Viewing PAgirl60's Garden Diary: April, May, June 2012
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Rain ...62 degrees and raining at 7:20 pm. Expected overnite low of 54.
It's been raining all day. Supposed to get heavier rain and thunderstorms after midnight. And then sun for the rest of the week. I can deal with that. :>) I did get some planting and transplanting done over the past few days. Got all my wax begonias planted in the front garden and transplanted my Exquisite Zinnia seedlings into a nice, large pot. Got my cucumber seeds planted and decided to plant a pot with just annual baby's breath seeds. I picked and opened one of the pods of my garden peas and couldn't get over how sweet the little peas were! First time growing them. I've got pots of California poppies blooming, shirley poppies have huge, fat buds and my little rose bush is putting out a lot of new growth.
Have had a few low spots. Deer or a groundhog ate the buds off my tall red poppies. My fault really. I had moved the pot from the front porch to ground level. I quickly moved the pot back to the porch. There's still a few buds left on the plant that were missed! One of my astilbes in my front garden got chewed to little stubs and some of my black eyed susans had leaves chewed off. I'm thinkin' groundhog for those. I dug up the roots on the astilbe and planted it in the corner by my back deck. It's pretty shady there and closer to the house. I have 2 other astilbe plants in the front garden I'm thinking of relocating to the same spot. I recall that they were chewed on last summer, too.
I'm really paying attention to what gets eaten or doesn't get eaten this year. So far my bleeding hearts, poppies, alyssum, and baby's breath haven't been touched. I believe they are safe to leave just where they're planted. But on the other hand, I think I recall from last summer that most of my perennials - my astilbes, coneflowers, and black eyed susans- got munched on. I don't want to give up on them, so I will try moving them to other areas around the house. Hopefully, that will solve the problem for some of them. And for the ones the critters just won't leave alone, if it's feasable, I'll pot them up and keep them on the deck. I will just have to research the best methods for wintering them over.
Watering a lot more pots will just take longer ....
Friday, June 8, 2012
Holy Moley!72 degrees and partly cloudy at 8:00 pm. Expected overnite low of 52.
The old girl still has it in her. I am talking about my 12 year old cat, Dixie. Yesterday mornng she brought me a ... present. I did not notice the "present" at first. I opened the sliding glass door and Dixie came into the house from outside. Nothing strange about that. Until she dropped her "present" in the living room and it was alive and kicking! Holy Moley!!! I was shrieking. It was squeaking. And Dixie was pouncing. The poor little critter darted under the couch. Hubby came dashing into the room and I stopped shrieking long enough to tell him what was going on! I am normally a sane woman, BUT I get absolutely skeeved by mice, rats, and to add to the list now ... moles. "Get it outta here!" was all I could seem to say. The couch got moved numerous times, the mole kept squeaking, and I was to point of hyperventilating. Finally, hubby trapped it with a large plastic container, slid a magazine underneath, and then flipped it over. He took Dixie's "present" outside and let it go free into the woods.
I really don't understand this phobia I have. I live in the country. I am not bothered in the least by bugs, snakes, bears, raccoons, or possums. Squirrels are fine, and chipmunks are down right cute! What the heck is it about ... the tiny rodents? Got to be some blocked memory from my childhood. But mice? I love MICKEY. I even wore my "mouse ears" when I was a kid and watched the Mickey Mouse Club ... the old show with Annette, Cubby, Karen, and oh, what was his name? Oh, yeah. Jimmy, the head mouseketeer. I am REALLY giving my age away, aren't I?
I'd better go now before I start rambling about something else. Like Unicorns .... :>O
Friday, June 1, 2012
Got in a little gardening ...63 degrees with light rain at 6:45 pm. Expected overnite low of 56.
Had a lot of things to do today. I didn't get in much garden time, but I did manage to get some things done. I got the last of my WS snaps and shirley poppies planted into garden beds. Potted up the strongest WS columbine, coreopsis, and oriental poppies to transplant later into specific garden beds in the early Fall. What was left in the WS containers, I just planted along the back borders of the yard where the property meets the woods. I was so happy to finally clear out my WS containers. The good ones I rinsed off and put into a plastic tote in the garage. The ones that were really too shallow, I tossed. Next year I think I'm going to use mostly milk or water jugs for WS. The ones I used this past season seemed to germinate better.
Right now I have 2 peonies growing in pots on my back deck. I started them from bare roots in April (I think) and they are coming along nicely. I intend to plant them in the ground in the front of the house come late summer, early Fall. I think I might move the pots this weekend to where I want to permanently plant them. It will free up space on the back deck and also get the young plants accustomed to an area that still gets the afternoon sun that they're used to, but also gets some dappled shade. I also want to move 2 large pots (mexican sunflowers & tall zinnias) from the back to the front of the house and place them near the peony pots. It will bring plenty of color to the front and make the area look a little less "empty". Anyway, I love groupings of flower pots! :>)
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Things are growing ...72 degrees and sunny at 5:40 pm. Expected overnite low of 51.
What a difference a day makes. Yesterday was hot and humid, and today was warm and dry. I putzed around in the garden this morning while the front of the house was still shady. In the front garden bed, I pinched back the tips of my dianthus and snapdragons (to make them bushier) and also pinched back the petunias and million bells growing in my hanging baskets. Now the baskets don't look as lush and full as they were, but in about 2 weeks they should look great! I pinched off the spent blooms on the rhodos and they are looking good. Plenty of new leaf growth. The little hollies have a lot of new growth and the "ladies" are producing berries.
