About Us

Marsanne Petty
I enjoy writing, reading, photography, history, investigating old structures and trying not to get arrested by entering said structures. I write for Skirt and for Ehow. I can be contacted at mapetty@gmail.com.

Melody Lee
I like to garden and wow people with my artistic interpretations of how flowers should be arranged. I also write for Ehow and Garden Guides. I can be contacted at annlees@gmail.com.

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Friday, February 26, 2010

Five Things

Dave at The Home Garden asked us to talk about 5 garden projects we want to do this year. The assignment is due today, and I am almost late as usual. The next assignment is to write about garden chores we have been putting off. Guess I’ll have to list blogging as one of those.

Let’s start with an easy project – the new Japanese Maples. I snagged these two Tamukeyama (Coral Bark) maples at the end of the season last year for $10 a piece. Yep, you read that right. They were in the sun, stressed, and one had been dumped out of the pot and lost half the soil, so the manager let me have them cheap.
I planted them in partial sun with a dwarf gardenia that never grows and hardly ever blooms. I started planting a ring of ‘Citronelle’ Coral Bells and ‘Red October’ Hostas, but I ran out of plants. I think that is what they are, since I didn’t label them and my plant labels are all jumbled together. (Note: add organizing labels to things I have been putting off)
I want to finish the ring of Coral Bells and Hostas and edge the bed with some river rock to match the nearby bed of ferns. That should be easy.

We have been growing a few veggies in pots, but I decided I wanted a raised bed this year. We were going to buy the lumber to build one, but the power company offered us the old pole they replaced in our yard and another one. Of course, we said yes, and Michael used the chain saw to cut short pieces for the ends. (The pole in our yard was at least 26 years old and the other one looked older, so I don’t think there is any danger of creosote poisoning)
We bought a trailer load of potting soil mixed with mushroom compost and filled up the veggie bed. We even have enough for a strawberry bed – that’s the third project. Again, we have been growing strawberries in pots but there are so many now, I think we need a bed. Too bad we can’t get some more poles – guess, we will have to buy the lumber this time.

This is the Japanese Garden, an ongoing project. Of course, I want to plant more Japanese Maples, but the main project is the bed on either side of the screen at the back of the garden. I can’t decide what to plant there – each bed is about 8 feet long and 3 feet wide.
I bet you are wondering why there is a bed there. Because a pile of plywood lay there and killed the grass. Since the grass was dead anyway, I decided to plant something I wanted there. But I can’t decide what I want. Any suggestions?

We started this project last summer. There were huge azaleas growing around this tree and a tree at the other end of this bed. They blocked the view of the Japanese Garden, which is to the right of this shot. So, they had to go. You can see them piled up behind the tree.
Wow, what a difference it made! I felt like I had gotten rid of a black hole. Let’s face it, azaleas are pretty when they are blooming, but they are just big blobs the rest of the year.
I had started a Yellow Garden in front of the azaleas to lighten them up but it didn’t really work. Now I have extended the bed around the trees where the azaleas were and I am slowly adding more plants. I want to add some low growing shrubs with yellow or gold foliage for structure, because almost everything in the bed is a perennial right now.

So there you have 5 – I didn’t even tell you about adding more grasses and perennials to the Grass Garden along the fence, or making a Chocolate and Caramel Garden, or planting trees and shrubs that stand wet feet in the back yard, or …. Well, you know how it is. So what are you planning to do this year? Tells us your plans and leave a link for Dave at The Home Garden.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Magic and Whimsy in the Garden

Dave at The Home Garden has been thinking about
what makes a garden magical and he has asked his fellow bloggers for
their thoughts. I immediately knew the answer for me, but it took a
long time to get it into words. Hope you enjoy it!

When I started
gardening I made long narrow L-shaped flowerbeds on either side of
the driveway and the parking area. I filled them with flowers and
shrubs I liked with no particular plan or design. The flowers were
pretty but the design was – well, it was boring, there was no magic.
So I made changes – big changes. I made the bed on one side of the
driveway into a large square garden with a pond in one corner. And I
made the other side into a larger garden with a patio and another
pond in the middle. Notice the difference – I got rid of the
flowerbeds and developed gardens with a basic plan (subject to change
at any time).

