Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

September Surprise!

Went to go mow the yard yesterday and found two random plants growing with the grass! I had pinched my coleous plant awhile ago and tossed the clippings into the yard... not thinking the small leaves would take root! I dug it up and planted in a small pot.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Last Blooms of the Season

Fall is here, temperature has dropped, but my succulent is loving the cooler air. Hubs got me this plant last year for my birthday because of the purple leaves that sprout up in the spring.
Soon it will be time to start putting away the shepard hooks and gardening hoses!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Reuse Marigolds Every Year

The great thing about marigolds is that you can save your seeds and replant in multiple places the next spring.

Year one- invest in your favorite colored marigolds. I planted only a couple starter plants and they have grown into huge  marigold bushes this year.

As the plant blooms watch for old dried out flower heads. You want to wait until the flower has dried out and turned towards the ground. That is how you know they are ready.

Pluck as many as you can and keep in a paper envelope in a cool dry place until next spring. It is important that you don't put them in an airtight location like a baggie, the seeds may mold and will ruin.

Next year, a couple of weeks before spring you can break the flower head open and see a ton of little seads. You can go ahead and start these in your home on the windowsill or you cant wait and plant right in your flowerbeds after last frost.

You should have amazing marigolds each year! Best of luck!

Friday, August 28, 2015

5 Minutes A Day

While pinteresting over the winter I found an article that recommended spending at least 5 minutes a day outside with your plants to increase your overall happiness and lower stress.  This can include planting, picking weeds, or even taking a couple of photos. I started following this tip this year and can swear by it. When I pull into the drive way I spend a few minutes watering or some other grooming activity and I have to say is greatly decreases my stress and helps my mind cool down after work. Try it out!

Friday, August 7, 2015

August Marigolds

I have to admit, I have always been a marigold hater up until now. They always reminded me of an old lady flower bed. Man are these plants vivacious in the dead heat of summer! I got these plants dirt cheap on clearance at lowes this spring because I need a filler in my mainly perennial flower bed. I haven't watered these and they still continue to grow plush and bloom like crazy! I'm glad I got a few different red and orange shades.  The picture includes a naked lady in the background, shield your young ones eyes!
UPDATE my VIP plant of the summer has officially climbed all the way to the top and continues to bloom! The Clematis is not as thick as I was hoping, but I'm sure next year it will fill out.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

August Blooms

Heat has gone up to about 100 degrees for the past couple of weeks, still getting a few blooms!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Naked Ladies! July Blooms

My Belladonna Lily bulbs are popping up early this year. Check out my first blooms!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Lamb's Ear Update

Penny posted a few weeks ago about her super soft Lamb's Ear plant, see how beautiful the plant is as it flowers.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Super Soft Lamb's Ears

Lamb's Ears (stachys byzantina) was one of my favorite plants as a kid.  We had a small one that would grow in our backyard.  I used to get excited when I would see the fuzzy leaves start to pop up.  The leaves are extremly soft on this plant.  I never thought about having one in my own garden until last year when I noticed one on clearance at Lowe's for less than two dollars.  I was concerned the plant wouldn't come back the next summer, considering it was half dead when I bought it. Just look how huge the plant is this year!

Maitenance: literally, nothing so far this year! When the weather got cold, I trimmed back all the dead leaves and stems. It has flourished so far this year...I haven't even watered it yet!
The tall stem in the middle is where the plant is about to bloom. It does provide small purple flowers.  Be sure to check out my updated post to see. Cut back the stems after the plant has flowered to promote more plant growth.

Lamb's Ear is great for flower beds and can be easily divided to fill up other available spots.  My plant is in the bright sun for the majority of the day and does great. I recommend placing them in easily accessible areas for the kids, they will love it!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Baby Plants!

Propagating plants is an easy and cost effective way to fill your garden. The concept is simple- start with a momma plant and end up with extra baby plants. Required ingredients: plant, dirt, two weeks...that is it!  Here are the simple steps I recommend following:

Do a quick google search and see if your plant can propagate from cuttings. 

Find a small container that can drain. I recycle old plant containers my annuals come in (left in black), plastic plant starters (middle picture), or use my favorite- Keurig Cups (on right in white, just poke holes in bottom)! Fill with potting soil.


1. Choose a healthy, bug free plant. Find a branch and snip right below a leaf node. You want the cutting to be at least four inches.                                                                      

2. Remove the leaves from the lower half of the cutting. This step is important because the new roots grow out of the stem where the leaves used to be.   

3. Leave three or four leaves on the top of your cutting. Tear off any extra leaves, flowers, or buds. You want the plant focusing all energy on producing roots, not flowering.  

