Tag Archive: gardening


Mother’s Day

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

It is May and I have plenty of garden work to do. I purposely planted zinnia seeds in my front garden in the spots where nothing grows very well. Last fall I loved my blackberry lilies around so they would mostly be in one spot.

At a recent sale I purchased two wild geraniums and a coral bells to place in my shade garden. Then I received a note from a gardening friend who is giving up her flowers. She has offered to let me take a shovel to her yard and grab what I want.

Is there anything more heavenly?

Maybe gardening is not for everyone. I personally love to get into the dirt and create a garden that will bloom at various times of the year. Truth be told, my favorite mother’s day gift is a flat of plants. This year I want to add more lavender and flowering cabbage so that the fall version of my garden is just as pretty as the spring version.

fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them-movie-charactersEveryone does different things for Mother’s day. They might go for brunch or cook a special meal. May be the family does a picnic or a walk in the woods. Some feel it is a special holiday not to be missed while others call it a ‘Hallmark’ holiday.

What is a person to do?

Frankly, my thought is to plant my new plants, supervise cleaning of my house, and have a fabulous meal. At some point I want to watch a movie but the question is always which movie.

I currently have Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is sitting on my pile. It’s a good movie continuing stories in the Harry Potter series before his parents were born but not the one I was thinking about.

To Walk InvisibleBut I am really interested in watching a movie that has been featured on Masterpiece Theater called To Walk Invisible: The Bronte Sisters. The story line is set during a three year period in which the Bronte sisters – Charlotte, Anne, and Emily – write literary masterpieces. Their books, respectively – Jane Eyre, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, and Wuthering Heights – were published at a time when women were not designated for anything beyond take care of a home and being married.

From the reviews I have read, this is a raw movie that may inflame your sensibilities as the Bronte sisters deal with being published authors, having their names known to the public, and wondering how to live privately in a public era.

The Bronte sisters were like a lot of resilient women in their era, they succeeded when they were told they could not. Even their own voices whispeared caution. But like every other fiction-how-did-I get -here tale, we find how they made thei r mark, how they changes the landscpe of literture in a goo way.

To me that is worth watching.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

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Garden Talk

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

What do you do when perfect weather hits?

I prefer to be outside.

I know my house needs to be cleaned after a world-wind of work and activities that have kept me busy. But really, I want to be outside when the weather is warm and the wind is calm.

It doesn’t matter if I am walking the dog or working in the garden, being outside when it is beautiful restores my soul, especially after a winter like we had this year. I know most people feel that way although a few might prefer their beautiful bug-free, air conditioned inside world.

Sadly, movies about gardens and plants are not that plentiful. Not everybody gets jazzed by dealing with plants or being in the orderly world of gardening. That is what we do after all, force order into the wild rift raft of nature.

Secret GardenOne of my long time favorites is The Secret Garden (1993), a rich tapestry of a movie following the life of a little girl left orphaned by an earthquake in colonized India during the early part of the 1900s. She lives at her uncle’s manse, a colossal pile, but it also has gardens she is free to explore. One day the girl finds a key and then another day find the door where it fits.

Not only that, she meets a local boy who can tame wild animals. And then she finds her cousin, who might be a wild animal but is certainly ill. He is a reported invalid who must be catered to at every turn. But soon the girl and her cousin, once they discover each other, are close friends who run off to the secret garden with the other boy.

We watch the garden turn from cold March winds and expectations through the spring and to summer’s explosion of roses and other greenery. The three children also grow through magic they create and the connections they share. It is a wonderful movie that can be seen by all ages, although people who prefer physical explosions may not like this movie.

If explosions and action is what you need then perhaps Batman and Robin (1997) is the movie for you. I realize the plant connection is not very clear at first. This movie, directed by Joel Silver, is not a favorite in the Batman canon. Starring George Clooney as the Bat, it also feature Arnold Schwartzeneger as Mr. Freeze and Uma Thurman as Poisen Ivy. Is there over acting in this movie? Well, yes, by the tons.

