Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Put another one in the books.
Last night I spoke with Shannon Currey, Director of Sales and Marketing at Hoffman Nursery, and it was all about ornamental grasses (boo ya). I kid you not, Shannon has my ideal job and I couldn't be more jealous. She gets to bring grasses home and "trial" them. Are you kidding? Sign me up for that friggin job right now.
Anyway, if you want to hear us chat about our favorite grasses, ornamental grass trends and this year's perennial plant of the year (spoiler alert, it's an OG) take a listen through the following link:
Podcast #5 - Shannon Currey
And I highly recommend you check out the Hoffman Nursery website by clicking here. I get lost in the plant listings and I'm sure you will too.
Monday, December 2, 2013
It has been a busy past week or so with the holiday and all, so I thought I would bring you all up to speed on what has been going on.
Before I get into the details, here is an awesome photo of the autumn sky from this past week:
Yes, that was completely random and yes, I didn't know where to fit it into this post and yes, I am looking for some mad props on the quality of the shot. Moving on ...
This past week we took the kids into big bad New York City (or "The City", as it is affectionately known here) to see the Christmas Spectacular:
The show was fantastic as it was the first time each of us had ever seen it. Times Square was, as always, sensory overload with hundreds of dressed up characters stalking people out like zombies. I've never seen so many ratty looking Elmos or Mickey Mouses (mice?) in my life and it became a game with the kids to see how well we could ignore their advances. Still, a good time as NYC is never dull.
It was a bittersweet moment on Thanksgiving as we spent our last holiday in the house I was born and raised in and where my parents still reside. My parents will soon be relocating closer to where we live and while we are thrilled to have them within a twenty minute drive, I'll miss the old house deeply. Even more bittersweet is the fact that I could not get a good photo of the eats from Turkey Day. Food photography is not my strong suit and if I posted the lousy pics, it wouldn't do my mom's cooking any justice. The only solid photo I managed to get was of the cupcakes that my mom made for the kids:
With the ridiculous amount of off the charts food my wife provides us, I vow to become a capable gastronomical photographer. Especially with my need to write/photograph over the winter when there is very little gardening action. I'm serious y'all, prepare yourself for food posts over the next few months. I may not be able to cook a lick, but I know how to eat.
As is our tradition each year, we went and cut down our Christmas tree at the local tree farm:
One of these years I will purchase a tree I can some how manage to plant outdoors after Christmas. How, I am not sure. But I will give it a shot as I am a bit depressed looking at that limp tree I am holding above.
There were other day trips, work done in the house, meals eaten out and in, but I may lose you if I go on any further.
Alas, in keeping with the theme of this blog, I have some garden/landscape photos for you. To say they are mostly brown is an understatement, but remember, brown is a color too. I have come to appreciate the calm and quiet of the winter garden and the subtle pleasure it provides. However, I still haven't found a way to fulfill that hard digging labor desire. I already miss the dirt under my fingernails.
Saturday, November 30, 2013
Oh that elusive winter interest.
It is in the single digits here today so winter is clearly front of mind.
With four long months of fall/winter here in the NJ, and as good as the browns and greens may look, anything that can lend a unique color to the landscape is something worth investing in. And after four years of "investing" in a redtwig dogwood ('Arctic Fire' to be exact), I am proud to announce that I have successfully kept one alive and thriving, browsing deer be damned.
More details on 'Arctic Fire' (Cornus stolonifera):
*Typical size is 4' x 4'
*Survives in zones 3-7
*Blooms in May-June (though I have yet to witness, no biggie)
*Works in full to partial sun
*Tolerant of most soils, including my almost boggy conditions
Just about bare, and ready to carry me through the winter with her glistening red stems.
While this shrub puts on its best show during the winter, it looks "nice" in spring/summer with its clean foliage, reddish stems and leaf shape:
Of course it took me years to get to this point. I have had it chewed down to the ground many, many times and just about had given up on it. But then I took a chance and placed it in a partial shade spot hoping the deer would be dumb enough to miss it.
I am proud to announce the deer were indeed dumb and have not touched it since. Here are some of the old pics as the dogwood struggled to find its footing:
As dumb and counterproductive as it sounds, I plan on pruning this shrub back severely in spring to maintain that bright red stem color and will be sure to track its success/failure. Until then, bank on way too many photos of the stems covered in snow.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
And finally, a huge thank you to all of you who stop by and read this nonsense.
I am beyond grateful.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and safe travels.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
The blooms are gone.
The lawn has been cut for the last time.
The transplanting has ended.
All of the bulbs have been planted (well almost).
Now what the hell do I do?
I'll tell you what I do. I garden ... inside.
Full disclosure - I have virtually no idea what I am doing when it comes to houseplants. Or growing anything indoors. Zero. If you read my recent post about trying to keep a Meyer Lemon tree alive, well, the proof is in those photos. That thing is hurting big time.
But it all changes this year. I need something to hold me over during the winter months beyond catalog reading/planning. I need to tend to something that doesn't include bickering children.
So I've taken some first steps and while they may seem small to you, I'm pretty fired up.
As you'll see in the photo below, I have a few plants that are resting comfortably in a southern exposure outside my back windows/sliding door:
On the left is a Norfolk Island Pine that I've tried to keep alive and thriving in the past but was not successful. I like it as a mini X-mas tree and dig its shiny green color and texture. It will definitely need sufficient light and I am up to the task of making that happen.
In the middle is a rosemary plant that I brought in from outside. Only once have I been able to overwinter one of these plants outdoors so why not give it a whirl indoors. I love its scent and I am not above rubbing a branch under my arms and calling it "natural" deodorant.
On the right is the aforementioned Meyer Lemon. I am supplementing the natural light with a grow light:
and took a chance and fertilized it a week ago. I am going to baby this sucker all winter because I MUST have lemons soon:
But does it end here? Hell to the friggin "no".
A sprig of mint is sitting on the window sill by the kitchen sink (and yes this giant container is awkwardly overhanging the sink):
How about some bulbs being grown indoors? Amaryllis and Paper Whites (Narcissus papyraceus) are on their way already. I timed their expected blooming for Christmas because I am that skilled:
What's that you say? People have been doing this for centuries and it is the easiest task of all time. Next ...
This last one is the one I am most proud of. I have had this terrarium ever since it was given to me by the people at H Potter over three years ago. I finally took the initiative and filled it with six different ferns:
My next task is to purchase some mini succulents online. I'll be sure to share the results with you.
All of this non-outdoor work is occupying my time nicely and I vow to continue to educate myself more and more on these plants. As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on what you cold weather people do with indoor plants. And please provide very specific and detailed instructions as I'm a little slow to grasp this stuff.
Sunday, November 17, 2013
My guests this evening were:
Janet - "The Queen of Seaford"
Mia - "Modern Mia Gardening"
Julie - "Growing Days"
I had a really great time with these fine gardeners/bloggers. I had my pen and notebook out the entire time as there were some pretty phenomenal tips and ideas doled out.
So with that in mind, hurry up and listen to the podcast in its entirety here:
Podcast #4 - Rapid fire questions for three awesome gardeners