Monday, August 1, 2011

Short Picture Update

Me and the huge zinnias

Bouquet of big zinnias from the zinnia garden
Black-eyed Susans and salvia with the new mulch

The front garden with new mulch (and a new lattice for the roses on the right side of the picture).

Saturday, July 16, 2011


I spent such a long time weeding today. In fact, I spend a lot of my gardening hours just weeding. A lot of it has been unwanted, ambitious plants. Two specific plants have been growing out of control: The “Showy Pink Primrose” (Oenothera berlandieri “Siskiyou”) and the darn hibiscus trees that seem to have originated from the neighbors. The primroses produce a lot more foliage than bloom, and the foliage begins to develop red spots (maybe because of drought or some other kind of stress?). I’ve seen this for sale at Lowe’s (it’s actually where the original owner of the house bought it; the ID tag was still in the front garden), and I just shudder when I see it and have the urge to warn customers, or at the very least offer them mine for free! The hibiscus trees must have a very extensive root system, because hibiscus seedlings grow everywhere. I’m punished when I neglect the weeding for too long, because then I end up having to pull out little trees instead of herbaceous seedlings. The hibiscus flowers are beautiful… but I can’t have thousands (yes, thousands) of trees in my front garden. Of course, there are lots of other weeds that I pull out, too. I decided today to identify the other weeds. Besides some hard-to-identify weeds and/or grasses, this is what I identified using Better Homes and Gardens' Weed Identification Guide along with good ol’ Wikipedia:

Creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea) is a broadleaf perennial. It grows like crazy in the lawn in the shade made by our deck. We usually just mow over it, but it really just needs to be pulled out. I think that next spring I’ll create a shade garden there, because I don’t know if we’ll get grass to grow there.
Creeping Charlie

Plantain (Plantago major) is a broadleaf perennial that grows pretty much all over our property: in the gravel driveway, in the gardens, in the lawn, and in areas that I haven’t worked on yet (horrible soil). It has to be pulled out by hand.

I came across the Asiatic dayflower (Commelina communis) today. It has formed a huge mass in the little, shaded area between the side of our house and the fence that separates us from our neighbors (on one side, since we live on a corner). The flower is pretty, but it is small, scarce, and short-lived (hence “dayflower”).  I am planning on pulling it out and putting mulch down (or planting a pretty groundcover flower or shrub that controls weeds) since the idea of letting anything grow unchecked bothers me.

Asiatic Dayflower
Close-up of dayflower

Purslane (Purslane oleracea) is a broadleaf annual that grows in dry, sunny areas. It grows like crazy on one side of our driveway, where the soil is very hard. It takes forever to pull out. The stems can grow to be very thick and strong. I’ve read that this weed is preferable over some other weeds since its deep roots can bring up nutrients and moisture that neighboring plants can use. Also, all parts of this plant are edible, and have lots of nutrients, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants… I don’t think we’ll be eating this as a salad or stir-frying it, though.

Purslane close-up

Mock strawberry (Potentilla indica) produces fruits that are edible but bland (according to my research; not based on firsthand knowledge). It is growing along with the purslane in the poor soil next to my driveway, but the purslane has been keeping it at bay, I think.
Mock strawberry

There is some kind of thistle (“thistle” is a vague name, because I have no idea what type this is) growing in the driveway. I need to dig it up, because it attacks me almost every day with its spines.

White Clover is a broadleaf perennial that grows in my lawn and along with the purslane and mock strawberry. It adds nitrogen to the soil, so I guess that running it over with the lawnmower is good enough for me.

White Clover

Bindweed, in the same family as Morning Glories, is probably my arch nemesis. As much as I pull and pull, it keeps coming up. Even worse, it creates vines that wrap around whatever they come in contact with, which just makes it seem like it is strangling nearby plants. This first appeared in my zinnia garden (before it was a zinnia garden). I thought it was Morning Glory that the previous owner had planted, so I felt slightly guilty about digging it ALL out. Last summer it had lots of dark blue flowers. But I didn’t want it, so I dug it up it anyway, along with lots of poor soil. It spent about 5 weeks in the darkness of our garbage can, until I decided that the garbage men weren’t going to take it (I’ve since learned that they just take what’s bagged up, regardless of what’s in your garbage can). So out of the garbage can it came.

At this point, I figured that all of the weeds that had been in the soil were dead, so I just dumped the soil out where the Purslane usually grows. Well, it came back and is now taking over again. At this point, I still thought that it was just Morning Glory, so I took some and grew it in a pot that is now on my deck. I thought that it would be pretty in a smaller portion, and I thought it would be cool wrapping itself up my deck rails. 
Bindweed vine

Now, though… I feel like that person in the urban legend who took in an abandoned Chihuahua while on vacation in Mexico only to be told by the vet that it was actually a rat. I’m growing a weed in a pot on my deck!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Where are the blooms?

I have been waiting and waiting for my poppies, lupines, and columbines to bloom... but I don't think it's going to happen. Maybe I started them too late? I've also read that maybe the columbines may not be getting enough sun. I don't know what the problem is, but it is pretty sad. They keep growing and growing, but there is no sign of blooms.

Huge columbine, no bloom!

Another huge columbine


I have had lots of pretty flowers, though. I have no shortage of plants!
Some daisies I got on sale at Lowe's for $1 each!

Huge hosta! I am going to need to figure out how to divide this this fall.

The best news is the zinnias are blooming like crazy! They are also getting huge. I think I planted too many in this garden.
Out of control!

One of the Giants. This is the biggest bloom I've had so far!

The stem is bent like this because the whole plant fell over after a storm. Then the stem started growing vertically. Then I staked it, and it started growing vertically again.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Zinnia Blooms

These are pictures of some zinnia blooms. Not much else has been happening with my gardening.


Sunday, June 5, 2011


I have been waiting forever for my zinnias to bloom. Finally, they have started! Hopefully the blooms will get much bigger than this.
The zinnia garden- the plants are getting taller, and most importantly, still alive!

One of the zinnia blooms

Closeup of the bloom

Another zinnia bloom

Zinnia bud about to bloom

Also, many more perrenials have been blooming. I have tons of lillies in the front gardens. I love them! 
Tons of lillies!

They are pretty crowded right now, so I am planning on splitting them up in the fall. My snapdragons and delphiniums are getting close to being big enough to plant outside, and I am also planning on buying some more flowers to complete the front garden. The poppies are not doing so well, and I need something to fill in the space!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Planting Day!

This was a day I had been looking forward to for a long time! On May 21st, I created the zinnia garden. Here are the steps:
The zinnia garden: lots of weeds have accumulated since the last time I weeded!

The garden after weeding

Ginnie loved lying in the dirt!

After breaking up the soil with the shovel. The soil is very clay-like.

After adding 50 lbs of gardening soil

After mixing the gardening soil with the soil that was already there

The whole peat pot goes into the hole.

Important to water!

The finished garden!

 On May 22nd, I planted the columbines and lupines in the big front garden.
The darker areas are the places where the columbine seedlings were planted.
I also prepared the little front garden that runs along the front of the house. It took a lot of work to take out all of the rocks, but it will be better for planting now.
The little front garden

After removing rocks and weeds (which took forever!).

I added the gardening soil to this garden too, because the soil here was also very clay-like.

I planted the poppies here.
Now, I am looking forward to moving the next set of seedlings out and hoping the ones that are already outside stay alive!