moosey
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Tea Root's Journal - Part One

4 May '09 5:08 pm
These are all Tea Root's posts, collected up into one journal. Please ignore the Moosey avatar!

Flower identity...
Wed Dec 24, 2008
Back in autumn I took a picture of this pretty yellow flower at the edge of my fairy garden and with the help of my new wildflower field guide and the Internet, I think I may have properly identified it as Sneezeweed.
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4 May '09 5:11 pm
Garden notes...
Sun Dec 21, 2008
Hello. I'm new here and this is my first post. I live and garden in Kentucky.

Well, tomorrow is the first day of winter finally and it needs to be. Although yesterday was unusually warm, the temperature is back to being a more normal cold today. I braved the chill outside this afternoon for a few minutes so I can bring you this garden report.

Starting in the southwest-facing flowerbed at the left corner is my Arugula herb plant looking green and healthy, although just a bit small. For a while, I'd been thinking that this little plant was a start from seed that dropped from one of the many little flowers that bloomed from the arugula I had planted myself in spring. Now I think that this is probably the same arugula I planted and it just sprouted new leaves during the summer or autumn.

One of the lushest plants I have out there right now is feverfew. This stuff comes up somewhat like a weed, but I don't find it overly aggressive and I'm content to have it sprouting about since the blooms it gets are attractive. I have some dark green hollyhocks out there still, so they must be sheltered rather well against the concrete wall of the house. The rose campion is doing fine and the liriope foliage is green and attractive and not rough looking like after last winter. However, this winter has not even begun yet, so we'll see how the foliage still looks in the spring. It has a few black berries, too. Perhaps there will be more berries next year. The dusty miller is holding it's own, at least the big one. I didn't see the little one out there. Eucalyptus looks just a teeny bit rough, but it's doing fine otherwise and the rudbeckia coneflowers have healthy green leaves at the soil line. I'm not sure what's going to happen with echinacea. It is adding interest with it's seedheads and dark brown color, but I saw no evidence of green health anywhere. We'll see if it emerges back in spring. Now the euphorbia's not looking too hot, but it probably just needs to be cut back in spring to let new growth emerge. Oh, and by the way, the creeping thyme looks really nice and the santolina is doing fine. I'd say that the latter is a hardy plant as long as it's in the ground. I tried it in a pot one year and was unsuccessful. It is sheltered where it's at, too, so that is probably helping it. And remember the creeping zinnia? Well, that's an annual as far as I know and it's browned and spent, but covered in a thick layer of leaves. Perhaps it will come back from seed. My mother has had that happen with her creeping zinnia in the past. Oh, and about that 'Lady Lavendula' or whatever it's called- it's life cycle has ended. Also, the lamb's ear which is well-protected against the wall seems rather happy. As for the salvias- some healthy leaves are kind of hiding, yet peeking out, among the debris. Meanwhile, the heliochrysum appears to be finished.

At center-right of the flowerbed, Phlox 'David' is still alive, but rather yellowish. Of course, that's to be expected with how cold it's been. The columbine foliage is a bit limp and yellowish, but that can be cut back in spring to let the fresh new growth be clearly seen. This always came back for me nicely in a pot at the apartment, so it should make a nice show this coming spring since it's been in the ground and is overwintering there. At the very right of this flowerbed we have yarrow with some nice green ferny foliage hanging on.

Now there isn't much to say about the fairy garden. There's one plant that emerged from seed that's not only hanging in there, but looking fairly nice. This is that one columbine that emerged from seed that I'd sown under the fairy tree while it was warm. I've got an earlier photo of it that I will post sometime.

Okay, now off to the main garden. I'll start here with the rose bush. It's rather bare with some straggly leaves and some hips. And remember that I transplanted the lavender and yellow yarrow from the mobile garden into the main garden? Well, although the yarrow looks a bit rough, I believe that it'll pull through the winter and then we'll see how it does in the ground for the first year since I've had it. As for the lavender, it looks great and it will be interesting to see how it thrives in the ground when summer heats up. It should get quite a bit of flowers unless the plant puts most of its energy into root and leaf growth. I had also transplanted common sage into the main garden from the southwest-facing bed at the time of the other two transplantings I've just mentioned. Well, the sage is looking rather rough, but that's natural and it should do well come spring since it is in the ground. Common sage has also survived for me through winter in plastic pots.

Well, moving on, I want to mention that the strawberry foxglove is doing fine, so I expect it to bloom either next year or the year after. I plan to take a photo of the blooms for you all to see when this happens. And I saw at least a couple of small blue borage plants still hanging in there as well as the lunaria I transplanted at the end of the gardening season. The broom corn which had been left to stand has a stem with a seedpod head leaning over and when I went over to check out the Nasturtium patch, I saw that it was gone.

