A Look At My Summer Garden

Jul 26, 2019

BLOG

the

Hi friends!

I took a hiatus from blogging due to a crazy school year (senior year is complete!) but now that summer is officially here, I wanted to resume posting periodically.

I will confess that the garden has become a little more wild and wooly over the past few months, my rigorous academic year requiring most of my attention. The never-ending battle with Bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon) and Purple Nutsedge (Cyperus rotundus) continues, and the dry, sandy Louisiana soil is not helping the situation. While I was busy traveling and preparing for school last summer a drought devastated most of my more delicate plants, opening gaping holes in the cottage garden and encouraging the reentry of Bermudagrass. The eradication process is progressing smoothly and the cottage garden (the vegetable garden is a different story) is almost completely free of those pernicious weeds.

The gaps left by the drought (R.I.P. Rudbeckia lacinata, Helianthus angustifolius, numerous Salvias, ‘Ryan’s Pink’ Chrysanthemum, and ‘Homestead Purple’ Verbena to name a few) are already in the process of being filled. I just purchased two Echinops bannaticus ‘Taplow Blue’ that will replace the Rudbeckia in the back of the border, and plan to add more structure to the garden in the form of shrubs with multi-seasonal interest. A Master Gardener friend also gifted me two healthy Carolina Lupines (Thermopsis caroliniana) that will replace a large clump I lost to the neighborhood pocket gopher. A couple of more recent purchases include ‘Silver Lyre’ Afghan Fig (Ficus afghanistanica ‘Silver Lyre’) and the wonderfully fragrant Mock Orange (Philadelphus mexicanus ‘Plena’) – both of which will be welcome additions to a garden that, until recently, was comprised of mainly herbaceous perennials.

'Scheherazade' Lily

The “orienpet” (a hybrid of oriental and trumpet) lily ‘Scheherazade’ looks better every year. I have heard tales of this variety sporting up to 50 flowers per stem, but so far mine have only mustered up a few blooms. They were planted about three years ago, so I can only expect them to improve over time, right? 😉

Cherokee Rose last spring feat. pollen from the overhanging pine. Cherokee Rose last spring feat. pollen from the overhanging pine.

Note to self – move the Cherokee Rose (Rosa laevigata) planted only ONE FOOT away from the path. I stuck a tiny stem from a bouquet picked on the side of the road in south Louisiana in the ground, expecting it to fizzle out last summer. Of course, it rooted and has since begun to crowd out its more delicate neighbors. The constant pruning to keep the viciously spiny branches out of the path is an ongoing battle. I’m considering moving it to the edge of the field, where it can clamber up into the low-hanging branches of Loblolly Pines (Pinus taeda) and look like the snowfall we never have when it blooms in May. I’m still deciding.

Bronze Fennel (Foeniculum  vulgare 'Purpureum') is a wonderful filler in the cottage garden. Also - can you spot the swallowtail chrysalises? Bronze Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare ‘Purpureum’) is a wonderful filler in the cottage garden. Also – can you spot the swallowtail chrysalises? Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) caterpillars devour the bronze fennel in my Cottage Garden.
Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) caterpillars devour the bronze fennel in my Cottage Garden.

Bronze Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare ‘Purpureum’) has never done much for me, until this year. I guess it enjoyed the copious amounts of rain this spring and the above-average winter temperatures. As of right now it is about five and a half feet tall and sporting its beautifully see-through umbels of yellow flowers – pollinator heaven. I am expecting the misty purple-grey foliage to disappear any day now as Black Swallowtail butterflies seek out suitable foodplants for their larva – so far only a couple have been spotted.

Now that summer has “officially” arrived, the weather is becoming more miserable by the day – the high heat and humidity has already forced many of my gardener-friends indoors until more hospitable weather arrives in the fall. My attempts at early-morning gardening before the worst of the heat were foiled by summer school and work, although a change in my class schedule might allow at least 30 minutes of gardening – fingers crossed.

I also combat the blistering heat by following the shade cast by the numerous trees around the yard as the sun moves across the sky. Every area of the garden is shaded sometime throughout the day, rendering this strategy the most effective I’ve found.

Although flowers are relatively scarce in my garden this time of year due to the heat (and the fact I was traveling when I should have been starting seed 🙂 ), I still have a fair amount of color.

Wingstem (Verbesina ) is one of the few composites I grow that enjoys full shade.

Wingstem (Verbesina alternifolia) is a new one to me. This native daisy relative bloomed for the first time this year, reminding me it was still existing in the back corner of my shade garden after four years of silence. I’m considering moving it to the banks of the small creek that flows through one corner of my property; it doesn’t appear to enjoy the rich but dry soil in its current situation.

This magenta/mauve phlox is one of the hardiest plants in my garden. This magenta/mauve phlox is one of the hardiest plants in my garden.

The screaming magenta phlox in the cottage garden seems to call “Look at me! Look at me!” as I walk past it each day. Although it is prone to mildew and tends to self-sow politely, I prefer it to the more modern selections because of its height and vigor.

Unknown Begonia Variety that overwinters nicely in Zone 8a. Unknown Begonia Variety that overwinters nicely in Zone 8a.

For the past five years this begonia has reliably overwintered unprotected in a sheltered location on the north side of my house. It resembles the tender Begonia ‘Dragon Wing,’ only with slightly smaller, white flowers. An enthusiastic gardener gave me a start of this Begonia at a local plant swap, labelling itHardy Begonia (Begonia grandis).” Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to pinpoint the exact species and variety, besides concluding that it is an unknown member of the cane-stemmed Begonia clan.

Silphium radula is attractive to hundreds of native bees and beneficial wasps. Silphium radula is attractive to hundreds of native bees and beneficial wasps.

Silphiums are the reigning composite in my midsummer garden. They begin blooming as their neighbor, the Giant Coneflower (Rudbeckia maxima) fades and won’t slow down until late August when Swamp Sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius) bursts onto the scene. I currently grow three species (with plans to try more): Prairie Dock (Silphium terebinthinaceum), Rough Rosinweed (Silphium radula), and lacy-leaved Compass Plant (Silphium laciniatum).