Batman, Robin , Poisen IvyGeorge is great but low-key. It’s the villains we want to see and they do a bang-up job. Uma Thurman is fantastically over the top as the scientist who has gone to the bad side after being rejected one time too many, she even comes up with a secret formula for a deadly kiss. But she has developed feeling for Robin that may be more obsessive for the ways she can hurt Batman. She’s also developed plants that do more than grow around a window frame.

What a silly, crazy movie. But with it’s PG-13 rating it might be one to reconsider if you do not like the cartoonish ‘stylized’ action and the verbal sparring that gets suggestive.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

I have chives that have lived for near 20 years in the same pot. And every year I wonder what plants to mix with it to look pretty against the chives.

From yougrowgirl.com

From yougrowgirl.com

Sometimes I have luck with it, other times the flowers die out too quick. and leave a mess. This time around I went searching for some potting ideas. What could I put with them to make it worth while. That is when I came upon this idea.

I really like what this blogger did with her pot. She used two different types of thyme along with a viola plant to add some purple. I liked it, really liked it. The purple against the pink chives, the variant colors of green from the thyme.

So I gathered the components. The chives pot was the easiest. Next came a four pack of violas along with two thyme plans. I told the husband to pick up two varieties. What I got was two plants of the same variety. Well, I guess it should have been me doing the buying so no whining this time.

container components I don’t have a nice galvanized bucket with handles but I guess the one I do have will have to do. This year, the chives are not as full as they have been. I suspect my husband became over anxious and took out last year’s dead leaves a little too soon. Our spring this year has been something close to normal. We had a frost the other night so when I did this pot, the chives were not as thick and full as they had been in the past.

Having recently attended a seminar on tricks from the pros, I guess I could have done things differently. Like leave the plants in the plastic cups so I could easily interchange them. Violas will not last through the hot summer and it will be a pain to dig them out. But that is not how I roll. I dug out holes for the plants, removed the plastic pots and stuck them in.

After they found their new home, I took the other half of the violas and put them in a back shade garden. Everyone was happier once I showered them with water.

Will this end of looking as nice as the picture above? I don’t know yet.

But I do know that the replica Easter Island statue is keeping an eye out on everything.

container with statue

How is your container garden growing?

A Lovely Work Area

A found table, a few work tools neatly stowed away. that may be one part of heaven.

 

 

Garden table

To say that this year’s garden is better than last year’s would be too easy.

Last year we were in the middle of a drought combined with mind-numbing heat. My favorite weather guy started a count of how many days in a row we had above 90 degrees.

If not being able to tolerate that kind of weather makes me a wimp, so be it.

But this year’s garden is different not just because of the milder summer. I have taken a more active role regarding the volunteer plants that are pretty but in the wrong spots.

Side view of the front garden

Side view of the front garden

In the front garden I planned better for the fall in which I have always wanted to have Flowering Cabbage.  The husband picked up several plants for me and I worked it around a mum that was given to me. They are lying low in the front while the mid-section of the garden is filled with white Shasta daisies and purple cone flowers.

I love this section but plantings never seem to survive here. I have mixed in quite a few perennials as well as thrown in hundreds of seeds. Nothing comes back the following year. Early spring seedings fail. Once the season is over I might have to work over the space and have my husband or son overturn part of the space with compost.

Frenchie the dog

Frenchie the dog

 

My other solution is to fill the site with statuary. This guy used to belong to  a man by the name of Frenchie. But he died and the dog went to our neighbors who sold him when they moved away. Sadly, the last set of owners managed to break off his nose and right paw. My son and his friend retrieved Frenchie from the dump for me and placed him in his new spot. At some point I must repair him.

Hollyhocks and Sunflowers

Hollyhocks and Sunflowers

Now if you look on the west side of the house, you will see Hollyhocks  and Sunflowers co-habitating easily. Black-eyed Susans fill the lower spaces.

Four O'Clocks

Four O’Clocks

But walk a few more steps at the right time of day and you will be greeted by a mass of Four O’Clocks. They prefer to bloom in the shade and get it on that side of the house during morning hours. My grandmother had these on the west side of her house but a tree gave shade in the afternoon so they burst out every day at the end of the day.

