Thursday, May 07, 2009

A New Perspective

Yay, it's spring!  At least, I have my fingers crossed that the warmer sixty degree days are here to stay.  It's supposed to get down to the forties this weekend, so I have to restrain myself from putting out some of my plants.  

I know some of you in warmer climes are probably already admiring bright flowers and digging in the dirt.  Here in Minnesota, we tend to press our noses to the screen door and hope upon hope that even though the calender said it was spring weeks ago, that it will actually come sooner or later, and we can start planting.

I'm not much of a green thumb.  I'm sure I've mentioned here before that I just do succulents.  Those things can survive without water for months.  Six months, to be exact.  I've just brought up the succulents I brought in the house last fall.  Didn't water them a drop all winter.  Fifty percent survived.  Now that is a darned good survival rate, if you ask me.  My plant philosophy is much the same as my raising kids philosophy: If it can't take care of itself, then it'll never survive in this house.

So here's what waiting for spring looks like at our house...  The hubby had the brilliant idea to plant upsidedown this year.  I think he saw something on an infommercial.  Heard him pounding away like crazy the other day.  This is what he created.  There will be peppers growing up top, and the tomato plants (which are hard to see in the pic) hang down.  I'll report later this summer how that one works out.  I have high hopes for his project, just because he's so excited about it.  ;-)

Now just off the deck is the stump from the huge cottonwood tree we had to sacrifice last fall. It was half dead and rotting, filled with ants. (Sorry, Lois) But I kept the stump because I'm foreseeing some kind of flower bed on the top after the hubby digs it down a bit. Yes? What do you think? What kind of flowers would be best there? It gets hot morning and afternoon sun so they have to be hardy.

When I turn around and inspect my boxwood shrub that is almost ten years old (man, does that stuff grow slow!) for the first time I see yellow leaves. I think the winter got the better of the shrub but have my fingers crossed, with some pruning, it pulls through.

Up on the deck where I have a nice little estate for a lucky faery, I've got a lot of work to do. As you can see the fences have fallen down and it's looking pretty pitiful right now. Must find tiny succulents!

In the little strip garden I have on the side of the house, an entire faery town exists. Here the toad house doesn't look too bad after I've cleared away overgrown succulents, but it still needs pruning and a good sweep over the front steps. Might have to put some water in that bird bath too.

I found a couple brave new additions for my garden at Lowes. A haworthia, a euphorbia, and something that I think just looks cool. By brave, I mean they must also prove they can survive the Hauf garden with little or no care. Good luck, fellas!

But heck, here's a pic of my oldest plant. I think this guy has survived six years. Can you imagine? Yes, he makes it through every winter without water. Though I do baby him and let him sit in the kitchen windowsill over winter and not down in the dark lonely basement with the other plants. He's an euphorbia, and I think he's going to get a nice big new pot this year. He deserves it for surviving so long, don't you think?

So let's talk about our gardens today! Have you already planted everything and are now admiring gorgeous flowers? Or are you like me, with your nose pressed to the screen door, and fingers crossed the weather stays warm?


Virginia said...

I'm just waiting on all of this rain to stop. Our yard looks like a swamp right now, puddles everywhere. It has rained all week all the way through Sunday of this week. We can't even mow the grass it is so wet.

Deborah Grace Staley said...

I planted 6 rose bushes, daisies, coneflowers, and caladiums. So far, all I have is weeds. And I'm there with Virginia. We have had so much rain, I can't mulch, the yard looks awful, and I have vegetables and herbs to plant for my container garden, but alas, the rain is never going to end in East Tennessee!


Playground Monitor said...

I haven't planted yet. We've had so darned much bad weather and lots of times it's included tornadoes. But I did notice some begonias I planted last year and forgot to pull up last winter are coming back. Glory be! Usually they just die. My herb garden (all perennials) is looking really good and the lavendar is filled with buds.

I love the tree stump. How about bright red geraniums there? Or red petunias? Can you tell I like red flowers?


Lee said...

Sorry to say I'm out here in Cali, and we've had full bloom for weeks. My iris' are up, poppies everywhere, I've cut roses for the house already, and we have all the doors and windows open most days. It gets cold at night, I'm in the northern part of the state. The problem with early springs and warm summers, fire. We're already starting a early fire season, which makes us all wish for more cold and rain.

Kylie said...

Michele, you and I have similar philosophies about raising plants / kids! I used to say the same thing.
I did get eight of nine front pots planted last Sun. Oh and one border of snapdragons. Still have about 9 pots to go and the rest of the bedding plants. I have tons of perennials but I can't count on them all coming back each year and annuals are needed to ensure constant color. I'd be ashamed to say what I spend on plants each year. When I retire I want a greenhouse built on to the garage so I can start growing my own annuals. It gets expensive!

Kathleen said...

Gardens are not my domaine. I live in a house where the gardens are looked after by my landlady. When her and the hubby travel, I look after all the indoor plants, and believe me this can be a daunting task. My hands shake while watering, I am thinking "I have it enough water, OMG have I watered it too much", and did I say she has 6 orchid plants...I think there are about 16 plants to look after, but i have not lost one yet. And it has been 6 1/2 yrs so far.

She even gave me an orchid of my own, and the first year I had 19 blossoms on it. Not even she has had that find of luck. So I just look out my kitchen window and admire all the colour and greenery all spring, summer and fall..

So I may not have actual green thumbs, but they are not brown by either.
Enjoy your gardens what ever they may be.

Michele Hauf said...