So this is pretty much the state of my garden at this time.

Garden notes 2...
Sun Dec 28, 2008
Today is unseasonably warm for this time of year in my area. It's so warm that I have a couple of windows open in my house and I've been out in my yard to find something to write about, and the temperature felt like it was close to 70 degrees. It's partly sunny and I could clearly hear my neighbor's windchimes out there while under the fairy tree. The fairy garden underneath this tree is by the birdbath which is filled up with rainwater from recent showers, yet void of thirty, bathing birds. Instead, the wind-stirred water reflects sky and bare trees branches. The fairy garden itself is muddy and I checked on that lone columbine start that has grown in a spot there from a sown seed and it's still doing fine. Check out the photo I took of it back in autumn at the bottom of the page.

That's all there is to report on that bit of my yard. Nearby, in the corner of my southwest-facing flowerbed on the side of the house, wild onion leaves stand green and unfazed by the single-digit temperatures we had a week ago. I broke off some of the grassy-like foliage in my fingers and inhaled its onion fragrance. Very close to the wild onions are the iris as a bare Rose of Sharon bush with seedpods still attached stands between the two. The blue-green foliage of the iris has never totally died back, but it appears that there is new growth since some of the leaves are so small and there seems to be more of them. I'm not surprised with the warmer temps we've been having. And this particular iris that I'm writing about is the common iris which sports lavender blossoms. This same iris also grows just outside the door of the house. And then I have another type of iris which grows on the other side of my house and it puts forth smaller yellow blooms. Naturally, neither iris type is in flower right now. As for other happenings in that southwest-facing bed, it appears that fresh growth has maybe occurred on both the phlhox 'David' and euphorbia.

Out in the muddy main garden, it looks as if the rest of the blue borage has been wiped out while the strawberry foxglove seemed kind of unhappy to me at first look. However, it's a perennial and they are supposed to kind of die back. And anyway, I discovered that it has a healthier small leaf or two in the center, so in reality, this plant is probably doing well and doing what it's supposed to do.

Dixie garden enthusiast
Sun Dec 28, 2008
What a delightful,vivid description of your garden,Tearoot-I enjoy your rambling style very much,and would love to see more photos when you have some.

tea root valued contributor
Sat Jan 03, 2009
Thanks, Dixie
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Last edited by moosey on 4 May '09 5:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Garden notes 3, a frosted landscape...

4 May '09 5:18 pm
Fri Jan 02, 2009
I stepped out the back door with a notepad to write things down and my first stop was the birdbath to view the frozen water in it. I discovered that this miniature skating rink had cracks. Then before me as I walked on toward the garden was the rising sun in its blinding bright glory. However, its radiance did not shield my face from the wind's icy breath, and the cold was stinging my bare hands as my mind held the thought of protecting exposed fingers from frostbite. So I would draw my hands up into my coat sleeves. Yet I was out here on a mission- to glean something from this frigid environment to put down in words. And I'd already jotted down the birdbath.

So anyway, moving across the yard in the brilliant presence of the sun, the big field beyond my garden was coated in a sunlit heavy frost. Some of the leaves on the ground beneath me were sprinkled with ice crystals as though they were nature's version of sugar cookies. The sky above was as clear as it was cold, and made a good backdrop for bare trees such as the Corkscrew Willow that partly shades my garden when the leaves are filled in. The Sweet William foliage which is not far from the compost bin is green and looks like grass, and I took photos of it along with the other stuff that I've mentioned here and then some.

MacFlax Canberra, Australia
Mon Jan 05, 2009
Brrr, I could feel that cold and had to remind myself that we are expecting 34℃ 93℉ tomorrow. I think I've seen a Corkscrew Willow, it's the one with the amazing twisty branches?
tea root valued contributor
Tue Jan 06, 2009
Hi there. Yes, the Corkscrew Willow does have the twisty branches. It's quite chilly here today, but yesterday was warm for January. Our temperatures tend to fluctuate like that here in Kentucky.
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Tea Root's Journal Continued...

4 May '09 5:27 pm
Something green emerges...
Sun Jan 25, 2009
After getting out of my truck yesterday at home for my lunch break, I saw something green that is emerging from my circular flowerbed out front. It's a daffodil already- I assume!

Seed order report...
Tue Feb 24, 2009
Wild Cowslip(Primula veris)
Common Primrose(Primula vulgaris)
Bat Plant(Tacca chantrierei)

Above are the seeds I listed on an order form from another catlog and the mail carrier has picked it up. The special things about the first two plants listed is that they're both herbal wildflowers. At least I'm assuming the Wild Cowslip is a wildflower. The Common Primrose is definitely described in the catalog as being one. They both develop yellow blooms which is what I want for my main garden. The Bat Plant is considered an exotic plant.

