Tuesday, February 24, 2009

More Iris Pics

Here is some more pictures of irises in my garden.

I can't remember this ones name. I know it has Island or Tropical in the name! Perhaps, Island Dancer.

unknown pure white. Love this one.


Screen Play, I think.

Kentucky Derby

Starlit Velvet

Indian Ceramics

Hmmm, not sure

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Some pics of My Yard

Here are some pictures of my iris beds from 2006. The bloom isn't at its full potential. The soil still needs some serious amending and the irises need some dividing.

These are some of the beds that have been newly planted.

This is Blue Eyed Blond.

This is a shot of my shade garden in the spring of '07 i think. I just replanted some plants and added some new brick edging.

I don't consider my garden very well designed at this point. More than anything it's a place to stuff my plants till i have some acreage to spread them out on. I generally just shove things in where i can. I always buy to many plants! Most of my yard is dedicated to irises as you can see. Someday I will have a beautiful piece of land to fill with my collection. Until then...

Friday, February 20, 2009

New Garden Goodies!

My order from Amazon came yesterday!!! In the big box with the smiley face, garden treasures hid. I ordered three books, Backyard Market Gardening, The New Organic Grower and Carrots Love Tomatoes. They are in perfect condition and came highly recommended. I need to get reading!

The most exciting thing that i purchased though, is the P-touch label maker 2700 by Brother. I cant wait to get started making garden labels! Originally I was going to spend a fortune on pre printed labels from an online company until someone pointed out that their labels are exactly the same as ones made by a p-touch labeler. This model has really good reviews on Amazon and came recommended from many on DavesGarden.com. I am going to save hundreds of dollars now which is awesome. Plus i can label anything i want. My boyfriend is going to use it to label his home brews as well. I was glad that he thought of that because other wise he would have complained about me spending my money on useless stuff. Since he can use it, I'm in the clear, whew! I plan on labeling my 400 varieties of tall bearded irises, daylilies, hostas, clematis, roses, veggies and whatever else i can think of. The labels last for many years outdoors even in my northern garden. Now I need to buy the paw paw metal markers to stick them to.

The Cooks Garden catalog came yesterday too. It looks so yummy. I have already started circling tons of veggies. Here I go again!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Visit to the Orchid Show

A few years back I attended an Orchid Show for the first time. I have always loved orchids so I had to stop in. At the time I had no idea how many fascinating orchids existed until I walked into the show.

I encountered a very rude lady while i was there. I was wearing a pair of jeans that had a hole in the front just above the knee. Not a big deal. People my age pay lots of money for pants with holes! Any how, a little girl walked up to me and said to her grandmother, "She has a hole in her pants". The grandmother replied "Well, some peoples parents can't afford nice clothes". Now, I don't know if she meant to sound rude or if it just didn't come out right. Either way, I couldn't believe she just said that!!! I thought, Lady, these jeans were $60 and they are very well worn and comfortable now. Of course, i didn't say anything because I didn't want to start the first ever brawl at the local orchid show and jail is a place I never want to visit. Instead I just vented to all my friends who all thought it was very funny as do I know.

Here are some pics from the show. The photos aren't that great because I didn't know how to use the camera that well.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Off to the Market?

It's the time of the year when I have flipped through my catalogs about 25 times each. I have them memorized and when I want to show someone a particular plant I can flip right to the page. I have circles around hundreds of veggies and garden products and the pages are slightly wrinkled from my skins oils. My wish lists are long and unrealistic as I would need 20 acres just to accommodate them. Its time to start narrowing em down. This is always my least favorite part. Deciding which wonderful plants will make the cut. Which ones will join the all-star team and more than likely undergo a bit of torture in my gardens. By torture i mean the occasional ,I decided to go camping for the weekend and party with all my friends instead of taking care of my precious veggies, torture. I hope to not do this often but alas, I am but a mere mortal and tempted easily.

One of the more important decisions I am working on is whether to go or not to go to the farm market this year. In my area, farmers markets are springing up all over the place. Many are very close to home. I was thinking of growing some extra produce organically for the markets. The heirloom and organic craze has arrived in my area quite strongly in the last few years. I'm thinking heirloom carrots, squash, melons, tomatoes, herbs, cut flowers, garlic, potatoes and maybe a few others could be great for the market. Growing from seed is an economical way to grow plants and will really limit my loss if it doesn't pan out.

