Tuesday, July 18, 2006

House to Date

Here is a full image of the house to date. Closer images follow in the entries below. It's starting to look more like a "real" house to me, but I'll be glad when the rose bushes are visible from the road.

The Graham Blandies are thriving in their new soil, and I am happy they transplanted so easily. I read some articles to the contrary on the Internet *after* purchasing them (of course), but we haven't had problems with them. The one of the far right did require that I tie it up, because it was getting beat up by the wind and its branches were starting to splay, but he's recovered just fine. Our dog likes peeing on the one in the middle, but it doesn't seem to mind the occasional shower.

The Fun Never Ends!

It seems like we should be finished with the front yard since we have spent so much time and money getting it to this point, but we actually have two more projects in mind. First, we intend to replace the railroad ties that are currently forming the flowerbeds with a rock wall. And second, we plan to replace the grass in this triangular section of the yard with a more tailored groundcover - maybe Purple Wintercreeper. The rock wall needs to be done before the groundcover though, because we will trample the groundcover trying to install the rock wall. We're not exactly sure what kind of rock wall we want, and since we are going to build it ourselves, we need to do some more research to be sure we build it properly. Rocks are not as cheap as they should be, so we don't want to waste any money doing things wrong.

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Breaking the Rules

So, I broke the rules and planted Caladiums in full sun. Caladiums are rated for partial shade to full shade, so I'm not sure what I was thinking. Well, actually, I was thinking, "I want to plant Caladiums to fill in the bareness of these flowerbeds until the roses grow," and I threw caution to the wind and planted them. It took a long time for them to start poking through the soil, and at one point I considered digging them up, because I figured they had been baked like the bulbs in my flowerbox. Thankfully, I held back, because they did come up, and they are doing great. I guess I got lucky this time!

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Big Boy Baxter

The roses are progressing along beautifully! The spider mites are all cleared up, and everyone is back on track. Here is a new picture of Baxter followed by his previous pictures. He really has filled out a lot, and his branches are a lot thicker and stronger.




I am very optimistic that all the Knockout Roses will survive. I was worried for a while though, because they were just so small when I received them. I couldn't imagine that a first-time gardener like me could possibly keep them alive to maturity, but all it took was learning how much water they required and a weekly application of rose spray.

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Pretty Pathway

Another reason I adore perennials is due to my lovely pathway of daisies. Again, I was trying to find a bulb that would make a nice border for this pathway, but bulbs are not full enough, and their flowers fade too quickly, as I learned with my attempt at a daffodil border last Spring, so I tried these gorgeous Alaskan Shasta Daisies from Lowe's. I could not be happier with the results. We recently had a hard rain that wilted about half of the flowers, so I had to thin them out a lot yesterday, but even after the massive thinning, they are still going strong. Also, they will continue to rebloom until the first frost. I have been very pleased with the plants I purchased from Lowe's this year. I'm not sure if they are all supplied by the same greenhouse though, so I can't vouch for Lowe's in other areas. I think our Lowe's is supplied locally.

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A New Love for Perennials

When I first started gardening, I preferred bulbs to perennials, because I found perennials to be too weed-like, overgrown and out of control looking. However, now that I have some experience with perennials and bulbs, I have to say that I much prefer perennials to bulbs. Bulbs bloom only once then quickly fade - most perennials bloom from Spring to late Fall with multiple blooms per plant. Bulbs are usually just one boring stem and a flower - perennials provide a nice bushy, full plant to fill any spot. Perennials also make great cut flower arrangements, and the more flowers you pick, the more flowers spring up to take their place!

My Spring flowerbox was filled with daffodils and tulips, and I wanted my Summer flowerbox to also contain bulbs, so I tried Poppies, but the afternoon sun was too hot and baked the bulbs. So, I had to resort to - gag - perennials. Now, I'm thanking the afternoon sun for baking those Poppies, because I love my Lavendar and Rose Yarrow! I also added some trailing Vinca and dark purple Petunias for more interest. I have never liked Petunias either, but they look nice in this setting. I love the overgrown English cottage look the perennials have given the flowerbox. This is a lot more interesting than a row of daffodils or tulips, and the flowers will continue to bloom until the first frost.

Sadly, all the daffodil and tulip bulbs were also baked and turned to mush, so they won't be returning next Spring. I think I might plant some more though to keep the flowerbox interesting in the Spring until the perennials decide to show their pretty little heads again.

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