Lily of the Nile

lilyofthenileI love this plant! Lily of the Nile, or Agapanthus, is a perennial in some zones, but an annual in my zone.  While it is an annual, I cannot resist it!

This plant can be grown from bulbs or seeds, and I think the fragrant flowers are worth planting the bulbs and digging them up for the winter. Alternatively, you could plant your them in pots and bring the pots in during the winter.

About mid-summer to the fall, Lily of the Valley puts on an extravagant show of large blooms!

This plant likes the sun, so be sure to pick a sunny spot for your African Lily!

They do require a bit of work–they need to be fed monthly. But the gorgeous blooms and the scent will pay you back for your hard work!

Lily of the Valley is also attractive to bees and butterflies, who enjoy the nectar.

Happy Gardening!




I Lose Words! Where do they go?


There has been quite a bit of talking the last few days from MCSGal and mcslearningtoliveadifferentlife about what our canary is and about losing words when in a reaction.  I posted this originally on June 23, 2012 and then posted it again in my Catch-Up Mondays on July 28, 2013 with the title At a Loss For Words.  I still lose words despite the length of time it has been since my original exposure at work.  I lose words during a reaction and when I am not in a reaction.  The mold just messed with my brain.  I have difficulty typing certain words.  Despite being able to write these words and spell them to you out loud I type them wrong every single time.  I want to type a blog post and not correct anything in it and let everyone see how I truly type before I take the…

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Tickseed/Coreopsis: A Companion for Black Sprite

tickseedWe purchased the perennial Tickseed because it is a good companion plant for the Black Sprite we planted.

Our version is Sunfire, but there are many different types of Tickseed out there!

It is a wild flower, and to me, it really looks like a daisy in the shape of the flower and the plant.

The tickseed moniker comes from the seeds of this plant–they look like black ticks. Not a winning quality, but don’t let the name put you off of the plant!

Tickseed thrives in a sunny or partially sunny spot. Ours is next to the Bachelor’s Button in a partially sunny spot.

The plant will reward you year after year–it requires little work on your part and will bloom throughout the summer.

Added to its easy care, Tickseed makes excellent cut flowers and can tolerate drought. The plant also spreads quickly, so it is a great plant to purchase when you are just starting out in your garden.

We’re enjoying our tickseed, and it does match well with the Black Sprite flowers. Next year, though, I might like to try a different color as well.

Happy Gardening!

Saying Goodbye to Groundhogs

Last weekend, my dad called to tell me he had a serious groundhog problem. What should he do to make them go away? They were eating all of his pretty flowers and plants.

Groundhog Day

My mind flashed through many possible scenarios, but the Bill Murray route seemed too extreme. 🙂

The Farmer’s Almanac offers several possible solutions, but these critters are living under my parents’ deck! There was no way to pour ammonia and dish soap into the burrow.

Stuart and Ringo

A big dog could do the job–we took over Stuart.  But the groundhogs are smart and stayed under the deck.

In the end, my parents have hired a trapper, and there has been some success! All told, there are probably six groundhogs under the deck–parents and babies. The trapper cost $150.00, but it is a more humane way to go about this. Only a few left to go!

groundhog1Of course, now my father feels sorry for them. #can’twin

How do you deal with groundhogs? What do you think is the best method?

Happy Gardening!

Bachelor’s Button/Black Sprite: Add a Little Drama

bachelor'sbuttonWe are trying a new perennial this year–a Bachelor’s Button called Black Sprite. Bachelor’s Buttons are also known as Cornflowers.  And Cornflowers are excellent for muscle pain!

Throughout  history, Cornflowers have been tossed into baths to help reduce muscle pain; they have also been brewed in teas.

I really like this plant. It has a sort of tropical appearance, but it is excellent for zone 5.  The flowers are silky, sort of spiky, and really stand out. It does have a bit of green foliage at the bottom, which spills over, sort of like a weeping willow, but the leaves are solid and taper to a pointed end.

How to Grow
Bachelor’s Buttons are easy to grow–you can plant from seed or buy a small plant from a local greenhouse. I purchased a small plant this year–and it is already growing quite a bit!

These flowers do like a sunny or partially sunny spot. Mine is in a partially sunny area and seems to be doing well! You will want to deadhead the spent flowers to encourage reblooming.

The top benefits of Bachelor’s Buttons:

  • They are deer resistant.
  • They are rabbit resistant.
  • They are drought tolerant!
  • They  make excellent cut flowers.

If you love the tropical flowers but live in a colder zone, Black Sprite would be perfect for your garden! If you suffer from muscle pain, what are you waiting for? Throw these in the tub and ease that ache!

Happy Gardening!

Building a patio in your garden

pavers2Over Memorial Day weekend, Brian and I took our show on the road to my sister’s yard to help her get it all beautiful for her son’s graduation party.  (My sister and her husband in the picture. plus Brian’s foot)

Brian and her husband, Greg, built a new patio out of pavers. surprisingly, this turned out to be fairly easy to do–with a little muscle, the materials, and a level, anyone can do this!

First, they took the level and checked it all out. Then, pink string was used to mark the level around the area. And yes, I tripped over that pink string despite its bright color meant to warn me.

paversThe muscle was needed to dig out the area and cart the dirt back to the woods. Then, it was just laying down the paving with leveling sand. And of course, making sure it remained level.

Brian took a break at one point, and when he came back, Greg and my brother had laid another row–which Brian insisted come out because it wasn’t level. For this, we have dubbed him the Garden Buddha. (In all fairness, he was also teaching my sis and I what to do to make her hydrangea bloom, so there is quite a bit of gardening wisdom in that brain!)

The entire process took two days, not bad, considering she has a beautiful new patio in an area that used to be pretty much dirt–too shady for the grass. It looks fantastic!

I did recommend digging a Victorian Trench around it to help with water run-off when it rains, but Brian and Greg were careful to make sure the paves angled just a bit down away from the house.

sistersWhile all of this was going on, my sister and I worked on weeding out her line of plants in front of the woods.

This was difficult for me because my sister’s philosophy is that if she didn’t plant it there, then it is a weed and it’s coming out. She was ruthless, pulling up lilies, ferns, and other plants. I pointed out that plants do spread and maybe these could be relocated, but no. She had a hoe and used it down the line. It looks nice now, and granted, I have no room in my yard for any of it, but still, this bothers me. What do you do with “extra” plants?

Nonetheless, her yard is party ready! She has added a grill and tiki bar on the new patio, and on the other side of the house where there is an existing patio, there is nice wicker furniture with an umbrella over it all.

So, if you yearn for a patio and have a free weekend, pavers could be your solution!

Happy Gardening!