Posts tagged ‘roses’

June 17, 2011

oh the joys of summer gardening in oklahoma….

yes, far too numerous even to count.

first we have thrips,

it's hard to see, but these leaves are covered with the brown polka dot damage of thrips.

then we have the heat,

note the sun scorch. and this is in the shade bed

then we have aphids,

"crinkled" leaves of my pepper plant where the aphids have helped themselves

the we have curling tomato leaves,

lettuce that bolts before it can be eaten

and did i mention heat?

my poor little squash

there are a few things though that seem to thrive in spite of all of the above. such as:

the lamb’s ear…

these get a little too happy and need to be cut back.

old fashioned day lilies…

nnnot my favorite but they do tolerate the heat

our very special pixie rose…

aka cecil brunner


may night


more salvia…

salvia greggii

and alice.  alice loves the heat.  we’ll talk more about alice later.

now things like sun scorch and curling tomato leaves, i have no real solution for.  but here is what i have found to help with some of the other things:

thrips and aphidspyola spray found through garden’s alive.  this is made from a pyrethrin, a naturally occurring substance in a daisy that can be used as a natural insecticide.  i don’t seem to ever get 100% control, but it does help some.  i spray every other week according to the directions on the label.

aphids can also be controlled by a gentle spray of water from the hose.  once they become dislodged from the plant, they can’t climb back up.  or so i’ve been told.

ladybugs also love aphids.  i have a nursery close by that sells them in mesh bags to be released in the garden where they will feast on those nasty little buggars.  if you decide to go the ladybug (more properly called ladybeetle) route, be very careful using insecticides.

the heat, obviously, is uncontrollable.  plants can be protected though by using lots of mulch and checking the soil every day to make sure that it is  kept moist to the touch. plants in containers need to be watered every day, and sometimes even twice a day.   another preventive method: use plants that are well adapted to the area, and pay close attention to the sun/light requirements.

April 30, 2011

purple irises

my irises finally bloomed.  my front  yard faces north and is largely dominated by a magnolia tree so while it does get some sun,  many of my plants tend to bloom a little bit later than every one elses.  on the one hand, i start feeling left out when i see my neighbor’s irises in bloom; but on the other hand, it’s nice to have mine just coming out when theirs are starting to finish up.

i can’t remember when i planted these.   it has been a while and they were just a rhizome with tiny shoots when they went in so i’ve had to be content with just the growing foliage for a few seasons.  i have three others, also in shades of purple, but they are still quite young and will not be blooming for a while.  we have had some horribly strong winds this spring and yesterday i was sad to see they knocked one of the blooms down.  i decided to bring it inside where we could enjoy it on the kitchen window sill.  just one bloom and two buds looked very empty in the vase so i brought in some of the ballerina roses, some lamb’s ear, a little bit of salvia, and a few foxglove buds to keep them company.  please look at the flowers and disregard the dirty window.  thanks.

April 19, 2011

come visit my herb garden!

i’m not much of a monday person.

we enjoy our long, lovely weekends.  we kick them off with our date night on friday, work in the garden and grill out on saturday, and conclude them on sunday evening with a glass of wine on the back porch.

monday morning is an abrupt back to reality slap in the face, usually starting off with an early morning airport run where I kiss my sweetheart goodbye for the week.

i’m not much of a monday person.

yesterday, however, was something of an exception.

yesterday, my husband and i made a trip together out to the country dairy for our raw milk and cream.  the drive out and back gave us a chance to catch up after his trip last week.

yesterday i enjoyed the hum of my washing machine while i deboned a chicken making me feel all warm and housewifey inside.

yesterday, i planted my herb garden.

or rather, i finished planting my herb garden as i simply added some annual herbs, and other new things alongside the perennial herbs already growing.

this is my herb garden:

it is the result of about two years worth of work, much of that time spent shuffling things around trying to find the right place for my plants.  the garden is situated in a narrow, west facing bed up against the brick wall of the house where the mediterranean herbs such as rosemary and oregano can absorb the heat of the afternoon sun. i suppose it is rather odd that the herbs are not located with the rest of the kitchen garden but I like it here: it is just to the right of the kitchen doorstep for very easy access when i am cooking. i can pop out and grab what i need without having to take the pot off the stove.

my garden is not a showcase of every specimen of herb known to man.  there are several things you won’t find here.

i don’t grow cilantro.  cilantro prefers the cooler weather and about the only time i want to use it is when i am making my salsa with my homegrown tomatoes, which happen to be a warm weather crop.

i don’t grow dill.  i just don’t.

i don’t grow fennel because my husband doesn’t care for the taste.

i don’t grow parsley.  i don’t use it often enough to justify the use of limited space, and i prefer not to share it with the swallowtail caterpillars even though i really enjoy the butterflies.

i do grow….

a nice healthy patch of oregano, one of the perennial herbs that comes back year after year,

a brand new patch of variegated sage, chosen more for color and texture than anything else.

a certain variety of thyme.  at least that is what i think this is based on the scent.  this was given to me last fall as a cast-off from someone else’s garden.  i was thrilled that it took root and came back.  are you noticing my vintage table knife markers?  i found them at napa style and i. love. them.

and of course, here is common thyme.  i grew this little baby from seed under my grow-lights.

