Thursday, July 29, 2010

An Iris in July…Oh My!


How Beautiful is This?  I got a bit crazy buying reblooming irises this year, and this is the only kind I had in my garden beforehand, Immortality. If you missed all of my iris talk, you can see a list of the ones I have now here.


This plant is about a year and a half in its spot.  It has two blooms now and four yet to go.  It did not get as tall as it did in the spring….but it is scented and so beautiful…. an Iris in July…. I love it!


I have a bit of a theme of white to start with…but it will be turning pink soon…. this is pink diamond hydrangea.


Here is the whole plant with some “Naked Ladies” … isn’t that a crazy name for a pretty flower!


This is the first year I have had them bloom, they were from that old garden I got all those plants from.  I think the real name of them is BellaDonna Lily…. but they are also called Surprise Lily, Magic Lily, or Naked Lady.  Lol…


This is probably the last of my other lilies to bloom…. I will miss them.


A few of the rugosas are still blooming…. but the hips are turning red and looking like fall.


Here you can see the morning glory growing up it and a few hips.


It has taken over the arbor and fence…. but hardly anyone sees it open in the mornings but me.


This kind is Grandpa Ott’s and I love the pink and deep purple combination on the blooms.  I grew a blue one last year, but I like this better. 


Same with this Cleome, I have grown the pink ones before and they are pretty.  But this white with a bit of pink is just perfect.  It is “Spider Flower Sparkler Blush Hybrid” from Park Seeds.  They are a dwarf, but still 4 feet tall, but did not flop at all and blooming for weeks.


I have already been saving tons of seed from these, they are a keeper!  I will have some on my trade list for sure.


The knockout roses are pretty this week in the butterfly garden.


And the Black Eyed Sue’s are out of control… can you say transplant?


I can’t seem to take a picture that shows how pretty this Hydrangea is right now… it is Serrata Preziosa.


Phlox and a Pinky Winky Hydrangea greet you as come up my walk.  They smell so good!


Morris the kitten followed me all around taking pictures.


Blue Satin Althea, a new one from Proven Winners.  Love the color.


A soft blush colored bloom from my Coquette des Blanches rose.


Henryii Clematis on the front porch railings greets you as you come in my front door.


My containers are still looking pretty good.  I am not a good container person, but these have been tough this year, I love the colors of the coleus I found with the big leaves.


Kim’s Knee High Coneflowers blooming by my front steps.  They have just bloomed their hearts out for me there.  Perfect!


Last but never least….. my Crepe Myrtle is finally blooming!  It is just a little one, but I have given it lots of room to grow!!

As you can see, I have a lot of things blooming on Fertilizer Friday.

Happy Gardening….Brooke

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Dear Garden, Late July



Dear Garden,

First I must apologize for my absence as of late.  I know you had gotten quite accustom to having me visit for long hours earlier this summer and now it seems I just pass you by.  It isn’t that I don’t enjoy your beauty, but that time has gotten away from me and filled up by other things I must do.  I am greatly sorry that I have let the weeds come into your lovely home.  I promise to do better next month.  It seems when the much need rain came, so did all of the weeds.  I am also sorry for taking so many of your friends away last evening.  I know you will miss the big hostas, but they, like me, were getting a bit too much sun.  I also must apologize for separating the  lovely family of irises…. but all 22 members were planted in a row at the end of the driveway.  I am sure they will be holding hands and grown together in no time.

I hope you can forgive me and give me at least a few weeks more of blooms.


Your Gardener


Yesterday evening was spent in the garden until dark.  The humidity was down a bit and there was a breeze, but I was really just itching to do something.  I have told myself I was going to leave things alone until the fall plant trade, but I just couldn’t do it.  The big hostas just had to come out.  I had pinched off nasty leaves until I was scalping them.  They were just getting too much sun.  And I am simply out of shade.  Plum full, no vacancy…. period. 


Oh I am planning on having a bunch more shade.  We plant trees left and right, but it will take years for them to reach out to my front border.  So a bit of editing is in order.  I have 4 different kinds of hostas I am keeping and all the rest will be dug out this fall.  This is quite a big deal because all the front of my porch is lined by hostas as a border.  There are at least 25 more that will be removed, and I pulled out 15 in early June.  The sad thing is you can hardly tell they are missing, so many thing were growing under them and near them that needed the room. 


These are some of the hostas that I am keeping.  There are four of them around my fountain and they are beautiful.  I will divide them this fall, but they show no signs of stress and look good.  I know it is hard to tell, but does anyone know what kind this is?  It blooms purple and late.  I cut the blooms off already.


