Up North...

Up North...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

All I want for xmas!

Dear Santa,
I hope you have had a great year and that all the elves and all your animal friends are doing really great this holiday season! I thought I might take a moment to make a xmas list this year, something I never do...but probably should!

1. I'd really like all my aches and pains to go away:)If you could do that I don't want anything else!

2. The next best thing would be a really good wrist brace and elbow brace and foot brace...and a year of visits to the chiropractor. If you have extra in the budget I am pretty sure some time with an acupuncturist would help too...

3. I'd also like some Gift Certificates to get a massage or two or 20!

5. I'm pretty sure a hot tub could be beneficial as well...

6. After all those I could use a new flat head spade, a new pitch fork, a new wheel barrow, oh and definitely a new truck!

7. Several yards of compost spread all over all my beds would be next to the best thing ever...

8. I would definitely enjoy some of those super soft garden gloves I see at the store that I totally can't justify purchasing since they will be dirty and torn apart in one day-for sure.
9. I could use a really good garden helper who knows the difference between weeds, perennials, and annuals...who would not mind working really hard for 10.00 an hour 18 hours a week...is that too much to ask for?

10. I would like a gallon of technu poison ivy soap.

11. I would like some brand new really sharp bi pass pruning shears.

12. I would like a small chain saw that is easy to start and doesn't scare the heck out of me:)

13. Or a really hot guy to do all my chain saw work for me;)Maybe you could mention that to my boyfriend...

14.I would really love a green house...that might be pushing it...but that would be a dream come true...

15. I would like some really cool garden decor like some gazing globes and some super cool bird feeders-Oh Wait! I even know where you can go to get those-Cool Garden Things

What would YOU like for under your tree this year?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fall Scans

Just playing with scanner and photoshop. I always feel to desperate to preserve the last vestiges of summer and fall...soon it will all be gone...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cold Fingers in the Garden

Well, here we are and it is already Fall. Where did spring and summer go? Soon I'll be wondering what happened to my 40's...I spent them gardening!

This is really the best time to split plants and move them around.

My Black-eyed Suzans are growing out of control and need to be split before they start to over-shadow other plants and impact the positive growth of other plants. So now is the time that I cut them down and seed out the seeds in a few places. I also dig up and split the growth that is intruding on other plants and move them to areas of my garden that needed some more late summer color. Because we all know that they have great foliage and awesome late summer appeal.

Evening primrose is definitely another plant that needs to be taken care of. I usually have to dig it out of my beds and just leave a few small areas intact...it spreads like an invasive but is luckily fairly easy to pull out. It can also be spread to other parts of the garden. I'm one to battle invasive against invasive so next year I'll be putting it with my evil snow on the mountain...yes I have some...don't put it in your garden...but since it's already in mine I thought I would see how these two hold up together.

I also want to say that some of my grasses are getting kind of large. I'm going to wait till spring to split, though, as I find they make a nice place for critters to overwinter.

Perhaps you did not like what was happening in some part of the garden and you want to move plants to a different part of the garden. For example you may have to move some taller plants to the back of the bed because it covered up some shorter plant. It happens, this is the time to do it!


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Growing Plants from Seed

I have a client who wants a very flower abundant garden. Very English cottage meets field of flowers kind of thing. This has been a new kind of project for me as most of my clients prefer a more structured and controlled looking kind of feel. I am personally inclined to the natural and wild looking garden.
I was surprised to find that this "easy looking" style of gardening required just as much work as the more formal garden. Which is funny, because you would think there would be less maintenance! Ha!
You still have to weed out invasive and unproductive weeds. You still have to split and divide plants. You still have to plant for the best location. Watering and pest control are still on the munu. Etc. Etc.
One thing I am doing with this garden, though, is using and broadcasting seeds. And that is something I don't usually do as seeds can be kind of hit or miss depending on if people are using things like Preen in their garden. Overzealous weeding...etc. etc.
I came across this useful link describing what time of year it is best to broadcast certain seeds...

I found it very helpful...I think you will too.

P.S. Check out our gazing globes and very cool looking ceramic bird houses at Cool Garden Things

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Need Help To ID this Plant

I was weeding a client garden...and over the last month I noticed this problem which I promptly attempted to ignore. But can no longer ignore!!! If anyone can help me to identify this Michigan late season blue/purple flower perennial and the disease and what to do...I would be very grateful!

