Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Moving indoors

My Mom gave me this a few years back. Well, not the plant exactly but a leave from one of her plants. It grew into a plant over the years but didn't bloom until this Spring when I moved it to my South kitchen window. I think it is very pretty. Next to it is the Rosemary I got from Jenny and that is growing good too. I cut snips off that to use when I make chicken, tastes wonderful.

Some of my houseplants didn't make it through the summer this year. One of my favorites, the Palm tree that bloomed twice a year, died. I will miss it as it brightened winter up.

I still didn't get the Daffodil bulbs in the ground but I did bring in my Calla Lilies. I had planted them conveniently in planting baskets so the bulbs were easy to find.

I'm going to leave my sprinkler hose outside for the winter as I have it threaded through the flower beds in a complicated way. I hope it does well.

Still have to clean out the garage as if I had a car to put in cause, who knows, I may get another car when I get tired of walking and taking the bus. And I need to put fences around my Bridal Wreath and Little evergreen. It may be too late to plant another peach tree or whatever so I'll wait until Sping.

The plants in the half barrel, the wheel barrow, the two swans are still in bloom so I'll have to decide what to do with them next week. I liked the red bark dogwood in the half barrow and I plant to do that again this year.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Beneficial bugs

If there's one thing I know about it's bugs...I keep and eye on them and chase them around all day long....hi, my name is CC and I'm a domestic cat. I want to tell you about insects for the garden.

There are three kinds of beneficial insects and they are classified by their "lifestyle" so to speak - predators, parasitoids and pollinators.
Predators eat other insects while parasitoids use pest insects as hosts for their eggs and larvae.

The pollinators facilitate pollination so plants can produce fruits and vegetables.
An insectary will provide food and habitat for all three types of beneficials.
Even the predatory insects will find nourishment.
Don't be intimidated by Janice's big word, planting an insectary is simple.
First, choose a sunny spot in the garden.
Janice created a 3 foot x 12 foot strip at the back of the garden where she removed her composting bins.
You can modify the size to suit your space.
You can plant several small insectaries around the garden or these plants will grow in containers, too.
Site the plants close to vegetable gardens, roses or other plants that will benefit from the insect helpers.
As with any garden, the secret to success is the soil.
Remove existing sod and vegetation.
Turn the soil to a depth of 18-inches and add amendments such as compost, sand and organic fertilizers as needed.
Rake the soil to make a smooth surface.
Once the bed is ready you can sow seeds, plant seedlings or potted plants.
When it comes to plant selection choose both flowering and foliage plants so the area will be inviting from spring through fall.
Provide plants of varying heights, the short plants offer cover and the taller ones will be visible and attractive to the insects from a distance.
I was surprised to learn that bugs have a flower preference.
They are especially fond of umbel-shaped blooms such as Queen Anne's Lace and dill along with composite shaped blooms such as zinnias or sunflowers.
Treat your insectary as you would any newly planted garden, but avoid pesticides and only use organic fertilizer.
Give the plants consistent moisture.

Be patient. Even though a colony of aphids, cutworms or mealy bugs often seem to appear overnight, it takes time to build up an army of beneficial insects. It's important to get ahead of the curve by starting your insectary in spring.
To further speed the process along you can order beneficials from companies such as Gardens Alive or
Handle and release them according to the directions provided by the source.
I don't recommend importing bugs though---those darn lady bugs kept me so busy last year I barely had time to enjoy my catnip.
Whether you plant an acre-sized insectary or just a few containers, creating a welcoming habitat for beneficials is just good sense. Once you get the garden in place Mother Nature will handle the rest.

