Trials and Miscues

I’ve never been much of a gardener choosing to make a yard as low maintenance as possible.  In Maine, however, it’s impossible not to get a little excited about gardening as flowers are, in the words of one daughter, so brave and outspoken.

All you have to do to see that is visit a nursery

where the selection of growing things edible and decorative is overwhelming.

My attempts at gardening so far are mostly trials and even more miscues.  What I am striving for is a cutting garden  with blooms lasting through the summer and into the fall.  While that is possible, there’s lots to learn about what works.  Take delphiniums which are beautiful to look at, but they get so top heavy they topple over, especially after a rainfall.

And, that flower around them, which I think is a type of geranium, is the right height, but rather than stand up it spreads all over the place destroying other plants with their weight.

So what have I learned about gardening? A successful garden has a blend of annuals and perennials.  That means investing in new plants every year, but to get the right combination of color and texture, it’s worth it.  Thanks to a series of trials and miscues I realize that defining scale and developing a cohesive color scheme is a must to avoid chaos.

Flowers and herbsPerhaps the most important lesson is that successful gardening can be done in pots! It is ever so much easier to combine interesting plant materials in pots than to try to balance them in a garden.

 As I continue to learn to create the bigger picture, I’ll not abandon my successes!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Gardens Galore

Grow It!

As referenced in my last post, fresh and local is readily available these days at farmers markets, but what about in your own back yard or rooftop or patio?

gardenGardens can be anywhere you can put a planter, and they don’t have to be major projects that require lots of digging, planting and maintenance.

gardenIf herbs are your fancy, they are easily grown in pots

gardenwhich can work beautifully into a patio setting.  Not only do they add color and texture but herbs are the absolute easiest to grow with no more than a little TLC.

gardenMy daughters came up with very clever  ways to garden.  One used wine crates to create multiple growing spaces for herbs, lettuces and tomatoes.   Since they are wood, it is a good idea to have drainage holes in the bottom of the crates and to line them with plastic to keep them from rotting.

gardenThis daughter chose watering troughs from a farm store for her garden, and they have worked great.   These are totally filled with dirt which makes them a little heavy should they need to be moved.  An alternative would be to fill them about 2/3 full with styrofoam packing material which would lighten them considerably and still leave plenty of room for dirt.

gardenWhere there is yard space, a raised garden is perfect. It is simple and inexpensive as it only requires a wood or, as in this photo, stone frame and enough dirt to fill it.  I have found this to be a very successful way to expand my vegetable selection, and a 4×8 dimension makes it very easy to work.

gardenThis has to be my favorite garden in that it is as visually appealing as it is practical.  Finding the old tubs is a bit of a challenge, but you could just as easily use galvanized ones.

gardensgarden

gardensWith all the interest in gardening, there is no shortage of books on the subject.  These three, for example, are loaded with helpful hints.

What I love about having my own little garden, be it in pots or in a raised bed, is the satisfaction that comes with knowing I did it.   I check on my growing things every day, and I am so pleased when I can harvest that first basil stem, tomato, lettuce or radish.  If you haven’t tried growing some of your own fresh and local, get started…..NOW!

If you have gardening tips or stories, I’m betting the rest of us would love to hear.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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It’s a Knockout II

As the name suggests, the Antique Rose Emporium specializes in roses which have such descriptions as vigorous climbers, mannerly climbers, creepers, small and large bush.  There is a rose for everybody, and folks leave with them by the wagonload.

Though I have a few knockout roses in my yard, I mostly like roses in other people’s garden so my favorite place to browse was the herb and vegetable area.

I bought lots of gorizia rosemary as it is supposed to be good for your memory.

Stevia,according to the tag, is a sugar substitute for tea and coffee.  The leaf sure tastes sweet, but could somebody tell me whether it’s supposed to be used as is or dried?

Sage and parsley will come in handy for Thanksgiving cooking, and I’m hoping some of the five different lettuces I bought will be ready for a little harvesting.

Though we haven’t touched on all there is in the way of plants, let’s move on to the gift shops where there’re many tempting garden accessories.  As I browsed, I couldn’t help but think of so many of you who would have found something to like.

I collect birdhouses, so there’s no way I could pass by this display.

The birdhouses are made by this gentleman who is a retired Methodist minister with a very generous heart.    In recent years, he has given over $100,000 to various causes, and all the money has come from the sale of his birdhouses.  Knowing that, how could I not buy one!

As you might expect, wandering and wondering builds an appetite, and this day visitors were treated to cuisine from  Chef Tai’s Mobile Bistro, America’s favorite food truck according to  the Food Network.

Food preparation is done right here

Gourmet Rice Bowl prepared Korean style

and what comes out of that very small space is delicious.

I hope you have enjoyed this visit to the Antique Rose Emporium.  If you are ever in the area of Independence, Texas, be sure and stop, but if you can’t make it and love roses, you can order online.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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It’s a Knockout!

Hey, what’re you doing?

Not much.

Wanna go on an adventure?

Sure.

So it was that an ordinary day turned into something special thanks to a friend wanting to go to the Antique Rose Emporium in Independence, Texas.

What a place!  As the crowd of men and women indicated, it is an outing for anyone who enjoys and appreciates growing things.

The Antique Rose Emporium is more than a nursery, it’s an experience.  Everywhere  is beauty whether growing

or an enchanting example of creativity.

What great uses for what I thought were ordinary flower pots!

Throughout the grounds are delightful scenarios

and clever displays.

The gardens are very well organized and have plentiful varieties no matter what you’re looking for,

and if you want a little something extra, feel free.

Needless to say, butterflies are free in this environment,

and I couldn’t get enough of the monarchs fluttering among the blossoms.

By this time I’m in sensory overload, but there’s still more.  I think I’ll save it for tomorrow….won’t you please come back?

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Grow it Here

Rats, somehow I blew away my photos showing how to build the raised garden here, so you will have to be satisfied with a simple how to.  There is an easy tutorial here if you need the visual.

My garden is 4’x8′ made from 12″x8′ lumber.  Three boards are required, with one being cut in half.   The pieces are screwed together and the corners reinforced with 4″ square pieces cut to the same length as the depth of the garden and screwed in place.

The site where the box is to be put should be cleared and leveled so the container sits securely in place. Once the box is in place, fill it with organic soil and plant with your veggies of choice.

So, what do you do if you don’t have enough yard for a garden?  There are a number of alternatives that will allow you to grow lettuce, herbs and maybe even tomatoes.  Tomato plants, though, do have a tendency to get BIG and likely do better in a garden setting.

Take a look at some of these creative ideas.

My daughter used wine crates as containers for her herbs and vegetables.

Who would think about using trash cans!  This is an idea I’m trying for sure.

Could it get any simpler than this?

Nothing complicated about this and think what an attractive display for patio or porch.

Well, you get the idea that you can do a little gardening most anywhere. To get the skinny on growing in containers, look here.  It’s a great place to start.   A couple of things I have learned is to water newly planted vegetables and herbs often to help them get started and harvest often to encourage reproduction.  Have fun with your garden and let me know what you learn.

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