Thanks, GartenGrl at Planning Plants to Plant

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Butterflies in My Garden

Well...I know my blog is supposed to be about the plants I like to plant...but I get distracted on occasion.
But one plant I really love is regular old-fashioned Milkweed...it can grow up to 7 feet tall or more in my garden! And I love it's big dusky rose colored pom poms that smell like honey...mmmmm. And all the bumble bees and honey bees go absolutely NUTS over it.
A few day ago I was like, sigh, how come I never get any butterflies in my garden...I work so hard and not a single butterfly...whine, whine, whine...yada, yada, yada....And then the very next day I saw a monarch butterfly all over that Milkweed! YES!
And today I was whining to my dad about how I was not going to get any caterpillars because all the ants would eat them first...and low and behold-I saw TWO baby monarch caterpillars!!! YES!
I realize that two does not bode well against legions of predators...but I feel very happy none-the-less!
I even saw a hummingbird buzz by to check out my first time in bloom Trumpet Vine...only took 5 years...but hey...gardening is an exercise in patience and hard work!
I can thank both my parents for leading me to the joys of gardening and bird watching. I'm sure I thought they were crazy when I was a kid, but now I totally get it....
If you enjoy really cool garden things....like gazing globes and bird feeders and fire pots check out
Cool Garden Things!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Choosing the Right Annual For The Right Spot

written by GartenGrl

Marigolds and Pansies

Choosing the Right Annual For The Right Spot

Every year when it comes time to plant your annuals there a few things you need to consider. The location of where you are planting, is the danger of frost past, what kind of irrigation system you are dealing with, what kinds of annuals and what sort of feel you want your garden bed to have.

Before you can even make any decisions about the colors and flowers you want to use you need to consider the location of your garden. For example, if you live in Michigan you need to know that Michigan has hot and dry summers, and late spring frosts. In this case you would want to pick an annual that can handle a light frost, such as marigolds, or begonias and can also handle the very hot and dry summer weather. The annual should hold up in extreme heat, but remember that all annuals need to be Mid-Summer Flowers IIfrost hepburn springswatered regularly, not over watered or you will just have dead annuals.

Is the spot a dry shade, wet shade, dry sun, wet sun, somewhere in between?

You need to know how much sun this location gets. Is it morning sun which is cooler or is it afternoon sun which is more brutal?

Does the spot get 6 hours of sun or less…because if it gets less than 6 hours, a full sun plant will not thrive. You are better off with a partial sun/shade choice.

So the next thing you want to consider is what kind of irrigation system do you have. If you have one that is professionally installed and basically waters the whole bed, then just make sure you adjust it to water only about 3 or 4 days a week for about half an hour.

Plants do not need water every day! In fact their roots need to dry out just a little so that they are encouraged to grow and reachMorning Glories in North Garden for the water. If you water a plant too much it will surely die as if you never watered it at all.

Perhaps you do not have an irrigation system and will be watering by hand. Well that is something to consider as well. You will need to choose an annual that can go a few days without water in an emergency…like if you go away for a day or two. Find out from your local nursery what kind of watering is recommended for your particular region. They are usually very helpful and knowledgable.

Once you have considered all these factors and are at the flower store reading all the labels about Sun, Partial Sun, Shade…you are ready to think about the ways you want to combine your annuals.

It is really up to you, but consider that you may want the taller ones in the back. And to pick something that fills in around the other plants nicely and quickly, like a potatoe vine or some such thing. This will ultimately help to shade the bottom of the plants and help with water retention which will be good for the root systems.

Some people like a monochromatic garden and other people like all different colors…it is really about what you personally prefer. Once you have this part figured out you can add some cool garden things. Have fun and plan a little first to save some money later!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Leopard Moth in the Garden

My boyfriend is a gardener and landscaper like me. Although he mostly does lawn care this time of year, which is something I do not do. But yesterday he came to my house and told me he had seen the coolest moth. Well, we looked it up on the internet...he is a bit of a ludite...and we discovered it was this lovely creature.
At this site:

Teenagers in the Garden

I have had my own garden maintenance biz for about 11 years now. Things are going pretty well. As I get older it does get more challenging. So naturally as my biz expands I am looking for ways to delegate some of the labor.Well, it so happens I also have a teenage daughter. Lovely, healthy and 13. Well, this summer she has decided she would like to earn some $$MONEY$$...of course I am excited that she understands she must earn money and appreciates the value of money-having the desire to do things and buy things like most teens. So we agreed that when she got out of school this summer she could come and work for me....

Today was her first day. She wore flip flops, shorts and was completely unprepared. I was not going to say anything, though. I can't tell her her business, but I did tell her that once she is on the job she has to wear a good attitude and follow directions...LOL...!

