Friday, June 29, 2012

Grow Box Tomato Update

You may remember my Grow Box project/experiment and the stick of a tomato plant I planted in it:

Here is the plant a month and a half later:

And the tomatoes on this thing seem pretty big to me - here's a picture of me holding my lens cap by the tomatoes to show how big they are.

Seriously, this experiment has been going so well with the tomato plant, I may just do tomatoes like this from now on. Yep - I highly recommend the grow box.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Seen in Santa Fe

I'm pretty sure that tying the bark to a tree doesn't actually do anything to help it...but then, I'm not an arborist...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Rain Garden

Artemisia, Peter's purple monarda and Gregg's mistflower.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Project: Rose Bed

As we were preparing to go on vacation (to Santa Fe, New Mexico - don't worry, there will be a blog post about it), Shawn was working out and I had the brilliant idea to start a new project. We had a bunch of Asiatic Jasmine around the Dr. Huey rose which died off in the "great drought of 2011". I had been leaving the dead plant because it's a pain in the arse to remove Asiatic Jasmine (even if it is dead), and I figured it was providing some amount of mulch-type-cover for the rose. My mother and father in law came over the weekend before we left, and since they made some comment about the dead plant, I figured that meant it was time to actually get rid of it.

For the hell strip I used the neighbor's mattock to cut through and rip out the jasmine, for this project I just grabbed our rake because I had figured my real goal was to just rip off the leaves.  The rake worked better than I hoped and I was able to actually pull out the whole plant. 

The plan is to plant some zexmenia in the area (mostly because I think the flowers will go nicely with the roses. Of course, as per usual, I started the project before taking any pictures, but I'm sure you get the idea:

More pictures to come when I plant the other plants in the bed.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Things that Make me Happy, and Sad.

Gardening always has its ups and downs: 

Love:  Gulf Fritillary caterpillars on the Passionvine.
Hate:  the state of the vine, and the fact that most of the caterpillars end up dying because of lack of food.

Love:  Swallowtail caterpillars on the Dill
Hate:  That I have yet to see a swallowtail chrysalis since the wasps/birds keep eating the caterpillars. (Perhaps I need to make a caterpillar hotel like Meredith at Great Stems)

Love:  Finding a new caterpillar.
Hate:  Not knowing what type it is.

Love:  Having a habanero plant that is producing habaneros.
Hate:  Not knowing what to make with all these habaneros.

Love:  Having a tomato plant producing tomatoes.
Hate:  Not knowing what type of tomato plant I have.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


We came home from our vacation to find this on our porch.  So friggin' cute.  Too bad we already have two cats.  Two cats who do not like other cats.  Also, the mom and kittens are all feral so I can't get close to them, and to top it off, the mom moved them out of our yard at the end of the day.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Front Yard Update June 2012 - Looking Weedy

The parsley has been a' bloomin'.  The side effect, of course, is to make everything look weedy.  The monarda is on its way out (I just don't water it as much as it wants in this bed), as are the winecups, the white guara still blooms with some regularity, the horsemint is still going strong and the white lantana is still blooming. (compare to May and April)

Shawn mowing the yard with his Fiskars Reel Mower.  I think it's his favorite toy - he can get up at 7 in the morning to mow and no one will complain because there's no noise.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Onion Harvest

My harvest of the Onions for this year (there are a few still out in the garden, but not many).  I also have harvested all of the Lorz Italian garlic and the ginger.  About half of the ginger has been replanted in order to get more ginger for next year.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Horsemint

Camera: Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi
Exposure: 1/250
Aperture Value: 6.92 EV (f/11)
ISO Speed: 1600
Flash: No
Metering Mode: Pattern
Exposure Program: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 300 mm
Post Processing: GIMP - levels, +20 Saturation, +10 Contrast, add border

Monday, June 4, 2012

Tree Damage

What do you think, woodpecker damage?  The holes are in the Chinese Pistache tree in the front yard.  The tree has to be about 30 years old at this point.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Rain Garden

My new favorite combo:  Artemisia, Peter's Purple Monarda, and Gregg's Mistflower.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Monarda - Peter's Purple

Last summer, Daphne gave me some Peter's Purple Monarda to try out in my yard to see how it did.  Here is my report.

As I am a nerd, results are nothing if they can't be quantified.  So, first, the measuring aparatus - as you can see, this thing is about 15 inches tall.  This is important to remember.

In my "full sun" area, this monarda has been in the ground the longest (since last summer) and is approximately 30" high.  This area doesn't get watered very frequently (I have yet to water it this year).  The monarda hasn't really spread like I had thought it would, and now the parsley has taken up residence in the area where I want it to spread to...when the butterflies (and the resultant caterpillars) are done for the year, then I'll remove the parsley.  This area doesn't dry out as quickly as the front bed, but it also doesn't sit in water when it does rain (like the rain garden)

In my "part sun" area, the monarda is in full bloom and has spread prolifically and is about 45" high.  The monarda has been planted since last fall and gets watered somewhat more frequently than the other bed (if only because I've got more new plants in this bed that require water to get established). This bed dries out relatively quickly because it's not great soil and is elevated in a berm.

Lastly, we have the monarda in the rain garden (which is absolutely full sun - the other location is in quotations because I can't guarantee that it actually is full sun because I hardly check that area throughout the day whereas this area is in a location that I see every time I go out in the back yard).  It was the last planted monarda (as in earlier this year), and is probably only about 20" tall.  As this is the rain garden, it does mean that when this spot gets water, it gets a bunch of water and there were a few times when the plant was little that I questioned if it was going to make it, but now that it's taller and isn't completely covered with water, it's been doing wonderfully. The other plants in this area are artemisia (in a high ridge), and gregg's mistflower.  Note:  None of these plants are usually recommended as rain garden plants, but I had them on hand (as I have them growing in other spots in the yard) and decided that the worst that could happen would be they died.