Here are a few more pics from the summer garden:

This is the first year Nicotiana sylvestris has bloomed for me. It was definitely worth the wait! This is the first year Nicotiana sylvestris has bloomed for me. It was definitely worth the wait! 'David' Phlox is just beginning to bloom. ‘David’ Phlox is just beginning to bloom. I love this combination of Rudbeckia fulgida and Curcuma 'Emporer.' I love this combination of Rudbeckia fulgida and Curcuma ‘Emporer.’ Native Hibiscus moschuetos becomes more impressive every year. Native Hibiscus moschuetos becomes more impressive every year. Curcuma 'Emerald Choco Zebra' is a highly unusual ginger relative. Curcuma ‘Emerald Choco Zebra’ is a highly unusual ginger relative.

I can’t believe this exotic Curcuma ‘Emerald Choco Zebra’ has survived two Louisiana winters! The Master Gardener who gave this to me labeled it as a Zone 9 plant, but with heavy mulching and well-drained soil it seems to survive in Zone 8a.

My garden definitely needs some rearranging come Fall, but until then I am enjoying the spontaneity of it all: unplanned, but beautiful.

Hopefully I can resume posting regularly soon, but until then I will be on instagram @thegardenscout. Happy gardening!

Share This Post:

A Look At My Summer Garden

Jul 26, 2019

Hi friends!

I took a hiatus from blogging due to a crazy school year (senior year is complete!) but now that summer is officially here, I wanted to resume posting periodically.

I will confess that the garden has become a little more wild and wooly over the past few months, my rigorous academic year requiring most of my attention. The never-ending battle with Bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon) and Purple Nutsedge (Cyperus rotundus) continues, and the dry, sandy Louisiana soil is not helping the situation. While I was busy traveling and preparing for school last summer a drought devastated most of my more delicate plants, opening gaping holes in the cottage garden and encouraging the reentry of Bermudagrass. The eradication process is progressing smoothly and the cottage garden (the vegetable garden is a different story) is almost completely free of those pernicious weeds.

The gaps left by the drought (R.I.P. Rudbeckia lacinata, Helianthus angustifolius, numerous Salvias, ‘Ryan’s Pink’ Chrysanthemum, and ‘Homestead Purple’ Verbena to name a few) are already in the process of being filled. I just purchased two Echinops bannaticus ‘Taplow Blue’ that will replace the Rudbeckia in the back of the border, and plan to add more structure to the garden in the form of shrubs with multi-seasonal interest. A Master Gardener friend also gifted me two healthy Carolina Lupines (Thermopsis caroliniana) that will replace a large clump I lost to the neighborhood pocket gopher. A couple of more recent purchases include ‘Silver Lyre’ Afghan Fig (Ficus afghanistanica ‘Silver Lyre’) and the wonderfully fragrant Mock Orange (Philadelphus mexicanus ‘Plena’) – both of which will be welcome additions to a garden that, until recently, was comprised of mainly herbaceous perennials.

'Scheherazade' Lily

The “orienpet” (a hybrid of oriental and trumpet) lily ‘Scheherazade’ looks better every year. I have heard tales of this variety sporting up to 50 flowers per stem, but so far mine have only mustered up a few blooms. They were planted about three years ago, so I can only expect them to improve over time, right? 😉

Cherokee Rose last spring feat. pollen from the overhanging pine. Cherokee Rose last spring feat. pollen from the overhanging pine.

Note to self – move the Cherokee Rose (Rosa laevigata) planted only ONE FOOT away from the path. I stuck a tiny stem from a bouquet picked on the side of the road in south Louisiana in the ground, expecting it to fizzle out last summer. Of course, it rooted and has since begun to crowd out its more delicate neighbors. The constant pruning to keep the viciously spiny branches out of the path is an ongoing battle. I’m considering moving it to the edge of the field, where it can clamber up into the low-hanging branches of Loblolly Pines (Pinus taeda) and look like the snowfall we never have when it blooms in May. I’m still deciding.

Bronze Fennel (Foeniculum  vulgare 'Purpureum') is a wonderful filler in the cottage garden. Also - can you spot the swallowtail chrysalises? Bronze Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare ‘Purpureum’) is a wonderful filler in the cottage garden. Also – can you spot the swallowtail chrysalises? Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) caterpillars devour the bronze fennel in my Cottage Garden.
Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) caterpillars devour the bronze fennel in my Cottage Garden.

Bronze Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare ‘Purpureum’) has never done much for me, until this year. I guess it enjoyed the copious amounts of rain this spring and the above-average winter temperatures. As of right now it is about five and a half feet tall and sporting its beautifully see-through umbels of yellow flowers – pollinator heaven. I am expecting the misty purple-grey foliage to disappear any day now as Black Swallowtail butterflies seek out suitable foodplants for their larva – so far only a couple have been spotted.

Now that summer has “officially” arrived, the weather is becoming more miserable by the day – the high heat and humidity has already forced many of my gardener-friends indoors until more hospitable weather arrives in the fall. My attempts at early-morning gardening before the worst of the heat were foiled by summer school and work, although a change in my class schedule might allow at least 30 minutes of gardening – fingers crossed.

I also combat the blistering heat by following the shade cast by the numerous trees around the yard as the sun moves across the sky. Every area of the garden is shaded sometime throughout the day, rendering this strategy the most effective I’ve found.

Although flowers are relatively scarce in my garden this time of year due to the heat (and the fact I was traveling when I should have been starting seed 🙂 ), I still have a fair amount of color.

Wingstem (Verbesina ) is one of the few composites I grow that enjoys full shade.

Wingstem (Verbesina alternifolia) is a new one to me. This native daisy relative bloomed for the first time this year, reminding me it was still existing in the back corner of my shade garden after four years of silence. I’m considering moving it to the banks of the small creek that flows through one corner of my property; it doesn’t appear to enjoy the rich but dry soil in its current situation.

This magenta/mauve phlox is one of the hardiest plants in my garden. This magenta/mauve phlox is one of the hardiest plants in my garden.

The screaming magenta phlox in the cottage garden seems to call “Look at me! Look at me!” as I walk past it each day. Although it is prone to mildew and tends to self-sow politely, I prefer it to the more modern selections because of its height and vigor.