I planted out more of my WS containers. Got my viola and forget me nots planted in the garden and also planted out peat pot containers of shirley poppies. I didn't plant a lot of things in peat pots, mostly plants that don't like having their roots "disturbed". I started my sweet peas, morning glorys, and some poppies this way. With poppies though I also WS'd some types of seeds directly into pots. I have a pot of orange california poppies starting to bloom now, mixed color california poppies in another WS'd pot setting buds, and my red poppies/bachelor buttons WS'd pot that's just about ready to bloom. *the bachelor buttons aka cornflowers have already started blooming.*
About cornflowers ...
I love the gorgeous blue flowers, but I really don't care for the plant. The plants are very tall (mine are almost four feet high) and though planted pretty close together they still look like tall, thin, gangly corn stalks! They would look good in the back border of a flower bed but really need a fence of some type to keep them from flopping over. Mine are in a tall flowerpot that I placed behind other flower pots to help prop them up.
We've been eating the leaf lettuce I planted pretty often, and my garden peas are both flowering and starting to produce pods. And my little tomato plant is making lots of flowers. Yay!!
I'll post more pics as things progress. :>)))
Monday, May 28, 2012
Memorial Day Weekend86 degrees and hot and humid. Expected overnite low of 64.
Both yesterday and today have been in the 80's with high humidity. Haven't done much in the garden all weekend. Friday is a ... blur. Which means I don't remember what I did or didn't do Friday. Saturday my SIL, BIL, and neice and nephew came to visit. We had a bar-b-cue Saturday then went to Mt Airy Casino at night. It was my BIL birthday. NO winning streaks for any of us. On Sunday we went to yard sales. My neice (age 10) loves to go to yard sales. She had about $3 dollars in change in a little purse to spend. She bought little Avon lipstick samples (about 5) at one yard sale for 5 cents a piece. And some junky jewelry at another. She is so funny. She even haggles over the price!
I bought some kind of paint kit that involves blue flowers. I call myself a "gardener" and I don't have any idea what kind of flowers they are. Anyway, I really bought the kit for the 3 brushes that came with the kit. Brand new and good quality. I paid 50 cents. What a bargain! Hubby bought a framed painting of The Last Supper for $3. The frame has cracks in it and the backing is held on with pieces of tape. Don't know if the picture is a print or on canvas. Hubby thinks it might be a "LOST" early Leonardo Divinci work. Sure it is ....
I did some gardening today.
I planted some Lilliput Mixed Colors Zinnias in a flowerpot that was planted with nasturitums than didn't germinate. Also added some of these seeds to the pots I planted my peony roots in. I figured come late summer, early Fall I'll pull out the zinnias and plant the peonies into the ground.
Took some Heavenly Blue MG seeds that germinated in a paper towel in a baggie and put them into peat pots.
Added some Rosie O'Day alyssum seeds to the little flower garden under the tree in the front of the house. Also filled my 2 large seashells with potting mix and sprinkled some of the same seeds on top.
Planted french marigold seeds ... again ... in the pot I planted them in weeks ago. They never germinated so I figured I'd try again. I also planted a few Cosmos seeds (Summer sunshine mix) into the center of the pot. I thought it might make a nice color combination. Lots of orange, yellow, and red.
I have a large pot of Mexican Sunflower seedlings (about 2 inches tall) that I added a few more seeds to. I put them on the outer edges and when they germinate and are tall enough, I will move them somewhere else.
I finally have some of my WS and recently sown seeds flowering and sprouting. I've got blooming cornflowers, buds on my tall red poppies and California poppies, some McKenna Giant Columbine sprouts, some Crego aster sprouts, Zagreb coreosis sprouts, and calendula. I also have Candy Cane and Exquisite zinnia sprouts. And my sweet peas are finally starting to take off and ramble up the trellis. I will be busy the next few weeks transplanting things.
I'm still having trouble with .... slugs.They are so chewed up that my planted baby's breath seedlings look like sticks. But the slugs seem to be leaving everything else alone ... for now.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
DON'T YA JUST LOVE IT!66 degrees and sunny. Expected overnite low in the 50's.
It's been raining all day, but right now ... the sun is shining. It's a miracle! It's been rainy for the past couple of days. Sometimes heavy downpours ... other times light, but steady rain. I love listening to the sound of rain, especially at night. There's something very soothing about it.
I got a few things done over the past few days .Got my mexican sunflower seedlings planted. They look kind of lost right now in such a big flowerpot. But they are supposed to get over 3 feet tall by mid summer! I planted about 5 morning glory seedlings around the mailboxes this afternoon. They were growing in peat pots. When I pulled off the bottoms of the peat pots I was amazed by the root systems I saw!
Everything is growing. And I think that slugs have been chewing on some of my planted out seedlings. Grrr! I hate those little beasties! I have alternately been making little circles of builders sand, eggshells, or coffee grounds around my seedlings. They all work pretty well at keeping the slugs at bay, but with all the rain we've been having this week, the little barriers aren't holding up as well. We are supposed to start drying out by Thursday. That should help.
