Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I love roses, but sometimes they can be disappointing and nothing like the photo on the little attached tag. I purchased 8 Midnight Blue rose bushes two years ago and they have not grown an inch and have produced very few blooms. The blooms that did blossom were very fragrant and a deep dark purple but the bushes are very small and misshapen.

On the other hand, my Knock Out roses are doing great. I can't complain one bit...well maybe a little.....they just seem to be lacking in the olfactory department.

Here are a some photos of the roses currently blooming in my yard.

Midnight Blue Rose

Blue Girl (I think)

Gourmet Popcorn...a rose bush that has very small sprays of roses. Great for using as filler in your flower arrangements.

The next two photos are both red Carpet Roses

The next two photos are Purple Carpet......look at the thorns in the second photo. The leaves are dull and very corrugated not the usual shiny dark green. This rose is also very fragrant.

Louise Oldier or Odlier. Very fragrant.

Don Juan climbing rose

Unknown pink climbing rose. Very fragrant, hardy, fast grower, and lots and lots of blooms.

Last but not least...the free miniature rose that I received last year from Bordine's Nursery for being a VIG cardholder (very important gardener....don't be impressed.......anyone can say...."give me a VIG card!!") Notice all the oxalis growing around my rose bush. It's everywhere.

So there you have it, all the roses currently in bloom at 'The Gear'. Joseph's Coat and a sorbet rose should bloom start blooming this weekend.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The theme is magazines

Today's theme is magazines. Most of my magazines fall into three categories. Those areas being home/house, garden or plant, and cooking/eating.

Some of my home/house publications also cover gardening. Martha Stewart's Living is such a magazine. If you really do not enjoy spending money on magazines and wish to limit your magazine intake to a handful, I would suggest Martha Stewart Living. I have never received an ill conceived issue. The photos are spectacular. Last month's issue had photo of Martha's peonies. I now have peony envy. We have planted six or seven bushes at 'The Gear' and hope to add to them along the way. We feel that peonies are age appropriate for our home.

Horticulture is another favorite of mine. This magazine leans more towards the botanical but not completely so. All that botany I took in college has finally paid off. I can pick a tetraploid at 10 paces.

For those living in the Midwest, Midwest Living always has a garden article that focuses on the Midwest's specific gardening needs.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Quick garden update

With all the rain so comes weeds. I'm having a difficult time keeping up with the weeding. As soon as the tulips are completely died back, I'll spray Roundup. Hopefully the weeds will not go to seed before then.

Here's are some photos taken this spring.

This is a Queen of Night tulip. As the tulip ages it becomes almost black. I love them. They are very long lasting and sturdy.

I have no idea what the name of this tulip is. They were cheap...but I like them.

This is a view of the fence row area by the street. We filled it with miscellaneous tulips and a lot of very different hostas. No common hostas at 'The Gear'...LOL

I believe these irises are the variety Superstition. They were gorgeous until the storm knocked several stems over.
Last but not least. Knock out roses. Without fail, they return every year no matter how brutal of a winter. I lost about 5 other rose bushes and about 5 more died all the way back to the root. Good thing I only buy 'own root' rose bushes.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Obviously my garden didn't get the memo!

Winter seemed extremely long this year. But I kept telling myself...."just wait until all the bulbs and lilacs bloom, it will be spectacular." Obviously my garden never got the memo I sent out about having a garden blog. In the memo I stressed how important it was that they put on a good show this year. Maybe they are bashful. I did mention that I would be beaming photos of their petals all across the globe. So you can understand my disappointment when this is what popped up.That by far, is the puniest daffodil ever to sprout in my garden. Wasn't there a Christmas song called Puny Poinsettia??? How about a follow up tune called Puny Daffodil?

On a brighter note. R and I planted about 100 hostas in the large bed under the giant Ash tree by the road. Only one plant was missing it's tag. Probably some squirrel has it stashed away.

Yesterday I put all the hosta tags into my notebook. It's bulging at the seams so I will need to start a separate notebook just for the hostas. I think my last count was 174 varieties.

The fruit trees are just days away from blossoming. I did notice that the peach tree we replaced last year has very small buds. I am beginning to suspect that there is a problem with the soil in that area.

