Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cheapskate Garden Tip 3

Our New Bird Bath
Originally uploaded by tassiesim

To encourage birds to visit your garden add bird baths. I have a standard classic style concrete bird bath, completely covered in smooth pebbles, standing on a pedestal.
Then I decided the birds need another bird bath, so I bought a large ceramic saucer that is made to set under a big ceramic flower pot. The large glazed saucer only cost me $3.00.
Set it on an old clay pot, fill it with water and there you have it, your very own $3.00 bird bath.
Of course you can find a large saucer for less at a thrift shop or garage sale, or you may already have an unused plant saucer.

One key element for bird baths is that they not be too deep, 2 or 3 inches deep is best. Remember this is not meant to be a swimming pool! If your container is deep, put a brick or ceramic frog in the center for the birds to stand on.

This second photo is such a clever use of recycled parts, apparently a garbage can and lid, that I include it here for inspiration. Look around your yard and see what you can find to create a water source for your garden birds.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Cheapskate Garden Tip 2

Orange Lily

Passalong plants are a friendly garden tradition of sharing plants, a tradition much favored by cheapskate gardeners and by gardeners nostalgic for old fashioned and sometimes hard to find varieties.
Day lilies are great passalong plants, that gardeners share by giving away divisions they dig up.

Save seeds, dig divisions and volunteer plants, and root cuttings from your plants, and give them to fellow gardeners, and ask them for passalong plants in return. My grandma sent me my first passalong, her Rose of Sharon seeds, from Indiana, all the way to California.
Dig up Iris, Canna and Day lily divisions to give away, save Zinnia, Coreopsis, Marigold, Purple cone flower and Salvia seeds, dig up volunteer Johnny Jump-ups and Four O’Clocks and trade with friends and neighbors.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Cheapskate Garden Tip 1

Pots For Free
Originally uploaded by Joe Shlabotnik

This photographer gave away these pots for plants, a cheapskate gardener's dream.

This week I will post short tips on how to garden cheaply and save some money, while creating a gorgeous garden.
My first idea is to visit garage sales, looking for garden tools and plants, often priced under a dollar.
For 25 cents I bought a handsome ceramic pot which was hand crafted as a bowl, but which had a crack along the bottom, making it useless as a bowl, but perfect for a planter.
You could also host your own garage sale, with seedlings, divisions and cuttings from your plants. Hydrangeas and Christmas cactus do well from cuttings, and most Succulents can be readily rooted by breaking off a piece and putting it in soil. This could net you a few dollars to spend on more garden plants and seeds.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Our Tabby Cat is Thwarted in His Quest to Nap

Do you know and love a tabby cat, like we do?
They are affectionate and handsome, yet not perfect.
Our tabby, Big Boy, is looking thwarted in this photo. Yesterday I planted parsley seeds in an old wooden planter, and put bamboo stakes in it, to keep Big Boy from taking his daily naps there, on top of my tiny seeds and soon to be, seedlings.
My husband had the brilliant idea of adding an old refrigerator shelf to the covering, held in place by the bamboo stakes.
Big Boy is dismayed and confused as he contemplates how to take his nap on the nice fresh potting soil, and I hope he gives up, cuz we loves our parsley. I usually buy one or two parsley plants but found seeds on sale and am giving them a try.
I bought Extra Curled Dwarf from Burpee; we also enjoy the Italian flat leaf parsley.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Plant Delights nursery company

Do you associate gardening with fun? I sure do, and when my dear buddy showed me this catalog, I HAD to send for one.
This company has very odd and funny t-shirts you can order, like the one that says "It's not easy being variegated". Just silly stuff.
And wow, their plants are calling out "buy me", to me.
4 new agaves, 4 new hostas, and a giant Japanese variegated fern that they write "is sure to strike terror in the hearts of smaller plants."
Cast iron plants. Lovely coral bells like Heuchera Paris.
Campanula Summertime Blues with its blue bells and Canna Ermine, the closest to white hybrid, and on and on.
They mention this has been a rocky year financially for many nurseries, so gardeners, let's show them some love. Buy plants from your local nursery and from a favorite catalog nursery.
It's good for your garden and your soul, and absolutely patriotic to buy American.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Bean and Flower Trellis for Kids

