Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Lake Larson takes FIRST PLACE!!

I have been waiting to enter Lake Larson in the RI Nursery and Landscape Association's Excellence Award pretty much when Eric built it. This was the year that it looked like it was really ready. I guess the judges agreed with me. ;)

I dedicate this award to Eric's back and the numerous surgeries it's suffered. :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

January Orchid Paradox - Day 14

When it's 11 degrees out this evening with a wind chill of doesn't seem right. It seems really, really right!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Feathered friends - Day 13

Bird Central was the place to be yesterday...I've got 2 suet cages, two feeder with black sunflower seeds, and the thistle tube feeder up this year. One suet cage is over on the fence but the hole in Lake Larson from the air stone. We get a nice mix of's the downy woodpecker who comes a lot and a sparrow of some sort (I can't tell from the pic.) We were in the hot tub this morning and the downy showed up. He made a couple of loud calls and then a bunch of birds came to feed. It was sort of he was the sentry and gave everyone else the okay to come and dine.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Aerogarden update - Day 12

I'm going to cheat and do two pics because I had a little bit of a busy week this week.

We've had another winter storm warning today and I think we got around 3 or so inches of snow on the ground. Thankfully, this was a lighter snow and it's been pretty easy to shovel. I do like snow but wish it was a little softer out there because it makes for some difficult walking. Lars has been pretty much a shut in with the exceptions of going to rides in the car and walks with Eric.

On this snowy morning, I see peeks of color on my stock in the 3 podder. I just switched over to the liquid fertilizer and I'm very interested to see how much of a change I see in the plants. Those tablets that came with the kit were really bad at dissolving. The petunias have really started to grow and the zinnias are coming along...but they were also planted weeks after these other two pods. I think it will be a pretty little mix when they all start to do their thing.

This is what really makes my smile...tomato blooms. I have the fan on them today and I'll have it on them every day while they are blooming to help them pollinate. I finally pinched them lightly yesterday. The light hood has a couple of more levels it can be raised but figured trying to get them to bush out at this point would be a good thing. I read someplace online that someone had tomatoes in their aerogarden for 14 months. We'll see how long these guys produce for us. Exciting stuff!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

2011's Orchid crop: very promising - Day 7

The upstairs orchids have been gearing up for their show this winter. The photo above is of the light yellow one with pink highlights. This one didn't flower last winter and I think it was in protest of me putting it outside in a place I thought would work. It didn't...and it took a while for them to get over it. Too much sun (and it was just morning sun) didn't agree and they got burnt.

But it's a new year, and they didn't go outside. So, right now 4 out of my 6 orchids are forming flower scapes. I did decide the mini one downstairs is getting ready to flower and I'm really excited about that. I love my orchids...who knew they would be so easy to grow!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Baby, It's cold outside...Day 6

Yes, Friday was one of those days where I was out of the office all day with meetings and running around. So, I'll skip it for the biggie.

I had to run to CT for a preliminary design meeting this morning. It was in the low teens as I ran out to fire and warm up the jeep. As I was coming back inside to get the rest of my stuff together, I notice the 'Purple Passion' Rhododendron completely collapsed down.

You know it's frigid when you see this...almost like mother nature's thermometer. But this is actually a survival method the Rhodies will use when it's cold like this outside. Plants lose water through pores on the undersides of their leaves. The rolling that Rhodies do helps the plant reduce the water they lose through those pores. Kind of neat, huh??

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Aerogarden update - Day 4

This post will be heavy with pics instead of the single ones as of late. I finally snapped some recent photos of the aerogardens with the regular camera. It doesn't pick up the flickering of the lights on the small one. So, I now have some pics of those plants.

