Tuesday, June 5, 2012

on deck

 Okay. So I know I live out in the sticks and all and no one wants to drive out here, but I don't really think that's a good enough excuse to get you out of my daily (hourly, sometimes) Yard Walks. So since it's not convenient for you to come here and see what's on deck, plant-wise, in my yard this week...figgered I'd do you the favor and bring the show to you. I know I've been doing some sad singing about the plight of my squash, but I can't have you thinking it's all death and destruction out here. On the contrary-- there are actually a lot of good things blooming and/or about to bloom! And since Bren asked...here's a sneak peek from a quick walk last evening!

 I planted lots of sunflowers this year...several different varieties of seeds. Of course, I have no idea which variety is where, so it was anyone's guess as to what color would pop up where...but yesterday was the first day I could get a glimpse at this guy's color (the first to almost-bloom)! Looks like he'll be turning yellow and happy any day now!

My knock-out roses are having their second bloom of the year! This made me happy because they are SO PRETTY...and I was so sad when the first bloom died off and they were just boring green again. Very happy to see a fresh explosion of hot pink across the side of the house! Also, I'm pretty sure this bush has doubled...or more...in size this summer. It's insane!

Alright, alright, I know I showed a picture of this guy yesterday, but seriously! That was a phone picture. I'm sure it didn't do him justice. This variety is called Supertunia Pretty Much Picasso and that is a really funny and perfectly descriptive name.

And finally-- something I can take absolutely no credit for planting/growing, but I fully assume responsibility for eating: the wild blackberries growing ALL OVER OUR FREAKIN PROPERTY. Here's what they look like before they're ripe-

And here's the bowl-ful we can easily pick in a 5-minute 'harvest' each evening. 

Five minutes are about as long as we care to spend battling the mosquitoes, thorns, and snakes (not that we've seen any snakes, but we're treading in waist-to-shoulder-high weeds/underbrush/bushes...odds are high that they're there). And that bowl will easily last us until the next time we care to go a-pickin'. How fun is it having ready access to such a tasty treat??! I must say, though-- I totally understand why they cost a freakin fortune at the grocery store. I'm not sure if the cultivated varieties have the same thorns as the wild ones, but SHEESH. Whoever has the job of picking those bad boys 10 hours a day deserves some legit compensation. That picking is no joke. Those thorns are no joke! I have many a bloody scrape to prove it.

Alright. That's all the pictures I have. But now, just because I'm a generous soul, I'm going to give you something.

But not like actually something. Not anything physical. This is just going to be advice. LIFE-CHANGING advice, probably.

Many/most of you comment that you are scared of planting flowers/kill everything you've ever attempted to grow/are completely clueless about any and all things garden-related. And this hurts my heart, friends. Because I think that plants, gardens, and being outside enjoying the (literal) fruit of your labor are the best things ever. And I want you to enjoy them, too! That is why I'm going to make your life better by giving you a brief Plants 101 lesson. FREE OF CHARGE!!! Can you even believe it? If you complete this lesson (which will take 1 second because it's really short), you will be able to contemplate approaching the garden department of your local store with at least a tiny bit of confidence that you might be able to find something pretty and not kill it immediately. So get ready!

Point 1: The difference between annuals and perennials.

This one tripped me up for like...ever. They both sound like they mean the same thing. But they don't. Here's the deal:  

Annuals will only last one season. You plant it now, it will last through its current life (depending on the plant, maybe through the end of summer, or until first freeze) and then die and never come back (in most cases). If you like it, you'll need to buy another one (or seeds) next year and plant it again. Common annuals: petunias, begonias, marigolds, zinnias, tomatoes, corn, watermelon. TIP-- these things (like petunias, begonias, marigolds) are often really cheap (less than $1) and prominently displayed at the front of garden centers. They're EYE CANDY and easy and zero work/commitment.

Perennials live for more than two years. I use the phrase perennial favorite to remind myself that it is perennials that come back every year. This means that you never have to worry about it again (or at least for a few years)-- every year (in its season), it'll pop back up! I focus most of my money and energy on perennials because I'm lazy and I prefer spending money on things that I'll get several years of enjoyment from. Common perennials: black-eyed susans, chrysanthemums ('mums'), daylilies, irises, HYDRANGEAS. Many perennials will grow and spread over the years, so don't worry if they look a little puny at first-- by next year, they may be a lot bigger (see: my roses).

OK-- now you know the difference between those two words that sound like they mean the same thing. Last tip for the day: 

Point 2: Look at those little information sticks that are stuck in the plant pots.

They tell you EVERYTHING YOU MUST KNOW to choose a plant. There are little symbols that indicate whether the plant needs full sun, partial shade, full shade, or whatever. Just believe it. It'll even give you an indication of how big the full-grown plant will be, how much water and attention it will require, and any special features (like being deer-resistant, drought-tolerant, or attracting hummingbirds/butterflies). 

So if you find yourself jonesing for a pretty little thing to stick in the ground next to your mailbox, don't fear!! Now you know everything you need to know to dip your toe in the waters of Being A Master Gardener Like Me. (Joking. I'm not a "master gardener," which is an actual title that some people earn, although I'm not sure how. But I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to joke about being one, just like you're not supposed to put blue lights on top of your car and joke around by pulling people over at night wearing your police costume. Crazy world, right?). 


  1. I don't want your advice- I just want you to come here and do it for me... is that so much to ask?! Ha but seriously, thanks for the info!!

  2. Such pretty flowers! We have planted a TON of stuff this year...just check my blog for evidence! I want to plant double knock-out roses though, but can't find any information on caring for them. Do you have tips?

  3. This is good advice! Seriously, make it a series.

    I always read the info on the little stick things, but I need to just follow your advice and actually trust them... because usually I'm like, "Well, it says I only need to water it X times, but Texas is really dry, so maybe that doesn't apply here, so I'll just water it every day..." and that doesn't end well.

  4. i love sunflowers and those petunias are so pretty!
    i've been wanting to do a small garden for awhile. we have zero experience with it but ya gotta start somewhere right? so, i started at the dollar spot in target with some cilantro. random? yes. but i'm a little bit random. we'll see how it goes!

  5. LOVE the photos! Talk about instant gratification :) Thank you for the botany lesson... I used to just "smile and nod" when people would talk about perennials, now I'm a regular expert! I wonder who has the exciting job of naming these flowers? Supertunia pretty much picasso - genius!

  6. Thanks for the lesson! I worked at a garden center one summer during college and loved it but haven't yet trusted myself with flowers! Yours look absolutely fantastic! And I am totally jealous of those blackberries - yum!

  7. Our neighbors have the prettiest biggest hydrangea plants I have ever seen in person. And everytime I stop at the end of the driveway to pull out onto the main road, I see them and think of you!

  8. I love that you love your garden - it's so inspirational, and I am one of those people who is afraid of my plants.

  9. The day we are no longer renting I will go plant happy. I just hate spending money/putting work into something I can't take with me.


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