Unknown Begonia Variety that overwinters nicely in Zone 8a. Unknown Begonia Variety that overwinters nicely in Zone 8a.

For the past five years this begonia has reliably overwintered unprotected in a sheltered location on the north side of my house. It resembles the tender Begonia ‘Dragon Wing,’ only with slightly smaller, white flowers. An enthusiastic gardener gave me a start of this Begonia at a local plant swap, labelling itHardy Begonia (Begonia grandis).” Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to pinpoint the exact species and variety, besides concluding that it is an unknown member of the cane-stemmed Begonia clan.

Silphium radula is attractive to hundreds of native bees and beneficial wasps. Silphium radula is attractive to hundreds of native bees and beneficial wasps.

Silphiums are the reigning composite in my midsummer garden. They begin blooming as their neighbor, the Giant Coneflower (Rudbeckia maxima) fades and won’t slow down until late August when Swamp Sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius) bursts onto the scene. I currently grow three species (with plans to try more): Prairie Dock (Silphium terebinthinaceum), Rough Rosinweed (Silphium radula), and lacy-leaved Compass Plant (Silphium laciniatum).

Here are a few more pics from the summer garden:

This is the first year Nicotiana sylvestris has bloomed for me. It was definitely worth the wait! This is the first year Nicotiana sylvestris has bloomed for me. It was definitely worth the wait! 'David' Phlox is just beginning to bloom. ‘David’ Phlox is just beginning to bloom. I love this combination of Rudbeckia fulgida and Curcuma 'Emporer.' I love this combination of Rudbeckia fulgida and Curcuma ‘Emporer.’ Native Hibiscus moschuetos becomes more impressive every year. Native Hibiscus moschuetos becomes more impressive every year. Curcuma 'Emerald Choco Zebra' is a highly unusual ginger relative. Curcuma ‘Emerald Choco Zebra’ is a highly unusual ginger relative.

I can’t believe this exotic Curcuma ‘Emerald Choco Zebra’ has survived two Louisiana winters! The Master Gardener who gave this to me labeled it as a Zone 9 plant, but with heavy mulching and well-drained soil it seems to survive in Zone 8a.

My garden definitely needs some rearranging come Fall, but until then I am enjoying the spontaneity of it all: unplanned, but beautiful.

Hopefully I can resume posting regularly soon, but until then I will be on instagram @thegardenscout. Happy gardening!

Share This Post:

A Look At My Summer Garden

Jul 26, 2019

Hi friends!

I took a hiatus from blogging due to a crazy school year (senior year is complete!) but now that summer is officially here, I wanted to resume posting periodically.

I will confess that the garden has become a little more wild and wooly over the past few months, my rigorous academic year requiring most of my attention. The never-ending battle with Bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon) and Purple Nutsedge (Cyperus rotundus) continues, and the dry, sandy Louisiana soil is not helping the situation. While I was busy traveling and preparing for school last summer a drought devastated most of my more delicate plants, opening gaping holes in the cottage garden and encouraging the reentry of Bermudagrass. The eradication process is progressing smoothly and the cottage garden (the vegetable garden is a different story) is almost completely free of those pernicious weeds.

The gaps left by the drought (R.I.P. Rudbeckia lacinata, Helianthus angustifolius, numerous Salvias, ‘Ryan’s Pink’ Chrysanthemum, and ‘Homestead Purple’ Verbena to name a few) are already in the process of being filled. I just purchased two Echinops bannaticus ‘Taplow Blue’ that will replace the Rudbeckia in the back of the border, and plan to add more structure to the garden in the form of shrubs with multi-seasonal interest. A Master Gardener friend also gifted me two healthy Carolina Lupines (Thermopsis caroliniana) that will replace a large clump I lost to the neighborhood pocket gopher. A couple of more recent purchases include ‘Silver Lyre’ Afghan Fig (Ficus afghanistanica ‘Silver Lyre’) and the wonderfully fragrant Mock Orange (Philadelphus mexicanus ‘Plena’) – both of which will be welcome additions to a garden that, until recently, was comprised of mainly herbaceous perennials.

'Scheherazade' Lily

The “orienpet” (a hybrid of oriental and trumpet) lily ‘Scheherazade’ looks better every year. I have heard tales of this variety sporting up to 50 flowers per stem, but so far mine have only mustered up a few blooms. They were planted about three years ago, so I can only expect them to improve over time, right? 😉

Cherokee Rose last spring feat. pollen from the overhanging pine. Cherokee Rose last spring feat. pollen from the overhanging pine.

Note to self – move the Cherokee Rose (Rosa laevigata) planted only ONE FOOT away from the path. I stuck a tiny stem from a bouquet picked on the side of the road in south Louisiana in the ground, expecting it to fizzle out last summer. Of course, it rooted and has since begun to crowd out its more delicate neighbors. The constant pruning to keep the viciously spiny branches out of the path is an ongoing battle. I’m considering moving it to the edge of the field, where it can clamber up into the low-hanging branches of Loblolly Pines (Pinus taeda) and look like the snowfall we never have when it blooms in May. I’m still deciding.

Bronze Fennel (Foeniculum  vulgare 'Purpureum') is a wonderful filler in the cottage garden. Also - can you spot the swallowtail chrysalises? Bronze Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare ‘Purpureum’) is a wonderful filler in the cottage garden. Also – can you spot the swallowtail chrysalises? Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) caterpillars devour the bronze fennel in my Cottage Garden.
Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) caterpillars devour the bronze fennel in my Cottage Garden.

Bronze Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare ‘Purpureum’) has never done much for me, until this year. I guess it enjoyed the copious amounts of rain this spring and the above-average winter temperatures. As of right now it is about five and a half feet tall and sporting its beautifully see-through umbels of yellow flowers – pollinator heaven. I am expecting the misty purple-grey foliage to disappear any day now as Black Swallowtail butterflies seek out suitable foodplants for their larva – so far only a couple have been spotted.

Now that summer has “officially” arrived, the weather is becoming more miserable by the day – the high heat and humidity has already forced many of my gardener-friends indoors until more hospitable weather arrives in the fall. My attempts at early-morning gardening before the worst of the heat were foiled by summer school and work, although a change in my class schedule might allow at least 30 minutes of gardening – fingers crossed.

