Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

Life Is Good

Beautiful December Day

We have been having some gorgeous weather. Between Saturday and today, I got my winter gardening done and the husband and I put up the outside decorations.

Christmas 2010

Winter Flower pots

flowers for the garden and back porch


It probably won’t be as nice for the next couple months, but I really am thankful for our mild winters. I am also thankful for all of the reading recommendations I received. Thanks so much to all who commented!

The Injury Report

I am happy to report that last night at Zumba, I did not injure myself or anyone else. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for my trees today. Here is just a taste of the carnage that is my yard right now:

Sorry for the Iphone pics. My camera finally ran out of juice. I guess I should add that there wasn’t a storm. We asked someone to do this to the trees. They are putting everything through one of those big chippers right now! Is it wrong to hope that a squirrel or twenty is displaced or possibly killed during this project? What? You know you hate them, too!

PS I have decided all squirrels are named Kirk. Maybe I’ll explain why sometime in the future.

Gardening And Food

I made a recipe earlier this week that’s definitely a keeper. I plan on making it once a week for as long as the basil in my garden is growing.

I took this picture after we had eaten half of it.

I found this recipe at Tasty Kitchen. Click here to see the recipe. ***Substitution and Addition*** I used a combination of fresh corn (from my coop) and frozen corn (from my freezer 🙂 ). I would definitely use either of those instead of canned corn whenever possible. I also added two roma tomatoes.

Speaking of basil. Yes I was speaking of basil, only it was up at the top of the post. I ramble. It’s a problem. Look how ginormous the basil in my garden is!

I need more basil recipes!

The whole garden is really growing in, since the surgery we performed on it late in the spring. You can find those pictures in this post.

Mary is valiantly protecting the rest of the garden from the mint!

As I noted above, that is mint in front of Mary. I planted that mint last year, before we ripped out those three giant rose bushes. It turns out, mint is a bit more aggressive than I knew. I’ve been warned by friends and neighbors that it will try to take over the whole garden. It has definitely grown sideways, but so far has not tried to travel back or really outside of where I want it. Because I am crazy and Catholic, I have decided that Mary is keeping it in check. 😉

The vinca is very happy and the daylillies are still going.

The vinca has really filled in and I’m so glad the daylillies are still going. In my non-expert opinion, these two varieties are the best for summer long blooming: Stella D’ Oro & Happy Returns. I did plant three of another variety and they have been silent for over a month, despite assurances to the contrary from the nursery owner.

The butterfly bush has gone crazy and I think the Confederate Star Jasmine will look amazing next spring.

Where are all the butterflies?!

You may have noticed that I only have flowers and herbs in my garden. This fall I am going to take a short class that will hopefully help me figure how to what vegetables I can add to the garden. There’s a lot of liriope that can be removed to make space. Can’t wait to see how it all turns out. Happy Friday!

All The Planting Is Done…Finally

Planting Done, Grass Needs CPR

The planting is all done and the maintenance phase has begun. This post has pictures from our front yard, which we actually completed before the back. BUT, I’m a bad blogger and I forgot to take “before” pictures.

Also, I’ve been a little depressed about my hiring of the yard guys. They came at the beginning of May and repaired the back patio (good), removed overgrown plants (good), planted ferns and hostas and a hydrangea (good), weeded and pruned (not so good), treated the yard for chinch bugs (really not good).

An explanation of the not good:
1. While we were walking the yard, talking about what needed to be done, some of the guys started. And by the time we got back they had ripped out my phlox. I tried to be understanding because I didn’t want the poor hourly wage guys to get in heaps of trouble, but I’m really annoyed. They put the phlox back, but the root systems were gone and they died. No offer of compensation from the company.
2. The VERY EXPERIENCED manager from the HIGHLY RATED (on Angie’s List) company, whose been in business for 22 years assured me that I had chinch bugs in my lawn. Then charged me $200 to treat them. He never mentioned TARR, which is afflicting my type of grass from here to Houston ( I found this out last week). So, now I don’t know what I have and I think he may have totally ripped me off.

The real dilemma is that I need to put a review on Angie’s List. Since it’s not going to be all positive, I feel I must call and give them a chance to fix it. And even though I don’t shy away from confrontation, I’m dreading it.

Enough whining, here are some more pictures:

Fixed Flower Bed, More Horrible Grass

Phlox No More 😦

This year's effort on the front porch.

