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#191522 05/10/05 11:32 AM
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Isn't Spring a bit late this year? Here on the East Coast (New Jersey, Zone 6B) <img src="/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />, we are still running the house heat at night and waiting for some warm days to open the blooms. My viburnum is still tightly budded and the miniature roses well-leafed, but not a bloom on them. Even the early dianthus are still in wait. I see this as a real benefit, though, because I sense the anticipation in these wise old plants. They are holding back and gathering their energies to burst forth into bloom, and I know they will. My allergies are telling me... <img src="/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />

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#191523 05/13/05 06:33 AM
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It is in the 90's here in Oklahoma...spring kinda passed us by! Connie


Don't be afraid that your life will end, be afraid that it will never begin.
~anonymous~
#191524 05/13/05 09:16 AM
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lol...and we just had snow here day before yesterday..now it's back up in the 70's. <img src="/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" />

I'm trying to decide if I can even ~try~ to plant a vegie garden this year..

#191525 05/13/05 01:33 PM
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On the coast of Washington State we had an early and unseasonal dry beginning to 2005. It has seemed like Spring for months. With rain now coming and going as usual, May flowers are blooming. I am a newbie to BellaOnline and am looking forward to participating on all gardening subjects. I have much experience, having spent my working life in greenhouses, nurseries and gardens. Am now sidelined with Rhuematoid Arthritis and finding joy in getting back to my roots of containers, houseplants, sedums and topiary.

#191526 05/14/05 09:47 AM
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Great to hear from y'all! I've not been able to get online for a few days, and I come back to find that there is life out there! Excellent!

This big country sure does give us some diverse climates, yet we can all grow just about anything we want if we put our minds to it.

I have an neighbor, a fake-curmudgeon 82-year-old Brit, who insists that it is unethical to try to grow anything that can't take care of itself. I deliberately mis-speak and call him a "naturist" and enjoy watching his shoulders heave as he runs off with his dog. When he thinks I can't hear him, he lets out a whoop and goes home to tease his wife, who is a good friend. Their garden is totally natural...but full of the most interesting stuff you can imagine. First, the snowdrops in mass profusion, then the daffs and narcissi, and on throughout the year. He's been dumping the kitchen waste there for 42 years and will not allow anyone near his acre of God's green earth for love nor money. What a character!

Anyway, he hasn't convinced me yet, because I have an estate to care for. We live in a historic residence in Monmouth Hills, NJ, that overlooks the Atlantic from one of the highest perches on the East Coast. It is wild with rhodos of all varieties, azaleas, and mountain laurel.

I take care of the Clubhouse garden, which is a bit of an issue, since it is supported by a dozen weddings every year. So things have to look tip-top all the time. I have one good raised bed, bordered in peanut-stone, and several others. The containers, however, are the showpieces, and the brides love them because they dress up the entrances. I have found several perennials (daisys, sweet alyssum and others) that show well all summer until late fall when the season ends, so about half of the containers don't even need to be replanted.

Enough about me. Karen, I share your arthritis problems and use my family to help whenever I can. They do. The raised bed, containers, and anything that is off the ground are very helpful! Stay with us and see what comes up.

Now, if the pollen would just abate a bit, everyone who has allergies could enjoy the flowers again!

Happy Gardening! <img src="/images/graemlins/heart.gif" alt="" />

#191527 05/14/05 09:52 AM
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You can do veggies in containers. Unless you're trying to feed an army, it's more practical. One or two tomato plants is more than enough for a small family and lettuces don't take up much space, especially if you use them as they green up. Wow, fresh baby lettuce. Mouth-watering.
I love to grow green peppers in a pot because they get bigger than they do in the ground here. When I put them in the ground they were always puny. But you are definitely in a different zone to me!

#191528 05/14/05 10:01 AM
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Yeow! I think I would have to stay inside. I'm one miserable puppy when the thermometer goes up there. We have a lot of humidity as well, and the only relief is on the sand at the beach where the wind blows it off. Luckily it's not too bad on our little hill because the breeze off the ocean hits land and comes up, so it's a few degrees cooler here in high summer.

But I'm a pale-skin, evolved in rain, mist, gales, and damp...but still 40 shades of green...and that's just how I like it! Funny how that doesn't change.