I also combat the blistering heat by following the shade cast by the numerous trees around the yard as the sun moves across the sky. Every area of the garden is shaded sometime throughout the day, rendering this strategy the most effective I’ve found.

Although flowers are relatively scarce in my garden this time of year due to the heat (and the fact I was traveling when I should have been starting seed 🙂 ), I still have a fair amount of color.

Wingstem (Verbesina ) is one of the few composites I grow that enjoys full shade.

Wingstem (Verbesina alternifolia) is a new one to me. This native daisy relative bloomed for the first time this year, reminding me it was still existing in the back corner of my shade garden after four years of silence. I’m considering moving it to the banks of the small creek that flows through one corner of my property; it doesn’t appear to enjoy the rich but dry soil in its current situation.

This magenta/mauve phlox is one of the hardiest plants in my garden. This magenta/mauve phlox is one of the hardiest plants in my garden.

The screaming magenta phlox in the cottage garden seems to call “Look at me! Look at me!” as I walk past it each day. Although it is prone to mildew and tends to self-sow politely, I prefer it to the more modern selections because of its height and vigor.

Unknown Begonia Variety that overwinters nicely in Zone 8a. Unknown Begonia Variety that overwinters nicely in Zone 8a.

For the past five years this begonia has reliably overwintered unprotected in a sheltered location on the north side of my house. It resembles the tender Begonia ‘Dragon Wing,’ only with slightly smaller, white flowers. An enthusiastic gardener gave me a start of this Begonia at a local plant swap, labelling itHardy Begonia (Begonia grandis).” Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to pinpoint the exact species and variety, besides concluding that it is an unknown member of the cane-stemmed Begonia clan.

Silphium radula is attractive to hundreds of native bees and beneficial wasps. Silphium radula is attractive to hundreds of native bees and beneficial wasps.

Silphiums are the reigning composite in my midsummer garden. They begin blooming as their neighbor, the Giant Coneflower (Rudbeckia maxima) fades and won’t slow down until late August when Swamp Sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius) bursts onto the scene. I currently grow three species (with plans to try more): Prairie Dock (Silphium terebinthinaceum), Rough Rosinweed (Silphium radula), and lacy-leaved Compass Plant (Silphium laciniatum).

Here are a few more pics from the summer garden:

This is the first year Nicotiana sylvestris has bloomed for me. It was definitely worth the wait! This is the first year Nicotiana sylvestris has bloomed for me. It was definitely worth the wait! 'David' Phlox is just beginning to bloom. ‘David’ Phlox is just beginning to bloom. I love this combination of Rudbeckia fulgida and Curcuma 'Emporer.' I love this combination of Rudbeckia fulgida and Curcuma ‘Emporer.’ Native Hibiscus moschuetos becomes more impressive every year. Native Hibiscus moschuetos becomes more impressive every year. Curcuma 'Emerald Choco Zebra' is a highly unusual ginger relative. Curcuma ‘Emerald Choco Zebra’ is a highly unusual ginger relative.

I can’t believe this exotic Curcuma ‘Emerald Choco Zebra’ has survived two Louisiana winters! The Master Gardener who gave this to me labeled it as a Zone 9 plant, but with heavy mulching and well-drained soil it seems to survive in Zone 8a.

My garden definitely needs some rearranging come Fall, but until then I am enjoying the spontaneity of it all: unplanned, but beautiful.

Hopefully I can resume posting regularly soon, but until then I will be on instagram @thegardenscout. Happy gardening!

Share This Post:

Product Scouted: Barebones Hori Hori Knife

May 12, 2018

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Are you ever in need of a sharp, portable digging tool that can also serve as a knife, twine cutter, bottle opener, measuring device, or stake hammer?

If your answer was yes to even one of those questions (even the bottle opener), then you must check out the Barebones Living Hori Hori knife.

The name Hori Hori translates to “dig dig,” implying its main use. Of course, this is only a recommendation on what to use it for. In reality it is useful for a huge range of jobs, from performing impromptu amputations on storm-damaged limbs, to cutting twine for staking and tying plants, measuring planting depths, pounding in stakes, and yes, digging.

 

Hori Hori Knife Digging

Basically, this is the tool to use in the garden. Period.

It is just the right size to fit comfortably in your hand and the sustainable bamboo handle will last a lifetime with proper care. I was impressed with how solid it is, and am positive that it will remain a favorite for years to come!

So…What to do next?

Head over to Barebones Living and experience it for yourself! (This is not an affiliate post. I just really like this tool and wanted you to know about it!)

Share This Post:

Hori Hori Knife Featured Image
Hori Hori 2

Product Scouted: Barebones Hori Hori Knife

May 12, 2018

Are you ever in need of a sharp, portable digging tool that can also serve as a knife, twine cutter, bottle opener, measuring device, or stake hammer?

If your answer was yes to even one of those questions (even the bottle opener), then you must check out the Barebones Living Hori Hori knife.

The name Hori Hori translates to “dig dig,” implying its main use. Of course, this is only a recommendation on what to use it for. In reality it is useful for a huge range of jobs, from performing impromptu amputations on storm-damaged limbs, to cutting twine for staking and tying plants, measuring planting depths, pounding in stakes, and yes, digging.

 

Hori Hori Knife Digging

Basically, this is the tool to use in the garden. Period.

It is just the right size to fit comfortably in your hand and the sustainable bamboo handle will last a lifetime with proper care. I was impressed with how solid it is, and am positive that it will remain a favorite for years to come!

So…What to do next?

Head over to Barebones Living and experience it for yourself! (This is not an affiliate post. I just really like this tool and wanted you to know about it!)

Share This Post:

Hori Hori Knife Featured Image
Hori Hori 2

Product Scouted: Barebones Hori Hori Knife

May 12, 2018

Are you ever in need of a sharp, portable digging tool that can also serve as a knife, twine cutter, bottle opener, measuring device, or stake hammer?

If your answer was yes to even one of those questions (even the bottle opener), then you must check out the Barebones Living Hori Hori knife.