I had recently bought a little tomato plant from Lowe's called, "NEAT n SWEET", grown specifically for small flowerpots. It's not even a foot tall and it's already making tiny little yellow flowers. It's supposed to produce masses of little tomatoes all summer! I'll post a pic later in the summer.
This was the first year I tried growing vegetables ... in window boxes. I have leaf lettuce growing (have eaten some a few times already) and I have garden peas growing up my back deck railing. They look healthy and I'm hoping that sometime in June I will have peas! I still have to plant my cucumber seeds, and I understand they are heat lovers! They're for a small bush type plant that produces cukes on the small side. I'm going to plant only a few seeds in a large flowerpot for the cukes this weekend. Weatherwise, up here in the mountains we are still in SPRING. 60's - 70's is the norm. We might get some 80 degree days, but not consistently. And nights are still in the mid to high 50's. We really don't stay in the 80's til mid June, or later.
I'm still waiting on some of my winter sown and direct spring sown seeds. I'm starting to get some germination ... but sporadic, on coreopsis, columbine, viola, and forget me nots. I recently sowed some cosmos, zinnias, and marigolds, but they won't start to pop until it gets a little bit warmer.
I have to say though, the weeds are thriving. LOL With the mild winter we had, and some of the warm days and the rain we've been having, the weeds just love it! I've been either hitting them with WEED BE GONE, or pulling the evil little buggers out by their twisted, stubborn, tangled, entrenched so far into the soil that their halfway to China .... [email protected]@@### ROOTS!!!
Isn't gardening just wonderful?
Saturday, May 19, 2012
SEEDLINGS, SEEDLINGS AND MORE SEEDLINGS60 degrees and sunny at 8:50 am. High of 80 expected today.
Did a lot of stuff over the past week. Did a lot of seedling transplanting. Got gaillardia, baby's breath, dianthus, snapdragons, and some black eyed susans planted into the garden. Also stuck a few of the snaps (dwarf type) into my hanging baskets and planted tall snapdragon seedlings into a large flowerpot. Guess you can tell I really like snapdragons.
I still have seedlings that need to be planted out. I had started some mexican sunflowers inside and they have been hardening off and are now ready to plant. I've got a VERY LARGE flower pot for about 3 of them, and the rest I'm going to plant along my back deck where they will get plenty of sun! For a few other seedlings, I need to prepare the planting areas. I have some rose campion seedlings that I want to plant by the mailboxes (our mailboxes are on one side of the street - four in our group) along with some morning glorys to trail up the posts. Then there are seedlings that I want to pot up and let sit until late summer, early fall. I have a lot of black eyes susans and a couple of shastas for that.
I am also still waiting on some seedlings that are still very tiny. Viola, coreopsis, asters, forget me nots, and columbine.I have homes planned for them. But I also have a tray of healthy oriental poppy seedlings that I still haven't found a place for. I'm going to have to dig up a spot maybe in the back yard for them. I don't have enough room in my front garden for them.
I also began direct seed sowing of cosmos, zinnias, and marigolds into some of my flowerpots. I also tucked a few of those into flower pots filled with california and shirley poppies that are setting buds. I also moved a few of my pots onto my front porch. In a post way back ... I talked about my COMBO COTTAGE GARDEN IN A POT. Well, that pot is now on my front porch. It's filled with tall red poppies, baby's breath, tall snapdragons, and cornflowers AKA bachelor buttons. Well, the cornflowers are very TALL !!!!!! Too tall for the pot! I am hoping that the poppies which are pretty tall now send up even TALLER STEMS. The package said the poppies would grow to as much as 3 feet in height. Hope so. Right now this pot is so out of proportion. The baby's breath and snaps still have a ways to go yet.
Well, got things to do ... gotta go. Want to get out and and touch up the wishing well with some paint while it's still in the shade. Happy gardening, all. :>))
Monday, May 14, 2012
Getting my hands dirty and cleaning up ...52 degrees and raining at 5:15 pm. Overnite lows in the 50's. It hit about 60 earlier today.
Yesterday, Mother's Day, I went out for breakfast with my hubby, 2 stepsons and one fiancee. After breakfast hubby and I came home and I pretty much "played in the dirt" for the next few hours. I put my straw hat on and sat at my work bench on the back deck for awhile putting together more pots. Got another hanging basket done to hang above the wishing well. I didn't hang it yet since I want to touch up some of the trim on the well first. I also put together a rather small pot of superbell petunias (yellow & dreamcicle) that fits perfectly in the top of the milk can I have next to my front deck. The pot of flowers should look really pretty once they fill out. The milk can is painted a light chocolate color and the yellow and orange-ish flowers are a nice combination against it. Since the can is painted one solid color, I've been toying with the idea of painting some kind of design on the front of the can. When I get a chance I might look at stencils or decals at the craft store.
After I finished with the pots I had been working on, I straightened out the back deck. When I was done, I had my "still in progress" pots and containers on one side, and "my finished pots" on the other. I threw away a lot of the empty plastic WS containers that I decided I was not going to use next year. Some of them had been just too shallow and either had gotten water logged or dried out too much over the winter. I actually found that gallon milk and water jugs worked the best for me. Or deep plastic pans and tops. I have to say, Winter sown seedlings are really amazing if they like their germinating conditions. As I've been moving seedlings either directly to their permanent homes - the garden or decorative pots - they all seem to have strong root systems for such small plants.
