God was teaching me patience.
We have had deer back there but this year they've left the garden alone. I made a salad with blueberries, strawberries and lettuce from the garden similar to one at Red Robin.
Posted by: Dotsie

Re: gardening...ahhh - 08/01/03 02:18 PM

Gera, sounds like you could hold retreats in your garden and people would pay to come! Are you near the beach?
Posted by: Gera

Re: gardening...ahhh - 08/01/03 03:06 PM

Dotsie,I am not to far from the beach at all. That's great because I love the beach. [Cool] This time of year however, it gets very crowded with tourists, bennies,as we call them here. The traffic is awful at times. If you want to go to the beach the trick is to leave early before the mad rush.
Maggie, I have a hubby too. I understand. He only helps with the big stuff that I can't do. He really isn't into gardening but he voices his opinion when I want to prune something or move this or that. I like to change things around. He likes to leave things alone. Boring [Roll Eyes] He gets crazy when I want to do something major. When I wanted to put in the fish pond. I knew I had to do it when he wasn't home. I waited till he left for work and got busy. When ho got home the hole was dug, plants were moved, it was too late for him to get uptight. Now he enjoys the fish and all the critters that pop up so much. We have a saying around here "You were right ,I was wrong" Gotta love em! [Big Grin]
Posted by: Dotsie

Re: gardening...ahhh - 11/24/03 08:05 AM

I'm squeezing in another day in the garden. [Big Grin]

Temps in the high 60's and sunny. I'll take these warmer temperatures any day.

We have lots of leaves and still some perennials to cut back. Anything to get outside...
Posted by: Lynn

Re: gardening...ahhh - 11/24/03 12:35 AM

[Cool] I love gardening. Have actually move into some landscaping with terraed walls etc. I am getting a bit big for my britiches or biting off more than I can chew! one or the other.

Gardening has just picked up again for me since my little was four this last summer, I had more autonomy.

One of my favorite garden memories is sharing a large vegetable garden with my dear friend Tanya. We grew everything and canned and froze stuff. It was great. We would each just take a section in the evenings or on weekends and sit and weed. Sometimes we would talk but mostly just enjoyed the silence of each other. Tanya hummed alot and that jsut kept us moving. It was so peaceful sharing the routine of the garden with someone so close. We shared property. She lived in the farm house and I lived in the barn (restored).

Tanya died from breast cancer after a four year battle, six years ago now. The hardest part was carrying on our garden without her humming. Sometimes I could barely hear her and then my eyes were swimming in tears, I could not see the weeds.

I have since moved but I have found myself sitting and humming in the garden. I know I have achieved a state of peace when I hum. [Smile]
Posted by: jawjaw

Re: gardening...ahhh - 11/24/03 01:57 AM

oh are once again filling us up with your wonderful, heart-warming stories. I did not know Tanya, but I know I would have loved her too. I bet she hears you humming and feels warm all over, just like I did when I read your story.

Sending hugs to you in your garden,
Posted by: Julie

Re: gardening...ahhh - 11/24/03 08:28 AM

Yesterday our garden was visited by a pair of rare Black Cockatoos. We have seen them flying over before, but they have never paid a visit till now. They feasted on the seed pods of one of the native trees.
Rainbow lorikeets, rosellas, pink and grey galahs and sulphur-crested cockatoos eat seed from the bird feeder near our back deck whenever we fill it. It lasts a few minutes! I often wonder how they know it is full, we are not regular in filling it up. But as soon as we do, in swoop the birds. The kookaburras are not interested in seeds, but they sit on the fence and watch, and laugh...and the belbirds tinkle in the distance. I am so lucky to live in a city where native birds still co-exist with people.
Posted by: Evie

Re: gardening...ahhh - 11/24/03 05:38 PM

hmmm....woke to howling winds and blowing snow this morning....shovelling off the van, dreams of 60+ temps, my pond and my garden fill my head...for now these visions wait until spring while the garden rests under a blanket of snow....
Posted by: Maggie

Re: gardening...ahhh - 11/24/03 06:26 PM

Yes, Evie we woke to rain this morning and now I am hearing the pelting of hail on the window. I too dream of gardens during the winter and what we will plant in ours come spring.
Lynn, loved your garden story about Tonya.
What a nice memory. Thanks for sharing.
Posted by: Dotsie

Re: gardening...ahhh - 11/25/03 08:32 AM

Lynn, how fun to have been blessed with a friend to share gardening and your soul with. You have such great stories.