After 10 minutes she was done-I kid you not. Her feet were wet...she had to go to the bathroom(the woods was not an option I guess)...and she was tired. So she spent the next hour in the car. I did finally cajole her into weeding along a brick path while I pruned a hedge, dead headed 20 peonies and about 30 Iris and then swept, watered and blew off the decks. Sigh...She promised to have a better attitude and wear more appropriate clothes next time...

Me thinks it is going to be a long summer...I'll keep ya posted, though.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Plants I Can do Without

I suppose as a gardener I am expected to just love all plants. Well...that is actually not the case at all. In fact sometimes I feel like a plant hater. Like for example when I am pulling out tarp fulls of weeds in the garden. It feels more like a plant holocaust at the times I am spraying with round-up. Which I try not to do too often...because, well...pulling just works faster.

So I thought I would take a minute to write about some of the plants that I don't care for. Not exactly considered weeds per se...but undesirable in my garden. So here is a list of my top ten least desirable plants.

1. Canadian Day Lillies. Orange, tall, blade like foliage. Two words for ya. TAKE OVER.
They take over and pillage your garden. Do not introduce this plant. Good for next to the highway...far and away places that you have not desire to tend to.

2. Snow on the Mountain. Don't like snow in winter...don't like it taking over my garden. You will seriously regret introducing this variegated plant if it decides to lose it's variegation and just become a green weed that chokes out every living thing in its path.

3. Horse Tail...this is a weed. It is simply NOT an ornamental. Do not introduce this plant unless you are planning to introduce every other invasive species on the planet into your flower garden. Ha....I am telling you now. Heed my advice.

4. Those giant hostas that take ovcr and multiply like baby rabbits and turn your garden into a giant green umbrella for slugs. I don't know what that particular variety is called, but I know you know which ones I am talking about. They go forth and multiply and bury everything good.

5. Oh! Which brings me to Lilly of the Valley. I am pretty sure hell is carpeted with this ground cover. It is the ultimate mono culture ground cover...it will eventually kill and drown every living thing in its path. It's not that I don't love the smell...I'm just saying...if you love Lilly of the Valley you will have only Lilly of the Valley...be careful what you wish for.

6. Hmmmm....I seem to be slowing down on the plants I hate...I'll have to get back to this later.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Cool Things I Have Found In My Garden...

Here is another toad...in a garden I take care of...not my own actually. This one has been immortalized in stone.
I looked up from my weeding the other day to spot the garden kitty running by with a baby chipmunk in his mouth. I jumped up and waved my arms in an attempt to save said chipmunk...well...he escaped...but I tell you that cat hung around the tree he ran up for a long time...another day I suppose.
A swallow tail fluttered by yesterday as I was killing some weeds with round up. I am guilty...of spraying...but it was poison ivy. Don't hate me...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My Little Toad

Here is my resident toad. Isn't he cute? I think he has a big girlfriend living in the hostas. I saw her the other night doing some push ups.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Perennials for a spring bloom in your garden

Here are few awesome spring blooming perennials for a Michigan garden. Guaranteed to make the neighbors jealous!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Planning Around Deer

Well, I am working on a fine cottage style garden right now. Apparently this couple got a less than perfect landscape job last year. Not only did the guy come in the spring to discuss their "flower garden" and then not show up until fall to install it...he installed only shrubs...nice. The up side of this is that I get to put in the flowers...yeay! The down side is I know for a fact that their neighborhood is infested with a massive deer heard! Not so good news.

So I am asking everyone what to do. So far I have heard all kinds of interesting information.

I have been told to install hard flat surfaces, like slate...that deer don't like to slip and fall and that slate makes them nervous. Hmmmm....

I have heard that using Malorganite (Human Waste-hurray!) keeps them away. Hmmmm....not so sure about that one either.....

I have heard that they don't like to be enclosed...in tight spaces...o.k.....

I KNOW that daffodils are not on their eat list. And here are a few more items that are resistant to deer but nothing is a total guarantee.