After I finished up there, I went and gave all my plants (garden & pots) a dose of liquid Miracle Gro. I've been feeding them now every two weeks with a slightly diluted solution, and I've marked my calender through June so far so I don't forget. Also, when I first transplant my seedlings or flowers to their "permanent" homes (baskets, garden, or pots) I also mix in the recommended amount of granular time released fertilzer into the soil or potting mixture. I've read that by applying an initial granular feeding and then watering every two weeks with diluted liquid fertilizer is the SECRET to keeping plants well fed and looking good all summer! And naturally, keeping plants well watered when there hasn't been signficant rainfall or when there is extreme heat. And for certain flowers that don't like a lot of water or fertilzer (ex- morning glory, nasties ) they just get water when they need it. For them, too much of either makes for lots of leaf growth and no flowers.
Well, it's still raining ... too hard to go out and do anything gardenwise. Just have to wait ... sigh.
Saturday, May 12, 2012
Today definately felt like Spring ....71 degrees and sunny at 6:45 pm. Expected overnite low of 48.
What a beautiful day! This morning about 10 hubby and I went with my stepson and his fiancee to look at a house for sale. They have been looking for about a month and they had found one they really liked. They wanted us to see this particular house and get our opinion. It's a bi-level, 3 bedroom, 2 bath, kitchen, dining room and living room with a fireplace. There's a nice wrap around deck on the second level. It's been renovated and it really is nice, BUT we think it's overpriced. My future step daughter-in-law really didn't want to hear that because she fell in love with this particular house the first time she saw it. SIGH. We can offer our advice, but in the end they are going to do what THEY want to do.
Anyway, got a lot done today. We finished mulching the foundation area of the house and got the rock edging laid down. Yesterday we went to a good friend's house to dig up 2 rhododendrens that they no longer wanted. We don't have a truck and had to put them in the trunk of our car (a 98 buick LeSabre). Our other car is a nissan altima - it would never have fit in that trunk! Anyway, the 2 rhodos were bigger than we thought and we couldn't close the trunk nor tie it down. So we drove home very SLOWLY. We got them into the ground yesterday afternoon and watered them really well and then mulched and watered them again. It's supposed to rain starting tomorrow afternoon and then for another 2 days. That should really water them in well!
I also made up some hanging baskets this afternoon. First, I transplanted my catnip plant into a hanging basket and hung it outside just off the back deck. It's too high and too out of reach for Bob to get it. While I was moving the plant I accidently broke a piece off of it along with a good chunk of root still attached. I took it and put it into a small pot with some potting soil from the original pot it was growing in and hid it behind other pots on the deck. Hopefully the cats won't find it and it will start to grow into a new plant. If it grows and does well, in the Fall I will plant it somewhere in the yard back by the woods. Maybe next Spring it will come back and spread. Then the cats will have their own personal stash. :>))
With the plants I bought at Lowe's the other day, I potted up a Sweet n Neat tomato plant and also put together one hanging flower basket. I plan on making another two hanging baskets tomorrow. I might plant out some of my winter sown seedlings, too. I have 2 milk jugs full of snapdragons - dwarf and tall, baby's breath, and dianthus that are big enough to go into the garden or into regular flowerpots now. I have mexican sunflowers and morning glories growing in peat pots by the window in the garage and I hope to start hardening them off by the end of May. I had also started some moonflower seeds inside, but only one germinated. It's a very sorry looking seedling and I doubt it will make it. :>(
I also transplanted some sweet peas growing in peat pots into a large flower pot and put the pot on the back deck. When I gently tore away some of the peat pot, there were nice roots growing out of it. I just have to put some kind of trellis into the flowerpot for the vines to climb on.
Saw my first hummingbird today! Yay! It was a female and she was flittting back and forth to the feeder and didn't seem the least bit bothered that we had been working outside not to far from the feeder. I just love hummers. They are such amazing creatures.!
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Brrrrr !!!!52 degrees, cold and windy at 1:10 pm. Expected overnite low of 35 degrees.
Boy, what a change in the weather. The sun peaks out from time to time, but not enough. It feels more like the beginning of March.
Yesterday hubby and I went to Lowe's. I have 3 large wire hanging baskets (uses moss or coir liners) that I want to fill and went to look at annuals. I picked up six 4 inch pots of Superbells - 3 yellow, 3 sweetart, and 3 dreamcicle. I also bought two 3 quart containers with a mix of petunias, calibrachoa, and verbena (reds and pinks). I figured I could make really nice baskets with the mix and I also have some annual vinca vine I can add. I also figured that later in the season if some of the flowers start to get a little ratty looking I'll have quite a bit of my winter and spring sown flowers that I can replace them with. I also bought a tomato plant called Sweet 'n' Neat. It's supposed to get no larger than a foot tall, made specifically for container growing, and produce lots of tasty little tomatoes! It was less than $4. Got nothing to lose.
It may feel cold today, but starting tomorrow and into next week the temps are going up. Mid-seventies all next week! The only thing I've been dragging into the house sometimes at night is my little mini rose bush. It's doing great, making lots of leaves, and even has a nice plump bud! When the weather report predicts a dip into the 30's overnite, I take it inside. I got it this past Valentine's Day, and it's the ONLY one that made it out of six. At first I thought it was one plant, but then realized there were 6 TINY plants packed into a little 6 inch pot. Within 2 weeks they all started dying. I managed to salvage this one. I cut off the dead flowers, leaves, pruned off some dead branches and put it into a 10 inch pot. And have been babying it ever since. I would love to plant it outside, but it wouldn't stand a chance with the deer. I'll just keep it on my deck. In the late Fall I'll bring it into the garage and try to overwinter it into next year.
