Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Who needs drugs when you've got bulbs? More bulb-mania, this time a "Blue Group" near the riverbank. This is my "map" to help me keep track of what's here: 15 dwarf irises, 3 double-blue hyacinths, and 43 blue snow glories. All these bulbs are to be planted somewhat shallow (except the hyacinths), so I tried a different approach to amendment........I planted all of them, then top dressed with the "organic fertilizer" I got from John Scheepers. Watered them all in very well...okay, see y'all in the spring!
Next is the "Pink Combo"...I decided to put these in front of the foxtail lilies, just in case they manage to bloom at the same time. (Doubtful, but my weather has been weird, so maybe). This area has 38 tulips and 12 "pink buttercups", or oxalis adenophilia . I have never planted these...

....and the "bulb" confuses me. I mean, which way is up? I have a feeling I may have allowed these to dry out a bit much, so I soaked them in water before/during planting. Good thing I have plenty of tulips here, cuz' I have low confidence in these strange little things.

Once again, the handy step-on planter made the holes easy to dig, especially here where there aren't as many rocks.

I used a different amending approach here, too. I just planted the tulip, put back 2/3 of the dirt, then sprinkled some organic fertilizer in the hole above the bulb only. The directions called for only 1 teaspoon per hole, so there's still plenty left. Then I added the rest of the dirt, firmed in, but didn't water. (Rain was forecast.) No fertilizer for the oxalis, though.

One more area on this day, my French Lace tulip combo , which includes 3 purple and yellow muscari and 8 muscari comosum mixed in. These I amended the same as the "purple haze" area: pinch of pony manure, pinch of sand/soil, bulb, more sand, pinch of manure, rest of the sand, then firm in.
Just two more areas to go and I'm done...almost feels disappointing. (Almost! ;-)

New page you can see, I've added a music playlist to my blog. This is courtesy of, and it was fun and easy to do. You only get 75 songs per list, but you can make another list when one is full. You do searches from their bank of songs that are legally shared, so the artist isn't getting ripped off. I was surprised by some stuff I could not find (like "I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool" by Barbara Mandrell), but shocked at what I did find, like Country Joe and the Fish! Anyhow, I tried to prevent it from being too obnoxious (you can shut off the "auto-launch" so it won't play when you don't want it to), and the computer I used to make it has no speakers, so some tracks may not work. But hey, fun stuff...tell me what you think! UPDATE:Okay, you really need to set this up on a computer with sound, because several tracks are wrong, incomplete, etc.. Ah well, I still like it!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Look what the shovel dragged in...awhile back, Kim had a post about the treasures we discover underground while gardening. With all the bulb holes I've been digging, there's buried treasure here, too. First dicovery-rocks! Lots of rocks were unearthed in my first planting of 165 bulbs...two of these benches were covered, and I'm glad to have them to use elsewhere.Found a couple of these worms, too...likely some sort of moth or butterfly larvae.Then there are these weird little rock-looking things, half in and half out of the ground. Not rocks, though.......cut one open, it appears to be a fungus of some sort. It actually smelt like an edible mushroom, but no way is scent good enough for an ID!These two items were not found today, but they're the most interesting things I've unearthed to date. The doll was found in northern Indiana at my mom's place, and the button was discovered up here a few years ago.Being ceramic, I was shocked to see that she was unbroken... ....from the back, you can tell she's been underground. Rather detailed, eh? I have no idea how old this is...never seen anything like it before. We used to find fossils and arrowheads at my mom's too, but so far no Native American artifacts up here. This kind of surprises me, especially living on a river like this. Guess they never set up camp here.

This button is very pretty, and metal (maybe brass)...I wish I'd found a couple more so I could actually use them.
So that's all the buried treasure I've far.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Public Service Message: This blogger is fully immersed in a drug-like stupor, induced by the lure and promise of springtime blooms. At the risk of sounding all "Look what I can do", this gardener can hardly contain the ridiculously optimistic enthusiasm of the promises in these little bulbs! Any "overspray" of obnoxious enthusiasm incurred is just part of the deal...sorry.
They're here!! Bulb-mania is in full swing at Millertime! First are the local impulse-buys from Menard's...well it was a sale! These are just some add-ons for groupings I'd already "color-mapped".