Gourd Vine

Gourd Vine

On the other side of the house is a new planting – bird house gourds. The problem is my vines are growing great but there is no fruit. I have flowers but they are not moving into fruit as one would expect. Bees have recently moved into a pillar on the front porch. I am hoping this will begin the fertilization process.

New Growth

New Growth

Finally, I have made progress on the new rose bush. There are budding branches turning into growing green stuff. It is exciting to watch as this plant was delivered to me and needed planting almost immediately. I over-watered at first but then corrected myself, putting the new bush on the same schedule as the old one.

My neighbor states an old proverb about transplanting roses. The first year it survives, the second year it is live, the third year it thrives.

How is your garden growing this summer?

 

Related posts:

Working in the Spring Garden

 Working the Hosta Bed

Working in the Spring Garden

This has been a tough week as I start the 13th week without having a job. I can’t believe I have been out of work this long.

Luckily the spring rains have come to make the grass green and help my flowers grow. Sunday I took the time to transplant the Evening Primrose from the front of the garden to the back. Because it grows four feet high, I feel this is a much better placement.

However, that was not the first thing I did the spring. The first thing was planting some seeds. I love Sweet Peas but for what ever reasons, they have been growing where there are not any support systems beyond other plants. So these coated seeds have been placed at one end of the porch where they can start on some lattice work. If they grow higher than the porch, I will string some twine for them to follow as well.

Seed packets

Seed packets

The other side of the porch was treated to the bird house gourd seeds. That side has been taken over by Morning Glories which I intend to lessen – a lot. The seeds were interesting as they were almost the shape of a butternut squash about an inch long. I see a future 4H project if they are done in time.

Last year I tried to plant Scarlet Runner Bean which was destroyed by said Morning Glories.

So here are some of the plants that are coming up now.

Spring 2013 - Chives

Chives returning for the 15th year

 

Spring 2013 - Clematis

Clematis starting to vine out. Note to self – do something about that stick.

 

Look, it is the red sprouts of peonies.

Look, it is the red sprouts of peonies.

 

Look, even the tulips are getting in the act.

Look, even the tulips are getting in the act.

 

Because I think the coldest of the cold weather is done, I might even remove the compost this weekend that has safe guarded all of my plants. Why, I was brave enough to trim up the rose-bush today.

Here is what I do know. Anytime that I feel like going out and playing in the garden, I have gloves, clippers, and a little rake at the ready by the back door.

Tools

Tools

 

How are you getting ready for the spring garden?

 

 

Working the Hosta Bed

Hosta plants are valued because they live in the shade.

Happily.

But if you only have one variety, they can be boring. This is my hosta garden before I started playing with it. It had one type of hosta and nothing else.

I hated it.

So one year I tried planting snapdragons at the edges and the scalloped spaces between plants in an effort to add color. I also added a second hosta variety.  That was okay but not enough. Last year, I took leftover impatiens and planted them against the cement block wall of the house. I liked the look and wanted to explore the idea further.

The hosta garden now

So this year I went farther with the idea of planting shade friendly flowering plants. Can you see the openings? Instead of a wall of hosta, I now have pockets filled with coleus in a pink and green.

Coleus, snapdragon and impatiens mixed with hostas

In the back there are various colors of impatiens, snapdragons and dianthus. These are my three go-to plants that do well in shade on a consistent basis.

What I like is how the garden looks from different angles. I like how the colors mix and play. Now this picture does show a need for some weeding and that will happen – soon.

I would like to place some taller plants in the back for next year. During the K3 Kultivators’ garden walk this year I saw hosta gardens with red Gerbera daisies mixed in. And I can’t wait to try that out.

But I have to admit, I am happy with the results of this garden bed re-do.

Have you re-worked a garden bed?

 

 

 

When does blogging become glorified navel gazing?

Perhaps when you realize that nothing is happening in your life or in your world at the moment that you want to share.

Underline ‘want.’

There are ideas and thoughts simmering in my brain right now I simply do not want to talk about. Even as I think about them and could probably list them, there is no way I want to talk about any of these because I do not want to deal with the emotional undertones.

Physical ailments for myself and others brings thoughts of frailty I do not want to mull over.

Dealing with a pastoral changeover makes me stick my head in the ground even more.