rosemary.  planted last year and protected from the blizzard under a garden cloche.

 and because i think every garden should have flowers, here is a rose.  i call it the grocery store rose because that is where it came from: one of those small pots wrapped up for valentine’s day in pink cellophane.  i tossed it in the garden and didn’t expect it to last this long.  it has been moved a few times which is probably why it isn’t blooming just yet.  i am also very aware that it needs to be shaped.

this is sorrel.  this is an experiment as i’ve never grown sorrel before, nor have i ever used it in my cooking.  i started this inside along with a few other things and have nursed it along.  it lopped over in the wind while i was taking this picture.  i planted it amongst the dutch iris, another flower i have in my herb garden.

this is a very young patch of lavender, planted last fall.  lavender doesn’t do well here in oklahoma as our springs are usually too wet. lavender doesn’t care to have wet feet.  i have a rule in my garden: i never give up on any one thing until i have tried it three times.  this is my third lavender plant.  if it doesn’t flourish, the space will be given to something else.  you can see that the leaves have a little bit of damage due to the hard winter but it is getting ready to bloom so there is hope.

this scraggly lookin’ thing is catmint.  this was another cast-off that i salvaged and brought home. it doesn’t look like much now, but when it gets going it will spread to 30″ and send out lavender colored spikes. very pretty.  although i would have done better to position it opposite the lavender for a balance of color, but oh. well. there it is.

and this is lemon balm,

and sweet marjoram which is new.  i planted this because i had a recipe a few weeks ago that called for marjoram.  i didn’t have any and it was difficult to find in the store so i thought i would try growing it.

and basil.  which i love.  if i had more space i would grow it in drifts of every color and texture available.

up front i have a sad little tomato.  i struggled with starting these under the grow lights.  more on that later, perhaps in the form of a tutorial entitled “how not to start tomatoes indoors”.  i think he’ll make it though.  as to whether or not he’ll produce….we’ll see.

i have mint in a pot on the doorstep.  mint tends to be invasive, so i’ve been told.  i have two other varieties: pineapple mint, and apple mint yet to be potted up, perhaps with some annual dianthus.

and while you’re here, please have a look at my dutch iris getting ready to bloom….

and my traditional iris, planted about eighteen months ago but getting ready to bloom for the first time.  i am stoked.

so that is my herb garden.  you’ll have to stop back later on this summer to see how it is progressing along.

anyone else growing herbs?  what kind are your favorites and why?

April 14, 2011

my cecil brunner rose

is blooming!

this is a very special rose from a very special friend, given to us on a very special (and very bittersweet) occasion.  it is perfectly situated in our fairy garden and before long it will be covered with these miniature pink blossoms.  i stop to admire it every time i pass by.  this was the first of our rose bushes to bloom this season.

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March 22, 2011

spring garden clean-up

i love the spring.  i love watching the roses wake up, waiting for the daffodils to bloom, and hounding the vegetable and flower beds for the seeds to sprout and the perennials to start coming back.  marco and i have a sunday evening ritual (weather permitting) of sitting on our back porch with a glass of wine, just enjoying the yard and making plans for the potager and perennial beds.  last night was our first sunday- night-on-the-porch for this year.  these past two or three weeks the weather has been nice enough to get some much needed clean-up done in the yard.  so far we have:

*applied the crab-grass preventor to the front and back.

*raked the neighbor’s leaves out of all of my flower beds (have to confess i did not have happy thoughts towards my neighbor while i did this).

*pruned my apothecary’s rose.

*fertilized my irises.  i’m hoping at least one of the traditional irises that i planted over a year ago will bloom this year.

*moved my false indigo from the shade in the back, to the sunny bed facing west.  i had no idea how much adding a fence would change my landscape.

*weeded out endless patches of henbit.

*enjoyed my daffodils.  mine always seem to be a bit late and i feel “left out” when i see the rest of the neighborhood’s in bloom.  they finally took off last week and i’m thrilled that my idea of planting a group under the dwarf willow worked.  they look so pretty with the light green sprouting leaves of the willow.

*planned my container garden for the back porch.  i had loads of terra-cotta pots last year hosting just this, that, and the other thing.  it was pretty, but not very cohesive.  this year i spent a lot of time choosing plants and trying to follow a color scheme.  i am stoked and hope it works out.

*gone perennial shopping. at this point it is just window shopping.  as i said before, i didn’t realize how much the fence we added last year would change the landscape.  the bed i thought would be in full sun, is now in full shade.  i’m having to rethink it a bit and need some new plants.  so far we’re considering astilbe, and a lovely fern, among other things.

i have yet to:

*clean out, and clean up one of the long beds in the potager.  then i need to plant some asparagus although it will be three years before we harvest any.

*move my dianthus.  i planted these last year: the annual variety.  i didn’t expect to see them again this year, and i am still not sure how i feel about them.  however, they survived the blizzard without so much as losing their leaves.  i feel like they deserve a chance.  they surround the apothecary’s rose and just need a bit of rearranging.

*nurse my tomato seedlings along so they can be planted come tax day.  so far they look great.   we’re hoping for a great harvest of cherokee purples this year.

what is everyone else doing by way of spring gardening?