Author Archives: Mary

Spring? Is that you?

Weather 3/27/2013

Weather 3/27/2013

It looks like spring might actually be arriving.   At least for a few days!    Always checking the 10 day forecast for some hope and 7 of the next 10 days are going to hit a high of 40 or above.    The snow is literally pouring off my roof.    Which reminds me yet again, I really need gutters!

And it even smells like ‘spring’ outside.  The good kind of spring smell.  Not the swampy spring smell that my yard will have in a few weeks when portions of my back yard turn from frozen tundra to a mud pit.    That’s the downside of living a block and a half from the wondrous Lake Superior.   The melting snow is on its way there and my yard and house are in the way!

 

polkadotplantOne of my favorite seedlings.The polka dot plant (Hypoestes) with the pink, red or white polka dots showing up on the tiny little leaves.  I remember my mom buying these as indoor plants when I was a kid.  Think those were always pink.  Grew some from seed last year and there were great.   A nice filler in containers and it makes a great house plant too.

Happy Spring!!  Hope it’s here to stay!

 

Grow Write Guild

Grow Write Guild

 

Joining the Grow Write Guild at You Grow Girl.   A great way to inspire new stories about gardening.   About why we garden.

Here is the first prompt:  Write about your first plant.

The first garden I remember having was in 1998.  It was my first time living in my own house (well duplex really) after several apartments during and after college.   I dug up the patch of grass between the house and sidewalk and planted marigolds.   I remember it was a LOT of work digging out all that grass.   Probably spent a whole day or two on it.    Obviously, my standards on what a lot of gardening work is has drastically changed since then!   I don’t remember if I planted plants or seeds – probably plants – but I do remember that the next spring, the marigolds had seeded themselves and came back.  I thought that was pretty cool since they were annuals.   Besides having to water them, that was about all I knew about gardening back then.

MVC-003S
 And that’s probably why each year, I need to plant at least one six pack of those orange marigolds.

 

First Day of Spring

First Day of Spring?  Really?!

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I have to say it again… Winter is sticking around WAY too long this year!  However, I will not be held back from getting a jump start on my gardening season!    Absolutely enjoying my ‘new’ garden shed this year.   (Had the shed for years but it was used for something else until now.)    With the help of a space heater, I’m able to keep the temperature suitable to grow things even with 2-3 feet of snow on the ground and temperatures outside often dropping below freezing.

Seedling Shelves

Seedling Shelves

Added a 2nd set of shelving for seedlings yesterday and already filling it up.   Once things get potted up, I’ll need more room.  Hopefully the timing will work out and I can get things out to the greenhouse before I run out of room.

Note: Got my shelves from Amazon Commercial Chrome Steel Wire Shelves NSF Shelving 48″L x 18″W x 72″H

 

 

Garden Shed

Garden Shed

Planted up two hanging baskets of Black Eyed Susan Vines.  Threw in some Nasturtium seeds too. The basket on the left is doing great but the one on the right is struggling.   Hopefully it recovers soon. Also potted up some Dahlias, Lillies and Siberian Iris’ that I couldn’t resist buying early.

 

False Indigo & Lupines

False Indigo & Lupines

Potted up some Lupines (Sunrise) and False Indigo today.

 

 

 

 

 

Indoor Seedlings

Indoor Seedlings

Also have several trays growing under lights in my bedroom!   Could move them out to shed now but sure I’ll need the extra space soon so might as well keep the lights up a little longer.

 

Sunflowers

Sunflowers

Portulaca (Moss Rose)

Portulaca (Moss Rose)

Dahlias

Dahlias

 

Iris & Lily

Iris & Lily

 

 

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – March 2013

What’s blooming in my garden on this ‘Bloom Day’?  Absolutely nothing.

Christmas Cactus

Christmas Cactus

 

However, I do have a couple blooms on my Christmas cactus inside.   Poor thing had been sitting in the plastic black pot from the store for 3 years and I finally put it in a real pot last month.   So at least it appears happy now. 🙂

 

 

Fairy Garden - March 2013

Fairy Garden – March 2013

This is the only part of my ‘garden’ I can even see.    Hopefully the fairies are doing okay.

Everything else is covered in at least a foot of snow.  And with highs below freezing most of the days in the 10 day forecast, there will be no big meltdown any time soon.

 

 

Garden Pond - March 2013

Garden Pond – March 2013

 

 

 

On a positive note, I saw three of my fish swimming yesterday!   So the heaters (one floating and one submersed) have worked another year.

 

 

Garden Shed - March 2013

Garden Shed – March 2013

 

One place where there is a LOT of growth is in my sweet little garden shed.    Many little baby plants are getting their jumpstart on our short growing season.   They really help the time pass while I wait for spring!  Hoping and dreaming.

Garden Shed - March 2013

Garden Shed – March 2013

To see some actual blooms this Bloom Day, check out the Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day host Carol’s blog at May Dreams Gardens.   And next month, I WILL have some blooms to share.  Can’t wait!!

Hen & Chicks - March 2013

Hen & Chicks – March 2013

Duluth Rose Garden

_DSC0026In July 19th, 2011, my mom, two daughters and I went to visit the Duluth Rose Garden in Duluth, MN.   It was an absolutely beautiful day and the roses were gorgeous.   We definitely need to go back again this summer!   And several times each year would be even better so we can see the various changes throughout the spring and summer (like how on this visit we were too late for the peony garden).  On this page are some of my favorite pictures from the day.  Make sure to click on the pictures to see the full size.  My only regret is that I didn’t keep better track of the names of the roses but guess that’s just another excuse to go back!