I bought this statue of a dancing girl because it reminded me
of my daughters. She is currently dancing in the Hydrangea Garden.
Then I discovered garden ornaments – the magic of birdhouses, gazing
spheres and other things. I had collected knick-knacks for the house
for years until I got tired of dusting them. When you put knick-knacks
outside,the dust is part of the charm.
Then I began creating one-of-kind garden art from thrift store and yard
sale finds. Soon I had a jumble of items amidst the plants and I didn’t
really like the way it looked, but I didn’t want to get rid of anything.
There was no magic, just a mess. I needed a plan.

Who would expect to find a shiny gazing ball in the crotch of a tree?

One day I saw some pictures of some theme gardens in a magazine. And I
realized that I could create theme gardens based on my garden art. So
the square garden by the driveway became the Dragon Garden with a dragon
overlooking the pond. The other side of the driveway is divided into
five gardens separated by paths, each with its own theme.
The magic was back!

My husband made these flowers out of old horseshoes to go Dragon Garden,because its color theme is brown.

Five gardens separated by paths line this side of the driveway and parking area. One garden encircles a patio complete with table and chairs. Another garden contains a small pond with a waterfall, a bamboo fountain and spitting turtle.

I love plants – their texture and shape of the foliage and flowers and
berries and bark. But I am a gardener and lots of other people
don’t really understand my fascination with plants.
But they are enchanted by the hidden treasures in my garden, such as …

a spangly blue ball hanging from a hook …

a giraffe taking a break next to some hydrangeas …

buckets of sedums in my grandsons’ old wagon …

a basket full of mosaic balls …

an old-fashioned water pump and kettle planted with sedums …

and a monkey playing in the Tropical Garden

To me, the magic of a garden is anything that causes someone to smile –
a plant or garden art or a child discoveringhidden treasures.
What do you think?

The Tropical Garden even has a beachside café.

Thanks, Dave, for the chance to show the magic and whimsy in my garden.

Be sure to visit The Home Garden for more magic in the garden.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

February Foliage Follow-up

This is my first time participating in Foliage Follow-up.
It has made me look at my garden in a whole new way –
focusing on interesting foliage, instead of looking for flowers.

Spinach and lettuce for the new veggie bed Michael just built for me.

This Resurrection Fern may have to learn how to come back to life

after drowning too, if it keeps raining here.

Coral Reef Sedum growing on a stump.

The squirrels have been piling up the hickory nut shells and husks

since the weather has gotten cold.

I think theses are the seeds on the Japanese Fatsia (Fatsia aralia).

Has anybody tried planting them to see if they would grow?

I am thinking about trying it.

I call this “Bob’s grass” because my cousin, Bob, gave it to me

and he didn’t know the name of it. I think it is a Miscanthus.

It is gorgeous all year, but especially in the winter.

You can just see the buds on the Japanese Magnolia

in the background on the right.

You can see more fabulous foliage at Foliage Follow-up by visiting Pam at Digging.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Gardener Bloggers' Bloom Day

You would think since February Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day is so close to Valentine’s Day, I would have some heart shaped flowers. But I don’t, so I will have to just be happy with the few things that are blooming.

Pale pink hyacinth just opened – I couldn’t

find the label so I don’t know what it is.

Purple hyacinth trying to open – still couldn’t find the labels.

A single azalea bloom – it is so small I almost missed it.

Blooms on the strawberry plants in the greenhouse.

This poor Gerber daisy has been
struggling to bloom for a couple of weeks.

Be sure to check out what else is blooming

on Gardener Bloggers’ Bloom Day

with Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

At least the sun is shining ….

Yesterday Jan at Always Growing was wishing for some sunshine because the weather in Louisiana has been “rainy, damp, cold and gray for weeks.” I think the same weather has been sitting over North Florida too.

One of my "rain chains". I wasn't sure if I really wanted one, so I bought 3 hanging-thingees from a dollar store and hooked them together. Then my hubby hung them from the gutters. The water does run down them but, of course, they don't make any sound because they don't have cups to hold the water. It is about 3 feet long altogether.

It rained all day yesterday and was windy and cold – the high only reached 40 degrees. We got 1 ½ inches of rain and the river has come up about a foot. It is still below flood stage though, so maybe it won’t flood again.

But today the sun is shining. It is only supposed to get up to 49 degrees and it is windy … but the sun is shining! I hope it is shining on Jan too.

The sun shining on the water sitting in the backyard. Most of the back is too soggy to walk on.