I don't know how you manage to work in the garden. Do you use all desert plants in your garden or is there a "fertile crescent" where you are?

I'd be interested in hearing how you satisfy your green thumb in what I only know of from cowboy movies and "Grapes of Wrath."
<img src="/images/graemlins/beamedup.gif" alt="" />

#191529 05/14/05 10:27 AM
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Today the forcast is to be in the upper 80's...perfect for me! Its when we top 100 or higher that I have issues with being outside.lol

Colorado really does have the best of both worlds if you love heat..or if you love cold... there's a saying here..if you don't like the weather, just wait a few minutes..and that is so very true! But so hard on the garden!

And unfortunately with everything being so unpredictable, you never know about watering and the elements. I have a small garden spot on the side of my home..sheltered between the deck and a privacy fence..it gets sunlight in the mornings and is fairly well shaded for the rest of the day in the hotter hours - the soil has been well cultivated over the years with mulching and the like, but this year will (or was going to be) the fist that I actually tried my hand at a vegie garden there.

I've heard that you should never start planting until after mother's day- so maybe it's not too late...but most importantly...~hopefully~ it's not too early either..as we've been known to even get a really good spring snow of 4-8 inches in the middle to late parts of May!

#191530 05/14/05 04:45 PM
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Mary Elen, WOW, and I thought I was busy! When my girls were small, I had a business (Box Gardens) where I would do light landscaping, entry flower boxes, table flowers and edible flowers for plate garnish for area restaurants and other businesses. I did not make much money but it sure was fun. One of my favorite perennials to use is 'Campanula rotundifolia' aka Harebells or Blue Bells of Scotland. Have you used this in containers?

#191531 05/15/05 07:36 AM
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I guess I am just used to the hot weather. I lived in Alabama a year and give me dry hot over humid weather any day! It does reach the triple digits here in the summer. We walk our dogs every night after supper and I guess we are just accustomed to the hot summers. We do get some rain, but not usually enough to sustain anything. You do have to water. The winters are very cold here and so anything that you plant has to be hardy. We often have wind chills below zero.

My hubby has a garden, he has it worked out to where it is very minimal work/watering. He puts down straw and has soaker hose on the row crops. The tomatoes (27 this year) he plants in buckets with the bottoms cut out and uses a hose with sprinkler attachments in each bucket and waters them this way. This year we are raising okra, green beans, cucumbers, watermelon, sunflowers (these are for the wild birds we love to feed), bird house gourds, jalapeno peppers, pink-eyed purple hulled peas, onions and garlic. We also put down newspaper and lay grass clippings in the rows to keep weeds down and it conserves water to mulch like that. We water the garden 2 days a week.

We have tried to plant things that will not have to be replaced every year and I have mums in one flower bed and they so well. I had snapdragons that overwintered last year (our first year here as we moved from Texas at Thanksgiving) and so I have a bed of snapdragons this year. We have honeysuckle, grapevine, just created a new bed of perenials and we will see how they do this year (I will post a photo below). Bulb wise we have day lilies, irises, red hot poker, daffodils, tulips and elephant ears. You just have to be vigilant about watering.

I have lots of containers on my porch and those get watered twice a day in the hot weather.

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#191532 05/15/05 03:14 PM
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Hey Gals!

Look how creative everybody is about growing their favorite things! I'm so proud of y'all! I fuss when the temperatures threaten to go below 40 or so. I think that's probably why I'm so fond of containers. I hate to lose the plants I love most. I have an Irish primrose---I don't know the species name, but it was wild growing---that my father brought back in his pocket through customs from his mother's farm. I dug a tiny piece of it out of his garden the day he died and it has done well enough that I split it with a sister last year. It's a lovely thing, creamy yellow with very erect flowers. It blooms a bit later than the retail ones, which will winter over if kept well watered through the summer here. I don't know exactly what the trick is with these, beyond keeping them well watered in the summer. I put a few in each year, but seem to get only a couple of returns every spring, except for Dad's. It stays well put.