I'm sure you and Tanya will run through my mind while in the garden. [Big Grin]

Ladies, how fun to hear the weather reports in your parts of the world. My world is stretched when I read your posts.

Evie, won't be long and I'll be dealing with the snow. We keep hearing it's going to be a tough winter. I'll saok up a few rays of the sun for you and Maggie while waiting for my son to come out of school today! [Big Grin]
Posted by: meredithbead

Re: gardening...ahhh - 11/25/03 03:06 AM

I have a very small yard and I too love the wild look. I planted 2 avocado trees from pit 12 years ago and they are HUGE! One of them fruits. My pipe organ cactus is at least 15 feet high. The bouganvillas are always overgrown and beautiful.

In this tiny yard there are at least 3 different birds that build nests every year: silver doves under the roof; some little gray-brown constantly twittering birds (20-30) that live/nest in the bouganvillea; and hummingbirds that this spring built their nest in the porch light fixture, so I couldn't turn on the light for 30 days until the babies hatched and flew away. Plus there is a lizard family and an occasional opossum.

I cut and clean up occasionally. Since the yard is xeriscaped, it's fairly low maintenance. In the winter when the weather is usually good, I plant or move things around. It's so peaceful. I bring home stray cactus, and have 15-20 different varieties.
Posted by: Lynn

Re: gardening...ahhh - 11/25/03 04:17 AM

While in California recently, I kept seeing a vivid black and white bird. If I recall correctly, white chested, black winged with white tips. I could not place it in my mind. From this brief description do you know what bird this is? Just a curiousity..... [Razz]
Posted by: smilinize

Re: gardening...ahhh - 11/25/03 04:55 AM

I am no gardner for sure, but I love my backyard.

I have 3 acres bordered by a creek. My house is two story on a cliff terraced down to the pool and hot tub. I put natural rocks on the hill behind the hot tub and planted annuals in the crevices. I have some wild flowers along the creek bank and the whole thing is shaded by huge trees.

I had natural rock steps built to the pool and hot tub with a deck about half way down on one side. That's where I love to sit and drink coffee in the mornings.

The houses around here all have a few acres so there's all kinds of wildlife that comes to the creek. A couple of hawks come every year to nest. They come soaring into the yard and sometimes they perch on a post to watch me watching them.

Recently we had company and there was a rabbit in the front yard as they were coming in then at dinner we were looking out the windows of the dining room to the yard and we noticed a skunk who had came to play on the creek bank. While we were watching the skunk, a doe and three fawns came to drink. I said it was Thumper, Flower, Bambi, Feline, and Bambi's mother (does anyone remember her name?)

I found an old Bambi video and we watched it after dinner. Made for a different and fun evening.

Posted by: meredithbead

Re: gardening...ahhh - 11/26/03 03:31 AM

Unfortunately, I don't know what the black and white bird is [Frown]
Posted by: DreamrKate

Re: gardening...ahhh - 11/27/03 09:11 AM

Ladies ~ You are inspiring! I have the most uninspiring back yard. There's old lawn that's not terribly comfortable under your feet. Tree roots have caused hard lumps that go for yards. Trees that are unidentifiable but grow tall and rangy and drop yellow powdery seeds that seem to kill the lawn underneath. The only reason we don't take them down is that they block some of the summer 100+ degree sun in the late afternoon. I'd LOVE color and water and wild. Maybe I should plant random? Any suggestions would be lovingly appreciated.

Posted by: Dotsie

Re: gardening...ahhh - 11/27/03 04:59 PM

DK, I happen to know that DJ who's in our neighborhood knows lots about gardening. Maybe she would have a couple suggestions.