The name Hori Hori translates to “dig dig,” implying its main use. Of course, this is only a recommendation on what to use it for. In reality it is useful for a huge range of jobs, from performing impromptu amputations on storm-damaged limbs, to cutting twine for staking and tying plants, measuring planting depths, pounding in stakes, and yes, digging.

 

Hori Hori Knife Digging

Basically, this is the tool to use in the garden. Period.

It is just the right size to fit comfortably in your hand and the sustainable bamboo handle will last a lifetime with proper care. I was impressed with how solid it is, and am positive that it will remain a favorite for years to come!

So…What to do next?

Head over to Barebones Living and experience it for yourself! (This is not an affiliate post. I just really like this tool and wanted you to know about it!)

Share This Post:

Hori Hori Knife Featured Image
Hori Hori 2

Garden Photography: A Short Rundown of What You Need To Know

Apr 2, 2018

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I have always been fascinated with plants.

I have always been fascinated with photography.

Put them together and what do you get? Plant photography (surprise!).

Since this is such big part of my life, I figured that today is the day that I finally share some tips and tricks for photographing your garden. Although I’m not a “professional” photographer, in the sense that I don’t make a living off of my pictures, I have devoted a great deal of time to figuring out my camera and the art of composing photos.

You know, now that I think about it, why am I not selling my photos? Hmmm… I may just change that sometime in the future. 🙂

Let’s get this conversation rolling!

FullSizeRender (14)

I’ll start by discussing equipment.

There are hundreds of options out there for equipment, but the only thing that is truly necessary is the camera itself. A tripod, such as this inexpensive option, is useful for longer exposures to stabilize your camera, but is not necessary for basic garden photography. Pretty much any other piece of equipment you can think of is extra.

Now let’s breeze through the never-ending topic of cameras.

There are three “classes” that I categorize cameras by: phone cameras, point and shoots, and DSLRs. These days, as phone cameras are becoming incredibly effective and easy to use, I’d say ditch the point and shoot and either use your phone, or a good DSLR. I personally use both. If I can’t lug my large black Canon DSLR around with me, I simply pull out my phone and (click!) it’s as easy as that. Even when I can use my DSLR, sometimes I just don’t feel like it, so I take a photo using my phone instead.

Zoning in on DSLRs for a second… There are several good brands out there (Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, etc.) that all have good options, but I personally use Canon. The autofocusing system is near-perfection and, unlike some cameras (cough cough, Sony), has nearly perfect coloration right from the start. That doesn’t mean I don’t ever correct the color. It just means that the color looks nice and neutral (no tints) right out of the camera.

Alright, now let’s get to the meat of this post, photographing your garden. Regardless of whether you use a phone or a DSLR, the process is the same. When I’m outside doing my daily walk round the garden, I usually bring my camera with me and take photos of anything interesting that I may see. This could be a treefrog on a canna, or the way the light is shining through some trees in the shade garden. The possibilities are endless.

Processed with VSCO with j4 preset

 

Once I find a shot (say, the Gingko leaves from my last post above), I adjust the camera to the correct settings and take the picture.

“What are these correct settings?” You might say.

They vary. I use manual settings for the most part (unless I can’t spare the time), but I won’t cover all of that in detail here. I found a good article about manual camera settings (for a DSLR) if you’re interested.

Once I take the picture, there are a few options out there. One is to leave it unedited. This is a good option if your aim is to capture something as is. This is usually for a more practical purpose, because (unless you’re a magician) the photo will most likely look fairly plain. I edit my pictures (in Lightroom) enough to bring out the colors and make the subject stand out, but I never go beyond that. If I went a step further and began to touch the photo up and potentially bring in other elements that were not originally there, the photo would begin to feel unauthentic. I like to have good pictures, but prefer to keep it real.

The last option is for someone who wants an edited look without the time invested in achieving the perfect balance via a hardcore editing software. VSCO (I’ve always pronounced it visco – rhymes with disco) is a decent app on both apple and android devices that provides a TON of good presets, which are basically packaged edits (if that makes sense). I occasionally use them for Instagram if I’m short on time, but I can always get a much better picture if I invest the time to edit a photo with Lightroom. Down below are a couple examples of before and after I edit a photo.

Before
Before
Before
Before
After
After
After
After

Finally, let me say that I’ve just skimmed the surface of Garden Photography. There is much more to learn, and endless techniques to experiment with. Since this is another one of my passions (gardening always being my first), let me know if you want me to cover any particular element of garden photography – I’m happy  to write about it!

 

Garden Photography: A Short Rundown of What You Need To Know

Apr 2, 2018

I have always been fascinated with plants.

I have always been fascinated with photography.

Put them together and what do you get? Plant photography (surprise!).

Since this is such big part of my life, I figured that today is the day that I finally share some tips and tricks for photographing your garden. Although I’m not a “professional” photographer, in the sense that I don’t make a living off of my pictures, I have devoted a great deal of time to figuring out my camera and the art of composing photos.

You know, now that I think about it, why am I not selling my photos? Hmmm… I may just change that sometime in the future. 🙂

Let’s get this conversation rolling!

FullSizeRender (14)

I’ll start by discussing equipment.

There are hundreds of options out there for equipment, but the only thing that is truly necessary is the camera itself. A tripod, such as this inexpensive option, is useful for longer exposures to stabilize your camera, but is not necessary for basic garden photography. Pretty much any other piece of equipment you can think of is extra.

Now let’s breeze through the never-ending topic of cameras.

There are three “classes” that I categorize cameras by: phone cameras, point and shoots, and DSLRs. These days, as phone cameras are becoming incredibly effective and easy to use, I’d say ditch the point and shoot and either use your phone, or a good DSLR. I personally use both. If I can’t lug my large black Canon DSLR around with me, I simply pull out my phone and (click!) it’s as easy as that. Even when I can use my DSLR, sometimes I just don’t feel like it, so I take a photo using my phone instead.

Zoning in on DSLRs for a second… There are several good brands out there (Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, etc.) that all have good options, but I personally use Canon. The autofocusing system is near-perfection and, unlike some cameras (cough cough, Sony), has nearly perfect coloration right from the start. That doesn’t mean I don’t ever correct the color. It just means that the color looks nice and neutral (no tints) right out of the camera.

