Sunday, 22 March 2015

Potting Benches ... hum ?

I have been mulling over potential and real projects, yet again ...
I seriously think we should take a year off of renovations and said "projects".
Some how they keep sneaking into my brain while "they" think I am watching TV and can not notice rouge brain cells forming a plan.

We have to get the deck coated and sealed this year ... so I began to think (I know .. a stretch, but it does happen occasionally) .. what about an outdoor potting bench in front of the shed ? ..
It would help me do up pots without bending or kneeling on hard surfaces, and I might just be able to actually see what I am doing properly ?
Ironically ? I have a potting bench inside the shed, but it is more a storage unit than a working potting bench ..
I am even so down to earth as to think ahead of time and the next UGH !! winter season, as to plan covering it with a tarp to save on it during bad weather ..
I better watch out for Grace and her random drive by tarp shootings !

So I started to scroll through quite a few of them on Pinterest and WOW !
They range from purely utilitarian, to pieces of garden art .. big ones ... but still gorgeous.
Mine will be practical ... a work horse ... strong silent type : ) PERFECT in other words ?
But maybe I might jazz it up a bit, when no one is looking,which is the glory of an eight foot fence.
BEST investment EVER !!!!

In any case .. here are some samples I found on Pinterest just to give you an idea ...
The last picture will be the one I am keen on ... fingers crossed it might just happen !

Is this gorgeous or what ? .. love the fret work and dark stain, plus the wash bowel cut out.

The extra shelving and lattice work at the back really make this  attractive .. how about those spouts?
This could make me want to collect small watering cans too !

Tap handles that serve as hooks for tools ... the wire back to put "S" hooks on to hang other what nots.
A hose attachment .. perfect !

Almost the same design but such a pretty colour .. lots of ideas working here !

So the one I have chosen is a very plain Jane, but terrific "bones" to work with.
I can add other bits and pieces later on but I am pretty sure this is "the one" for me ...
So I am moving on from the mulling over stage to "YES !!!" please !!! haha
We shall see how far I get when I already have so much to do as it is .. but I really think this would be the perfect helper with my garden missions  : )
How about you other gardeners .. do you have a potting bench or plan to have one ?

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Great Minds Think Alike ?

I was recently contacted by Kari Arneson about a very interesting and helpful article published in the  number one bird and garden magazine "Birds & Blooms"
It is called Grow a Chemical Free Garden
A "why and how" to wean yourself from using chemicals in your garden to control pests and disease.

It is all too easy to think "I'm just using a little" or " just this one time won't hurt".
I can admit to thinking that way as well, not so long ago.
However ... I had to start thinking about the welfare of  the gorgeous Goldfinches and other birds we invite into my garden with seed stations ... they were not only eating the seed.
They were helping keep the bug population in check for me .. almost as a thank you for the seed.
OK ... maybe they love eating bugs and it supplemented my meager offerings in fact ?

So ... I had to do a full stop on all and any chemicals when my conscience kicked in (this was quite a few years ago mind you) ... and think about how to control the nasty factor in a natural way with gardening.

The first step, as in the article, is to nurture your plants with as much compost and organic matter to make them as strong as possible to ward off disease and bad bugs.
Not so hard right ? we do that step as second nature for gardeners ..
Next is another no brainer .. plants that entice good bugs ... we all want good bugs right ?
Such as the butterflies that lay eggs for the next generation of pollinators .
I have been thrilled with having the egg to caterpillar stage, go to chrysalis stage, to the actual butterfly.
It is something you have to witness and follow, to feel that amazement with such a tiny, yet totally impacting and profound event on the environment.

Planting dill, fennel and other herbs and perennials plus annuals, will draw in these tiny miraculous creatures.
Plus ? an added benefit, the dill I plant wards off bugs that can plague my roses.
Where ever I have roses they are always guarded by dill and other herbs .. bad bugs do not enjoy the same scents that we do.
See little stars below where I have some for the climbing roses.. yes, they are climbing .. eventually!

Aphids ? get your hose out to blast those little creeps .. it is almost a stress buster when I shoot them off plants.
All in all it is possible to have a great garden without the chemical factor .. use what nature has given us to combat the "bad guys" and save the "good guys" and the environment from man made chemicals.
Read the article ... read the magazine in fact ! ... well worth the time and effort !

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Winter ? .. I so want to kick your ASS !

I am beyond cabin fever ... all I want to do is hide in my bed and hibernate until this incredibly long COLD winter is done with ,,, isn't there some kind of pill I can take to ignore all this white wonder land that is beginning to drive even us Canadians close to insanity ??
The logical side of my brain is saying ... yes it will end and you will have your garden back.
The totally emotional side of my brain is down right FRANTIC ... how on earth will my garden come back to this ?

These are earlier pictures before the limestone pathway was put in ..... June/July  2014
It boggles my mind that these plants will truly come to life again ... my hope is a twisted ball of frantic sweat wondering can this be ?

Mean while back at the farm ... Lassie is assuring us that it will be alright ?
Lassie in the form of my watchful gargoyle .. aka "Stoneface"


Monday, 16 February 2015

The Canning Perennial Order (last order for Spring ... I hope!!)

So .... I can blame Barry, from Teza's Hortus Magnificum  for this particular plant.
I would have been fine if he hadn't have mentioned it in a previous post of mine and made me think far too much of it.
Geranium phaeum "Margaret Wilson"
Not the best picture (from the net) but it does illustrate a bit of the white streaked foliage and darker flowers ... nice combination right ? ... it stuck in my brain what can I say ?

Heuchera Berry Timeless provoked my curiosity for what was called a blooming machine and flowers drying on the stalks without falling off .. some what like "statice" .. so another I am so curious about!
The foliage is quite attractive too .. it may just stay in a pot over the season and then planted.

Hosta Liberty was also instigated by my friend Barry yet again ... Barry stop being my enabler PLEASE!!!
Having said that ... I am fascinated by this hosta  .. I love the look of it and the capability of it to change the yellow margin to a pale cream later in the season.
How gorgeous is this ?? and I am not a hosta "nut" ... just a gardener with a passing interest ?

Next some lavender collecting ... Ellagance Purple was well collected last year with numerous plants.
I am wondering how it will have survived this COLD winter even with the good snow cover.
None the less I have Ellagance " Pink " and " Snow " coming ... just had to do it.
Pink : I would love to see a field of them in their pink dresses !
Snow : How gorgeous is a white lavender ? .. I had a white one a couple of years ago and loved it .
I am hoping that this one will be a bit more hardy !

It seems a pattern every year I have to pick out a clematis .. last year I went on a bender because a provider here had loads of them for a reasonable price .. so I threw my hands in the air and gobbled a load up ... BIG sigh ... it was great !!!
Romantiaka was one I looked at last year and couldn't make up my mind ... so I decided to throw caution out the window and go with my gut feeling ... just get the damn plant eh !! that was my little plant devil on my shoulder egging me on .. and I went with it !

This picture from the net doesn't do it justice .. it is much darker .. so pairing it with just the right plant will do some thinking .. I want to get this right .. it is a beauty !

Lastly is an ajuga that has been around for a while but I never seemed to connect with it until now .. 
So it may seem a bit of a yawn to gardeners that have it already , but it is new to me : )
Ajuga reptans "Dixie Chip"
It just strikes me as a very pretty front border edging.

So there we are .. or there I am .... now it is a game of time (does anyone out there watch "Game of Thrones" ? .. I love that show .. plus "Vikings" !!) .. ok enough of the foolishness !
I am on board with my game plan with the new plants ... snow and cold LEAVE as soon as possible PLEASE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!