Deborah and Virginia - wow, I didn't even think about too much rain stopping me from gardening. Fingers crossed you dry out!

Marilyn - I'd love red flowers there too, but flowers scare me, because I usually kill them. Peonies are my only real flower in the yard, and I love those. Is there such a thing as an unkillable flower?

Lee - sigh... already have cut flowers? Nice.

Kylie - i want to overspend on flowers this year! Just one year I would like to have an inviting, flower-filled front yard.

Kathleen - I'm with you on not knowing how much to water things. Hence, the succulents. :-)

Candace said...

Michele ~

The upside-down tomatoes work great! This will be my third year doing growing them upside-down and I won't go back. So far, I've gotten lots and lots of nice, round tomatoes. Just three tomato plants is enough for salads and sandwiches all summer long and to make enough sauce to last all winter long.

'Course, the winters in Indiana aren't nearly as long as they are in Minnesota.

Debra Dixon said...

We planted tomatoes. A container garden. And we're doing two of the upside down tomato kits.

I complained bitterly all year last year about the lack of good tomatoes. So, hubby has fixed that.

I'm calling him in here to see the upside down rack Michele's hubby built. Because if this upside down thing works, next year we're going to have a more serious gardening attempt, with raised beds and hanging things.

Michele Hauf said...

Candace, thanks for mentioning your upsidedown tomatoes! So maybe they really will work. ;-) I haven't seen the commercials or the kits Deb mentions, so not sure what the fuss is about. If it results in some nice, juicy tomatoes I'll be happy. I'm so sick of the non-tomatoes they sell in stores. When was the last time you picked up a tomato in the store that actually tasted like one? Unless you can find organic or live near a farmer's market, which I can't and do not.

Deb, the hubby just had some extra pieces of lumber lying around (he's a carpenter) and fashioned this simple stand. The top has two small holes in it, and he laid some kind of fabric over it and then stuck the tomato plants in through the holes. So far, it's holding up!

Terry S said...

I don't spend money on plants anymore. My black, black thumb finally taught me it's a waste of time and money. There must be a kernel of hope somewhere inside me, though, because I did get an upside down planter from the nursery this year and planted Sun Gold tomatoes in it. My fingers are crossed and I'm keeping my black thumb as far away from it as possible! Good luck with yours. It's much prettier than mine!

Kathleen Eagle said...

It's so cool when the hubby gets going on a project like this, especially if it doesn't involve tearing anything down first. (Sweetie, please don't tear it down until you are ready to replace it.) Mine hasn't quite finished the raised bed, and I've got plants to pick up today that I ordered from the PTA.

You've got me psyched, Michele. I love your container garden. The girls want to turn our house into "Pixie Hollow." You've given me a better idea. (Actually, I've been thinking about it since the last time you blogged with pix of your little elf huts.)

Cindy Gerard said...

Love all of your succulents, Michele.
And I remember that little fairy garden. It's so pretty.
My dh is the gardener around here. Thank God. I love all the pretty flowers but I don't like digging in the dirt. :o)

Debra Dixon said...

"and fashioned this simple stand."

Yeah, for us that always means 4 trips to Home Depot, a detour to Lowes and a stop at Target.

Then the trip to the hardware store because we don't have the perfect screw among the 7,000 we have collected in umpteen years of marriage.

Plumbing work goes even more poorly for us. (gg)

Estella said...

I live in SW Oregon and am still waiting for the rain to stop.

Michele Hauf said...

Kathy, for inspiration for you and your grandkids, you need to see Sally J. Smith's amazing creations. She's an environmental artist, and makes the coolest faery houses. Check out her blog. Most recent stuff is winter, but if you go to her Archives and start last spring with April or May you can see the neatest faery houses ever.

Betina Krahn said...

Michele, your Fairy House and Toad House are adorable!!
As is the hubby! What a sweetie to build you a gardening frame!

May you grow tons of upside down veggies! I think I'll try that this year!

And thanks, Candace, for the consumer reports update. I've often wondered if the upside down tomatoes would be a good idea.

Christie Ridgway said...

Love all the pics, Michele! I'm in California too, so things are already blooming and growing (it was 85 at my house yesterday, though that's a bit warm for May).

Surfer Guy planted upside down tomatoes too! We'll have to take pix and compare as the summer goes along.

Mayberry Mom said...

I live in WI and I don't dare plant anything until at least Memorial Day weekend. The weather is just too unpredictable at this time of year around here!

Kathleen Eagle said...

Wow! Thanks for the link to Sally J Smith. Can't wait to show the pictures to the kids. Think I'll order some of those notecards.

Your fairy estate is SO cool, and I'll bet the town is terrific, Michele. My Barbie rooms pale in comparison, but I think the attraction comes from the same part of the brain.

Michele Hauf said...

Kathy, I ordered the cards! They are very cool. I think your grandkids will love them.

Christie, we so need to compare tomatoes through the year. See if the CA ones grow faster and bigger than the MN ones. (I'm sure they will.)

The hubby and I just poured cocoa mulch on the upsidedownrack. I love that stuff. You all heard of cocoa mulch? Made from the cocoa bean hulls. Smells like chocolate, and on a humid day it's a dream to sit outside near it.

MarthaE said...

I like the idea of the upside down tomatoes! Good luck with that! We have set the geraniums outside again and they are blooming already! The tomato bushes are getting tomatoes and the corn is knee high. My DH has been building me a pool and we got to swim this week! A bit cool getting in but so nice to be able to do some laps!