Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Spring flowers from years past

I just needed some pictures of spring to remind me that it is on the way. I love taking pictures and hope you like them also. I have a lot of pictures on a photo blog here is a shortcut to get to my pictures Hope you enjoy. There are a lot of people from all over the world that post pictures. Very interesting site.
I was trying to figure out what the plant is in the 2nd picture. The first is a Red Bud tree, third is white King Alfred Daffodils and the last is Bleeding Heart. I think I have lost the tag for the 2nd one. What I like about it is that it grows in the shade and has such beautiful flowers. I want more but I can't remember where I bought it at. I need to do a better job of keep track of my plants. I had such good intentions when I started creating and planting the flower beds. But keeping lists was something I could put off until tomorrow and now tomorrow is here and guess what I haven't done anything. Oh well, not I have to wait until spring to get outside to see what tags I can find and make a better marker for them and get a list together. Any suggestions on how you keep track of your plants or how I can keep track of mine would be most helpful.
Happy Gardening!!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Do it yourself (DIY) rustic twig chair

To give you a little background information. We have been living in the house we built since Dec 2001. The lot is one of the largest in the subdivision but about a third of it is a hill with lots of rocks and trees. To make things worse where there isn't rock it is clay soil. To take advantage of all the natural resources I have made retaining walls and a patio out of rock and some trellises out of the sticks/twigs/branches that we have an abundance of. I thought I would share my 2nd piece of furniture that I have made. The first was going to be a chair but I made it too tall and wide but not deep enough. So I converted it into a bakers rack. There will be another post later on this.
I first got the ideal while going through my sisters Gardening How-To magazine and it had a project on how to make a Rustic Twig Chair. The issue was the Sept/Oct 2006 issue. Here is the web site Now their chair is done without the twigs overlapping and it looked more refined. For me it was easier to connect the twigs if they overlapped. I also changed the dimensions. I was planning on having the chair setting on the ground and figured when you sat on it they would sink into the ground and the legs would rot first.
Here is the list more or less of what you would need.
2 back posts 1 and 1/2 to 2 inch in diameter and you can use what ever length you would like. I wouldn't go any shorter than 48" or longer than 72"
2 front posts same diameter as above and 24" long
4 rungs to attach to the front and back posts 23"
4 rungs for the sides at 20"
Deck screws 2 and 1/2 inch long and 1 and 1/2 inch long
Several misc pieces to help secure the chair.
Step 1:
Look at the 3rd picture from the top. Here I am assembling the front section. I attached the first rung 5" from the bottom and attached the top rung 3" from the top. See completed front section in picture 4.
Step 2:
Look at picture 5. Again I attached the bottom rung 5" from the bottom and attached the top rung at the same distance as the top one on the front section. This is where if you are very particular about measuring you might not like my directions. All I really did was lay them side by side making sure the bottoms lined up and eye balled where they should go. When you overlap the rungs with the front and back posts let them run past by about 3/4".
Step 3: Attach the front and back together with the side rungs. I put the side rungs on top of the rungs attached to the front and back panel. You can see that best in the last picture which is a side view of the chair.
Step 4:
Add pieces to the back of the chair as shown in picture 6. These can be any length and to me the more bends and knots the twig has the better. These can be from 1" to 2" in diameter. I would go to small or you might compromise the stability of the chair.
Step 5:
Add a piece to the side of the chair as seen in the last picture. You could add two pieces of wood for extra stability.
Step 6:
Next I bought a treated 1X4 board from one of the big box stores and cut it to fit on the seat. I plan on having a pillow to sit on but if you don't have one you will be able to sit without hurting your rear end. You can see what this looks like in picture 2. I also added a couple of round wooden balls to the top of the front posts. I would say this is optional. I thought it added the finishing touch.
Step 7:
Sealing your chair to make it last longer. I have sealed it with a Miniwax product that is for outdoor use. Not sure how it will hold up. I can let you know next year at this time. I would suggest using something and you will probable have to reapply it every year or so but that is just my guess.
Step 8:
This one I have not added due to the fact that it was raining the weekend I put this together. You will also need to add a cross piece to the back to lean against and hold the back post together. I will try and add a picture when this is done.
As you can tell I haven't mentioned picture 1. Well that is the chair that turned into a bakers rack. More on that in the future.
I think the most important thing is to use your imagination when choosing the wood. As you can see I didn't pick the straightest for smoothest branches but to me that adds more character to the piece. But above all have fun. If you need more detailed instructions I am sure you can find them on line. I did this project by the seat of my pants and just used the measurements from the Gardening How-To magazine as a guideline and adjusted it to fit what I thought I needed.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Cold cycle has been broken