I don't how anyone else is faring, but ALLERGIES are in high gear up here. My hubby and I are both suffering this spring. And there always seems to be some kind of STUFF floating in the breeze. Our property is covered with beech trees and as the leaves push themselves out, these little "shells" that encased them (for lack of a better word) are EVERYWHERE. The grass is growing, the trees are leafing out, plants are blooming and everyone is SNEEZING.
I love Spring - but it can be such a pain in the nose! AHCHOO!
Monday, May 7, 2012
Been Busy ... And54 degrees and light rain at 6:32 pm. Expected lows tonight in the upper 40's.
Been busy the last week or so. Started the week off with a dentist appointment, and oh lucky me ... I have a slight fracture in a tooth. Have another appt. in June to take care of it. Might be lucky enough to get by with just a medicated filling.
Two days later we got another load of mulch delivered to finish up what we had originally started with the previous delivery. Over the next few days we widened the front shrub foundation bed a bit more, and we actually extended the mulched area to include the front garden and the little garden under the tree in the front yard. Then we moved to the back and mulched a roughly 10 x 20 foot area leading to the back deck. There was already a walkway there comprised of staggered square red patio stone and the newly applied mulch around makes it really look nice We finished off the outside edge with flat stones that we pulled from different areas of the property. Rocks, stones ... even large boulders are very common to our area up here on the mountain. Many people utilize them for various landscaping needs. We plan on finishing off the mulched beds in the front with the same kind of flat rocks that we used for the back. Just haven't done it yet. LOL
I've also spent quite a bit of time during this past week working on my DG journal. Really helps me keep track of what I've planted ... when ... germination info ... and how things are progressing. It's really a nifty tool!
Update on the GARDENS. My bleeding Hearts are flowering. I still have daffodils blooming. The poppies are getting bigger and I might get to see my Oriental Poppy bloom for the first time this year! Black eyed susans, shastas, coneflowers, and a few asters are coming up. And the alyssum seeds I sprinkled in the little garden under the tree in the front yard are sprouting. And I've got morning glories, moonflowers, and mexican sunflowers sprouting inside! On the other hand, Coreopsis is doing ... nothing.
I have had a few ... casualties. Something ... ate two of my astilbe plants in my front flower bed and chewed up some of my lilies. Last year I remember the same thing happening. I never got to see even ONE lily bloom. And only ONE astilbe plant got to flower. I really don't want to FENCE everything. I"ll just keep spraying my garden with whatever foul smelling/tfoul tasting concoction I can that might keep the pesky critters away.
And if that doesn't work ... Astilbes would be a bit MUCH, but I can always add lillies to my growing collection of flower pots on my back deck. I have had good luck so far. I have a gate blocking the steps to the deck and the rails are obviously too thin for a fat groundhog to squeeze through. I haven't seen any deer leap over the gate onto the deck yet ... NOW that would be a sight to see! Eh, it would really be a sight ... I DON'T WANT TO SEE. LOL. Anyway, all my open winter sown containers are there along with 2 potted peonies, a rosebush, catnip plant, and my Cottage Garden In A Pot. What's one more pot? Or two or three? Note to self - forgot about the coneflowers and black-eyed susans which are coming up in the front garden. Last year something liked to chew on those too!
Arrrrggg!!! Pesky Critter!!! %$###((**__!!!!!!
Monday, April 30, 2012
Last day of April48 degrees and cloudy at 10:00 pm. Expected overnite low fo 45.
Showers due tonight and tomorrow morning. Good. I won't have to water anything.
Did some things today in the garden. I have rocks edging my front flower bed and I decided to add more rocks. At least in the spots where "moles" had pushed out little piles of soil. First, I scooped up the little mounds of dirt that had landed on the walkway and put them back in the garden, and then I began wedging rocks into the open crevices. I packed the openings with decent sized stones really well. Hopefully that will stop the moles from pushing soil through the rock edging again. At least for awhile.
Yesterday, I had planted some morning glory, moonflower, mexican sunflowers, and coreopsis seeds in peat pots and put some of the pots on top of the refridgerator and some on top of the water heater. Once they've germinated I'll put the pots by the window in the garage. That way they'll have a chance to grow and I won't have to worry about a frost or freeze hitting them before last frost date (May 15 or 30 depending on which chart you read). Or ... if my patience gives out, they will be booted out the door when they have their second set of true leaves to harden off. And then if temps are predicated to suddenly take a nose dive, I could always throw a plastic cake lid over them and a blankie.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Got some puttering time in today ...51 degrees and clear at 4:40 pm. Expected overnite low of 36.
The day started out cold and cloudy. But by late afternoon the sun came out, so I went outside and puttered around in the garden a bit. I moved around a couple of shasta daisies, asiatic lilies, and a nice clump of viola into different spots in the front garden. I dug up a few clumps of grape hyacinths that were growing in the weeds/lawn and planted them in the little garden under the tree in the front of the house. I remember doing the same thing last spring, but I had a lot of trouble with squirrels digging in that garden throughout the summer and fall. I guess that's why I found them growing in the grass/weeds this spring.
