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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tiny Gardner and Floral Confidante!

Meet Chloe
 Chloe is my Great Niece.  She lives in Kearney, Missouri with her mother, my niece Erica, her dad Dirk, and her two older brothers.  A real cutie! She just celebrated her 2nd birthday on August 22, 2011 and I'm quite certain that she is a 2-year old who is full of surprises.

I am told that Chloe is the keeper of some of the container plants and gardens at her home.  And by her expression in this photo, she means business!  Kansas and Missouri have also endured excessive heat this summer, as have a lot of our other states.  Chloe must keep up with the maintenance and care of her patio and porch plants in order to keep them thriving.  So I invited her to join me in a garden 'pow-wow' to compare notes and discuss container gardening.

You know, with so much drought this summer, some flower beds and flowering trees and bushes have perished.  But, you can still enjoy some low maintenance container gardens, and they're easy to move around out of the scorching sun if need be.

Chloe and I put our heads together and visited  Here are a few tips we found about container gardening that we would like to share.

1)  Try to co-ordinate the size of your pots to the size of the area you want to dress up.  And DON'T let yourself lose 'itty bitty' plants in pots that are too large.

Now, this is a nice area, and the pots are arranged in a fashion that is attractive and all-visible.  We see a lot of porch steps with container plants...they really add to these old steps, don't they?

You can put simple plants in fancy pots, or fancy pants (oops! I mean plants) in simple pots.  The garden directly above, I think, is compiled of simple plants in a simple pot.  And it's gorgeous!  It's like an ice cream sundae with a cherry on top!!!  Chloe agrees that it looks good enough to eat! Trailing at the bottom is the polkadot plant, and I would bet they only used four 4" pots or just one 6-pack of these plants for the bottom of the arrangement.  I've had polkadot plants before and enjoyed them...eventually, they will produce tiny pale pink blooms.  You can also get this plant with pink polkadots.  Flouncing above the polkadots are begonias in alternating red and pink.  Once again, just a few 4" pots of each color for the begonias-and, you can even divide them.  They have the lighter green leaves that I like best.  And, then, towering above is one coleus (under $2.00) of variegated burgundy and lime.  Coleus are so much fun.  And can be easily propagated (my favorite gardening term)!  All of these plants are inexpensive-but, this arrangement looks pretty high dollar!  It would require some shade time to keep the polkadots and coleus from burning up.  All of the plants in this pot are virtually shade-lovers.

2)  Color * Go for want drama and impact!  Refer to the color wheel if you must, to find opposite-like colors.
Now, this is what I call contrast!  Pop! Pop! Pop!  The container looks like red brick, and it's adorned with the luscious lime potato vine, some red and lime coleus, and what looks like marigolds.  This display is almost blinding with drama, and we love the look!

For harmony an tranquility, go with one color in different shades.  Chloe and I found the pretty palate above to be harmonious and fun!  I'm not sure what these flowers are, but they are in shades of blue with a variety of blue porcelain pots.  What a unique idea...different, yet the same! 

3) Bones and focal points * Try to create a palate using a larger plant for your focal point.  You can mix in trees, shrubs and even houseplants.
Wow!  Chloe and I selected this arrangement to show that  one 'focal' point can evolve into several, easily.  The main one here being that beautiful large sunflower.  And what a variety of plants!  Chloe and I were able to spot, not only the sunflowers, but, in the washtub it looks like snapdragons, and we saw marigolds, perriwinkles, blue salvia, some yellow mums (possibly), and what looks like small purple petunias.  And all of the containers used were galvanized buckets and tubs.  This is probably the prettiest container garden of all-I love blues and yellows together, and the clever arrangement of the tubs and buckets.   

Well, my gracious readers, this is our presentation...we hope you marveled as we did at these lovely container gardens.  They can be a refreshing and stressfree alternative to larger gardening areas when conditions are not so favorable.

Just remember sure to choose plants that enjoy being together.  When placing two or more plants in one container, consider their all need a lot of water, or not so much?  And, are all sun-loving or shade-loving plants?  If you choose your plant mates sensibly, you are bound for great success!

Chloe and I have some folks to thank for the research that made our post possible
Yahoo Images
Google Images

And we would like to thank our wonderful families!  "Chloe-I thank you with all my heart for taking time to  collaborate with me on this post.  It was entertaining and, I for one, learned from it.  We also got to enjoy some great pictures of fabulous container gardens".  

As my guest, Chloe, would you consider doing the closing quote?  I know you have to get back to your gardening.  Hope to see you soon!  

"Today is one of a kind and will only happen once-
so make it great!"
Have a safe and happy Labor Day holiday from My Texas Gardens!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Prince of "Petunia"

Isn't He Cute?
This precious little guy was sent to us girls through an email from one of the guys in our office last week.  The stock market had taken such a "big dive" and  he felt that maybe we could all use a smile.  He's our resident cheerleader-thanks Jeff! 
  I'm still smiling a week later at this little sweetheart!

