October 28, 2019

This Year's Bulb Roundup

I am happy to report that all of my bulbs are now in the ground! Woohoo! It was right down to the wire this time, too. Saturday was so warm—it got up to 60 degrees F in the afternoon—and I knew that it was probably really truly the last warm day of the year. I wouldn’t mind being wrong in that prediction, but this week we’ve had a cold front come in that has us barely getting up above freezing as a HIGH. So yeah. I knew I had to finish up Saturday.

I still had about 175 bulbs to put in, and as these things go, my children all needed my help with various projects. Finally around 2pm I got out there and started digging! I was hustling, let me tell you! Got it done and went in to make dinner, when I remembered the two euonymous shrubs that I had purchased earlier this month. Back out I went. My dinner plans ended up getting postponed for something easier!

I may end up having to move both of those shrubs in the spring. I put one in at the end of the same little bed the lilac bush was in and the roots were thick as I was digging a hole for it. I don’t know if it’s going to be able to compete there or not. I’m not super happy with the placement of the other one, either—it’s in the shade bed next to the front porch. What’s more, I read the tag as I was putting it in the hole and it said “Full sun.” Say what?! That bed definitely does not get full sun! The other euonymous I have grown have been shade lovers, I’m certain of it. So anyway, so much for doing a rush job. At least they’re tucked into the ground for the winter. If I need to move them next spring, so be it.

Okay, without further ado, here’s the list of bulbs I put in this year—divided into categories:


Those are the allium right there in front (bearded iris behind.)


25—Allium amplectens ‘Graceful Beauty’ (white, small)

10—Allium caesium (blue, about 2” heads)

50— Allium carolinianum ‘Rosy Beauty’ (pink, smaller heads)

100—Allium moly ‘Jeanine’ (yellow)


This is my first time growing camassia, so I don’t have any pictures of it to show you. Next year!

10—Camassia cusickii (sky blue)

10—Camassia leich caer ‘Blue Heaven’ (palest blue)

50—Camassia quamash ‘Blue Melody’ (violet blue)

These were some Dutch irises from my Washington garden. None of the varieties I planted are these exact colors, but the form will be the same. A little different than the large, ruffly bearded irises.


100—Iris ‘Alaska’: bright white, yellow blotches

100—Iris ‘Montecito’: white standards, yellow falls

100—Iris ‘Rosario’: pink

100—Iris ‘Silvery Beauty’: blue/white

100—Iris ‘Telstar’: violet/deep blue

This is not a great picture, but the pink lily in the back is ‘Elodie’, same as what I planted this weekend. It’s a pale pink with a few raspberry-colored freckles.


5—Lily ‘Apricot Fudge’

5—Lily ‘Elodie’

5—Lily ‘Tiger Babies’

5—Lily Henryi ‘Lady Alice’: Reflexed, outward facing blooms (white with orange center)

5—Lily ‘Black Beauty’: Martagon (crimson red)

The grand total: 780 bulbs!

As you can tell, I really went big for Dutch irises and alliums this year. I put in the Dutch iris all along the garden fence, behind the daffodils I planted last year on the one side, then down where I tried to grow sweet peas on the other side. I’m hoping the foliage will help keep weeds down along there as well.

The alliums almost all went into my color-themed perennial beds in the garden proper. The blue ones I actually planted in the front corner flowerbed as a little surprise pop of blue.

Lilies—the red were added to the corner of my red/yellow/white flowerbed in the back corner. The others were planted on either end of the row along the garden fence, so they should all have some fence to support them as they grow. The average height they should grow to is 4’. Some said they could get as tall as 8’!

The camassia I interplanted amongst the poppies. They should bloom first, at the end of May, and again, I hope that their foliage will help keep weeds down and the keep the soil moist for the poppy seedlings until they get big enough on their own.

Planting bulbs always makes me excited for spring! As these are all late spring/early summer bloomers, I have got a long wait to go!

October 21, 2019

A Few Words About Yucca

We just got back from a short trip to Mesa Verde National Park. We got to see the amazing cliff dwellings and other structures built by the Ancient Pueblo people hundreds of years ago. 
It was a great trip! 
The scenery was absolutely gorgeous. 

There was pale yellow rabbit brush, scrub oak in glorious shades of orange and red, various types of wild grasses that had all bleached out to a creamy color, red sandstone, burned out trees in shades of black and gray, and also yucca plants. Yucca looks similar to iris foliage—except the yucca leaves come to a point on the end that is quite sharp—especially once those tips have dried.

Rewind to 15 years ago. The first house we purchased was very small. I almost said “tiny,” but at 750 square feet it was bigger than today’s tiny houses tend to be. Anyway, it had 2 bedrooms, a bathroom, a living room, and a kitchen. That was about it. This was the first time I had a yard of my own, and I started experimenting with gardening and growing flowers.

One of the first things we noticed was the enormous yucca plant next to the cement walkway from the driveway to the porch. I wanted to plant bulbs there and possibly some pretty shrubs. The yucca had to go. So my husband and I dug it out. It came back. We dug it out some more. Came up again. It turned out that pretty much any piece of root you left in the ground would generate a new plant. We were frustrated. We dug it up AGAIN. Folks, we lived in that house for 2 years and we must have dug that plant up 5 or 6 times. It was a beast!

