Sunday, August 26, 2012

Gardening 2012; Louis-style

[WARNING: This post has very little to do with the children, though it is something that was a big part of our summer.  I really think they enjoyed the gardening and I hope we can  continue/expand things next year.  I apologize in advance that I don't have any pics of the kids with my plants.  I will work on that in the coming days.  I took these and worked on the post while they napped earlier today.]

Troy and I had discussed starting a small (think Square-foot Gardening) garden this year in order to save money on produce, teach the kiddos about where fruits, veggies and herbs come from and also to be sure that we knew that the foods we were feeding them were organic.  I attended a great one-day event here in Knoxville, called Eat, Play Live Knox, which inspired me even more to try to grow more things at home and also buy produce grown locally.  Well, in came my date with the infamous breast cancer beast and that sort of threw a kink in it.

Some amazing people from Westlake, where the kids attend preschool, came while I had my surgery and again when I was recovering to clean up the yard, flowerbeds and also plant some things that I got with a gift card and a half off certificate at Stanley's Greenhouse.  My idea when looking for plants was that I wanted things that would attract hummingbirds, butterflies and other birds.  I intention was to plant these goodies near the front bay window next to a bird feeder and bird bath (which ended up in the trash recently because it was falling apart).  Anyway, the kids and I can watch the birds and butterflies near the window even on days when I don't feel like getting outdoors because of the heat.  I also wanted plants that had different textures and purposes (herbs, vs ornamentals) so that we could talk about this as they grew and as the kids helped me water them.  They enjoyed helping out with the planting and watering this summer.  They have also been good at working on pulling weeds, though sometimes they might mistake a perfectly good plant for a weed.  Oops.

Today I realized that some are annuals and some are perennials and I have no idea what to do with them once we have cooler temps, etc.  Plus we have had great success with a few plants and have had some issues with others and I wanted to document.  I've made a few notes in the captions.  If you are a gardener and are able to offer any advice, especially regarding the first two pictures and also the look of the mint, please kindly leave a comment.  I am very open to advice, suggestions and ideas.  Below are pics that I took today.  I made notes to myself and created a Garden 2012 file in my email folders but I thought I'd just share the pics and some personal notes here:

I cannot locate the tag and have been unable to remember what this is, though I believe I got it because it attracts butterflies.  It has continued to bloom all summer and shows no signs of stopping yet.  I'm taking input if anyone knows what this one is!

AKA "Shrimp Flower": This one didn't survive due to a weed-whacker incident. We had another plant that I called my "Dr. Seuss plant" because it was tall and lanky and had these round flowers that made me think of the plants and trees that appear in his book.  Unfortunately, this one didn't survive the weeding and we also lost the tag from the nursery.  Hopefully I can locate it again next year, though I might choose to skip it because it was pretty delicate.

Basil, though I can't remember if it is "sweet" basil or something else. It has done VERY well!

The mint is still alive, but doesn't look too good. Taking any advice.....

Lavender because it smells good and I love the color.

Salvia Evolution.  One of my favorites and it has done really well to the point where we had to tie it up so it doesn't fall over.

Cape Town Blue/Blue Felicia Daisy has also done well, but I wish it was still blooming. Love the colors.

Bee balm is fragrant and attracts birds and butterflies. I had quite a few nice blooms but then I missed watering it. Not sure if more blooms will appear as the card indicated it blooms mid- to late-summer.

A gift from Tom and Karen - my absolute favorite addition! - a weeping cherry near the front window, but not too close. I can't wait to see it grow.

Russian sage which I purchased and had placed near the front porch because it is fragrant and wispy and also has the silvery-light-green colored leaves.  

The Balloon Flower blooms all summer as long as you remember to remove the dead flowers. It has pretty green leaves and the beautiful purple/violet flowers.  Definitely a keeper!

Flambé yellow
Chrysocephalum apiculture
This one did so-so as it didn't get quite enough water, though I'm told it does fine in drought conditions. But it continues to bloom, which makes me happy.

Pixie Twinkle/Tall Garden Phlox- We have had great success with the creeping phlox variety and this one was really pretty at the nursery.  It has actually done well, though I neglected to pull off dead flowers and it looks a little messy at the moment.

Mexican Heather has been a favorite of mine for many, many years, but I have never planted it. It seems to be SO easy to maintain and it has the beautiful green leaves and purple flowers that have continued to bloom all summer.

Wormwood/silver brocade has done so well for us and grown into a much larger plant that what we purchased in  May.  I love the soft leaves which provided interesting textures for the kids and the color is nice when mixed in with the other greener plants.
**I should also mention that my all-time favorite plant/flower is the Hydrangea and I received TWO plants back in May.  They have survived, barely, but I didn't get to photograph them because I was being attacked by mosquitoes and just couldn't take it any longer.  I dream of having rows and rows of hydrangeas lining my fence area sort of like my Great Aunt had in Cape Cod.  They were just beautiful and there were hundreds of them.  Here is a stock photo of some that I love:

This is NOT my image.
Southern Living online

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