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  • The best things in life are Beautiful.
  • Flowers in the Middle of Winter


    yellow Asiatic lilies lily bouquet

    There’s nothing better than blooming flowers in the middle of January. I am so grateful for the people in my life who make sure that my winters are saturated with the colors and smells of summer! I received two bouquets of gorgeous flowers for my birthday that have opened up and done really well (considering they’re cut) and also, I’ve been waiting since just before Christmas for this gigantic Amaryllis to bloom that Lisa sent (and I promised pics once they opened!) – they’re SO big and full and just beautiful.


    I had a dream just last night – in it, a hummingbird came right up to my face and snuggled my cheek. pffft. That’s how much I miss warm weather! Even Chickeymonkey told me about a dream she had the other night, my office was filled with pink, white and purple roses and tulips. There were “flowers EVERYwhere!” she said. I LOVE HER. Aaah. It’s just a few months away, right? All the bulbs I planted last fall combined with everything I planted the year before, the hummingbirds and I will be loving our daily breaks in the backyard!


    Coming Back Around


    Because sometimes, I can’t help but be inspired by others who have been inspired by me.

    That just tickles me… pink.

    (and I’m absolutely grateful for the integrity of the designers who sought my permission to use my photo. Thank you so much, 24/7.)

    Plants and Flowers, oh MY.


    I ordered my stuff for fall. Have you ordered your stuff for fall yet? I will be antsy for the next two months waiting for them to get here so I can get them in the ground. Hubby is building two new beds for flowers, and one for our vegetable garden next year – so we’re planning and sketching and picturing all kinds of fun beautiful things in our yard for next summer!

    Here are my new additions (click on the thumb to get the details from the garden center where I purchased them):

    Bed 1:

    Russian Princess Lobelia
    I have one Lobelia this year and it’s about 6 foot tall with several long stems covered in red flowers that our hummingbird and butterflies just love.

    I’m adding four more, these will go up against the privacy fence across the back of an 8 foot bed.

    They’ll bloom pretty much all summer.

    Oriental Lily Collection
    24 of these, so 6 each of the Lombardia (top left), Stargazer (top right), Dizzy (bottom left) and Simplon (bottom right).

    Lollypop Asiatic Lily
    These lilies will all be grouped together in front of the Lobelia. If you didn’t already know – I love lilies. I especially love stargazers and my goal is to have enough of them to stand cutting them and having bouquets in the house.

    Lilies bloom mid-summer but the greens start first thing in the spring.

    Maiden Pinks
    Six of these ground covering flowering Maiden Pinks will fill the space in the front of this bed.

    Visually, I’ve got tallest to shortest, and the color scheme is all red, pinks and white.

    It’s gonna be beauuuuutiful!

    Bed 2:

    Mixed Delphinium
    Delphinium blooms all summer as well (twice) and stands about 5 feet tall. The pink, blue, purple and white is the same mix that I have right now in dwarf delphinium, and they’re really delicate and beautiful – and yes they draw in the pretty fluttery critters, too. I’m adding 6 of these.

    These will stand against the privacy fence in the back of the second 8 foot wide bed.

    3mostulips.jpg3 months of Tulips
    It’s hard to figure out which tulips bloom when and how many to get – so I’m so grateful that these places put packs together like this. We loooove tulips, so three months of them will be wonderful – and very colorful while we wait for the Delphinium to pop up from behind them.

    I got way too many of them- 36 will be divided between this bed and another area in the yard. Unless I compact them, which is entirely possible. I like dense foliage. :)

    Mixed Dwarf Asters
    These are the low flowers that will sit in front of the tulips, and once the tulips die out, the asters will fill in with about 12-15″ height in mounds to cover the empty spot and they’ll continue blooming through the fall.

    One thing I’ve learned this year: Bunnies LOVE asters. Love. Eat them up. We’ll see how they fare within our bunny refuge baby havin’ camp here. (Zorro is at it again – we think she’s pregnant.)

    This second bed is going to be very colorful!

    We have a few other plants that we just couldn’t resist. We recently had a piece of concrete sidewalk that went to our old back door broken up and removed, and filled it in with dirt and river rock. It’s bare, so Catybug and I decided we wanted to dry a few different things for that space to have something special and try something new.

    Ambrosia Fragrant Abelia
    They boast that this is more fragrant than a lilac – this I have to smell! “One of the best shrubs we’ve found in some time. This cold hardy shrub is covered with sweetly scented blooms from late spring to early summer. Star-shaped flowers start out as pink buds and open up to white blossoms.”

    This one will get to about 6′ tall – so it will cover our big empty used-to-be-a-back-door spot that bugs me to death.

