Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fertilizer Friday!

Fertilizer Friday: Flaunt Your Flowers

I missed last weeks' Fertilizer Friday because I took a flying trip to West Edmonton Mall with my sister and her three daughters. We were gone for 38 hours (it's a 13-hour round trip drive, plus we needed to sleep a bit, hahaha). I found the cutest little chickie retro sugar dispenser and creamer set at Anthropologie, but anyways ... Fertilizer Friday! It's time to fertilizer your plants inside and out and post pictures of your gardening efforts.

I think this a dahlia bud? I know it's not a peony. My mom planted it years ago.

Bada-Bing begonias in a $2 copper teapot I found at a thrift store.

I think marigolds are highly underrated.

I got this Columbine last year at a perennial close out sale in July. I bought a bunch of perennials and the Columbine is the only thing that survived. It's pretty though, and I do have bunches of it scattered around. I'm looking forward to it spreading.

When I saw this little guy at the thrift shop, I had to snap him up because this is exactly what my dog Gabe would look like if he were fertilized. I should know, we've been on a reducing plan for over 2 years now. We'll just call it a "lifestyle choice."

Make sure you check out Tootsie Time for her Fertilizer Friday: Flaunt Your Flowers meme!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


You know how you sometimes look at something so often that you don't even see it? Today I pulled into the garage after work and "noticed" the orange extension cord on the pile of cement bags. When I was looking for an extension cord to hook the fountain up with, I looked where the outdoor cords stay. Nada. So, I figured the only one I had was wired to the side of the house. Wrong!

I'm in the garage a minimum of four times a day. Duh.

Sometimes, though, the old grey matter does kick in a little more quickly, and I actually did a trial run with the cord, putting it down on the route I wanted to run it, and plugging it in to try it out. *lightbulb pings on* I then buried as much as I could under the gravel.

And the birdie is now spouting very prettily.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Herb Bed, Part 2

Okay, so when I went in for supper yesterday, I wasn't quite finished the herb bed. In the evening, I scouted around for more items to repurpose and decided that my cucumbers could live without the teepee trellis. Last night, I arranged the trellis in the bottom left corner of the bed - the two faux terra cotta pots were directly opposite each other across the birdbath. I even planted scarlet runner bean seeds all around the base of the trellis. This morning, I decided it looked good, but could look better. I basically switched positions of the trellis and the terra cotta pot in the bottom left quadrant of the bed. This meant digging up and sifting through the soil in search of the scarlet runner bean seeds! I found about half of them, which I replanted in the new position. If any others sprout, I will transplant.

I should have taken a picture from the deck, but with the trellis in the new spot, when you're looking at the herb bed from the deck, the trellis will be right behind the birdbath, which should be really pretty once the beans start going up.

I also transplanted some chives from the ground into the canner; sunk the two black plastic pots and put herbs in them; and put down a rose stepping stone that I can set my watering can on.

So, the bed now has dill (seeded); peppermint, spearmint, oregano, thyme, and chives (transplanted); snapdragons (transplanted); and scarlet runner beans (seeded). Can't wait to see it in August!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Herb Bed, Part 1

Okay, so this is my “herb bed.” On June 13th. Bahahahahaha


My dad built the frame for me, long ago – maybe 10 years? Originally, the frame was in the orchard area, but my mom planted some kind of bush (still unidentified) right beside it. It grew quite big and blocked about 1/3 of the bed, in addition to making a lot of shade. My herbs didn’t do well there, so I moved the bed to its new location last summer. I just moved it then; I didn’t do anything else with it.

I just haven’t gotten to it yet this summer. The dogs walk over it a lot; I walk over it sometimes. The dirt was quite packed – so much so, that there were actually very few weeds. It was also littered with dog toys (yes, that is a “toy” shoe - which is technically a doorstopper - but Gabe likes carrying it around).

The first thought I had was simply that I needed to sink pots into the ground, in order to protect the plants from traffic. So, I made a trip to my favourite discount warehouse – Bianca’s Amor’s.
I picked up some terra cotta-hued plastic pots for $2 each and 3 wooden basked for $10 each (the baskets were a bit pricey, but so pretty).

I got everything home, removed the liners from the baskets, and cut the bottom slats out. I also used a utility knife to cut the bottoms off the plastic planters.

Then I got to work on the bed itself, cleaning up the weeds, and working the soil.

Friday evening is my grocery night, so I kept my eyes open at the Real Canadian Wholesale Club (a division of Loblaws) for a "centerpiece" for the bed. I was hoping for something tall; maybe a birdbath. The fountains at the Wholesale were either tabletops or too big and pricey. But, in a different area, I found a plastic birdbath/fountain for $19.99. Whoot!
A plastic fountain is pretty lightweight, so I wired it to a piece of concrete to keep it from tipping.

Yes, it looks great!

I really wanted to get the fountain operational right away, but I needed a long outdoor extension cord, and the only one I have is attached to the house, for patio lanterns that used to be on the second floor windows. I was too cheap to run to the hardware store and shell out another $3o for a long cord and I live alone so how to get the cord down??? Well, I hope my mom wasn't watching from above, because I climbed the tree on the side of the house and hopped onto the roof from there. (Actually, my mom would have done the exact same thing.) I had to go pretty much to the peak to unwrap the cord and I carefully tossed it over the edge before scuttling back down to the tree and very carefully descending. All that was for nought, though. My dad wired the cord to some king of pipe on the side of the house. My tallest freestanding ladder will only take me high enough to change the lightbulb in the fixture. I need to use the extension ladder to reach waaaaaay up where my dad wired the cord. Sigh. I can't position the extension ladder on my own, it's too heavy. Plus my sister would have a bird if she knew I did that when no one was home (shhhh about the tree!). So, the fountain is not hooked up yet.