I have always wanted to sell at farm markets. When i was a child my mother sold perennials at the Sara Hardy Farm Market in Traverse City, MI. Every Saturday we woke at 4 a.m., hit the road by 5. I always brought my friend, Shelly with me so that we could play while mom sold plants. It was about an hour drive to the market during which Shelly and I would fall back to sleep. If we managed to stay awake we listened to the oldie's station. I can still remember which songs they played. Duke of Earl, The Wanderer, Crimson and Clover, etc... Great songs that i love to this day for the fond memories they bring.

The farmers market was always incredibly fun. The sights, smells, and the swarms of people buying and selling. Delicious fresh strawberries and wonderfully rich black bottom cupcakes where always our favorite! The market is set along the Boardman River so there was plenty to do when we weren't perusing the other vendors offerings.

I have always wanted to return to that market but as a seller. Joining in the fun and meeting new people. Will I go? I still have a decision to make but I am strongly leaning in one direction.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Strive to be GMO Free!

I have been listening up lately about the dangers of GMO's or Genetically Modified Organisms. I found a website that is excellent for info on GMO's. www.saynotogmos.org

Please check it out. Lot's to learn. Make sure that your crops are GMO free! The Documentary Channel is running a film called Life Running Out of Control. It's about the farmers that are being destroyed by GMO's and India's struggle to stay GMO free. Also it discusses the dangers of genetically modifying animals such as pigs, cows, fish and mice. It's a saddening and harsh reality about the power of these large companies and the devastating affects of tampering with nature.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Power of Flowers

"Flowers always make people better, happier and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul."

-Luther Burbank

Monday, February 9, 2009


This is a picture that my boyfriend, Andrew, took in Italy a few years ago.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunday's Something on Monday

Got home from work at 7pm last night. Gotta love retail. Worked 11 to 7. Same as every other Sunday. I also work every Friday and Saturday too. In fact, this week I only have Monday off. I work six days and only get 36 hours. If your going to ruin my week at least give me some real hours!

My store is currently in liquidation. Yep, their going out of business. It took me two months to find the job and two months later we all find out its closing. We will be locking up the place at the end of the month. I'm not attached to the place. Don't really like it at all. What's upsetting is that it is another family store that has been around for over 50 years that couldn't stay afloat in these tough times. I can't begin to count the many people that have told me their tale of becoming unemployed. One lady was a job recruiter! She came back from her vacation and her job was gone.

I have been lucky though because several stores began hiring last week and they both look very promising for me. Wish i could say the same for all those out there with families and mortgage payments.

On a better note, working in retail gives me plenty of time to ponder what to grow, where to plant, what am I doing with my life, etc.. etc...

Several co-workers found out today that I was 27 years old. They had a look of surprise assuming that I was 19 or so. Not that I am complaining. I want to stay young forever so that works for me. I don't feel 27. I don't act 27 very often. And apparently I don't look 27 either. So it all works out. I will remain 19ish until I look 27ish. Not that 27 is old but I'm just not where I thought I would be by now. I'm not married, no children, no house to call my own, no real career, just floating along in North Carolina, longing to be back in Michigan.

I have all these dreams and goals that still haven't come to fruition and of course, I am the only one to blame. My lack of drive and my ability to procrastinate have sabotaged me from a very early age. Even today, I do so much better with someone to hold my hand. I try to start things but eventually come to a point where i feel i can go no further. It's all mental but I just don't know how you overcome things that are in your head.

Keeping this blog is my first step in following through with something. I'm surprised I am being so good about it. But it isn't hard to do. I really love it! Its the highlight of my day everyday.

What I need to do is get moving. Start planning, reading, taking classes, meeting people, thinking positive and whatever else it takes to get going. I'm not getting any younger and my dreams and goals are not getting any more real! I can do it!!!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Garden Lady Gathering

Today was a fun day. I had lunch with my wonderful garden friends here in North Carolina. It is one of the few days that we could all actually get together. Sunny but cold, a perfect day for some comfort food and good friends.

We meet at Janelle's for lunch and a bit of show and tell. I brought irises for Robin and catalogs to pass around. Robin brought handmade doilies for each of us and showed off her new garden scrapbook. Susan brought delicious deviled eggs and Janelle provided the feast. A hearty chicken casserole with a very sinful creamy sauce. Peas, biscuits, orange fluff, and butter pecan cake completed the meal. Everything was delicious but the cake was out of this world. Very rich and sweet! I love anything to do with butter pecan! We all urged Janelle to enter it into some cake competitions. Yes, its that good.

It was fun talking flowers with everyone. I don't get to as often as I'd like. We all have very different garden styles so there is lots of good tip sharing and pictures.

