It seems like forever since I last wrote anything here. I found a JOB so that sort of eats up the time I had for blogging. Damned jobs.
Most of plants I started from seed went no where. They sprouted just fine but never grew any larger. A friend told me that i should added fertilizer after the second leaf appears. Oh well.
My onions are doing great, lettuce and radishes did wonderfully.
My flowers look pretty nice which is normal for this time of year. I have loaded a bunch of new pics of of my late April and early May into photo albums. My salvia, yellow iris, don juan roses, hostas and even my potted mint plants are all looking lovely this year.
Lately I have been shooting a ton of photos of Civil War Battlefields. Although this is not the normal fair for a garden site, some of the BF's today are simply to beautiful to ignore, so I hope some of you will take the time to look at them.
I have discovered a good use for used cat litter. I have been putting it along my fence line to help keep out the bunnies and other little varmints that have been eating the tops out of my plants. I am going to try putting some of those battery powered vole buzzers out in my yard. I met some one who swears they work.
does anyone out there know if there is any sort of law about vegetable seeds being sent to us here in the USA from China???? My chinese friend wants to send me veggie seeds and I'm wondering if it's legal.
Also if she sends me some does anyone have recommendations as to what to ask for??
I am now pretty much caught up with all of the kind comments you folks have been sending to me. Thank you for all of the feedback. I just posted some teapot still life photos I've been working on during these cold months. I hope that you will find them enjoyable.
When you get the urge to build stone walls for your gardens DO NOT GO TO THE LOCAL NURSERY OR GARDEN CENTER! Go instead to the local quarry.
A pallet of garden stone at the garden center starts at about $250 and goes up from there depending on what sort of stone you purchase. One pallet of stone is about all a pick up truck can haul home. Don't poop in your pants at what I'm about to tell you, but at the quarry you can buy a pick up truck load of granite that they have there for rip-rap and erosion control for $25 a truck load.
The trick is that you have to climb on the pile of rock at the quarry and pull out the stones that you think you can use. You are looking for flat or square looking stones. Remember if there are strange cuts in the stone so that its not perfectly flat or square all around that you can hide the imperfections by placing that part of the stone inward and it will be cover by garden soil. You will want to use the soil also to make it level for the placing of the next stone. The guys working where I buy my stones think I'm quite eccentric and entertaining so they are actually very kind and helpful to me. When I have plucked the useful stones that are easily accessible from the pile they will usually come by with their dozers and mix the pile up a bit for me (without my even asking) so a whole new crop of good stones pop up for me to pick from. It takes about 45 minutes to load the truck up. You also don't want the quarry folks just fill your truck with the dozers. You need to be selective in order for this to work. Although it seems tempting to let load you up with the dozer you will be disappointed when you get home and discover that about half of the stones can not be used to build a wall. Surprisingly the work of selecting the stones at the quarry is not all that difficult.
I don't do much altering of the stones once I get them home. I look at it as if it were a giant three dimensional jigg saw puzzle and fit the stones together as they seem to be suggesting themselves. Also pick up big stones, medium stones, small, and even little stones. The little stones plug gaps and level out some of the vexing larger stones. The different sizes also add visual interest to the construction. Don't pick giant stones!!!! They are difficult to place in the wall and they are back brakers just to handle.
I have this winter urge to build a wattle grape arbor.
What is a wattle you ask??? It's the very old technique of weaving sticks from trees together and is usually used to create fences. Apparently willow sticks work best and in England people actually make a living by doing this. However you can use maple and other sticks to the same effect. I have tons of maple.
I discovered wattling quite by accident by surfing the internet looking at photographers photos from Russia and Eastern Europe. I guess folks there are still poor enough to make things by hand and not run out to home despot and purchase rolls of metal fencing. Wattling has been around for ages and you can see examples of it at Jamestown, Williamsburg, and the University of PA, has a medieval garden set up and uses it there.
I have been surfing the web looking for "how to build arbors" or "how to build a trellis" designs with very little luck in finding any true designs that I can use. Geez Louise, it's frustrating that I can find everything but what I'm really looking for. I guess they only want to show you designs that require you to go out and buy junk from the advertisers that bring you the website. The unfortunate consequence of this that there are some lovely formal arbor kits that cost a whole lot of money and then there are the so called build it yourself butt ugly arbors made with things like PCV pipes and such. That will really add beauty and texture to a garden. (he said as he puked)
There is one article by Mother Earth News that shows a single interesting photo of a wattle fence, and has some solid information on how to build waddle fences.
There's also bits of info that are of use here and there in the "build your own arbor" articles. The most important of which seems to be to make joints where the support beams meet to give extra support to the structure. The second most useful bit of info was where one fellow recommended using screws and not nails to again add strength to the structure. Of course none of these folks were building their arbors from tree limbs trimmed from their yards like I want to do, so the useful info was sparse.
I know that I'm blessed with a fairly large yard compared to folks who live in cities or in track housing suburban blight. I guess if you live in these places building anything from a waddle design is prohibitive. Still I get depressed when surfing the web and checking ten pages deep into what the search engines dig up, that most of what I find is telling us that we need to buy junk to build anything worth having. We truly are a consumer society. That's crazy.
My side note here is that I have already been using trimmed tree limbs to build to build a rail fence for climbing roses and a background for some sun loving bulbs. I also plan to use the trimmed branches to create tripods to plant pole beans on this summer. I'm finding many uses for these trimmed branches. They look much more interesting than buying milled wood products at the store and the best part of it all is that it's free.
Stay tuned and hopefully by summer I will have a cool looking arbor built and by summer 2010, I will have some delicious grapes established and growing on them.
Jan 20, 2008 | 11:06 AM PST
gardening quote - what went wrong
It takes a while to grasp that not all failures are self-imposed, the result of ignorance, carelessness or inexperience. It takes a while to grasp that a garden isn't a testing ground for character and to stop asking, what did I do wrong? Maybe nothing. ~Eleanor Perényi, Green Thoughts, 1981
I just signed up for this, so I'm posting pictures and hopefully I will have some fun with it. I need some garden buddies to share stuff with.
Again in 2008 I hope to document with photos more of my gardens. I hope to soon have some garden posters posted also that I can make cheaply, so if anyone is interested let me know and I will print those out and get them to you.
I have plans for about three new stone wall gardens to be made this year. These also will be fun to document with before and after photos. Two of them will be ho-hum designs so I can move a couple of bushes to sunnier locations. One however that I really want to build will be in the center of my back yard. It will be multi tiered and very complex with paths running through it. It most likely will become my premier garden and it might take this summer and next to complete.
OH! I almost forgot... I've put up a small decorative wooden fence on my property line to I can grow some flowers around it. It's only 24' long, but it gives me structure to plant roses and iris and such around it. The big plus is that the wood was free. It's all from tree limbs that I have been taken out of my yard. Colleen if you sign up for this..... thanks for the idea! She saw the tree limbs that I've trimmed the past year or two stacked near my compost pile and told me I had to put them to some good use.
I have also set up plant lights in my basement to keep me busy during these winter months. Right now Cat Nip is the big winner growing under the lights. Next month I can start seeds to be planted out in the garden when spring arrives. Woo-hoo!
I've also been making wire cages to go around the roots of my plants to keep out the voles. I'm getting tired of seeing a plant just get to that point of really looking beautiful only to have it's roots eaten by the damned voles. Grrrr..... I have tried everything on the market to get rid of them and nothing seems to work so this is my latest course of action. It's a bit time consuming, but hopefully it's going to save me time and money down the road.