Archive | May 2012

Country Gardens Early Spring 2012 Issue

Cute idea for a tiny flower display.

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Pink Spikiness

An interesting pink flower I found in the garden today; must have been one of my end-of-the-season bargains that I don’t remember purchasing.  I like the contrast of such a spiky flower among “softer”, more round petal varieties.

My Sister’s Out-of-Control Roses

About six years ago, the year before I bought my very-own project house, I planted my first ever roses at my parents’ house.  At the time, I knew nothing about growing roses or varieties of roses or the care needed for them; I simply opened a gardening magazine, and said, “I like that one.”

In the past few years, my sister T— has on-again-off-again cared for them, going from three ramblers to one lone survivor.  One Summer baby-ing them (and I say that loosely), the next Summer letting them grow wild and out of control.  Even now, these roses are a great source of contention between T— and my father as he likes plants nice and tidy, not seemingly wild-growing roses.  Every so often, my father takes a set of sheers and cut it all but to the ground, and rightly so: it’s still his house no matter what T— feels.

With the mass amount of magenta roses that appear to be flourishing under various stages of neglect, I cannot understand why gardeners are intimidated by growing roses.  Some are definitely more difficult than others, but look at this beauty!

Honeysuckle in Bloom

I planted this “Goldflame Honeysuckle” late last Summer, and wow! it was just exploded this year.  I just love the multi-colored blooms: they begin life as pink then change to white and finally yellow.

I had high hopes of drawing hummingbirds to the garden with these brightly-colored blooms, but I fear I am waiting in vain as (from what I’ve read) they are fickle creatures who are drawn to the same gardens year after year reluctant to explore new areas.  My mother-in-law’s neighbor, who lives in the next town over, does get hummingbirds each year, so I know they are in the area–they just haven’t found me yet.

Until then, I’ll content myself with the endless parade of sparrows, robins, and squirrels to my bird feeders.

Window Boxes Find a Home on the Roof

In an effort to beautify my front yard, I’ve been wanting to add some window boxes to the second story; unfortunately, the secondary story windows of my house walk right onto the roof of the porch, meaning there’s no room for traditional window boxes.  In scanning the local big box stores for inspiration, I came up with a mid-weight alternative to “pretty-up” the house.

I purchased heavy-construction plastic containers and filled them will a combination of Styrofoam and top soil to keep the weight down.  Had I used only top and/or garden soil, I would be looking at 80+ pounds per container, which would be heavy on a tar-paper roof.  First, I broke a large piece of foam into random sections of about 3″x5″ for the lower 2/3 of the containers.

Then, I filled the top 1/3 with top soil, compressing it with my hands as much as I could, and as you can see.  This means that each planter (even filled with plants) is just under 30 pounds, light enough that I’m not worried about them on the roof and heavy enough that strong winds will not carry them away.

I filled the boxes with petunias and set them on the roof centered on the two windows–not an easy feat when Orange Cat was looking at the screen-less windows doing his best to head out on the roof.  The second-story petunias are a bit too small at this point to be seen from the sidewalk, but I now get to wake up with happy pink and purple petunias right out my window.

I can’t take credit for the the Styrofoam idea as I know I saw it on Martha Stewart at one point.  I believe she used packing peanuts, but I didn’t have any and a large block of foam was much cheaper.  I may have to add a bit more soil as it compresses with rain, but that’s easy enough.

In the end, J— was just happy that I started and completed this project while he was as work, so he didn’t get stuck cleaning up.