The red cherries:

The yellow cherry:

I think it's been about 6 weeks that these guys have been growing along. I said to Eric our outdoor tomatoes don't look this good. I've been using the liquid fertilizer packs that came with the kit and apparently, they agree with the plants. I know there are people with aerogardens who get crazy about the water specific gravity, using distilled water, and this, that, and the other thing with the water. I haven't gotten all of the wild meters and stuff like that...I doubt I'll get that nuts over this. They are supposed to be easy and since I have been having fairly decent success with what I'm doing...I'll keep on keeping on.

I was suprised to notice yesterday that I see something that looks an awful lot like flower buds forming on the tomatoes. I popped up the height of the lights to give them a little bit of room. I think what I'm going to do in regards to pruning is pinch them right above the flowers that are coming. Some of you may be wondering how will the plants get pollinated while indoors. Luckily, tomatoes are pollinated by wind or by shaking the plants. So, I have my little mini space heater down here with a fan option and I'll let that blow on the plants for an hour or so and see if that works. Now on to the discussion of the 3 pod garden -

The Zinnia 'White Profusion' which replaced the phlox that never came up. I know that aerogarden will replace dud pods...but I'm not going to make a stink over one little pod. I have a ton of various seeds and it was much, much easier to toss some of them in it.

Petunias - no variety listed, just called Mini Pink

Stock - no variety listed.

The stock has had a little bit of blotchy yellow coloring on the leaves. I'm not that familiar with stock and what it does so I'm not sure if it is nutrient deficiency or just how the leaves look when they are young. I am using the fertilizer tablets that came with the kit. With these, you just toss them in whole into the water reservoir. After using liquid fertilizer in my big aerogarden, I'm not a big fan of the tablets. I did consider not using them when I started this garden up and using the liquid fertilizers I have for gardens I make myself. I may switch over to them soon and see if there is a bigger difference.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Winter Wonderland....NOT - day 3

Ugh....heavy wet snow and my plants don't get along. Eric was a dear and braved the elements with Lars to rescue the arborvitae and the rhododendron (which is normally the height of the house.)

He got most of the ice and snow off with a telescopic brush he uses for his boat and they sort of snapped back. I think he was more worried about them breaking and then losing privacy for the hot tub. I am pleased to report that the hot tub and a path to it has been shoveled out (Priorities!!!) and I did eventually dig a path from the front door. As of right now at 4 pm...there looks like a little lull in the radar but the snow is far from over.

Horticultural hope - Day 2

I fully intended on posting this last night after I got home from my last RINLA board meeting, but fell asleep on the couch. So I will still call this day 2. :)

I'm trying a little experiment with some of my regular houseplants and the aerogardens to see if the light they give off will sustain plants in the basement office. I have 2 moth orchids and a streptocarpus down here with me. I am happy to report that they all seem to be doing very well with the artificial light. The streptocarpus had longish light green leaves when it came down here and has been replacing them with shorter, sturdier dark green leaves.

Below is my mini moth orchid I got from last year's flower show and A & P Orchids from Seekonk. Moth Orchids need night temperatures to be around 55 degrees at night in order for them to initiate flower buds. It's easily that cool down here at night...

I have been watching this little side growth with much interest. I've been fooled in the past by things that I thought where flower scapes then to have them turn into those big fleshy roots. I'm becoming more hopeful this could be a flower scape. Stay tuned....

Monday, January 10, 2011

Winter weather rhodies - day 1

I made a decision and figured I would attempt a 365-ish type format for a year and see how it turns out. I know there will be some days where I may not get to it, especially if I have a marathon day out of the office or if Lars and I are off showing for a weekend. But I'm going to try my best.

Saturday morning I was out and about in the yard with Lars as he was making sure he let every creature that that our yard was his. Our large, run of the mill Rhododendron looked really pretty with the light dusting of snow we had gotten over I captured it with the phone camera.