All my winter sown containers are doing fine. Still no germination on columbine, phlox, garlic chives, forget me nots, coreopsis, and viola. So far I only have one coneflower sprout. I'm hoping that if I have one, more will start sprouting in their own sweet time. Same ... for the still ungerminated seeds.
I had started some sweet peas inside in peat pots awhile ago. When they were big enough, I hardened them off and put them outside. Since they have been outside now for about 2 weeks, I decided today to plant the pots into the ground beneath the trellis in front of the house. I'll see how they do. I still have some extras growing in peat pots on the back deck as a backup in case the ones I planted today don't make it. I also have some peat pots seeded with columbine in a ziplock baggie in my fridge that will be going out in about a week or so too. They have been chillin' for about 5 weeks. According to the directions on the seed pack, it was another way to start the seeds. It said to look for germination in about 3 weeks after putting them outside. I'm hoping ....
I'm also hoping that it will start warming up outside within the next two weeks. I think that's what all the SEEDLINGS are waiting for. Heck! I'm waiting for it! LOL
I'm going to start to winter/spring sow some of my tender annuals probably in the first week of May. I'll start zinnias, cosmos, marigolds, and mexican sunflowers. I know they are easy to just direct sow, but I find that if I start them ahead of time and put them in the garden as TRANSPLANTS they seem to do better. They fare much better against the SLUGS because they are larger and stronger. I still put out the tuna cans filled with beer to attract and drown the little buggers. I'm also going to try used coffee grounds sprinkled around the plants to keep them away. I've read quite a few articles on the subject saying that doing that actually works. Got nothing to lose by trying it. Anyway, most of the plants will like the little acid boost it will give them. Roses are supposed to love coffee grounds!
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
The weather's more like early March ...41 degrees and windy with snowshowers. Expected overnite low's in the 30's.
We had about an inch of snow overnite. Still a little left on the grassy areas. All the plants look OK. With all the rain we had over the weekend, I swear it looks like everything has shot up at least an inch! The rest of this week it's supposed to be rainy on and off. The day temps are not supposed to get out of the 50's and nite temps will be in the low 30's.I don't think I'll be doing much of anything outside. Too cold and muddy. But who knows? Maybe next week it will be in the 80's. LOL
Sunday, April 22, 2012
What happened to spring?42 degrees, windy and rainy at 7:15 pm. Overnite lows expected to remain in the 40's.
The rain started last night and it's been going strong all day today. Two inches of rain is expected overnite. We really do need the rain since it's been so dry for weeks. More rain is expected tomorrow (Monday) and it's supposed to turn over to snow tomorrow after midnight. Luckily, no more than an inch of snow is predicted for here in the Poconos. But western PA - Johnstown area is expected to get hammered tomorrow with all snow, more than a foot! Isn't SPRING just grand.
Didn't do much Saturday. Back at Lowe's again ... bought two 14" wire hanging baskets with the moss/something kind of fiber liners. Going to hang one near the front door and the other off the back door. I had bought some annual vinca vines a few days at a local Votech School) purposely for the baskets. I still haven't decided what other annuals I'm going to put in them. I WS a lot of annuals, so I'm hoping some of them will be starting to flower by the end of May or middle of June. If not, I'll have to buy some.
Since it was raining today hubby and I took a ride to the mall. It was very crowded. Obviously, a lot of other people had the exact same idea.
Didn't buy anything there, but on the way home we stopped at STAPLES and I bought a small filebox to put my packs of flower seeds in. It came with alphabetized index cards, so at least now I can have some kind of order with my seeds.
Early this morning I opened the back door to let Bob out and caught a glimpse of a waddling, chunky, brown furry critter scurrying quickly toward my deck. Yep, just as I had suspected, I have a groundhog living under my back deck. I really don't have any plants in the back yard right now that the groundhog might be interested in eating, except for the covered seedlings in my WS pots on my deck. And we PURPOSELY planned ahead this year. Hubby made a removable gate that slides into place at the top of the stairs to block off access to the deck. The deck rails are narrow enough for the cats, but not a fat groundhog. Last summer I caught a groundhog on the deck snacking on my plants. I decided it wasn't going to happen this year.
The front of the house is another story. I wish I could find better ways to deter the deer. I do have some planted perennials they DON'T like - bleeding hearts, astilbe, daffodils, and chives. And as far as annuals, last year they left alone my red salvia, geraniums, and alyssum. BUT last year they hit my lilies and my shasta daisies, balsam, zinnias, even cosmos. This year they've already started on the new growth on my burning bushes. I hope they leave the newly planted forsythias and hollies alone. But from what I can see, they don't seem to bother them in this neighborhood.
Worse comes to worse, I'll plant more pots and keep them on my front and back decks. The deer aren't that brazen - yet.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Varmints ....64 degrees and sunny at 7:30 pm. Expected overnite low of 47.
What a beautiful day! Sunny, warm. Did some things outside today, but not a lot. It's been so windy and dry for weeks, and today I did a nice soaking watering of all my pots, plastic containers and what not on the back deck. It seems that more and more of the WS seedlings are popping up everyday now.