A bulb and annual flowerbed?
Tue Mar 03, 2009
I've been thinking about my flowerbed behind the unattached garage and the bulbs that I purchased over the weekend. What if I planted the bulbs that I buy in spring into that flowerbed instead of throwing them into the compost bin when their flowers and foliage are spent? The only thing is- that flowerbed is very shallow in parts of it because my garden spade has hit concrete when trying to plant things there before. So I'll have to see when it's time to put these bulbs out if the soil is deep enough to plant them there. What a treat it would be every spring to walk out there behind that garage to see those blooms. And here's another thought. Whether or not I put the bulbs out there, I can try sowing annual seeds in that bed in spring and see how they do. If they bush out and do well and flower, then this gives me a good reason to buy annual seeds every year that I don't really want to stick in my main garden or elsewhere. Something that I've toyed with in my mind is growing sweet peas. I can get those easily at my local garden center, but the thing is, they are heavy feeders and I've not been real good about keeping up with fertilizing plants. I do better with plants that pretty much take care of themselves. However, if I decide to get the field peas, I believe I can keep up with feeding them and I still have organic fertilizer that needs to be used up anyway.

As for the main garden, it's cluttered with branches that fell onto it from the ice storm we had in January, and then possibly from the windy day that we had afterward during that month. The bed behind the unattached garage might be a mess, too, from that storm. This has been a very cold winter, but spring is only days away now.

Pre-spring garden tour...
Tue Mar 10, 2009
It's a cool March day and there is much green life around the house outside to tell you about. Starting off, there's the circular bed. To me, it seems to look even better than last spring with an abundance of daffodils and some tulips tucked in as well. Some of the daffodils have buds and there is this spot of yellow from a large unopened bloom that appears to be too heavy for the stem that it crowns. Another smaller bud next to it has its yellow petals peeking out.

Moving on to the southwest facing flowerbed on the side of the house, there are blue-green rosettes at the base of the sedum at the corner. The spindley stems with the attached seedheads badly need to be cut back when the time comes. Out of the two plantings of rose campion, one of them pulled through the winter and looks rather decent. 'Snow Hill' salvia has some nice green leaves at the soil line and just a little bit of the creeping thyme is hanging in there. Obedient plant leaves are here and there in this left corner of the bed while the Eucalyptus sports a rosy brown color. If this is a perennial, it doesn't appear to have made it. Meanwhile, the goldenrod and echinacea appear to be goners. Moving closer to the center, the jewel-green Hollyhock plants look great and they should bloom in a few months since this is their second year. Naturally, some of the liriope foliage looks brown after this harsh winter while the dusty miller looks rough and may get pulled up. I know one of them most likely will. Candytuft is doing well and has new growth at the base and 'David' phlox has made a comeback as a nice tuft of green foliage. Meanwhile, poppies are dotted in just a few places. Moving past the center, euphorbia has new growth at the base and the old growth will be cut back to the soil. Now the santolina is a little brown, but looks okay overall with some new growth at the base. Tri-colored euonymous looks really good after this cold winter and so does the honeysuckle with many new leaves along its branches. Little blue-green rosettes of Siebold sedum look attractive against the light-brown bare earth and tufts of daylily leaves give a clue to where the bulbs are hiding. Getting closer to the right corner of the bed, the lamb's ear looks great and so do the leaves of 'May Night' salvia which are hugging the dirt. Columbine 'Blue Swan' has healthy foliage while achillea has only few ferny leaves and then next to that is another Obedient plant that's coming up. Then on down to the far corner are emerging tulips, attractive iris leaves, and tufts of wild onion.

Now this southwest facing flowerbed runs along the driveway, and on the other side of this driveway a little further down is a clump of lycoris leaves and then nearby are some kind of bulb leaves that I didn't recognize.

Let's go on to the fairy garden where that other columbine plant is. I saw some healthy foliage from that. And then I spotted a couple of places where wild strawberry leaves have emerged.

We move now across the yard to the main garden where at the edge there is some kind of bulb foliage that has come up and it makes me think of the lycoris I saw a few moments ago. I see that the Strawberry Foxglove has pulled through the winter. It's showing small pale green leaves. The common sage up ahead looks rough, but I see new leaves at the base of the plant and along the branches. The rose bush looks awful, yet it has buds and the lavender is nice and bushy. And the yarrow out here looks healthy. Back at the garden's edge and on the other side of the Corkscrew Willow tree are what appear to be crocus leaves.

Leaving the garden and going back toward the house there is an apple tree between this yard and my parents' yard. Well, a little bit away from the trunk are attractive white-margined leaves that have come up. The blooms from them are something to see.