Alright, now let’s get to the meat of this post, photographing your garden. Regardless of whether you use a phone or a DSLR, the process is the same. When I’m outside doing my daily walk round the garden, I usually bring my camera with me and take photos of anything interesting that I may see. This could be a treefrog on a canna, or the way the light is shining through some trees in the shade garden. The possibilities are endless.

Processed with VSCO with j4 preset

 

Once I find a shot (say, the Gingko leaves from my last post above), I adjust the camera to the correct settings and take the picture.

“What are these correct settings?” You might say.

They vary. I use manual settings for the most part (unless I can’t spare the time), but I won’t cover all of that in detail here. I found a good article about manual camera settings (for a DSLR) if you’re interested.

Once I take the picture, there are a few options out there. One is to leave it unedited. This is a good option if your aim is to capture something as is. This is usually for a more practical purpose, because (unless you’re a magician) the photo will most likely look fairly plain. I edit my pictures (in Lightroom) enough to bring out the colors and make the subject stand out, but I never go beyond that. If I went a step further and began to touch the photo up and potentially bring in other elements that were not originally there, the photo would begin to feel unauthentic. I like to have good pictures, but prefer to keep it real.

The last option is for someone who wants an edited look without the time invested in achieving the perfect balance via a hardcore editing software. VSCO (I’ve always pronounced it visco – rhymes with disco) is a decent app on both apple and android devices that provides a TON of good presets, which are basically packaged edits (if that makes sense). I occasionally use them for Instagram if I’m short on time, but I can always get a much better picture if I invest the time to edit a photo with Lightroom. Down below are a couple examples of before and after I edit a photo.

Before
Before
Before
Before
After
After
After
After

Finally, let me say that I’ve just skimmed the surface of Garden Photography. There is much more to learn, and endless techniques to experiment with. Since this is another one of my passions (gardening always being my first), let me know if you want me to cover any particular element of garden photography – I’m happy  to write about it!

 

Garden Photography: A Short Rundown of What You Need To Know

Apr 2, 2018

I have always been fascinated with plants.

I have always been fascinated with photography.

Put them together and what do you get? Plant photography (surprise!).

Since this is such big part of my life, I figured that today is the day that I finally share some tips and tricks for photographing your garden. Although I’m not a “professional” photographer, in the sense that I don’t make a living off of my pictures, I have devoted a great deal of time to figuring out my camera and the art of composing photos.

You know, now that I think about it, why am I not selling my photos? Hmmm… I may just change that sometime in the future. 🙂

Let’s get this conversation rolling!

FullSizeRender (14)

I’ll start by discussing equipment.

There are hundreds of options out there for equipment, but the only thing that is truly necessary is the camera itself. A tripod, such as this inexpensive option, is useful for longer exposures to stabilize your camera, but is not necessary for basic garden photography. Pretty much any other piece of equipment you can think of is extra.

Now let’s breeze through the never-ending topic of cameras.

There are three “classes” that I categorize cameras by: phone cameras, point and shoots, and DSLRs. These days, as phone cameras are becoming incredibly effective and easy to use, I’d say ditch the point and shoot and either use your phone, or a good DSLR. I personally use both. If I can’t lug my large black Canon DSLR around with me, I simply pull out my phone and (click!) it’s as easy as that. Even when I can use my DSLR, sometimes I just don’t feel like it, so I take a photo using my phone instead.

Zoning in on DSLRs for a second… There are several good brands out there (Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, etc.) that all have good options, but I personally use Canon. The autofocusing system is near-perfection and, unlike some cameras (cough cough, Sony), has nearly perfect coloration right from the start. That doesn’t mean I don’t ever correct the color. It just means that the color looks nice and neutral (no tints) right out of the camera.

Alright, now let’s get to the meat of this post, photographing your garden. Regardless of whether you use a phone or a DSLR, the process is the same. When I’m outside doing my daily walk round the garden, I usually bring my camera with me and take photos of anything interesting that I may see. This could be a treefrog on a canna, or the way the light is shining through some trees in the shade garden. The possibilities are endless.

Processed with VSCO with j4 preset

 

Once I find a shot (say, the Gingko leaves from my last post above), I adjust the camera to the correct settings and take the picture.

“What are these correct settings?” You might say.

They vary. I use manual settings for the most part (unless I can’t spare the time), but I won’t cover all of that in detail here. I found a good article about manual camera settings (for a DSLR) if you’re interested.

Once I take the picture, there are a few options out there. One is to leave it unedited. This is a good option if your aim is to capture something as is. This is usually for a more practical purpose, because (unless you’re a magician) the photo will most likely look fairly plain. I edit my pictures (in Lightroom) enough to bring out the colors and make the subject stand out, but I never go beyond that. If I went a step further and began to touch the photo up and potentially bring in other elements that were not originally there, the photo would begin to feel unauthentic. I like to have good pictures, but prefer to keep it real.

The last option is for someone who wants an edited look without the time invested in achieving the perfect balance via a hardcore editing software. VSCO (I’ve always pronounced it visco – rhymes with disco) is a decent app on both apple and android devices that provides a TON of good presets, which are basically packaged edits (if that makes sense). I occasionally use them for Instagram if I’m short on time, but I can always get a much better picture if I invest the time to edit a photo with Lightroom. Down below are a couple examples of before and after I edit a photo.

Before
Before
Before
Before
After
After
After
After

Finally, let me say that I’ve just skimmed the surface of Garden Photography. There is much more to learn, and endless techniques to experiment with. Since this is another one of my passions (gardening always being my first), let me know if you want me to cover any particular element of garden photography – I’m happy  to write about it!

 

Designing A Four-Season Garden

Dec 14, 2017

BLOG

the

I don’t know about you, but I like a garden that changes throughout the seasons. I find the suburban plantings that only use evergreens for “year-round interest” boring. A certain percentage of the plants in my garden are evergreens, but I don’t overplant. Like the old mantra says, “everything is good in moderation.” The key is learning the right combination of different plant types to display not only variety and originality, but also emphasize the seasons. For instance, if it snows in your area, you might consider planting shrubs and trees with interesting winter forms, such as Contorted Hazel or Weeping Willow.