    Pink Buttercup
    I picked up 12 of these, ummm I don’t know what I’m going to do with them yet, they’re a small ground covering plant that will flower all summer. I may put them between rosebushes on the side of the house, or something.

    I’ll find a spot.

    Ice Stick Tulip
    These will definitely bring in the spring – they’re really early bloomers so I will know when I see them popping up with the crocus that I don’t have to tolerate the cold much longer.

    These are super cool – I just got 10 of them so I have to find a really nice showy home for them. along with this next batch of bulbs….

    Superba Butterfly Tulip
    These are TOO cool. The petals of these tulips look like butterfly wings! I only have 8 of these on order, so it will be several years before I have enough to share.

    They say these are for zone 4-8 – I’m in zone 5, so I’m stretching a little but not too much. Crossing my fingers on them, but I think they’ll be okay here.

    Blushing Bride Tulips
    Just five of these, they’re late season bloomers so if I put this special batch of tulips together, I will have something new and unusually stunning coming up for a nice long period of time in the spring to summer months.

    I love the gradation on these – and if they follow the butterfly tulips bloom time, they’ll be just perfect.

    Zebra Iris Collection
    Iris tend to triple in spread every year, so I’m not too worried about spending a bunch for just one of each of these.

    The Batik Zebra (top left) is royal purple, the Tiger Honey (top right) is a beautiful rich gold, the Baboon Bottom – haha! (bottom left) is pink and white, and the Gnu Flash (bottom right) is gold, gray, silver and violet.

    They probably all smell like grapes, yummmm. I love Iris. I’ll put these near my jumbo German bearded iris and they’ll spread like wildfire.

    bajadaylily.jpg Little Business & Baja Daylilies
    Both of these daylilies are double bloomers. Hubby loves the red, and I love that they bloom all summer, take a short break and come back again in late summer to fall.

    I picked up 3 of each of them, they’ll get their own spot and make a nice color bursting focal point in the yard.

    All Summer Hydrangea
    Last, but certainly not least – and definitely the largest – this big beautiful bushy Hydrangea.

    I have two hydrangea right now, they are moody, thirsty plants who apparently had a rough time last winter because they weren’t properly sheltered, so they’re wussing out in the bloom department. I’ve been keeping them watered well and I keep waiting – but they got nothin’ for me but pretty green foliage. Nice, yes. But I love hydrangea blooms, and miss them! I need something more hardy & reliable.

    They are being replaced with this one, which boasts:

    “All the beauty and romance of other large flowered hydrangeas but so much more rewarding to grow! All Summer Beauty is covered with big, blooms of deep blue (in acid soil) or soft pink (in alkaline soil) from midsummer often until frost. Best of all, you can count on getting those fabulous blooms form on the current season’s growth- not on that of the previous year.

    Therefore, harsh winters or late spring frosts are not a problem for this hydrangea! These handsome plants have large, glossy green leaves and grow 3-5’ tall with a similar spread- just right for mixed borders, foundation planting or a low-growing hedge. Sensational for long-lasting fresh and dried bouquets!”

    And there you have it. Oh! I also picked up 14 Surprise/Resurrection/Magic Lillies I bought on ebay. They should be here in a day or two.

    I will be a digging fool in late October – and I can’t wait to show you how it turns out over the course of the spring and summer next year. I should just plan a big garden party and invite ya’ll over for a tour and some barbecue, huh? That would be too much fun.

    Grow my Garden



    This is what my front garden looked like last month. Right now, the sunflowers are taller than the tall shrub on the corner and blooming like crazy – and the mexican sunflowers to the right of that shrub fell over from the rainstorms so I cut them down and replaced them with burgundy mums.

    I’ve got a lot of stuff going on here. Next year, it’s going to be different.

    If you’re interested, I’m all up for creating a garden based on your suggestions. I’m in Zone 5, I love perennials, don’t mind low all-season blooming annuals – and I have a lot of space to work with. I will probably relocate many of these things this coming fall and spring – so let me tell you what I need and you can toss your suggestions or faves my way. I’ll start picking up bulbs and plants soon to get them in before winter.

    The left side back fence is 36 inches tall. I don’t mind going VERY tall over there because it provides a natural privacy. The beds are 12 inches off the ground. That left side is probably 12 feet wide and 3 feet deep. The front, also 3 feet deep, is about 18 feet wide – but that shrub stays and hogs up about 4 feet of space. There’s about 2-3 feet on the left side of the shrub in part shade.