BeneficialHelps CombatPlants They Like
Lacewings Aphids Cilantro, Cosmos, Dandelion, Dill, Fennel, Queen Anne's Lace, Tansy, Yarrow

Ladybugs Aphids Ajuga, Buckwheat, Butterfly Weed, Cilantro, Dandelion, Dill, Fennel, Marigold, Queen Anne's Lace, Veronica, Yarrow

Hoverflies Aphids, Mealy Bugs Ajuga, Alyssum, Feverfew, Cilantro, Cosmos, Buckwheat, Lavender, Lobelia, Lemon Balm, Mint, Parsley, Sedum, Marigold, Thyme, Veronica, Zinnia
Parasitic Wasps Moths, Flies, White Flies Yarrow, Dill, Cilantro, Cosmos, Queen Anne's Lace, Fennel, Statice, Lobelia, Lemon Balm, Parsley, Sedum, Marigold, Thyme, Zinnia
Tachinid Flies Cabbage Lopper, Cutworms, Squash Bug Nymphs Buckwheat, Lemon Balm, Parsley

Friday, August 14, 2009

Drought tolerant colorful flowers

Drought tolerant does not mean drab. These days even colorful annuals are being developed with low water usage in mind. Here is a list of dramatic flowering plants you can grow in your water wise garden.

Flambe® Chrysocephalum – Small button-like blooms on attractive plants. Give Chrysocephalum full sun and good air circulation. Orange or yellow flowering varieties available.

Diamond Frost® Euphorbia – Lacy white flowers float over delicate gray-green foliage. This is a great filler plant. It can be grown in both full sun or partial shade.

Luscious™ Lantana – Clusters of brilliant hued flowers on aromatic plants. The hotter it gets, the more this plant blooms. Give it full sun. Even though it is considered an annual below zone 9, some have luck wintering it over in zone 7.
Available varieties include Luscious™ Citrus Blend™ (orange & yellow), Luscious™ Grape (lavender & purple), Luscious™ Lemonade (yellow), and Luscious™ Tropical Fruit (pink & yellow).

Stratosphere™ Gaura - Slender stems tipped with butterfly-like flowers extend out from the plant like wands. This plant will add grace and movement to the garden. Perennial in zones 6 through 11.

Daredevil™ Zonal Geranium (Pelargonium zonale) – Globe-shaped clusters of color-rich flowers. For the best performance plant in full sun. Available in dark red, scarlet, magenta, orchid pink, dark rose pink, salmon or white flowering varieties.

Supertunia® Petunia – With 30 color choices there is guaranteed to be Supertunia® you like. Varieties include large flowering, double or minis, trailing or mounding habits, and bi-colored, solids and veined flowers. Plant in full sun and feed often with a liquid fertilizer.

Charmed® Oxalis – Foliage is king with this plant. Available varieties include Jade (green with a silver sheen and pale pink flowers), Velvet (deep purple with white flowers), or Wine (maroon with pale pink flowers). This plant is suited for shade or partial shade.

Intensia® Phlox – Mounds of single petal blooms that have the appearance of old fashioned garden phlox on a compact plant. Available in white, various shades of pink or a pink and white bi-color.

Senorita Rosalita® Cleome – Tall branches topped with sprays of lavender flowers. A very dramatic plant. Senorita Rosalita® is extremely heat tolerant and prefers full sun.

Superbena® Verbena – Clusters of small flowers on trailing stems. Excellent for spilling over the edges of containers. Plant in full sun. Heat tolerant as well as drought tolerant.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Garden Vegetable summer medley

2 large potatoes peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
2 large sweet peppers, seeded, cored and cut into strips
1/2 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and cut in half
4 ears corn, kernels cut from the cob
6 Garlic Cloves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

In a large serving bowl combine the olive oil, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper.
Bruise the herbs and crush the garlic to bring out the flavor.
Add the vegetables and toss to coat.
Spread the mix on a rimmed baking sheet.
Baked in a preheated 425 degree oven for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Transfer to a serving bowl and top with chopped parsley.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Yesterday Owen and I wove a soaker hose throughout the yard. Now when the plants need water I just turn on the faucet and set the easy. Last year I planted some Daisies again and they are coming into bloom now. But, they are lemon yellow so I guess I picked the wrong ones. Looks like the day lillies are about to bloom as well and a couple of the older ones are already in bloom. The rhubarb has been shared a lot this year and there's hardly any left. I need to let it grow for a while so the I can make some rhubarb ice cream with the kids. We missed our annual July 4th snowball fight, so while the freezer seems to be full of food, it's actually full of snowballs we made last winter. Also our fire works are waiting. Kids were with their Mom this year on the fourth, so we still have a celebration to go to, LOL.

