Thursday, June 4, 2009

Beautifying Willoughby's World

I've been a little busy for the past few days, so I haven't posted a blog or read any of my friends blogs. This morning, I've been trying to catch up with all of you. It's amazing how much you miss when you're away for a few days!

If you're wondering what's kept me so busy, I'll tell you. I've been making the world a more beautiful place. Well, maybe not THE world, but at least MY world.

On Sunday afternoon, my daughter and I went to the local greenhouse to pick up some flowers. I bought quite a few flats of annuals as well as some perennials and I've been busy finding homes for all of them.

I tried to step out of my comfort zone a little bit this year and include some pink and burgundy along with my usual purple/white/yellow color scheme. The only pink I've had in the past few years has been my roses and the blossoms on the apple tree. I also bought some plants I'm not terribly familiar with, but just couldn't resist.

I've never grown Nicotiana before, but I love the star shape and attention-grabbing colors of the flowers. I planted most of them in the front flower beds, but I added a few to my favorite vintage cement urn on the front porch. I hope they do well because they look so welcoming.

This Spider Wort is new to me, too. I've admired it at the greenhouse in the past, but never bought one. I was so drawn to the color and the fact that it could be grown in the shade, that it practically jumped into my cart. I wonder why such a lovely plant was given such an ugly name.

This Asclepias is another new kid on the block. If you're not familiar with it, it grows on long bamboo-like stems covered by slender leaves. Some varieties have a vanilla scent! It's currently about 2 1/2 feet tall, but it can reach 3 to 4 feet. Since we live on a corner and our backyard is exposed to the street, we're always looking for tall plants to add a bit of privacy.

This was an unexpected addition to the garden. My daughter spotted this Fuchsia and noticed how much the flowers look like fairies when they are fully open (this one isn't fully open yet). How could I resist the idea of planting fairies in my garden? I had a hanging basket with a different variety of Fuchsia in it years ago and I found it to be a bit difficult to keep looking nice. I hope this one will be more cooperative.

We also picked up some herbs, but I haven't planted them yet. In the mean time, my new bunny candle holder is pulling double duty as a planter.

It's a temporary job, but he doesn't seem to mind. Maybe he just loves basil!

I do have one fantastic gardening tip to share with you, too. I normally wear cotton gloves while I'm gardening, but I forgot to pick up a new pair and the pair I wore last year were trashed. I have super duper, incredibly dry skin (yes, I do use hand lotion, it just doesn't help very much) and the dirt seems to stain my hands badly because of it. I often look like a mechanic for a week after having my hands in dirt even with gloves on because the dirt gets through the cotton fabric. In the garage, I found the box of surgical gloves that we use when we're staining wood or using strong cleaners, and wore those instead. I will never go back to cotton gloves again! My hands stayed clean and the texture of the gloves makes it easier to grip garden tools. It even makes pulling weeds easier because they're not as bulky as fabric gloves.

And now I have a question for those of you who have a greener thumb than I do. I've never had much luck with Clematis. I love them and I know all about keeping their heads in the sun and their feet in the shade and keeping them moist, but they've always died on me. This year, I have one that is doing very well. It's planted at the base of a four inch post. My question is, do I need to give it something else to anchor to, or can it wrap itself around the post? I've had Morning Glories planted there and they successfully climbed the post, but I don't know if the Clematis will. Any suggestions would be welcome!


Lissaloo said...

No green thumb here sorry, the plants all look so pretty! What great pictures, & great tip on the gloves!

Purple Flowers said...

The clematis will climb up the post. Keep an eye on it and you may have to guide it once. From there, it will grow, grow, grow. Let me know how if grows.

Purple Flowers said...

By the way, I love your selection of flowers. Those fairy flowers (are they called lady slipper, not sure). Anyway, I would call them fairy flowers for your daughter! :)

Good Luck w/all your beauties, and have fun with gardening! The gloves are a perfect idea.

Tattoos and Teething Rings said...

Beautiful! I'm trying to do a garden, with the help of my mom and youngest brother- they're the green thumbs in our family. I've actually killed cactus before, but I'm slowly improving! And I love the fuschia, I recently saw the most beautiful selection at our local nursery. My Lulu said they looked like ballerinas to her.

Chicago Mom said...

The flowers are so beautiful! I started 18 different plants from seed this spring, so I only have green things right now - I'm jealous of your blooms. haha! My neighbor has had hit or miss luck with her clematis; some grew just fine, others not so much - wish I could be more helpful. Have you ever tried Crabtree & Evelyn Gardeners Hand Therapy Cream? It is heavenly. The vinyl gloves are a good idea too, I use them when I cut up jalapenos so the oils don't soak into my skin.

5thsister said...

I am so impressed! Stunning garden, actually!

Donna-FFW said...

All your flowers look gorgeous!! I have had the same problems with clematis, Ill be interested in your replies. Love the bunnyholder:)

Gracey said...

They are amazing! I am so envious (in a good way, of course!) of your beautiful garden! I myself have a black thumb, and have killed many flowers in the past, but I hope this improves in the future.

Yeah, right... lol