Tag Archives: flower gardening

The Orchid Whisperers

For years I admired orchids but had never gone so far as to purchase one for our home. Then a little more than six years ago my mother died and one of the flowers we received was an orchid that we still enjoy today. I have had several people tell us that they love the plant, but cannot keep them alive or get them to bloom. My wife and I have developed a skill I suppose with all of our growing experience and now some people are calling us Orchid Whisperers.

I won’t claim to speak Orchid or that by any means we are experts, but over time you begin to understand what it takes to make a flower thrive. Our showcase for these exquisite beauties is a window in my wife’s hair salon. It is on a east facing side of our home and gets very little direct light. Another person shared they were only able to enjoy blooms for a month at most. We have had blooms last three months or more.

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In all I think we have about eight plants in varying stages of growth. This usually means at least three or four in a good bloom cycle, which means we get to enjoy some downstairs in the salon and one or two upstairs in our living area. To me colorful blooms are like medicine lifting my mood and putting me in my happy place.

The final two are pictured in our rehab area upstairs, a south facing bay window that holds a variety of flowers including Amaryllis, African Violets and whatever orchids have finished their bloom cycle. Usually within a short period there is a new emergence of growth on an orchid placed here and following that new buds appear.

Tell me about your orchid experiences in the comments.

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End of Month View – May 2016

This is part of a monthly opportunity to take photos reflecting the progress of your gardening adventures over the past thirty or thirty-one days depending on the length of the month. Depending on your climate this may be quite a bit of growth or none at all. For me it is at the cusp of summer and a lot of growth is happening. So sit back, relax and let me show you what we are enjoying these days. Oh and this is hosted by Helen Johnstone at The Patient Gardener.

In my climate zone the middle of May is the time we can finally put our annuals outside without fear of frost damage. I had to hold off an extra few days this time around as May 10th is usually the bench mark, but we had frost early on the morning of the 13th, meaning it was the 17th before I finally felt free to move things outdoors.

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Above you see another window box outside the window of my wife’s hair salon on an eastern facing window where the Gerbers will not have to endure full sun conditions. There is also some trailing Verbena to help fill out the box.

 

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Here is two large clumps of Wild Geranium and a smaller one of a different variety on the back side of the pansies that line the retaining wall outside the hair salon. Although you cannot see it, their are seed pods developing now.

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This is a new type of Dianthus (perennial variety) we added this year. It is just beginning to bloom.

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Our Dahlias are slow to emerge, but are beginning to show themselves. We love to cut these and make fresh arrangements throughout the late summer blooming period.

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This is our first time trying a raised bed for anything. After having such terrible fortune with tomatoes succumbing to blight we wanted to give this a shot.

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The sporadic moisture throughout April and May have caused everything to grow sluggishly. We finally replanted beans after waiting as long as we felt we could for the first seeds to sprout.

The bed on the left was re-mulched and has many blooms that will come either late in June or early in July. The bed on the right has mainly hostas, with a new butterfly bush in the rear that may take a while to be seen.

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If you zoom in on this picture you will notice the freshly planted Gerber Daisies. Usually when the heat comes the pansies die back, but we worked really hard to get this new variety of Wave Pansies established and they continue to thrive.

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This is another place we worked really hard to get the Wave Pansies established, planting them last fall. Usually by now we have Geraniums in place, but the pansies still are hanging tough.

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This is a long term project, a flower bed on a steep bank I don’t want to have to struggle to keep mowed. Right now it has Wild Geraniums, Japanese Iris, Gazanias, Cosmos and a few Wave Pansies. I hope by the next EOMV it will show much more color.

Tell me what you think fellow EOMV contributors!

 

We Love Windowboxes

 

One of the ways we like to enjoy our flowers is by inserting them in some large window boxes that are mounted on the west side of our home. We have a brick ranch house, which means the western facing sun heats up the brick during the day and they will radiate heat even after the sun goes down. Usually the boxes do really well as long as you keep them watered regularly.

Usually we have geraniums, wave petunias and another type of trailing flower combined to fill out these larger containers. The issue we run into in most cases is that the plants get rootbound and begin to look tired and less vibrant by the end of July. I want this year to take the plants out during the first weeks of July and cut off much of the root system to try to invigorate the whole window box.

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At first we began with second year geraniums we had pulled out of the window boxes and hung up downstairs in the basement where they could overwinter successfully. To look at these now you would be amazed at how quickly and beautifully they have grown, but in the first weeks they did not seem so robust, causing us to change plans and insert new geraniums we purchased from our favorite local greenhouse.

Normally we will pull these window boxes out after the tenth of May and put them in place, but on May 13 th we had a cold night and frost, which would have severely damaged and possibly killed the plants if exposed. We patiently waited a few more days and finally got our chance on May 17th to get these in place. This was too close for comfort as we were readying for a four child graduation party and this detail was expected to be done long before this date.

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But, not to be outdone the second year geraniums had caught up and had their own coming out day.

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We also have another window box that is mounted outside the window of my wife’s hair salon. This window box holds Gerber Daisies and trailing Verbena.

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The window boxes give us another way to enjoy our plants and are always a highlight of our planting experience.