And... Smilinize, when can we come and languish in your yard? [Razz]
Posted by: meredithbead

Re: gardening...ahhh - 11/29/03 12:17 PM

Dreamrkate, go to the library and check out a book on gardening in your climate. I'm not sure how much you're different from here, but I think you get more rain than we do (which is sort of a no-brainer, because EVERYONE gets more rain than we do, except Arizona) so many of my plants might drown where you live. You'll have the best luck with your garden if you xeriscape for your micro-climate. There are occasional xeriscape workshops at the Arboretum here (I don't know if there's an arboretum near you). Most local colleges have classes in horticulture, and I'm sure people there would be happy to give advice. Also, local nurseries can help.
Posted by: DreamrKate

Re: gardening...ahhh - 11/30/03 03:17 AM

UuuggggHHh....Meredith.....I just want to plant stuff, I don't want to take a class. I wanted to make LESS work, not more. So does this mean that all the wonderful "random" looking gardens are not really that at all but previously planned, organized works of art?

[Frown] I so don't have energy for that. And Mere... I think you have pretty perpetual 70ish degree weather don't you? I mean, give or take 10-15 degrees. We get extreme temps in the winter and summer so I WILL actually have to find out what's indictive to this area. I have seen bouganvilla and even though they drop their blooms a lot, I think it might be worth it for the color. I love the color of those, the fuschia colored ones.

And I know .....well I guess I know what I want, I just have to do it in the spring. I'd love to have a place to go out and paint and know what...I'm actually tired of talking. So I'm going to go now.
Posted by: meredithbead

Re: gardening...ahhh - 12/02/03 03:12 AM

You don't have to take a class, but if you know what plants are best for your area, you can just stick 'em in the ground and almost ignore them after that (which is the whole idea of xeriscaping.) That's the point in getting climate and growing info first. My bouganvillas are rampant, but they realy love this weather.

Daytime temps here are 55-85 winter, and 80-110 summer. Nighttime is 15-20 degrees cooler. No rain all summer. Winter is our (alleged) rainy season.
Posted by: DreamrKate

Re: gardening...ahhh - 12/02/03 07:54 AM

I think I'll drive around and see the stuff growing in other people's yards and just stop and ask them..... I went on a pond tour the last couple of years and I've gotten ideas from some pretty neat water features which would be nice in this 100+ summer heat that lasts from May to September. Then from mid- November to Mid March we're in he 28-63 degree range and that's during the day, at night it's colder.....God I miss my 72 Southern California temps!
Posted by: meredithbead

Re: gardening...ahhh - 12/03/03 02:12 AM

That's cuz you were near the beach. I'm 25 miles inland which makes all the difference in the world.

When we first moved here, I used to plant anything and everything in the ground. You know, go to a friend's, take home some cuttings and stick them in the ground. Eat anything with a pit or seeds, stick them in the ground. That's how I got my avocado trees (current count 5, although I'd like to winnow down to 2). Don't fuss, don't obsess; whatever is meant to grow there, will. You'll be amazed at what comes up.
Posted by: smilinize

Re: gardening...ahhh - 12/03/03 08:45 AM


Your lawn sounds neat to me. Even the shedding trees. But if you want some variation, maybe you could try some large rocks. I have a black thumb, can kill any plant. Also, I don't really enjoy planting and watering and all the hassle of caring for plants so I put rocks in several places where nothing grew naturally. The rocks look natural and once you get them in they require no work at all. I planted some plants that come back every year in the areas between the rocks around the hot tub and somehow without any effort at all, they've survived.

My back yard is totally wild. I don't even try for the "groomed" look. The trees shade almost the whole 2 acres so it only has to be mowed about once a month (Either I or my husband speed around like maniacs on the garden tractor for a while). The creek is just there. I planted wildflowers in the sunny areas and they come and go on their own.

Not much work really, but I think it's pretty. I love it in the morning for breakfast and on warm summer nights for dinner from the grill.

I think if you enjoy gardening, go for it, but personally, I think I enjoy "un"gardening.

Posted by: Julie

Re: gardening...ahhh - 12/03/03 09:45 AM

Rocks are good. I find agapanthus unkillable, and they flower every year and multiply!