I find that the traditional vegetable garden can look extremely flat and bare in winter when nothing is growing, so I’ve started planting fruiting shrubs such as Goji Berries and Blueberries to add not only height, but also fall color and fruit. That way I get multiple uses from a single spot in the garden. I’ve also been toying around with the idea of allowing climbers, such as clematis, to scramble through my shrubs and provide some color at a time when the shrubs themselves don’t have any special interest. That way I get four seasons of enjoyment in a fairly small space (Blueberries and Goji Berries both take up roughly a 5 x 5 foot area).

Another way to provide seasonal interest is the idea of layering, or “sandwiching”, plants into a fairly small area. For instance, in just 6 square feet I could plant Daffodils and Crocus for early spring interest, a low-growing groundcover such as a variety of Strawberry (remember, multiple uses!), fall flowering bulbs like Autumn Crocus (Colchicum autumnale), and a variety of Japanese Anemone. That gives you three seasons of interest in a tiny space. I could also (in my area) plant an evergreen such rosemary or lavender to add a structural element along with a delicious fragrance.

You also want to consider what effect your climate will have on the design. Do you get excessive winter rainfall? Are your summers humid or arid? How about the temperatures? What is the warmest and coldest it usually reaches in your area?

All of these questions can play a useful role in developing a four-season garden. If you get excessive winter rain like I do, you could plant Salix alba ‘Vitellina’ to provide some winter color in the form of bright yellow twigs. I also have a spot in my yard that is fairly sandy, so I plant natives and grasses that are acclimated to the spot.

One often overlooked possibility is designing for frost. In my area, the air is extremely humid. That causes masses of hoar frost to develop on every surface. By planting grasses, roses that bear hips (fruit), and late-blooming asters, I can create a garden that is as beautiful at the first frost as it is in the spring.

Selecting plants that have multiple seasons of interest can help you truly create a four-season garden. I’m still experimenting with fall and winter plant ideas because that’s when my garden seems to fade away and lose interest until spring. Every year it gets better!

How about you? Do you have a particular time of year in your garden that seems to lack interest? I’d love to discuss this topic further in the comments below (I could have written all day on designing for seasonal interest!). 🙂

The Monthly Newsletter

Join the growing community of gardeners and adventurers seeking to connect with each other and expand their gardening know-how!


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Designing A Four-Season Garden

Dec 14, 2017

I don’t know about you, but I like a garden that changes throughout the seasons. I find the suburban plantings that only use evergreens for “year-round interest” boring. A certain percentage of the plants in my garden are evergreens, but I don’t overplant. Like the old mantra says, “everything is good in moderation.” The key is learning the right combination of different plant types to display not only variety and originality, but also emphasize the seasons. For instance, if it snows in your area, you might consider planting shrubs and trees with interesting winter forms, such as Contorted Hazel or Weeping Willow.

I find that the traditional vegetable garden can look extremely flat and bare in winter when nothing is growing, so I’ve started planting fruiting shrubs such as Goji Berries and Blueberries to add not only height, but also fall color and fruit. That way I get multiple uses from a single spot in the garden. I’ve also been toying around with the idea of allowing climbers, such as clematis, to scramble through my shrubs and provide some color at a time when the shrubs themselves don’t have any special interest. That way I get four seasons of enjoyment in a fairly small space (Blueberries and Goji Berries both take up roughly a 5 x 5 foot area).

Another way to provide seasonal interest is the idea of layering, or “sandwiching”, plants into a fairly small area. For instance, in just 6 square feet I could plant Daffodils and Crocus for early spring interest, a low-growing groundcover such as a variety of Strawberry (remember, multiple uses!), fall flowering bulbs like Autumn Crocus (Colchicum autumnale), and a variety of Japanese Anemone. That gives you three seasons of interest in a tiny space. I could also (in my area) plant an evergreen such rosemary or lavender to add a structural element along with a delicious fragrance.

You also want to consider what effect your climate will have on the design. Do you get excessive winter rainfall? Are your summers humid or arid? How about the temperatures? What is the warmest and coldest it usually reaches in your area?

All of these questions can play a useful role in developing a four-season garden. If you get excessive winter rain like I do, you could plant Salix alba ‘Vitellina’ to provide some winter color in the form of bright yellow twigs. I also have a spot in my yard that is fairly sandy, so I plant natives and grasses that are acclimated to the spot.

One often overlooked possibility is designing for frost. In my area, the air is extremely humid. That causes masses of hoar frost to develop on every surface. By planting grasses, roses that bear hips (fruit), and late-blooming asters, I can create a garden that is as beautiful at the first frost as it is in the spring.

Selecting plants that have multiple seasons of interest can help you truly create a four-season garden. I’m still experimenting with fall and winter plant ideas because that’s when my garden seems to fade away and lose interest until spring. Every year it gets better!

How about you? Do you have a particular time of year in your garden that seems to lack interest? I’d love to discuss this topic further in the comments below (I could have written all day on designing for seasonal interest!). 🙂

The Monthly Newsletter

Join the growing community of gardeners and adventurers seeking to connect with each other and expand their gardening know-how!


!


!


Submit

Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

Designing A Four-Season Garden

Dec 14, 2017

I don’t know about you, but I like a garden that changes throughout the seasons. I find the suburban plantings that only use evergreens for “year-round interest” boring. A certain percentage of the plants in my garden are evergreens, but I don’t overplant. Like the old mantra says, “everything is good in moderation.” The key is learning the right combination of different plant types to display not only variety and originality, but also emphasize the seasons. For instance, if it snows in your area, you might consider planting shrubs and trees with interesting winter forms, such as Contorted Hazel or Weeping Willow.

I find that the traditional vegetable garden can look extremely flat and bare in winter when nothing is growing, so I’ve started planting fruiting shrubs such as Goji Berries and Blueberries to add not only height, but also fall color and fruit. That way I get multiple uses from a single spot in the garden. I’ve also been toying around with the idea of allowing climbers, such as clematis, to scramble through my shrubs and provide some color at a time when the shrubs themselves don’t have any special interest. That way I get four seasons of enjoyment in a fairly small space (Blueberries and Goji Berries both take up roughly a 5 x 5 foot area).

