Thursday, June 27, 2013

AJ - our newest employee

Due to illness, have lost a couple of good people who were helping me out. But the Lord works in mysterious ways and I've come to know my newest helper - AJ. Young, strong and uncomplaining, AJ sets right to a project and finishes it and takes some pride in what he's doing. Since I only get help one day a week, he's only worked twice so far, but I am impressed and hoping he'll be with me a while.

AJ smiling after work

We potted something like 345 new plants Wednesday - Heuchera, Hellebore, Tricyrtis, Troillus - Latin may mean nothing to you but these beauties are some rarish creatures. I'll be able to offer most of them for sale in another 3-4 weeks. The seedlings from the Oakland County Greenhouse this winter are coming along nicely too. Will have lots of small pots - a few of a number of varieties of perennials, they'll be ready in a couple of weeks.

And, not to miss the season - it is time to start sowing biennial seeds for planting out in fall. Forget-me-not, Sweet William, Dame's Rocket, Hollyhock, Foxglove all need to be sown in the next few weeks so they can be planted in fall to bloom in spring. Primrose is another one I think I'll do again or get some pre-grown plugs as I love them so, but they didn't overwinter in pots.

Finally - we've GOT to get out and plant the vegetables - tomatoes, cukes, melons and peppers - all those heat-loving plants need to get into the garden PRONTO. I've just had these so far down on the priority list, but now it is time to get the garden beds planted. I've got to do my markets at Oakland County and Armada this weekend but might get to do some planting Monday.

And a friend asked - "What do you do for fun?" Tomorrow is the day for a visit to Skipper, the horse who is my mini-vacation every time I go see him. He reminds me of childhood, summer camp and sometimes, even if I don't get a ride in, it is just good to be out there. There is an apple tree with a patio table and chairs underneath and sometimes I'll have the barn all to myself. I'll take Skipper out and let him graze around the tree while I sit and have a picnic lunch. Now that's what I call living it up!

No garden tour for Fertilizer Friday. Tonight a whipped up wind and rainstorm came through and busted up tree branches everywhere. I was lucky, I just lost one delphinium, cracked off halfway up the stem. So, I wasn't able to get out and take pictures tonight. I'll post the most recent garden tour in a day or so. Trying to document the garden weekly, so I can remember what blooms when and with what. Visit Tootsie Time's blog for Fertilizer Friday and you can see gardens from around the world.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Open House - A Success!

What a whirlwind day! Up at the crack of dawn making a delicious strawberry-rhubarb crisp, loading all the food and stuff in the van, putting up signs and decorating tables and finally welcoming a great group of gardeners to Vicki Peterson's home. The food was a hit and quite a few people went home with some nice and inexpensive plants. Sorry, I didn't get any pictures of all the smiling folks but I was too busy talking plants and stuffing my face with food. All in all, a great, if exhausting day.

The heat is on now and I spent the evening sitting out on the patio as the house was too hot and I am nursing a sunburn. Sat listening to the fountain and enjoying the growing flowers in the planter bed. Inspired to get up and do a photographic nursery is amazing how fast the flowers go in and out of bloom - one needs to stay on it with the camera to document the whole year.

Fountain and sweet william

Delphinium just popped into bloom

Hydrangea just beginning to bloom

Serviceberries ripening - usually the birds get these first

Cherry tomatoes on the greenhouse plants

Peachleaf bellflower and sweet william still going strong

Coral bells blooming now for three weeks or more


I love the bark and structure of this apricot tree, but it is not bearing so I think it will meet the chainsaw

Lysimachia - punctata I think

Native columbine - Aquilegia canadensis

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Welcome the Summer Solstice

The back patio planter bed with the fountain
Spent Tuesday and Wednesday in the garden tidying and mulching. Received a violation from the police for "weeds" over 6" and blight so I had to go to town cleaning and weed-whipping. City Manager is supposed to drive by tomorrow so I hope it will pass muster with her. The police threatened to shut me down and said I couldn't have a home business...the city manager sang a different tune, so I don't know who to believe.

Anyhow, had the worst market ever today, should have stayed in bed or worked in the garden and nursery - it would have been more profitable. No traffic and the folks who cruised by were just looking. Oh well, can't win them all.