_DSC0137The Duluth Rose Garden (an extension of Lief Erikson Park) is on the shore of Lake Superior on London Road in Duluth.   It’s a wonderful park with many different flowers.  Over 3,000 rose bushes but also other perennials including a huge selection of peonies.  There are many benches to take a break on and view the flowers and view Lake Superior.  There are also walking trails that lead down to the Duluth Lakewalk for an even closer view of the lake.  My girls enjoyed climbing on the rocks and getting their feet wet on this summer day.

 

 

 

Later that day, we visited Enger Tower & Gardens in Duluth.  Another great place to visit!

Winter Ugh.

So over winter at this point!   Less than 10 days until spring?!   Not here.   Cold and windy today.   25 degrees with a ‘feels like’ of 10.    And there’s this strange little pellet snow.

IMG_5461

On a positive note, had a great visit to the new Hobby Lobby in Duluth, MN recently.   It’s probably a good thing it’s an hour and a half away!    I could’ve spent all day there.  In addition to all the great crafty things, found some great things for the garden too.   Can’t wait to go back!  In the meantime, thinking of things to plant in these.   Any ideas?

Hobby Lobby Finds

Hobby Lobby Finds

Hobby Lobby Finds

Hobby Lobby Finds

Hobby Lobby Finds

Hobby Lobby Finds

Hobby Lobby Finds

Hobby Lobby Finds

Downy Woodpecker: A Reliable Deck Feeder Visitor

Still winter… so the birds are my only garden entertainment.  

Downy Woodpecker 2/23/13

Downy Woodpecker 2/23/13

On February 23rd, this pretty Downy Woodpecker girl came to visit.   Thankfully all birds don’t fly south for the winter.   These woodpeckers are year-round visitors to our feeders.

According to my daughter’s bird book, “The Downy Woodpecker is the smallest woodpecker in Wisconsin and the most common.  It is built to survive and can balance on weed stems and small branches, unlike larger members of the woodpecker family.”
Wild About Wisconsin Birds: A Youth’s Guide to the Birds of Wisconsin (Adventure Publications)

 

 

Downy Woodpecker 2/23/13

Downy Woodpecker 2/23/13

 

No surprise she loved the “Woodpecker” suet block.  Its ingredients are:  Black Oil Sunflower Seeds, Mixed Tree Nuts, White Proso Millet Seeds, Cracked Corn, Peanuts, Gelatin.

Birdola 54328 2-Pound Woodpecker Seed Cake

 

Has anyone tried making their own suet for the birds?   I might have to look into that!

More pictures of the Downy Woodpecker:

White-Breasted Nuthatch

Check out the White-Breasted Nuthatch!  

White-Breasted Nuthatch

White-Breasted Nuthatch

Not many visitors to my bird feeders the last few days.   Thought with the warmer temperatures (high of 41 yesterday!) and the snow melting off the feeders, there would be more yesterday.   Only noticed this guy – a male White-Breasted Nuthatch.  I love to watch how they feed upside down! 

 

 

Checked out my Birds of Wisconsin Field Guide and it says the males have black caps and the females are similar looking but with a gray cap and nape.    I’ll have to keep a closer eye out to see if males or females are visiting.  Without knowing that detail, they all looked the same to me.

White-Breasted Nuthatch

White-Breasted Nuthatch

 

The book also says “the nuthatch’s habit of hopping headfirst down tree trunks helps it see insects and insect eggs that birds climbing up the trunk might miss.”  Pretty darn smart!

Birds of Wisconsin Field Guide, Second Edition

 

More Pictures of the White-Breasted Nuthatch:

 

And it begins…

So excited to be kicking off spring a little early by starting some seedlings.   And they may be tiny but seeing my little seedlings growing is just awesome.

Seeds

A few of the collected seeds

 

I collected a LOT of seeds from my garden last fall.   Excited to see what I’ll learn from those.   Will they even germinate, will they grow big enough to be planted back in the garden, will they grow true to the original plant, will they be some wonderful surprise?!   And if they don’t, I’ll learn from that too!

 

The year before last, the only seeds I collected were from a Mystic Merlin Mallow.  Although I didn’t collect those until spring.  They germinated easily and I was able to grow many healthy plants.   They did come true to the parent plant and were beautiful additions to the garden wherever I could squeeze them in. Shared some with my mom and a couple friends too.  So I guess that was the bug that got me collecting all the seeds I could find!

IMG_5336

Frozen Dirt!

Had a little set-back to start off!  The dirt was frozen solid.  My mom gave me a bale of seed starting dirt for Christmas and we moved it (more like slid it down the stairs and across the yard – it was HEAVY) to the garden shed.  Well it’s a little cold out there so ended up with frozen dirt.  Thankfully was able to chisel off some after placing a warming mat on it for a few hours.    Already learning lessons for next year!
So this year, I planted my first trays on Sunday, February 3rd.   I started with two big trays of Petunias.    Two were a mix of pink and blue wave petunias.  The other was white petunias.   I over-seeded because I wasn’t sure how they would do.  Well they germinated easily and within a few days, I had plenty of itty-bitty seedlings.   Going to be so hard to thin those out.   The only problem I’m having is that I used inserts in my trays with long rows and as I found out last year, those are hard to keep from drying out.  Especially in the middle of the tray.  So watching those closely.

First Trays - Petunias       Petunias - Day 5

Trays Ready To Go!

Trays Ready To Go!

A couple days later (2/5), I planted more trays with some random seeds I collected.  Liatris, Black-eyed Susan Vine, Potentilla,  Rudbeckia, False Indigo, Verbena, Purple Petunias, and Party Girl Mallow.   So far, all of those have germinated and are growing well except the mallow and the verbena (well actually there is one little seeding).

More Snow!

More Snow! 🙁

 

 

Like I’ve said before, this is just an experiment and looking to see what I learn from all of this.  And it sure helps when I look out and see the new half of foot of snow we got this week!