But this entire row is now gone…. and it looks better without them.  You can actually see what is blooming now.  Before things had to be really tall to be seen over the hostas.  There are now red and green sedums, lilyturf, hearty geraniums, blue eyed oat grass and seed verbena in the missing places.  Plus it gives the hydrangeas room to fill out more.


The sad thing is that I could not find my allium bulbs when I dug them up.  I do not know if they are still there, or if I gave them away with the hostas.  They were so beautiful this past spring, I will definitely plant more, but they might not be spaced quite right this coming May!  Oh well….

Picture 009   

This is the red sedum I am using everywhere I can start it.  I just love it.  It blooms a tiny pink star like flower, but looks good all year and stays under 4 inches high.  It is a good contrast to the rocks.

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Here it is like I am using it now, mixed under lilyturf and the hostas I am keeping.


This is the iris clump I divided and got 22 starts from!  It doesn’t look like a problem here, but it covered one of my favorite daylilys up this year and got so big it flopped over.  I had heard that when some irises get too big the center flattens and that was what was happening to mine.  I am amazed at how many babies were in that clump.  I made a whole row up the driveway.

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This is what it looks like when the ditch lilys are in bloom, but I am adding the irises for purple in April and May…. Orange in June from the daylilys…. and I am moving my black eyed susans there after they bloom for July and August…   It could be a bunch better than it is…. I have big plans for taming it.  Plus having the lilys there for 5 years helped my soil out a bunch, it was easy to dig… love that.

Well I need to get off here, but I am wondering if you all are like me…. Absolutely hate to be hot and sweaty if it is something like a ballgame or birthday party at the park with 100 kids… I feel like it is killing me…. but I worked outside for 4 hours last night, sweating till my clothes were wet and just loved every minute of it….lol.

If I could just love exercise like that….

Happy Gardening…Brooke

Friday, July 23, 2010

How do you garden online?

Dear Gardening Friends,
I thought it might be fun to talk about Gardening on the Web again.
Wow, is it ever changing, and growing by huge amounts.