Another way to provide seasonal interest is the idea of layering, or “sandwiching”, plants into a fairly small area. For instance, in just 6 square feet I could plant Daffodils and Crocus for early spring interest, a low-growing groundcover such as a variety of Strawberry (remember, multiple uses!), fall flowering bulbs like Autumn Crocus (Colchicum autumnale), and a variety of Japanese Anemone. That gives you three seasons of interest in a tiny space. I could also (in my area) plant an evergreen such rosemary or lavender to add a structural element along with a delicious fragrance.

You also want to consider what effect your climate will have on the design. Do you get excessive winter rainfall? Are your summers humid or arid? How about the temperatures? What is the warmest and coldest it usually reaches in your area?

All of these questions can play a useful role in developing a four-season garden. If you get excessive winter rain like I do, you could plant Salix alba ‘Vitellina’ to provide some winter color in the form of bright yellow twigs. I also have a spot in my yard that is fairly sandy, so I plant natives and grasses that are acclimated to the spot.

One often overlooked possibility is designing for frost. In my area, the air is extremely humid. That causes masses of hoar frost to develop on every surface. By planting grasses, roses that bear hips (fruit), and late-blooming asters, I can create a garden that is as beautiful at the first frost as it is in the spring.

Selecting plants that have multiple seasons of interest can help you truly create a four-season garden. I’m still experimenting with fall and winter plant ideas because that’s when my garden seems to fade away and lose interest until spring. Every year it gets better!

How about you? Do you have a particular time of year in your garden that seems to lack interest? I’d love to discuss this topic further in the comments below (I could have written all day on designing for seasonal interest!). 🙂

The Monthly Newsletter

Join the growing community of gardeners and adventurers seeking to connect with each other and expand their gardening know-how!


!


!


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My Secret Weapon For Identifying Warblers

Dec 8, 2017

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the

Warblers.

The mere mention of that particular type of bird used to annoy me. At my house, they’ve been labeled as the “feathered phantoms,” because of their jittery movements and the fact that they NEVER stick around long enough to be identified. Oh, the frustration! I was about to give up hope of ever identifying one particular black and yellow bird that observed me from the safety of a privet hedge bordering the property when a miracle happened. (At least, it certainly felt like one!)

I discovered “The Warbler Guide” at Barnes and Noble. Imagine the relief when I could finally go outside with my handy guide and, even if the warbler tried its best to slip into the privet unseen, I could identify it by the smallest glimpse of its coloring. Written by Tom Stephenson and Scott Whittle, this book is a must-have for backyard bird enthusiasts and hardcore birders alike. It is full of accurate illustrations and pictures of birds, as well as sonograms to identify the bird by its song pattern. Down below is a video that walks you through this easy-to-use guide:

As you can tell by the video, this book is a well-written, easy-to-use guide that tells exactly how to identify those “phantoms” that so often haunt the woodland edge. They can be tricky to identify, but with the right “tools,” it can be made easier.

The Warbler Guide

Click here to check out this cool guide on the Barnes and Noble website!

P.S. This book would make a great gift!

The Monthly Newsletter

Join the growing community of gardeners and adventurers seeking to connect with each other and expand their gardening know-how!


!


!


Submit

Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

My Secret Weapon For Identifying Warblers

Dec 8, 2017

Warblers.

The mere mention of that particular type of bird used to annoy me. At my house, they’ve been labeled as the “feathered phantoms,” because of their jittery movements and the fact that they NEVER stick around long enough to be identified. Oh, the frustration! I was about to give up hope of ever identifying one particular black and yellow bird that observed me from the safety of a privet hedge bordering the property when a miracle happened. (At least, it certainly felt like one!)

I discovered “The Warbler Guide” at Barnes and Noble. Imagine the relief when I could finally go outside with my handy guide and, even if the warbler tried its best to slip into the privet unseen, I could identify it by the smallest glimpse of its coloring. Written by Tom Stephenson and Scott Whittle, this book is a must-have for backyard bird enthusiasts and hardcore birders alike. It is full of accurate illustrations and pictures of birds, as well as sonograms to identify the bird by its song pattern. Down below is a video that walks you through this easy-to-use guide:

As you can tell by the video, this book is a well-written, easy-to-use guide that tells exactly how to identify those “phantoms” that so often haunt the woodland edge. They can be tricky to identify, but with the right “tools,” it can be made easier.

The Warbler Guide

Click here to check out this cool guide on the Barnes and Noble website!

P.S. This book would make a great gift!

The Monthly Newsletter

Join the growing community of gardeners and adventurers seeking to connect with each other and expand their gardening know-how!


!


!


Submit

Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

My Secret Weapon For Identifying Warblers

Dec 8, 2017

Warblers.

The mere mention of that particular type of bird used to annoy me. At my house, they’ve been labeled as the “feathered phantoms,” because of their jittery movements and the fact that they NEVER stick around long enough to be identified. Oh, the frustration! I was about to give up hope of ever identifying one particular black and yellow bird that observed me from the safety of a privet hedge bordering the property when a miracle happened. (At least, it certainly felt like one!)

I discovered “The Warbler Guide” at Barnes and Noble. Imagine the relief when I could finally go outside with my handy guide and, even if the warbler tried its best to slip into the privet unseen, I could identify it by the smallest glimpse of its coloring. Written by Tom Stephenson and Scott Whittle, this book is a must-have for backyard bird enthusiasts and hardcore birders alike. It is full of accurate illustrations and pictures of birds, as well as sonograms to identify the bird by its song pattern. Down below is a video that walks you through this easy-to-use guide:

As you can tell by the video, this book is a well-written, easy-to-use guide that tells exactly how to identify those “phantoms” that so often haunt the woodland edge. They can be tricky to identify, but with the right “tools,” it can be made easier.

The Warbler Guide

Click here to check out this cool guide on the Barnes and Noble website!

P.S. This book would make a great gift!

The Monthly Newsletter

Join the growing community of gardeners and adventurers seeking to connect with each other and expand their gardening know-how!


!


!


Submit

Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.