Sunday, May 20, 2007


WAY TO GO, CHRIS! Great blog. Thank you for sharing the insight as well as the fantastic photos. This is the sort of thing I like to see on the blog.

Don't want to seem like I'm trying to steal thunder - but I've been taking photos of my own flower patches for a couple-three weeks. I want to share them because I'm so inordinately proud of my flowers.
Before I go on, I want you-all to know that the flower bed on the east side of my front door was the only flower bed here when I first moved in and it was all overgrown with irises that hadn't been watered and hadn't flowered for who knows how long. In the back of the house there was a peace rose that desperately needed pruning (it was growing in under the siding), a clump of overgrown red tulips in desperate need of thinning, a dianthus and a pink creeping phlox. The east side of the house had nothing but dirt and weeds. There are still a lot of weeds but there's a lot of grass, too. Now for the photos.

My house from across the street. The original flower bed is the one to the left of the door as you're looking at it. The little tree on the left winter killed this past winter. It was an apricot we put in. I want to replace it with an Italian prune plum.
We dug out the grass on the west of the door and planted a lot of flowers last year. I've added a couple-three perennials this year. It's coming along very nicely.

We also dug out grass to make the iris bed on the east. You can't tell I love irises. I only wish I'd gotten a photo when the bed was in full bloom. It literally glowed!

This photo shows our two little apple trees we planted last year - as well as my iris bed and two rhubarb plants on the east of the house. If you looked on Google Earth it would show my home with absolutely nothing green back there. :) I'm very pleased with how well it's coming along - weeds or no weeds.
Now for the individual colors of iris in my garden. Oh, and by the way, Chris - I thought what I sent to you was all yellow iris but I've discovered there are some other absolutely lovely colors of iris out in my yellow bed so who knows what you ended up with. Check these out.
The black and orange irises on the left were absolutely stunning when they were in their prime. They were on their way out when I took this photo. The little irises were from Auntie's back yard in Jackson. The yellow, if you'll left click on it, is actually bi-colored. Very attractive.

So, Chris, you may have ended up with some of these maroon ones...or some of the purple and white...

or maybe a peach or white...

About the only thing you can count on not receiving would be a poppy

or one of the wildflowers from my red-white-and-blue corner (red celosia, white wild cranesbill (geranium) and who knows what the blue is - it came with the aspen tree we transplanted from the mountains. It's pretty though.

I have a few tips on turning a barren, dried-out area into a lush flower bed...water, water, and more water. Plenty of commercial fertilizer for the grass, and for the flowers, fruit trees and rhubarb, manure tea.
What's manure tea? Recipe: One 55-gallon galvanized garbage can. Add a couple shovel fulls of manure (I use goat simply because it's handy and free - there's a goat dairy about 5 miles from here and I cart it in by the pickup load for my veggie garden). Fill garbage can with water and let steep for a couple of weeks before using. When water is all gone, refill and use immediately since the manure will already be softened. One can use this over and over. Don't know how commercially packaged steer manure would work- I always use the pure, unadulterated stuff - but it might be ok if you can't find a dairy closeby. - And, by the way, I dip the tea out with an ice cream bucket. It takes time to water everything but the bucket works well.
I don't use manure tea on the flowers out front - it's too much work -but everything in the back gets plenty and loves it. Someone was trying to tell me, this spring, that manure tea would ruin my flowers but I haven't noticed. I used it on the iris, tulips, daffodils, roses, dianthus, phlox, delphenium, columbine and calendula as well as my apple and peach trees, rhubarb and raspberry plants, grape vine and everything in my veggie garden. I think these photos bear testimony that manure tea doesn't hurt a thing. If it did, I'd use it on the weeds. Dang! Maybe I need to discuss production of a weed-killer manure with those goats. Anyone got any formulas for that?

Seriously speaking, though, I can't overstress the importance of heavy watering (with regular water as well as the tea) - especially when you're trying to get plants established. Here in the intermountain west days get scorching hot and the wind blows almost constantly; horrendous drying combination, there. I try to moisten the soil surface in my gardens at least once a day - more often if the wind is really stiff. I water the grass deeply about three times a week. It's expensive but it's been worth it. I figure another summer and I'll have a pretty decent yard.

And that's all, folks. Need another posting from you, Chris. The one about your cacti was great! Can you possibly upload the photos concerning your stairwell? I'll tell the story if you're still so mad you don't think you should say anything - but I'm not sure how to upload the very funny photo you sent that idiotic inspector. I'd need your help.
Oh, and by the way, I can't find the photo of your looooong christmas cactus flower. Better see if you still have it. I hope you do. We'd like to see it, too.
Well - pardon the changes in font size - the program is screwing with my head.
Have a great week, everybody.

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