Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Planning Your Spring Garden - Catalogs!

Forget the Christmas wish list (Is the Sears Christmas catalog still called the Wish Book?  Is there even a Sears Christmas catalog anymore?  For that matter, is there a Sears catalog at all?), spring seed catalogs are what I look forward to finding in my mailbox!

With the weather being what it is (rain, rain, snow, rain...) catalogs are all I can do to prepare for spring.  I can't even get out there and plant my peas.  

I never order even a quarter of what I circle, but I sure get some great ideas, and learn about new varieties. 

Here are my favorite seed company catalogs, free for the asking.

Territorial Seed -

Burpee -

Gurneys -

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds - we're too late to get a copy of the 2017 catalog, but you can download one:

It has the most gorgeous photos.  Get on the list for a 2018 catalog!

I usually purchase Territorial seeds.  They are one of several companies based in my state, and in my mind that means they are better adapted to my area.  Also,  my employer carries them, so it's convenient for me!  I did buy some flower seeds at the grocery store yesterday; they are Burpee and were much less than the package price. 

Many of the seed companies offer plants as well as seeds.  I have purchased Territorial tomato plants, with mixed success.  Now I rely on local sources for all my tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.  It just isn't worth my time, effort, or money (I tried starting my own seeds in Feb. 2013... didn't work for me) to do it myself. 

All's not lost in the wait for spring though, there are definite signs in the garden that winter won't last forever...  

crocus in the herb garden (between oregano and a ground-cover wall flower)

Tete-a-Tete daffodils and prostrate rosemary

some sort of dwarf Siberian iris

Luther - the plumcot/pluot

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Bargain Plants, Planters, General Garden "Stuff" and a New Fruit Tree!

I am finding it more dangerous to work at a farm store (which has a nursery and garden department too!) than a pet store!  In two and a half years at the pet store I only bought two Guinea pigs (who did double the investment!), and three baby rats.  The garden supplies are doing me in!  We had some very cute succulent planters that didn't sell well, and the succulents were dying (inside, no sun), so instead of just throwing them out, we were able to buy them for $1.00 each. The succulents, not the planters, they were more.

I limited myself to five...  The one on the right in the photo below is a mutated form of a jade plant. It's called "Gollum."  I didn't name it, that's it's real name, Crassula ovata "Gollum."  I'm pretty sure the bottom two photos are gasteria. 

Then, the containers themselves, which were 80% off what they cost when new and filled with the succulents... they are so cute!  I may get some more in different styles. 

I also stumbled on a clearance ceramic planter... a broken bag of peat moss, and three broken bags of steer manure (broken bags are sold at a discount!). Then, I went to Lowe's for a new door knob for the bathroom and got mushroom compost, chicken manure, and a few other bags of soil related things.

And, there's Stella!  The bare root semi-dwarf Stella cherry tree!  She's from the Grange Co-op.

She came free with a container of root stimulator.

So, I've got my work cut out for me, once it stops raining. I still have to build the butterfly garden bed, and now the raised bed for the cherry tree.  I discovered the curved scalloped edgers I want are available at my work, and the grey (instead of red) ones are clearance priced!  I told you I'm in big trouble working at the farm store!  So far it's all been sale though. 

These next two photos are just to share the cuteness I live with, not covered in mud for once.

Finally, a good photo of Edward the Goldendoodle, just out of the bath!  Yes, we know he has a cyst on his eyelid, he will be having it removed soon... He also was diagnosed today with a thyroid issue, so along with his epilepsy and allergies, he will be taking 8 1/2 pills a day! Those Nylabone toys are the only thing Edward can't chew up. 
The ever-photogenic Boo... although here he looks a bit frightened. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Could Ol' Groundhog Phil be Wrong?

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, which "means" six more weeks of winter.  But, I see signs of spring all around the garden!

Miniature daffodils up and in bud.

Creeping wallflower already in bloom!  I absolutely love this plant!  Fortunately, it can be propagated by laying stems on damp soil.  I did that last year, and transplanted it to the rock garden in the front. 

Day lilies sprouting.

Aubrieta in the rock garden. 

The fruit trees are budding.  This is the Pluot, or plumcot, Flavor Supreme

So, Phil may be wrong... at least so far as Southern Oregon is concerned.  I sure hope so!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A Little Work in the Garden

Not much as been able to be accomplished since the "big snow."  Things are still soggy, slippery with mud, and just plain icky out there. 