I visited the garden center today to pick up a payload of annuals to spread around...and some mulch and fresh potting soil to work into the tops of the big containers in the front. I got some Gerber daisys, Begonarum (which I don't trust at all...sometimes the hybridizers go a little nuts, don't they?), and many standards, sweet alyssum and the like, verbena, and several others. I'm beat! Oh yes, and a big, old jug of the magic elixir, Osmocote. It packs a punch and keeps going. I sprinkle a bit in each hole before I plant and I don't have to feed anybody until late summer, just watch overfeeding New Guinea impatiens, they drop dead!<G>

Rotted tree stumps are some of my very favorite containers!
Here I thought I was the only one who saw the potential in a tree stump. That soft center is so enticing. Filling it with soil and watching something grow out of it is magical, isn't it?

#191533 05/15/05 03:25 PM
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80s with no humidity can be real nice. I would have started those veggies inside a while back, but you should be able to get some ready started at the garden center. Since you have such a bumpy ride with the weather, you're probably wise to wait a bit to get things going.

Your perennials seem to know when to bloom anyway, don't they?

Best,
Mary Ellen

#191534 05/15/05 07:00 PM
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It was 81 last Sunday and today they say their might be a frost. <img src="/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" />

#191535 05/16/05 06:38 AM
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Sounds like you are about to be very busy planting! I just love flowers. We have tried to plant things that attract hummingbirds. They are one of my favorite bird visitors that we get. On Saturday we had a pair of Baltimore oriels at our bird bath. We have a mama squirrel with 4 babies in our yard. The babies just came out of the nest and they are like little monkeys rolling around on the ground fighting playing and chasing each other around the trees. I think those squirrels love to tease my dogs! My dogs have had a time chasing them.

Connie


Don't be afraid that your life will end, be afraid that it will never begin.
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#191536 05/16/05 03:50 PM
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HA! HA! HA! Daisy, my Jack Russell is mightily provoked by all the squirrels around here! They are so cheeky, they come and look in the kitchen window. She goes berserk! I've tried tiptoeing to another window and letting her out to get a good run at them, but they're way to canny for her. In any case, they go up...and the JRT is an "earth dog" that works on vermin that hide in the ground. Still, she would dearly love to get a taste of squirrel tail.

Her latest foe is the racoon that has just wakened and started coming down from the hole in the top of the oak right outside the door. First night out he got in the trash and she's kept her eye on his comings and going since. Every night at dusk, she's sitting in the kitchen chair looking out the window; and unfortunately, the old devil comes home at 4:00 am, so she has to let us know that he's back. I could do without that.

The racoon is very bold and hissed at my son and the dog one night when they were out on the porch. Good thing the critter won't come down when we're outside. I'd hate to see her go after him because he's bigger than she is for one, and the 'coon just rolls over and guts the dog when one tries to take them on. I've gotta watch my Daisy now!

Yep, it's wild even here with NYC on the other side of the water!

Best,
Mary Ellen

#191537 05/17/05 06:16 AM
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LOL...poor Daisy! We have a Daisy as well, ours is a sheltie. I think Daisy must be a pretty popular dog name! Connie


Don't be afraid that your life will end, be afraid that it will never begin.
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#191538 05/17/05 07:28 AM
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That is so weird. Even the birds are acting different. We had robins all through a hard winter, which I don't remember ever seeing. Now today, I saw a most extraordinary bird. I can't wait until my husband gets home to examine the birding books. It almost looked like a magpie, but had even more white on it and in different pattern. It sat in the top of my oak for a few seconds and called "bleep, bleep" almost. Then it was gone. I hope it stays around for a few days at least so everyone can catch a look!

It's not even 8:30 and already my day is made! <img src="/images/graemlins/music.gif" alt="" />

#191539 05/19/05 10:34 AM
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Daisy Dear got her name from the garden of course...but she has a perfectly round black spot on her back, a couple of inches from her tail that reminded me of the center of a black-eyed Susan. For some reason, she was a Daisy to me.

I had a sheltie, fabulous dog. He was named Consort Uptown Tennis White by the breeder-gack!-so he became Tennyson, Tennie, to me. He was a lovely blue merle that I met when he was a pup. I declare that I "wished" him to go 16 1/4 at the shoulder, and when he made that, he was mine as he was no longer any use to the breeder for show or breeding. It broke my heart when he died at only eight. What a wonderful dog! A hair factory, but I dealt with it.

