Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Update on My Winter Bulb Experiment and Look What I Woke Up to This Morning

Look at the foot of snow that fell last night. We had just been experiencing unusually warm temperatures for a few days. It was sooo nice! As with all good things they must come to an end eventually.

Instead of the morning run, I traded in my running shoes for snow boots and shoveled the driveway for an hour! Ugh!

Take a look at my paperwhite bulbs! They are growing! I just might have flowers for Christmas. I'll keep my fingers crossed.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

All I Want For Christmas is My Flowers To Be in Bloom!

Because I have enjoyed so many great posts on amaryllis the last couple weeks, I couldn't resist trying my hand at growing some winter-blooming bulbs this year. I didn't have great luck finding a wide variety of bulbs, so I decided to purchase some Paperwhite bulbs as well as 'Apple Blossom' Amaryllis and look for more unique varieties in the future. Kathleen, over at http://www.kaseyskorner.typepad.com/ referred me to a book called Amaryllis-author is Star Ockenga, if you are interested in growing varieties that are a little more unusual.

Paperwhites in a galvanized container. Another great container idea is to plant them in glass cylinder vases like Kathleen did. This helps to keep them more upright. I guess another solution might be to stake them if they flop over and get a little unruly.

Now I wait with anticipation for my bulbs to bloom into beautiful flowers. It is miraculous thing to see such beauty evolve from a simple seed or bulb! Please Grow! Grow! Grow!

I'll keep you posted on the progress of my winter bulb experiment!


Monday, November 29, 2010

Harvesting My Favorite Root Vegetable-Carrots!

About 1 1/2 weeks ago I thought I would harvest my carrots because the weather was going to turn bitter cold. I was glad I did, because our low temps have been in the single digits for almost a week now...Burrrr! My carrots were the last vegetable growing in my garden, and boy were they worth the wait! Can I just say that it is so rewarding to pull these rich orange, crisp, delectable beauties out of my own garden? As long as you have loose, well-drained soil, they are one of the easiest vegetables to grow.

This carrot variety is called 'Scarlet Nantes.' It is a long, fine-grained carrot that is nearly coreless. It doesn't get woody either.

Bugs Bunny would love this carrot, and so should you!

Aren't the carrots so cute lined up together?

The benefits of growing carrots: good source of fiber, potassium, and vitamin A





Thursday, November 18, 2010

Glorious Fall Foliage

CHANTICLEER FLOWERING PEAR TREE

Plant Facts:
Mature Height
40 - 60 feet
Mature Spread
15 - 20 feet
Soil Type
Widely Adaptable
Moisture
Drought, Heat Tolerant
Mature Form
Upright, Conical
Growth Rate
Rapid
Sun Exposure
Full Sun
Flower Color
White
Fall Color
Red
Foliage Color
Dark Green
Zones
5-8


The Callery Pear tree, Pyrus calleryana, 'callery X Aristocrat cultivar', is a tight, narrow, pyramidal, thornless, ornamental pear tree. Some specimens appear almost columnar in habit. Oval, glossy green leaves turn an attractive reddish purple in autumn. The growth habit is dense, narrowly pyramidal, and evenly branched with crisp glossy green foliage. New growth shows a reddish tint. It has a heavy abundance of single white flowers in the spring and outstanding reddish-orange to purple fall color.
This deciduous tree is a true 4-season tree with white flowers in early spring; shiny, dark green foliage in summer changes to long lasting, dramatic shades of red & purple in mid to late autumn. In winter the tight, narrow form is a refined silhouette in the landscape. Callery Pear trees are very hardy and fast growing. They are an excellent choice for a trouble-free, beautiful addition in any landscape situation.


A few years ago we planted these flowering pear trees along the street so we could have a bit of privacy when we were sitting on our front porch. They have not disappointed us! They provide year-round color. They've also provided homes for the Robins that nest in the spring. These trees truly morph from green to deep reddish purple to gold, orange, and red and not at the same time. Aren't they gorgeous?