Well I guess it broke over the weekend because we were on the Plaza here is Kansas City having coffee with friends and browsing some of the stores. But today was the first day I was able just to spend sometime outside taking in all the goodness from nature. Over lunch and away from the humdrum job of mine I took a 15 minute walk. There we lots of people walking running and just sitting around. Is it just the sun that improves our moods or is it a combination of, most of the snow being gone, the warmer temperature and the sun? Could it be all of the above and the anticipation of the spring flowers and working in the garden? I know while I was walking today I didn't see any new growth but in my mind I was imagining what it would look like in a month or two. All the plants poking there heads out. Seeing the squirrels chasing each other up and down the trees. People eating lunch in the park or playing fetch with their dogs, music coming from an open window of a car or from a convertible.

All this makes me think I better get busy and order those plants I have been eyeing online be fore they are sold out. That would be my luck.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Short post on what is left of some historic building in the Waldo area of Kansas City. The fire burned 4 business and a empty store front. No one was killed but some firemen were hurt when the walls started to collapse. It is so sad to see historic building burn. What is even worse is when they tear them down. But that is a whole other blog.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Dog barking, part Lab and Golden Retiver

Well I am flippin mad today. Not only did I get woke up by the barking dog last night but he kept barking and barking. Usually he only does this when someone is at the door. But who could be at the door at 1 am. Whoever it was is going to get an ear full is what I thought. So I drag my rear end out of bed walk to the door, flip on the lights and can't believe my eyes. There at by the street was two deer. That is not unusual but they were eating on an evergreen tree that I keep in a pot that covers the concrete slab on top of the storm sewer drain. In a little while one comes walking from the side of the house and starts eating then another. It took me a while to come to my senses. Why are they eating an evergreen tree. It has the same texture as the native cedar trees we have in this area. It can taste good. I guess one of the deer decide they had enough and started walking up the cull-de-sac. Finally it dawned on me that I better do something about it and try to scare them off. The last time I tried that they just looked at me and slowly walked away. This time was different. I open the door and was hit with a blast of 10 degree air and try ed to yell. All that came out was a scream of a teenage girl. Well that did it they took off like their tails were on fire.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Garden Catalogs, What to order?

More flippin snow!! I know it's not like what has or is falling on the east coast but darn. Enough is enough. Oh and if that isn't bad enough it was 4 degrees this morning, with a high of 17 and a windchill of 5. Reminds me need to loss a few pounds before summer, that is if summer ever gets here!! It would be nice to live somewhere in the south. Then you could here me complain about how hot the summers are. Just never happy!!
Hope you enjoy the pic's of the snow. I thought I was going to get frost bite taking them.

I am trying to decide what to do. Here is my problem. I have always been a bargain hunter. So when I get the garden catalogs with the coupon $25 off when you spend $50 I am like cool!!! The catalogs I have received with the coupon is Beck's, Springhill and van Bourgondien. So I have checked out there rating on the Garden Watchdog tab and find out they are less than stellar. Then I look at some of the top 30 companies that are listed there and see how high the prices are and wonder which is better. Risk getting a bad plant half off or spending 2 to 3 times as much. I come out ahead if I get a good plant half off but not if it is a bad plant that dies. What should a gardener do?

Gardening is my therapy!!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

KC Home and Garden Show

I am not going to say this was a bad show. KC is the only one I have gone to, so I have nothing to compare it to. There were several nice displays. One that impressed me the most was the House of rocks. I forgot to take my camera to get pictures so you will just have to take my word for it. They did a lot of work getting the rock in and set up. First you walked up some stone steps to the top. Probable 4 or 5 steps. At that point you were looking at a waterfall and small pond on one side of you. It look pretty realistic but you could see the black liner in the bottom. I would think after you took all the time to bring in the large rocks you could have put some small ones in the bottom. One of the things they do have is chucks of glass in many colors. We purchased some last year to put around our fountain. They look great if they are wet and I am sure would look even better lit from below. That is what we are planning on doing next year. Anyway what I thought was cool is a rock that acted like a bridge that the water flowed under. Then there was another waterfall with a larger pond on the other side of you. Then you would walk down several steps on the other side. I know that there business is to sell rock but it could have used some more plantings. It was impressive due to the size of the rocks but it could have used something to make it pop. The staff could use some training on customer service. They were just standing around, not friendly and didn't act knowledge our existence.

