Thursday, July 11, 2013

Cheap and Purdy

It's been a beautifully mild summer thus far, so I've gone a little crazy planting flowers (I blame the $0.99 perennials our local greenhouse sells every summer- and I have yet to see a plant purchased from them die.  It's amazing.)  Blue delphinium, beardtongue, bee balm, yarrow, aquilegia, oriental poppy, primrose, and sweet william, to name too many.  Plus they're little, so they take like two seconds to plant.

Now, don't worry.  I'm not going to show you photos of each and every one of those flowers I've planted this year.

I'm just going to show you a few.

You can just barely see that little pink balloon flower amidst all that snow-on-the-mountain.  I actually planted two of these right by each other, near the existing balloon flower that produces kind of bluish-purple blooms.  At this point, both new plants are little more than dried-out sticks, so I'm hoping they'll come back next spring when it's cool and wet again.

That pink plant in the middle is a "Gallery Pink" lupine.  It's really shot up from the tiny thing I planted a month ago.  In the foreground is the shasta daisy Cheryl gave me.  Thanks, Cheryl!

That little spot of red in the above pic is "Arizona Red Shades" blanket flower.  I know blanket flower is supposed to be so easy to grow and blah blah blah, but I've always struggled with it.  This one seems way healthier than any I've grown before, so I'm hoping it'll spread a bit for more color in that bed.  

Oh, hey- remember Viktor?  

He's still doing well.  Twitchy, but well, you know.  That's our Viktor.  Right now he's vigilant about standing guard over some pink yarrow, more daisies, a rogue spiderwort I need to pull up, plus a struggling regular blanket flower.  

I guess technically he's standing guard under the flowers.  Whatever.

This is one of the many, many flowers sent home with me from my grandparents.  They called it a rain lily, and it's bloomed several times since arriving home- usually after it rains.  Go figure.  Evidently I'll need to put it in the basement during the winter.

Oh, and remember that cactus my grandma told me to just throw on a patch of dirt?  Well, I watched it wither and turn brown, but lo and behold- that thing's taken root.  Grandma was right.  Again.

Let's see, what else, flower-wise...

It was a banner year for my roses:

I recently read that roses tend to bloom in two-year cycles; they'll have one good year, then a bad year, one year off, one year on.  This has proved true for ours, although I think the late arrival of Japanese beetles- which just showed up last week, and in far fewer numbers than last year- also helped immensely.

Lastly, a little gardening money-saver:

This is one of the flower baskets on our front porch.  I took this before the coleus really took off, but that's not the point.  Originally, this metal basket had one of those coconut liners in it.  Those things lasted two years before too many birds had shredded them, gathering material for their nests.  I looked around for replacement liners, but 1) had trouble finding the right size, and 2) more importantly, discovered how expensive those things are.  I just wasn't willing to pay $12 per liner for something that's only gonna last a couple years at most.  

Instead what I ended up using, and what you see here, is landscape fabric.  It cost me all of $0.19/yard at Earl May, and I bought two yards (which ended up being way too much, so I'm set for the next couple years), brought it home, cut it into rough rectangles larger than the size of the baskets, kind of smushed it in there, dumped the potting soil in, planted the flowers, then cut off the excess fabric.  $0.38 vs $24.  

I should tell you I did not come up with this brilliant idea myself; I did a little google search for something like "coconut liner alternatives that don't leave me having to sell one of my children to afford them," and a blog came up (that I now can't find, of course) written by a woman vastly more creative than me.  God bless creative people.

Please don't tell my kids I think they're each worth $24.


  1. Those are some gorgeous flowers! I can't grow roses, or anything in baskets, so I am glad to enjoy the photos of yours.

    I didn't know that balloon flowers came in pink. I have 2 blue-purple balloon flower plants - one of them has a whole gang of flowers on it. The deer ate the buds of the other plant.

  2. Pretty! I've never succeeded with flowers--and I have given up!


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