OCTOBER GLORY RED MAPLE

The October Glory Red Maple tree, Acer rubrum 'October Glory', is one of the best and most popular of the Red Maple cultivars. October Glory Red Maple trees are excellent for intense fall color and have a medium to fast growth rate. In the spring, red flowers in dense clusters form before the leaves. This Red Maple is an excellent tree for lawn or street planting.
The 'October Glory' Red Maple has a good oval-rounded form. It tends to hold its lustrous dark green leaves late into fall. The intensity of the brilliant orange to red fall color is worth the wait. October Glory Red Maple trees have a dense oblong head with dark green foliage. Excellent color for many regions.


Plant Facts:
Mature Height
25 - 50 feet
Mature Spread
25 - 35 feet
Soil Type
Widely Adaptable
Moisture
Drought Tolerant
Mature Form
Broad, Round
Growth Rate
Rapid
Sun Exposure
Full Sun - Partial Sun
Flower Color
Small Red
Fall Color
Red, Orange, Yellow
Foliage Color
Green
Zones
5-8

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Limelight Hydrangea in the Fall

Remember those beautiful Limelight hydrangeas that I posted pictures of in August? Well, I mentioned in that post that an added bonus you get with these flowers comes in the Fall when the tips of the flower petals turn a gorgeous pink! I love it when plants are repeat bloomers or bloom for a long time like this one.



Growing up in the southern part of the United States exposed me to plants that I love. Generally speaking, most of those plants love acidic soil and we have alkaline soil here in Utah. Plants like hydrangeas, camellias, gardenias, magnolias, etc. remind me of home. It's difficult or impossible to grow some of these plants here because of our colder, drier, arid climate. I was so pleased to find these hydrangeas a few years ago. They "tap" into my southern roots.






Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fall Color in Utah

I love to explore nature! It's difficult to explain how much it fills my soul! It connects me with my creator. Just think, if you never take a drive or walk, you will miss seeing so much beauty! These pictures were taken just a few miles from where I live. The maples were beginning to change beautiful shades of orange, red, and gold.

These are mountain maples.


My family and I drove up Provo canyon to walk along the Provo River trail between Vivian Park and Bridal Veil Falls a couple weeks ago. It was a beautiful day to enjoy the fall color.



The fall season is a beautiful season in Utah, as it is in many areas. Just be sure to pack your camera if you decide to take a drive or walk so you can capture the beautiful fall color before it is gone for another year. The best time to take your photos is two hours before sunset or early morning, or if you are really lucky, bright overcast days are perfect for photography. You get even light and the colors are not "washed out" and look much richer.





My son was enjoying skipping rocks in the river.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

More Signs of Fall

Last fall I planted these mums in my yard and this year I am reaping the beautiful rewards. Just when very few plants in my landscape are still flowering, the humble mum shows its glory! I love it!

Lately I cannot get enough of the beautiful fall color! I am pulling out my camera every chance I get to capture the beauty. These plants are rust-colored mums, "Bloodgood" Japanese maple, and "Stawberries and Cream" ribbon grass.

This is one of my favorite ways to display my Indian corn. Just purchase a hurricane vase and line them vertically in there. My vase has a pedestal, which I especially love. Try some of these Fall decorating ideas or get creative with your own.

Indian corn

I purchased this Indian corn a few years ago and every fall I love to pull it out of storage to display in my home. Don't you appreciate the variations of color in each kernal?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Signs of Fall


I love the fall season! The colors, the smells of pumpkin cookies and apple pie baking, the cool nights, football games, apple cider, etc...all these familiar pleasant associations remind me that fall is here. Last Saturday I visited my local Farmer's market to buy these great pumpkins. They were reasonably priced. Unfortunately I do not have room in my garden to grow them. Pumpkins love to spread out and need lots of room to grow. If you are fortunate to have a local Farmer's market in your area, you should attend it soon. Ours will be ending the end of October. You will be supporting your local farmers and the produce is so fresh and delicious.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Find Ways to Bring the Outside In


I came across this beautiful flower arrangement on a blog called onecharmingparty.com and wanted to share it with you. The flowers are so vivid! You could make this arrangement for your home or for a party. To view this tutorial click here!


