Tuesday, March 21, 2017

"Jelly Bean" Blueberry and Some Other Neat Stuff!

As a co-worker said, I had a "busman's holiday" on my day off today!  I went to my work place and bought some fantastic plants. (My co-worker also said "kids" wouldn't know what a "busman's holiday" was... it's doing what you do for work on your time off.  Like a bus driver taking a trip by bus.)

BrazelBerries is a brand name of some varieties of berry.

They are dwarf varieties, perfect for containers, of blueberries, raspberries and blackberries.  Mine is called "Jelly Bean."  The snow and cold weather killed the French lavender that was growing in a ceramic pot on my deck, so I was looking for a replacement plant.  Jelly Bean seemed like the perfect thing!  I had some leftover acid lovers soil, which blueberries need. 

"Jelly Bean" blueberry
I also bought a beautiful edible I had never heard of before, a "Raspberry Dressing Rumex."  I had never even heard of "rumex" before!  It looks like a spinach/chard relative, and turns out it's a kind of dock.  Alright, what's dock?  I have a vague image of some kind of edible weed growing wild in ditches when I think of dock plants.  That image may come from a novel, or something else I read a long time ago.  At any rate, this plant is incredibly beautiful, and after seeing it last night at work I had to buy my very own today!  And it's a perennial!  I planted it in my new bargain ceramic pot.  It's named for its taste, similar to raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing. 

Last year's dormant perennials are on sale, and I was able to limit myself to only two.  One is a healing herb, Feverfew.

The other is Tickseed, or Coreopsis.  This variety has more lacy leaves than some.  Butterflies love Tickseed, so this is for the yet-to-be-built Butterfly Garden. 

I got another Tickseed too, with different leaves.

"Cruzin' Main St." and "Up Tick" are such silly names for plant varieties!

Since this year's plans include extending the front yard rock garden, I got a pretty pink Armeria, or Sea Thrift.  The color is a deep pink called "Morning Star." 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Spring is Arriving in Spite of the Weather

Just some pretty photos taken this morning...

Flavor Supreme Plumcot - "Luther"
Frost Peach - "Frosty"  (I pruned incorrectly and will get very few peaches)
Some sort of plum that never amounts to anything, but its blossoms are pretty.
flowering quince
grape hyacinth in the herb garden

Friday, March 17, 2017

One Nice Day

Last Saturday was a nice day.  Warm and sunny.  I rushed right out to dig up grass (weeds), dig in soil conditioner, and build a raised area for the Stella cherry. 

I got half done... 

The clay soil was so heavy, it took ages to dig it out!  I used the concrete  blocks I had moved for the pea bed, and along with the last remaining blocks from the original pea bed I had just enough (20) to make this.  I added the soil from the old bed, but it's only half full right now.  Next "my weekend" (what I call my days off, since they aren't Saturday and Sunday, the traditional "weekend") I will move soil from an unused 4x8 cedar bed (it will be moved) and plant Stella.  She is still bare root, so I'm safe to wait.  I need to replant those strawberries in the block holes. 

There are still bags of last year's Boysenberries in my freezer.  I used some to make syrup for whole wheat pancakes the other morning!  Just the berries and some sugar, simmered for a while to thicken a bit.  Once it cooled it was quite thick.  Not as thick as a jam, but nice as syrup.  I strained the seeds because the family doesn't like berry seeds!  I used the pulp on my pancakes. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Too Rainy to do Much...

It's been raining and raining, and even snowing, most every day.  The few sunny days are, predictably, not on my days off.   This is not the rainy part of Oregon! 

So, my peas didn't get planted (I needed to move soil from bed to bed).  I'll just use that bed for green beans later on, if it ever dries out. 

Stella the cherry is thankfully still dormant in her bare-root bag.  I have yet to even buy the blocks needed for the raised bed.  

I did get some more bargains though!

Raised bed corners...  

You screw 2x8 (I may need to use two 2x4s, I can't seem to find 2x8 in cedar) lumber into the corner brackets, and pop on the plastic top.  I did NOT pay the sticker price of $24.99 per box!  I was putting out new product at work and found these dusty old boxes behind other items, for $5.00 each!  The odd thing?  There are two in each box, which is totally ridiculous considering you are making a rectangle not an L!  You need two boxes, which would run $50.00!  No way would I pay that (I do not work for that merchant, we just happened to carry some of their items a few years ago).

The curved concrete edging for the butterfly garden...

I like the gray better than the red I thought I would have to get.  Actually, I thought I'd have to get straight edgers, as both Home Depot and Lowe's quit carrying the curved.  Low and behold, my own employer, at my own store, has the curved in both red and gray!  And the gray was on discount for .92 each!  I got enough for three 4' diameter circles. 

Will I get either of these new projects done this spring?  If the ground dries, sure.  Otherwise, they'll keep.  All those butterfly garden seeds will keep as well, seeds don't expire the year they are dated.  Fewer may grow, but with hundreds in a pack, I'm not worried.

What keeps my hopes up that spring will eventually arrive...

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 - www.territorialseed.com/catalog_request

Burpee - www.rareseeds.com/request-catalogus/

Gurneys - www.gurneys.com/catalog_request

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!