4. (This step is optional but will speed along the rooting process) You can use rooting hormone to help the plant get a jump start on producing roots. Place the stem in water and then stick into the powder. Shake off any access rooting hormone. 

5. Moisten your dirt in the starter container. Poke a hole in the middle of the dirt then place your stem in.

6. Provide sunlight and water. Wait two weeks and your plant will have a root system.  You can now plant this cutting into a new container. 

You can see new roots from my 'Wandering Jew' cutting.

I took cuttings from my favorite plant container (see blog post on how to create your own container)  and created a miniature arrangement of it in a new flower pot!  In a month this will be another full, beautiful arrangement for my back patio. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

2015 MVP

My all time favorite plant this year is the clematis!  My neighbor had a bright pink one grow up her mail box each year and it took me this long to figure out what it was. The blooms were always bright, beautiful, and perfect. The purple clematis was my one splurge purchase this year. We went to our local nursery and purchased a $20 Jackmanii Clematis.

Hubby picked me up this awesome 72" metal windmill from menards.  I thought this would be perfect for my clematis! By next summer, the clematis should be filled in all the way to the top (I hope).
Penny's Tips:
-This is a climbing plant- you will need a trellis
-Some grow much taller than others, read the details on the tag
-Bury the crown of your plant two inches when you are planting
-MULCH!! It is important to keep the roots moist

Friday, May 29, 2015

Stretch That Dollar!

If you would call me anything, it would more than likely be a cheapskate.  Paying full price for just about anything makes me cringe! After moving into our home, I learned quite a few things about putting together an amazing flower bed that you will love year after year ON THE CHEAP. I have learned from several mistakes, here is the best advice I can offer on how to have an amazing flower bed on a budget!

I was roaming through the flower section at the store and noticed the bottom of this hanging basket was cracked. It looked as if someone had dropped it. I asked if it could be discounted and was told it would be 75% off! I walked out paying only a couple of dollars and you can't even tell the crack is there unless you look close. It never hurts to ask for a discount for damaged goods.

Aim for bright colors. If you are like me and wish to have lots of color...not just green, try to make the rule you generally only buy plants that flower. This way you won't be wasting your money on foliage that really doesn't do anything for you. Get the most enjoyment you can out of your purchase!

Buy perennials over annuals. These plants will come back year after year. For the most part, this is just a one time cost other than a little new mulch each year.

I bought this plant last year in mid summer for a couple of dollars (marked down because all the blooms were gone), it just looked like a green leafy bush.  Look how pretty it looked this spring! 

Shop clearance. Lowe's always has cart-fulls of plants marked at least 50% off. Stick to perennials and shop throughout the seasons. After plants are done blooming the store will put a perfectly healthy plant 75% off...this will look beautiful in your flower bed next year!

Clearance wave petunias at Lowe's, originally $7.98, I paid $1.00.  
Use neighbors and friends as a resource! Hostas, day lilies, irises are all great plants that grow like crazy and need to be divided every couple of years. If you see something you love, feel free to ask them for part of the plant next time they divide them. People love sharing plants and the joy of gardening.   (The opening picture to this post are lilies my Godmother dug up from her garden to divide, one of the very first plants I put into our flowerbeds)

Read plant labels carefully, not all perennials will come back in your zone. Also, read tags to see if the plant will bloom in spring, summer, fall, or all. Spread out the variety among blooming seasons, don't just buy spring blooming plants. This will allow you to enjoy the beauty of your flower beds from spring to fall and get the most out of your dollar.

Learn to propagate. Several of my plants can be broken off of, stuck in dirt and a new plant will grow! DIY blog post to come soon.

Buy plants that are native to your area AKA you have seen them thriving in other yards. If you are seeing some exotic new perennial, don't waste your time or money. I have learned the hard way...they don't generally come back the next year.

A few petunia baskets were on clearance because they had several spent blooms hanging on them, everyone knows those can be pinched off!  I paid less that $2 for this basket, just the plastic basket alone is worth that. Within two weeks the pot was looking beautiful again. Visit my Pinch Those Petunias! blog post to find out how.  
You can also save money gardening in more ways than just the plants. Reuse your post and hanging baskets next year instead of throwing them away.  Also, shop garage sales and thrift stores! I have already seen several yard sells that were selling pots, tools, and plants!! I just bought a brand new hand tiller for 4 bucks. I bought some flower pots for 50 cents, great for my new propagated plants.

I also got a pair of Crocs at our local thrift store, (the gardener's shoe)! $2 Spray them down with clorox, rinse them off...they looked brand new!