If you are like me, I am always trying to find ways to bring the outside elements in. I love to decorate my home with natural organic things (branches, stones, flowers, pine cones, fruit, wood, etc.) I usually like to display fresh fruit in my home. What do you think of my "Limelight" hydrangeas and green apples? I have mostly real plants in my home. I love knowing that I have real, living, breathing plants to enjoy indoors. They certainly require a little more care than fake ones, but I try to choose plants that are low maintenance.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sunflower and Heuchera (Coral Bells) Centerpiece

Thought you might enjoy creating this beautiful Fall Centerpiece with sunflowers and heuchera. To view click here!

Curing Onions

If you haven't already harvested your onions this year, I want to share with you some information that I found on curing onions properly in a garden magazine called GROW by Fine Gardening. The author of the article, Leslie A. Clapp said that one of the biggest mistakes gardeners make is leaving their onions in the ground too long before harvesting. She said that this invites damage that will result in a shorter shelf life. Harvest the bulbs when they have sized-up and the tops are browning. On a clear, sunny day, pull onions gently from the ground. Do not peel them or rinse them with water because this will also shorten their storage life.

Allow at least a month for post-harvest curing (drying and healing of wounds). She lays her onions out on window screens propped up on sawhorses, out of direct sun, in a well-ventilated spot. The onion bulbs should be spaced fairly wide apart to allow good air circulation; a fan can also be used to help move air around. Turn the onions over periodically, and remove spoiled ones. Once the onion foliage has withered, cut off the tops (leaving an inch of so) and trim the roots. Give the bulbs a gentle brushing and remove some of the outer layers of skin. The onions that look iffy go to the kitchen for immediate use; the others can be hung up in mesh bags for long-term storage.

Hope this information helps. There will be more information about onions in the coming months as you plan next year's vegetable garden. Happy gardening!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Fall in Love with Fabulous Fall Color!

For the record, my faaaavorite season in Utah is Fall! When the nights and mornings have a nip in the air, I know that Fall is right around the corner. 'Mother Nature' has one more time to show her glory in plants. This is why I am sooo passionate about gardening! When I walk outside, I want to absorb all the beauty. It is truly therapy for me. Take time to appreciate God's handiwork all around you this Fall season.

This flower is an Aster. Fortunately it is a fall perennial here so it will return each year.
O.K., you know you are a plant fanatic when you choose to visit a garden nursery for date night! My husband and I visited Engh gardens (in Sandy) one evening and discovered all these beautiful fall containers and fall flowers last year. Maybe they will give you some inspiration to compose a fall container or plant some fall blooming plants this year.

























Container Gardening

This is a picture of one of the containers I put together this year. I chose to just use foliage plants instead of flowers for this container because I could not find the right combination I wanted. I was pleased with the outcome and many neighbors have commented on how beautiful and a little unusual it is. I can leave this container as is through the Fall, which is an added bonus!



Can I just say that I "love" the combination of orange and purple! The rust-colored coleus is called Colorblaze 'Sedona' by Proven Winners and the plum-colored plant is called Purple Shamrock 'Oxalis triangularis'. It comes from the clover family.




The green trailing plant is actually grown as an indoor plant and it is called "Creeping Charlie."



The Purple Shamrock grows little lilac flowers that bloom spring to fall.




Friday, August 27, 2010

Plants for Late-Summer Color

Zinnias
This is 'Green Envy' Zinnia
Zinnia Elegans

Guara


Purple Cone Flower (Echinacea)


Russian Sage





Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)


Daylilies



Rose-of-Sharon


Bee Balm