These flowers are always the first to bloom. The photo makes them appear larger than they are in real life. But at least they are not puny...they are just petite.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The theme for today is raking......

I've decided that when possible I will post on all my blogs (3) using a theme. Today's theme is raking.

The weather was unseasonably cold and windy today. R and I planted the remaining two Paw Paw trees. That will give us 4 trees and two varieties from two different growers. Keep your fingers crossed that they don't die. I know bare root shipping is frequently done but it is always shocking to open a package and see something that looks like it belongs in the burning pile.

The ground was extremely soggy so it was impossible to plant the remaining hostas. I checked the weather forecast and it looks like fair weather until Wednesday or Thursday at which time it will start raining again. Unfortunately I am scheduled to work 12 hrs all week.

R just walked by and said...."The Gardens of Gear Acres???......sounds like the name of a soap opera." Yes, it is. He is rather witty today....he just came up with "As the Gear Turns."

Rather than waste a whole day because the weather wasn't up to snuff, we put our winter coats on and headed out of doors to rake. Here at 'The Gear' raking is a never ending saga. We raked the area along the fence by the road. It's amazing the items you find after the winter snow melts. Along with the usual snack food wrappers, straws, and drink lids, we also found a discarded Pantera CD and a small empty Crown Royal bottle. Could someone have been drowning their sorrows about hearing of the passing of Dimebag Darrell???? Who knows...I just wish they would throw their stuff somewhere else.

So there you have it.....As the Gear Turns....stay tuned and find out if the hostas get planted.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Garden Graphics Book

Today we were hit with quite a storm. Hail stones the size of dimes and a lot of wind. The sirens blared and there were reports of a tornado. So far there hasn't been any confirmation on the Weather Underground of a confirmed tornado so let's just say it was windy...real windy and rainy...real rainy.

Still nothing to report garden wise. No tulips, daffodils, or buds to speak of yet. So in lieu of photos of my garden, I'll show you a photo of the book I purchased on of eBay.

It's a cute hardcover book by Gemma Nesbitt called Garden Graphics. The book details how to draw diagrams of your garden using little graphics to represent certain flowers. You can see the little drawings around the edge of the front cover on the dust jacket. I'm sure somewhere there is software that does the same thing but I think in this case, a hand drawn plan is more appropiate.

Gemma Nesbitt? Interesting name.

When will I start drawing????? Well, first I need to finish planting.......etc. Until then......I'll just preuse the pages and draw in my mind's eye.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Tulips and Daffodils Bulbs

It felt so good to be outside in the warm air. This winter was a very dreary winter with a lot of snow and grey days.

R and I continued raking out flowers beds and areas of lawn that still had leaves remaining. We are really on the downward part of our raking. I need to seed a few shady areas so that those areas will be ready for the spring showers.

Saturday I had a little extra time (wow imagine that!) before I left for work so I popped into Kmart to see what Martha was offering this summer. I have no idea what she's offering as I never left the garden center. In the clearance bin were packages of tulip and daffodil bulbs. Normally by the time bulbs get to the clearance bin they are all shrivelled up. I flipped the clear packages over and was surprised to see them in such good shape. I was able to purchase 12 packages for 99 cents each, two larger packages of tulips for $1.57 each, and two large bags of daffodil bulbs (32 in each) for $3.97 each. Then it was off to work. Martha.....I'll have to check you out at a later date.

On Sunday we planted all the bulbs and two pink peonies root clumps. All the peonies we transplanted last year have sprouted, so I know they survived. Now I just hope we planted them at the right depth.

The 22 various lilac bushes we planted last fall, all have buds. I can't wait for them to get about 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide. R and I decided that this next fall we are going to plant additional lilacs on the other side of the fence. That should give us really dense coverage when both sides grow in.

