Welcome To Heather's Gardening Blog!

Everyone that knows me well knows that I just can't stop talking about my plants and gardens! I'm so enthusiastic about them that I will be completing the Master Gardener course this winter and opening my own gardening business in the Spring.







Saturday, January 1, 2011

I Love My Yard Because.....

I'm looking for a little info!  Tell me why you love your yard. Or what you don't love.Or tell me about the yard you wish you had! Imagine we don't have 20 below windchills and a shit ton of snow on the ground! Dream summer with me!
I hate that this garden is gone!
But I love that I get to redo it!

My Garden Resolutions for 2011

I have to admit that I stole this idea from the Garden Rant Ladies. If you have not checked out their blog at http://www.gardenrant.com/, I highly suggest you do, their blog is very fun!

My top 10 Garden Resolutions for 2011? I honestly hadn't thought about it until I read their blog.

But, in no particular order, here's what I will accompish in my gardening life this year:

1. I will build and run a successful gardening business! I will find the contacts, master the marketing and make every garden I touch look great! I will treat my clients gardens as my own and make sure that they are so proud of their gardens that the want to brag about them to everyone they know.

2. I will master the Master Garden Course and become an important part of the Steele County Master Gardners. I will listen to and learn from those more knowledgeable than I am.

3. I won't try to harden off my young plants to early! Every year I say this, and every year I kill off plants trying to make Mother Nature do things when I'm ready instead of when she's ready. I never win. And I admit that I never will!

4. I will fix the disaster that taking down that 200 year old Elm that I recently blogged about created in our yard. I will turn the stump into an eye-catching centerpiece.

5. I will NOT add any more gardens to my own yard with the exception of replacing the one that had to be moved to take the tree down. I think 12 is quite enough!

6. I will plant and harvest more vegetables. The vegetable garden will not be the neglected garden.

7. I will not plant too many pumkins. But I really love growing pumpkins! If I could only find or create a variety or two that did not take over the entire yard! Ok, they don't take over the entire yard, but they far exceed the area they were meant for!

8. I will share more cut flowers from my gardens with my friends and neighbors. There's nothing like the joy in Miss Shirley's eyes when my son Cole brings her a vase full of flowers.

9. I will meet the lady in town with her entire yard covered in gardens. She's been working on redoing them. I'm sure that she's been gardening for years. After all, it had to take years to create the yard that she has and I'm sure that she knows a lot of interesting things that I don't!

10. And, darn it, I will blog every day that it is possible so that my fellow garden freaks can learn what I know and I can learn from them! No matter how tired, lazy or just plain stumped on an idea I am!

What are your gardening resolutions?? Please, please, please make comments and ask questions! And pretty please with sugar....Pass it on!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Chamomile

Chamomile
I decided to try to grow Chamomile this year. It's currently germinating very well in it's cute little peat pods. Since I've never grown it before I thought maybe I should learn a little bit about it!

There are both perennial and annual varieties of Chamomile. The perennial variety is heary in Zones 3-5. Chamomile is a part of the daisy family and is easily grown from seed. Chamomile prefers full sun and boasts dainty, sweet smelling daisy like flowers. Since it only grows twelve to twenty inches tall it is a perfect addition to container gardens.

Morning is the best time to harvest Chamomile, just after the buds have opened and once they are dry after morning dew. Simply pinch off the flower heads and place in a dry, dark, hot place to dry.

Though there haven't been very many studies on the actual effect of Chamomile, it's well known for it's use in tea as a sleep aid and to reduce stress. It is also said to help with tooth aches, stomach aches and help your immune system. German Chamomile and Roman Chamomile are most commonly used for medicinal purpses.

For Chamomile recipes, visit http://oldfashionedliving.com/chamomile.html.

Source links:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chamomile
http://gardenersnet.com/herbs/camomile.htm
http://oldfashionedliving.com/chamomile.html

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Crazy Plant Names

Paging through seed and plant catalogues, you'll commonly find plants with names that you can't pronounce. They are derived from Latin or Greek or whatever whatever. As more and more plant varieties are created and introduced someone needs to come up with more and more names. Most plant common plant names refer to the color of the blooms or the foliage. Some, on the other hand, come from out of the blue. I suppose if you look at the plant in just a certain way or you're high they might make sense.

I'll give you my interpretation, and I would love to hear yours:

False Forget Me Not (Brunnera) - It's like an 8 year old trying to be clever. Forget me - NOT, oh wait, that was false, which means the whole thing is true. HA! Gotcha! (eye roll please)

Sunshine Superman (Coreopsis) - I picture Superman dancing through a field, skipping, and singing the old "sunshine, lollipops and rainbows....."

Purple_coneflower_echinacea_purpurea_powwow_wild_berry-2
Pow Wow Wildberry
Pow Wow Wildberry (Echinacea) - This is not just any berry colored Cone Flower, folks, it's got a little sass to it, a little POW and a little WOW (sales pitch by Steve Carell aka Michael Scott).

Pink Poodle Echinacea - How excited will your friends be when you call them over to see your new Pink Poodle and they get this.

Dragon's Blood Sedum - Most likely named by the guy right next to the guy naming the Pink Poodle ~ Had
                         to prove something!

Beard Tongue (Penstemon) - Grizzly Adams sticking his tongue out???

Double Bloody Mary
Wild Thing Salvia - This is a very cool looking plant - bright red blooms - Aparently it gives your garden
                               party a little extra.

