Gardening, with a passion, everyday!

Monday, January 30, 2012


Spikes are an awesome accent plant that can be saved from year to year.  I dig them out before frost, put them in a bucket of water and keep them in a cool dark corner in the basement.   After that they only need a little more water as the levels drop...simple and worth the money you save replacing them in the spring.

Spikes grow in full sun or shade which makes it a versatile plant for the ground or in container planting.  They enjoy having there feet wet, so a good drink of water daily is in order.  Fertilize weekly with a good 20-20-20 blend will also make a spike very happy.

Spikes can be set outside when the temps are 60 degrees during the day.  I set mine in my unheated green house and keep them there over night without any problems.  I can usually replant them by the end of May here in Wisconsin.

The spikes stay green in the basement and may have a few brown leaves on the bottom of the plant that can be pulled off before planting in the spring.

I use spikes as a showy accent around my pond

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


     With the weather being so nice this winter, I have thought about outdoor gardening alot!  With no snow on the ground I told myself many times that we must be going to have a REALLY early spring.  I couldn't hardly bear to see the ground with not a flower or vegetable plant growing out of it!  We all no in actuality, that spring doesn't officially start for another 56 days and around here planting still can't start until the end of may...That's along time yet for a passionate gardener!

     I have saved alot of recyclables over the winter, as I always do, to use in my garden.  Soda bottles large and small and milk jugs work great for planting containers and for covering plants at night as the nights can still get cold in the beginning.

Great way to recycle!

Put the top of the soda bottle into the bottom.  It makes a great planting container and any extra water will drain to the bottom

The bottom of the milk jug makes a great planting container for seedling, just punch in a few holes.

I also save all my paper towel and toilet paper cardboard rolls.  They are awesome for making compost as brown material.  I also save my coffee grounds and filters and peelings from fruits and vegetables

Saturday, January 21, 2012


     My husband and I have dabbled in numerous different things since all the kids have left the nest.  We took on six dogs, started a few blogs( emptynestersfamilydaily and healthy comfort ) and decided to try our hand at lampworking.

     Since being an avid gardener, I embraced lampworking as a way to be in touch with nature threw glass.  Beads were created with birds, butterflies, flowers, ladybugs, etc.....whatever we were able to put in the glass. I am proud to say that people all over the world wear these little glass marvels on there wrist.  This has turned into a wonderful hobby and a business venture for us on ebay.

A blue swallowtail butterfly

a cardinal
A monarch butterfly among yellow daisy's
 A large monarch butterfly
a robin under glass
These are just some of the beads that we create on a weekly basis to share with other nature loving people.  What a good feeling to wear a part of your garden on your wrist in the off season.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


     My pond is the focal point of my backyard, surrounded by all my flower gardens.  It has the ability to attract birds and butterflies and soothe the savage beast in all of us.  Its melodious tunes of the waterfall has a mesmerizing aura.  I call it my summer paradise.

     Don't get me wrong, among the beauty there is alot of hard work that takes place.  I have been working on my pond for years to come up with the perfect Eco balance.  The fish and plants keep the pond clean in the summer and fall and overwinter in there aqua oasis in the winter and spring.  Oxygenaters are added to the water in late fall and a large hole is pounded in the pond daily in the winter to keep the toxic gases from building up.

Late summer

summer pond

winter pond

Sunday, January 15, 2012


     Wild milkweed, what can I say about It?  It isn't a pretty plant, but the monarch butterfly thinks so!

     I first became accustomed to the milkweed plant on a hiking trip.  It was covered with monarch butterflies dancing an awesome dance,  lingering on each leaf for a moment, then moving on.  I mentally thought to myself...gotta take a few of them home.

     I planted my wild milkweed in my butterfly garden. Nothing came up the year I planted them, so I thought they were just not compatible with our naturalized way of life.  Boy, was I wrong!  The next year the milkweed came up with a vengeance.  There was so many milkweed plants that I had to pull some to make my garden look like there was a few flowers in it.  The ones that were left flourish and towered over all the other flowers.

     I noticed that there were green caterpillar's up and down the leaves and stems of the milkweed.  Upon further investigation I also noticed what looked like eggs.  I decided to make an aquarium for my new caterpillars to see what would happen.  I picked caterpillars of all sizes and put a leave or two of milkweed in there every day....The leaves started disappearing and the caterpillars started growing.

     I had quite a few cocoons all summer long and new there schedule well. Now me and my grand kids have made collecting caterpillars a summer long adventure!


getting ready to emerge


Finished emerging

Getting ready to start life

Another beautiful monarch

Friday, January 13, 2012


     I love gardening, I wish I lived somewhere that I could garden outdoors, all year long.  With no snow in Wisconsin until January 12th and extremely warm temperatures during the day (especially for being winter) I had that gardeners itch bad! 

     One new thing that I did do this past fall was take cuttings from my favorite plants, something I had never attempted.  Not really knowing what I was doing but willing to experiment.  I took  3 inch cuttings from all the different coleus plants I had.  Wow, they all took off as you can see.  The cuttings from the double impatience also took off quickly and after 3 months are not looking the best, not sure if they will last until the end of may.
coleus cuttings from october 2011

Another coleus cutting from oct 2011

Double Impatience not doing so good

This is a cutting that was 3 inches (from oct 2011)
     My other experiment was how to overwinter my geraniums so I wouldn't have to keep buying so many year after year.  I had read about different ways too keep them so I thought Id try a few, which both involved paper bags.  I left 2 potted geraniums in there original form, watered them good, slapped a paper bag over the top and put then in a dark corner in the basement.  Numerous other ones were soaked in water for two hour and layed in paper bags.  The tops of the bags are folded down, but not sealed.  Those too were put in a dark corner.  All they need is to be soaked for 2 hours once a month and actually are doing good( they have been in the bags since October) The potted ones also need to be watered.
Overwintered potted geranium

Bagged geraniums

     I also attempted a few Rex begonia cuttings and 1 actually took, it hasn't grown, but it hasn't died either.  It has been a great winter to be able to still garden in the house!