Monday, July 23, 2007

Candy Cane Border

At my open garden, as I described the concept of the candycane border to my guests (flowers in shades of red, white, and pink), I was surprised at how enthralled they were with the concept. Unfortunately, my guests had to use their imaginations to picture the flowers, because the border was between blooms. The moss phlox, daffodils, sweet William, peonies, and roses were spent. The hibiscus and lilies held promising buds, but were weeks from opening. More than one guest expressed a desire to return when the border was in its second bloom. I am unable (unwilling?) to host another event this year, but I’ll share photos here.

I’m fairly pleased with the late summer effect. The border color scheme sounds simple, but it can be difficult to blend the right red and pink tones together. While the hibiscus and stargazer lilies have purple undertones, the cardinal lobelia almost slides into the orange range and the sweet william blossoms varied from red-black to red-orange. Who knows what color the “red” hydrangea (hornli) blooms are because the plant hasn’t flowered (or grown much) in three years. White is the only “easy” color in the border.

I continue to plot and plan to improve the border and, in the meantime, I’m enjoying the bits of it that I think I’ve finally got right.

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Monday, July 09, 2007

The Wrong Nigella

My annual experiment has not yielded quite the results I was hoping for. Instead of Nigella flowers that look like this:

I’ve got flowers that look like this:

Bleah. The problem is, I grew Nigella sativa, from my spice seeds. The garden variety of Nigella is Nigella damascena. Whoops. While I may have a spice harvest, I am very disappointed to be missing the fantastic love-in-a-mist flowers.

I think I’ll sow poppies over my tulips next year, or make sure I have the right species of Nigella.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Gardening Belt

I figure gardening is good exercise. I don’t mind digging or hoeing or hauling manure. What does bother me, though, is running from one end of the yard to the other to find my trowel or twine or pruners or scissors or camera. Worst of all: running to find my phone, should I happen to actually hear it ring. I needed a hands-free way to tote my miscellaneous items around. So, I asked for this for our 3-year (leather) anniversary:

It holds all the aforementioned items, including a clip-on compass so I don’t get lost!

Now, all I need is a drink holder attached to my cart for my ghetto sangria (Looza/boxed white wine mixture). Or maybe I should just get one of those beer hats.


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Duke Garden

I attended the Tri-State Green Industry Expo in February. While I enjoyed the seminars, the best thing I got out of the experience was meeting John Duke. I’ll confess, I’d come across his name before in connection with the Cincinnati gardening scene. When I happened to sit next to him during one of the classes, I was sure to not let him go. I followed him to lunch and was treated to photos of his charming garden. Before we parted, I got his email address and gave him a card with my blog’s address. We kept in touch over the winter and spring. He read my blog and attended a free preview of my spring show, Vanities. At my open garden, he brought me an invitation to his own event and I finally got to see the pictured garden in person.

His garden is 11 years old, and it just the way I hope mine looks in another eight: with only six minutes of lawn remaining. Yes, it takes his wife, Amy, just six minutes to cut the grass. The rest of the yard is glorious garden, divided into multiple areas: daylily display beds, a children’s garden, a railroad garden, fairy gardens, a patio (complete with firepit), a utility area, and lots of shade (due to all of his lovely, mature trees and shrubs). I found the shade garden beneath his Norway Spruce to be most inspiring, because I’m fighting to plant beneath my four mature specimens. However, if I could transplant a piece of his yard to mine, I’d take the greenhouse. It’s a perfect size for a city garden and made by John himself.

I took over 40 photos of the Duke garden. I tried to keep them in the order I walked the garden. You can view the complete set here:


Monday, July 02, 2007

Giant Cherry Tomato

When I planned my potager, I sketched in sunflowers and teepees for height. I figured the cherry tomato bushes would be proportionally sized to regular tomatoes plants as the fruit. Well, my “mini” tomato has reached six feet. I think it will even outgrow the sunflowers.

I’m growing the Black Pearl variety of cherry tomato. The tomatoes are indeed cherry-sized, so there was no mix-up there. Why is this thing so huge? Was I silly to expect a miniature bush? I’m hoping some experienced tomato growers can help me out. I’ve used up my longest stakes. If the plant grows any taller, it will just have to support itself.

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