Archive for the ‘gardening’ Category

our squash harvest


I had hoped to leave these on the vine for another month or so, but the sudden snow, and the cold temperatures that followed forced an emergency picking time.  Only one of them is of eating size, but the boys gathered everything!  Don’t you just love their enthusiasm?  I sure do.

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garden boxes


They may not look like much, built of scrap wood from jobs sites, but they are my latest creation!  These four will hold cucumbers, winter squash, horseradish and garlic.  I am so exited to finally have some gardening boxes.  I do not have enough compost to fortify the entire garden, so these will hold what I do have for the plants that need them most.

I am working on a bit deeper on to hold tomatoes, I would like it to be fairly large.  If I can come up with enough lumber, I want to build a greenhouse.   We will see…

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I once read, that if growing hollyhocks was as difficult as growing roses, then they would be just as appreciated.  I think this is true. 

Hollyhocks have always been one of my favorite flowers.  Their tall stalks seem to rise effortlessly overhead and the flowers, bright and cheerful, are like rays of sunshine, smiling at the world.  They became even more significant to me when my great-aunt Beverly showed me how to make southern bells out of the flowers and buds.  We were visiting her at her home in South Sioux City, NE  when she showed my siblings and I how to stack   several open flowers on a toothpick to form the skirt of our Southern Bell, then add a bud for the head and another, smaller, open flower for a hat.   We covered her house in these glorious ladies, and still, there were more flowers to be had.

Here, I have them growing in front of my house, steadily creeping into the lawn.  When I moved in, there was three plants.  A white, a dark salmon and a light salmon.  The next year several pink ones made themselves known.  Now I have colors ranging from almost black, deep burgundy, pink, yellow, white, salmon and multi-colored ones.   Extras have been carefully transplanted to fill in areas of the landscaping that need more color and less weeds. 

I love the way these hardy plants will even crowd out the most aggressive grasses and weeds.  I love how their roots go deep, and how little water they need to survive.  I love that they are prone to thriving!

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If you knew…

…how many times I have planted cucumbers 

…how many times I have dreamed of jars of pickles

…how many times I’ve had not a single plant come up

…or all the times my plants have been eaten by grasshoppers the moment they are above ground…

Then you would understand my joy at finding not one, but three little flowers today!  The plants are only about 6″ tall, and it being almost August, I was afraid that once again I would have no cucumbers to pickle.

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I am loving life in my garden.  Everyday has new surprises and joys.  It is fun to see the peonies blooming, after several looong years of waiting.  Their sent is one of the most magical to me.  Calming and yet invigorating!

This summer, thought it has only just begun is going by much too fast for my liking.  There is always something that needs to be done.  I just want to sit by and enjoy.  So I take a little time each day, to smell the roses peonies, and enjoy all the beauty around me.

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A lovely violet colored bearded iris, complete with orange beards.

Bearded Iris are one of my favorite flowers.  They grow in almost any soil, whether dry or damp.  They thrive without attention, for years at a time.  At my grandma’s there was a couple of clumps growing out behind some out buildings.  No one could recollect who had planted them out there, and though the clump was growing on top of itself, still it grew.  Grew and bloomed, with lovely blue flowers.

When I first moved to this home, I ordered up a bunch of iris from a garden supply catalog.  I also ordered a set of mixed iris and a set of cotton candy pink iris.  Eighteen bulbs in all.  They came in the fall, just as the first snow was settling on the ground. 

I planted them in my garden, hoping for a rainbow of colors come spring. 

That first year, nine of the mixed colored ones bloomed.  I had an assortment of yellows and purple/white ones.  Lovely, but non of the colors I had hoped for.  Only half of the pink ones came up, and I called the company for replacements — which never came. 

Then next year, they did better, but it was then that I discovered that the cotton candy pink ones where not pink!  They were a lovely shade of peach.  Something I never would have ordered, and still, of the three that had grown, only two bloomed.

That fall, I had to move the iris.  I was glad I had noted which plants were which colors, so I could replant them in clumps.  Upon digging the iris, I discovered that my 18 original bulbs (minus those that never grew) had turned into 150 bulbs!  In just two seasons…

When I replanted, I carefully clumped the colors I was sure of, and placed the mystery bulbs along one edge.  There where two colors of yellow, a rich gold with brown beards and a smaller light yellow with yellow beards.  The purple ones and the peach ones.  This spring, the dark gold ones never bloomed, and I couldn’t tell where they were suppose to be, but this purple, which I had never seen before, took it’s place.

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Looking out my front window today, I spied these little flowers that I have never seen before, growing where we transplanted all sorts of things a couple of years ago.  It seems that our hard work is finally paying off, because there are many new little plants out there. 

I found roses, of a variety other than the wild ones that grow so abundantly around here.  Something with a strong stem and large glossy leaves, standing 6″ tall — it may be a shrub or a tree.  Raspberries are coming up too.  It seems we will have the wild garden we dreamed of, in this little patch of yard!

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