Then walking along the northeast flowerbed up to the front of the house are bluebells coming up and a few daffodils. In the front yard and around the trunk of this big oak tree are more tulips emerging and then we make our way to the front porch. Growing in the ground right in front of it is a healthy-looking Salad Bernet herb on the right side of the step. Creeping phlox grows on both side of the step. Now on the left side I had planted Thrift, but I didn't see it for all the leaves covering it up if it even survived. On the porch itself sits a pot of cemetery vine which is a creeping sedum. Then close to the house on the porch is a bigger pot with clumps of 'Garnet Brocade' peeping above the soil.

MacFlax Canberra, Australia
Sun Mar 15, 2009
Ooh, what an exciting time in the garden. I'm just wondering what the eucalyptus is you mentioned?

Dixie garden enthusiast Waikato-New Zealand
A busy garden
Sun Mar 15, 2009
What a fascinating garden display-spring brings so much hope,doesn't it. Though everthing sounds interesting,I am curious about the green hollyhocks -I didn't know they came in green?

Kerole Taupaki, New Zealand
More, more...
Sun Mar 15, 2009
What a fab written garden tour. Where are the pictures? I would also love to know about the green hollyhocks - I have a fascination with green flowers.

Sun Mar 15, 2009
MacFlax wrote:
Ooh, what an exciting time in the garden. I'm just wondering what the eucalyptus is you mentioned?


I think it's an herb. And the leaves are circular and go around the long stem or branches that they're on like beads on a string. I'd show you a photo of it if I had one.

Re: A busy garden
Sun Mar 15, 2009
Dixie wrote:
What a fascinating garden display-spring brings so much hope,doesn't it.
Though everthing sounds interesting,I am curious about the green hollyhocks-I didn't know they came in green?


Oh, I didn't mean to confuse anyone. I meant that the leaves were very green and I've edited that part in my entry. The hollyhocks have not bloomed yet.

tea root valued contributor
Re: More, more...
Sun Mar 15, 2009
Kerole wrote:
What a fab written garden tour. Where are the pictures? I would also love to know about the green hollyhocks - I have a fascination with green flowers.


Thanks for the compliment! The hollyhocks have not bloomed yet. I was talking about the leaves being green and I've edited that in the entry. There should be much more to write about come summer if my garden will do I as hope.
Last edited by moosey on 4 May '09 5:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Tea Root's Journal Part One - Continued

4 May '09 5:34 pm
More from Tea Root!

Lavender in snow...
Tue Mar 10, 2009
This hardy lavender stayed green through our frigid winter.

Observation...
Fri Mar 20, 2009
This afternoon I saw a robin hanging out by my circular daffodil bed out front as the big yellow blooms nodded in the chilly breeze. And if it's the same bird, it was hanging around near those daffodils yesterday, too.

Gardening update...
Fri Apr 03, 2009
It was chilly enough this morning that I wore a winter coat and hat to work. By the time I got off from work, it had warmed up to the point that I didn't even need a jacket! A flannel shirt over a T-shirt kept me fairly comfortable while I gathered information for this gardening report. I'll start with the front porch. Now there's only two pots on there with anything green growing in them and both contain sedum. The bigger pot has 'Garnet Brocade' and this has changed from being nubs peeking above the soil to fleshy plants that are a few inches tall with leaves. And I'm thinking it could use some water. The other smaller pot has the cemetery vine which is filling the pot back in. Out in the front yard, the circular flowerbed has filled in nicely with daffodils, hyacinth, tulips, and some kind of plant with needle-like foliage and cheery yellow blooms. I don't know what it is. The tulips in the bed and in the front yard should be opening soon, and muscari is already showing off its lovely blue-purple blooms around the mailbox.

And there are things worth reporting in the southwest facing flowered on the side of the house, too. For starters, rose campion (the one that made it through winter) has gotten taller. There's a nice mound of swedish ivy and the hollyhocks are getting big. Then here's a surprise. Remember my echinacea which I'd thought had died? It's come back! There are green leaves at the base of the dead stalks. This is a plant that I wouldn't mind having more of. The dusty miller interested me today since I discovered that it's been getting established at the base of even the deathly-looking one. (Remember that I've got two of those plants). So the rough parts can be cut off of both. I like my dusty miller. The poppies are appealing to me right now. Of course, it's too early for them to bloom, but the foliage of these biennials are neat to look at since the leaves this year are bigger and have an interesting shape to them. They are also hairy. The ones I already have here are volunteers and I may want to try sowing bread poppy seed this year. We'll see.

Moving on down the bed, the three alliums emerged some time ago as strappy leaves and the tri-colored euonymous has new growth. Grassy daylily leaves are in a few spots and the euphorbia has what looks to me to be yellow bracts with these bright little flowers within. I find them to be showy. Then the santolina is doing quite well with more new growth at the soil line. Lamb's ear is filling in its area nicely while the honeysuckle has grown more lush this spring. Meanwhile, the columbine is a healthy mound and the one in the fairy garden is quite pretty. I think I'd like to grow even more columbine in the fairy garden and may sow more seed there this spring.

billabong gwen valued member coastal southern washington
gardening update
Sun Apr 05, 2009
I am wondering a little about your fairy garden.Do you have any pictures?

