Friday, May 25, 2012

Irony Abounds

Some of you may remember I'd posted about buying some perennials for my flower beds, because I'd given up trying to get seeds started.  The package I got had Blazing Stars, Purple Coneflowers, and Goldsturm Coneflowers.  Well, the ones I really wanted were the cone flower varieties, but since the blazing stars were thrown in with them, I planted them as well.

Guess which ones didn't come up, and which ones did?  Sigh...

I hadn't seen hide nor hair of my coneflowers, so I bought one.  So there.

I'm thinking of pulling out those blazing stars and putting in a couple more of these.  One of these days, I'm going to check the local nursery and see if they have the Goldsturm ones.

This is a little verbina that I bought, too.  I don't know what the name of the color is, but I liked it.

That's kinda what I'm doing.  Buying plants I like just to see how big they get, how easy they are to grow, etc, etc.  I think next year, I'm not even going to fool with planting seeds.  I'll just buy everything already started.  And I think I'll plan things a little better.  This year, I kind of jumped in willy nilly, spur of the moment. I wasn't sure it was something I wanted to do, but I'm really enjoying it this time around.

I think the difference is going with annuals.

The first time I tried gardening, I thought, "What's the point in getting annuals?  You just have to keep planting them over and over."  Now that I'm actually planting them, I see why.  I get the joy of flowers without the feeling of being burdened with a long term commitment.  If I want to change my flower beds up next year, I can without too much trouble.  With perennials, it's a bit more difficult to try something new.

My petunias are really coming on.  

That orange one in the middle is a marigold.  They make good companion plants, in that they help keep harmful insects from chomping on your plants.  Unfortunately, they don't keep slugs away.

Slugs almost killed this marigold.  In fact, I thought it was dead, but as you can see, it looks like it's going to come back.

I'd done some research and the best solution I found was to put out small bowls of beer.  The slugs will be drawn to the beer, crawl in, get drunk, and drown in it.  So, I bought a beer-- and got carded-- for the first time in my 47 years of life, and put out a few bowls of it.  It worked pretty well.   

The downside of this is that having the beer out for more than a couple of days will attract new slugs to your garden.  The long term solution seems to be to attract and keep toads around.  I looked online for toad houses and like to have pooped my britches.  They are unbelievably high!  Some of them were over $100.  Um, I'll pass on that, thankyouverymuch.

Whilst pondering the situation, I just happened to look over and there on the floor was an old half log snake hide.  Hide as in hiding place, not hide as in skin.  Open on both ends, well insulated, and it seemed just the right size.  I think it might work.  At least until I can figure something else out.

The next problem was, where to put it.  Toads need cool, damp places, so toad houses need to be put in a shady area.  Only there is no shady areas near my back garden.  I finally nestled it down between my two largest petunia pots.  Maybe that'll keep it cool enough.

If I can find that old hunk of PVC pipe that was in my front yard for years, I may cut a length of it off and put it under my back steps.  If all else fails, I'll buy a clay flower pot and cut a door into it.

Finally, the big garden is really coming on. 

The hard part is keeping the grass out.

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