My front gardens are growing nicely too. I finally have daffodils blooming under my little tree in front of the house, in flowerpots, and the perennials in the front flower bed are coming along nicely. It looks like I will probably have to move a few of them around though. Since the bed is sort of an "island" shape, I want to keep the taller plants more in the center of the bed. A lot of the WS plants are going to be the shorter fill in plants later.
I still have a couple of containers chilling in the fridge. I've got some columbine peat pots due to go outside the first week of May. I had also WS some, but nothing yet. Got some coneflowers in the fridge, too.
I don't know what it is, but I can't seem to grow coneflowers. I have tried countless times before and ... zip. I usually get germination, but once the seedlings are planted in the garden - they croak. I did WS a container full of them this past winter and I have 1 sprout! Yet, I have plenty of wintersown Black eyed susie seedlings (a kissin' cousin to a coneflower) that I am going to pot up and give to friends.
Oh, and I have a cat that's not doing his job! Bob is out chasing squirrels, bugs, and toads when I have "voles" or "moles" in my front garden bed playing "Pop goes the Weasel". I don't think it's "moles" cause I don't see any VOLCANOS of dug-out dirt left in piles. But Bob has caught both. I recognized the mole by it's ugly big clown feet. And just the other night I saw Bob chasing a "vole" definately mouse-like with a tail. You know, for awhile Bob was regularly bringing home "presents," but he's been slacking lately.
If anyone knows of any "safe" ways to get rid of the little buggers, please let me know. I can't use poison bait cause of Bob. And a trap - he'll probably stick his nose in it. LOL
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Dig ... Dig ... Dig63 degrees and clear at 9:45 pm. Expected overnite low of 54.
It's been a busy weekend. Friday we planted holly bushes, a lilac bush, and I finally got my lily of the valley pips in the ground. On Saturday we took a ride back to Pocono Farm Stand and lo and behold - their forsythias were reduced to $12! We bought 6. And also 3 yards of mulch. Saturday was spent digging holes, adding compost, planting forsythia, covering them all with mulch and ... watering. Everything looks really nice. My back was killing me by the end of the day ....
Sunday was just light stuff. I trimmed out any dead branches that I found on the forsythias while hubby used the leaf blower to blow leaves further back into the woods on the property. Spread a little more mulch around and attached two metal flowerbox holders to the deck rail on the back porch. (bought them last year at a yard sale for $1.00).
Since it was such a nice afternoon (mid 60's) I decided to work outside on my potting table. I took some WS dianthus and baby's breath seedlings and put them into 3 inch plastic cell packs. I'll move them to the garden when they are bigger and stronger. I moved some California poppy seedlings into a flower pot with fading crocus and thinned out some of my shirley poppy seedlings that I had direct sown into a large flower pot awhile ago. I sowed some alyssum seeds into a tray to to plant out as HOS when they germinate and have their first set of true leaves. I'll leave it uncovered to germinate since alyssum don't really have any problems if the temps dip. STILL a real possibility in northeast PA. It is ONLY mid April. I also sowed more shirley poppies into individual 3 inch peat pots (uncovered) to plant out in spots in the garden. And last of all I WS some french marigolds into a 10 inch flower pot (covered with plastic cake lid). I'm going to wait until May before sowing Cosmos, zinnias, and morning glory & moonflowers. I might start MG/MF inside since they take so long to bloom.I also have peat pots with columbine in the fridge in a ziplock bag that are due to come out in May. I do believe that MAY is going to be a very busy month. :>)
Friday, April 13, 2012
Playing in the dirt again ...56 degrees and clear at 9:10 pm. Expected overnite low of 33.
Today was a busy day. Started the day off at Lowe's looking for shrubs - forsythia in particular. All they had were little puny ones for $15. A few weeks ago they had full, tall ones for about $17, but we weren't ready to buy then. So, off hubby and I went to two of the local nurseries. We found some really nice ones at the Pocono Farm Stand for $18. We also looked at their mulch too. Nice double cut mulch ... natural, dark brown, and red. They also had some nice lilacs, but too pricy. From there we took a ride to a place called Flood's Nursery. Their forsythias were also $18, but just didn't look as nice as PFS. Their mulch was also the same price as PFS and of the same quality. But their Lilacs were nicer and cheaper. We bought a lilac and got a free pot of nice yellow daffodils with the purchase. Tomorrow we are going to go to Pocono Farm Stand to order 3 forsythia bushes and 3 yards of the natural mulch for delivery sometime next week.
The rest of the afternoon was spent digging and planting. A few weeks ago we had picked up 3 hollies - two Blue Princess and one Blue Prince - and finally got them planted today. They look kind of small right now, but in a few years they should be a pretty decent size. We planted them near the foundation on the left side of the front of the house. We spaced them about 5 feet apart and 4 feet from the wall. I'll probably plant some annuals between them this year to fill in some of the empty space.
There's also a trellis on the front of the house ( about 4 feet away from the closest newly planted holly bush) and hopefully the trellis will be covered with flowers during the summer to also fill in some of the gap. I recently planted some annual sweetpea vines at the base of the trellis. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they'll grow. ALL the plants seemed to have slowed down since the colder temps had come back. By the end of the month I will also be starting some morning glory & moonflower vines inside to plant out in May. They might have to go on the trellis if the sweetpeas don't work out. A little later in the season I will also look for a nice clematis to plant there as well.
