Sunday, April 28, 2013

Free At Last!

Shhhh..... don't tell the winter warden, 
but I've broken out !
I feel like the shackles of winter have finally been lifted.  Seeing some green..any green caused great joy in the inner spirit of this lady! 

First things first...lots of debris to be removed including the grasses and oak leaves that came down through the winter.

My hubby decided to try his shop-vac to vacuum out the tangled leaves and it worked quite well!  It's an usual approach but he was quite happy with how well it worked!

I was raking everything off the beds to get ahead of the plants that are starting to sprout up. Those oak leaves are tough...and they like to wait until winter before they drop so we always have them to clean up! 
Eventually he got the back pack leaf blower out and cleaned up all the bird seed leaves and dirt that seemed to have migrated all over the walkway and patio.

We've got rain coming Monday/Tuesday 
so we are rushing to get a few details 
out of the way.

The crocus have been popping up.  
This is out front.  The tulips and daffodils 
are coming out fast.  
These crocus were a part of an old garden that I removed years ago.  They just keep popping back up in random areas.  
This year they seemed quite strong.
We'll be cleaning out the leaves and dead plant material soon.  I'm just afraid to step in the wrong area!
My assignment today is to trim back the vine on this arbor .  It doesn't look like much but with the warmer temps it will be greening up real fast.

I hope you are enjoying some spring like weather too!

Here's a toe tapper for you to listen to!
It's a good day!

Thanks for visiting!!

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Looking for Inspiration

 We've had a rather extended season of winter 
like weather lately. Snow, rain, snow, snow, rain...snow
 The other day it warmed up so fast it looked like
steam was coming off the snow!
See that shrub with the burlap torn down...a red squirrel took to ripping on it there
 for a while.  He looked like a kid throwing a bad fit.  
I have no idea why he was doing it.  I never saw him take anything away.
Well- it sure isn't pretty, but I'm glad to see the ground again! The birds have left quite a mess of hulls from the bird seed beneath my topiary lilac tree.
Lots of clean up to do to get things looking good again. 
We have to bundle up our shrubs for the winter. They survive much better
 this way since we get so much snow and bitter temps.

Signs of life emerging! Yay!

 I've been suffering with 
"lack of inspiration" 
about the upcoming season, but these pictures 
from the garden center that I shop at when visiting 
my mother got my motor running!  

I'm going to blast you with a bunch
of pictures!

Adding decorative twigs in the center to add some 
height and interest 

Using baskets instead of pottery

I noticed the use of enamelware containers
I love violas

Using crates 

A way to decorate around the base of a fountain

These caught my eye and inspired an idea! 

 I'm inspired by the  picture (before) and I have these two metal plant stands-
I'm thinking of lining them with cocoa fiber (and perhaps green moss on the outside) and planting them with flowers.... I've tried small pots, for the last three years but I'm not happy with the results.

I'm glad I found some inspiration 
and I hope you are too!

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Hello Spring and info about Impatiens Downy Mildew

Hello spring?  I was reviewing my posts from a year ago and about this time I posted about the weather and how my magnolia had been damaged by the hard frosts we had been getting.  April 14th, 2012

Well this year is quite different (more normal) and we are a long way off from seeing any flowering shrubs or even tulips for that matter!  We still have snow on the ground and I got excited that the snow had melted enough that I could see some mulch on the retaining wall!  

Impatiens Downy Mildew-
I just read an article in an April 2013 publication of Michigan Gardener.   It talked of a new disease that is spreading across the country called 
"Impatiens downy mildew"  
I can't find the article on their web page just yet so I will quote bits and pieces 
from the article.  
"It showed up in California in 2004 and limited area of the south in 2009.  Here in Michigan in 2012, impatiens that were thriving one week were defoliated and nearly dead a week later.  
Regular seed grown impatiens are the victims of this rampant disease.  In the early phase, the leaves yellow and curl.  If you turn the leaves over you will clearly see the downy mildew (white powdery spores) on the underside.  In the late phase, plants completely defoliate within a couple weeks.  
The disease produced spores that can move in the air and overwinter in the soil.  Even if you didn't have downy mildew last year, it is very likely that you will have it this year.
Growers can apply specialized fungicides that will protect impatiens for up to 6 weeks, but there is no cure once the plants are infected.  It is impractical for the home gardener to try treating the disease since these chemicals need to be applied frequently by a certified applicator.
Many commercial growers have chosen not to offer regular or double impatiens this season.  The good news is that we have so many great alternatives, including New Guinea Impatiens that can perform beautifully where we used 
to grow regular impatiens."

If you have followed me you know I use impatiens 
around my garden near the fountain.
I have full shade here and I don't know what I'm going to use.  The only sun that shines here is in the morning and it's more of a dapple of sun.  
Some of the suggestions the article calls off are the New Guinea Impatiens, Divine New Guinea, SunPatiens, Nicotiana (tobacco plant), 
Nierembergia (cup flower), and Fuchsia.
I know some of these require a bit of sun which I really don't have.   
I had never even heard of this mildew problem until I read this article and I'm bummed out about it.  I love how the impatiens fill out and they offer a continuous bloom.  They are also cost effective compared to buying plants like the New Guinea impatiens.  
I hate to think that if I planted impatiens that they could die off on me and I'd loose my color for the season.  Call me selfish, but my window of gardening is short and I cherish it.
The only other plant I can think of (that won't cost a fortune) that provide a full amount of color and can take shade is Coleus.  It's not as pretty as the impatiens and does require some tending to keep a nice shape.  

Have any of you ever had this problem?  Any suggestions for shade loving annuals are welcome!  
I haven't spoken to any of my favorite garden center people yet, but I intend to.  I want to see if they are on alert about this and if they are planning any alternatives.

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