Sunday, January 29, 2006

Days of Wine and Roses

Just placed this order with Amity Roses, a company with a great selection and an excellent reputation.

Ebb Tide
Honey Dijon
Double Delight
Tequila Sunrise

As for the wine part referred to in this post's title, husband and I attended a wine tasting Friday night. My favorite - a cabernet called Poppy Hill - was not just tasty, but also featured a lovely label:

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Keep the Drool to a Minimum

I received an email today that Iris City Gardens has updated their online catalog for 2006. The company is introducing several new Louisiana iris varieties on behalf of some growers in Australia, which sounds kind of weird geographically, I guess, but there are breeders of this gorgeous plant all over the world.

While I won't pay $35 for a single plant of anything (but maybe an orchid), some of these new rarities are truly breathtaking.

If you do decide to shop from them, Iris City Gardens has an excellent rating over at Gardenwatchdog. I've not dealt with them directly, but am planning on ordering a few things from them soon.

Monday, January 23, 2006

"Into Each Life...

...a little rain must fall." Is that how the saying goes?

Well, we had a little rain fall yesterday. It sprinkled on and off all day, actually, making for a soggy and dreary day that was perfect for watching football. (Go Steelers!)

My backyard 75-gallon rainbarrel that accidentally leaked all of its contents a couple of weeks ago is now full again. It is amazing to consider the amount of water just coming off of one residential roof.

I started some seeds on Saturday - mostly tomatoes and delphiniums.

In other news, my gardening calendar is already filling up with engagements. This Thursday is the first Dallas Organic Garden Club meeting of the new year. I'd like to become active in this group outside of just the meetings, if time allows.

On Saturday, I'll be helping construct a shed and compost bin with some other folks for the *new* Plano Community Garden. I am SO stoked about this whole project. It will be incredibly fun to have my own little strip of land to grow stuff on! (All the food is donated to the local Food Bank, which makes it doubly cool and feel-goody.) This will be the first of many Saturdays helping with this project, I'm sure.

Saturday February 4, reknowned organic gardener Malcolm Beck will be speaking at a local event. I've volunteered to work the Master Gardener booth at that.

Finally, one of my favorite events of the year on a personal level, the Heard Museum Spring Native Plant Sale, is just around the corner. I've signed up for morning helper duty on Saturday April 8 for that too...being sure to leave a little time to shop for plants first, of course! Hopefully I won't have to break up any fights; although I've never witnessed it myself, I hear some shoppers can get ugly at these things due to the limited availability of some plants, as well as the carts they provide for hauling.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

R.I.P. Kenny

I received some sad news this morning. One of my Master Gardener intern classmates died of a heart attack yesterday.

While I never asked Kenny directly what condition he was ill with, it was obvious he was a sick man. I would guess he had skin cancer; he did tell me that steroid treatments were what had turned the skin on his arms purple. It appeared that he had had at least one skin graft on the top of his head.

Anyway, Kenny had contracted pneumonia around Christmas and was in the hospital. He had just returned home the other day, apparently, and wrote his MG mentor that he was looking forward to being well enough to join the rest of us in the upcoming Spring projects. Friday morning, he had a heart attack.

I'm glad I sat next to Kenny for a few of our classes. We had a lot of fun talking about our enthusiasm for spiders, especially. He was a sweet, gentle man.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Meeting the Gardener Guy

Well, I'm thinking seriously about heading down to Arlington for the House & Organic Gardening Show this weekend. Not only do I feel it's sort of my "duty" to keep up with what's going on in the industry, but...I like Paul James, The Gardener Guy. He's sort of a guilty pleasure, and I'll be the first to admit he's a total goofball. Most of his methods are spot-on, however, and I'm glad he's promoting organic methods (although he doesn't like to use the "o" word, apparently).

Anyway, it's sort of a long way to drive (about 40 miles), and I hate navigating around Dallas without knowing where I'm going, but I really need to get out more.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Stoned on Bluestone

I looove Bluestone Perennials. They are easily the nicest, most professional people to deal with as far as online and mail order nurseries go. Just read their Garden Watchdog reviews if ya don't believe me.

That being said, here's what my latest order from them included:

CLEMATIS Crystal Fountain
EUPHORBIA Tasmanian Tiger
RUDBECKIA hirta Prairie Sun
EUPHORBIA dulcis Chameleon

Notes on the above:
I wasn't a clematis fan. But...when we moved into our new house, there were three different ones on the back fence. Slowly, they've convinced me that I love them and should have more. The 'Crystal Foundation' cultivar is being touted EVERYWHERE this season but you probably won't find it cheaper anywhere than at Bluestone. Take my word for it...

I have the 'opposite' Daphne from Carol Mackie, the Briggs Moonlight. Something has chewed the leaves off, but I think it'll be ok. I like the Carol Mackie too, though it's not as spectacularly colored. Again, don't pay Wayside or White Flower Farms prices for this cultivar. Wayside wants $50 for a gallon-size Carol Mackie; I paid $7 at Bluestone for what will probably be a smaller plant, but gosh...

My heucheras currently look awful, but I insist on ordering more...

I think the rabbits are dining on what little growth is showing on my Echinops, so I'm ordering more of those too...

Is Euphorbia dulcis Chameleon the same as what Big Dipper Farm is selling as Euphorbia x martinii 'Rudolph'? They look sort of the same...

Speaking of euphorbia as well as much-advertised newish cultivars, everybody seems to have the lovely variegated euphorbia 'Tasmanian Tiger' this year. Again, Bluestone has it on sale now for around $11, while it's somewhat more expensive elsewhere.