Hey, Smilinize, who says you can list your location as "outer space?" [Big Grin] I reserve the right to be the most geographically removed forum participant! [Wink]
Posted by: DreamrKate

Re: gardening...ahhh - 12/03/03 11:08 AM

Hey thanks Girlies!! These are all great ideas. We're socked in for the winter, cold and foggy most days but I like the ideas. And rocks, yes, I was actually thinking of large rocks and planting in between. And I think I'm going to try to plant some gourds (with a trellis) in a couple areas, just to see how they go. I'd like to make some concrete stepping stones too, you know - the more stuff, the less ratty grass. Thanks, more later. It's late and I'm sleepy
Posted by: smilinize

Re: gardening...ahhh - 12/03/03 06:13 PM


Sorry """previously""" most geographically removed forum participant. You've been replaced!!


[ December 03, 2003, 10:18 AM: Message edited by: smilinize ]
Posted by: Dotsie

Re: gardening...ahhh - 12/03/03 06:27 PM

Uh-oh, if DK starts growing gourds she'll have more to paint. We may lose her here ladies.

Someone mentioned this already (I think) but I think the best way to get the right flowers, plants, shrubs is to ask the people at the garden shops. Describe the spot in your landscape to them and they can typically tell you exactly what will grow best.
Posted by: garrie keyman

Re: gardening...ahhh - 12/03/03 06:27 PM

Smile, you must've edited this right when I was tryin' to read it! I could've SWORN there was more! Ha! Something about movin' further and further away until....

But it wasn't there by the time I clicked into the post itself from the Today's Topic's page. Hmmm.

Maybe I'm a-seein' things!

Where DO you live, anyway (and yes, I know what your profile says -- ha! I'm right there with ya most days.
Posted by: smilinize

Re: gardening...ahhh - 12/03/03 06:32 PM

Hey, I told ya'I live in outer space. Ask anyone. I love it here too.
Posted by: Vicki M. Taylor

Re: gardening...ahhh - 12/14/03 04:17 AM

I planted strawberries in a strawberry pot a few weeks ago. I'm expecting them to bloom in a month or so, then have luscious ripe strawberries in March.

While I was sick, I didn't get a chance to wake up my Christmas cactus and get it ready to bloom, so it's going to bloom late this year. It has the most beautiful bright, flurscent (spell?) pink blooms. Hundreds of them.. the cactus is huge.

I planted a plumeria after we got back from the keys at Thanksgiving. I know it won't do anything until Spring, but I'm hoping it survives.

My miniature roses on the front patio are blooming like crazy... I guess they don't realize it's winter.

Posted by: Dotsie

Re: gardening...ahhh - 12/19/03 06:10 PM

Vicki, I have a blossoming Christmas cactus right behind me. Same color. Are they all that color? It's the only one I've ever had. Each year it gets a little bigger and it's so easy to care for.

Also, mmm, I love plumerias. They are so pretty and smell wonderful. Don't think we can grow them around here. They remind me of tropical vacations. Back to that sandy beach with sand between my toes again!
Posted by: smilinize

Re: gardening...ahhh - 12/19/03 06:16 PM

Vicki, I read your post about "waking up" the Christmas cactus. A friend got me one for Christmas last year and it is barely blooming this year.

Should I have put it to sleep? How do you do that? When? For how long?

Posted by: Dotsie

Re: gardening...ahhh - 12/19/03 11:21 PM

smilin, I have a Christmas cactus and I just leave it out all year, watering it as needed. That's it, nothing special that I know of. This is it's third year. Let's see what Vicki has to say. [Big Grin]
Posted by: Vicki M. Taylor

Re: gardening...ahhh - 12/24/03 05:51 AM

I leave my christmas cactus out all year too.. but "waking" it up for me is giving it a little extra attention right before the holiday.. so it knows it's time to bloom.

However, like I said, I missed out this year because of being sick. So, I'm predicting my cactus will actually bloom around the end of January. I'll let ya'll know if I'm right.

We had a cold front move through here this past week and it got close to freezing here in Tampa.

BRRRRRRRR!!!!!! Too darn cold for me.. We live in the tropics.. it's supposed to stay warm.. that's why I moved down here.

The freeze didn't hurt my strawberry plant.. thank goodness. It's the funniest thing to drive down the street and see everyone's bed linens draped over their bushes and flower beds.

