Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Gardening During Winter Months

Normally this time of the year there is snow on the ground but instead bitter cold temperatures we are blessed with warm spring like weather.

 Due to the warm weather  I had two clients that needed help with their gardening needs and I was busy last week doing  yard and garden projects. This week I find that the  weather will be warm on Wednesday so I am making plans to work in my yard and garden.  I really love being able to work in the garden during the winter months.
Normal weather in January is Snow

There is not much to do in the backyard but I would like to fertilize the irises especially the ones that met my husband weedeater last fall. These irises took a beating because he cut them almost to the tuber. 

The extra soil  around the tubers will be good because the last snow did cause erosion and many of the roots are exposed.  I am mixing compost, potting soil and bone meal and will fertilize my tulip bulb garden, lily garden and the irises.

When that garden project is completed I plan on adding new mulch around the garden path and fill in where pea gravel is needed. I think the mulch and gravel will make the yard and gardens look good for the rest of the winter.
Gardening During Winter Months, cleanup gardens

Then all that is left to do is trim back the ornamental grasses and remove any leaves from this garden.  I really love that we are having warm weather during the winter months as it allows me to get my gardens ready for planting and my yard cleaned up.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Another Productive Day in the Garden

Today I was up early and out the door before stopping for coffee. I needed to be at my clients house at 8 AM to do their spring bulb containers.  Lucky for me my client Marge handed me a cup of coffee and also offered me 2 slices of cinnamon toast. It is safe to say I have been on call to do their gardening needs for years and tend to think of them as friends who are also my clients.

The bulb resin containers came in two sizes 16 inch and 19 inch, both were deep enough for the bulbs.  

Planting the spring bulbs was an easy  project.  I planted the two large containers that would feature red tulips and Dutch master daffodils and the other 2 containers would feature grape hyacinth bulbs, Muscari armeniacum with yellow daffodils and narcissus bulbs. 

Then I did some smaller daffodils and tulip containers that would be kept in cold storage (average temp 48 degrees Fahrenheit)  My client said she would use the small bulb containers to  decorate indoors; dinning table, coffee table and she would give some to neighbors.

Since the bulbs came from clients cold storage and had sprouted already I did not recommend that they put the containers outdoors especially if the weather was bitter cold and soil would freeze. This would not be good for the bulbs that had signs of new growth.

My client agreed and said they would put the containers on their deck where there was plenty of sun.  Then if the weather turned bitter cold again they would move to a protected area where the soil would not freeze. 

 I also recommended that the soil stay evenly moist but not wet as they did not want the bulb to dry out.

After the spring bulb container gardens were planted I went back home and got busy being productive in my own garden. Worked some on my new herb garden and also made a list of the things that I needed for the garden center at Lowe's.

This time of the year is busy for me because clients are a calling for help with their yard and garden needs and I also need to get my gardens ready for spring flowers blooms and garden plantings.

Today was another perfect day for working in the garden. I am glad that we have had warm days in January because I have used the time wisely by being productive in the yard and garden.

Late Season Planting: Spring Bulbs in Containers

Its January and normally I do not plant spring bulbs outdoors during this time of the year but a client emailed me and told me she had a bag of 200 mixed spring bulbs; hyacinths, daffodils and red tulips that she wanted me to plant in her plastic containers.

In the past I have planted bulbs in containers and then kept them in the greenhouse but I have never planted them for outdoors this late in the season. There will be snow this weekend and a hard frost.

I think the bulbs should be okay as long as the containers are deep and wide enough for the spring bulbs.  However I did suggest that they keep the newly planted bulb containers on their covered patio.   This area would protect them from excess ice or snow being piled up on top to the containers. Other than that I am certain that as long as I get these bulbs into a container that is mixed with compost potting soil and bone meal that they will be just fine. 

So tomorrow I am going to head over to my clients house and plant her 200 mixed spring bulbs in containers. I will do all the planting in her garage so I won't feel too cold. The spring bulb containers will be topped with a layer of cypress mulch. I think this is wise since there is snow in the forecast.

All I need to do is do the arrangement of the bulbs so they containers look pretty when they bloom, then fill the planters with the amended soil and plant the bulb according to my drawing and then water. My clients husband said he will take them outdoors.

Now I am wondering if the garden centers have any leftover spring bulbs because I would like to fill my plastic containers with spring blooming flowers also. Maybe I will run to Lowe's garden center in the morning and talk to the master gardener that oversees that department.

