Sunday, February 8, 2009

Mountain Laurel and a new book

Last summer while looking at a nursery catalog my eye caught the Mountain Laurel. It was love at first sight. So this summer I hope to plant several varieties. I particularly like this one.
I have no idea the name but it seems to be the most prevalent one offered. I know they also offer a pink with darker highlights. I think one of each will be a nice addition to 'The Gear's' landscape.

On the book front. I purchased the book, Shrubs and Vines by Donald Wyman. A large book at 598 pages but unfortunately none of the photos are in color. Seems like such a waste not to have at least some of the photos in color.This warm weather......38 degrees....has got me wanting to get out in the garden, but I know this is just a tease and unfortunately it will snow again.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Today's Theme is Owosso Michigan

Not only does Owosso Michigan manufacture my favorite patio furniture (Woodard) but it is home to several antique shops. It was at one of those shops that I purchased a small flower vase with matching frog made of black amethyst. I already own several larger black amethyst vases but this is just perfect for small roses on thin stems that will not hold up the heavy flower. The smaller piece with the holes is the frog and it sits on top of the vase. Some frogs sit in the bottom of the vase and are not seen unless the vase is clear. You see clear round glass frogs all the time at garage sales. They usually sell for less than $5.00. They are handy for holding the stems in place so that you can arrange long stemmed flowers in a tall vase.Black amethyst glass appears to be black until it is held to a bright light in which it shows purple. R didn't have to ask me why they call it black amethyst because he has been to enough antique shops to know......but that didn't stop him from asking me "Why do they call it a frog? It doesn't look like a frog to me." Damn him. Just a minute while I look that up.....I'm back. Seems the guy who wrote this article doesn't exactly know the answer but has some interesting frog facts. Just a minute while I look some more....OK, well it seems that no one knows for sure but they guess that it is because the frogs (flower holders) usually sit in the bottom of a vase in water much like a frog sits on a lily pad in the water. R says "that's doesn't make any sense."

Check out my other blogs for today's Owosso related posts.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Hostas and Hydrangeas

The hosta beds are coming along nicely and I think this coming year will really show us what the beds will look like when all the hostas mature.The roses were doing so well until the Japanese beetles had a field day with some of them. The Knock Out roses and the Purple Carpet roses were not tasty enough for the beetles and were for the most part left alone.

Last year we put down granules to kill the grubs and I would guess that our Japanese beetle population was cut in half. So maybe if we repeat this procedure for the next couple of years we can rid ourselves of this nasty pest.

The beetles also hit our plum trees pretty hard but did not touch the Asian pear trees. We had an abundance of Asian pears (20th Century variety). These pears were the absolute juiciest pears I have ever tasted.

We planted about 23 different heirloom tomato plants. Holy cow. They grew and grew and grew. Lots of tomatoes but some never ripened or we just had an abundance of foliage and only a few tomatoes. We narrowed down the varieties we are going to plant this spring. We have decided on Brandy Wine, Half Moon China, Great White, Amish Paste, Lemon Boy, Golden Boy, Orange Oxheart, Russian Prince, Sweet 100's, and Rose de Borne.
We also planted several new varieties of hydrangeas. I was really surprised with the 2 red hydrangeas I received free from Bordine's Nursery the year before. They were only 6 inches tall and I thought these will never survive so I planted them behind some other plants. I was weeding and when I lifted a low branch this is what I saw....I transplanted them last fall. They had doubled in size from the year before so I am keeping my fingers crossed that they make it through this nasty winter. The only good thing I can say about this winter so far is that there hasn't been any of those plant killing thaw and freeze cycles. It's just been one constant FREEZE!!!!