I read somewhere that a little cold now and then is good for the plants, it makes their fruit sweeter. Has anyone else ever hear that?

I hope my plumeria grows.. it takes so long for it to grow. I think in the Spring I'll pick up a 6 foot tree and see if I can transplant it in the yard. They really need lots of humidity and water which is why they grow so much better down in South Florida.
Posted by: Dotsie

Re: gardening...ahhh - 12/24/03 05:53 PM

Vicki, at first I couldn't figure out the comments on the bed linens on the bushes. [Eek!] Because of the cold season here I was thinking people were airing out their bed clothes to rid them of germs. [Big Grin]

Just little old slow me here trying to figure that out. People around herer often use burlap to cover their precious bushes, but for the most part we don't plant bushes or flowers that can't take the cold.
Posted by: Maggie

Re: gardening...ahhh - 01/03/04 07:36 PM

Anyone else planning their gardens for this year? Today we finally had what we call snow here.
Its really like hail but was at least 2 inches maybe three. Portland had a lot of snow so we didn't get to do our usual New years traveling.
Stayed by the fire to keep warm.
I am looking forward to spring and summer. My husband loves to work out in the garden so we are trying to figure out what to plant this year. I finally convinced him that there are cool crops he can plant in the early spring, like broccoli,
peas, lettuce, cauliflower.
Posted by: Dotsie

Re: gardening...ahhh - 01/06/04 08:49 AM

Bless you, Vicki! You pre-answered the questions I qas just about toask.

We're moving to a house with an actual YARD. We're going to be donig somegardening, andmy first love of course is herbs. I've had very limited experience with growing herbs in the ground -- only curly-leafed parsely has ever prospered for me. A container garden it will be, then. I've had really bad luck with trying to grow herbs from seeds, too, so I'll probably be at the mercy of whatever Walmart has sprouting in their little yellow pots. But that won't bother me a bit. I'm gonna have herbs again! And fresh, clean dirt under my fingernails too!
Lil [Big Grin]
Posted by: jawjaw

Re: gardening...ahhh - 01/06/04 12:15 AM

I probably missed the post, but you are moving? Is Raul moving with you? Please forgive my laziness for not going back and reading a zillion posts????
Posted by: Vicki M. Taylor

Re: gardening...ahhh - 01/08/04 07:49 PM

RE: the Christmas Cactus. When I returned home from vacation this week, I went through all the saved newspapers. (I love to read the paper and cut out any articles that might give me an idea for a story later) ... anyway, I found an article on the Christmas Cactus in the Garden section.

Here are some fun facts:
1. it's native to the South American rain forest
2. Even though it's a cactus it has no thorns
3. Once it receives 12 - 16 hours of uninterrupted darkness each day, buds form
4. Their flower colors range from lavender, fuchsia, orange, red, and white

Now, here are some gardening facts:
1. keep them in bright cool location
2. keep the soil moist, but not soggy
3. don't fertilize until growth begins in the Spring
4. You can start new cactuses by taking stem sections of two or three segments and sticking them in porous, moist potting soil or sand. They root quickly.

How to get your Cactus to bloom?
1. Once temperatures stay above freezing, move your cactus outside for Spring and Summer. Keep it in an area that is shaded, expecially in the afternoon. Feed with a dilute water soluble fertilizer every other time you water.
2. About the first of October place it in an area where it will receive no light for about 12 hours each afternoon and night.
3. Buds should start to develop around the first of November and begin opening between Thanksgiving and Christmas

I hope that bit of info helps for getting your cactuses to bloom this coming Holiday season!
Posted by: DJ