I read back through your earlier posts to discover that you are growing your garden in Kentucky, with some of the same gardeners favorites as I grow. The daylillies, hollyhocks, the bulbs- muscari, tulips, daffies, the lambs ear and poppies. Last year I made the mistake of purchasing many of my additions from Walmart, which resulted in poor performance of most items. The hairy poppies never even poked through the soil but the prolific performance of the bread seed poppies (grown from various seed types from many different packets) soothed my feelings of loss. They were were fabulous. I saved almost an entire manilla folder of mixed seeds to put along the birthday brick walkway for this year. I try to stay away from ivy as it has gotten a little out of hand here and is choking out other native species.

tea root valued contributor
Sun Apr 05, 2009
I do have pics of my fairy garden, but it's bare. I'm going to make an attempt this year to fill it in with flowers. Right now there's only that one columbine plant and I need to weed the area eventually. I've bought a lot of plants from Walmart and have had good success. I also get plants from other garden centers.

As for how ivy goes, I pretty much don't deal with it. It's not my favorite plant and I've got a sunny area anyway.
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More of Tea Root's Journal...

4 May '09 5:36 pm
Seed order report...
Tue Jan 13, 2009
1 pkt (25 seeds) - Nasturtium 'Jewel of Africa'
2 pkt (50 seeds) - Dianthus 'Siberian Blues'
1 pkt (380 seeds) - Baby's Breath
1 pkt (N/A) - Borage
1 pkt (2,875 seeds) - Foxglove
1 oz (454 sq ft) - Moss Verbena
1 pkt (50 seeds) - Sunflower 'Tangerine'
1 pkt (2,400 seeds) - Yarrow
4 pkt (N/A) - Dill
1/8 oz (88,000/oz seeds) - Wild Bergamot

Total # of catalogs - 3
Total cost estimate - $50.00

moosey head gardener
Wed Jan 14, 2009
Fabulous choices! Is the 'wild bergamot' red flowering? Cheers, M

tea root valued contributor
Thu Jan 15, 2009
Thanks. The Wild Bergamont is lavender to purplish-pink. That's what my field guide says anyway. I've never grown this plant before.

billabong gwen valued member coastal southern washington
pink bergamot
Sun Apr 05, 2009
If it starts to smell like something wonderfully familiar..... it is because it is the flower used in Earl Grey Tea. The flowers are smaller than the red variety. It is incredibly attractive to bees. I have never started it from seed. This year I am starting the red variety from seed.

moosey head gardener
Mon Apr 06, 2009
My red Bergamot, bought from a perennial sale, has made some little seedlings. Ooo - hope they're red, too.

MacFlax Canberra, Australia
Re: pink bergamot
Tue Apr 07, 2009
billabong gwen wrote:
If it starts to smell like something wonderfully familiar..... it is because it is the flower used in Earl Grey Tea. The flowers are smaller than the red variety. It is incredibly attractive to bees. I have never started it from seed. This year I am starting the red variety from seed.


Yes, Earl Grey tea. Funny, I knew of it but never wondered what it looks like and it never occurred to me people grow it in their gardens. Now I'm curious.
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Garden Update

4 May '09 5:42 pm
Garden update...
Sat Apr 18, 2009
This afternoon it was comfortable outside in my flannel shirt as I went and looked about my garden with a pen and notebook in my hands. First I'll tell you about the front porch garden because I've added some plants. In an earlier post I'd mentioned that I had two sedums on the porch and they are the cemetary vine and 'Garnet Brocade'. Well, they're still out there, but now there's also two pots of purple violas, two pots of dianthus, potted wild strawberry, potted wild onion, my 'Sweet 100' cherry tomato, an orange-yellow primrose, and a tansy fern that was given to me. The fern was dug up from a yard and I've potted it into kind of a large container. It was perking up, but seems to get wilty again in the sun so it may need to be moved to a shadier location. The wild onion and wild strawberry were dug up from my own yard and put in terra cotta pots which I think make them look more attractive. This was a joyful and simple project.

The creeping phlox on each side of the porch step have a few of their bi-colored pink and white blooms and the salad bernet on the right side appears to have had its leaves eaten off. There is new growth at the soil line, however. I checked under fallen leaves to see of the thrift might have come back, but saw no signs of it. I had planted it on the left side of the step. Hmmm...I might wish to purchase more thrift this year and plant it elsewhere. Farther left of the step stands the variegated crocus leaves without the flower.