Now on this trip to the high desert mesas, I was confronted with yucca again, this time in its natural habitat. It was beautiful. It truly was. It’s tall, spiky leaves provided the perfect contrast to the softer, rounded forms of the rabbit brush. The green complemented the other fall colors just beautifully. The plant itself, with the tendrils of fiber coming off down the length of each leaf was beautiful.

The mesas had burned several times in the last 30 years, and there were signs documenting the different fires. Guess what was one of the first things to come back? That’s right. Yucca. It is as tough as nails (as we found out, much to our chagrin!) In my flowerbed, this trait was not appreciated. In a place where fires are a frequent issue—it’s essential. We learned that yucca plants also produce their own antifreeze, and thus are pretty much evergreen, even though they are not woody shrubs.

In addition, we learned that to the ancient Native Americans, the yucca plant was everything. The flower stalks, flowers, and fruit are all edible. The fibrous leaves were used to create everything from clothing to baskets to ropes and nets. The root will lather up in water, and was used as soap.

So what did I learn from this experience?

Every plant has its place. While I still don’t think yucca is a great flowerbed choice, in its natural environment it was beautiful and perfectly suited.

Plants are useful beyond just their pretty flowers. What?! Says the flower farmer in me. It’s true, though—and I knew that, but it was a good reminder. Just because we can’t see the value in a plant, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. The exception to this may be bindweed. I am still searching for its value!

The traits you may find frustrating in a plant could be the very traits that ensure its survival in its native habitat, where other life depends upon it.

Also, now my husband wants to plant yucca at our house, so we can be prepared for any disasters that may come along. I told him as long as he plants it at the back edge of our property, along the fence and across the ditch, go for it! If he does, it will still be there when we’re long gone.

October 12, 2019

The Race is On

Along with much of the country, we had a deep freeze hit us this week. We’re talking lows in the teens for the past 3 nights. It was too doggone cold to do much outside! This afternoon we warmed back up to the low 60’s, which felt so warm after the arctic blast!

We have approximately one week before the deep cold returns—possibly to stay this time. One week folks! The list of Things To Get Done Before Snow is a bit daunting. Also because regular life doesn’t just stop while your weather reprieve happens. So—pretty much anytime after school hours and into the evening is out for working outside: parent teacher conferences, music lessons, soccer, homework, etc. etc. Earlier in the morning is also out, because it takes quite awhile for it to warm up out there and I have a 2 year old who can’t keep mittens on to save her life. So that leaves me—roughly 3-4 hours per day to work outside, if I’m lucky.

I had a couple of these poppies blooming late this fall, which was a pleasant surprise! Now I’m clearing them all out to plant bulbs (and spreading their seeds along the row in hopes of having them again next year!)

Here’s the priority list of Outside Chores:

  1. Plant bulbs—HEY! Did I tell you? My bulb order came in! I’ve only got approximately 500 bulbs to get in the ground this week. Minus 18, which I got planted today. Yay! And also HURRY!
  2. Plant 2 shrubs + 2 heucheras. So, I made a trip to Lowe’s last week. What can I say? I walked out of there with what I intended, along with a few tag-alongs. The shrubs are both euonymous, which I’m thrilled about, as they make excellent cuts. Got to get them in the ground before winter comes for real.
  3. Clean out the rest of the garden. All the weeds and dead flowers. This one right here could eat up every spare hour. That’s why the planting comes first. I’ll be weeding before, during, and after the planting too—just in those focused areas.
  4. Empty out flower pots.
  5. Order seeds for fall planting and chuck them out there. This one may or may not get done this week. I need to look in my seed bin and see what I have already, first.

Last of the cosmos.

Really only 5 things, but 5 is plenty for this week. It is also Fall Break towards the middle to end of the week, so we may be going out of town. Slice that week down to …let’s say 3 days.

Ready, steady, GO, GO, GO, GO!

October 5, 2019

Where Do I Go From Here?

We have gotten several nights of frost, as the weatherman predicted. My field flowers are all done, and just a few in my flowerbeds that are extra tough are still hanging on. So, you may be wondering—what happens now? Am I all done until next spring?

Well, no. In addition to the usual fall and winter farming activities: planting shrubs, perennials, and bulbs (fall); and planning for next year, along with seed-starting later (winter), I still have a few plans up my sleeve for flowers throughout the winter.

I have made some planters this week for one of my regular clients—indoor, houseplant-type planters, like this one: 

I will order amaryllis bulbs and pot them up to bloom inside when it’s icy outside, like these:

I also have plans to order more paperwhite daffodils which are dead easy to grow from bulbs, sitting on your windowsill. I will put them into gift kits, complete with bulbs, container, rocks, and instructions, which will go on sale around Thanksgiving.

They’re so tall!

Then, as well, I still have my little booth over at the Morgan Mercantile, which you can see in some of these photos, in which I also selling unique and interesting vases and pitchers (some vintage, some just pretty), framed flower quotations, and handmade wreaths.

In addition, I will still be taking special orders for arrangements, for which I will purchase flowers as necessary. As I continue to hone in on the direction I want to take this business, that will be reflected (I am sure) in the list of fall/winter offerings. As for now, that’s the plan. Always something to be working on, which is just how I like it!