Monday, April 30, 2007

Species Tulip

The species tulips, Clusiana Lady Jane, picture above were purchased from John Scheepers, Inc. in October 2004.

Why species tulip? Here's a quote from "Iowa State Horticulture and Home Pest News".
"Are you tired of replacing your hybrid tulips every few years? Would you like a tulip that naturalizes well? The answer lies in the selection of species tulips."
Nuff said?

The same year I also purchased Tulip Majorletti, Clusiana Chry Tubergens Gem (left) red and Tangerine Beauty yellow/orange. I chose the tallest I could find and they come back beautifully every year.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


Spring really started in earnest this weekend. Mild temperatures allowed me to continue garden clean up. There are still leaves and other winter debris in all corners. I'm trying to work one section at a time - and not go into a total frenzy. I finished about 1/4 of the garden cleanup and about 1/2 of the mulching so far. I haven't even begun to divide or move plants.

Volunteers are ready to rock & roll in the community gardens. Blumenplatz is Bethlehem's Musikfest garden located behind the public library. (The Star of Bethlehem represented in dusty miller is pictured here after initial planting in 2005.) Work on the garden began this week with fence scraping and primer paint. The new color will be hunter green.

Bethlehm's sister city is Tondabayashi, Japan. Bethlehem Garden Club is responsible for maintenance of the "Garden of Serenity" (located next to the library). Mr. and Mrs. Fenninger and Yoshinaga Sakon, one of Japan's outstanding landscape architects, created a tea house and garden in 1971. Spring maintenance begins this week.

Bethlehem Garden Club is also responsible for The Miller's House Garden located in the Industrial Quarter of Historic Bethlehem. This Colonial to Victorian age garden includes old time roses and kitchen garden herbs and vegetables as well as other period flowering plants and shrubs.

Happy Spring! Get out the liniment.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


A bright spot in the otherwise gloomy, cold, wet weather we've had this week - the Bougainvillea is blooming in my living room!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Semi-formal Garden

The wide, angled steps off our deck lead to an offset rectangular concrete pad with cement sidewalks heading off to the left and right. Each year I try to minimize the square of it and enhance the illusion of a circle. I’m not a big fan of formal gardens. I tried create the arc with different shades and textures – does this make it a semi-formal garden? (photos from 7/2/06)

When we built the deck 7 years ago, I measured a straight line about 15' from the center of the steps. Then, keeping one end at the center of the steps, I moved the other end in small increments to complete a half-circle. I laid a hose following the line and marked inside with a line of Round-up. Several days later, we removed the sod and dug and amended the soil with compost, peat moss and sand (because that’s what we had). I laid bricks flat along the edge for a border and mowing surface.

I planted the outside edge with fescue (Elijah's blue). I will need to divide & move some of the fescue to fill in spaces this year.

The second layer is dusty miller (which is semi winter hardy in this location). The price is right for these annuals and I love the gray foliage (see February 4, 2007 post). I usually add a row of pinwheels in spring to try to keep the birds from ripping out the dusty miller for their nests.

The next layer is euonymus shrubs (emerald surprise and fortuei moonshadow).

I try to keep the line of the curve in these layers. Last year I added a row of sweet alyssum to the inside mostly because I love the flower’s smell in the summer sun – again the price is right - they come up everywhere in my garden and are easy to transplant.

I’ve tried to create a focal point in the center using a large rock and a hanging solar light. This is also where I put the fallen pot in the summer.

We planted a juniper (Tolleson’s blue) off center. This tree was a poor choice for this location. It has a very hard time out in the open over the winter and will not stand up without being staked. We’ll replace it someday.

Each year I have another bright idea on how to make a circular-shaped compliment to the steps. So far, my ideas have not been entirely satisfactory – I guess that’s obvious since I ammend the plan every year.

This year I trimmed the euonymous on a thinner line. I lost some to scale so this line is not filling in as quickly as I'd like. (see December 29, 2006 post) I adjusted the rock and the solar light to be more directly on center and will move some rocks to follow the arc. I’ll still use alyssum in a row at the inside of the arc, try to keep them trimmed and have the fallen pot in the center.

And so it goes - another illustration of the best garden is always next year's.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Winter Damage

It seems as if I spoke too soon in my last post.

I checked the shrubs yesterday and there is some damage from the freezing temperatures we’ve had lately.

A lot of the buds on the old, large rhododendron on the west side of the house are brown and shriveled. The row of azaleas on the same side look a little burned too.

Many of the new leaf buds on the hydrangeas are also caput! And some of the flower buds on the dogwoods were hit.

Ah yes, it’s bound to get warmer soon – isn’t it?

Sunday, April 08, 2007


I think you can never have too many daffodils. I have quite a few throughout my garden. I love the yellow drifts in spring. They are tall enough to be seen from the street and the deer don't like them.

I have some I want to move because I think they don't get enough sun to make them bloom. I also have some hyacinths with the same problem and I want to move them too.

I plan to try to disturb the roots, bulb and leaves as little as possible during the transplant. I will dig the transplant hole first & then try to get the biggest dirt clump with the bulb that I can. Hopefully, the less they are disturbed the more energy they will be able to store for a bloom next spring. It may take a few years to get a bloom but they aren't doing much where they are so, what the heck, I'll give it a try.

A little warmer weather would be helpful. We've had temperatures with wind chills in the 20's and 30's the last few days. The rest of the garden seems OK. So far, I haven't seen any damage to the plants and shrubs that are beginning to leaf out. Oh well, mother nature is one of the variables to deal with when gardening. She doesn't always co-operate.

I bought 4 large pots at Ollie's ("Good Stuff Cheap") for my container garden. The price and size were right. I try to stop a Ollie's periodically. Sometimes I find things I need and sometimes I come away empty handed.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Container Gardening

Pole Beans and Cucumbers. I've decided to try container vegetables on our deck this year(about the only full sun place left in my garden).

I ordered Bush Champion cucumber and Kentucky Wonder pole beans from Burpee. Master Gardener Karen Bernhard sent me a link for container gardening help.

I have a few ideas for containers, but I'll have to do some shopping to find something suitable. I plan to use bamboo stakes to support the pole beans. I need to do some more research before shopping for supplies.

I'd appreciate any comments or suggestions from gardeners who have tried container vegetables.