Friday, February 26, 2010


Good Morning Friends….  I recently watched a gardening DVD and wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed it….  I use Netflix  and rented it from there, but I tell you, it would be a good one to have too.  The dvd’s are 4 hours long….but I think the rose gardens are the most beautiful I have ever seen.  They showed exactly what I dream of doing…. and they we mixed borders, not the formal ones we see so often.

ART& PRACTICE of GARDENING DVD SERIES…..covering every major garden style and practice in thirteen programs: Roses for the Garden, Visions of Nature, Structural Elements, The Summer Garden, Nurseries & Plant Collections, New Garden Ideas, Flower Gardens, Planting the Bones of a Garden, Color in the Garden, The Useful Garden, The Smaller Garden, The Country Garden, and Design Basics.

Here is the website….


Here is a video with the host of the series… it is interesting too.

She also has a website….

Anyway, I love to watch gardening shows…it gives me a fix till I can play in the dirt!

Check it out if you can….and Happy Gardening….Brooke

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Growing From Seed.... Oriental Poppies

Fall of 2008 I had an obsession..... Poppy Seed.

I was determined to get my hands on as many different kind of seeds as I could find.

I had large packets of corn poppy seeds....
That gave me beautiful red blooms....that made a huge impact.
Shirley and Peony Poppy ..... in pink....white and reds....that swayed in the breeze.
They did beautifully in my wildflower garden....but I must say, you need a bit of nerves of steel to grow poppies from seed. I direct sew to uncovered dirt in early March, and pray the wind or the birds don't carry off my blooms. Where I thought I had them planted, they never grew.... what I thought was a weed (and many I pulled) we're beautiful flowers. But I must say, it was all worth it, and I am trying again this year.

Things I will be doing differently ( I hope!)....
1. I will mix my seeds with sand and sprinkle then from an spice jar for more even seed distribution and more weight so they might go where I want them to....
2. I will have plant markers made up and ready to remember where I planted them and what kind they are.
3. I will have other annuals planted with them, so when they die back and reseed the old foliage is not so noticeable.
4. I will select colors I like and mark them with tags and plastic baggies to try to collect seeds.
5. I will take more pictures of them! Lol... I had so many and ended up with very few photos.

Here are some of the seeds I am planting...
(All pictures of there are from the web)

Peony Poppy Black Cloud

Danebrog Lace

Bombast Red

Coral Fringed

Hens and Chicks This is the seed huh?

And this is hen and chicks bloom.... neat plant.

Queen Alexandra

Lauren's Springer Grape

Drama Queen

Bombast Rose

More Giant Peony Poppy
Mine was from Burpee and it is in the stores right now, I picked up some at Lowes last week.
This was my favorite from last year, and if I had to try just one, this is the one I would do.

Here is some info from the web..... I thought it was very interesting.

How to grow Poppies (Link for Credit)

Prepare the ground properly. Till up the area you want to plant poppies in. A power tiller works best but the old fashioned, shovel, pick, hoe and rake will work too. It is a good idea to add some kind of organic fertilizer to the soil. Cow manure is best however it will come with a lot of weeds. Chicken manure that has been allowed to rest for at least a year is also recommended. Once you have prepared the ground, it is time to plant your seeds.

There are two times of the year that are best for planting poppy seeds. The Spring and Fall. Poppies are a very hardy plant and they like the cold. So plant your seeds just after you think the last snow has fallen. If it does not snow where you live, plant the seeds in the middle of February. It's easy, just sprinkle or broadcast the seeds where you want them to grow. If you live in a dry climate, be sure to water on a regular basis. The seeds should come up between seven and twenty five days, depending on your weather conditions. The seeds will come up everywhere you planted them. Because the seeds are so small, some people like to sow the seeds with a mixture of sand and seed, then broadcast the seeds that way. You will find they won't be crowded so close together. You can plant them in rows or just plant them everywhere.

Some people like to thin the plants from eight to ten inches apart when the seedlings reach a height of five to six inches. If you do thin out the plants, the remaining poppies will fill out more and produce more seed pods per plant. When the plants are ten inches tall start to fertilize with a liquid fertilizer. Alaskan fish fertilizer works well for the organic gardener. Or you can use Miracle Grow, a common vegetable fertilizer. You can buy these fertilizers at your local garden store. Be sure to follow the directions on the water mix. Fertilize and water on a regular basis until you see the seed pods start to form.

Let nature take over. Your plants will grow long stems with the flower and seed pod at the end. The flowers last from three to eight days, then the flower petals drop off. The plant uses all of its remaining energy to reproduce. The seed pods will grow fat with seeds and eventually the seed vents will open up to re-seed themselves. This is the time to collect the seeds for cooking. Save the seeds from the biggest pods for Fall planting. This is also the time to cut the long stems with their pods for dried flower arrangements.

Seed heads are frequently used in wreaths you will love the large pods. The stems dry straight and hard and can be used for a number of things such as: support sticks for other plants, use in arts and crafts, playing an ancient Chinese fortune telling game, or simple "pick-up sticks". For cooking, the seeds are a pantry necessity. Everything from poppy seed cake and muffins, to an ingredient in herbal butters and as a decorative topping on biscuits and for making a great poppy seed dressing. Many recipes can be discovered just by visiting your local library. In some countries, poppy seeds have been a staple and used to make flour and as an ingredient in most of their cooking.

For the Fall planting, plant your seeds in the middle of September and prepare the soil as I have indicated above. Poppies are very hardy, they should winter over just fine. However just in case, save about half your seeds for the Spring planting.

