Friday, 6 July 2012

friday favorite // my outdoor plants

This weeks favorite: slowly developing my green thumb

I wouldn't say that I have a garden. What I have is an assortment of potted plants, and a few things planted in the flower beds that wrap around the edges of the house, in both the front and back yard.

When we bought our house, the builders had planted a random assortment of perennial shrubs and bushes around the edges of the house.  What most of them are, we have no idea. Some have been removed and replaced, and some are an eye sore that I hope to replace... eventually. 

This is a little run down of the things I've planted this year and a couple of my favorite perennials that made the cut:

Front Yard Flower Beds:

Impatients - they've seemed to thrive in the shade beside the garage in past years. This year they are not expanding as eagerly - maybe because of the incredible amounts of rain, followed by intense heat we've had so far?

*Some sort of green perennial that has small purple flowers - I planted three of these evenly spaced out along the garage side flower bed, the first summer we moved here.  Like the impatients, in past years they have grown like mad.  This year, not so much, and no flowers yet.

Petunias - Got and empty space and your not sure what to plant there?  Toss in a petunia!

Peonies - There is one peony bush at the corner of the house. I love peonies and I really wish we had more of them in the front yard.  Maybe I'll replace the other two bushes that produce small white flowers with peonies next summer.

Front Step Planters: 

Pony Tails - a clump of long, thin grass, very attractive, and very eager to grow... they have really thickened up since I planted them.

*Two types of red flowers - Both are very pretty, I would certainly plant them again!

Gladiolas - I brought these home thinking I could plant them and something else in the smaller planters.  Turns out they take up the entire planter on their own.  I really like how their bunches of flowers stand clumped together like little puffs on a stick.  This is my first time with gladiolas and there is one thing I dislike. When a flower goes brown and dies, it just sort of wilts and lies on top of the flower right next to it. When I go to 'dead head' the bunch, I end up plucking about a quarter of the healthy pedals off as well simply because the flowers are so tightly bunched.  Oh well, these two plants are continuously blooming, so they quickly fill in the empty spots that I've plucked away.

Back Yard:

Raspberries - I grew up with a raspberry patch in the back yard that grew wild and free and produced an astonishing amount of fruit.  Now that I have my own yard, I'm quiet excited to harvest my own fruit!  I didn't have yellow raspberries in the yard growing up, but I have tried them and love their sweetness.  So I planted two raspberry plants, one red and one yellow.

Bleeding Heart - My MIL loves a trip to the greenhouse!  Our first summer here, she bought me a bleeding heart bush, that I 'killed' by the end of the season... The following spring, it came back with a vengeance, and if it could speak it would say; "Hey missy, I know what you did last summer and I just want to let you know that I am BACK!"  This is it's second 'come back' summer, and it grows out of control if we don't give it a good pruning every month or so. In the spring/early summer it gives rows upon rows of those beautiful little pink hanging hearts.

Lilies - I don't think that these are tiger lilies, they must just be orange lilies, and they are big and healthy. My Grandpa had tiger lilies in his back yard, and thinking about them always makes me a little nostalgic for the days when I was little and I would bum around the yard with him, planting and picking and watering.

Large Back Deck Planter:

Yellow Daisies, Green Trimmed Purple Petunias, *Big Leafy thing that is now blooming purple flowers, *Little Purple and Magenta Flowers - Another of my MIL's purchases.  She bought us a big planter, soil and all the flowers to go in it.  It's been a wonderful gift, it really brings life to our yard, it is so colorful and is exploding with life.

Three varieties of Tomatoes:

*Yellow - This plant has a large stalk, hearty leaves but no flowers or signs of producing fruit just yet.  It is a VERY healthy looking plant though.

*Cherry -  This little guy is not as tall as the others, but is producing more and more flowers and little green tomatoes on a daily basis.

*Roma?  Hot House? - This plant is a decent size, has a LOT of flowers, and a few green tomatoes are currently forming.


Mojito Mint - This plant just keeps getting taller and taller, and has nice flavorful looking little leaves growing near the bottom as well.  The one thing I can't figure out, is that the larger, older leaves keep turning yellow then brown, or burning around the edges...  I had read somewhere (if I could remember - that would be fantastic!) that mint can be watered up to three times a day.  So I've been watering it once or twice a day, not a lot because I don't know how much is too much.  Now I'm thinking that it's had too much water... I will conduct some research!  I can't wait to have a mojito with home-grown mint!

Oregano - When I put this plant in it's pot, I was amazed by how it seemed to instantly relax and fill in it's new surroundings.  This plant hasn't given me any trouble at all, and it's growing like a bugger, filling in it's pot even more!

Dill - I LOVE DILL.  I have a few staple dishes that I douse with Litehouse freeze-dried dill.  There was always dill in my Grandpa's back yard, and it grew, well, like a weed.  So here I am, with dill in a pot on the deck.  It's getting very tall, and I'm not sure why, but I have the impression in my head that when it goes to flower, I'm to pluck the flowers off... and I have been.  I'm not sure if that's what I should be doing.

Sweet Basil (from seed) - These little things sprouted up quickly.  When we had such an extended period of rain last month, I brought the planter in for a few days, fearing that the little basil's would get drowned out.  Then when it got sunny, they went back out on the deck, and now... SOMETHING IS EATING THEM!
Ugh, I'm so frustrated!  A couple of the little plants get big juicy happy looking leaves, by the end of the day their half eaten.  I've searched the plants for bugs and I can't find anything, I brought it inside for a day thinking the bugs came and went, and by morning another big fresh leaf was three quarters chewed off.  I love basil, and really wanted a chance to make pesto with home grown basil.  Unfortunately, the greenhouse in town didn't have any seedlings at the beginning of the year.  So, in true newbie fashion, I decided to plant seeds - way too late in the year.  I think seeds should really be started indoors, well before the growing season starts.  But I was eager to try my hand at growing from seed.  Next year - to save myself the headache and sadness of seeing my little baby basil's being slowly eaten - I will grow seedlings inside during the winter, or find a greenhouse to buy seedlings from.  I am so envious of Elise' basil!

And finally...

Watermelons! - my two little watermelon seedlings were $1.50ea at the greenhouse.  Watermelons! Saskatchewan?  Let's try it!         ... It's not going so great.  They have neither grown, now shown signs of suffering.  So if I'm not killing them, and their not growing, what. is. the. problem!?  The tag shows the need full sun, and I had planted them in an area that does get sun, just not for the whole day.  Since they weren't progressing, I figured give them all sun, all the time.  So they are now in pots on the deck.  IF they get bigger and a pot is no longer sufficient space - well... I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Gardening is my favorite thing this week, because my flowers are all in full bloom, or have bloomed and are done for the season.  But mostly, gardening is my favorite because I haven't had much luck with it in past years.  Brett had decided that I had two very, very, VERY brown thumbs.  I am set to prove him wrong, and not only am I loving the satisfaction of proving him wrong, I am loving how rewarding gardening feels.

*Check garage for plant tags so I can properly document the names of these plants :)


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