Daisy is a little rebel and I love that independence in her. It works in my favor when she comes to a whistle or clap. No one can believe that you can train a JRT. Well, you can. You just have to convince them that their going your way is enlightened self-interest on their parts. <img src="/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />

#191540 05/20/05 05:27 AM
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Shelties are great little dogs if you can get by the barking. Yes, and lots of hair to deal with! But give me that hair over short great dane hair any day! One of our danes is very sensitive and can drop hair at the blink of an eye. And it is white so it shows on everything!

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#191541 05/20/05 09:57 AM
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You have a gorgeous sheltie! Yes, the barking is shrill, but it needed to be heard even during gales in the Shetlands. Take it from me, the voice of the sheltie is as it is for good reason! One of the tricks I learned was to keep a coffee can with a few stones in it and shake it when the barking started, saying "No!", "Quiet!"...or whatever your "Stop!" word is. It is very effective, especially if you praise/treat for the correct response. I'm sure with all your dogs, you have plenty of your own tricks, but this one worked for the sheltie mouth. August and Woody are beasts! No wonder you like container gardening!

It was very funny last night, Daisy took on a neighboring pit bull/lab mix because he was stepping in the raised bed while trying to say hello to me. She knows no one is allowed into the flowers, and felt it her duty to inform Finn, who she generally tolerates very well. She's not aggressive (except with varmints) but will tell others off when she thinks they're misbehaving. She is a jealous little thing, though, and if another dog comes too near me, she gives him the time of day. Silly Daisy.

We have some rain for the first time in about three or four weeks, which hopefully will alleviate some of the allergy problems almost everyone's been having, give a good drink to the gardens, and bring on some warm sunshine. It's an uncanny spring. By now, everyone would be in shorts. I'm very warm-blooded but still wearing heavy sweaters and quilts. The beaches open in 10 days! Not normal at all. Is this an El Nino year or something?

#191542 05/20/05 11:56 AM
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The breeder we got Daisy from told us before she even came home that Shelties are big barkers and so we worked on her not barking in the house. She does bark if someone comes to the door and there are a few other acceptable barking situations. She barks non stop outside, but to me that is ok and I feel like she is telling the world "hey, it is me".

LOL Daisy sounds like she is the flower bed police! How cute!

I wish we would get some rain here. It is in the high 90's now and no chance of rain in sight. I just keep watering everything.

Connie


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#191543 05/20/05 10:11 PM
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We're having a real spring this year. Usually we go from winter into summer with maybe two days of spring in between. This is Central Virginia.

I planted two better boy tomatoes in big pots and put them on my deck. We have a lot of deer and gardens are deer food.

After two days of rain, I can tell the plants have already grown about two or three inches. I need to get tomato cages for them. Any recommendations for growing these successfully? I've never grown them in pots before.

#191544 05/21/05 05:29 PM
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Yep, we had a good, strong rain here yesterday too. Washed down all that pollen that was making such mizries.

Tomatoes do fine in pots. I actually prefer it. If you planted them good and deep; they're about the only plant where one deliberately plants part of the stem to grow more roots and have better support for the top-heavy plant and fruit. You will need to stake them, for sure. The tomato cage is fine. My dad used to tie them to his stakes with knee-high stockings. (He used the kind of posts one used for wire fencing with the little "hooks" on a side.) It looked very odd for a little while indeed, but the springy nylons had "give" in them that held the tomatoes up well without stress on anything. Boy, we sure did have a lot of tomatoes. He never fertilized them even, just let the worms do the work. Of course, the garden was where the septic tank had been originally. It just occurred to me the other day why Mom and Dad chose to put the flower and veggies there.

Since yours are in a pot, I would feed them a bit. I'm fond of Osmocote because it's a one-time thing.

Deer do love to eat our stuff. The first year I planted tulips at my house, one or many of them snipped the heads off the red tulips, every one of them! I thought some evil human had done the deed, but it wasn't long before I realized that the people where I lived were nice, but the deer could be devils. I still love them though. Chipmunks steal my strawberries and spilled bird seed. <img src="/images/graemlins/tongue2.gif" alt="" />

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