We planted the Lilac right at the inside edge of the back deck beside the steps. It's in a nice spot and will have plenty of room to grow. It will get a good amount of sun there.
I also managed to get my lily of the valley pips planted today. I had bought them awhile ago to plant in the little garden under the tree in the front yard. First, I soaked them for a few hours before planting to plump them up. They will be in the shade for most of the day with some sun in the morning. Right now there's only just a smattering of daffodils in that garden. When I finished planting the pips, I also gently raked in 2 packs of Forget Me Not seeds onto the surface of the soil. I gently watered the bed and ... finally ... was done for the day.
Tomorrow I think I might pot up some of my WS seedlings that are getting too big for their containers.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Come On, Spring ....47 degrees and partly cloudy at 6:00 pm. Expected overnite low of 29.
This past Sunday was Easter and hubby and I had gone to Long Island to spend it with my SIL Julie and her family. We had a very nice time. The weather was nice and sunny, and a little cool.
In general, the weather in northeast PA for the past week or so has been cool, even a little below normal. No rain to speak of, and we really could use it. We might get showers tomorrow and then again over the weekend. The temps are supposed to be back in the 60's again over the weekend.
Not much really happening in the garden. Some perennials are up, but not doing very much. Still have daffodils and crocus blooming. Most of my WS containers have sprouted, but the seedlings aren't growing much. My peas and lettuce were growing like gangbusters a few weeks ago, and now they are just kind of "sitting there". I guess the cool weather is just slowing things down.
Today hubby and I spread a couple of bags of garden soil (Lowe's brand) into the flower beds. Top dressing really. I'm hoping it rains tomorrow and waters it in. If not, I'll wet down the beds later in the day. I really have to get a compost pile started this year. I started one in the Fall, but it really didn't break down at all. It was really too small, I think.
So far the deer haven't been coming around like they did last year. Nor have the squirrels. Although I miss the birds, this Spring I DID NOT put up a bird feeder. Last Spring squirrels were constantly raiding my feeder and then the deer would come and eat what landed on the ground. Afterwards, the deer would wander over to my flowerbeds nearby and graze while the squirrels preferred to dig up my plants. Hopefully, they will both continue to stay away. Unfortunately, there is a groundhog living under the back deck though. Groundhogs wrecked havoc with my plants and flowers last Spring, too. IT'S GOT TO GO. We'll try to get rid of it in a humane way, but if that doesn't work, groundhog's gonna get POPPED! We also have voles in the front flowerbed! I decided to first try putting red pepper flakes down into the holes. If that doesn't work, a friend told me to put thin pieces of bubble gum into the holes. She said the voles eat it and then die. She swears it works!
I'm not one for starting seeds indoors (don't have the room) but I have a few peat pots with sweetpea sprouts currently growing near a window in my garage. When they get big enough, I'll harden them off and plant the peat pots directly into the ground. I think I'm going to start some morning glory and moonflower seeds the same way by the end of the month. Our growing season is not really that long, and MG & MF bloom late in the season. Last year I started seeds OUTSIDE in June and then transplanted them when they grew a bit. I only got a few MG flowers before a killing frost got them. I had no MF flowers at all. :>(
I'm hoping with all my WS plants I'll have a good jump start this year.
Monday, April 2, 2012
Beginning of April45 degrees and windy at 8:08 pm. Expected overnite low of 27.
Well, now it's April and feeling like April should. Really couldn't say that about March. With almost two weeks mid month of warm weather hitting almost 80 degrees at times, March had felt more like June. It was nice though.
For the most part, my WS seedlings outside are just fine, all snug and cozy under their plastic lids. But I do have some annual baby's breath that I WS that are getting a bit too tall and leggy though. They are literally outgrowing their container. Later this week I think I will pot some up into individual 3-4 inch starter pots. I probably will have to cover them with something overnite for awhile. It's still quite chilly at night and in the early morning.
I also have a few other plants that I've been covering overnite with some old plastic tablecloths - 2 pots of growing Peony roots (that I bought and planted about a month ago) the two mums that had overwintered in the garage, and my catnip plant (also overwintered in garage). I had taken the mums and catnip out of the garage in early March and they had been thriving on the back deck in the unusually mild warm temps of mid March. Now that the "summer vacation" we had is over, they're not liking the colder night temps. I'll continue to baby them all until the night temps start regularly staying in the 40's. The peas and lettuce I planted a few weeks ago love the chill though. :>)
Out in the little garden under the tree in the front of the house, the daffodils are finally in the bud stage. I've also got a clump of chives in the bed that are doing great. All the crocus that I had sowed in pots are all blooming now too. And some of the daffs that I had mixed in with the crocus are finally pushing their way up through the soil. Everything up here on the "mountain" just takes a little longer.
In the regular garden in the front of the house, the perennials are starting to come up, too. Got some bleeding hearts, astilbes, shastas, and daylilies poking their way through. There were 3 oriental poppies in the bed in the Fall, but this year only 2 made it through the winter. One is greening up nicely. The other one, I don't know. It's really struggling. And as an added surprise, I've got some lillies (Asiatic, I think) coming up, too. Last year something ate them (deer or groundhog) before they ever had a chance. Maybe this year they'll get a chance to actually bloom.
The rest of this week is supposed to be a little cool, but sunny. And just in time for Easter, a really nice warm-up (mid 60's) is due by the weekend. I'll definately take it!