The snow didn't last very long because the sun was really strong that afternoon...but I was able to enjoy the look of it when I was out there.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Tomato update and thoughts of direction

Operation Winter Tomatoes seems to be fairly extremely well! This photo was taken on January 3rd, 2011 and I don't have one uploaded anywhere of them today. I will report the plants are very beefy and healthy looking. I think I have to pinch/prune them soon from what I have gathered from an aerogarden message board I lurk on. Maybe next week I'll give them a trim. I'm just so pleased with how they look and I'm dying to taste my first aeroponic tomatoes.

The other little aerogarden has lift off with the Stock and Petunia pods. The Phlox pod was a big dud but that's fine...I got it off of ebay and I have no idea how old the seeds where. I added some Zinnia 'White Profusion' seeds to it a couple of days ago and I know they grow like gang busters in an aerogarden. I have been having bad luck with taking photos with my phone (which took the above photo) with the lighting on the 3 pod one. The photos come out weird with vertical lines across them. So, I'm going to have to use my regular camera I think. That's why I haven't had any update on here with that one. I have to charge the batteries in my camera and I've been lazy with that.

As for the direction in my title, I just heard about this "project 365" from a friend's blog I read. Apparently the deal is you post a photo a day on your blog to represent your life in pics. It's supposedly so you take better and more meaningful photos of things in your life. I'm intrigued by this idea for both this blog and the one I have on Lars' escapades (that I shamelessly ignore.) I'm seriously thinking about trying it. Who knows, maybe tomorrow there will be another blog posting on here with a pic...we'll see.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Even winter gardens bring me joy

Happy New Year Everyone!! I know that I welcome 2011 with open arms and can't wait to see what this year brings me. December was a little bit of a wonky month here...Eric had yet another back surgery early in the month and it was another spinal fusion. So, December was more or less a loss month for me between getting measurements done for winter projects, being a caretaker, having a revolving door for family visiting Eric and lastly the holidays. I did manage to run out and take some neat pics of the yard on this one spectacularly sunny (but frigid) morning right after Eric came home from the hospital.

The strawberries in the glazed strawberry pots...I loved the color of the foliage against the color of the container. I learned something about squirrels and strawberries...they will eat the leaves if they are hungry enough. Who knew...

The sun gave me some wonderful effects with the plants in the yard like this Leucothoe 'Nana' next to Lake Larson. I like this plant and I have tried it with mixed success in both my yard and client's yards. I have two rainbow Leucothoe in different places in the yard and they have some dieback on them. They don't like exposed spaces and so places with wind are out of the question. They really do like a protected, wooded place to call home.

The bold seed heads of my Black Fountain Grass...I'm ready to pull the countless volunteers from this plant in the spring. This plant seeds like crazy and I'm sure I mentioned it before. But, it's not so evil I'll yank it out. I think dividing it is on the menu for this spring.

I do love my winter hydrangeas...I think they are as pretty in the winter as they are in the summer.

My Lavender scoffs at the cold weather and continues to look wonderful (not so much now after a foot of heavy snow though.)

This rose floored me this held it's shape and color until about a week for before Christmas. (It looks like hell now. LOL) But it stayed in suspended animation for weeks in front of the kitchen window. I wrestled with should I cut it and bring it in or not for as long as it looked good. I decided against it because I was sure it was going to disintegrate inside once it thawed.

Sun makes Japanese Silver Feather Maiden Grass glow even this time of year.

Everyone asks me about the wet pets and this time of year and how to they make it in the pond in the winter. When I took this photo...there was about a good inch of ice on the Lake. They just hang out and move around slowly throughout the pond. They will seek out areas under the ice where the sun hits the Lake and then when it goes away, they go back to the deep side. We do have a heater and the air stone running to keep two holes in the ice so gas exchange can happen. If we didn't do that...they would die due to lack of oxygen. But they hang and lounge around until spring under there.

We kept the little waterfall running until we got ice dams on it and the water start to flow around them. We started to get some serious water running out of the falls and into the garden around it. I shut them down for the winter right before I snapped these last two photos. It's too bad I can't run them the entire winter because I love the look of iced up waterfalls...both man-made and natural ones.