Working tomorrow at Vicki's to transplant and to get ready for the open house Sunday. AJ and I are going to weed and tidy and hopefully get some of the planter beds planted with vegetables. Spring is such a rush, so much needs to be done - all at once. Made the menu for Sunday - Hot dogs and Veggie Burgers on the grill. Broccoli Salad, chips, pop water and strawberry-rhubarb crisp. Vicki is making her famous two-bite brownies and hopefully some cole slaw, so I'm hoping we'll have lots of grub to share.
The patio

Letting parsley go to seed

The greenhouse
 For "Fertilizer Friday" with Tootsie Time, I'm offering a tour of the backyard nursery, freshly mulched and cleaned. Did even more weeding and planting after these photos were taken.
Nursery beds in the center of the yard

Garden totem moved to the tomato bed

Sweet William and Peachleaf bellflower

View from the back gate

Miniature Rose given to me long ago

Hosta and groundcover bed

Place for Hellebore near potting area

Two more hellebores will go here

That's all for this week. For everyone who can make it- I hope you get a chance to stop by the open house 1090 Meadowcrest, Waterford, MI 48327. We'll be welcoming people and passing food from 12-4 Sunday. See you there!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Trip to Troy

Tuesday I went hunting for soil and fertilizer and found myself at two of my favorite places - Telly's Garden Center and Uncle Luke's - both in Troy, Michigan. Telly's is such a feast for the eyes and Luke's is such a feast for the mind. Here's the photo essay...
Brugmansia in pot at Telly's - sweet fragrance

The front entry Telly's

All manner of unique plants

Succulents and a view to the nursery

Wow - look at all those succulents

Miniature Fairy Gardens

Another fairy lives here

Uncle Luke's is a haven for the organic gardener - fertilizers...I got kelp and fish

Lots of bulk seeds and fertilizers

Bird seed and pet food

Mascot kitty - an old geezer but still sweet

Bird feeders

Outdoor nursery at Luke's - vegetables and annuals at a good price

Lettuce in the raised beds

Vicki sent me this and asked me to post it. She is so proud of her just planted crop of lettuce
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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Open House is Upon Us

We've been working hard at Vicki's to get the nursery tidied up for the Open House. The event is scheduled for Sunday, June 23rd from noon to 4 at 1090 Meadowcrest in Waterford, 48327. I'll put out a few balloons so you'll be able to spot us. We'll have good food, great discounts and tours of the greenhouse and new gardens. Please stop by if only to get a piece of my famous "dump cake"! We'll go on rain or shine and we can huddle in the greenhouse if we get a passing shower.

I'm trying to clear out the overwintered one gallon pots, many of which look great and are starting to bloom. They'll be priced at only $3.00 that's half off regular price. All the smaller pots are just $2.00 each - full flats of ten, only $20.00 and that includes all the newly potted mums and fall stock. It's a great way to get some hardy, perennial plants and start or complete a new garden at a really reasonable price.

Spent the day yesterday with my brother and did some pruning and whacking of the exuberant shrubs in the raised bed planter. It's time to shape and prune back the forsythia and lilac and other early-blooming shrubs so they can make buds for next year during the summer. Evergreens like taxus or yew, boxwood, arborvitae and the false cypresses can be pruned now. The pines and spruce can be 'candled' or the new growth cut by half to keep them more compact.

Fertilized the garden with an organic 'Holly-Tone' and am hoping for some good rain to wash it in. Also fertilized the nursery with a regular 'Miracle-Gro'  to perk up some of the pots. Have to go and fertilize the open house location as the recent rains we've been having has washed all of the nutrients from the pots and the delphiniums are really starting to show it.

Spent the evening with a great group - the Pontiac Garden Club. Nice mix of members older and young and they met at the beautiful Pontiac Creative Arts Center - so I got in some gardening talk as well as a neat art show. They allowed me to set up my wares along the sidewalk and I'm happy to report that many of my babies got some good new homes. The hellebores proved to be a hit and I am getting low on the spring-potted stock so I went ahead and ordered more for summer planting.

Set up along the sidewalk in Pontiac

The garden continues to develop and bloom. The photos below are a few of the highlights.


A corner of the raised bed

I think Spiderwort or Tradescantia gets a bad rap. Easy to grow and long-blooming, this plant is not for evening gardeners as all the blooms will be closed by then.
The raised bed - oxeye daisy, sunrops and spirea


My brother's weed garden

Variegated Carex finally growing out of its dead foliage

Strawberries and Rhubarb

Strawberry-Rhubarb crisp

I love the caramel-color of the leaves of Heuchera 'Marmelade'. It is an easy coral bell but can burn up in a dry site. Here it is shown in the raised bed planter with oxeye daisy and spiderwort.

The raised bed planter always looks to fresh with the oxeye daisy and the sundrops.

Close up of Sundrops - Oenothera and I think the species is 'speciosa'.

A view of my brother's "Hand's Off" weed garden. I confess - I did pull a small mulberry tree with my brother's permission. Not the place to grow a big, weedy tree.

I love this carex or variegated sedge but man it sure looks ratty until it grows out of its winter funk. I know you can prune off all the dead stuff, but this planting is so dense it is impossible.

Made a bowlful of strawberries and rhubarb...

and then turned it into a delicious crisp.

Japanese Honeysuckle along the cyclone fence

Japanese Honeysucle

Japanese honeysuckle is such a rampant and enthusiastic grower. Great as a groundcover for hillsides or tough sites. This one is growing in part shade and I just let it ramble along the fence and shrubs.

I can't resist the sweet, orange-blossom scent.