My Love Affair With Clematis

 

 

Over time I have had the joy of planting and enjoying at least a half-dozen varieties of Clematis. The range of colors is dazzling, from white to dark purple to a combination of different colors. Clematis is a perennial, which means you can get many years of enjoyment from this plant.

Clematis is a full sun type of plant, something many of us seek when we go ot the garden center or greenhouse to find a new plant. To be sure many folks enjoy some shade in their yard but at my house our three and a quarter acres benefit from the shade of only three maple trees. One tree per acre just doesn’t shade nearly enough.

But do not fear, you can still grow these in spaces where they do not benefit from full sun. The one above only gets direct sun until noon or so and does very well along with another that is planted about eight feet away. Both of these benefit from a deck railing onto which they attach and climb.

Of all the Clematis I have grown the one to do so well is a variety called Montana Reubens. On the product tag it said it could grown to be 30-40 feet tall. With this in mind I planted it near a telephone pole and then took some lightweight fencing and nailed it around the pole to allow the plant something to climb on. As you can see from the photo it did not reach the potential height, but rather due to its weight fell back down to the sides to make an even more spectacular display.

To say that I will mourn a plant when it dies seems an exaggeration, because all plants will at some point, but when this beauty failed to sprout two growing season ago I was saddened. Such a beautiful and seemingly vibrant and hardy plant showed no signs of distress. But alas after sitting dormant for most of a second growing season I knew it was time to replace the beauty with another. The replacement has the potential to be somewhat like its predecessor, but the Montana Reubens had been in place for almost a decade and will hold a special place in my flower memory for some time to come.

If you have Clematis photos to share let me know, I enjoy seeing all of them!

 

Vision – Daily Post -5-13-16

 

 

The Daily Post has provided a one word prompt for today and it is Vision.

When I think of the word vision, like so many words in the English language I can quickly think of two meanings. The primary of course relates to the ability to see. My eyes are something I am very sensitive about. Just ask my wife any time she tries to put drops in our help me remove some foreign object.

 

If you do not know that I have a particular obsession I will inform you now. I LOVE pictures. I take lots and lots of pictures, especially with my phone. Why do I use a smart phone for my photography? Basically because it is always handy. Four Decembers ago I took my first international mission trip to Belize. I was the poster child for the tacky tourist with my digital camera swinging from a strap around my neck. When I returned a year later I had a smart phone with and 8 mega-pixel lens and the rest is history.

But, you ask, why did you choose to do this post on your Chasing the Blooms blog? Again there is dual reasons: (1) This flower and gardening themed blog needs some love and (2) the second definition of Vision. The other way I think of vision is as a plan. I have a vision of a bountiful garden this year. I have struggled with critter issues the last two years and last year was almost enough to break me. You see, I work in an information technology job and seeing tangible results for your work is harder than when you garden. A failed garden is a personal affront to me. When I did not do it right then that is on me, but when rodents take it away I get angry.

We usually preserve 150+cans of green beans, another quantity of tomatoes and tomato juice and about every third year make a huge batch of spaghetti sauce. But, if the critters ravage the space none of this is possible. So I have fenced in the lettuce garden, fenced in the beans and am in the process of building a raised bed for our tomatoes. My vision of a bountiful garden will reconcile with my vision of a nice tomato to slice for my sandwich and all will be well in my #greenthumbworld.

What is your definition of Vision?

 

2015 A to Z My Favorite Plants – H – Hosta

Eight days into the A to Z and I am getting excited because many of my favorite plants are beginning to show signs of emergence as Spring grips my area. Among this list of favorites is my choice for H, the Hosta.  A Hosta is a predominantly foliage plant, although it will bloom at the appointed time in it’s life cycle.

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The Hosta does best in a shaded area, but at our home shade is a luxury. We have several Hostas, and they don’t fare as well when the temperature climbs into the 80s and 90s during the summer.

2015 A to Z Theme Reveal – My Favorite Plants

Welcome to my 2015 A to Z Theme Reveal for Chasing the Blooms. In 2013 I took part in my initial A to Z challenge and did not put as much thought into how I wanted to approach the challenge. in truth I did not find out about it un til days before, so there wasn’t time to do much other than my 26 posts. I missed last years turn but wanted to give 2015 a really solid try. This year I have redesigned my blogging efforts and have 4 blogs entered into the A to Z.

For this particular one my focus is on the flowers I have around my property or ones I want to add. My challenge will be finding ones that will equate with some of the odd letters. I may have to get really creative to do this.

Some of the flowers I will share will be repeats of posts I have done previously during the year. Some will also come from the Floral Friday Fotos weekly link-up, where I get the opportunity to enjoy favorite flowers from around the world. I find it interesting to see that some of my favorites are also favorites in other parts of the world.

I hope this will make for an exciting and colorful journey as we count the days in April. I appreciate your visit to my theme reveal and invite you to not only return for the 2015 A to Z challenge, but to check out my other theme reveals as well.

Fiction Playground Theme Reveal

 Ballin’ All The Time Theme Reveal

Movies, TV and Streaming, Oh My! Theme Reveal