5/31/2009

Furry Friends: The Petting Garden

Wouldn't it be fun to have a corner in the garden just for plants that you and your kids love to touch? Mixing in a few scented and colorful plants would make a very kid-friendly garden. Below are some examples of furry plants. The first three I've grown in sunny, hot conditions in my garden, and I've heard the others also will tolerate that kind of treatment.

Lamb's Ear (Stachys byzantina)



Silver Mound (Artemisia schmidtian)

Salvia argentea


Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)



Photo by John Tann

Jerusalem Sage (Phlomis fruticosa)



Photo by Van Swearington

5/26/2009

Interview at Fixr

If you are interested in finding out more about me and why I love garden blogs, check out the interview that posted this week on the fixr blog!

Doing the interview reminded me how much I appreciate the community of garden bloggers on the Internet. If you've read and commented here, I appreciate it! And if you have a garden blog of your own, I know I'm not keeping caught up with everyone, but I appreciate your bits of wisdom and entertainment when I get time to read them.

What's wrong with this picture?

Two species of snails have invaded my water lily plant, which I'm growing in a container. Also, I've noticed crows "fishing" for tasty tidbits in the container. What started as a purely ornamental piece has ended up as an established food chain. Isn't nature interesting?

Although snails are known as pests that munch away at vegetable gardens, in a water garden they can actually be useful as they eat mostly algae and dead plant material. So far I've seen my snails mostly on decaying leaves, and no holes are apparent when they gather under living leaves, so I don't think the snails are hurting anything. But I'll keep a close eye on them. The clear jelly-like eggs under the leaves indicate that my population of snails will probably continue to grow.

Another added benefit-- it's kept my toddler endlessly entertained to hunt for snails!


(Photo by Munki Deluxe)

5/04/2009

The Benefits of a Neglected Garden

With a new baby and a jealous toddler, I haven't had much energy for routine garden chores this spring. So while my in-laws visited and watched the baby today, I took the opportunity to go on a weeding frenzy in the herb garden. Meanwhile, I noted that there were a few benefits to "letting things go" once in a while.

1) Since the weeds got really big, I felt like I accomplished a lot more. The big pile of large weeds in the compost pile looked impressive. And the garden looked significantly better afterwards.

2) If the weeds are getting really large really fast, then I reason my garden must have decent soil. That makes me feel good.

3) I realized the benefits of perennials. I haven't had time to purchase and plant any annuals, so it's nice to see the oregano, chives, fennel, mint, rosemary, lamb's ear, and lavender show up and start growing and blooming without any effort on my part. I'm now seriously considering scaling back on the annuals.