Planting Bulbs Today

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

 Today is planting day for me.  I have to time it just right so that the paper white bulbs look their best for
 "Carols & Crumpets" December 5th - 3 weeks away! 

Bulbs are placed in pots, not completely planted in this picture.

The pots have to be kept inside because the weather will eventually be turning cold. 
This is not a good look for my dining room.
Not sure what I'm going to do when Thanksgiving gets here!  

 For those of you that are interested in planting paper white bulbs here are some instructions:
1.  Buy bulbs that are firm,  Some bulbs can be squishy which means they are rotten.
2.  Place the bulbs in potting soil or pea gravel. 
3.  How deep?  Plant so that the top of the bulb is barely showing.
4.  Water thoroughly after planting and then water your container as needed - keeping soil moist.
5.  It takes 6 weeks for your paper white to fully bloom so check your calendar. 
Containers planted with paper white bulbs must be kept inside.
Once the bulbs bloom the plant can be pulled from container and thrown away.
Now you can plant your container with something else or put it away
 in safe keeping for spring planting.  



Pots ready for delivery last December.  I topped the soil with pea gravel to give the bulbs stability.

Cottage Pots Are Ready

Monday, November 2, 2015

I have a passion for making these cottage pots
also known as Hypertufa pots. 

Dwarf Alberta Spruce - made into a topiary - easy to do!
This is the first year I've made really big cottage pots.
The tall one is planted with a new idea for me - a little spruce.
I decided to make it into a topiary.  These Alberta Spruce are
all over town this time of year - really cheap. 
 They do take full sun.
In two weeks I will be planting the empty cottage pots with Paper White bulbs.
I have to time it just right so that the bulbs are just barely up.
Paper White bulbs take only 6 weeks to complete their bloom.

Another thing to plant in these pots are herbs.
My herb of choice is lemon thyme.  I'm able to use this
lemon thyme all winter.  Remember my use of this thyme
to make herbal butter?  Sure makes a nice gift.
Hope to see you at the Tulsa Herb Society's biggest
annual event, "Carols & Crumpets" December 5th at the
Tulsa Garden Center.  There are so many wonderful
vendors with great items to sell. 
Have a wonderful fall day!

Sweet Sarah Mix

Friday, September 18, 2015

Twenty years ago, my friend Liz Cooper gave me a bag of this
wonderful sweet Chex Mix for Christmas.  She was
a fellow teacher at Skelly Elementary. 
It's one of those recipes that I have made at least one hundred times, seriously.
I make it for each holiday and change the colorful additions to fit the
time of year. 
This time of year I add candy corn, Teddy Grahams and the fall colored M&Ms.
At Christmas I add dried cranberries, Chocolate
Teddy Grahams and the Green & Red M&Ms.
In the spring I add the pastel M&Ms and the little bunny graham crackers.
The fun part about making this simple recipe is that it is one of those
that can easily be given to friends and neighbors.  One recipe
makes 4 large bags.  By large bags, I mean those large
cellophane bags you can get at Hobby Lobby on their baking aisle.
(don't forget your 40% off coupon!)

Oh and by the way, you can freeze it as is - in the pretty bag!
Tate, are you surprised I mentioned this? 
Recipe: Sweet Sarah Mix
4 Cups of Rice Chex
4 Cups of Corn Chex
2 Cups Pretzels
1 Cup Almonds or Pecans
1 Cup of Dried Cranberries (add last - read below)
Mix all of these ingredients (except cranberries) in a big, oven proof bowl.
In a small sauce pan, combine the following:
1 Stick Unsalted Butter
3 Tablespoons Corn Syrup
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
Bring these ingredients to a boil while stirring.  Reduce heat and let simmer
5 minutes without stirring.
Remove from heat and add 1/4 tsp. of baking soda. Stir.
Pour this mixture over the cereal, mix thoroughly but carefully so you don't crush
your cereal. 
Bake 300 degrees for 15 minutes, stir and cook 5 more minutes.
Remove from oven and add cranberries and any seasonal "extras."
If adding M&Ms, you might want to let the mixture cool a little.
Package in cellophane bags or seasonal cookie tins.
P.S.  I have used the Wal-Mart "Great Value" brand of Corn and Rice Chex cereal and I
find it is actually the same but a fraction of the cost of the name brand.
Also, the Wal-Mart dried cranberries are much more "plumper" and cheaper.
I actually like the taste better.  When you are making many batches of this recipe
it helps to buy the store brands especially if their quality is the same or better.