And speaking of Petunias...

photo by Suzanne in the spring of 2000

I'm quite the Petunia fan.  My little English Garden features some 'fuschia' colored Petunias in front of the garden Peasant Girl.  I love Petunias flanked with white 'sweet alyssum'.  The alyssum brings out the bright colors of the Petunias and makes them "POP"!

photo by Suzanne, probably in 1994

This is an older photo, when I first got my house.  The pot on the left houses white, red and a fushia colored 'Petunia'.  See how healthy the plants are in this pot?  I like to buy 'Petunias' while they're young, before there are any full open blooms on them (just a peak-a-boo of bloom to know what color I'm getting).  You can control their growth, and they last longer.  And, by the way, those red lillies in the back are what I believe to be called "St. Joseph" lillies.  There were bunches of them in this back flower bed...I didn't know what the heck they were.  I dug them up and re-arranged them.  Of course, they multiplied!  Kudos to me!  They only bloom once a year, and the foliage stays nice until it gets really hot-then, I cut the foliage back.

photo by Suzanne * Spring 1996

I even have 'Petunias' on the patio!  The large terra cotta colored pot is bursting with red and white 'Petunias'.  Those are my favorite two colors to plant together.  Each color compliments the other.  And they're so fluffy!

The patio is homemade...I designed it myself and commissioned my, then, 15 year old son and one of his friends to construct it for me.  The pavers are concrete color and red.  And we edged it with red brick that I dug up all around the property.  The red pavers are small squares and we used large concrete colored pavers too.  And, hey!  I had a Dodge truck, so I was able to pick up the pavers and haul them home myself.  It did take two trips...the pavers were pretty heavy.  After prepping the area, it took the boys two evenings to get it together, according to my design.  I spent around $300.00 for materials and labor.  We still use the patio, but it does need some refurbishing now, as the pavers are shifting around.  It is getting on in years.

photo by Suzanne * Spring 2003

Well, I was messing around with black and white film in my old Pentax 34mm camera (which, by the way, takes great flicks) and shot this pot of 'Sugar Daddy Petunias'.  Now, I wish I had taken some pics of them in color.  They were a 'spicy' pink, with a darker pink center, and grew to be pretty large...and, of course, I adorned them with, what else, 'white sweet alyssum'!
One tip I have followed that really works, is to pluck the spent blooms from 'Petunia' plants to encourage more flowering.  I mean, this is VERRRY tedious, almost like peeling your sunburn-but it pays off!  You just have to go out there, faithfully, and do it!  Gently pull out the shriveled blooms, and, with a plastic grocery bag hanging from your wrist, you can deposit them into the bag as you go along.

photo by Suzanne * April 2007

I have a strawberry pot, and no luck with strawberries!  So, I planted red and white variegated 'Petunias' in the top of it and strategically placed 'airplane plant' and some 'golden sedum' in the other openings.  The 'Petunias' did pretty good in this pot, but I had to stay on top of it, as it's hard to keep the soil AND the plants IN THE POT when you water it!!!  The terra cotta Goat also has 'golden sedum' planted in it.  This is a ground cover that blooms little yellow stars in the warm of the spring.  And, it comes back every year-it also grows where it falls.  My next door neighbor Lee gave me sprigs of it and I have found it to be an enjoyable plant.  Behind the Goat are the 'Stella D'Oro' lillies with new buds-ready to bloom.  They are such a bright yellow and need plenty of sun to open up fully.  And, of course, a small pot of white 'Perriwinkle'.

Petunias are a beautiful addition to any arrangement of pots, and in the ground.  As they get leggy, I find a spot on the plant just above new leaves and cut them back.  And here they come again, but it does take water, sun, and a little patience. 
I hope you've enjoyed my 'Petunias' and my little Prince!

I've been out of commission (LITERALLY!) for almost a week.  Our phone lines cratered, and they had to be replaced.  How ANNOYING!  Thank goodness for cell phones during a time like this.  And, we had no internet.  So, I missed the wonderful posts from all of my favorite blogs, and I'm catching up on them now.  I still have a few to read, and I'm doing good getting to them.  I guess the phone lines on this old house just couldn't take the heat anymore.  But here, they stretch them from the top of the house all the way thru the back yard to a telephone pole!  And, they were sagging! 

I must Thank:
Yahoo Images
Jeff and Fred from my office
My Faithful Readers
And- the "Prince of Petunia"!

August 17, 2011 * National Joke Day
Here is a joke sent to us at the office from another jokster!

"I used to be I'm not sure". 
Well, my fellow bloggers and friends, 'tis all for now.  Stop by and say hello anytime. 
 Be well, and happy 
It is a muggy 94° in the fair city of Fort Worth, Texas, USA!