Learn more about planting tulips in a container by viewing this tutorial.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Wishing for an Indoor Garden Space

The past few days were wonderful because the weather was sunny and warm but today the weather has changed and it is cold once again. Since today is too cold for me to work in the yard and garden I am wishing for an indoor space where I can grow flowers and herbs.

I have an old drafty greenhouse that is attached to my garage but it is too expensive to keep this space heated so I needed to abandoned the greenhouse until winter comes to an end. 

 Now I am looking at my side sun porch and would like to turn this space into my growing and gardening space.  I like that it has a southern sun exposure and that the windows are from ceiling to the floor. 

There is door that separates this space from the main house and this door will keep our cats out. Husband would prefer me to not take over this space because he likes to read the paper in this room in the morning. So I am thinking that a room divider may keep me and and my husband happy. 

Anyway I am dying to get my hands into dirt and start growing plants so I am wishing for an indoor garden space that has southern sun for growing healthy flowers and herbs.

Here is a a set that I created at polyvore. It features some herb garden products that I designed at my zazzle.com store. I love the way this room looks and think this interior design would be perfect for my indoor garden.

Working on Raised Garden Project

Husband asked me to extend my rock herb garden down along the side of the stepping stone path. He thought fragrant herbs along the side of the garden path  would look good.  He also thought he would not have to cut the grass in this area and he really liked his idea.

It seemed like a good idea at the time to extend the herb garden, so I drew out the garden plans on paper and my husband looked at me blankly then said he thought it would be cheaper to buy a raised garden kit.  I did not agree with him but knew if I did not show him a kit that he would never understand.

First stop today was Lowe's garden center where we looked at raised garden kits. One large garden was priced at $176.93 and this kit was not big enough for our garden plans.  

Husband studied the raised garden that was on display and the good thing about these kit gardens is they do give the husbands an idea as to what they are supposed to look like and they know what material is needed to put them together.  

If you guy cannot not visualize your garden plans on paper the put together kit on display will help them understand and you husband will think you are a garden genius.  (smile)

After our trip to the garden center, there was plenty of time for me to get started with my extended herb garden.  Today husband and I removed all of the river rock that went around the herb garden. Then I used landscaper marking paint to outline the area where the new garden will be located. 

 Since the top six inches of soil are workable, husband will remove the sod and level the area before lying down the landscape liner to prevent the weeds or wild grasses from growing.

Hopefully by the end of the week the sides of the raised garden will be installed and then we need to fill with organic compost mixed with potting soil.  I like that the weather is warm this week because it is allowing me to get the gardens ready for spring planting.

Looking Forward to Spring Gardening

It is January and I know winter is not over but this week we have spring like weather and I have enjoyed my time spent in the garden because the spring bulbs are blooming and there are buds on my old fashioned lilac bushes.  

Soon there will be hundreds of daffodils followed by pink tulip flowers blooming on the slope and I am looking forward to the spring flowers and gardening.


We will have warm weather for the next couple of days and I will be getting a jump start on my spring chores.

Instead of waiting for March I am going to cut back my large ornamental grass garden and remove any of the leaves that have covered this garden bed. 

Ajuga burgundy glow
When this garden is cleaned up then the ajuga burgundy glow that grows close to the border stones will be able to get the nutrients from the sunlight and will produce pretty blue flowers in the spring.  

I also want to work on my herb garden because husband would like me to extend is so it grows along the side of garden path. I agree with him that fragrant herbs close to path would be wonderful in summer.

The warm weather break is enjoyable, I feel renewed and looking forward to spring flower blooms and planning my summer annual flower gardens.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Gardening on Warm Winter Day

Today the temperature was in the mid 50's and so I took advantage of the warm weather and went to work in my garden. The snowdrops were blooming and this white flower is generally the first flower to bloom in spring.
Snowdrops and purple crocus first flowers in early spring

I took some time to remove the mulch from my spring garden beds and saw that the crocus and daffodils were coming up also. Now I know that these warm days is just a break because cold weather is in the forecast for this weekend, but instead of covering the new growth up with a light layer of leaves I think I will make up my spring fertilizer.

This flower garden fertilizer is one that was passed down from my dad, he would mix 8 lbs of compost with 3 lbs of bone meal and if there was any ash left in the firepit he would add that to the wheelbarrow and mix all the ingredients with a shovel.  Learn more about this spring flower garden fertilizer here

I will put a layer of the fertilizer over the flower beds and around the spring flowering shrubs. Like my lilac and forsythia and by doing this I know that when it comes time for the flowers to bloom that they will be beautiful.

I spent three hours in the garden today and really enjoyed getting my flower beds ready for the next growing season.