Re: gardening...ahhh - 01/12/04 05:01 AM

I had a beautiful Christmas cactus that bloomed every year, and I did nothing to it. I went away for a week or so, and no one watered it when I was gone, so that was the end of it.
It's been in the single digits here for the past few days. But today I went to a Md. Horticultural Society lecture by Kurt Blumel. Maryland is blessed with a great climate for gardening -- we can grow a huge variety of things. Kurt Blumel, originally from Czechoslovakia, then Switzerland, came here 40 years ago and started a nursery for perennials. Back then, there were so few perennial plants available on the market. In fact, to any of you who've been gardening for any length of time, you know that even in the late 80s and early 90s there wasn't the enormous variety we now have.
Blumel's nursery (in Harford County) hybridized hundreds of plants. He's the one who popularized ornamental grasses, for one thing.
Anyway, it was great to look at slides of gardens. He didn't have a whole lot of info that was new to me, but I was happy to hear him compare gardening to painting -- Before starting my garden design business 14 years ago, I painted portraits.
He also said that it was better to buy plants than to save money (of course he would -- this is his business) and that gardens are never finished, that you always need to practice.
Garden design is all about unexpected combinations of colors, shapes, textures...
Posted by: jawjaw

Re: gardening...ahhh - 01/12/04 04:23 PM

DJ...I didn't know that was your type of business. How interesting! Got any tips for someone who has a blank back yard? What a great business to be in...I know it takes a lot of time and hard work, but I have always thought it would be so wonderful to work with plants and gardening all the time. How long have you been in this business and how did you get started in it, if you don't mind my asking?
Posted by: DJ

Re: gardening...ahhh - 01/12/04 06:37 PM

Happy to talk about it! For me it's a side business because there's not enough of it around here to pay the bills. For my partner who's always been a full time mom, it's her only business, but my situation has been rockier than hers.
Basically we're two friends who love to garden and always gave out free advice and our overgrown perennials to friends, who usually killed the plants and ignored the advice. So we figured if we made them pay for it, they'd take us seriously. And voila!
We've both been gardening since at least the early 1970s. I'm from the north, she's from the south, so we both know different sorts of plants. We put ads in the paper, and leafletted neighborhoods, to broadcast about our services. But see, we didn't want to do the backbreaking dirty work -- we do the design and they have to hire the landscapers. So we had to find experts in perennials (who are quite rare) to work in tandem with us. We found a couple of gems who loved our designs and our ideas, and they became our biggest supporters. In fact one of them got so that he refused to do any planting for anyone until they contacted "the girls" as he calls us.
for your blank back yard, I can offer you guidelines. Start with two things: what you love, and what you need. Do you need shade, privacy, erosion control, anti-critter material, lounging space? Do you want color, ease of maintenance, whatever. What plants do you have to have? what do you hate?
Then think of your yard as a pallette, and you're going to paint a 3-D design, like a painting you can walk through that changes with the seasons. Now here's where you need to observe plant habits, and I've never been to Alabama so I'm not quite sure what you've got down there (though my Great Uncle Charlie lived in Bayou LaBatre). You need to know the heights and the needs of the plants. Maybe start small, like a border against the back fence. Don't make it too narrow -- should be at least 6 feet deep, or deeper if you use shrubs. And think of broad areas of color and shape, not single itty-bitty plants.
Hey, I could go on, but I think I hear some snoring...
Posted by: jawjaw

Re: gardening...ahhh - 01/12/04 07:04 PM

not from this end you don't! How interesting and so much so, that I am printing this out for my advice. How much do I owe ya? Thank you so much for sharing all of this and your background as well. I envy you the occupation as I think it would be something the Queen here could really sink her shovel into. I love the earth. I love smelling it, playing in it, and watching it give me beautiful plants and things. We are fortunate down here that we can grown just about anything. Not that you asked, but two of my favorite things is
1) Hastas
2) Clamatus vines

I probably misspelled both of those but I bet you know what I'm talking about. I want to eventually build a writing haven for me in my backyard and would love to have it surrounded by vines, hastas, daylilies, and impatients...course all of this is right after Ed McMann comes a calling...sigh...
Posted by: DJ