Red and yellow tulips have filled in the circular bed out in the front yard while the earlier daffodil flowers are spent. There are some smaller daffodil blooms out in that bed and the pink hyacinth flowers in there are past their peak. Now there's some kind of plant in that area with needle-like foliage and yellow flowers or bracts and I don't know what it is. But I think it looks showy in that bed with all its yellow.

Now let me talk about the southwest-facing flowerbed on the side of the house again. If you remember about the goldenrod I mentioned, I had probably said that it didn't make it through the winter. Well, today I stood corrected. There is some small green leaves at the base of the dead stems, so it survived after all. And it sure looked like it hadn't before. Now this goldenrod that I have out there is a cultivar, but I'd like to have the herbal species out in my main herb garden. What a pretty and interesting display goldenrod puts on in the late summer or autumn season. Speaking of yellow, my Swedish ivy that I brought here with me from the apartment is sporting these yellow flowers. I've had this plant for at least a couple of years and this is the first time it's bloomed for me, but that's because I was finally able to put it in the ground. There's some more at the back of the house that I didn't plant. Swedish ivy has attractive foliage which is why I bought it in the first place.

While I was still out there, I saw healthy mounds of feverfew. More will probably pop up and I'll want to decide which ones to keep where and which to pull up. The cushion spurge or euphorbia has its yellow bracts which seem a little bit more glorious than the last time I wrote about them and the poppies have their hairy buds. The hollyhocks are bigger yet and the phlox 'David' continues to make a nice comeback. The alliums have buds if I didn't mention it last time or maybe they still didn't have them when I last wrote. And the columbine 'Blue Swan' is budding, too. Meanwhile the yarrow in this bed is looking a little more filled in and the iris foliage is taller.

Under the fairy tree, the one columbine is growing taller and bushier. That should be quite pretty when it finally flowers. There's a flowerbed behind the unattached garage which is close to the main herb garden and it has a rose growing in it. The rose was relocated there last year and is doing well in its spot. The rest of that bed is pretty much empty except for weeds, but the plan is to have it tilled and to plant seeds in there. I did see a surprise, though, in one spot. Last year, I had planted a hardy salvia 'Marleau Rose', but thought it had died. However, right by the tag today I discovered this healthy plant growing there. I checked around the bed to see if there were more like it in case it was a weed, but it was the only one. However, the leaves seem different, so I'm not sure.

Out in the main herb garden my strawberry foxglove has shown more improvement and a start or two of blue borage is growing nearby. There is something growing out there which is probably considered a weed, and it's adorned with these four-petaled white flowers. I checked in my wildflower field guide book to see if it might be listed in there, but it wasn't so I couldn't identify it. The rose bush growing in the corner of the main garden that gets hips in autumn has grown quite lush and no longer looks pitiful. On the other side of the garden, the grassy Sweet William foliage is a bright green.

Finally, the tri-colored red and white tulips with streaks of yellow are flowering.

Cooler temps...
Mon Apr 20, 2009
Thankfully, we received life-giving rain today. This evening I brought my cherry tomato plant back inside since the temperatures are cooling down

More potting up...
Sat Apr 25, 2009
Today got warm and most of it was sunny, but it's cloudy now which is good since I've potted up some plant starts again this afternoon and evening. I finished my strawberry jar project (which I started yesterday) by sticking a piece of mint into a side opening and planting a start of Mother of Thousands in with the aloe start in the other side opening. And in the opening with the onion, I put in a piece of my wild strawberry plant. So we'll see how all this does. The tomato plant is back on the porch again and I've tied it to a stake right there in the pot. Out in the garden, I dup up a start of borage that has come up from seed and potted it and set it on the porch. And scented geranium 'Snowflake' is also on the porch now and repotted in a nifty container. I also gave the tansy fern a 'haircut' after I'd watered it. The other plants got watered, too, and some were fertilized. The only potted porch plants that didn't get watered are the tomato and a yellow container of Mother of Thousands that I set back out there, also, since it's warm.

Something has come back that I'd planted in the ground on the left side of the porch step and forgotten about. It's my creeping raspberry. And in the southwest-facing flowerbed, the salvia 'May Night' is in the beginning stages of flowering. Out in the main garden, the common sage has a bud. I like the blooms on that.

This morning, I received a gift from a lady at work who gave me something called a cup plant. It's a native with herbal properties and she'd dug it up from her garden and put it in a plastic container for me to take home which is what I did at lunch time. For now it's sitting out there on the concrete area behind the house and I watered it well since the leaves got limp. The ideal place for this plant to go is in the main herb garden once it has been tilled.

I also received a package in the mail this afternoon from another lady who lives in a different state. And I opened it to discover this little container of iris seeds.

