Archive | February 2022

February 20-26, 2022: Week 8 Garden in Review

Oh boy! This last week was a real rollercoaster. Temps hit the 70’s most days and nights were above freezing. Nearly daily warm rains really sent the garden into growth mode. Seedlings really shot up outside! It was a perfect week of gardening weather, but, even with all of the growing, the garden suffered a catastrophe. The company we hired to remove the piles of limbs from our pruning and raking piles from winter cleanup for some reason decided it would be fun to don a backpack of glyphosate and spray INTO our growing, active beds. We read them the riot act six ways from Sunday and hosed down as much of the beds as we could. Now we wait. They had no authorization to weed, poison or do anything like that, they were hired to carry piles to a truck. I’m flabbergasted, and hope we saved the roses and irises and lilies they sprayed. It’s amazing to me that a company that services landscapes thinks glyphosate is a selective weed killer. All of that to kill THREE dock plants and a few scattered chickweed.

Hired to remove many piles like these.
Used this on my beds 🤯

I am so glad to report that the new bird house as well as the old one seem to be noticed by the bluebirds. I caught a few snapshots of them doing a house tour early in the week. I couldn’t quite get a shot of the new blue house as the birds were quickly in and out and I couldn’t get the shot, so forgive the quarter photo.

Checking out the house
He’s a bit faster than I am and I missed the photo!

Last fall I realized I was sitting on a gorgeous mum. It’s apricot/ yellow and the blooms are very large 3 inch blooms. I wanted to split it to put it in a few other spots where it would garner more attention, but it’s old and woody and that’s too much work, so I decided to take spring cuttings to propagate instead. The plant has put up about 4 inch shoots this week, so it’s go time.

Parent mum

I had a chance during the week to pot sedum and succulents to propagate. These are currently under light in the Mylar grow hut units in my garage. I’m pretty new with succulents and have a poor track record, so this will be an interesting adventure. I took mature sedum and succulents from various planters I have and put them on succulent soil in 2 inch pots. Time will tell if I succeed!

As it is winter most of my focuses on my indoor seed starts. This week I am still fighting Cleome queen and am now attempting to connive it germinate by putting it in the fridge at night and hot grow hut for its days. I gave in and ordered one pack of sparkler Cleome as it is a hybrid that apparently germinates without this kind of fuss. During this week most of the 4-6 week seedlings germinated and I now have a lot of planning to do on where my seedling will go in my garden!

4-12 week seedlings coming along great!


The Mother’s Day Obelisk: 20 Years in the Making

There are many wonderful ways to spend Mother’s Day. When my boys were very little, we would have their Grandmothers to the house for a feast (prepared for and cleaned up by me), while everyone else had a relaxing Mothers’ Day, I went to bed dead tired having spent the day chasing children, dogs, cats and grandmothers out of the kitchen so I could bake, and cook and create a wonderful day for everyone. While I love hosting and giving family lovely days, this was exhausting and short sighted, as I am a mom too. My husband convinced me to relax and we tried the restaurant route. Horrendous. Long lines, crowds of waiting families, starving kids missing naps. About 5 years in to this ridiculous nonsense I decided Mother’s Day was best celebrated a week early with the grandmas at a restaurant with no lines or with a low key cookout my husband took care of. It was a hit! That opened up actual Mother’s Day for planting! At the time I lived up north in zone 4 and Mid May was just about the time when annuals could be purchased – but kept in the garage at night due to frosts. So, the tradition began that on actual Mother’s Day, I would go to large rural garden center and spend hours pouring over the tomatoes, annuals and hanging baskets and come home with a trunk full. At first my kids came with me, and their input was adorable, and we had a sensitive plant in the garden every year! Then they decided it was boring. Was I upset? Absolutely not! Have you ever dragged young boys through a massive nursery? So, as my oldest child hit middle school the plant shopping day became MINE!

Fast forward to our move to GA. Planting occurs at least a month prior to Mother’s Day, and the plant sales come in April, so the day was re-worked. We still do a nice dinner a week before because I will NEVER again wait in long lines to eat with 700 other grumpy women with their hungry, overtired kids. Perhaps that is selfish, but quite honestly it is self preservation as I cannot stand crowds that are not moving. Lines frustrate me. In addition, I had 2 difficult pregnancies with months of bedrest and complications. I deserve a darn meal without nonsense and I shall have that if I have to move the day and week to make it happen. Now, in Zone 8, Mother’s Day has become a day to relax, or do a project that I have wanted to get to but didn’t have time. Queue in the 2020 Pandemic Quarantine Mother’s Day.

I became very interested in obelisks in MI in 2000 when I saw an antique at a market, but the cost of the mighty beauties can be quite astronomical. I have had dreams of large metal obelisks with fleur de lis finials towering throughout my landscape-covered in beautiful well-contained vines (as if those exist here), but as you may remember, I prefer to be rather thrifty. So, after 20 years of gardens in three different states and nearly grown children, I decided that it was time. I would spend 2020 “Quarantine Mother’s Day” making a 7 foot tall wooden obelisk for the garden. Go big or go home! I saw many plans online but decided the easiest ones for me were at because they gave the actual cut lengths of the cross bars. I made some adjustments to the cross bar lengths to accommodate the diameter of a large 18 inch pot inside the obelisk to grow climbing plants. I wanted a pot there to keep vines off of the ground so I could still easily walk through the garden.

I followed the plans from the site above loosely, but used their recommendations to purchase my lumber. We already had all of the tools as we are a DIY household. I ordered a couple extra 8 foot lengths in case my lumber was not that great. This was during the VERY early pandemic so our order was filled and brought to the car by someone else and I did not get to choose my own wood. Luckily I ordered extras, as one of the pieces was warp beyond use for a tall support.

My youngest son had recently made a kit bird house with his dad in the work room and I added it to the top of the obelisk.

Unpainted Obelisk

The entire structure was painted white with an outdoor paint and the bird house was painted red and blue.

I grow peas on this annually now in spring, and for the first 2 summers grew huge cucuzzi gourds on it in the summer and into the autumn. I have found that we just do not enjoy the flavor of cucuzzi as a cooked veggie, so I have found 2 clematis that I will plant in it for summer interest instead. As you can see from the photo below, the cucuzzi vines really overtook the obelisk and the little bird in the house was not very happy about it.

Cucuzzi on theObelisk

Last year on “actual” Mother’s Day, with my obelisk dream fulfilled, I enjoyed the day, soaked in the hot tub, and had a friend over for scones and tea in the garden. This year I have no idea what I will do, but suspect it will be more relaxation, as May is truly beautiful here.

Hot Tub Bar
May Garden- A Lovely Time for Visitors