A post on gardening…

I guess it helps to see how far you’ve come. Because I was going to write this post about how I am just not cut out for gardening. It requires too much patience, and I am more of the instantaneous results type, rather than the “wait 5 years until the plants fill out” type. Also, I feel like there is some secret to gardening that I don’t quite get. Something I am not doing that always makes my plants look pathetic and shriveled (doesn’t help that it has only rained twice…seriously, TWICE, since we moved in January 14). Also…garden planning. I feel like I am taking shots in the dark when it comes to picking plants. I have a plan…somewhat. But who knows how it will eventually all look together (ya know, once it fills out in 5 years!).

But then I found this picture:








Minus the three little flowering plants up at the top left (which I added the day I took the picture), this was how our garden looked when we moved in. This was the “landscaping” our builder did for us.

Funny how you forget how puny things once were. I tend to focus on the imperfections, rather than seeing how far we’ve come.

So here it is today (along with a little Americana I just added for the 4th of July today):







So although I am disappointed because it is not the in-full-bloom, overflowing, colorful garden of my dreams, I guess I should just be proud that in this extreme drought we are having right now everything is still (sort of) green. I kept waiting until everything looked perfectly in bloom to do this post, but I finally realized that just ain’t gonna happen this year. Maybe next spring.

So here’s a breakdown of my gardening so far:

My goal is to have a pretty, overgrown cottage garden. Something kind of like this:










Only, I want to use a color scheme of just purple and white. I only planted perennials this year, because they seem to be the most efficient time-wise and cost-wise. I am starting to learn however, that annuals are probably the key to that blooming pop of color that I am looking for, so my goal is to form the perennial base this year, and next year I will add in some annuals wherever needed.

So thats pretty much the extent of my plan when it comes to going to the nursery and selecting plants: purple or white perennials. I’ve also tried to get things that bloom at different times so that something will always be blooming. But really, its just because the garden centers tend to bring in plants when they bloom, so if you buy a little at a time over a span of many months (as I have) that kind of happens by default.

So to start with, I brought in some emerald blue creeping phlox in March. I planted it completely around the perimeter of the flower bed (in between the monkey grass the builders put in).


I was sooo excited about this plant because it has a habit of spreading. So I had big dreams of this:







…quickly turning into something like this:

Unfortunately a few short weeks later, it lost all of its blooms. Its still green, but is not the large, spreading plant I hoped it would be. I still have big hopes for it next spring though.
So then I got some free ferns from work (we use them as decoration for events, then afterwards they are up for grabs). I am not a huge fan of ferns, but I took them because I thought they would fill out the garden and serve as a sort of placeholder while other things grow. As we have added new plants, these ferns have changed location quite a bit, as you will notice in the following photos. Hardy little guys, these ferns are.
My original plan for the garden was one layer of purple circling the perimeter, then a layer of white, then a layer of purple, and so-on…
So I added some white armeria behind the creeping phlox:
I’m actually not really a fan of these. They never filled in, looked quite stringy and their blooms die and turn brown really fast. So I found another white perennial (candytuft–also labeled as spreading, yay!) and tried to fill in more of this section with it.
I actually give candytuft a much more favorable review. It bloomed for much, much longer. Only now is it beginning to fade.
I also brought in some climbing vines for the side of the house (moving these trellises was actually the culprit of my broken ceramic flower fiasco). The vines are Star of Jasmine and smell divine. They’ve done quite well and are growing at a good pace.
So here is all of that (probably early April). You will notice my creeping phlox in the front had already lost its blooms 😦
Next, I brought in my favorite plant out of all of them (and ironically the only one I didn’t take a good picture of): Lo & Behold Blue Chip Butterfly Bush. This is a miniature version of the butterfly bush, and should only grow to about 2-3 feet high. It is continuously blooming from summer to frost. The only unfortunate part is that in between purple blooms, you have these ugly dried grey blooms (which is why I didn’t get a picture of them). Here is a picture of the plants from the internet:
This is actually a very appropriate picture, because I hope one day (in oh, 3 to 5 years!) my garden will look just like this. I planted a white hydrangea bush right behind the butterfly bush, just like in this picture.
And speaking of, white hydrangea are not exactly easy to come by. I ended up having to order it online. I opted for the biggest (and most expensive) size, and was really hoping it would come to me looking like a semi-substantial bush. What a huge disappointment. I opened it up and found a sad, shriveled, TINY plant. Luckily it seems to be flourishing now, but it will be many years before it will look anything like the picture above.
I also planted a gardenia bush:
A Texas Lilac shrub:
Some Mealy Sage (this stuff has grown like a champ! It has nearly tripled in size! If all plants had these results I would find gardening a lot more rewarding!) Not sure why it has white blooms though, the picture on the card acted like it would be purple. Maybe eventually it will turn!)
And just yesterday I added some pretty purple Cape Plumbago:
So thats where I am with that garden. I haven’t even touched the bed on the other side of the house, except for one little experiment. I have had a couple of different seed packets sitting around for years (gotten from the most unusual of sources, for example, some Forget-Me-Not seeds from a funeral home!). So I dug a hole, threw them all together and just waited to see what happened. Not the best gardening approach I am sure, but a few weeks later, look what sprung up:
And a month or two later, blooms!
That is a mix of Sweet Peas, Cosmos, Forget-Me-Nots, and Cleome Spider Flowers.
So thats more than anyone ever wanted to know about my gardening adventures this year. I am just hoping and praying all of my efforts will pay off next spring (and that this Texas heat-wave and drought doesn’t kill all of my plants in the meantime!)

Gettin’ knobby with it

(Title sung to the tune of Will Smith’s ever-classic  “Gettin’ Jiggy With It”…sorry couldn’t help myself!)

This was a super-easy, relatively cheap project that was primarily about adding function. We added knobs to all of our cabinets/drawers. Yay for no more hurt fingers as you try to pull the drawers open from the edge!

We decided to go with simple knobs for everything. Mainly because I like the simple, uncluttered look. I actually hesitated quite a bit to add the knobs at all, because I hated to loose that clean look. But as I said, this project was more about adding function, rather than aesthetics.

We went back and forth over whether or not to add handles to the drawers like the ones pictured on the left and right here:

In the end, I counted all of the cabinets and drawers we would be doing (in the kitchen, laundry room, and bathrooms), and it came out to exactly 50. At the good ole Home Depot there was a value pack with exactly 50 knobs for $50. So that pretty much made our decision for us. (I had been leaning toward all knobs for the simplicity anyway)
After a quick and easy installation:

We had this:

I didn’t get any laundry room pictures, but here are the two bathrooms before-and-afters.