Now for a look at the mail-ordered with the locals, all in one place....I know, what the hell was I thinking, anyway?!Size comparison of tulip bulbs: upper left is VanBourgondien, upper right is Menard's (link is for Chuck's benefit ;-), lower right is Dutch Gardens, and lower left is Breck's...all look pretty much the same condition-wise, and VanBourgondien's is slightly larger. (My John Scheeper's order was muscari and snow glories). Of course the trusty dibble is for the small stuff......but for the big bulbs, you need one of these! This is a "step-on" bulb planter, and it makes the hole in one motion. (Ideally, but if you have a lot of rocks as I do, often you only get a "dig here" circle-still helps for planning.) Be sure it's made well, cuz' I bought one a couple years ago, and it broke quickly. Key point is a heavy-duty handle that's welded like this, and not crimped/flattened at the bottom, which makes it weak.
Got some "organic bulb fertilizer" with my Scheepers bulbs, but I'm not using it for all of them. I want to do a little expirimenting to see what kind of planting-time amendment works best. Okay, now this part tweaked me out just a little...see, I usually map out my bulb plantings on paper, but I don't ID them with metal markers like I do my perennials. This first area is the largest planting, a purple-mix area that I'm calling "purple haze", it will house 165 tulips and 35 muscari. I had all the circles drawn out, and decided on codes to represent each color, then I thought-"This is too time-consuming dummy, just make it random." But it bothered me, and I paced around awhile trying to decide. Then I just emptied all of the tulips in this bag so I could draw at random while planting. I still felt uncomfortable about it....
....but digging the 165 tulip holes brought me around! I figured I'd just dibble muscari holes as I went.
So here's the first amendment trial: dig hole to 8", put in a pinch of horse manure, a pinch of sand, bulb, more sand, more manure, top with sand and firm in. (I say "sand" because that's what my soil is.) Sleep tight, buddy!

As you can see, I didn't get done with this until after dark. I sprayed the area down with "Liquid Fence" varmint repellent, cuz' I saw that pine squirrel eyeing my activities. (Plus several more creatures like to dig these up.) I didn't water them in, as the soil was moist, and rain is in the forecast.
Okay, time to rest the muscles and plant some more! Yeeehaaa!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Anticipation is rough, but the rewards will (hopefully) be sweet...some bulbs are here, but I need them all to get started planting. This is my garden book, where I log my garden progress, composter notes, as well as track my orders. I like to paste in the pictures, I remember what I was planning to do with my new arrivals.
As you can see, this year's order is a lot of purple tulips, some reds, and a white combo along with a blue combo. All total, there will be over 400's a sickness...

In the blues, there will be some mini irises, a couple double blue hyacinths, and a bunch of snow glories.
Some pink/yellows, too...mostly tulips, with some "pink buttercups" mixed in...
Got some muscari to add in with my big "purple haze" area, and a few to plant here and there...mostly unusual color and form types.
I got a white combo too, the white blend of tulips, some white narcissus, and white snow drops (regular and doubles)...

As for sources, they are: John Scheepers, Breck's, VanBourgondien (three separate orders), and Dutch Gardens. Hopefully planting will commence soon!