Waging War on Rust

Thursday, September 17, 2015

I found these vintage plant holders years ago.  I had to do a lot
of arm twisting to get Paul to drill bolts into these beautiful
old brick walls to anchor these holders  I bought two of these holders...I seem to
always buy in pairs because of this balance issue I have.
These plant holders came with metal pots and after the first
year I realized I needed to order an extra pair or two because I was
beginning to see rust invade the corners of the pots.
With this rectangular shape I knew I couldn't find this size easily
at the garden centers. 
See the rust all over the pot?  I also noticed when watering the plants
that the water was pouring out the corners. 
 Time to break open the next set of pots. 
First, I drilled a hole in the center of each pot then I sprayed
the inside of the pots with this type of paint called
 Rusto-leum Leak Seal Flexible Rubber Coating. 
 It's my last great hope because I don't have any more back up pots! 

 So if you are shopping around town and you see an interesting
metal container that would make a great container for a plant
keep in mind that you can spray the inside of the container with
this rubber coating paint and keep the rust away.

End of the Summer

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Last February I started planning my knot garden.  So many of you
have asked me, "What is a knot garden?"  To me,
it's a garden that has plants that weave together by their
form to make a knot. 
My little knot garden is just beginning to show promise after it's first
season of growth. 
The boxwood pattern has not changed, but the
plants in each quadrant have changed. 
At first I filled the spaces to capacity with plants that were chosen because
of their colors...forgetting to consider their growth
That's when I made some drastic changes.
I pulled up all the "extras" except for the coleus, lantana, ajuga, lambs ear,
dianthus and money wart.

The "Wasabi" coleus ended up the size of large shrubs.  I planted just 6
coleus cuttings per quadrant and then shaped them
by trimming them into big huge balls.
I love the way the "Wasabi" coleus glows.  I will for
sure repeat this next spring. 
Here's the plant names in case you want to plant your own little knot garden:
Baby Gem Boxwood
Golden Dream Variegated Boxwood
"Sparkler" Ajuga
White Dianthus
"Bandana White" Lantana
Helene Von Stein Lambs Ear
"Wasabi" Coleus
(Knot Garden size: 10 feet x 20 feet.)
Happy Gardening!

Lampshades Repurposed

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

We all come across lampshades that have come to the
end of their use as a lamp shade.
You see them at estate sales, garage sales and Good-Will.
When you find one that has a nice size and shape be sure that
it has "bones" - those metal braces on the sides.

Now carefully cut off the shade fabric.  This is why I buy
used scissors at estate sales for projects such as this.
I find that the best ones to buy are the Fiskars brand.
I also buy extra scissors to use in the garden.  Nothing
trims tender branches as easily as a good pair of scissors.
I think it's easier on your hands too. 

 Once you get the fabric off you will now need to
cut off that center part.  It will take a heavy duty pair of pliers
and heavy duty muscles!  This is where Paul comes in.
I use these lampshades to support my tall plants.  You can't even see
the lampshades once the plants begin to grow.  I have learned to put the
lampshades around the plants early in the season so that
I don't damage any tender branches while forcing
the support around the plant.
So, when you come across an ugly lampshade for around
$3.00 at a sale - grab it and know that you have
a good use destined for it. 
Plants that are perfect for lampshade support:
Shasta Daisy
Garden Phlox
Indian Pink
Happy Gardening and Shopping :)

Winning Plants for Summer 2015

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Lantana "Bandana White"
At the end of every summer I make a list of plants that
I consider winners.  They were all drought tolerant, hard working, and
easy to grow.  They were also team players in the
landscape - meaning they worked well with other plants.
This lantana was a prolific bloomer and added that subtle
white background color - making other plants look even better.
I even trimmed several of these lantana plants into tight small shrubs.
Too bad these are annuals. 

Sedum "Aurea"

This little sedum is my new favorite plant.  It will grow in the smallest
of containers and looks especially good in my hypertufa pots.
It is so easy to just stick a little branch in soil and it
grows.  The best part about this plant is that it is a perennial. 


Of course I have to include coleus as a winning plant.  I'm crazy about coleus!
This time of year it has proved worthy of all my affection. 

I hope you have had a wonderful summer - growing beautiful plants.
Happy Gardening!

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