Okay, next step: get the rest of my containers ready to sink. I had mixed feelings about cutting up the shoes. They were my dad's - I bought them for him and he loved them. So easy to slip on and off; and he obviously wore them to paint something. I've put pots in them in the past; but really, what else am I going to do with them?

I stuffed gravel in the toe beds to weigh the shoes down, and then potting soil in the heel area, but the plants will be able to root into the ground.
So, I've got my fountain, my shoes, my wooden baskets, and my plastic planters more or less arranged, and I've started to plant herbs (thyme and peppermint transplanted; dill seeded into one of the wooden baskets):
Still a lot of space to fill. Time to repurpose things. First up: an old canner. It was rusting out at the bottom and there were holes. My parents would have purchased a repair kit, but I figured the canner would enjoy a retirement in the garden. I very carefully removed most of the bottom using a hammer and nail, tin snips, and needlenose pliers. Kids, do not try this at home without adult supervision! Adults do not try this at home without protective eye gear and gloves!

I ended around supper time, not quite finished, but needing time to visualize what exactly was missing. I added some oregano and some snapdragons for colour. I wasn't crazy about the faux wheelbarrow, but wasn't sure what else I could repurpose. The black plastic pots were just the beginning of an idea. I got it together, I think, this evening. More pictures in "Herb Bed, Part 2."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Fertilizer Friday c/o Tootsie Time

TOOTSIE TIME: Fertilizer Friday....Flaunt Those Flowers!!!

Tootsie Time hosts Fertilizer Friday, encouraging everyone to fertilize their plants indoors and out, and to share pictures of our plants on that day.

This is what's going on at the School of Yard Knocks this Fertilizer Friday:

Fuschia basket:

Potted wave petunias, pansies, impatiens, and an ivy geranium mid-garden:

Minature pansies:


Bleeding heart in the front perennial garden:

And just because I was enchanted with the bleeding hearts today:

Visit Tootsie Time to see what everyone else is showing off this Fertilizer Friday.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"Before" photos

I finally got the last of my flower seedlings planted tonight. The calendula, sunflowers, and last of the marigolds went into the ground. I rarely plant anything right in the ground because the dogs will just trample it. If I do put something right in the ground, I try and position it close to a barrel or planter or fence or someplace the dogs don't usually go. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't. They've broken about 4 of my snapdragons already. I love my dogs more than I love my garden though (I love my dogs, I love my dogs, yes I love my plant-trampling dogs *very* much, I really do). My whole yard is evolving around the dogs, really. The raised beds were all about the dogs. It's working. It's just a work in progress.

I also had some pansies which I stuck into pots (above) and the alyssum, which I stuck into planters I had already planted (on the side of the house).

So, this is my first "before" picture. With luck, by August this will be all lushly green, and you won't even see the boxes. This is the view from my back fence. You can see my handstrung trellis for my pole beans in the foreground and my little yellow house, with the patio lanterns gleaming, looks faaaar in the distance. (Okay, you may have to click on the picture to enlarge it in order to actually see the gleaming patio lanterns.)

Take note because the above is an extremely rare photo of my "orchard." My orchard is always very weedy and I hate taking pictures that showcase my weeds. However, I got it weed-free last Saturday and figured I better take a picture before the green sprouts start showing again. In the foreground on the left is my dad's poor crabapple tree. I think it's on its last limbs. Dad fussed over that tree endlessly and I have absolutely no knowledge of what the fussing entailed. So, it is languishing. Beyond the mailbox my mom painted (gardening hand tools stored inside) are raspberry canes; and beyond those, the saskatoons. There's a sweet millions cherry tomato plant in the planter in the foreground.

Okay, this is my "deckio." It is a wooden deck, but only about 4" off the ground - not a stone patio and not a deck, hence the "deckio." I love it. It's very cosy. My mom and dad built this themselves and I have a picture of them in my verandah in which they are looking hot and grubby but giving big smiles and thumbs up while they stand on the completed deckio.

You can see the fuschias I bought for my mom for Mother's Day hanging there, and beyond the deckio is the firepit, barrels with wave petunias (and marigolds planted right against those barrels)and then the raised beds. On the right is a "ladder" my dad built my mom specifically to stick little planters on, and my poor snappies are precariously arranged around the ladder. What the dogs need to do over there is anyone's guess. But anyway, again, barring snow in July or a tornado, this should look very different in August.

Knock wood.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Veggies are UP!

It took just over a week for all my veggies to pop through the earth. Zucchini, cucumbers (left), onions, garlic, dill, snap peas, beets, pole beans, and bush beans have all germinated and are poking along. It's been cool here ... it cooled down to 15C on Thursday June 4th, and I remember because the wind was cold but I got a sunburn anyway. Since then it's been pretty cloudy with daily highs of 10-15C. Cold for this time of year and not good for the veggies. My tomato plants have a lot of yellow leaves which I believe means they aren't getting enough sun? Oh well, hopefully they won't all shrivel up and die.
Got most of my flowers planted too. I needed some more marigolds for the veggie garden (companion planting), and I couldn't resist some more pansies and allysum while I was at it. I also seem to have picked up a tub of sunflower seedlings somehow. I sowed probably 40 sunflowers by seed, so I really don't need any seedlings.
I am just weeding now and getting pretty tired of it. The yard looks great, but the veggie beds are showing weeds again, and I haven't finished weeding elsewhere yet. It just never ends.