Tag: gardening in pots

Wordless Wednesday: Driveway Farm Progress

July 28

 And a bit of history:

June 16
July 15

A bit of a slow start…..

The cool, wet spring (probably better described as long wet winter) combined with a significant amount of both work and personal travel has put me a bit behind on gardening. Did a bit of work a couple weeks ago, and this past weekend finally got out and got dirty – setting back up the driveway farm.

My yard and garden are heavily shaded with only a small area offering enough sun to successfully grow food. And that small spot is centered around and on my driveway. Last year I started experimenting with growing herbs and veggies in pots along the driveway edge. This experiment was mostly successful and has created what I call my driveway farm.

This year I’m focusing mainly on heirloom tomatoes and herbs with a pepper or two thrown into the mix. I started the day with last year’s pots filled with last year’s dirt and more than a few volunteer weeds. I look like a bit of a mad scientist as I rejuvenate the soil in the containers. Mixing in a bit of new potting mix, compost, fertilizer and my secret ingredient of alfalfa pellets.
I use the largest pots I have for the tomatos, filling between them with the smaller herb pots. I’ll be sticking in nasturium and other small plants such parsley at the base of the tomatoes. Also need to rig up some kind of automatic drip irrigation system, but all and all good progress on the farm.
 The area I think of as the lampost bed is filling in nicely. Planted the barrel with annuals a couple weeks ago, but it really is the perennials stealing the show – and proving the value of foliage for color in a garden. Love the brightess of the yellow foliage in this shaded yard.
 On the other hand, the bed under the walnut tree is not quite as successful. Several of the pernenials did not return. Some corners of the bed are fine, other a bit bare. Still experimenting here on what will grow successfully beneath a walnut.
As I worked  and took pictures around the garden, I realized that last year I kinda lost steam on updating garden progress on this blog. I think the last phot I did of the front beds looks something like this:
Nothing but spray painted bed lines on both sides of the front walk. Readers digest version: We tilled it up, I planted in a variety of shade and part sun plants, sticking to a green/white/burgundy color scheme, relying on foliage color more than flowers, and finally used stones from other areas of the yard to create an edging. If I can say so myself, it has all turned out quite well.
This spring we added the bottle tree, and bottle bug earlier this year. I lost few if any of the perennials over the winter. Most of all, I am thrilled with the Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ (aka red leaved redbudtree). One of my favorite small trees. I find the deep color of the young leaves enchanting. Cannot imagine a garden without this tree.

Hey, I *could* have a flock of pink flamingos….

Originally I was going to do a post titled “Reduce, reuse, recycle” featuring this planter created from more or less “found” elements…. coupled with details on how I re-use last year’s potting soil with a bit of a mad scientist approach involving fresh potting soil, compost, organic fertilizer, alfalfa pellets and some really grubby, dirty hands. Or how I use the styrofoam packing peanuts to fill the bottom of planters.

Sure, I used an old golf cart found in my parent’s garage, and a very old golf bag. And I do mix up my own potting soil. And, I did save and use the packing peanuts – usually checking to make sure they are styrofoam, rather than corn starch which melts with water, to fill the bottom of large containers

But then, when I posted a picture on facebook of my finished product, my brother commented, “what will the neighbors think”. You see, I live in an established, somewhat conservative, upper middle class suburb of Milwaukee. We did what I think was a brilliant thing – buying the least expensive house in the best neighborhood possible. What we didn’t do was the expected tear down/rebuild or massive remodel/new addition. Instead we are tackling tiny project after tiny project ourselves.  The result of which has been comments from our neighbor that our purchase price is “bringing the neighborhood property values down”, or in seeing we were doing landscaping ourselves comments about hiring a professional.

So maybe my neighbor won’t like my golf bag planter. But I sure do! We got the original idea back in 2004 when we attended the PGA Championship at Kohler. There on the streets of Manitowoc, WI was this planter….

Ever since, we’d said we’d have a golf planter. Finally made that a reality. My version:

I think it’ll get better as it fills out and grows. Oh the plants – in the top: Phormium ‘Jester’, Cuphea cyanea ‘Caribbean Sunset’, Cascade Centradenia, and ‘Aloha Red’ calibrachoa. Lower front pocket (with ball) Sanvitalia ‘Sunbini’, back pocket, sorry, lost the tag, maybe a santolina?

In other ghetto gardening news. A couple of weeks ago I saw these great painted trellises and tomato hoops at a local garden center. 
 
LOVED them, but not the cost. Instead I bought 12 tomato hoops from Menards and four cans of paint. For the cost of two of the garden center versions, I have a dozen. Set up a little spray paint assembly line of one of our bare spots, and went to town.

Have three each purple, blue, yellow and green to add to my driveway container vegetable garden.


I think they will be quite cool. 
And if the neighbor has a problem with these, I guess I could remind him it could be worse….I could follow the example of this homeowner I saw on today’s Ride for the Arts.

Wait until next year when I finally get my bottle tree…………

Wordless Wednesday: Perfect Companions

Okay, wordless on this one would just piss me off if I was reading. 
#1: Phormium ‘Jester’ and Calibrachoa ‘Painted Coral’
#2 Oxalis vulcanicola ‘Molten Lava’ and Fuchsia ‘Autumnale’
#3 Callibrachoa ‘Saffron’, Argyranthemum frutescen ‘Butterfly’, Millium effusum ”Aureum’
I am in serious lust with all of these plants.

Wordless Wednesday: Before & After Part 3:

The other side of the house. The one I wasn’t going to touch this year – but then realized if I didn’t tame this, it would make me crazy. First two are last summer, rest from 2010.


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