While there are a lot of political mutterings in my head, thinking about them makes me explode in ways that are not healthy.

So I choose not to write, I choose not to put my thoughts down more succinctly because them I might have to deal with all of that. Lets face it, eating more chocolate or working in the garden is a bit more fun than ruminating over why Scott Walker should have been recalled or if Mitt Romney really has a chance to make it to the White House.

Not only that, I do not want to think about how football players have been hurting themselves, dying younger than most and having cognitive issues. I don’t want to think about the Jerry Sandusky trial and why the accusers are not being allowed aliases. It makes me wonder if the judge has some sort of tie to Penn State or Sandusky’s charitable organization and if there will be anything close to a fair trial for a man who allegedely abused so many boys. That is not a peaceful thought at all.

Nor do I want to think about a number of people in my relative age range who have died recently from accidents and sudden heart attacks. As one of my friends stated, it makes you wonder about every twinge or pain. Some have even started saying what music they want at their funeral and/or gathering after the funeral. (Mental note, remind mom to tell me exactly which Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin she wants at her funeral)

What I want to do is enjoy the White Sox as they enjoy sitting at first place in their division and find a new book that interests me. Whether I write about it or not is another story for another day.

What keeps you away from the keyboard?

 

 

Clearing Out for Spring

Are you getting itchy?

 

All of this nice weather makes me want to get out to the garden, clear off the mulch and dead plants from last fall, and get ready for spring.

 

So that is what I did Sunday. People were coming to take raspberry canes from a different flower bed so I worked up front until they arrived.

So many plants are making their way.

 

The tulips are quite high.

 

The hollyhocks are making an appearance.

 

The sedum is in a tightly knitted group, making me wonder if I should not do a little separating.

And there are a few things to look forward to seeing.

Hello, foxglove. Never had one of these before.

 

 

And then there is this plant. I am still not sure what it is although my guess would be grape hyacinth. Hopefully the picture is here although it was not on my preview.

I am trying to leave some of the mulch just in case another nasty ole freeze comes out way. But let me tell you, that is really hard to do. Instead, I plan to plant scarlet runner and black-eyed susan vine on one section, and hyacinth bean goes to another place. While I am at it, perhaps I will throw down some poppy seeds.

How are you getting at spring gardening chores?

  Related Posts:

         Bird and Flowers in the Garden

         Surprises in the Garden

         Getting the Impatiens Planted

Image by Wallyir

We have had a strange winter this year. There has been one bad snow storm, a few days of cold temperatures, a little wind, and that’s it.

There have been fog and grey days that can make a person feel incredibly sad. I have to make sure I have something to do that gives me satisfaction with a sign of completion. Otherwise, I grow very sad without the sunlight.

 

 

Another thing I do is keep indoor plants going. I cannot do this at home as the boys have a way of destroying plants and other things in the house. But I have a  Philodendron in the office living quite nicely. Just this week I noticed beautiful glossy leaves and loved their bright appearance.

My goal with this plant is to water it on a regular basis and dust it every so often so that the plant’s pores do not get blocked.

 

 

 

 

My Front Garden

One has to wonder what this warm weather is doing to our plants. I know the bulbs will be ok because they miscalculate and still have wonderful flowers. My garden looks pretty dreary right now.

The green you see is our christmas tree that is place there for the birds who come to our feeders everyday. I request this so the birds have someplace to go when  they come in for a snack.

 

Some plants weather the cold better than others. Pansies, which some of us plant in the fall come back nicely. This year the warmer weather have kept my pansies from going totally dormant. I had flowers on some of my plants. But look at the picture, this plant is starting from scratch. If the weather keeps up being so nice, I will have new flowers soon.

 

The surprise in my garden this week were the mums. In the past I have had a hard time getting hardy mums to come back. The one particular plant is near my front stairs and benefits from air warming without the sun signing on it right away. I have been told that helps the plant by not getting sunlight on it right away.

While this plant is hardier than most, I do worry what might happen if we get a snowstorm or another big freeze. However, the groundhog did see his shadow and that means six more weeks of winter. 

Good thing I still have my gloves in tact.