    The things that are staying are the gayfeather liatris (top right against the house) and asiatic lilies in the left side. I need suggestions for medium (1-1/2 – 2 feet) & low plants for the middle and front of each bed. Anyone have any favorites, I’d love to grow some new varieties next year!

    Gardening for Food!


    jayden picks the second ripe tomato off the vine' class=

    Fun exciting stuff happening around here, folks! We have succeeded in our very first ever attempt at growing food in our yard! YAHOO!

    Hubby decided that this would be a good year to try growing some tomatoes. Why? Because he’s the only one who likes them, that’s why. I don’t mind them – chopped up in my food, but I’m not one who slices up a tomato and eats it fresh off the vine. But I’m learning. We’re going to have so many of them, I have to learn – and fast!

    Yesterday he did the honors and picked the very first ripe roma off the vine. It’s perfect, really – and of course I had to take a photo of the little beauty for posterity. Then Chickeymonkey got the honors of going for the second one.

    I have to tell you – every single day, this girl has gone out and checked all of the plants that have food on them to see if anything is ready – every single day for over a month. She’s very excited about having food she can just go outside and pick and eat. She’s picked a measly little strawberry or two, they’re quite pitiful actually so I can’t count those as real food, since they’re more the size of a half eaten raspberry. She likes checking the Bing Cherry tree (in its first year here), even though she really doesn’t like cherries.

    Me, I’m getting inspired. I’m getting motivated to try my :growit: thumb on vegetables again, even though my past attempts were more than failures. Hubby and I are talking about the size, the location, marking the area to see if it gets the right amount of sun, and really digging down into our rich black dirt and giving it 100% next year. We’re thinking pumpkins, cucumbers, tomatoes, green peppers (which I love raw.) and I don’t know what else. What else? Seedless watermelon and cantelope would be good, too.

    Of course I’m not sure how all of this is going to fit in with the inground pool I keep dreaming about. Hrmpf.

    This is why I love the warmer months over the colder – it’s easier to eat fresh and eat well, it’s healthier and more fun to throw some teriyaki marinated chicken on the grill, sit on the patio and have dinner outside. It’s even yummier to throw some fresh berries on a couple of scoops of vanilla frozen yogurt after taking a mile and a half walk around the neighborhood with your kids, stopping to chat or just say hi to your neighbors. Yep, I’m a warm weather kind of gal.

    If one of you has a vegetable garden, I’d love to know what you’re growing and how well you’re doing with it. Any tips would be most appreciated!

    How To Grow Grass, Fast!


    tips to grow grass from seed, fast
    Over the past 11 years that we’ve owned our home, we’ve made several failed attempts to fill a lot of bald spots in the yard. This year, me and my new green thumb have finally got it all figured out.

    The grass pictured above is seed that I put down Sunday, July 1st. We saw growth in just 4 days, folks. Now that’s fast. This is day 5, and it’s over an inch long. I know you’re all just dying to know my secret, right? Well just pretend you are, because I’m going to tell you anyway.

    The dirt in the bare spot needs to be raked over, just a bit – I didn’t go very deep, maybe just 1/4 or 1/2 inch. I spread a nice layer of Miracle-Gro potting soil (the moisture control is good, too) over the area – then put down some generic fast growing grass seed – unless you want the special stuff, that will probably grow quickly too, but you can always seed the good stuff in the fall. Over the grass seed, spread a nice thin layer of Miracle-Gro again, then keep it really well saturated. Water in the morning and at night, and any time you notice the Miracle-Gro has dried out.

    We had a torrential rainfall on Tuesday night that washed much of the Miracle-Grow and seed both in a pile at the end of the area that I seeded. I gently raked it, spreading it back to its original spot, and added more soil and a little more seed, then drenched it all again. It’s all filling in and I’m excited to see so many bare patches filling in with bright green grass!

    And there you have it. Now go, sow some grass. Your bare summer feet will be very happy, because baby grass is very soft, and it tickles.

    UPDATE April 19, 2009

    I’d like to show you before and after photos of this area of our yard.

    mound of dirt
    Note: We added a privacy fence, and neighbor cut down all of their trees,
    added a room and a door on the side of the garage.
    Taken on overcast day.

    grow grass fast landscaping Leanne Wildermuth


    The first photo was taken in 2004, just after we’d had a room addition put on the house and were left with a huge mound of dirt. We left the mound for several years and planted on it, using it as part of the landscape. In July 2007, we transplanted everything and leveled the mound, and started growing grass. The summer of 2008 it was patchy and young, still filling in. Now, April 2009, you can see it’s thick and lush and very, very green.

    Stop back and let me know how well this works for you – and share your before & after photos!

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