Poppies are beautiful plants and are a show piece for any garden. However, they do contain alkaloids that are a narcotic. It may be illegal in your area to grow opium poppies. Check your local laws. It is definitely illegal to harvest the raw opium these plants produce .I am selling these seeds to you strictly for beautification and the decorative and cooking aspects of them. Once you start your own garden of these beauties, you will never need to buy seeds again!

The history of these flowers is incredibly interesting and their wonderful versatility make these a very productive plant to own. I hope you enjoy these beautiful ancient flowers.

Here is a good source for poppy seed I found....check it out if you'd like.

I always check EBay too, that is where I got all of mine.
Happy Gardening....Brooke

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Give Me Roses….For My Garden

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Happy Valentines Day Garden Friends!

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I hope you are having an enjoyable weekend with your sweeties.

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We are planning on spending the day snuggled in by the fire.

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They are calling for up to six inches of snow tonight.

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So I thought for Valentines Day I would give you some roses this morning.

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The best kind I think…the ones with roots.

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I did notice all the pretty roses in the stores the last few days.

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And they we’re pretty to look at…. but where is the smell?

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So I will take my rose bouquets' looking like this….from my own garden.

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Or any of these will do nicely….

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Of course I have to wait a bit for delivery.


I am guessing they’ll be here late in May….

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But that is okay, I am a gardener….

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I am use to the waiting…..

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But that does not mean I enjoy it!

Hurry spring…I am missing my roses…. Have a great day Valentine’s Day everyone.


And Happy Gardening…..Brooke

(All of the photos from my own garden, May of 2009.  Most all are listed on my sidebar with photos and links with more information.)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

2010 Wish List # 9 – More Interesting Shrubs

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You know, I must say, I never seem to have a plan for my garden beds.

(My garden June of 2009)

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I would love to be one of those people who knew exactly how and what they wanted to include in new beds.   I am constantly editing and moving plant around.

(My garden June of 2009)

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All of my beds are “overfilled” and a bit wild, but I enjoy that look.  I don’t want to see big chunks of mulch….give me blooms!  I have just about every type of blooming perennial that will grow in my area, I swear.  If not, give me a season or two.

(My garden June of 2009)

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But there is a small  problem to this garden style of mine… I have almost nothing in the winter to look at.

(My garden June of 2009)

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This was from March of last year, it looks even bleaker today, but you get the picture.

sizergh 3

(Photo from the web)

I am really inspired by these large displays of texture and color with evergreens blended into the landscapes.  Last fall I added over 20 boxwoods, arborvitaes, hollies, junipers and spruces to the outlaying beds and by the driveway.  But they are all still quite small and it will take quite a few years for them have much impact.

So I feel like I have the evergreen part covered.

I am looking for the “interesting shrubs.”

Here are a few that have caught my eye recently.

Bluebeard or Blue Mist Spirea “Dark Knight”

(Photo from the web)

I have two of the pink spireas already and enjoy them, but this blue is beautiful.

A pretty shrub that grows to 3 feet tall and has aromatic, grey-green foliage that's a perfect foil for brighter perennials. Flowers are a deep dark blue and bloom for a long time in mid-summer through autumn.

Once established, this shrub needs no attention and can take dry conditions. It blooms prolifically every year. Cut back to one foot in late winter or early spring for best results. The vivid blue flowers attract many bees and butterflies. Zone 5 and up.


Summersweet “Ruby Spice”

(Photo from the web)

(Photo from the web)

Or “Hummingbird” the white variety….they are both very pretty.

Summersweet - Ruby Spice, Clethra alnifolia 'Ruby Spice', is a distinctive true pink that ranks supreme. In early to late July and into August, the plant bears bright pink blossoms on the current season's growth. The flowers are delightfully fragrant and long-lasting, up to six weeks. The plant has glowing yellow fall foliage. This species is high on the desirability list for northern gardeners, but it may need some wind protection in coldest areas. Remarkably tolerant of a variety of conditions, including roadsides and seashores, it prefers moist locations in partial shade, but will take full sun. If necessary, prune in early spring.

I don’t think they will be too overly hard to find.  I just really think they would look nice tucked in here and there for longer seasons of interest.

Hopefully I may have given you an idea for your garden as well.

Happy Gardening…..Brooke

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

2010 Wish List #8 --- Reblooming Bearded Irises

Photo © Ted Baker

My love for old fashioned flowers is never ending.

Photo © Ted Baker

I think of my plantings as “Grandma’s Garden” plants.

The new things are wonderful, but I look for the hard to find… not on every landscapers list plants.


One of my favorite things to do is getting plants from old homesteads.  My local garden club is also wonderful to pass along old varieties of wonderful plants.

This is a continuation of my 1st item on my wish list…. Variegated Iris.  You can see that post here .   It also shows some of the irises I already have in my garden.

I haven't found the variegated irises yet, but here is some irises I purchased on eBay!

The following 4 varieties came from this seller….Check it out.

Painted Cloud – Reblooming Bearded Iris

Best Bet – Reblooming Bearded Iris

Pass The Wine – Reblooming Iris

Clarence - Reblooming Bearded Iris

And one I ordered more of, but already had a bit of…. Immortality Reblooming Bearded Iris.  It was a deal I could not pass up….

5 starts for $6.00 (included shipping!)

If you have read my posts, you know I love a deal!

So why is this still a wish list if I have them?

Because I want the to REBLOOM in the fall!!!

So please, if you are an iris person, tell me… is there a secret?

Or is it a wait and see/ depends on the year thing.

I’d love to know…. until then…..

I am going to enjoy planning on where their new homes will be!

Happy Gardening…..Brooke