Tee-pee Trellis
Originally uploaded by kimberlyfaye

I’m not sure whether to spell it “tipi” or “teepee” but either way you know what I mean, and you will have a lively family activity creating a living tipi with walls of beans and morning glories. This will be a sanctuary where your kids read a book, take a nap or day dream of adventures involving cowboys, pirates, Native Americans and world wide and interplanetary heroic escapades.
First you need to buy or find the tallest tipi stakes you can, from ten to fifteen feet tall. Bamboo garden stakes, metal rods or wooden stakes all work well.
Once you have your three to ten stakes, select a sunny garden spot and clear it to bare dirt. Insert the stakes several inches into the soil, to give them a strong footing, and leave a space for a doorway, so kids can enter their tipi. Cover the tipi’s future floor with a thick layer of mulch.
My favorite mulch for this is cocoa bean shells which smell of chocolate. The mulch will prevent weeds from growing and creates a comfy resting spot.
Tie the stakes together at the top to create the triangular tipi appearance.
Now you can pick which vines you want to twine up along the stakes and create the tipi walls. Good choices are Morning Glory and Scarlet Runner bean seeds.
These are vigorous and showy vines, and the Scarlet Runner beans are both ornamental and edible. If you are create this garden feature with children, encourage them to choose which seeds to plant. There are many more selections beyond beans and morning glories.
Scarlet Runner beans have flowers of splashy crimson, and are often grown solely for their flowers. If you want to eat them, pick the beans young while they are still tender. Everyone loves hummingbirds and these little flying jewels adore the nectar in Scarlet Runner beans, another point in this bean’s favor at our house. The vines reach from eight to twelve feet tall.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sweet peas and Saint Patrick's Day are heading this way

sweet peas
Originally uploaded by jpc101

When dear St. Patrick's Day arrives soon, on March 17, be sure and have some sweet pea seeds on hand to plant
According to lore of this day, Sweet Peas planted in the dark hours on the evening before St. Patrick's Day grow more vigorously and produce more flowers than seeds planted any other time.
The results of my last year's experiment are not conclusive, but I am undeterred and want to try again this year.
Happy gardening to you all.

For more information on the fun of planting the evening before St. Patrick's Day and my favorite varieties to plant, see my article at http://www.positivelyfeminine.org, under creatively feminine, in March 2008.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Luther Burbank Birthday

The great plantsman, Luther Burbank, was born on March 7 in 1849.
Burbank developed 800 new strains and varieties of plants and fruit trees, including the popular Shasta Daisy, Santa Rosa Plum, the Plumcot and the Burbank Potato.
The thirteenth of fifteen children, Luther Burbank accomplished an incredible amount as a botanist, with but an elementary school education.
His homesite of four acres in Santa Rosa can be visited.
Here is the website about his home, which is open to the public.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Birth to Five Book

Brenda Nixon, author of "The Birth to Five Book: Confident Childrearing Right from the Start", is having a mini blog book tour, and I am happy to be part of the tour here today.
Author Brenda Nixon offers practical advice to help readers be confident and successful parents, with guidelines to help our babies and toddlers to become self-confident and independent as they grow up.
The author includes separate chapters on common situations all parents face, like “Cabin Fever Relievers”, “Thumb Sucking Sally”, and “”Bedtime Resistance Remedy.” I counted about 50 chapters, each one loaded with good ideas, and even some funny quotes.
Her chapter “Talk Less, Act More” sums up effective parenting, for me. Instead of repeating an order countless times while your child ignores you, tell the child once and then take an appropriate action. Do not say “get dressed for school” 100 times. The author shares a funny story about her daughter and the school bus, on that topic.
Brenda also includes her recipe for blueberry milkshake that sounds like a yummy, and definitely healthy, breakfast or snack.
She suggests that if your child could answer the question of what she needs in a successful parent, the child might answer “I feel secure when adults run the household. Be the parents.”
This thread of being a wise parent is woven all through this must have book.