Friday, October 19, 2007

A witch for witch hazel is blooming! And despite a nasty, dry summer, it's blooming better than ever! I sound surprised with good reason-this tree is tiny! Like maybe 3' tall (being generous). I don't blame my source, Forestfarm was only tube-sized when I bought it about 3 years ago (like 8" tall). I blame my lean, sandy soil for slow growth. But amending with manure the past couple years has helped.
I just think these are so cute, like little spiders! (Sorry Chuck! ;-)
And there's the extent of my Halloween decorating! Trick-or-treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Early bulb-mania...starts first with these garlic bulblets that I got for free from the local garden center. I've never planted garlic this size before, so I have no idea what they are gonna do.......but I do have a good tool for the job! This is a cast-aluminum garden dibble, and I'm pretty sure I got it from High Country Gardens a few years ago. I really love using this thing, and as you can see, it's made really well. I always thought this would make for a good C.S.I. episode..."Death by Dibble"....heh....but I digress. Anyhow, I've always heard that roses love garlic, so I planted these all around my rugosa roses. Since I got these for free, and planted them quickly and kind of hap-hazardly, I anticipate they will grow like crazy!
Also planted recently are these foxtail lilies from Van Bourgondien . The first one I planted was bigger than this, but I forgot to get a picture...kinda looks like a big tarantula. They looked pretty nice, so I hope they grow well. I'd always wanted some of these, so I'm excited to see what they'll do.

I planted them along the fence here, since they are tall. I'd also read that they don't like to be disturbed once planted, so two are to the left of the trellis, and one to the right. I put some pound-in plastic edging behind it all first, because the bunnies and chipmunks zoom under this fence like a freeway. Done for it spring yet?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Bloom Day and Blog Action Day...and this first picture is one of my environmentally friendly actions-composting! The best part is, it's as much or as little work as you want to make it. Do nothing, get compost. Stir it around a bit and add water, get compost faster. I really enjoy having options! Now for the blooms...mum's the word around here today! This one is my favorite...

....kinda scrawny considering it's about 6 years old, but I only got smart about amending the soil with horse manure in the past couple years. I'm glad it hung in there!This one was bought with annuals this year, and I was disappointed that it didn't bloom all summer. (No idea what I thought it would do, but it was in bloom when I bought it, so I guessed it was some other kind of mum...duh.) But it looks nice now, so I'll transplant it later to a permanent spot.This was also bought in spring with annuals, and "rested" til' now...I may leave this in the enamelware pot and see if it winters over...what the hey.
Asters are really nice! This volunteer was potted up last year and is doing great...who says you can't tame wildflowers? Sedums are still at it, though some cultivars are done already-psycho weather this year!
Annual basket still going...didn't get as lush as I'd hoped, but I blame the dry weather and my long work hours. (That's my story and I'm stickin' to it! ;-)
Nicotania still blooming it's butt off, although a few succumbed to a previous frost...I think the tree canopy protected this one.
Crown of thorns enjoying "summer camp" in the screen house, despite two episodes of frost. I'm glad that the temps alone didn't cause harm, even though this is under a roof. (Of course even desert temps dip pretty low sometimes.)
Lamium blooming right along...this has been extra happy since the trees overhead were trimmed. This gets listed as a shade plant a lot of times, but it grows better in more sun for me. (Long winter/short summer likely makes the difference.)
Some of the annuals in the Coke planter are still going, and some got frosted already.

Zinnia with bonus crab spider trying to blend in....sneaky.

Mushrooms are "blooming" everywhere, like this destroying angel...I always thought that would be a good CB handle. (Yes, I said CB handle...I am that old! My dad had one...very amusing.)
Look at this cute little volunteer marigold that just showed up the other day...I like these kinds of surprises!
Lone hydrangea bloom fading out nicely...
...another nice aster, "calico aster", I think.

More cool mushrooms...I love wild mushrooms, but only trust my ID skills with morelles. (Hey, I'm not that hungry!)
Fall-blooming crocus...the foliage looks a lot like grass in the spring, I have to be careful not to pull it. (Good thing I'm not a weeding neat-freak!)

My new "coconut lime" coneflower blooming in I like this thing! Michaelmas daisy (I'm pretty sure) came with the house and kind of barely survives most years, blooming only sometimes. This area will be amended with manure this fall for sure!
Morning glory, somehow getting through two frosts, while my other one died right back. Funny how frost can seem almost selective. Well, that's bloom/action day! Bulb mania is next...yeeehaaa!