what I do for fun….gardening, gardening, and some more gardening….

Butterflies in the Joe Pyle Weed!

So what’s a rabid gardener to do when one of her favorite growers announces it’s SUMMER SALE TIME?

Why buy more plants (of course!) and then roam around the garden for the perfect spot. Which in my garden right now, is easier said than done.

So what did I do? I reimagined and enlarged an existing small flower bed.

And then I indulged. Red peonies, red echinacea, red daylilies, and one Next Generation Pistachio Hydrangea.

On Friday, I dug out the bed. I enlarged it and marked all around how the shape was going to go and then I dug. And dug. It’s hot so it was a lot of work and I added a giant bag of sand and a big bag of compost and humus. I am also really glad that when I stopped at Home Depot I also picked up more bricks for edging.

….And then Friday over dinner my sweet husband asks me why I didn’t use the rototiller…..whhhhhhat!!!! Ok I forgot we own one. Oh well.

Saturday the plants arrived. From Applied Climatology at The West Chester Growers Market. I was originally going to plant yesterday (as in Saturday) but then another forsythia massacre was required and I have to pace myself in the garden and not just go go go go go.

As an aside, I can’t believe anyone willingly plants forsythia. It looks good for maybe a week to 10 days and then you kill yourself keeping it in check. I have cut down, cut back, and physically removed a lot of forsythia bushes. My forsythia dates back to the early 1960s so it is ….entrenched. Kind of like the pachysandra which I also do battle with.

Oh and before I forget! I also staked up my blackberry bushes on Saturday. I had bought thornless blackberry bushes a couple of years ago along with a raspberry bush and gooseberry bushes to plant on a small hillside going to the edge of our woods on one side. It’s a terrific location, sometimes a little tricky to get to when everything grows in, and I wasn’t sure how to handle the exploding raspberry and blackberry bushes. The gooseberry bushes seem to grow more logically for lack of a better explanation.

So yesterday morning while I was drinking my coffee I was watching my favorite gardening show Gardeners World. It’s a BBC production and I get it via streaming services because cable doesn’t carry it in the US. As a matter of fact the US would do well to have a gardening show like this. It’s actually real gardening. It’s not creating an outdoor living room or a fire pit show.

Anyway… on yesterday’s episode that I watched they gave tips for dealing with blackberry bushes. And it was so simple. All you need to do is get some big garden stakes, put them in the middle of your blackberry bushes and tie up the wandering canes. So I did. And I applied the same theory to the raspberries and it looks so much better! In the fall I will take a look at the bushes again and decide if anybody is getting a little haircut before next spring, but the way they look now they’ll be fine in the spring!

Swamp Milkweed peeping up from behind hydrangeas.

This morning after my coffee I went outside and I deadheaded and I weeded a little, watered my pots and got down to the business of planting my plants in the newly enlarged planting bed.

First I laid the plants out and arranged them. You will notice that I do not buy giant sized plants from the nurseries. I find it much easier to establish plants that are smaller. Everything grows, you just have to have patience.

After laying the plants out and moving them around a bit I dug them in. Then I watered them and fed them with kelp/seaweed extract.

Then I went to wood chip mountain next to the shed and filled up my garden cart with perfectly aged wood chips. This batch of wood chips is about a-year-old now so it’s the perfect consistency and broken down and it’s hard wood chips from my own trees. (Yes my arborist does this and I use Treemendous Tree Care and they are awesome! Real arborists, expert and champion climbers.)

Now I wait for the plants to settle in. In the fall I will plant daffodil bulbs in between these plants I planted today. And when everything grows I will have color from spring to fall!

And yes… I do love my reds in this particular garden. But they have to be a blue red not an orange red.

I will also share with you my favorite kind of gardening gloves. Gauntlet gloves. I garden with roses and sometimes other prickly things so I like my arms to be protected from thorns as well as an inadvertent brushes with poison ivy, oak, or sumac.

I found this brand of gloves on Amazon a couple of years ago. I just bought my second pair. The first pair is still going strong but I would to have a pair and a spare pair.

