Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Open Garden Pics

Whew! Holding an open garden is exhausting! I’m glad I did it, though, and thanks to all who attended. If you couldn’t make it, check out the photoset by clicking on the photo on the right.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

BBB: Foxglove

I don’t think foxglove is an endangered garden plant, but I do sense some resistance to growing the usual, biennial, form from seed. Judging from the popularity of the 1-year-to-maturity “Foxy” foxglove, waiting two years for a flower is too long. I can understand, especially when the seeds are so hard to germinate!

I’ve had little success with foxglove seed (Digitalis x mertonensis). From my Winter 2005/6 sowing set, I had a yield of three plants. I was terribly disappointed because I love foxglove. They bring back memories of sunny hillsides in the woods, thick with rosy, flowering spikes. That they are terribly poisonous (but the poison is a medicine in small doses) only increases their allure. I like to pretend that if the apocalypse came, I could be a folk healer. (Alternatively, if I got sucked back in time like Claire of the Outlander novels, I could do the same.) Finally, who wouldn’t want to grow a flower that legend says the fairies sleep within?

I’m not sure why the seeds were so hard to germinate, but the plants have been tough. I levered the three survivors into shady nooks around the deck and they all survived the winter. The first has bloomed and the other two have pregnant bulges in the middle of their rosettes. Despite my trouble, I am try, try, trying again. I sprinkled an entire packet of seed directly over the earth along the NW side of the deck. No babies yet, but maybe next spring…

Germination: difficult!
Culture: easy
Form : ugly leaves, but a nice rosette form. Flowers are on a spike.
Scent : none
Color : shades of pink, purple, white

BTW – that’s a bee butt in one of the flowers.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

35 Dollar Garden Arch

Gardening can be an expensive hobby. I try to save money by growing plants from seeds, swapping for others, and mulching with my neighbors’ leaves. I find it difficult to scrimp on hardscape, though. I am not talented enough to created my own wrought-iron obelisks or cast a bird bath. Those items usually end up costing me beaucoup de bucks. Sometimes, though, I get lucky. Like this $35 garden arch from Big Lots!

You may be wondering, “How good is a $35 arch from Big Lots?” My reply, “Surprisingly good.”

Honestly, I think the most garden arches are way overpriced. This cheapo arch is as good as anything I found for less than $150. It was easy to construct, and turned out to be almost square. The construction reminded me of the metal tube headboards often seen on a child’s bed. It is fairly lightweight, so I’ll need to anchor it in the ground, but I think it would support something as heavy as a climbing rose. Wisteria would probably crush the hollow tubes. I plan on planting it with clematis, so as to not hide the pretty structure.

The arch is the doorway to the north corner (which is coming along quite nicely!) This fall, I’ll be planting a hedge around the area’s perimeter so that the arch frames the entrance to the shade garden. (I’m still debating whether to allow for a second, semi-secret entrance.) You can view the tentative plan here.

So, pretty good for $35, huh?

P.S. Sorry for the blogging break. I was traveling.

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