Janelle has a beautiful woodland type garden. Her trees create a very high canopy that lets through dappled light. Lots of ferns, hostas, hellebore's, daffodils, hydrangeas, boxwood, and astilbe adorn her extensive beds. Stone paths lead the way all around the yard which is slightly sloped. A small pond and waterfall are next to her deck protected by a perfect Japanese maple.

Robins garden is an ever evolving cottage paradise. She is constantly adding new beds and digging new amendments into her soil. Poppies and other cottage style flowers are in great abundance and create that cottage feel that is so comforting and inviting. A beautiful antique rose meanders along a long fence.

I have not had the pleasure of touring Susan's garden yet but have admired her place whenever I have driven by. She lives in a wonderful farm house complete with beautiful barn. Along the roadside is a charming split rail fence that is now backed with large boulders. Susan lives on a sharp curve and her fence pays the price repeatedly for the careless drivers! I hope to visit her gardens in the very near future.

Then there is my garden. A small area crammed to the gills with all the plants i can get a hold of. Someday they will get spread out onto a wonderful parcel of land.

Around 2 o'clock we all had to disperse for various obligations. It was such a treat to have lunch with some friends. I hope we will make this a monthly event.

Monday, February 2, 2009

My Favorite Poem

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)

i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

e.e. cummings

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Who is a Gardener?

A gardener is someone who knows which window has morning sun.

Someone who admires water droplets on flower petals.

Someone who enjoys the look of dirty feet and hands.

Someone who need not apologize for having dirty feet and hands.

Someone who longs for large piles of animal manure.

Someone who compliments others large piles of manure.

Someone who knows that kitchen scraps are as good as gold.

Someone who lets the spider live in the garden.

Someone who appreciates the presence of slimy frogs and toads in flower beds.

Someone who knows what can come from a teeny tiny seed.

Someone who teaches children about life through gardening.

A gardener is someone who cherishes the friendships that evolve from the love of plants.

A Collector at Heart

It runs in the family. Collecting stuff that is. You name it. I will probably find a way to collect it. My mothers parents were extremely avid yard salers. Grandpa was a music collector and grandma was along for the ride. He had 10,000 player piano rolls, 7 pianos, 5,000 records, drums, old clarinets, flutes, saxophone's and whatever else played music. Hundreds of instruments. It was a child's paradise complete with a pinball machine. When you flicked on the lights a huge stained glass music machine kicked on playing wonderful carnival style music. The pinball machine came to life and a train started cruising around the room. Boxes of toys for us to pick through and a row of colorful clowns sat along the wall. Each one of us had a favorite.

I have about six boxes of glass bottles. I have spent hours digging through old home sites and dump areas for any type of glass. Old soda bottles, china, and lots of medicine bottles. I found my first when i was around the age of five, laying in the little creek behind our farm house. A beautiful blue medicine bottle complete with lettering in the glass. A prized possession, I still love my blue glass bottle. I have found more since but the first is always the most cherished.

I inherited my grandmothers button collection. It's been steadily growing since then. Its a nice little assortment of buttons. Each one so dainty and full of purpose. Someday each one will lend itself to something greater.

I have been collecting wool sweaters as well. I have plans for them too. Sweater bags. Its really simple and it will be fun to accessorize them with my cute little buttons. They are great for farm market bags. Its a fun way to re purpose old wool sweaters.

I collect books and lots of em! Whether i plan to read them or not. If they are old and charming I will give them a home. I especially love books that have been written in. I have several that have sweet messages in them and were given to loved ones. The dates are from the 30's and 50's. It's as if i feel the books story. Not the one it tells inside but what the gift meant. I smile when i read the little notes, "To my dearest with love", 1939. I don't know their love story but i like to think it was a passionate one.

Since irises are my favorite it makes perfect sense that i save anything that has to do with them. I have over 20 years each of Cooley's, Keppel's and Schreiner's catalogs. Great pictures and history for an avid iris grower. A large tote is overflowing with them. Its time to graduate them to a much bigger area.

I have a huge seed collection too. I have a lot of sowing to do. It should keep me busy for several years! I have vegetables, perennials, datura's, morning glories, and many other goodies to grow and share.

It was inevitable that i would grow up to love things. Surrounded by people who cherished them, I grew to appreciate the simple joys of collecting. My buttons, chairs, books, cheese graters, pie plates, glass bottles, garden magazines, figurines, picture frames, beads, yarns, old windows, and fabrics to name a few, are just pieces of what make me happy. Someday i will have a place to call my own where my wonderful treasures can be displayed and gain new lives and purposes throughout my home.