Thursday, May 7, 2009

Oooooops HE did it AGAIN!

Yep... I had started to take down the twig fencing around one of the Mandarin trees, and made the assumption that Raven wouldn't even try to enter that bed since it had been fenced up for YEARS. In the few hours in between me taking a quarter of the fence down, and bringing the supplies to put the new up, He had already started digging. Hopefully the now re-planted pepper will do OK...

This is what gardening with dogs mean. You constantly have to outsmart them, and think about what craziness they're going to do next. The yard would PROBABLY have been "done" by now, If I didn't have to keep spending my energy at fixing stuff they break, erecting fencing to keep them in/out. Problem is that they are so CUTE and seem genuinely remorseful, I can't be mad and then they find a new plant and step or sit on it. My best advice for gardening with 300lbs of dogs, is DON'T.
I have even made them a nice sandbox, where they can dig their little hearts out....but NO, flowerbeds are the best places.
Enough about the dogs, I read an article on MSN ( this morning about what not to do to start a garden, and their number 1 don't was buying seed packets and starting a garden from seed.

Personally I agree and disagree with their statement. There are a lot of plants I agree are time consuming and "difficult" to start from seeds, and then there are the no brainers, you just sprinkle the seeds and magically you get flowers.
  • Alyssum... comes in a nice size box at W-M for about $1. I just sprinkle around areas I would like to have the plants pop up. Everything looks good with alyssum around it.
  • Zinnias... Super easy... just place a few seed in the area you want them, and they will grow. I really like the smaller pinwheel/profusion ones for the front of the border and the tall ones in the back. They really are the perfect cutting flower, though I don't ever cut flowers.
    Morning Glory/Moon flower Vines... soak the seeds overnight, plant in the ground next to a structure they can grow on.
  • Nastriums...I just plant the seeds in and around where I want them in Jan/Feb... then by April I have nice sized blooming plants.
  • Bluebonnets and poppies... sprinkle seeds in Oct/Nov...they become beautiful plants in March-April. It couldn't be easier.
  • PHBV or Purple Hyacinth Bean Vine, Sunflowers, 4 o'clocks, Bluebonnets are all great for beginners as well. It is actually easier to plant these seeds than plant nursery plants! Not to mention a LOT cheaper. A useful tip is the bigger the seed, the easier it is to grow.

Another thing that makes gardening easier is using plants that are hardy and adapted to YOUR area.

For a lot of gardeners Plumbago is an annual... For me it is a pest free, drought tolerant gem. Blooms it's heads of all year long, makes a mid size shrub. I have the white and blue varieties. Can take everything from Full TEXAS sun to shade. A nice staple in the landscape for me
Lantanas work well, and I have all kinds of varieties, shapes and forms. The only issue is the foliage dies after frost, so they only bloom about 10 months a year for me. This is my Giant lantana bush. About 6ft tall and 6ft wide and yes, I chop it down in size several times a year.
Salvias...Salvias as a group are fantastic, but the finest gem for me is Salvia Greggii...Blooms year round pest free and drought tolerant. Bees, Butterflies and Hummers love it. The more it gets chopped back the more it blooms
Below are a red one...4ft tall * 6ft wide, and a coral one 2ft tall*6ft wide

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