Plant shopping and garden projects...
Fri Apr 24, 2009
Although it started out cold this morning, it warmed up over the day and was a pretty one. By the time I got home from work this afternoon, it was warm enough for a flannel shirt instead of a jacket or coat. I saw on my porch that my wild strawberry has a yellow bloom, and on the side of the house, a bee was enjoying a dandelion. I checked things out in the garden and flowerbeds and saw that my plants are doing quite well.

This afternoon, Mom and I went to Flag Fork Herb Farm and I purchased lady's mantle and scented geranium 'Snowflake'. Mom got lemon grass. I was happy checking out their many plants, and deciding which scented geranium to purchase was not an easy one. In fact, I asked for Mom's help with that. We both looked in their antique store while we were at that place and I checked out the seed packets in their gift shop, but didn't buy any of those.

At home, I moved my tansy fern onto the ground on the left side of the porch where it might be more shaded, and I carried my plastic strawberry jar of hen and chicks to the porch from the concrete area behind the house. Some side openings in the jar were bare, so I filled one hole with an aloe start and the other with some kind of onion from my yard. This onion looks different from the grassy looking onion that I've got potted up in a terra cotta container. Maybe it's another wild onion type. Well, I wanted to do more potting up, but it had started raining so I came in.

I still want to fill a remaining side opening in the strawberry jar with something. At first I was going to dig up a small start of feverfew and tuck it in there, but then another idea came to me while here in the computer room. I could break off a piece of the wild mint that I have in here and plant it into the jar. And there's still a bare spot in the other hole where I stuck that onion, so a start of Mother of Thousands should help fill it in. Also, I saw a start of borage in my main garden that I would like to pot up and add to the front porch. Those do well and bloom in a large enough container.

As for the lady's mantle and scented geranium, I just set them on the concrete area behind the house for now. I'm going to double check, but I think that the lady's mantle I purchased is the species herbal variety. On the tag it says this plant likes full sun to part shade so I may plant it under the corkscrew willow out in the main garden in time. I wonder how well it would withstand a really cold night if I planted it soon. I know that once it's established, it should be fine. And this plant gets yellow blooms, too, which is what I want in my garden.

Kerole Taupaki, New Zealand
Fri Apr 24, 2009
Very desciptive - I like the idea of an onion poking out the side of a strawberry planter. How 'bout some photos? We'd love to see what you're on about.

Tilled garden...
Sun Apr 26, 2009
Sometime today, Dad tilled my garden and it looks good. He accidently weed-wacked my money plant which was the white blooming plant I'd mistaken for some kind of wildflower. I thought it would be alright because there were leaves left, but then he ended up tilling it. So I want to try to grow money plant again sometime. Mom pointed out to me that the pretty plant growing at the base of my corkscrew willow is a common sweet pea. I'd thought it was crown vetch. So I told Dad that I wanted that saved.

On the northeast-facing side of the house is the narrow flowerbed where the blue bells are. Well, Dad transplanted two Easter lilies there and they're in full bloom and look quite attractive next to those blue bells which have their blue buds opening up.

Later in the evening while there was still daylight left, I transplanted the cup plant and the three 'Tennessee Beauty' strawberry plants into the main garden and watered them well. At first the strawberries were put by the spot where I plan to grow Nasturtiums again, but didn't have a good feeling about that location. It's not far from shrubbery and I thought of birds. So I dug them back up and moved them to an area of the garden that's closer to my parent's garden. It's particularly open there and I'd like to lay straw around the strawberries and perhaps get some netting to keep the birds off. I wanted to also pot up my leek plant, but it got dark.

I changed out the light bulb for the front porch so I could see better to water the porch plants. The tansy fern is looking perky after its haircut and being watered well yesterday. It seems happier in it's new spot, too, where it gets more shade. And the salad bernet is making its comeback after being munched on recently.

By the way, the temperature got up to at least 80 degrees today and there was ample sunshine.

Morning surprise...
Mon Apr 27, 2009
This morning I discovered that a bloom had opened up on one of the poppies in the southwest-facing bed and it was something to enjoy its beauty in the morning light. Here's what the flower looks like except the color appears more orange in person:
t_p4_128.jpg
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More from Tea Root...

4 May '09 5:45 pm
Weekend tomato plant purchase and other news...
Wed Apr 29, 2009
Over the weekend I finally found a 'Roma' tomato plant and it's potted up and sitting out on the front porch. The fairy garden and southwest-facing bed were weeded and the lady's mantle was transplanted into the main herb garden close to the corkscrew willow. Also, the leek plant was put into a pretty pot and set on the porch.

The poppy flower of Sunday was still open when I came home for lunch yesterday in the late morning. When I got home again later in the afternoon, the blooms had all been blown off by the wind or had simply dropped off.

