Last year we were looking for an interesting tall perennial that would do well in a fairly sunny and pretty wet place. We found an 4 – 5 ft tall herbaceous perennial – Swampy milkweed also known as Asclepias incarnata. The name Swampy milkweed doesn’t give this plant a very sophisticated aire but it really has some great qualities.
Fragrant Pink Flowers Attract Butterflies To Your Garden July 24, 2014
from RE-CYCLE to UP-SCALE Useful Garden Art July 15, 2014
A few weeks ago I stopped at a garage sale and picked up this metal barrier. I was told that it was used as a barrier around a public sign at a park. At the time I wasn’t sure how I would use it or what I would do with it, but I knew it would go in the garden.
I gathered up some tiles, also picked up at a garage sale for under $2.00 and glued the tiles on the metal barrier with a very strong construction glue.
All done… I decided to use it to keep the ‘red dragon’ persicaria from falling over. I have used tomato cages to keep it from falling over before, but I like this better. The red dragon needs to grow into it a bit, but overall a successful garage sale find up cycled into useful garden art for a song.
Amber Jubilee – Fantastic Foliage July 13, 2014
Our ‘amber jubilee’ has been in the garden for about a year now. It’s doing great – growing with beautiful color. Happy & healthy. I was exited at finding this plant last year and adding to our collection of ninebarks. We have 6 varieties now.
Usually our ninebarks are at high risk of becoming deer food but things have changed around here. We have added an 85 lb deer repellant named Bailey to our family. He has a very menacing bark and has chased a deer out of the yard several times so far. If he sees a deer from the window – he jumps up on the glass and barks loudly. It’s great – he chases them away from in the house. Go Bailey!
This elegant little (for now) shrub gets bright light all day and only partial sun. It could probably take more sun than it gets but this is where we wanted it in the landscape.
I have written other posts about ninebarks.
‘Amber Jubilee’ – http://wp.me/p2kNeQ-mN
- aB This one discusses more about some other ninebarks focusing on Coppertina
Eskimo Sunset Maple Offers Dramatic Pink Foliage July 9, 2014
Eskimo Sunset Sycamore Maple
Acer pseudoplatanus ‘Esk Sunset’
Our garden is at it’s best in the early to mid spring. We have been needing to add summer color and have been focusing on adding plants with foliage interest and summer bloomers.
US Plant Patent #19,609
I bought this cute little flowering perennial from Far Reaches Farm, Summer of 2013 for $10.00. I have never seen it for sale anywhere else. I planted it in partial sun in an area that takes a fair amount of abuse, by the dog chasing his ball, by bunnies, deer and elk all looking for fodder. It sat quietly all winter and sprang back to life this spring and is now in full bloom. The leaves are green and oak shaped.
The flower buds are an interesting are odd-shaped affair with a dark burgundy – black whirls with tiny white hairs where the bright pink spikes of hooded blooms will emerge. The buds add an interesting texture to this plant even before the vibrant blooms spring out.
The ‘summer daze’ originated In the United Kingdom. It’s a hybrid herbaceous perennial resulting from the cross between Prunella grandiflora and Prunellalaciniata. It will bloom in from late spring until first frost, producing dense spikes of rosy purple blooms.
CULTURE: this plant grows well in sunny or partially shady areas. It also doesn’t seen to be too fussy about watering. It hasn’t received more than anything rainwater since I planted it in summer or 2013. I gave it 1st season protection from animals, by putting a birdcage over it. I don’t know yet if the animal pests will eat it. It is said to be deer ‘resistant’ I’m always a bit skeptical about that claim because the deer and elk that travel our yard don’t seem to read the same ‘deer resistant’ plant charts that I read. ‘Summer daze’ seems pretty sturdy. It clumps neatly and would be suitable in pots or in the garden. Rows of them would be stunning in a border garden!
It is said to be hardy to a zone 4 (-30). It had no problem getting through 8 degrees last winter. It can be propagated by tip cuttings however a license is required – I don’t know how easy it is, I haven’t tried it, yet.
The color of the prunella blooms tie in beautifully with the native digitalis that volunteer in our garden.
I think this is a perennial that is definitely worth growing.
Topsy – Turveys – GREAT SPACE SAVER June 29, 2014
Our heat pump just happens to be located in the best place on our property for the food garden. It takes up some prime real estate against the house with the best southern exposure that we have. It is going the stay there but the space above it has just been hanging out there…. wasted. That bothered me.
I occasionally attend a ‘support group’ that discusses how to successfully grow food in this area, and how to overcome the problems that come with gardening in the shadow of the a mountain in the pacific northwest. No… really there is such a group! We toured some houses. One really impressed me. This home is in neighborhood of tract homes. It looks like many of the other homes in the area, pleasantly landscaped from the street. The back yard was a tastefully designed as a food garden. Easy maintenance gravel paths with fruit trees, berry bushes , raised beds with cloches and lots of pots with root vegetable and lettuces. It was not only beautiful but prolific. She was successfully growing tomatoes and peppers in topsy turvys. Tomatoes are peppers are hard to grow in this area because of our short season and wet and cold springs and falls. She was having great success. My goal has been to have a food garden that is beautiful and prolific all year.
I admit that I felt that topsy turvys were a little too ‘as seen on TV’ for our garden. Then…. I saw 3 of them at a discount store for $ 3.00 each. Later I found a couple more new in their packages for $1.00 each at a garage sale. Last year we hung tomatoes in the topsy turvys. I learned several things from our moderate success last year.
1) don’t overfill with soil, leave about an inch at the top
2) make sure that you have very good solid hooks and chains, these can be very heavy
3) they are difficult to water (when they are over your head) so we put in irrigation
We attached a 3 way diverter to the faucet and bought a simple irrigation set from the local hardware store and set up a system to turn on the water and water them all at once. Easy peasy.!
So the advantages of topsy – turvys?
- Hang em high and the elk, deer and rabbits can’t get to them
- use irrigation for easy efficient watering
- the sun warms the roots better than it warms the soil around here
- they can be a very efficient use of space
This project probably cost us around $50.00
for 5 sturdy chains & hooks, 5 topsy turvys, soil, 5 tomatoes, irrigation system.
More later about how well they work. I will compare them to the results compared to the fancy new mini – greenhouse my husband built over part of one of the raised beds.
One Sunday last summer we were on our way to a friend’s house to pick something up. We passed a house with this grating by the side of the road and a sign that said FREE. Needless to say… we backed up and loaded it up. Funny how sometimes things just seem to fall into place. Since the rock slide on our property in 2009 (http://wp.me/p2kNeQ-ma) we have moved more rocks than most people see in a lifetime. A friend suggested that we make gabions. Well we finally made one.
My husband can build anything. He doesn’t just build, he over-builds. He builds things to last. It’s amazing really, but I digress.
He cut the grates and wired them together.
Next he put it in place, leveled it and set it into concrete.
After the concrete was dry, he removed the forms. I filled it with rocks. I used bigger ones against the grate and smaller ones in the middle. I stacked the rocks closely so there wouldn’t be movement.
He had some extra pieces of ironwood in the garage leftover from building the deck. He used that to made the seat. He placed boards to fit inside that grate to keep it from sliding. It is heavy enough that it just sits on top without requiring anchors. A coat of finish and its done. Lastly – we just need to finish the hardscaping and landscaping in that area, which we are working on this summer.
Supply list and cost
grating – free
wire to wire the grates together – we had wire and didn’t have to buy any.
2 x 4’s for forms – old wood sitting around – no cost
concrete – about $20.00 (it’s a pretty big bench)
rocks – free
ironwood – leftover from other projects