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Here Come the Peonies

May 31st, 2009

I’m so excited that my double peonies are starting to bloom. They’re such great plants, hardy and drought resistant, they bloom year after year and seem to thrive on neglect.
light-pink-peony
It seems like you wait and wait for those giant buds open, and then all at once they’re all in bloom. I’m not sure what kind of peony I have, I inherited them from the previous owners. Someday I’ll try to figure it out to label them properly.
pink-peony-bud
This year I’m planting 5 new peonies that I bought and my mom is giving me a few of hers. In a few years they should all be blooming nicely. On Tuesday my mom and I are headed to Stan Hywet to see their peony collection in bloom.

So what about you, do you love peonies? Do you have any in your gardens?

11 Years Already?

May 30th, 2009

Mr Chiots and I aren’t big celebrators of big events, birthdays and anniversaries aren’t that big of a deal around here. I’m not sure why, we’re just too practical I think. Last year on our anniversary I got an e-mail from my mom about halfway through the day, we had both completely missed that it was our anniversary. I looked at Brian (we both work from home) and said, “Hey, today’s our anniversary”. He looked at me and said, “Oh, Happy Anniversary!”, then we went right back to work.
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So today being our 11 year anniversary probably isn’t going to get much of a celebration (at least I did remember it was today). We actually have the day off, no weddings to film. I’m off to the farmer’s market this morning, and we’re running some errands this afternoon. We will celebrate our anniversary like any other day, spending time together.

How do you celebrate big events like birthdays & anniversaries?

What to Put in the Bottom of a Pot?

May 29th, 2009

There are all kinds of things you can put in the bottom of a pot before you fill it. Some people use rocks, others use pieces of broken pottery, some people use packing peanuts and others use those little special plastic inserts that are made just for that purpose.
what-to-put-in-bottom-of-pot
I used to use rocks, but then I got sick of picking rocks out of my potting soil when I put it into the compost bin, so I started using broken pieces of pottery. I soon ran out of those since I pot up so many plants each spring, so I started using pieces of landscaping cloth.
terracotta-pot
I find that this works particularly well for me. When I empty the pot I simply pull off the piece of fabric and put it back in the pot so it’s ready to go next spring.
potted-eggplant
What do you use in the bottom of your potted plants?

Parched

May 28th, 2009

It’s been a dry May here in Ohio. Usually we have a fairly wet spring and we only get dry spells in late July & August. I emptied my rain barrels last week sometime and have been hoping for rain. I guess I should install a few more rain barrels.
two-red-watering-cans
I’ve been keeping track of how much water I’m able to save with my rain barrels. So far this spring I’ve been able to harvest and use 690 gallons of water from my rain barrels.
rain-barrels-tracking1
I finally had to resort to using the hose to water my raised beds, I really didn’t want my strawberry crop to suffer. So out came the hose and I spent hours watering everything thoroughly.
hose-guide
I love these little hose guides, I got them a long time ago to keep the hose from trampling my plants. I need to get a few more though, I suppose a big rock would do, but how cute is this little frog looking up from the garden.
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We got a small shower yesterday, but it amounted to less than an 8th of an inch of rain. It was only enough to get everything wet and droopy and make the day humid.
wet-peonies
Even with that small amount of rain, I captured 21 gallons of water, that will be enough to water all of my potted plants.
rain-on-the-deck
We do have a 60% chance of thunderstorms today, hopefully we’ll get some rain, at least enough to fill up my rain barrels. I’m not holding my breath though, everyone around us got tons of rain yesterday and we got nothing.

Anyone else’s garden parched or are you having the opposite problem?

Mixing Edibles and Ornamentals

May 27th, 2009

I’ve been trying to mix my edible plants in with my ornamental plants because I’ve been reading that it’s a good way to deter pests. Not to mention I don’t have much edible gardening space so it’s nice to tuck them in here and there in my flowerbeds where I have an empty spot.
front-flowerbed
As you can see in this photo, I have a pink peony blooming with some catmint blooming in front of it. In the background you can see a pea climbing up the small trellis.
pea-blossom
These are the only peas in the garden that the deer didn’t find, so I guess my plan is working. In front of the catmint I have cabbages & broccoli planted. It’s the only cabbage & broccoli that doesn’t have cabbage loopers on it and that they wildlife hasn’t nibbled.
edibles-ornamentals
Not only have I had great success with mixing my edible in my flower beds, I really like the combination. I love the way cabbages look when tucked in among other things. I think I’m going to be doing more and more of this.

What about you, any edibles in your ornamental beds?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.

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