Tuesday, September 15, 2009

RIP Morning Glories (and Patrick Swayze)

So that little storm we had over the weekend which was "uncategorized" according to my weatherman, but sure as hell felt like a hurricane or a tornado (in my world: wind + rain= hurricane/tornado) knocked over my trellis and completely uprooted the morning glories.

Note: I don't think actually WERE morning glories--I think the whole vine may have been moonflower. My super detective skills observed white flowers instead of blue....case solved.

So anyway! No more vine....

I tore the whole thing off the trellis and I have to be honest I kind of like it better....it was getting a little too cluttered for my taste. Now the big question is how to keep the trellis from falling over without cementing it in the ground since the vine failed in it's quest to stabilize it.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

What's the Story, Morning Glory?


The vines are everywhere!

When are you going to bloom?


Here's the information for you while I wait, somewhat patiently.....

Morning Glory

Light Exposure: Full Sun
Type: Annual but will reseed
Height: 10 feet or more
Zones: 3 to 10
Flower color: White, purple, blue, red, yellow
Bloom time: Late summer, early fall
Best uses: Climbing vine

Special Notes: When planting make sure to soak the seeds over night to soften them up. Seeds are also poisonous so watch out for kids and dumb, but precious, four-legged friends. Also, to try to minimize volunteer seedlings (next years growth) remove all the dead vines after they are killed in the fall by frost.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

You just got Mooned!

I love the structure of the bud! Very architecturally interesting.

Starting to open

This reminds me of layers of a beautiful wedding dress.

Almost there!


I planted moonflower vine seeds earlier in the summer not expecting any of them to grow, because, well, that's been my luck with seeds. However this year Nature bestowed upon me great and mighty powers and I was able to grow not one but THREE different types of plants from seed...BOO-YAH!!

You saw the nasturtium in an earlier post (I think....if not...Coming soon: Nasturtium!) and the morning glories have grown but not yet flowered. But the moonflower vine....oh, the moonflower vine...beeeeyooouuuutiful!!!

I am assuming it's called moonflower because it's large, white and the flowers open at dusk....you may all now revel in my super gardening intelligence....I am so smart! I didn't even have to Google that!

The vine has essentially taken over the large planter box and the old iron gate I have on my patio and is now making a slow creep toward the bushes in front of it, which is exactly what I wanted.

One thing I didn't realize is that these vines are self seeding and can be invasive. If you don't want moonflower vine taking over your yard ( I don't!!) you need to deadhead them immediately after the flowers die or pick up the flower heads that have fallen off. Excuse me while I panic and run out to the yard to pick all the old flowers up!!

Here's the info before I go!

Moonflower Vine
Light Exposure: Full Sun
Type: Annual
Height: 8 to 10 feet
Zones: 8-11 (although I live in Zone 5 and it grew!)
Flower color: white
Bloom time: Late summer, early fall
Best uses: Climbing vine

Special Notes: Moonflower vine is considered a tropical perennial and invasive in certain zones so you should be aware that it will take over and spread if you don't collect the flower heads!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Crab Grass BE GONE!

Image courtesy of goodbadandugly2.wordpress.com

Late August to mid-September is the perfect time of year to seed and feed your lawn for the winter and hopefully eradicate that horrid crab grass for good.

I usually seed in the early spring (early April) but have never really seeded in the fall. This could possibly explain why crab grass continues to blight my little lawn.

Look at your supplies and stock up on your grass seed...cause next week we are spreading some seed!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

There's a Fungus Among Us!

I just noticed yesterday while I was out doing some weeding that my peony foliage has become infected with some nasty white stuff.

Remember when it looked like this?

Innocent and pure

It now looks like this.



So before I accused it of being the Paris Hilton of peonies I decided to do some research. I found out that my peony is infected with......


I have several choices:

1. Shun it for being a promiscuous, dirty, little flower.

2. Chemically treat it into oblivion therefore tainting my ground, my water source and possibly killing the entire city. (I just can't have that on my conscience right now.)

3. Look to see if there are any organic treatments which will bring harmony to Nature and peace to the Middle East. **Cue singing birds and rainbows**.

You're right! I chose #2!

I mean I chose #3!