A few years after we got Internet I remember looking up my favorite HGTV people and their websites.  What a treat to see their gardens and homes.  So much information.  So many ideas. 
But it wasn’t till about 5 years ago that I noticed private gardeners having websites.  At first you had to pay to have a website, thus it was primarily landscapers and others in the gardening business.  But then came along blogging and it took us gardeners a season or two, but we have since got it plum figured out!
I often wonder who was the first blog I visited…. it would be fun to know, because now I think of you all as friends.  I see your blog name and automatically remember most everyone’s first name and what part of the country they are from.
So I am sure you are wondering what these pictures are?  They are from Country Living Magazine.  I absolutely adore looking at any kind of gardening magazine, I have too many to count in every closet and bathroom of my house.  I keep them for years and look at them over and over.  That is my primary reason to love online gardening… it gives me the same feelings.  Inspired, fascinated and wanting to see more. 
I wonder what is around the corner, down the path, inside a beautiful home.
But visiting blogs is much more rewarding for me than garden magazines.  I can visit the gardens again every few weeks and see the seasons change.  I now have the opportunity to learn…. new plants, projects…. ideas.  And ask questions.
See I am the kind of person that once I see it I can usually do it.
The absolute gift to me has been the friends I have met.  I may never get to actually share a glass of tea with them  or smell their beautiful roses, but I feel I  know so many more fabulous gardeners from blogging than I would have ever meet in person.  Caring, wonderful people that I enjoy so much.  I think that is the definition of a gardener…. lovely, passionate, sharing individuals that just want to make the world a prettier place.  Beauty and grace abounds.
Do you want to do this too?
If you have a garden, computer and a digital camera…. that is really all you need to blog.  That and time and a bit of organization.
Here are 10 tips for gardening online--- and I am sure I could add more, but this is a good start.
1. I use and LOVE Blogger, it is a free service that several of us use.  I would say it is the most popular and very easy to learn.
You register for free or if you have a google account you just log in.
2. I would also suggest your get a separate  email account for garden stuff, I made one just for my “Garden Mail”
It has my blog name in the email, and that is helpful for other to find me.
This is optional but useful in my opinion.
3. The hardest thing will be choosing a name.
I used “Creative Country Mom’s Web Garden” because Creative County Gardens  and Gardener was already taken.   There are so many clever names for garden blogs!  Here are a few that are already taken… I just love the names…. and it will get your creative juices going….  Red Dirt Ramblings, Digging, Our Little Acre, Dirt Therapy, Rose Notes, Muddy Boot Dreams…ect.  You get the idea.
4. Once you have a blogger account you will have a home page or a “Dashboard.”
It is where you manage your blog and read all the new posts of other blogs.
It looks like this….
And should be located here once you register….
It will list all of your blogs where you can edit them, do new posts, customize your home page, ect. That is for another tutorial…. but this is also you reader or feed page for recent blog posts.  You can stroll down and see all the new postings on the blogs you follow with a snippet of the post and the head picture.  See picture above.
*****Okay for those of you who just visit blogs and never plan to make one of your own, this can help you save time.  You can have this reader and never use the blogging area, just have a page to easily read post and follow blogs.  I strongly suggest it, I think it is super easy to use and read*****
5. So you visit a blog for the first time and enjoy it. 
You will want to follow that blog, that means to have the new posts show up where you can check them in your reader aka Blogger…. you will need to be a “Follower”
Click “Follow” at the top of the page if it has a header that looks like mine.
Or it may look like this…. and you can click it.
Here is more info on following sites….
6. But what if it doesn’t have a follow button? 
You can add it by its web address…. on your Blogger Reader.
Click the “Add” button at the bottom of the screen.
You type in the address and click next… and the posts should show up on your reader just fine.  I know there are other readers out there and feeds, but I enjoy actually going to the sites and reading the posts there.  The white background on feeds do nothing for me.  Bloggers work really hard at making there pages pretty with graphics, music and links…. and I think if you just read posts like emails you kind of miss out on the whole experience. 
7. Gardening on Twitter…. are you kidding?  No… I am not.
If you have an account you can click on my own list called Gardening Friends and see what some of my gardening buddies are twittering about in the garden world.  You can also then add them as you own friends to follow.  There will be several familiar faces if you read blogs on there.  Don’t forget to add me too!  My list is added to everyday as I find more people I know.
I have had my account for awhile, but lately I have been logging on every day again.  It has been fun to hear the talk, you kind of get the “behind the scenes chatter.”
Plus I have met even more people and great blogs they write.
8. So what do I do with all of this?…. I share it.
It has been a decision to take my “Gardening Obsession” and sent it out in my own real life.  For a long time I didn’t tell anyone I blogged.  It was not a secret, but I felt that if you did not garden, you wouldn’t care about it.  Now, I post my website posts on my facebook page and I am so happy I do.  People I grew up with and went to school with can see what it is I enjoy and do.  Look at it this way, I could be up to much worse.  When is see people at the fair or a ballgame they come up to me and say they enjoy it, even if they do not enjoy gardening.  I also get asked lots of questions about plants.   And every day I am learning more about gardening, so I feel better in giving them correct answers.
I am also active in my community gardening.  I am in the county garden club and getting ready to go to the Master Gardening Program.   I see all of these inspiring posts and thought it would be fun to “show my friends” this or that post.
So, since I was on facebook, I started a gardening group there called WebGarden
What is this and what do I do with it?  Well it started a few months ago with me wanting to share posts with my local gardening friends and family here.  I wanted them to see this or that online that I thought they would enjoy.  But I did not necessarily want these posts to be on my own blog.  So I opened WebGarden and posted them there on Facebook.
Now we are at 150 members and over 1000 links.  All and only about gardening, not just blogs, but sites and information.  Basically I read a ton of blogs and the things I enjoy and find to be interesting and pretty that day, I post them to the group.
I figure if I enjoy it , they will too.  I have gotten the most positive comments from this, and I know it does not take away from any blog, it will get them new reader because they go DIRECTLY to the sites, it is not fed into anything on this page except a snippet and a link.
9.  How much time does all this take? 
I get asked this a bunch.  Let me start by saying I enjoy it.  I really miss my garden during the winter months and visiting gardens online is a joy to me.  I can see things blooming from across the globe and imagine some green here in Indiana.  So I well tell you I give it more time and energy at certain months of the year.  If it is too cold or too hot, I am at it more…. if the weather is nice…. I am out in the garden or doing something.
I take the weekends off.  And usually am online for 45 minutes or so of a morning, and then I check in on and off throughout the day, but just my emails.  But I have a job that I check my emails for, so maybe it would not be so often for you. 
As for writing a post…. it varies.  I’d say start to finish… taking the pictures…. editing…. writing… then posting it online…. an hour?  It depends on how much you talk I guess.
10. Is there an easier way to do my posts?
Yes, I use “Windows Live Writer” and it has worked out great.  It has been easy to use and easy to see how my post will actually show up, and I can save posts in my drafts and finish them later easily.  Here is the site, but it might be on your computer already.
I am not going to get into this program, but the site will help you get started.
Okay Brooke, that was 10…. I know…. but let me give you some final thoughts.
-Make your pictures as big as possible.
-Be friendly and treat your blog like you would a garden tour of your home.
-If you don’t know the name of the plant, it is okay to ask.  We as reader enjoy helping you garden and explore new things.
-Just because you don’t have many comments, does not mean other are not reading your blog.  I comment more in the winter months, but during the summer I feel a bit rushed and just pop in and see what is going on. 
-Same goes for followers, many will use different programs or just bookmark you on their own systems.
- Include a bit of the history of your garden.  How old is it, how big is it, ect.
- Readers love garden tours…. your garden… the neighbors… anything.  We love to see new places…
-Make sure not all of your pictures are close up.  We like to see the whole border or bed, not just the bloom…. include a little of both.
-Consider joining in some of the “Garden Days” Online…
There are many a few of my own favorites is Garden Bloggers Bloom Day…. the 15th of every month at Carol’s blog…..
Fertilizer Fridays at Tootsies (every Friday during growing seasons)
- The more active you are in groups and blogs, the more readers you will get.