Double Bloody Mary Geum - Place stratically next to the Wild Thing Salvia for the Morning After.

Red Hot Poker - My personal favorite. Don't plant too far away from Wild Thing
                           and the Double Bloody Mary!

There are a ton more of funny names, many relating to animals. I think we will save those for another time!







Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Easiest Perennials to Grow in Northern Gardens





Many new gardeners unintentionally pick plants for their gardens that are doomed for failure. Even if the plant isn't doomed, the placement of it may doom it. They may be looking for the most unique plant they can find or simply the most beautiful. Unique plants are fun in gardens. They are conversation starters and allow for some serious bragging rights, not to mention the "ooooh" and "aaaaah's" from friends and family. Unless you are a seasoned gardener, however, I would start with the basics.

Generally speaking, the reason the plant may be unique is that it is either meant, in our wonderful climate, as an annual or patio plant, or they are so difficult to grow that they don't sell well. This is not to intend that you should not buy or grow unique plants, because that is simply the part of the fun of gardening. Just make sure you read the tags or do some online research before you plant them.

Some of the easiest plants to grow for Northern Gardens are also the most common. Makes sense, right? They are all beautiful plants, and when combined right they make an amazing Northern Garden. And you can always add your favorite annuals and exotic plants for the summer.

Echinacea
Commonly known as Cone Flowers
These prairie beauties add a tall burst of color from Summer through early Fall. Averaging about three feet tall, they should be placed in the back of the border or center of an island garden.

Echinacea are drought tolerant and drop their own seeds allowing them to spread naturally. They are easily splittable in the Spring or Fall and transplant well. If started from seed, they will bloom the second year, so don't get discouraged.

Most commonly found in classic shades of purple and pink, they are also available in more whimsical shades of green, orange, crimson, yellow and white. Even more varieties include Delight Coneflower, which has a "fluffy" top, Double Decker Coneflower, which has a small bloom on top of the main bloom, or Green Envy, which showcases thicker petals in green with purple accents.

Plant Echinacea in full sun.

Rudbeckia
Commonly known as Black Eyed Susan
Black Eyed Susans are actually a coneflower of a different genus. You will find Rudbeckia varieties along ditches and in undisturbed fields in the Plains.

The common nursery varieties are typically medium sized plants with dark centers and yellow petals. The "fun" varieties of Rudbeckia include Prairie Sun or "Green Eyed Susan," Cherry Brandy with it's burgundy colored petals, and Green Wizard which shows off a few thin green petals and a tall dark center.

Like Echinacea, Rudbeckia are drought tolerant, splittable and easy to grow from seed.  The are also full sun perennials.

Sedum
Commonly known as Stonecrop


Autumn Joy

There's no end to the variety available here. And they don't get any easier to grow than this. There are several annual varieties as well, so make sure that you read the tag when purchasing Sedum.

Because Sedum are succulents they are extremely drought tolerant. Their thick waxy stems and leaves hold moisture very well. The most common varieties, such as Autumn Joy bloom in the fall, while many of the groundcover varieties will bloom in the summer.

Foliage and flower colors vary widely. Some will do ok in part shade, but full sun is your best option for growing Sedum.

Here are some of my favorites:


Dragon's Blood








 





Postman's Pride






Green Mantle

Monarda
Commonly known as Bee Balm
Monarda is a member of the mint family and has a strong fragrance to prove it. Monarda will work very will in your full sun garden with Rudbeckia, Cone Flower and Sedum. There are several varieties available and in many colors. The shorter varieties are about a foot tall, while the stems of some of the taller varieties can reach up to three feet.                         
   From fucsia pink to pastel purple, you can easily find the color you need. Some varieties get double decker, triple decker or even quadruple decker blooms!
Bee Balm spreads quickly (but not quickly enough to take over), and is easy to split. The root system does not go terribly deep which makes them very easy to handle.

Other Trusty Perennials for the Northern Gardener
Need to add more?  Try Shasta Daisies, Day Lily, Iris, Hosta, and Coreopsis!

If there is another plant you'd like to know more about, simply leave a question in the question box on the right~!



Sunday, December 26, 2010

Taking down a 200+ year old Elm :o(

This fall we had to take down a MASSIVE Elm Tree. The poor old dear got Dutch Elm. Part of what we loved about this yard when we bought our house four years ago was that Elm. My husband and I could not get our arms around it together. It looked like a mini-Swiss Family Robinson Tree.

I planted my first shade garden under it.
Just looking at that trunk, I'm sure it doesn't seem like much.

Here is the full view:



We knew by the end of last summer that it had to come down. I spent the last part of this summer digging and splitting and potting ALL of those mature plants. I moved a lot of them and gave away hundreds of splits. It's amazing how much more work it was to take out the garden than it was to put it in. And a lot less fun.

Our amazing neighbors and their families came to help with the daunting task. I can't quite explain how touching it was to have the whole neighborhood show up to help. They brought skidloaders and dump trucks and chainsaws. 

Pictures, in this case, are definately worth a thousand words: And the video even more:

 Frank was the Chainsaw Master!!!

Grandpa Bob scaring the living sh** out of us...
The Wedge comes out. Nice Job Matt!
video
And there it goes...The entire little town of Blooming Praire felt it.

A mid-winter on-line tribite to all who helped!  Thank you!