Thursday, May 31, 2012

What's Wrong with My Vegetable Garden -- Book Review

What's Wrong with My Vegetable Garden by David Deardorff & Kathryn Wadsworth is a photographic wonder of all kinds of vegetable plant problems.  There is a colour photograph for each.  It covers water, light and soil problems, but temperature as well.  Then with each crop it gives a portrait from starting to growing. eg. when growing broccoli (always ensure an ample supply of cheese sauce) do not plant in the same bed or container where the broccoli grew or any cole crops -- “Cole crops” is a general term used to describe several vegetables in the mustard family, including broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, and kohlrabi. All cole crops are cultivated varieties of the species Brassica oleracea. -- or its relatives have grown in the last three years.  There is also a whole section on organic solutions to common problems including nutritional solutions as well as some solutions for wildlife problems which do not involve a gun -- my personal favourite.  They're cute until they eat your favourite plants or vegetables.  An important guide for both vegetable growers but also to growers of other plants which may contract these problems.  This book comes with my strongest recommendation.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Herb Gardening From the Ground Up -- Book Review

If you want your own Tex-Mex potpourri, fish & game herb garden then this book does it for you.  The Herb Gardening From the Ground Up by Sal Gilbertie and Larry Sheehan will do much more as well.  For example my favourite is the Cake and Cookie Garden.  Sal Gilbertie and Larry Sheehan have put together, a simple but exquisite book on herbs.  This book has no colour pictures it is simply chock full of good facts that are often illustrated with pin and ink diagrams.
There is a small section in the Herb Gardening from the Ground Up that is a must read.  It is called "Four Facts of Herb Life" -- Read it and you will see why.  These two gentlemen also cover container herb gardens which my wife and I have done for years but on a much smaller scale. I would like to try their two-tier herb garden.  They also have a dyer's garden which I know will appeal to my wife and her dehydrator.  If you are into storing herbs, the section on harvesting and storing the 15 basic herbs is for you.  I can just seem my wife's potage garden expanding after she sees this book from Ten Speed Press

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Planting Nessie

Bruce & I went to Sunshine Express one night after work last week to get English Ivy to plant on Nessie.  Here is what he did with the English Ivy.

He dug a hole around the back of Nessie

He measured the lawn edging to go around the hole.  This is to prevent the grass from growing in amongst the English Ivy.  The 'Weed Lady' is NOT going to weed grass out of English Ivy!!

He cut the black plastic lawn edging with his trusty Fiskars scissors.  These scissors are amazing.  They almost cut anything!!

Here is the end result. 
Now to have the English Ivy to grow and climb up and over Nessie.

Monday, May 21, 2012

What's Blooming & More Planting

What's blooming in our garden?  Quite a few things.  The weather had cooled off for a while so everything in the garden is really on time. 

This is a clematis that is in our herb garden climbing up an obelisk.  There are 2 clematis', one is called 'Josephine' that didn't do well over winter but is coming back from the ground.  This one has lost its tag so we do not know its name.  It is doing really well.

The Rhododendron in our front yard is looking spectacular.  This one is called 'Shams Ruby' & it is always gorgeous in the spring.

This Acer Palmatum dissectum 'Crimson Queen' is doing really well.  I am thrilled as it took me 18 years to get this plant.  I won a gift certificate from a nursery & used it towards the Japanese maple which is now called 'Freddy' 

Here 'Freddy' looks great under the Metasequoia glyptostroboides & behind the golden globe cedars.  The bigger golden globe cedar is 'Sunkist' & the smaller one is a golden globe cedar

Bruce & I went to Sunshine Express one night after work last week.  We went to get English Ivy to plant on Nessie.  He found the English Ivy & then I decided to have a look down the vegetable aisle.  Well that was a mistake.  We ended up with 2 more tomato plants with nowhere to plant them.  They have ended up in containers.  The ones we bought were 'Solar Power' & 'Black Pearl Hybrid' both are from Burpee.  This was after we had been to Tree & Twig and bought the tomatoes we ordered, but of course Bruce cannot leave without looking at others.  We ended up with 'Snow White', 'Black Prince' & 'Stupice'. 

 These are 'Snow White' & 'Black Prince' from Tree & Twig.  We had made space for them, but the 'Stupice' had to go into a container because of no room left in the vegetable garden. 

 Bruce did some repotting of the herb container plus he added the basil he got from Canada Blooms.  It looks great.  The last container went out to be recycled. 