Friday, July 3, 2009

I'm a saver

I've been saving my Dad's rusty old green wheelbarrow for ...I don't know how many years. I never used it for it's intended purpose. I just like to see it in the Spring and Summer and remember all the times my Dad would use it for hauling plants around, or loading it up with the vegetables from his garden, or hauling trash to the curb. The wheelbarrow had its spot in my Dad's garage. It was on the left side of the door next to the lawn mower. Everything in it's place in my Dad's orderly garage. I can see it now in my mind's eye. Of course the wheelbarrow didn't look old and rusty back then. It was clean and green. Today I decided to fill it up with flowers and put it in the front yard. It makes me smile.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

This is what's blooming today in my gardens

This is California Poppy

This is Joe Pye Weed in front of the pool that's waiting for the children to return

The window box on the planting shed

The rain barrel planter, plants from Dan for Mother's Day

Iris Honey Suckle Vine
The Clematis has started to bloom

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Earth Friendly Demise for Pesky Growth

Put a cup undiluted vinegar (5% or better...) into a pump sprayer and add 1/4 cup of dish liquid, set the nozzle at a thin stream and zap the centers of the pesky plants between walking stones and at lawn edges. Next day they're dead and a few days later no trace of them is left.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Perenials in Raised Bed

I took pictures of some of the flowers in bloom. Someday I'll remember what kind they are. Also the Pagoda Dogwoods have a lot of buds on them. I see some of the Bleeding Hearts are in bloom, both red and white. The lilacs are in full bloom as are the tulips. The Honeysuckle Vine has a million flower buds on and the Sweet Autumn Clematis is growing up on the fence as are the grape vines. Rhubarb is huge, too much to pick so I offered it to other people and have had a few takers.
I moved my house plants on the summer porch and recovered the ratan chairs in green and white. It's been very nice sitting out there in the evenings having my tea and reading. Or when the kids are here we play Star Wars Monopoly or go fish out there. It's a very nice spot.
Looking for a car that's a little newer than my twenty year old one. Owen wants me to save my Honda for him...I guess I'll have it another ten years until he's ready to drive.
Have some little flags for the kids to put out tomorrow in the yard, in addition to the usual regular size one.
Have a happy memorial day remembering your loved ones.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Yard work

cut the grass, not much grass left but it takes a while to cut cause I have to go around so many obstacles LOL. nap time then I'll do the clipping and plant two tomato plants...Brandywine and Mortgage Lifter. I usually plant Brandywine and Old German but decided to go with the other this year. I also need to plant some chives and some lemon balm. Still have the pink garden to put in but Hali doesn't seem interested lately. Peach tree didn't make it. No growth after the rabbits ate all the bark off. Just buds and then they died. Lots of flowers in bloom in the raised bed I planted last year. Some of them are Bee Balm,Grape Hyacinth, Beardtongue, Columbine,Danford Iris, Bistort, Wild Geramium and Bleeding Heart. The 4 Lilacs are in bloom to and the Lavender has buds on. Of course on the other hand I have the little emerald pines that the rabbits ate...thank goodness they don't like rhubarb. My plan is to finish a few things in the yard and then set up my hammock chair and read until dark. Or maybe I'll get a garden light. I wonder if they have solar lights bright enough to read by.