Above is a close up of how my pots look on the front porch this year. What you can’t see is the tropical hibiscus tree in the center. Here is last year’s effort:

While I like this year’s just fine, I think last year’s is my favorite. It’s probably because it was the first time I had ever attempted to plant such large pots, and I was very pleasantly surprised at how they turned out. We moved the Confederate Star Jasmine from these pots to our back garden because it was looking a little too messy. Here is a shot of the front, so you can see the symmetry of both pots:

The tropical hibiscus is not blooming yet in this picture. One just bloomed last night. They are supposed to be red, but it looks pink… I’m waiting to see if the other blooms the same color. I hope so, or it’s going to drive me nuts all summer. At least I can blame the husband, since he bought them. There’s always a silver lining. 🙂

The Back Porch: Back From The Dead

We had an unusually long and cold winter here in the Dallas area. I know, boo hoo, poor me, you all really feel sorry for me. 🙂 The problem is, I’ve been here for over a decade now (holy crap I’m so old!) and I’ve gotten wimpy. So, when I should have been outside babying my potted plants, I was inside cranking up the heat. Can I just say that one of the best things about being a grown up is having control of the thermostat? Both of my parents have an interesting idea of what constitutes a comfortable temperature in the depths of winter. Oh my gosh! I just remembered about the Tundra! I have to write about the Tundra on here sometime.

Back to my porch: I basically killed several plants this winter that I had had for several years. Three agapanthus, a blue pin cushion flower, and I thought an asparagus fern. There was much death and destruction. Here are a couple photos of the porch from early May:

Death, Destruction and Mr. Bingley

Another Angle On Death & Destruction

I thought the asparagus fern was dead, but no! It refused to be killed! It’s the one in the back, but I think I did a good jub of cutting away all the dead stuff, so you can’t tell.

This represents many hours of my 3 day weekend.

I’ve had that fern for at least five years. It used to live in the atrium at my old house. I don’t think I’ve put pictures on here of that before.

Fern in it's former home.

The other side of the atrium.

Enough about the fern! Here are some more “after” pictures of my back porch:

the conversation area

Dining Area

I need a potting bench for this empty area.

Six of my eight hanging baskets.

View from the garden fence.

View from the west end of the porch.

I know it’s not perfect, but it’s SO much better. I’m feeling relieved to have all those projects done. And I won’t be embarrassed to have people over. Now I just need to keep everything alive!

Garden Revamp Revealed!

Our revamp of our flower garden in the backyard is finally complete! Well, almost. My neighbor is going to give me some beautiful purple irises to plant in the fall. We inherited this garden with the house and it was very overgrown.

Before: mean, pointy yucca trying to take over

After: Confederate Star Jasmine and Butterfly Bush

Before: 3 insane rose bushes (that get sick in the summer)

After: So much better!

Before: Yuck!

After: Daylillies in bloom and vinca.

I need to thank the husband for letting me hire some people to pull out the old plants and weed & trim everything. Even though he’s still talking about the bill. 🙂 I also need to thank the husband for doing all the mulching and making a ridiculous number of trips to Home Depot. Thanks honey! Thanks also go out to my brother, who pitched in this weekend. Even though it was only because he was scared we wouldn’t feed him. 🙂 Thanks Christopher!

I’m linking up to Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps On The Porch. Please stop by and check out all the links.

Frisbee Dog!

Mr. Darcy loves to play. If you come to our house, it is his mission to get you to play with him. It is surprisingly difficult to throw a frisbee and then get a shot of him in action!

Come on, let's play!

Look at me! I'm not old!

My arthritis is going to kill me later!

I need a nap.

PS The shots of the yard and garden above were taken before the big trim and clean up last week. The garden looks a bit different now. But the yard still looks about the same. Did I mention that chinch bugs are killing our grass? No? Well they are and I’m not a happy camper. More garden pictures to come, probably next week. We haven’t planted any new plants yet. Tomorrow…chairs!

Psychological Plant Problems

A bright spot in my yard

Over my years of home ownership, I’ve grown to like flower gardening and to learn a little about it. In fact, one of the things I was saddest about when we moved was leaving our yard and all of our plants and trees. I’m sure that makes me sound like a freak. I kind of feel like one! But we chose and planted nearly everything in our yard ourselves and even designed the shape of the flower beds, patio, etc…

The rose arbor in the background was planted for our 5 year anniversary.

We actually had trees planted in our backyard when we bought our first house before we ever bought new furniture. We had a lot of successes and a lot of failures. But I almost always felt a sense of pride and was happy to do the work. I am sure my husband would probably interject here that in the beginning, he did the brunt of the work. I think this is true, because in the beginning there was a lot of digging and heavy lifting. But for the last 4 or 5 years in the house, I did everything but the mowing. And I enjoyed it.

Looks pretty, but is actually a picture of some of my failures. Many of these plants never came back for a second year.

Once we moved, I had some trouble getting that feeling back. I’m guessing this has to do with none of the plantings being my idea. Last year was our first full year in the house. Luckily, I had a large party on the horizon. There’s nothing like vanity to spur you on when all else fails! This year I don’t have that. And the husband has been extremely busy at work again. So, I have resorted to hiring someone to come in and give me a little help. This should be easy, but is actually stressful. And also seems to have highlighted some communication problems between myself and the husband. Am I the only person to become attached to my plants? Is what to do about the garden a “discussion” in your house? Please weigh in and hopefully make me feel better! I’m feeling like a nut job!