Saturday, May 16, 2009

Deck Plantings in 07

Deck plantings consisted of crocosmia, wire vine, platt's black new zealand flax, geraniums, blood grass, mckennan hebe, canna, scotch moss, basil, blackie and mexican feather grass.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Weeds. Argh!

Nobody likes them and everyone is hoping there is a simple, minimal effort way to get rid of them. Well, I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news but there just ISN'T. On the bright side, there are things you can do to make the weeding job easier and to keep it weed-free longer.

First, weed when the ground is moist. It's a lot easier. Today is a perfect day for weeding. The ground is so moist, the weeds practically jump out of the ground on their own. Okay, that's an overstatement but it IS easier. Trust me. 

Next, use 'Preen'. If you've gone to all the trouble of weeding you want to make sure new ones don't pop up as soon as you turn your back. Preen is an earth friendly weed preventer. It doesn't do anything to prevent the weeds that are already there but it does stop NEW weeds from growing. It basically keeps the seeds from germinating. So don't put Preen around annual or veggie seedlings! As a bonus, Preen is also a fertilizer so while you're preventing the weeds you're promoting the growth of your other plants. 

One thing I DO recommend is planting dense GROUND COVERS. Some thymes are good at keeping the weeds down (not the variegated one though). Yellow ice plant and woolly thyme also seem to do the job. Plus, they look great and often thrive in drought tolerant areas. Blue star creeper does a good job too but you have to stay after the weeds for the first year or two. Pictured clockwise: blue star creeper (see blue flowers), yellow ice plant (bottom right), thyme (center), and woolly thyme (far right).

One thing I DON'T recommend is putting down any kind of black tarp weed preventer. I don't care how much you burry it, it always seems to resurface and then you're constantly trying to cover it up again. Also, it seems like it doesn't take long before the weeds make their way through.

Good luck outsmarting those weeds! 

HERE'S ONE MORE ADD-ON. I just got a comment and realized I forgot to mention MULCH. Duh! Corn gluten was also suggested. Has anyone else tried that and had any success? Oh, and, you can get the Preen at McClendon's and probably most garden centers. I think I've even seen it at Costco.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Border with Variegated Iris

Border of variegated iris, gerber daisies, blue star creeper and scotch moss. The variegated iris is one of my favorites. It doesn't seem to get out of hand like regular iris. It's foliage makes it an attractive plant almost all year long and the blossoms are just a PLUS. When it blooms, I think it smells exactly like cotton candy.

Prep and Maintenance for Container Plantings

I always try to keep a mix of evergreens and perennials in my container plantings so there is something to look at all year long. Some of my evergreens were looking pretty rough this year so I decided this was the year to give my plants the SPA treatment. I emptied all my pots and put new dirt in. This seems like a fairly simple endeavor but given the shear number of pots I have this was quite an undertaking (27 on the south side alone)! This year is a test year. I am trying out the Costco Miracle Grow Moisture Control dirt. I am also going to keep up with the fertilizing which is something I've always slacked on in the past. I'm hoping that by doing those two things, my deck garden will be abundant and overflowing. This photo shows the starting point so you can be the judge! If you have any other tricks or tips, please feel free to share them!