Mortgage Lifter heirloom tomato was developed in the early 1930's by a man named M.C. “Radiator Charlie” Byles. Byles was a radiator repairman who, like many of his countrymen, struggled to keep his finances in order during the Great Depression. As the story goes, Radiator Charlie cross-bred the largest tomatoes he could find in his hometown of Logan, West Virginia, and sold the resulting plants for a dollar each. The profits he earned were substantial enough that he was able to pay down his mortgage with them!
Mortgage Lifter is an indeterminate tomato variety, which means that the plants will grow vines and continue to grow taller as the gardening season progresses. Without pruning, the plant will continue to grow longer. To allow the plant to focus on growing higher yields of fruit, pinch the suckers on the tomato vine, and stake the plant well.
Thomas Jefferson grew Mortgage Lifter tomatoes in his extensive vegetable gardens at Monticello from 1809 until his death in 1826. Indeed, many gardeners fall in love with this tomato, growing it year after year in backyard vegetable gardens all over North America.
How to Grow Mortgage Lifter Tomatoes from Seed
Growing heirloom tomatoes from seed is not a difficult task, even for beginner vegetable gardeners. Sow Mortgage Lifter tomato seed indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost. Seeds should be sown in the seed starting medium of choice 1/4” deep, placed in a seed starting tray and covered with a plastic dome or plastic cling film in a warm room out of direct sunlight until seedlings emerge. Use of a heating mat designed for seed starting may be useful in cooler climates.
When the Mortgage Lifter seedlings begin to emerge, remove the plastic cover and position the tray under a fluorescent light, 1 to 2” above the seedling. As the seedlings grow, keep the light about an inch from the top of the growing leaves. Regular fluorescent shop bulbs work just fine. After the first set of true leaves appears, fertilize the seedlings weekly with a diluted solution of 20-20-20 fertilizer. Transplant the seedlings into larger pots, if necessary, to facilitate root growth.

Brandywine. While there are many stories about the Amish origins of this tomato, William Woys Weaver has documented this tomato as being introduced in January 1889 by the Philadelphia seed firm of Johnson & Stokes. Flavor is the sole reason that this Pennsylvania heirloom tomato from the nineteenth century remains available. The large pinkish fruits range in size from 10 to 24 ounces and are borne on vigorous vines. Fruits are flattened and irregular, a pinkish red. This is the true Brandywine from the famous Tomato Guru Ben Quisenberry. This outstanding large pink tomato is considered by many to be the best tasting of all.

Friday, May 15, 2009

spring flowers

My apple tree from inside
My apple tree from outside...not quite in full bloom

Early spring is past and now comes the work phase of gardening

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cinco de Mayo

The fifth of May already. These are the few flowers I have in bloom today. Haven't gotten to the weeds yet. I hate to pull out green and growing things after such a long white winter.


Birds have five basic needs: food,water,shelter from hot or cold weather,nesting sites, and protection from predators. Supply these and you will have many more birds around your home to entertain you and control pests.Be sure feeders and bird houses are located where they cannot be reached by cats.

Lobelia is a great annual for hanging baskets or container gardens with stems that trail about 8 inches. The Cascade variety is especially bright in colors of pink,white,lilac,maroon,violet and blue. Most flowers have a white eye.

Pinch back annuals when 4 -6 inches high to promote bushy growth. Some that require pinching are zinnias,petunias,and salvia.

Plant ground cover under shade trees that don't allow enough sunlight to sustain grass. Perwinkle and English ivy are two ground cover plants that grow well in shade.

It's frog season. The practical reason for preserving frog and toad habitat is that the animals eat lots of insects and mosquitoes. At night, toads are out there devouring those nasty slugs that are eating your plants. Frogs and toads need clean water and cover. Install a pond or even a little water garden, and you'll be amazed how quickly frogs will find it. Along the edges of your yard, keep some native grasses. Set the mower at a higher level, and don't spray for dandelions every couple weeks

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Grandkids with their trees

This is Owen with the tree I planted for him when he was born. It's a white Magnolia and it is five years old just like he is. The blossoms are just starting. It was a bright sunny day today so a good day for getting a picture.
This is Hali with the pink Magnolia I got for her when she was born. Both Hali and the Magnolia are almost three years old.
We had fun outside today playing LaCrosse and Golf. It was too windy for flying kites.
Kids have left to go fishing with their Dad now and it's suddenly quiet.

Friday, May 1, 2009

May Day

O Mary! we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels,
Queen of the May,
O Mary! we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May.

Lovely Lady dressed in blue -------
Teach me how to pray!
God was just your little boy,
Tell me what to say!

Did you lift Him up, sometimes,
Gently on your knee?
Did you sing to Him the way
Mother does to me?
Did you hold His hand at night?
Did you ever try
Telling stories of the world?
O! And did He cry?

