Monday, October 21, 2013

No Care Mums

It’s true. Nothing was done to these mums this year.  They were not pinched back, though that might have made them more compact -- just the regular bit of compost and mulch and a friendly mother nature is all.

Shefffield Pink  is spectacularly large at over 3 feet tall. 

One little yellow volunteer appeared in my garden in 2007 and has almost taken over the bed. 

Great blooms following great summer weather.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Handicapped Gardener


In early April, since I’m unstable standing or walking, I thought I would trim the unruly Sunny  Knockout ® Rose sitting on my roll-a-long walker.  I gathered all my equipment and settled next to the bush with my hand pruner.  Imagine my surprise when my hands we no longer strong enough to squeeze my favorite Felco pruner.

I ended up using  Fiskar’s Power Gear loppers  -  a little heavy for my weak arms but it was possible  for me to make cuts. I keep trying to find ways to work in the garden with my limited strength and balance.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Alert! - Impatiens

Current news from plantsman Doug Green at Simple Gifts Farm (see sidebar for website):

 “Downy Mildew is currently wiping out Impatiens plantings and breeding work across North America and this article is intended to give home gardeners enough information to make informed decisions about this disease and the alternatives they have.”

 Here's the story -

 I will miss all that color in the garden and in pots!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

2013 Spring Shows


Get In the Mood… For Spring

The first of the spring shows to put you in a better mood in this frigid winter is Adventures in Agriculture. February 8, 9 and 10.  The Palmer Park Mall in Easton will transform into a showplace for antiques, crafts, gardening, hobbies, 4-H projects, organically grown food and much more. There is something for everyone adults and children alike.
On March 8, 9, and 10  the Valley Flower,Garden, and Pool Show turns  Ag Hall at the fairgrounds in Allentown into a garden.  Always a winner this local show includes local nurseries, vendors and speakers.

Master Gardeners will hold the annual Spring Garden Series in Lehigh and Northampton County.
Topics will benefit novice and experienc ed gardener.  Offered in Lehigh County 3/19 and 4/2 and Northampton County 3/20 and 4/.3 Topics include Salsa Gardening, Culinary Herbs, Lasagna Gardening and Organic Gardening.
Click here for complete information and registration form.

Saturday, January 19, 2013



This is first time I’ve had 12 blooms at the same time. There are three flower stalks with 4 flowers each from 2 bulbs. Quite a spectacular display.

The blooms are also earlier this year than usual. I brought the bulbs in from outside the same time as usual – the end of August. But they were put in a cool room in front of a window instead of under a table. They were completely ignored until after Thanksgiving, as uaual, when they were watered and brought down to a warm room in front of a bright window. The old foliage was cut off and in a few days a shoot appeared. Other years they were left under the table and brought out after a shoot appeared. The little changes made a big difference.

The blooms will last about two weeks.  


Sunday, December 23, 2012


I’ve been gone from this blog for a long time.  As I learn to live life as a handicrapped     (Freudian slip?) person*, I find I need to adapt to all kinds of challenges. I’ve lost dexterity in my hands. (This note was typed the old fashioned way.)  But, I’m learning to use “Dragon – NaturallySpeaking” speech recognition software. Hopefully, I’ll get back to gardening and blogging soon.

In the meantime, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Joyful Holidays.  I hope your 2012 garden was spectacular and your 2013 garden is even better.
(*See June 10, 2012 blog “Inclusion Body Myositis [IBM].”)


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Grape Tomatoes

Grape tomatoes either have improved since they were introduced in the late 1990’s OR I’ve learned to appreciate them more.  They seem sweeter and firmer to me.  They are convenient for salads or snacks, or roasted, or grilled or right off the vine – I keep a bowl on the kitchen counter for a quick snack.


Grape tomatoes have ripened in abundance since August and need to be picked every 2 or 3 days.  I often cut them in half and sometimes in slices to avoid an embarrassing mouth-geyser.  I’ve also shared their sweetness with neighbors. 

Two of my favorites are grape tomato ‘Sweet Thing’ (shown here) and grape tomato ‘Juliet’ (grown by a friend). 

Do you grow grape tomatoes?  What are your thoughts on the modern grape tomato? Which variety is your favorite?

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Coleus and Amaryllis

It’s time for me to think about fall cleanup.  I work so slowly these days that if I start now I may finish in time to spread mulch in late winter. 


The coleus filled some spots in the garden this year as usual.  I like to take cuttings to root for next year in late August.  I definitely get cuttings and bring in any plants that spent the summer outside as the nights get cool and before the heat is turned on in the house. 


Last week I brought the amaryllis in from their summer home on the deck.  I’ll stop watering and trim off the dead and dying leaves.  The bulbs will rest until Thanksgiving when I will add a little potting soil and begin to water.  And, hope for a spectacular February bloom.


I’ll work outside today and pull some annuals that are past their prime.  So it goes – as another summer winds down.


Sixth generation herbalist Susanna Reppert-Brill discusses tea blending, tea
parties, and growing your own herbs for tea at on September 20th at the
monthly meeting of the Bethlehem Garden Club.  1:00 p.m. at Advent
Moravian Church, 3730 Jacksonville Road, Bethlehem, 18017.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Workshops for the Gardener

Immerse yourself in a day full of gardening topics.  It will be an exciting day full of gardening information and fun.