But, I want to plant snap peas, so had to get busy since they go in this month.  I usually plant Cascadia, but neither my favorite seed company (Territorial), nor my employer (Grange Co-op) carries them anymore. 

The original pea bed (mentioned in my second post ever!) was between the fence and the big cinder block bed.  That was fine before the bed overgrew with Meeker raspberries but it became hard to get to, and didn't get enough sunlight.  I hadn't planted peas in it for years, it only had some small strawberries, survivors from the big strawberry purge of 2016 (not documented here, but I let the big bed of strawberries die last summer since I couldn't beat the bugs).  Now I'm sorry...  but back to the peas...

I moved the concrete blocks (I know I called the "cinder" blocks before, and I believe they are called that in stores, but they do not contain cinders anymore, they are concrete!) next to the raised bed near the fence.  I made it two blocks wide instead of one, but it's still about 8' long.  It is wide enough to put trellises in the middle with a row of peas on either side.  Because of the length I had to add an extra block to even it out, which bothers me a bit, being uneven! 

There are four blocks left, which makes a nice sized square for lettuce.  Both peas and lettuce grow well planted in February. 

Planning and planting this month makes it feel that Spring is just around the corner!  So do the vibrant colors of Primroses!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Snow, Snow, Go Away... Never Come Back

I thought the other day was snowy?  Silly me!  We got hit hard a few days after I posted those barely snowy photos.  Not hard-hard, like Montana or Finland, but we are in Southern Oregon, and the amount of snowfall on Tuesday was a record, surpassed only in 1919.  It's bad enough to get around in it (not being used to snow, schools closed all week, city buses didn't run, garbage was left at the curb until next week), but now it's caused garden damage.

My poor forsythia..

bend to the ground by snow
after I shock the snow off
This tree's days were numbered, since it leaned over anyway...

...but, when we saw the snow had bent it down onto the side of the house, we had to start cutting off branches right then and there.  I say, "we," but the heavy lifting/branch cutting work is the domain of my youngest son!

Most of what's left will have to be cut from the neighbor's side.

my rock garden is under there somewhere...

the scarecrow has a new hat!
It's now Saturday morning, and it's snowing again.  The worst is the ice.  I work very close to home, but our business parking lot is shaded and slippery.  On top of that, it's cold!  Really cold.  REALLY REALLY COLD!  It was 9 degrees last night!  That is REALLY REALLY COLD to me!

It is pretty amazing how light it is out at night when everything's covered in snow. This is a photo of the Plumcot tree taken at nearly 8:00 pm without a flash!  The snow reflects off the neighbor's roofs into the house, and it's like we have skylights.  That is, when the sun shows itself.  

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year's Snow


I had hoped today would be sunny (it was clear when I got off work yesterday afternoon), so I could get some things done in the garden, but I woke to snow!  Not as much as we had a few years ago, but more than most years.  It's a holiday, so no one has anywhere they need to be, so let it snow! 

Back Yard

Front Yard

Tuscan Blue Rosemary

Rock Rose
It made for some very pretty scenes...

I absolutely love this pattern!  It's the outside bottom of Boo's (the photogenic dog) wading pool!
Close-up of the metal sun wall hanging in the back yard. 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas! Look what I got....

Look what I got for Christmas!

"Good Grips" compost bin
Don't laugh!  I've been asking for a container for the kitchen counter in which to keep my compostable scraps.  My daughter gave me this model, from OXO.  It's very nice, and the best thing, it doesn't use a filter (which just adds more expense and upkeep, and which wouldn't get changed as often as advised).

I transferred the composting material from my current sauce pan with lid, and trotted it out to the compost pile.  Just look at those lovely banana peels and coffee grounds.  I am going to post about them, and other super-healthy-for-your-soil compost material, soon. 

first load
Unfortunately, that little "trot" was through the waterlogged back yard.  It's a beautiful, sunny, Christmas day (after a very cold, icy, and cloudy week), but the yard has its seasonal puddles.

Rain water just can't drain in clay soil.  Yes... there's Boo again!  He loves the camera.  Actually this time he was eating nice green grass.  Edward the Goldendoodle was feeling under the weather, after suffering an epileptic seizure in the middle of the Christmas gift opening festivities.  The excitement was too much for him.