Tomorrow I'm going to plant the 2 Paw Paw trees that have arrived so far. I have two more coming from a different grower. Today would have been a great day for planting but as usual I scheduled an appointment for today before I had to leave for work at 3pm. I can predict the weather 30 days from now by scheduling an appointment for my nails, massage, or hair. I can guarantee that those days will have fabulous weather. Some day when I'm retired it won't matter if it rains because there is always tomorrow.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Old Man Winter wins by an Avalanche

It's snowing again. The weatherman is forecasting 4 to 6 inches of snow. That's not a typo....4 to 6 inches of new snow.

My sister emailed me this photo and it sums up my feelings perfectly.
I give up...'Old Man Winter wins.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Gardening season started today...

Despite the very cold weather, R and I started our spring clean up. Enough snow fell last night that they had to plow the roads. By the time we started cleaning up at least 75% of the snow was gone. Hopefully by tomorrow, it will ALL be melted away.

Here's R using the blower to blow the leaves out of the lavender plants and rose bushes. He assured me he DID NOT step on any tulips. LOL While he used the blower, I trimmed the rose bushes back.

We also checked on the sycamore and tulip trees we planted last year and they all have buds. The fruit trees also all have buds with the nectarine trees having the largest buds. I also trimmed all the fruit trees of any dead twigs or ill placed spurs. I think they have finally gotten to the point where I can really start shaping them.

I have 4 Paw Paw trees coming the first week of April. I hope the weather is warm enough to plant them at that time. The ground is still frozen in the area where I want to put them. I bought 2 different varieties and from two different growers.

I decided to grow poppies out by the street along the fence. I've tried roses but the salt spray from the road kills them. I thought poppies would be a good choice since they are a large flower and will easily reseed. I've purchased about 10 different varieties in the white, pink, purple, lavender, and blue. I'm really looking forward to seeing the blue poppies bloom. The photo shows it as a very vibrant blue.

Tomorrow we have to pick up all the piles of leaves we raked up today. We did notice that we were rewarded this spring because of the good fall clean up we did last year. Those blisters were not wasted.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Welcome to my blog and garden

Hello and thank you for visiting my garden blog.

At this time of year in Michigan, the only gardening being done is in your imagination. This time of year is designated for list making, seed buying, and diagram drawing. So far I have done 2 out of the 3.

Soon I should see the tips of tulips, daffodils, and maybe the beginning of new foliage on my hosta plants. After this unpleasant winter, I am looking forward to seeing something green.

So in the theme of preparing for the gardening season, I'll pass along the method I use to keep track of my plants, bulbs, and trees.

I found that many times I wanted to buy additional plants of varieties that I already owned. Once at the garden center I realized that I couldn't remember exactly which variety I already had in my garden. Sure I had good intentions of keeping the little identification tags but you know how that goes. You get in a cleaning frenzy and they all get tossed out. So I came up with this little idea.

I purchased a binder that has large pockets in the front and back. I store all the bulb package cardboard tops and any larger ID tags that do not fit into the individual card pockets into these larger pockets. The smaller ID tags are placed inside the little pockets of the pocket pages used to store trading cards. I was able to buy them quite inexpensively on eBay. Buy more than you think you will need. Believe me. I ordered twice before I got smart and just ordered a large quantity.

You might find that you need to trim some ID tags so they will fit into the pocket. Usually there is a border that can be cut off without interfering with the photo and important information.

I also group my tags according to plant type. Trees and perennials are separated. Then within the tree section, I divide them into groups, evergreen, deciduous, and fruit trees. I group fruit trees together with like fruit placed side by side. Example...all fruit trees are in one section. The tags of like fruit are placed together, i.e. peaches with peaches and apples with apples. My perennials are loosely grouped like this. Roses, hostas (all 160+), then shade plants, and then sun loving plants. I may start another binder just for vegetables and move the fruit trees to that binder.

Saving the tags can also help you diagnose problems you might have with an individual plant. Last year my Veronica - Royal Candles Speedwell was not doing well. I looked for the plant tag in my binder and realized that I had planted it in full sun and the tag suggested partial sun. I transplanted it and immediately it started responding to the partial sun location.

My garden blogging will pick up once the growing season kicks into full swing. In the meantime visit my other blogs. Gear Acres is my house blog and covers the restoration of my older home and my kitchen blog called In the Kitchen at Gear Acres , this blog will cover recipes and kitchen related topics.