One high note was Birds Botanicals. A couple of years ago David Bird came to the garden club we belong to and gave a talk on orchids. He even invited our club to the site where he grows the orchid in the Interstate Underground Warehouse. He has a nice space with a lot of beautiful orchids. My other half wanted one, I thought they would be too hard to take care of and he had killed one I had given him before but I agreed. It was in full bloom then and has survived looks really healthy and is blooming again with not a lot of help from me. Above is a of pictures of the orchids. If you are interested, Birds Botanicals are open Tuesday's from 10am to 8pm at the Interstate Warehouse 435 and 23rd street. Phone number is 816-228-1044. It is well worth your time to check it out.
At the end of the month we will be headed to Wichita to check out the garden show there. I have heard it is better than the one here in KC.
Until next time.

Friday, February 9, 2007

My Mother's

I thought I would share some pictures taken at my mothers home. The home she lives in now my parents build and moved into in Oct 1980. Before this house they raised their 5 children in an old drafty 2 story farm house built in the late 1800s. To me it seemed like building this house was a major accomplishment for them. Dad tried to retire but for the next several years still did a lot of farm work with my brothers. Towards the end of his life he worked only during spring planting and fall harvest. The last couple of years of his life he fought cancer with everything he had. But as you all know sometimes you run out of options.

Back to mom's yard and garden. Last year 2006 at the age of 83 she decided that she was tired of planting a vegetable garden and maybe she would just do a flower garden. So in the spring my sister and I went to her house tilled the garden and moved her rose bushes to the garden so they wouldn't have to fight the trees for water. As long as I can remember she has grown Canna's. So my sister and I got the roots out of the root cellar and planted them. We laid soaker hoses in the rows with the roses and Cannas so all she would have to do is hook the hose up and water them. I wish I had a picture of her garden. She loves her house yard and garden. I am so happy to be able to help take care of it. She is so appreciative of all the work my brothers and sisters do but also our spouses and partners. My partner lost his mother a couple of years ago after a troubled childhood. Even though my mother doesn't know our relationship she treats him like one of the family. He hates helping me mow her yard but deep down I think he treasures the time spent there.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Deer, Deer Deer

In My last posting I mentioned that the deer ate my creeping phlox. Well I found pictures of what they looked like last spring. Oh well you can't cry over spilt milk. Has anyone found anything that will keep deer away? I found a product called Liquid Fence that works pretty well but if you go too long in between applications the deer will eat off the new growth that doesn't have any of the Liquid Fence on it. My first experience with deer was the fall after we moved in. I need to dead head the one rose bush that I had planted but I thought why bother it will be cold soon and I won't get anymore roses or so I thought. One Saturday morning I went out to look at my garden and noticed that all the dead roses had been cut off. I asked my other half if they had done it(which was a stupid question). All I could figure was the deer came by and ate them off. I thought that if that is all the deer are going to eat I would be alright. Boy was I ever wrong!!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Winter Blues

It just isn't fair. I mean yesterday Feb 5th it got up to 59 degrees here in Kansas City. Now today it was 17 this am and got up to a high of 25. Yesterday I was out in the yard checking things out. Seeing what damage has been done and seeing if I could find a place to put a new waterfall that I came up with in my head. Damage not a lot. Something ate my creeping phlox off. Just left some woody stems. Could have been the deer that have chewed on it in years past. We also have a ground hog that dug a hole in the side of the hill. I am surprised he was able to with all the rocks around here. But I would think as cold as it is he/she would still be hibernating. Anyway I found a spot that I think will work for the water fall. I hope it turns out well I hope I have time to get it done before the Northland Garden Tour in June. There are so many thing to get done that I need to start on a list pretty soon. If you read this blog and continue to read my blogs you will find that I don't know how to spell and I don't know when to start a new paragraph. Hope that doesn't bother anyone too much. So much for my first blog entry, I will have to see how that works going forward.

Happy Gardening!!!