Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Jenny - Children's Garden Part 2

After a trip to Sweetwater Farm Greenhouse and our local home improvement store, the kids had a few plants for their garden. We got our hands dirty planting them in and just clustered them in the center of the garden for now. The tree rose looks beautiful, but the truth is, I was quite sure that it would be on its way out. I had pulled it up from the front walkway (to replace it with 2 matching potted versions). The kids couldn't bear to see it get dumped in the compost, so we potted it here in case it wants to live. Sure enough, within days the whole thing was brown and looked like it belonged in a Halloween display. A quick listing of the plants they chose: strawberries, snapdragons, lilies, petunias, celosia, diamond frost, and marigolds. I gently tried to steer them toward easy to care for plants, but let them chose pretty freely. It will be a good experience for them to learn how to care for each plant. Here's where we were after that.

Jenny - Children's Garden Part 1

We've spent the past couple of weeks creating a garden area for my two children (11 year old boy, 6 year old girl). They both wanted an area to play in and put plants of their choosing. I thought I might use this blog as a place to catalog our progress. On March 29th we started out staring at the area just outside my son's window. It was a prairie mess of johnson grass and other weeds. We pulled all that up, laid out landscaping fabric, lined the space out with some old bricks (in a pre-determined curve shape), and filled in the space with lots of gravel. Special thanks to Daddy for hauling and shoveling wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of gravel. By the end of day we made very decent progress. Here's what it looked like.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Michele - Irises

The Irises in our yard are finally in bloom. We had to wait an extra week for the new 'surprise' ones to open up, but they finally made it. The burgundy colored ones are new ones. I think they make a fine addition!

Irises only bloom for a week or two a year. I love the plants when they are in bloom and am completely tired of trying to keep the weeds out of them by mid-summer. The great thing about them is their durability. You can mow them over when summer rolls along and they come back up grandly the next spring. You can dig up the bulbs and toss them in a bag in the corner for three months before replanting them. No problem. They'll still grow. Your big dog can lay in them, the cat claw them, the kids pull off the leafs - and they will still come back. So, if you want a flower in the yard and nothing else will grow for you, you might want to consider an Iris.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Jenny - Ya Can't Beat Local Knowledge

Well, it's taken me 2 weeks, but I wanted to report on my visit to the local nursery that I mentioned in my last post on the Bonham garden expo. My family and I drove out to Sweetwater Farm Greenhouse in Denison the day after the expo. We wanted to check the place out and see how knowledgeable the owners, married couple Dave and Barb, would prove.
Well, we ended up staying there for about 2 hours! The establishment is a smallish one with one large greenhouse and a couple of outdoor areas beside it. They sell a variety of perennials, annuals, shrubs and trees. Though some of the more mainstream plants, such as petunias and pear trees, can be found at the larger discount stores, I did notice that Sweetwater tended to have a wider color variety. The plants were also in better shape than in the big stores, and clearly treated with more love.
Where Dave and Barb really excelled was in knowledge. They knew their plants. They knew the area. They had experience in planning and planting garden beds, and were willing to share everything in their heads to help you create whatever kind of garden or vegetable bed you had in mind. Have a problem area or a deathtrap garden bed (my front walkway)? Well, bring them a picture and lots of details on the soil, sun, traffic, etc going on there. They'll try to make some suggestions to help you turn that area around.
Their patience with me knew no bounds. After 2 hours of brainstorming, and a truckful of plants, including a lovely butterfly bush and a few very healthy strawberry plants, we went home full of ideas and enthusiasm. If you live in the Texoma area, and need a little collaboration on your flower or veg gardens, go and see Dave and Barb.

Sweetwater Farm Greenhouse
4400 W Crawford St
Denison, TX 75020

Friday, April 2, 2010

Michele - Buds and Blooms

It's been a beautiful week and we have been enjoying every minute of it. I took advantage of the weather and go outside to plant some of those ever-growing seedlings in the kitchen window. I cleaned out one of the raised beds and put the zuchinni in there. There was just enough room left over for the spinach. That still leaves a load of plants inside, but it's a start. I have another bed that I'm working on, but it's not ready for planting yet. I had watermelon in it last year. The plants were very happy, but got so thick that it was hard to weed in between them. It's hard to believe how much grass is in there now. I'll have it finished by this afternoon and get another batch of seedlings planted.

I have concluded that only seven of the original fifteen blueberry plants are coming back this year. Maybe it is too hot for them, but I'm not giving up. I shall baby these plants and give them vitamins and shade. It may be a few years, but we'll have blueberries yet!

All of he grapes and pomegranates have sprouted and look lovely. Yeah! I have noticed a lot of flowers in the area, but the irises in our yard are not in bloom yet. The are green and growing, but no flowers. In the past, we've had purple and white flowers, but a friend gave us a batch of mystery bulbs last fall and I'm anxious to see what color the flowers will be.

My young gardeners are still ready to help out, so I'm taking advantage of their labor. I'm still looking for ideas to keep their interest up over the long summer.