Do you really think He cares
If I tell Him things -------
Little things that happen?
And Do the Angels' wings
Make a noise?
And can He hear Me if I speak low?
Does He understand me now?
Tell me -------for you know.

Lovely Lady dressed in blue -------
Teach me how to pray!
God was just your little boy,
And you know the way.

Mary Dixon Thayer who wrote more than one poem for Our Lady, is the author.
This prayer-poem was popularized in the 1950s by Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

Friday, April 17, 2009


There are a lot of things wrong with the hood I live in but one thing that's right about it, are the soft breezes that come off the Fox River in the Spring and Summer. The breezes make up for a lot. Of course the other reason I would hate to leave here is the sound of the trains at night. I love that sound, works better than a sleeping pill. Another great thing is that children still play kick ball in the street. People still grill out with charcoal and sit on their stoop in the evening and greet the people walking by. Sometimes this seems like the best place on earth.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Did a walk around

The yard today. There is a darker Crocus in bloom now too and the Daffodils and tulips are budding nicely. My peach tree that I thought was dead has buds on it but time will tell if it will be okay after the hungry rabbits ate most of the trunk. Rhubarb not quite ready to pick and no dandelions for salad or wine yet. No buds on the apple trees or the grapes or the dogwoods yet.
I picked up all the garbage the blew into my yard over the weekend. I'm deciding if I want to rake the yard or not. I hate to lose the dead leaves but I can always put them in the compost bin for later. I'm going to get a bigger pool this year and a swing set or a climbing structure might be better. They are climbing the big Maple tree as I used to do at my friends hous when I was a kid. We ordered a tree to plant for Arbor Day this month. It's a white pine...another lunch for the rabbits next year I guess. Walter is doing pretty good. Some of his trunk is falling off. But strong otherwise and still putting out little branches.
Kids not here Sunday so the Easter egg hunt this year with be on Thursday or Monday. I think Monday is better, a little extra action after the big event.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

First Flower of Spring Woo Hoo!!

This year the light lavender crocus has won!

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Best Sandwich Ever

Total time: 20 minutes
Servings 1

3-4 thick slices of bacon
2 slices monterey Jack cheese
2 slices rustic country bread, toasted
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
4 slices tomato
2 leaves butter lettuce
1 teaspoon butter
1 egg

1. Cook the bacon until crisp
drain on paper towels and set aside

2. Place the slices of cheese on one slice of the toasted bread
and place in a toaster oven or under a broiler to melt the cheese.

3. Spread the other slice of toast with the mayonnaise,
top with cooked bacon, the sliced tomato and the lettuce.

4. In a nonstick skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.
Fry the egg, turning over briefly when the bottom is set (keep the yoke runny)

5. Slide the finished egg on top of the lettuce.
top with the other slice of toast, melted cheese side down.
place the sandwich on a plate and slice in half, letting the yoke run down the sandwich.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Little Pine Care

Today I coated the little pines, the lilacs, and the Peach tree with tree Kote to see if I can save them. The rabbits must have all come here for food. A lot of snow makes food scarce so I was happy to provide but I will miss my little trees if they die. I have located some privacy fencing that I can put on the chain link fence if the little pines don't make it. Then putting on vines to make it green. Looking around the yard today I see a lot of little green and growing things. The rhubarb is up about two inches or so. Snow is coming tomorrow, maybe a lot and maybe not. I filled the feeders and left the Christmas tree for another week for shelter. The March winds blew a lot of trash into the yard so I picked that all up. I picked up the empty corn husks as well. That's about all the gardening I did today.

Friday, March 20, 2009


by: George Marion McClellan
O dreamy languors and the violet mistOf early Spring,
the deep sequestered vale
Gives first her paling-blue Miamimist,
Where blithely pours the cuckoo's annual tale
Of Summer promises and tender green,
Of a new life and beauty yet unseen.
The forest trees have yet a sighing mouth,
Where dying winds of March their branches swing,
While upward from the dreamy, sunny South,
A hand invisible leads on the Spring.

