Sunday, July 31, 2011


First hibiscus bloom of the season, few weeks behind this year.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Coleus Care

If you have a shady garden like I do, then you know that Coleus are great for adding color to a shady garden.  Sun coleus are also a great way to add color to containers in a sunny location.  Coleus is an annual (meaning it does not come back, it's only good for one summer).  Some people have luck bringing Coleus cuttings into the house in the winter, I am not one of those people.  Once a plant is inside my house, it's as good as dead since I cannot take care of indoor plants at all.  I guess I am just not an indoors person.  Here are some tips to keep your coleus happy and healthy during the summer months:

  1. Do not water leaves of coleus at night, this may cause the leaves to rot.
  2. Coleus do not require a lot of fertilizer.  The more fertilizer the less color the leaves tend to have.  I use either worm compost tea (available at lots of extension offices) or manure tea (available through )
  3. Keep soil moist, but not overly wet.  
  4. Pinch back or trim plants to keep them from getting leggy.  
  5. Pinch off blooms to encourage them to be more bushy. (Keeping the blooms on the plant will not hurt the plant, they just tend to grow taller and skinnier, rather than full and bushy).
Coleus 'Saturn'

Bloom on hosta, which should be pinched off.

Pinching off the bloom, simply means removing the bloom.

Here are some flowers buds that should be pinched off.

Pinching off a flower bud.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Organizing Garden Pictures - tech meets gardening

This week I am attempting to organize my gardening pictures.  As you have probably figured out from reading my blog, I am a visual person.  So what better way for me to remember what I have in my gardens, then by creating digital photo albums.

I am using the online website called Photobucket to create digital photo albums, but I am sure other photo hosting sites such as Flickr would also work.  It just depends on what website you are comfortable using.  The advantages of using online photo hosting sites to build you albums:

  1. You are using someone else's server space, so frees up space on your computer
  2. They are easy to share with others
  3. It's free 
Why create digital photo albums?
  1. A way to remember what you have planted.
  2. Log progress or lack of progress on plants in your garden.
  3. It gives you something to look at and admire in the winter when nothing is blooming.
Depending on how many plants you have, creating digital photo albums take time.  You could always take the pictures now when everything is blooming, and then in the dead of winter when you need some plant therapy you could organize your albums.  I like to update my albums every two years, and then I can see how different my plants are in that span of time.  I also add notes to my pictures, such as if and when I divided or moved certain plants.

Here is an example of one of my photo albums.  All my hostas that begin with the letter B:

Monday, July 25, 2011

And we have a winner

The winner of the Remington battery powered lawnmower Cheeshead Gardening and Remington teamed up with to giveaway was L.h. Thompson.  Congratulations!!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

It's daylily time

It's so much fun to go out to the garden lately, as every day a new daylily has opened up.  I think of myself as a hosta person, but the more I dapple in daylilies the more I like them.  Don't worry, my hostas are still staying number one on my list.  But how much fun is it to see a new flower bloom every day?  Is is just me?  My neighbors probably think I am crazy, as some mornings I am out with my camera while still in my pajamas.
On Silken Thread - which is a spider type daylily because of the long petals. It's also known as a UFO or Unusual Form.
I think this one is Kisses Like Wine

Odd and Ends another UFO daylily

Miss Jessie - spider type daylily

Daring Deception

Cousin Kirby

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Using cardboard to line flower beds - bye bye landscaping fabric

There are a few things that a lot of people use in their gardens that I just cringe at the sight of it.  One of those things is landscaping fabric.  I won't tell you the rest, since I will probably start receiving nasty emails.  Yes, I admit that I have landscaping fabric in my garden.  As a beginning gardner I didn't know any better.  But now I know just how hard it is to work with.  Not only is it hard to put plants in once you have the fabric down, but it also doesn't prevent weeds as they grow on top of the landscaping fabric.  So here is my method for laying out a new flower bed.

 1. Choose your location. I always dig up the sod in the area, but I know others who skip this step.
 2. Line the new garden bed with cardboard. (You can also use thick sheets of newspaper (not shiny colored ad) I tried this but I have so many birds they were constantly pulling it through and I had newspaper everywhere.)
 3. Cover the cardboard with compost.
 4. Start laying out your plants.
 5. Once you have them laid out the way you like them, then you can dig in and plant them.
 6. This is the garden a year later.
7. This is the garden three years later, and I hardly ever have to pull weeds from this garden.  My only issue with this garden is the chipmunks who like to eat my lily bulbs.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Adding some color to containers by repurposing household items

I love blown glass garden art, but I can't afford to fill my entire garden with it.  When I was in Lincoln City, Oregon a few weeks ago I watched how blown glass floats are made.  I fell in love with some of them, but I seem to have expensive taste.  Every time I would find a piece of glass art perfect for the garden it was $300 or more.  So I walked away empty handed.  On the way back to our rental house we stopped at a liquor store to pick up some margarita mix.  The first thing I noticed when we walked into the liquor store were these cool glass twists in a vase they had placed throughout the store.  Then it hit me that they were twisty straws.  I just had to buy some, as I knew they could be used in my garden somewhere.  Here is the result:
The today I was in a party supply store picking up a birthday card and found something else I could use in pots.  Can you guess what these are?

I sometimes wonder if I am the only one who sees something and tries to figure out ways to use it other than the way it was intended.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Oshkosh Garden Walk

Despite the hot weather today, I decided to tour the gardens in the Oshkosh Garden Club's garden walk.  Here are some of the highlights from the walk.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Review: Remington RM212B Electric Battery Push Mower -win a lawnmower

This spring Remington contacted me to find out if I would like to try one of their electric or battery powered lawnmowers.  I really wanted to try a battery powered lawn mower, especially since our old lawnmower died earlier this spring.  We have too many trees and other obstacles in our yard for a corded electric lawnmower.

Here is the lawnmower Remington sent me:


  • Easy to put together
  • VERY easy to start
  • Quieter motor
  • Adjustable height (all four wheels are adjustable at the same time)
  • Comfortable handle
  • Can choose from side discharge, mulch, or bagging lawn clippings
  • No gas required
  • No winter maintenance, simply store battery for winter
  • No cord required
  • We mowed lawn twice and never had to charge battery (still life left)
  • Has indicator lights on battery so you know when power is running low and it needs to be charged
  • Most important: it was great at cutting the lawn (better then our traditional lawnmower)
Here is video of how easy lawnmower is to start:
  • Because of the battery lawnmower is a little bit heavy, would not work if you have very large hills or steep inclines to mow.
  • Not self-propelled, this is only a drawback if you are used to a self-propelled lawn mower.
  • This was a smaller base compared to our other lawnmower.  This is 19" and our previous mower was 22"
Would you like to win your own Remington RM212B Electric Battery Push Mower??  Cheesehead Gardening and Remington are giving one away!!  Just enter here.  A winner will be chosen by random number generator on July 25th.  So be sure to enter by 9pm (central) time July 25th.  Good Luck!

Remington sent me the lawnmower free of charge, but asked me to be 100% honest in my review of their product.

Monday, July 11, 2011


Short post, but I just realized that I never cut my asters in half yet.  Usually I try to do it on or around July 4th.  It keep them from getting leggy and falling over in fall when they are in bloom.  So if you have asters, I would get out there and cut them in half if you haven't already.

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Visit to Solaris Farms

Yesterday I took my first trip of the season out to Solaris Farms in Reedsville, WI.  Solaris Farms is a great nursery that specializes in peony, daylily, and lilium.  It's a little too early for most of their hundreds (possibly thousands) of daylily to be in bloom, but here are some pictures for you to enjoy.

The Official Greeter