The little plaque in the container is the saying 'Gardeners Know The Best Dirt'.  One of the girls bought that for Dad's garden many years ago at a garage sale.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

'Presidents Choice' (Loblaws) Solar-Powered Illuminated Planter Multicoloured Lights

This picture taken with a flash.
This is the 'Presidents Choice' (Loblaws) Solar-Powered Illuminated Planter Multicoloured Lights.  We have it on our front porch.  Placed in the top is a Rocky Mountain Red Geranium hanging basket.  The reason is so Bruce can change the planter any time he likes.  The planter is solar powered and changes colours.  You can even fill it with ice and beverages when having a party.  This years option has 7 alternating colours.  You can also stop the alternating colours at the colour you prefer. 

WE DO NOT SELL these planters or parts for them
Contact Loblaws

These pictures of the colours taken without a flash.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Planting Continued

 Planting continued at our house on Monday night, May 14, 2012.  Bruce planted Rhine Olympic Red Reiger Begonias & Dragonwing Red Begonias

Dragonwing Red Begonia

Rhine Olympic Red Reiger Begonias

The Dragonwing Begonia in the middle with a Reiger Begonia on each side.

When all else fails read the instructions.  Planting the Fragrant Moonflower will be postponed till another night.  We did get the pot ready for planting but after reading the instructions had to score each seed or soak for no more than 8 hours.  Bruce tried to score the seeds but they are really hard and he could not even nick them so we will be soaking them and planting them another night.  

 Other plantings this evening were the carrot seed tape & the lettuce seed tape into the vegetable garden.  The sunflowers were planted as well.  My favourite varieties of sunflowers are from Renee's Garden.  The varieties I get every year are Valentine, Junior & Music Box & they are all planted into containers.  The only one that is rather tall is Valentine.  We also planted Swiss Chard (Silver Beet for you Kiwis) & Edamame.  The Edamame is definitely an experiment as we have never grown it before. 

 Here are the pots we had when Bruce got them out of the garage before we started planting.  I didn't think we had enough.  I am still not sure.

 Here are the pots we have left after our planting spree.  We have sure made a dent in the above pile. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Favourite Container of 2011

This was our all-time favourite container of Summer 2011.  We loved the Gryphon Begonia hybrida.  It is the variegated large leaves.  The Cordyline in the middle of the pot is a little overwhelmed by the Gryphon but that was a great combination.  It did not survive the winter but we are hoping to find some more for this summer's containers.

This is the PC Red Cordyline & Gerberas that did survive the winter in our garage.  Not sure why, must be because of the mild winter we had.  They look great!!

Summer 2011 urn of Cordyline & Gerberas
Same plant combination re-potted because the white urn broke
 The white urn picture is the container from summer 2011 that came over the winter in our garage.  The urn fell and broke so Bruce had to re-pot the plants into the plastic imitation clay pot. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

One Man's Trash

Fleur d' Lis painted gold.
You know the saying "One man's trash is another man's treasure"  Well that is definitely true of this wrought iron & aluminum.  The storm of April 28, 2011 brought down a lot of trees etc and did a lot of damage.  This wrought iron & aluminum was the sides of one of those backyard shade structures with the canvas canopy.  Bruce and I were driving home when he saw it at the curb to go to garbage pick up.  After getting home he hoofed it down the street to claim it.  I did wonder what he was going to do with it.  He had to take a hacksaw to it to take the top off and then went to the hardware store to get plugs for the top of the wrought iron so that wasps etc do not make a nest in it.  Two of the panels were in better shape than the other two so he used them first, putting them on the back fence.  He did paint the Fleur d' lis a gold colour so they stand out.  Then he tacked them to the back fence with a nail & wound the clematis up the wrought iron.  It looks wonderful!

I cannot remember the name of the clematis that Bruce wound up the wrought iron but we did get it from President's Choice last year.  It blooms a purple colour, & is very pretty.  The other trellis on the back fence also has a clematis on it but it has decided to prefer running along the ground and twining in the campanula.  That one came from President's Choice last year as well.

The trellis' on the side fence were the ones in really bad shape.  Bruce painted the Fleur d Lis & also had to paint the black aluminum.  These ones do not have any clematis on them and will not.  They are decorative panels only.

The girls and I were cleaning the other day and came across this yellow Lego bucket.  It was taking up space so out it went.  It would have gone to the garbage it I had not looked at it & thought that would make a great planter and rescued it.  Bruce did have to drill holes in the bottom of the container for drainage.  Remember to re-use something first, that's more environmentally sound.

Here it is planted with Rocky Mountain Red Geraniums.  It is going to look spectacular, the yellow container contrasting to the bright red blooms.  This was Bruce's idea.