September 15, 2012
Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 696 Johnson Road, Nazareth, PA 18064
All day seminar includes sessions topics:  Macro-Photography, Backyard Habitat, Composting, Vermiposting , Food Preservation, Seed Starting, Small Space Gardening, Fruit Trees, Hypertufa, Year Round Gardening, Invasive Plants, Pruning.

Keynote address "Pollinators" by Dr Anita Collins, USDA-ARS, retired. Dr. Collins has done research on honey bees for more than 40 years and is currently collaborating on a survey of native bees east of the Mississippi with the U.S. Geological Survey

Garden Fair: vendors with Birdhouses, gardening books, perennial plants, jewelry and more. 

Hurry. Registration ends August 31. Click here then click on “Workshops for the Gardener Brochure” for registration information and form.

More information or questions call:  Call Northampton County Extension Office (610) 746-1970.  Lehigh County Extension Office (610) 391-9840

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Season of the Lily

There is truth in saying “buyer beware”.

The Season of the Oriental Lily has passed for another year.  July is the month of lilies for me.  One of my favorite plants, they mostly take care of themselves.  They are reliable and bloom every year. 

Lilium ‘American Dream’ purchased from White Flower Farm in 2003 grows to 7 feet tall in my front garden. From one bulb I now have about 10 to 15 flower bearing stalks filled with large fragrant blooms in July.  Beautiful true-to-type.

Casablanca may be my favorite.  Heavily fragrant and somehow angelic, I purchased 3 bulbs from Brecks in 2009.      Beautiful true-to-type

I bought some bargain bulbs labeled Casablanca and Stargazer from a vendor at the Philadelphia Flower Show.  This lily labeled Stargazer does not look like any Stargazer I’ve ever seen.    Nice but not true to type.

This Pretty peachy colored lily came in the same batch from the bargain vendor but it is neither Casablanca nor Stargazer.  Beautiful but not true to anything I imagined.

I would not buy inexpensive bulbs from unknown vendors again.  I have a mixed bunch of lilies. Pretty but not what I had planned.

It’s something to think of as you purchase spring flowering bulbs this fall. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I went away for a week and a day

for a little rest and a little play.

Trimmed some hosta and several astilbe.

A gardener is a gardener and always will be.

Sunday, July 08, 2012


News from the Bethlehem Garden Club -

Bethlehem Garden Club


“Sailing Through Summer”

July 20-21 2012, Friday 3-8 p.m and Saturday10-3.

Grand Ballroom of the Historic Hotel Bethlehem, 437 Main St.

---within walking distance of the Club's

three award winning gardens!!

Come to our exciting show,

tour the historic district,

shop and dine for a fabulous summer experience.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Delicate Combination

Pastel pink and baby blue - I would have never planned this combination thinking it too bland. I think it works here because neither bloom is overpowering. The quantity of forget-me-nots seems to balance the larger mum flower.

The self-sowing Forget-Me-Not seeds followed gravity down the mulch slope over the winter and geminated in the Clara Curtis Mums.  It’s what I love about the self-sowers.  Every year I see surprising combination without any effort at all.

Mum ‘Clara Curtis’, Dendranthema zawadskii, planted in 2004 from Wayside, blooms all summer. I cut it back just a little in late fall.  In spring it has always started to bloom early and continues to bloom until frost. 


Annual Forget-Me-not ‘Blue Bird’ Myosotis dissitiflora,  planted directly in the garden in 2006 with Ferry & Morse seeds. 

Mum ‘Clara Curtis’ info from Suite 101 here.

Forget-Me-Not info from Backyard Gardener here.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Inclusion Body Myositis (IBM)

I’ve been trying to write this blog for a year. Last year I was diagnosed with Inclusion Body Myositis (IBM).   It is a somewhat rare affliction.   According to some experts, IBM affects about 15 people in 100,000. It is apparently both an inflammatory and a degenerative muscle disease.  The cause is unknown and there is no cure.  Falling down is what we do.

I continue to garden with help.  I continually search for tools to make gardening possible for me. 

There is so much more to explore in the world of gardening.  As I reinvent myself, I plan to post highlights and lowlights of my gardening world.  I hope you’ll come along for the ride.

Pictures from Hortulus Farm, Garden and Nursery  a non-profit foundation in Wrightstown, Pa. Bucks County. The reasonably priced plant sales’ profits go towards preserving the beautiful grounds and gardens.  It was definitely worth the trip.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Tea Cup Garden planter bed.

I visited Chanticleer in Wayne, Pa for the first time in May.

I can truthfully say I have never seen a more beautiful garden.  The use of color and texture is breathtaking.  In the large gardens, there is a subtle beauty with repeating colors drawing your eye along.  The smaller beds contain more than a few surprises. The gardens flow from area to area. 

I took a few pictures but there is no way I could capture the creative artistry that is Chanticleer.  I hope to go back soon to take in more of the design artistry.

Tea Cup Courtyard Garden

Weigela drapes across a stone stair wall

Established plantings of deutzia cascade on the edges of the Tennis Garden  

Pool Garden

Great lawn surrounded by mature trees, shrubs and perennials

Chanticleer house terrace

Read all about Chanticleer including history, plant lists and what’s blooming now here.