His rounds from bloom to bloom the bee begins
With flying song, and cowslip wine he sups,
Where to the warm and passing southern winds,
Azaleas gently swing their yellow cups.
Soon everywhere, with glory through and through,
The fields will spread with every brilliant hue.
But high o'er all the early floral train,
Where softness all the arching sky resumes,
The dogwood dancing to the winds' refrain,
In stainless glory spreads its snowy blooms.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Almost Spring

I saw a nice fat robin today and the bright sunshine. Also saw a flock of seagulls. The Maples are ready for sugaring and the sun is still shining after 6 pm with daylight savings time here again.
I made it through another winter, I always think I won't.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

cold and sunny

Coming home today I saw a little wild cat come out of my garage. So I quickly put out a bowl of cat food and some water and turned on the kennel heater. I much prefer feral cats to hungry rabbits. I suppose by the end of summer I will be arrested by the over zealous animal catcher for feeding feral cats. I have a lot of stories about feral cats but I suppose sharing them with innocent byreaders would be silly. It's one of those evenings that no matter how high the heat is turned up, it's impossible to get warm. Spring is coming this month. I pretty much have decided to dig up what's left of my gardens and plant lovely green grass. I have already bought a croquet set to play--

and am looking at above ground swimming pools.

I was getting tired of gardening anyway.

Imagine soaking up all that summer sun!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Not much happening in the garden in February

Not much happening in the garden. Had a snowstorm the other day and then last night we had a Thundersnowstorm. Took a couple pictures early. We ended up getting only six and a half inches of heavy blowing and drifting snow.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Lettuce Be Valentines

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Name that flower

Tonight I seem to be in my left mind, but when I'm in my right mind I remember what it's called. I purchased the bulb for myself at Christmas time. I also surveyed the yard again today and it's a sad, sad sight. Even as the snow melts I can find more damage. Oh I wish I still had my feral cats.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Tonights sunset

Red Sky At Night... The origin of the saying is unknown, although a form of it appears in the bible (Matthew 16:2-3). It has some basis in science and is a fairly good predictor of-though no guarantee-of weather at the mid latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere, where storm systems generally follow the jet stream from west to east.

Matthew 16:2-3 “When evening comes you say, ‘It will be fair weather, because the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, because the sky is red and darkening.’ 2 You know how to judge correctly the appearance of the sky, 3 but you cannot evaluate the signs of the times.

Nevertheless, when I was finished buying diapers and bottled water at K Mart, I was greeted by this beautiful of course I took a picture.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I went to a new grocery store today to see what vegetables they had that were local...grown in the USA that is. I did find a nice selection and while I was peeling and slicing them to snack on, it smelled just like a summer day in the kitchen. They were quite good which was somewhat of a surprise. I had some grape tomatoes from Florida, green beans from Arkansas, a seedless cucumber from Canada (I only buy produce from USA or Canada with the exception of bananas). A couple other veggies from Wisconsin....carrots and rutabagas. I wanted to get a yellow pepper, but all the peppers were from Mexico so instead I got a yellow squash from Minnesota. It was all sweet and good.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Gardening In Winter

Of course the birds and critters need to be fed so here we are feeding them. They eat a lot of food in the winter. A store closing has all bird seed on sale for half price so we got a lot of it. I was afraid the birds wouldn't like it cause it's a different mix but they eat every morsel. I am thankful today for the heated birdbath that supplies flocks of birds with fresh water each day.
I am thankful too, for my sweet granddaughter that helps me feed the critters.

While I was salting the porch and sidewalk Hali was shoveling the driveway. She sure likes to be outside and enjoys all the daily jobs that need to be done in the cold. Even helping bringing out the garbage and recyclables. I am thankful I have salt to clean the mailman's way so he doesn't slip and fall. I am thankful for cross country skies and ice skates so we can have fun when the temperature gets up in the twenties like it did today.

This is my winter flower garden and I do enjoy it. The bowl on the right is the oat grass beginning to grow. I put it down for the cats and they sure enjoy it. I am thankful today for all the colors of the rainbow and the pretty flowers on my cupboard.