Garden update...
Thu Apr 30, 2009
It's been staying warm now lately and things have grown. In front of my cushion spurge in the southwest-facing bed was a huge mound of healthy-looking feverfew not yet in bloom. (It's still too early for that). I didn't want it there so I potted it up in a container and set it on the left side of the front porch for now. When the feverfew acclimates, I'll move it over to the right side of the porch so it can get more sun and maybe flower. What would be ideal is if we would receive a soaking rain in a day or too, and that would be good for the newly potted feverfew. I went ahead and watered the creeping raspberry which is still in the early stages of making a comeback. That may help it along.

The scented geranium 'Snowflake' has little pink blooms now. And down below on the gound, the creeping phlox 'Candy Stripes' has filled in with more of those bi-colored pink and white flowers. Back out in the southwest-facing bed, a couple more of those beautiful poppy blossoms have opened up. And I liked how they looked this morning when the sky was a little dark and grey and they were still opening up. Against the wall, all three alliums have a purple flower with one of them fully opened into almost a sphere shape. The columbine is full of buds and flowers and it's something to see. I meant to fertilize it before I came in to type, so I'll want to take care of that this evening or tomorrow. Oh, and the iris has sent up a tall stalk with buds that will be a pretty lavender when they're open. I watered the 'Gold Flame' honeysuckle, rose campion, and 'David' phlox.

The columbine in the fairy garden is now also in bud, and my lily of the valley is still there. We'll see if it does much of anything this year. When I was weeding the fairy garden over the weekend, I left a wild strawberry there on purpose to grow. On the northeast-facing narrow bed, the blue bells are going towards their peak now, and Dad has planted a rose bush with crimson or cranberry-colored flowers that are single-petaled. As for the tulip blooms in my yard, they are spent.

I discovered something in the greenhouse this afternoon. My parents have bought me my own hoe and rake.

Damp gardens on a grey day...
Sun May 03, 2009
Today has been cool, grey and still damp from the rain we've been receiving. I liked my front porch garden in the grey dampness as I added more plants to it after potting them up. I'd gone to two different places and altogether purchased seven wonderful items which will be included in Monday's weekend plant purchase report.

I also did some tidying up in the southwest-facing flowerbed. Old stems and twigs were removed from the following group:

sedum 'Autumn Joy'
the goldenrod cultivar I have
echinacea
dusty miller
eucalyptus
salvia 'Snow Hill'
cushion spurge
Siebold sedum

I pulled out the dead lemon balm and snipped off a twig from the tri-colored euonymous. The tops of a dusty miller and a fever few were cut off to make them look better. And I'd cut away at the dead branches of last year's creeping zinnia, but discovered there's much more left. There's also leaves piled up in that spot that I want to clean out to make it look better. And there are plants against the wall such as the yarrow that have these dead twigs that need to be pruned off, but I couldn't reach them without stepping into the mud, so that will wait. The liriope finally got their spring haircuts.

The iris next to the back door of the house is in bloom. Here's a photo of it from last year. And Moosey- I look forward to Tea Roots Journal being set up. Thank you
t_p5_184.jpg
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Still Tea Root's Journal! - The End of Part One

4 May '09 5:47 pm
Indoor gardening projects...
Mon May 04, 2009
This evening, I finally set up the cute little salsa garden kit that was given to me last year by my brother and his wife. The kit contains a rectangular pot with tray, soil, cilantro and tomatillo seed, and a recipe sheet. I followed the instructions and now the container with the planted seed is sitting on the plastic stand here in my computer room with plastic over it to provide humidity. All the bulb plants have been removed from this little computer room garden, including the amaryllis which looks good in its new spot in the plant room. The other bulbs are in there, too, waiting for the right time to be planted into the ground outside. The computer room garden is totally herbal now since I've left the wild mint and rosemary on the stand along with the salsa container. And it's better that I didn't purchase cilantro seed this spring since it already came with the salsa kit. There's plenty of it and tomatillo seed left over. I'd like to add another pretty plant to the little garden in here, and I'm thinking something herbal with yellow flowers like Texas terragon. Of course, if I do, it may end up being temporary if it stops blooming or doesn't do well inside for a long period of time. Hmmm...how long would common sage do okay in here? That could be a pleasant addition to this little indoor garden.

I've finally potted up the Japanese iris seed that this lady had mailed to me. Each iris seed is in a plastic cup filled with soil and has been given water mixed in with vinegar. The cups are set nicely in one of the greenhouses and I partially closed the blinds to try and give the seedlings the right amount of sunlight. I like the light control that blinds provide and I recommend them for any plant room. The night blooming orchid start has also been removed from the computer room garden, by the way, and is now under a grow light in the plant room.

Today has been cool and grey and it's still been lightly raining. Looking out the back door hours ago while it was still daylight, I saw the iris bloom again- being kissed by raindrops.
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