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Friday, September 18, 2009

All for naught?

Recently I was asked to make a container for somebody. The container was to have a $50 value and would be raffled off at a luncheon. I do so love to put together things like this and was quite excited about the task.

Unfortunately I did not have an empty container to use so I ran to Home Depot and picked a simple plastic pot for $9.99. After all, if I spent more than $50 on the container, potting soil and plant material I wouldn't be making much of a profit.

While at Home Depot, I also bought a Chrysanthemum since the only request I had about the pot was that it be "seasonal". I knew I wanted to put the Phormium in the container (the tall spiky plant that wholesales for $23 a pot but I have lots of it and thought it would be exciting for the winner) and I started gathering other things that I hoped would combine well.

The variegated Liriope, Lamiastrum and Sedum were all here in my sales area and all looking wonderful right now. Before planting the container I arranged them on the ground to see how I wanted them to end up. I knew the value was well over $50 but what the heck, my creative juices were at work.

I don't usually work in my driveway at the back of my car but I was worried that the planted container would be too heavy for me to carry. It was a good thing I thought of that! (oof)

After filling the bottom with potting soil I started adding the plant material. The Phormium went in first and got a small haircut (I trimmed out any stray leaves). By the time I had added most of the rest of the plants I realized that the Sedum wouldn't fit in and also didn't add much to the arrangement so at the end it was left out.

Just as I predicted, this pot was at the uppermost limit of my lifting capabilities. It was one heck of a "heave-HO" to get it in the car but I was so happy with what it looked like. Off to drop it off, I had to bring a wagon with me so I could just drop it down into the wagon and pull it in to the luncheon.

I decided to stay until after the raffle just in case the winner didn't have the strength to lift it into her car. Sure enough the winner was in her late 70's or even early 80's. An older man had come to pick her and her friend up. He assured me he could handle the pot until he tried to lift it. It didn't even budge off the wagon. Ah ha, I knew I'd be needed to help them get it in the car.

As we got to their car I realized a big problem, they had an old sedan and although the pot was brand spanking new and perfectly clean, they refused to place it on the back seat. With another heave-ho we got it in the trunk. As I walked off I heard them say that once they got home they were going to take each plant out of the container and split them up between the two women. The winner only cared that she got the $4.99 Chrysanthemum. CRUNCH, the trunk was closed down on top of everything. Was it all for naught?

This morning when I sat at my computer I planned on putting a post on my blooming Cimicifugas on this blog and a post on the container on my Melanie's Perennials blog. Unfortunately I mixed things up and reversed the two subjects so if you want to see the lovely Cimicifugas in bloom here, you have to click on Melanie's Perennials.

Off to split Hosta...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fun with old slides

Today is cool and rainy. Since I had several meetings to attend during the day and yet another meeting this evening, there was no chance I was going to go out and get muddy in the middle of the afternoon.

Sitting here at my computer, going through my photo files, I decided to have some fun. With my last post I discovered that I could crop some old slides that I had scanned a few years ago. Here's some images I doctored a bit.

The first was a shot that I took to demonstrate the power of foliage and foliage combinations. Who needs flowers when you have this group?

What I loved about my old Nikon camera was the ability to manually focus where ever I want. I do realize that there are digital cameras with that capability too, just not in my budget right now.

My macro lens did a nice job getting me a close up of Corydalis lutea and the miniature Iris cristata 'Alba'.

Believe it or not, I grew Edelweiss (Leontopodium alpinium) in my garden for three years. I really, REALLY need to grow this plant once more in my life time. It was so cool!

Being able to crop and focus on a specific subject in the photo was fun. The original slide with these simple planted shoes never really had the right interest. Now I would definitely use it in a program about garden shoes (of which I have enough images to make a whole program!).

Last but not least (for those of you who are counting, I tend to put 5 photos in each post because that's the limit on one download) I added a cropped shot I took with my digital camera. At times (most of the time) the digital image still gives me more to work with. But, it's nice to know that I can sit here during the blah winter months ahead and have some fun cropping, editing and adding my old slides to new programs.

Now once I upload this post, I'll be coming back to see how the images actually look over the internet. What do you think?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pay Day!

This afternoon I will be lecturing in Douglaston, New York (Long Island) on Garden Junque. This is such a fun program. Over the years I've collected a number of images of things that people use to accent their garden.

This bicycle is one that I just have to have in my own garden some day. It makes me smile from ear to ear every time I look at it!

A giant caterpillar, photographed at New York botanical gardens. Such a simple structure to make and plant, shouldn't we all have one of these?

Not all the photos are funny or crazy. The program is filled with lots of great tips on seating, walkways, arbors, gazebos and so on. For instance, while you might think the little girl in the flowered sundress is the accent in this garden, the real subject of the photo was the table in the backdrop. The home owner here took a large clay pot, turned it upside down and painted it. On top of the base she placed the large saucer that would normally be at the bottom of the pot and on top of that base was a glass circle (the type you put on an indoors accent table). What a charming seating area!

I wish I could crop the photo to show you the table up close but these are scanned slides so I'm limited in what I can do with them.

Hey! Never say never. I just tried to crop that photo and check this out, it worked! How cool is that. Ok, time to start my dance. I can't help but dance around the house when I know there's a paycheck coming in.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

September blooms

Summer came to a screeching halt about a week ago here on Long Island. Hints of autumn can be found in the garden. It's one of my favorite times to be outside (ok, I always like to be outside...)

Here you can see how lovely the blooms on Sedum 'Lynda Windsor' fade to a brick red color. I love the combination of them and the silvery blue foliage of the Rue.

One thing I never noticed in the past was how lovely the foliage colors up on the Oenothera 'Cold Crick'. Brilliant fall colored foliage on any good perennial is such a nice bonus.

Even some of the Monarda are starting to exhibit a reddish blush on the foliage. I know I should cut those dead heads off but they too can add to the fall scene.

The Liriope are really putting on a show this year. People never want to buy them in the spring but right now they look so nice and neat, much better than many of the tired plants in the garden.

Ajuga is definitely happy with the cooler temperatures. These voluteers popped up and have really depened in color now. I sure do love those plant volunteers.

This afternoon I was in such a weeding frenzy. It was more like weeding in beserker mode. Suddenly I noticed an excrutiating pain in my foot. Boy am I tired of getting stung. This time it was on my foot and I couldn't walk back to the house to get any antihistimines for a few minutes. I really want to get to the track and walk 5 or 6 miles tonight, hope I can get my sneaker on.

This week I plan on dividing up a ton of hosta. I'll try to remember to take lots of photos. I did manage to take a nice shot of a Platycodon (balloon flower) tap root. It was just posted on my Melanie's Perennials blog.

Off to see if that sneaker works.