There is a great organic gardening forum at gardenweb.com and there were several suggestions which are as follows:

1. Spray with a 50/50 solution of non-fat milk and water
2. Spray with a solution of chamomile tea (mmmm...chamomile)
3. Spray plant with a solution of 1 tsp baking soda and 1 quart of water (every 5 days)
4. Removal and disposal of any affected leaves (the plant will grow back in the spring and most likely not be affected by the mildew but leaving it on can lead to plant disfigurement...whatever that means..."I am not a monstah!").

So how did this happen? Essentially it looks like the humidity of the summer may have been the main culprit as well as the way in which I watered it. Some more advanced gardeners say that watering the peony at the root is best instead of over the plant...did I say that in my previous peony post and not follow my own advice? (*looking back to May 16th). No! I didn't...ahh well...gardening is always a learning process!

I think I might try the baking soda and water mixture just because I have those things in the house. If all else fails I will cut the sucker down. I will keep you posted!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hot for Hostas!

My container hostas in the sun (Oh no! Don't worry, it was 9 in the morning, they are in the shade by 10am). I planted several more at my mother-in-law's house under her pine tree. *Note to self: take pictures of MIL's hostas.

These are hosta seed pods which developed after the very light lilac flowers died. I was actually going to save these and see if I could replant them to get more hostas but then I started reading this and decided....ummmm...NO!

What? Glass block background isn't "arty" enough for you? Boo.

Brown spots= bad. Time to move those bad boys into the shade!

I LOVES me some hostas and all you beginning gardeners out there should take a serious look at them too because you get beautiful plants with little effort.

Hostas are a great plant to grow in the shade. They always seem to thrive under big shady trees that take over a yard...kind of like ferns. However after reading up a little bit apparently there are hostas that do really well with some sun exposure.

Most major home stores carry hostas in their gardening department usually in the spring early summer, which is the best time to plant them. They are relatively cheap ($3-$5 bucks) and come in such a variety of foliage colors (greens, yellow, creams, blues) and textures it will make you head spin . Hostas grow larger with each passing year so make sure that if you put them into a container, it is large enough the following growing season. The good news is that hostas can be easily divided and planted elsewhere or given to fellow gardeners. Next spring I will have a hosta (I'm looking at you Big Daddy in the blue pot) that needs to be divided so look forward to that post!

Now hostas do get kind of yucky looking in the fall winter when they are dying back so be warned. I usually leave the foliage there for the winter even though the neat freak in me wants to cut them back because of how ghastly they look. However in the spring you will see little shoots coming up and THEN you can cut back those dead leaves til your heart's content!

I keep mine in my containers/flowerpots on the patio because that is where I get the most shade. I actually had them planted in the ground for awhile but they started to look a little sickly from too much sun and I took them out. You can see on the one picture the brown and yellow spots on the leaves....that indicated to me that it was time for Mr. Hosta to move to some darker territory.

Here is a great picture from the American Hosta Society where you can see how grouping these plants together makes an interesting garden without flowers, but with great visual impact!
There are so many different types of hostas out there and each one varies in their sun needs, although most prefer part shade. Don't know which type of hosta you have brought home? Here is another link I have provided that has pictures of hostas and their names for your identifying pleasure!

Houpt Hosta Habit

Hosta Basic Information

Light Exposure: Varies depending on the type but typically Partial/Full Shade
Type: Perennial
Zones: 3-9
Colors: Green, blue-green, cream, yellow, variegated leaves
Flowers: white or purple
Bloom time: Spring to fall
Best uses: Under shady spots, interesting foliage, cut flower arrangements
Special Notes: Hostas are a favorite deer food! I don't have many critter problems in the city aside from the occasional dreadful pigeon but we may need to discuss deer repellent methods for our country dwelling friends.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Mad Musings of an Urban Gardener

I would love to have a greenhouse one day.

Hell, I would love to own enough property to actually house a greenhouse one day....

I want one like Annabella Sciorra's in "The Hand that Rocks the Cradle". Minus the gyno molestation, psycho killer nanny and asthma, of course.

For those of you with the coin and space....

Image is of the Kew Garden in London, England by John Lamb/Stone/Getty Images