  • As August arrives, I will just pretty much do garden maintenance until the fall. When fall arrives I will be adding the following plants to different areas of my garden:
    • Swamp Azalea (white)
      Rosebay Rhododendron
      Pink Truffles Baptista
      Alexander’s Great Brunnera
      Avante Garde Clematis
      Bellicent Lilac
      Hydrangea radiata
      Hydrangea Sargentiana
      Hydrangea Shinonome
      More daffodils and other bulbs

    I know I know people think I’m crazy but this is fun for me. Some people like to buy designer handbags and shoes all the time, I like to garden. That’s not to say that I don’t appreciate a beautiful purse or an elegant pair of shoes. But gardening is my thing.

    I will not be putting any more plants in until fall because it’s just too hot. I can plant now, but the plants get so stressed out. If I hadn’t found a good sale on what I planted today I wouldn’t have planted.

    And yes, it’s me who does the planting. I don’t point at a team of gardeners and say “put it there!”

    I research my plants and I pay attention to what I see in my gardening magazines or on Gardeners World or the shows BBC 2 produces out of England’s flower and garden shows produced by the RHS like Chelsea, Chatsworth, Hampton Court, and Tatton Hall. The thrill of the plant hunt is half of the fun!

    Tomorrow I am going to hear a garden lecture given by a British horticulturalist named Annie Guilfoyle at Terrain in Devon.

    British gardeners and horticulturists are wonderful speakers. And Annie Guilfoyle has quite the amazing gardening pedigree, so I am really looking forward to it!

    Well that’s all out of me for the garden today. And no I’ve told you what my planning ahead will consist of. And that’s the thing about gardening as I have said before – your garden evolves. You look at what you have planted and then you get more ideas.

    Happy planning and planting and thanks for stopping by!

    farmer’s road drive thru, chadds ford: try it!

    Courtney Rozsas, Owner of Farmer's Drive Thru (center)

    Courtney Rozsas, Owner of Farmer’s Drive Thru (center)

    Today we were invited to the grand opening celebration of Farmer’s Road Drive Thru.  It is located in the Painter’s Crossing Shopping Center at 210 Wilmington Pike in Chadds Ford. It used to be a KFC there.

    5Anyway, this is the brain child of Courtney Rozsas and Executive Chef Ryan Sulikowski the fine people behind Lotus Farm to Table in Media.

    It was a beautiful afternoon to take a ride down to Chadds Ford and well worth the trip.

    14

    The decor is total reclaimed chic. Old barn wood and other recycled materials. Simple, open and pretty.  Terrain at Styers provided the landscaping – which is also eco-friendly including carbon reducing plants in the outside cafe area.  There is also a drive thru.

    21The staff was pleasant, knowledgable and well spoken.  Inside on the wall was a giant chalkboard listing the farmers and purveyors (and all farms are ones you know or wish to patronize and we’ll leave it at that! I like them ALL). All the meat is locally produced, and 80% or everything else will be locally sourced as well.

    Farmer’s Road takes the locavore movement and marries it to a healthy alternative to fast food.  There will be traditional fun burgers and hot dogs as well as heart healthy, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options, along with seasonal offerings to highlight what is available depending upon the time of year.

    Chef Ryan Sulikowski

    Chef Ryan Sulikowski

    I admit it, I am a carnivore so I loved the little slider version of their grass-fed beef burger they served at the grand opening – their grand opening featured mini sizes of their menu items – more than an amuse bouche, so I can’t say that.

    They also have sodas from New Hope Soda Fountain. They will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner six days a week.  Sundays they will be open for breakfast and lunch only. Breakfast will include an oatmeal bar and fun things like french toast sticks.

    Their menu is one of clean and fresh flavors – nothing overly complicated 10and a fresh taste we crave when dining out.  This is fresh food served fast, a far cry from fast food as we know it now.  I mean think about it, ever known a McDonald’s or KFC that had fresh flowers? Sells local honey? Uses fresh herbs? Uses non-toxic cleaning products and has a recycling station?

    They open tomorrow for a regular day at 7 a.m. They are open until 9 p.m.

    I think they will be a welcome addition to the local food scene, and I wish them much success as that could mean expansion into other areas.  It’s a great idea – and their food tastes as good as it looks! Kids and adults alike will love this place!

    You can like them on Facebook too!