What has changed in your gardening style since blogging?

I think I am a bit more adventurous in color and size.  I see plants used in other gardens.... plants that are mature and full, then when I see the little 4 inch pots, I know more what I am getting.

I have also been really fortunate to get to know a few of my gardening idols.  Like Paul James, Joe Lamp'l, Erica Glasener and P. Allen Smith. I have gotten emails from all of them, I don't know if it is them or someone in their staff, but I love it anyway... lol.

I get to try things for free or free plants.
That is something I never thought of, but once you label yourself a Garden Blogger, you suddenly have opportunities a regular gardener might not have.  I am a test garden for Renee's Seeds and am working on possibly testing for another large company soon.  Not only that, but recently I visited a local nursery and they gave me a bunch of free plants to try for them.  I was very happy to!


I can dream of going further in my passion.... I would love to be able to send articles to garden magazines or do write my own garden book.  I have actually been contacted by a publisher, but right now it seems such a daunting task.  My girls are small, but maybe one day I might try it.  Who knows. 

I also have a huge dream of having my own farmers market here locally.... to sell flowers and produce in season... mums and pumpkins... crafts and baked goods... you know... the kind of place with rockers on a front porch and carmel apples for the kids.  If I won the lottery today, I would start the plans immediately.... I have it all planned out in my head!
I would also like to be more involved in Regional Garden Activities and Clubs.
I am considering going to the district Rose meeting and Daylily Clubs.. I just enjoy hearing about plants and meeting new gardeners... plus the plant sales rock... lets face it!

I would have loved to gone to Buffa10.... and I may have to start a little savings account for the next trip... I enjoyed reading everyones posts, but it is just not the same as being there!

~~~Here is a list  of the garden blogs I currently follow~~~
This list does not include those who I may follow on facebook, twitter or direct email feeds.
Romantique Inspirations - 190 followers
Rose Colored Glasses - 437 followers
rose cottage gardens and farm
Rose Notes
Roses at Wedgwood House and Gardens - 51 followers
Roses in Gardens - 22 followers
Rosy Inspiration - 227 followers
Sadie Olive - The Blog
Sage Patch - 37 followers
Savvy Southern Style - 736 followers
Secrets of a Seed Scatterer - 151 followers
Seed Savers Exchange Blog
Seed Snatcher - 18 followers
shirls gardenwatch - 138 followers
Sweet Home and Garden Chicago - 70 followers
Take time to smell the flowers...... - 16 followers
Thanks For Today - 175 followers
The BGgarden Blog
the desperate gardeners,A blog for home gardeni... - 13 followers
The Farm Chicks
The Galloping Gardener - 251 followers
The Gardeners Cottage - 196 followers
The Gardens of Petersonville - 141 followers
The Gaudy Garden - 83 followers
The Grumpy Gardener -
The house in the roses - 747 followers
The Ignorant Gardener - 18 followers
The Inspired Room
The Lisa Porter Collection - 234 followers
The Little Big House - 129 followers
the Namaste Garden - 3 followers
The Newlywed Diaries - 436 followers
The Rustic Garden - 13 followers
The Secret Garden - 83 followers
THE VILLAGE VOICE - 122 followers
things i love - 44 followers
TOOTSIE TIME - 450 followers
Topsy Turvy - 60 followers
Trials & Tribulations of a Southern Gar... - 167 followers
Tyras Trädgård / Tyras Garden - 150 followers
urban farmgirl - 656 followers
Velvet & Linen
Vermont Cottage - 134 followers
View From The Pines
WISHNIK WOODS - 43 followers
Zoomin Blooms - A Daylily Blog - 36 followers
~ Wind Lost ~ - 112 followers
So why post all of this?  I hope I might have helped you understand it a bit.  I also want others to enjoy and visit these beautiful gardens and great people I have met.
I was just going to list a few favorite site… but I have to tell you…. I love them all!
Happy Gardening….Brooke