I enjoy reading Always Growing because Jan grows lots of the same plants I do. It will be interesting to see how different plants survive the Florida cold and the Louisiana cold. Her agapanthus is already growing new leaves, but mine isn’t. So is her mint, but mine is still hiding. But both of us have daylilies and bulbs coming up, new growth on hydrangeas and lorapetalums blooming.

If you get a chance, drop in on Jan at Always Growing, see what is going on in Louisiana and wish her a sunny day.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

happy spring

happy spring
Originally uploaded by Creating Character
I’ve been playing with my Bamboo Tablet again. It is made by Wacom and is a photo editing tablet. Since it has a pen and a tablet, it is easier to manipulate than a mouse. However, the tablet can also be used as a mouse, either with your finger or the pen. The Bamboo Tablet is basically a hobbyist version of the more professional Wacom tablets, at a much more affordable price. I am sure that the higher priced versions have more benefits, but they weren’t what I needed. In my mind, anyway.

I have spent a lot of time fooling around with the tablet, but I still don’t know very much about it. It came with Photoshop Elements 7 and I don’t know the program very well. I have been searching for different things online, and I have found a book that I would like to get. Books a Million didn’t have it, and I haven’t had extra cash to get it from Amazon, so it will have to wait a little longer. Until then, I will just practice.

This picture took me quite a while to complete. Then, when I was completely done, I decided that the text should have been a little darker, but it was too late by then! Anyway, what do you think? Mom, recognize those flowers?

Friday, February 5, 2010

I planted 42 trees this morning!

Now, let me explain, before you start calling me crazy!

I decided that we needed to cut some of the big old limbs out of the Redtwig Dogwood. So Michael cut 8 or 10 limbs off about 6 inches from the ground. Some of limbs were almost 3 inches in diameter and 6 feet long or longer.

Redtwig Dogwood flowers. It is also called Red Ozier Dogwood.

I cut the small ends and smaller side limbs off to root in the backyard, which is pretty wet right now. There is a small sinkhole back there and I don’t like to mow around it – I won’t but Michael will. I stuck 42 “cuttings” in the ground around the sinkhole. The “cuttings” were from 2 feet to 4 feet long and I pushed about a foot of each one in the dirt.

Will it work? I don’t know, but I thought it was worth a try. We had been trying to decide what to plant around the sinkhole anyway so we wouldn’t have to mow there. It would be great if most of them rooted, but if only a few root, then that’s less plants I will need to buy.

This picture was taken in 2008 before an oak tree fell on it and broke about a third of the limbs.

Redtwig Dogwoods seem to be pretty hardy. Mine has survived a flood, drought, temperatures in the teens and above 100 degrees, and a tree falling on in it.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Last week was my birthday. I turned 32!! Can you believe it? I really didn’t want to pass the 30 mark, but my life hasn’t changed a whole lot since then. I was having a really bad week, because I thought that no one had remembered my birthday. No one had mentioned it at all, and we always have dinner at my mom’s house on all of our birthdays. She hadn’t said a word, and I knew she wouldn’t wait until the last minute, so I was getting kind of stressed out. No one loved me anymore! What was I going to do?

My hubby and kids told me I could order a Bamboo Tablet for my birthday, so I did. It was supposed to arrive on the 2nd, several days after my birthday, but I was too cheap to pay for expedited shipping, so that was my own fault. I was really excited, too, because I’ve wanted one for a while. For those of you that don’t know, a Bamboo Tablet is a tool to work with photographs.

Thursday morning arrives. My husband told me happy birthday when he got up. My dad called me and woke me up to tell me happy birthday. My oldest son came in to tell me when he was getting ready. My sis texted me. Then I got online and my mom told me. No one forgot me after all. My youngest son is always in a hurry to get to school, so he didn’t tell me until I went to pick him up.

When I was online, I told my mom that I had ordered the Bamboo Tablet from hubby and the kids. She asked what I was going to do with two of them, and like an idiot, I didn’t get it. She ordered me one too! But she ordered the next level up, so we all decided to keep it and send the one that I ordered back. When they credit my account back, I’ll go buy some new books or something like that.

So, instead of working on anything else on Thursday or Friday, I spent my entire day playing with my Bamboo Tablet. See what I did? Pretty cool, huh? I'll be working on some more here, but it takes me a while because I'm not really familiar with Photoshop too much, and the tablet works with Photoshop. I have to say the effect turned out rather nicely, even if I am complimenting myself. :)