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Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Little Whimsy in the Winter Garden

As usual, for this time of year, the garden is a rather depressing sight.  The St. Augustine grass gifted/cursed to us by the builder is dormant and the most sickly yellow color.  

Most everything else is bare, with the exception of the Southern Wax Myrtle and the Savannah Holly, both of which are sporting thousands of berries in which the birds seem to have no interest whatsoever.  

What's up with that?  I thought the birds would be going crazy for the berries at this time of year.

Anyway, I digress.  Recently as I was browsing on Facebook, I found an enchanting page called Flea Market Gardening and their website, which is filled with wonderful ideas for re-purposing flea market finds or stuff in the attic into decorative items for the garden.

The more I read, the more I realized that I loved these ideas and would like to incorporate some of them into my own garden.

I decided to start simple.  I've shown you this garden trellis before.  It hides the unsightly utility boxes in the corner.  This corner has also become home to the "brush pile", a growing pile of dead bushes, clippings etc that won't fit in the compost pile. The birds love it back there :-)

Since I've had trouble getting anything much to grow over the trellis,  and inspired by the Flea Market Gardening page, I decided to dig through the garage and see what I had that could be used to brighten it up a bit.

I came across some grapevine wreaths that I used to change out on the front door of the house where I used to live.  I used to decorate them with ribbons and silk vines garlands for the holidays, or with silk flower garlands for spring and summer.

Since we have a beautiful glass inset on our front door at the house we live in now, a rustic wreath just never seemed to look right, so they had all got shoved in a corner of the garage.

So I dug one of them out, as well as some ribbon, silk flowers and also some pine cones collected from our road trip last year, put it together and attached it to the trellis. 

I like how it looks, and am now thinking about other ideas for whimsical garden decorations to add in the future.  

Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Time to Plan for Spring

It's that time of year.  It seems like no sooner do the Christmas decorations get taken down, than the seed and plant catalogs arrive in the mailbox.

I'll be first to admit, I tend to get a bit too ambitious as I browse through the catalogs, either circling, or putting large red stars on things that look I want to try, or that just look interesting.

But hey, that's half the fun!

Our vegetable garden is tiny, but to see me go through catalogs, you'd think we had acres of tilled earth just waiting for seeds to be sown!

This year, I think I will limit myself to a few simple veggies that are easy to grow, and that I know we will eat -- tomatoes, beans, snap peas etc., and also some flowers to turn the island bed into a butterfly garden.  I spotted a nice mix of Profusion zinnia in a variety of colors that I will be ordering soon.

What have you seen in the seed and garden catalogs that you want to try this year?

Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Armchair Gardening

It's pretty cold and windy here today, with temperatures in the 40's.  I suppose I shouldn't complain, as so much of the country is buried in snow at the moment, but it still feels darned cold to me, and the wind just goes right through you.

So any gardening done today will be of the armchair variety.

This month's Garden How-To magazine shared some great links for gardeners, two of which I was especially interested in. 

Gardener's Supply Co. is one of my favorite catalogs, but I didn't realize, until I read about it in Garden How-To magazine, that they have a Kitchen Garden Planner.  

You can either choose one of their pre-planned vegetable gardens or you can create your own using their online tool.  

It's pretty neat -- you drag the vegetable or herb you want on to the garden plan and it spaces them out appropriately, so you know how many you can plant in your bed.  You can save your plans and print them out.  The site also provides all sorts of tips and information about planting and growing vegetables and more.

For the past few years in addition to blogging about my garden, I have kept a garden journal, with the specifics of what I plant, when I plant it, how it does etc. etc.

Well, that's always the plan anyway....  But it seems like every year I'm gung ho for a couple of months, then I slow down a bit and finally, but the dog days of summer, I have abandoned my garden journal entirely.

What starts out as a great idea ends up being barely legible because of my increasingly bad handwriting, and also not user friendly, as it's not easy to find information if I want to look up something I wrote about, but can't remember when.  In addition, at the end of the year, my dear husband kindly offers to scan every page for me, so I don't have to keep stacks of paper lying around.

So when I read in Garden How-To magazine about,  I had to take a peek.   

The site allows you to keep a journal with as much or as little information as you want.  It's online, it's searchable and it's FREE.

You can log the weather, your observations, gardening activities etc.   You can also browse other people's journals, share photos of your garden etc.

I'm really going to try and keep up with this.  Even if I just do short "observation" posts, such as making a note of when something starts leafing out, I think it will give me a great record of the progress of the garden.  And it's a record I'll be able to access, not one that will get stacked up in the attic and not looked at again.

Do you have any favorite tools for planning and keeping up with your garden -- either digital or otherwise? 

Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Welcome 2014 -- A Plan of Action

It's hard to believe I've been blogging about the garden I'm creating since 2010.  And now here we are in 2014.

I have to admit I let it slip a bit in the past year.  In my first year of blogging I posted 90 times! That may have over achieving a bit, and the next two years I posted around once a week.

Last year I only posted 35 times!  As I said, I let things slip.  

I think I actually let the gardening slip a bit too.  There were things that probably should have been pruned back to encourage more growth etc. that just didn't get done. Weeds were allowed to take hold where they weren't wanted etc.

I've been lucky enough to have some time off work between Christmas and New Year's and was able to spend a little time doing some clean up in the garden.

I didn't want to completely rip everything out, because I wanted to leave some cover for the birds, and to leave some seed heads standing.  But I got some tasks done like trimming back the milkweed etc.

I find if I do a little bit at a time, those little bits add up and eventually things get done.  This year I'm going to apply that to my gardening too.

Instead of waiting until I have all day to take on a task, I'm going to take a few moments here and there and chip away at the task until it's done.  

I'm hoping that way, the garden will still look nice and I won't be a worn out. sweaty wreck.

It's not actually a New Year's Resolution, more a "Plan of Action" but I think the garden (and I) will benefit.

And along the way, I'll try and make a point of blogging about it on a more regular basis.

Starting with this short little post today.

The island bed looking frosty on Christmas Eve

I wish you all the best for you and your gardens for the coming year. I look forward to seeing your progress.

Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.