Butterfly bush

Siberian iris
Butterfly bush
Meadow sage
Mounding Grass, such as Karl Foerster
Ferns (regardless of species)
Spotted dead nettle-Great in dry shade

Russian sage
Mounding Grass, such as Karl Foerster, Blue Fescue
Ferns (regardless of species)
Spotted dead nettle-Great in dry shade
Black eyed Susans(although they do sample these)
Bradford Pear?
Joe Pye weed
Common Foxglove
Carnation, Pinks
Christmas Fern
Crown Imperial, Fritilia
Fennel and Dill
False Indigo
Jack in the pulpit
Ladys' Mantle
Common Yarrow
O.K. Well that is enough to keep you busy for a while. And just in case this isn't enough info go to the source: http://njaes.rutgers.edu/deerresistance/


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Northern Brown Snake

I saw this little guy today while I was cutting down a bunch of grasses. You can see him at this link:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3136/2631802751_01cbb88937_o.jpg I see them every year at this one location. It is a lovely garden with tall grasses and lots of roses and a big frog pond. I must say though that the mosquitos are out of control in the summer. Oh well, I am making spagetti now and gotta run.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Malva moschata

I guess I have kind of focused on annuals the last few weeks and I would like to give some attention to perrenials-as I can finally see them a bit as I clean out the flower beds from last year. I really like the plant Malva moschata as it is a prolific self seeder(some may call this weedy) but you can always weed out the ones you don't want. It has a nice tall airy feel to it and it provides tons and tons of cheerfull pink blooms from the beginning of summer till the end of summer. I think it looks lovely when planted with russian sage, and some bee balm, some stone crop sedum and maybe some balloon flower. This plant is like a space filler when you are on a budget...but it can go a bit nuts...so you do need to weed it out just a bit...the word monoculture does come to mind...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Potatoe Vine

Alright, I will continue with some annuals that I think are valuable in your garden. I am a big fan of Potatoe Vine...ipomea vine...what have you. This annual decorative vine grows and spreads quite rapidly in your flower bed or containers. It comes in a variety of attractive colors that enhance the "canvas" of your garden if you will: purple, lime green/maroon, and lime green. I like to combine this vine with Lantana or marigolds for a nice variety of orange, red, yellow, and purple. I can't tell you how attractive this arrangement is. It is also a big hummingbird favorite. Add a little purple fountain grass and you are on your way.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


I get so excited to get to work in peoples garden in the spring.

I am like a mad woman running around raking leaves and twigs, cleaning up all the edges, scraping mulch out of the grass, thatching the grass, bundling wood, cleaning out stinky ponds. It can be embarrassing if one of my clients tries to talk to me…I'll be shouting in excitement!

I think to myself about all the different kinds of amendments I need to put down on this or that. What needs pruning, what must wait, why did something turn brown, what did I plant here last year. What did I move and can’t wait for people to notice and get excited about…
Dragging piles of debris to compost piles or bagging and hauling…Seeing all the other service people out and about…saying hello!

And then the next day I am in such excruciating pain.My boyfriend is in lawn care and we are always sharing pain management tips. Like should you Ben Gay before or after dinner, which stretch is best for that niggling pain behind your shoulder blade...etc. etc. Pain is a big part of gardening as I am getting older. But it is absolutely worth it!
Check out my other blog at Cool Garden Things Blog

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cut Spring Flowers

Hmmmm....I wanted to post a picture of some cut bulbs from last year. I'm still figuring this out...cut bulbs

Monday, February 23, 2009


Once again, I am still pretty much a novice, so bare with me in such things. Today I would like to talk about my second favorite plant: Lantana.

I don't know the latin name, which of course my father would totally berate me for, but I think I am a better gardener than him, so there ya go. He is of course a scientist and beats me in that department for sure. But it's not a competition, so where was I?

Ah, Lantana...I met this plant in Florida where I was not immediately impressed...But in Michigan where the summers are hot and alternating between humid and dry...I was suddenly looking at Lantana with brand new eyes.

This annual (in Michigan it is an annual) is a great plant for Michigan because it can handle all day sun, and partial sun. It can handle very hot weather and fairly cool weather. It can handle some neglect in the watering department and prefers to not be over watered-but to it's credit can handle too much water too. It blooms from spring all the way to fall and then has attractive-BUT HIGHLY POISONOUS-purple berries.

I prefer the non mounding forms as I feel they are more prolific bloomers...my favorite has been the red and purple varieties.

I like to combine the red and orange flowering lantana with purple potatoe vine and some blue salvia and maybe some fountain grass for a long blooming, low maintenance and classy garden combo. Add a gazing ball and all your friends will be having major garden envy.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I am fairly new to blogging. So I will keep this brief. I luv, luv, luv marigolds. They are a truly wonderful annual that often gets the old turned up nose from so called "flower" snobs.
In my opinion the marigold is like the flower of the people. It is inexpensive, bright, disease and pest resistant, can handle the heat and it smells like summer. You can mix and match it with other plants for excellent results. Throw in some potatoe vine and an ornamental grass and you have elevated it something worthy of the ritz.
I hope you check out my other attempts at blogging at Cool Garden Things