Sunday, August 30, 2009

Crab Grass BE GONE!

Image courtesy of

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 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

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Something to Inspire

Image courtesy of

Here's a great picture of the wonderful things you can do with a small yard or garden. Gotta love the Brits...they are the masters of the universe when it comes to small gardens. It's a perfect outdoor living area! I love how the irises planted in the background are duplicated on the pillows as well as the overall balance of the design.

Plus it appears to be a relatively low maintenence garden with the evergreens, the bamboo and what appear to be rounded boxwoods. Irises are also perennials, so not much to do there! However, when they die the garden would be lacking some color.

The large ice sculpture-y thing in the center? Discuss......

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Coneflowers...damn! I want ice cream....

More gorgeous gifts from Aunt Todd's Virginia garden....I am so jealous of her acres of land and tons of flower beds!

Another more common name for coneflowers is Echinacea. You hear about it all the time during cold and flu season because it commonly used to decrease the symptoms and duration of the cold or flu. This bit of information sharing does not give you license to go around the neighborhood and eat their flowers to prevent back off, petal chomper!

The particular yellow variety shown above is called "Harvest Moon". I have seen coneflowers more commonly in purple varieties with orange centers like these:

photo courtesy of

You can save the seeds from the coneflower to plant for next year. Here is a link with actual pictures of the seeds and corresponding discussion. Make sure you scroll all the way over to the right to get all 4 pictures!
Coneflower Seeds

I might attempt to save the seeds and plant them next year (I can HEAR you laughing! Just because I have minimal luck with seeds....bite me...). I'm sure Aunt Todd has tons of coneflower seeds laying around but if not the neighbors down the street have them in abundance...time for a little midnight dead-heading, flower-napping. (Disclaimer: Nature is My Bitch does in no way endorse the kidnapping or eating of flowers. Savages!)

**Note: Actually after reading a little more I found out you don't have to do this at all. You can just let the flowers die back naturally and they will bloom again next year! Apparently it's called "volunteer seeding"...I personally don't give a toss what it's called...I call it "a couple more free hours on Facebook". Lazy gardening at it's best! Thanks Nature! You're a pal...sometimes.....

Coneflower/Echinacea 411

Light Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Type: Perennial
Zones 4-9
Bloom Color: Golden Orange, purple, range of pinks, violet, white or cream
Bloom Time: July-August
Best Uses: Attracting birds, bees and butterflies
Special Notes: Deer resistent, drought tolerant

Sunday, August 2, 2009

VN Day (Victory over Nature Day)

Here's the tally so far...

Nature: 25*
Me: 30**

Well add ONE more to mine...making it a big, old, whopping 31!!!!!


Remember that blank patch of dirt I had in the early summer where I planted seeds (Morning glory, nasturtium and spanish flag). You don't?? Let me give you a visual.

Well look at it NOW!

Morning Glory

Alright, so I will give it to Nature that she appears to have absorbed the Spanish flag seeds. However I consider it a worthy sacrifice to her for allowing the other plants to grow. Plus I would like to thank her for all the rain we've been having which saves me time and gives me ample opportunity to watch Real Housewives Marathons on Bravo (Oh, you know you watch it too.) Now if we could talk about the weeds.....

*Estimated but probably a lot higher
** Again estimated, probably a lot lower but let Nature get her own blog and keep track. Bleh! *sticks tongue out*