Re: gardening...ahhh - 01/12/04 11:13 PM

Forget Ed McMann. I got into vegetable gardening in order to eat cheap (used to start everything by seed in January). I even used to harvest seed heads from annuals growing in other people's yards -- marigolds, zinnias, hollyhocks. For years didn't spend a dime on plants. I've dug up daffodils, lily of the valley, peonies and daylilies in construction sites, where they were going to tear down houses, and transplanted them to my yard.
The good thing about hostas and daylilies is that they're so prolific that you may be able to locate people in your area who'd be willing to share their divisions with you. People are generally proud of their own plant selections, and you have to divide perennials sooner or later. Maybe in exchange for help weeding or something. You can find enough varieties of daylilies that you could have them blooming all season (though I don't know what that means in Alabama). And they can do sun and shade. Hostas are wonderful too, though of course they usually prefer shade except for the Sum and Substance (a gigantic yellow leaved one) and the Plantiginea (with a fragrant, white flower that's good as a cut).
Look at your yard and imagine a shape for your garden. maybe the back is straight against the fence. But think of a few curves in the front. Do you have grass that you plan to keep? Don't make the curves too complicated. Sometimes people take a garden hose and move it around until they find a pleasing line.
You'll generally want to put the tallest things in back, and the shortest in the front -- that makes sense, right? Dianthus are great in front (miniture carnation like plants). their leaves are gray green and would contrast well with the daylilies (i.e., hemerocallis).
Okay, so along with the hostas and the daylilies, you need something evergreen. Down by you, maybe the dianthus leaves will last all winter. You'd have to ask at a good garden center. Also you ought to add some sort of "skeleton" like a few shrubs. Sometimes you'll find shrubs that are even shorter than the perennials. For instance, I have a lilac that's only about a foot tall! In the sun, (though they can also stand some shade) we like to use spirea "little princess" because it blooms a long time. And lacecap hydrangeas which are lovely. In a sunny spot, you could use a creeping juniper, like a "shore juniper."
When you're thinking of what to put with the daylilies, think about their leaf shape -- what would look good against those spade like leaves? How about peonies? They have a wonderful sculptural shape. If you have enough space, use clumps of 2 or 3, though 1 can look nice too.
And hostas themselves have so many different shapes and colors, but generally they have those big sort of round leaves. Think of leaf shapes that contrast with that -- we use carex, which is a sedge (grassy and spiky). Remember that the leaves last longer than the flowers, so generally you design with the leaves in mind.
If you have stones in your yard, then think about making a patio out of them. sometimes you can go to quarries and get free stones that are irregularly shaped. I made a path out of round river stones alternated with little flat stones, like a mosaic. It was free, but it's tough to weed sometimes.
Oh, and the clematis -- of course there are all kinds of those too, that bloom in spring and fall. You can make a simple pergola out of two by twos and two by sixes. I copied a Chinese design, very simple, and built a trellis and a pergola with that design. I have autumn clematis covering the pergola (the pergola is a trellis that you can walk through) and grapes. Right now on the trellis I have a honeysuckle.
I'm just rhapsodizing now, dreaming of spring...
Posted by: jawjaw

Re: gardening...ahhh - 01/12/04 11:37 PM

Wow DJ! What great information. My backyard is almost a perfect square and yes, I do intend to have a screened in porch at some point so I probably should just block off for the patio (a visual for me) and that leaves the back and one side. Almost like the number 9 if you will. Of course there is the outside of the fence too. I have thought about putting day lily plants all around the fence since they bloom so long around here. I have some hummingbird vine seed that my sister gave me a while back. I have it in a baggy. Do you think it is still good? You have really given me a lot of help and I appreciate it. I feel like I am learning from the Master. How cool!
Posted by: DJ

Re: gardening...ahhh - 01/13/04 01:48 PM

You are too kind.
I'm not familiar with the common name "hummingbird vine." do you know the Latin name by chance?
Well, if it's still alive, it's still good. YOu may as well try it.
Posted by: jawjaw

Re: gardening...ahhh - 01/13/04 04:25 PM

The Latin name? Hummingbirda Vina....isn't that right? You just add a 'A' on the end of it? [Roll Eyes]

Ok..ok...I'll ask my sis if she knows cause I don't have a clue... [Big Grin]
Posted by: Dotsie

Re: gardening...ahhh - 01/13/04 07:42 PM

Jawjawa, youa area soa funnya! [Big Grin]

Hey too bad you don't live around here, because I happen to know this DJ and she designed my garden. [Big Grin] She's also my Friday morning walking buddy. [Wink]

When she was talking about picturing your space as a pallette, that's exactly what she did with the side of our house and it's beautiful. I told her the colors I liked, (pinks, yellows, blues, greens, no reds) the plants and flowers I liked and disliked and she took it from there.

Many of the flowers she suggests are in my garden, planted in the perfect spot, flourishing like you just can't imagine.

SHe designed it, my nephew, his girlfriend, and I planted it (my nephew did all the bullwork of pulling out all the English Ivy that had been there, took him days) and all I do is take care of it, and I get all the compliments from the people who walk by. DJ doesn't even get to hear that. Though I have dropped her name and suggested her services! [Wink]

When you look at the gardens in different seasons there is color spread about just like a painting.

Can you tell I love it? [Big Grin] Plus she took into account the fact that I like to cut and bring them in and share with others. Ohhh, it's such a blessing!

And I mean if you lived here, I'm dividing and I'd love to share with you! I have a few things in my garden that were either gifts from friends or dug up from their gardens and replanted in mine. It's fun and then it takes on mew meaning!

I also have a pink azalea, and some heather in there that friends gave me when my mom died. [Wink]

I'm rambling, but just want you to know that you are gettin gprofessional advice and you should take it free of charge. [Big Grin]
Posted by: jawjaw

Re: gardening...ahhh - 01/14/04 05:40 AM

YOU SAID...."If you lived here you could...bla...bla..bla...
and if you lived could...."

Girl...IF, IF, IF...If a frog had wings he wouldn't bump his butt everytime he cut it out! I'm so jealous!

It sounds lovely and I would really like to see a pic of your garden...would you happen to have one?

Yes, DJ has been very helpful, very! It's fun having so many talented people in this forum, isn't it?
Posted by: smilinize

Re: gardening...ahhh - 01/14/04 06:51 AM

Hey, I want to see the garden too. And I'm no gardener for sure. I can't even raise artificial flowers. I have a black thumb. Plants see me coming and commit suicide.

But I like to see beautiful gardens and that one sounds spectacular.

Posted by: meredithbead

Re: gardening...ahhh - 01/14/04 11:29 AM

Hey everyone! I got 4 avocados today from my tree!
Posted by: jawjaw

Re: gardening...ahhh - 01/14/04 01:12 PM

wow! great Ms. M...tell me, how do you prepare them? Do you have a special recipe or favorite way of fixing them? Do you need help eating them?
Posted by: Dotsie

Re: gardening...ahhh - 01/14/04 07:17 PM

I have a problen that needs addressing! [Mad]

And I'll soon be addressing it.

Here's the scoop: Putting pictures in the photo album has to be done by my web queen because it has something or other to do with codes for this least I think. It has something to do with the forums software. Just not the same as posting on a site.

I think I need to get my son to create a quick site for me because there have been times that I would have liked to share pictures, but couldn't. This garden brings this to mind again. Let me see what I can do about this. Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of the garden though. Maybe some close-ups that my son has taken, but that's all. Okay, another little project!
Posted by: DJ

Re: gardening...ahhh - 01/15/04 07:11 PM

from Smilinize: "Hey, I want to see the garden too. And I'm no gardener for sure. I can't even raise artificial flowers."

We had a neighbor where I grew up who lined her back sidewalk with plastic flowers. She loved them because she said they never die and she could change them whenever she wanted a different color.
Posted by: smilinize

Re: gardening...ahhh - 01/16/04 03:23 AM

I bet I could kill your nice neighbor's plastic flowers.

I've killed a lot of plastic flowers. I am amazing.

I have a tall cactus that has survived for a couple of years and a Christmas cactus that still looks alive.

Hmmmm. Maybe I better check. It was looking kind of sockly around Christmas. Nope. It's still green (sort of). I don't pronounce them dead til they turn completely black.

Posted by: meredithbead

Re: gardening...ahhh - 01/16/04 05:36 AM

jawjaw, I usually just peel the avocados and eat them.

Okay, and I want to post my avocado haiku:

"SoCali Haiku" (a true story)

Santa Ana winds
forty avocados fall.
Much guacamole.

[Razz] [Razz] [Razz]

smilinize, there are two ways to kill a cactus: leave it out in the snow too long; or water it.