Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Designing a Fairy Garden

My son and I created our very own miniature fairy garden. It's a fun and relatively inexpensive project.

1 unfinished birdhouse; $5
Flat rocks from the creek; Free
Large rocks from the creek; Free
Fine gravel from the creek; Free
1 horseshoe shaped piece of wood from Craft store; 25 cents
Glue gun and 6 glue sticks; Free-already had them
1 bottle of a matte sealer spray; $6
2 miniature 2" fairies from Enchanted Gardens; $3 each
Wooly Thyme plant from Lowes; $1.88
Aurea Irish Moss plant from Lowes; $1.88
6-pack of Dusty Miller plant from Lowes; $2.18
Potting soil (I used a mix of vermiculite, potting soil, and peat moss); $5..I guess.
Container from Lowes; $20
4-pack of miniature turtles from Enchanted Gardens; around 99 cents
1 miniature watering can from Enchanted Gardens; around 99 cents

By far the most expensive part of the project is the container I put it in. I opted for something decorative so I could keep the planter in a southern facing window and enjoy it indoors or on my porch. The finished project took only a few hours. Most of that time was spent glueing rocks to the birdhouse.

How to make a fairy house:

Step One: Glue flat rocks, sticks, bark or other materials to the birdhouse.

Step Two: I coated the horseshoe-shaped wood with glue sections at a time and covered it with fine gravel. I then glued this to the front of the birdhouse as a door. I filled in the gap between the door and the birdhouse with small gravel and pebbles. The perch was used as the door handle.

Step Three: Coat the stone house with a matte sealer. I used two coats.

Step Four: Fill your container with soil and plants. Make sure you leave room to place your fairy house.

Step Five: Add your fairy or other decorative pieces to the garden.

I chose to make my own mushrooms and ladybugs with left over river materials and toothpicks.

Making mushrooms: I coated the tops of mussel shells found at the river with paint (red or orange work well). Once dried I used a toothpick to place white dots on them. Then I used the glue stick to glue two toothpicks together. These were glued to the inside of the mushroom shell. I coated these with the same matte sealer to slow the decay of the toothpicks and keep the paint fresh.

Making ladybugs: I took small, oval rocks. My son painted them red. Once dried I painted the heads black and added black spots. I glued them to a rock and coated these with the sealer to preserve the paint.

Here's how it turned out!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Lady Emma Hamilton Update

My Lady Emma Hamilton rose appears to be taking off without a hitch. This picture was taken on the 23rd of April. This is two weeks of growth. We are currently going through four days of hot weather. It is supposed to be in the 90s again tomorrow. She is really starting to put out branches now. I'll post a more current picture soon.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Lady Emma Hamilton

I've been waiting for this for months! My Lady Emma Hamilton rose arrived yesterday. It looks great. Strong, healthy roots. Green stems. Small buds starting to come alive. It's a beautiful David Austin shrub rose that has apricot-yellow blooms with a strong fruity scent that I can't wait to experience! If it looks anything like its pictures it is going to be fantastic. I'll make sure to take pictures periodically of its progress. Pictures like those were tough for me to find online, so hopefully it will be useful to someone else.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Tomatoes: Potting Up

Since I planted my tomatoes so early this year I had to transplant them into the largest peat pots I could find. Lowes had some that didn't have a size noted on them, but they look to be about the size of my 2-cup measuring cup. Made by Ferry-Morse. An 8 pack was around $2.20. This will be their last transition until they are ready to be hardened off and planted outside next month. I removed some of the peat from their original 3" pots while transplanting to give the roots free access to spread. In sections where root penetrated the peat, I left it alone and planted as is. I know peat pots are supposed to decompose eventually, but I don't want anything impeding their growth if it can be avoided.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Tomato Starting Tip For Small Gardens

After you have started tomatoes you should continue to put them into larger pots as they grow. Each time planting them deeper than they were in the pot before. Since I only have room for about 12 plants a season I found a way that works very well. When starting my tomatoes I use a 3" peat pot. I fill it 1/4 of the way with a potting mix. Then I fill it to the middle with a sterile seed starting mix. Plant your seeds with it only half full. Just be sure that you put your grow lights close to the pots. Once the tomatoes have grown several inches over the edge of the pot fill it to the top with potting soil. Roots will form along the buried stem. By the time you plant your tomatoes outside you should have a strong root system to support your plants.

Flower, Herb, and Vegetable Starts

Here are some of the plants that I have started this season.

Moss Curled parsley is in the back right in 3" peats, 3 Gloriosa Daisies in the back left, more Scarlet Starlet marigolds in the front right, impatiens (red and pink from fall cuttings) in the front left. The newly planted areas loosely covered with plastic wrap are 2" peats of Alaska nasturtium and Queen cleome.

The shorter plants are of my Fat 'N Sassy Peppers, Jalapeno M Pepper, and Anaheim Chili Peppers. The taller plants are my heirloom tomatoes and one Celebrity hybrid. The heirlooms are Opalka (3 of them), Constoluto Genovese, Gold Nugget, Cherokee Green, Cherokee Purple, KBX, Sandul Moldovan, Cowlick's Brandywine, and Black Krim.

A Touch of Spring Indoors

Yesterday I felt like bringing a touch of Spring into the house. In a miniature vase (~2 1/2 inches tall) I placed a Tete-A-Tete daffodil, a purple hyacinth, and a Thumbelina zinnia flower (started indoors a few months ago). It's a simple, fragrant centerpiece.

State of the Seedling Address

With warmer days just around the corner a majority of my flower, herb, and vegetable seeds have been started. In a few more weeks the remainder of seeds will be started. Delicious muskmelon (Minnesota Midget and Iroquois), Bush Sugar Baby watermelon, and Jack-Be-Little pumpkin seeds are waiting for their turn to shine.

Here is a copy of what seeds I have started and when. The abbreviations mean the following:
SP: Small Peat pot ~2 inches
LP: Large Peat pot ~3 inches
PT: Paper Towel - For some seeds I used the paper towel method I described in an earlier post.
*** All others were started in 72 cell trays with a seed starting mix.

FEB. 6, 2009
4 Gloriosa Daisy PT
16 Moss Curled Parsley PT; 3/14 all were moved to LP
6 Verbena bonariensis Top sown again 2/19/09, resown heavily 3/16
3 Husker’s Red Penstemon PT; Surface Sow
7 Quartz Mix Verbena Just cover; only 2 up, resown 5 on 2/26 in PT
8 LP Tango Celery Soak overnight; plant shallowly, needs light

FEB. 12
2 LP Mucho Nacho Jalapeno
8 LP Fat n’ Sassy Peppers
2 LP Anaheim Chili Pepper Received and planted 3/21
1 LP Jalapeno M Jalapeno Pepper (Planted 3/3) Germinated 3/21

8 Butterfly Mix Pentas Do NOT cover pelleted seed!
4 Delfino Cilantro

FEB. 24
5 Little Gem Romaine Lettuce
4 Jericho Romaine Lettuce
1 LP Celebrity FILL LP's ONLY 1/2 WAY
1 LP Cherokee Purple (Replant 3/6 and 4 on 3/9) Bad seed?
1 LP Cowlick's Brandywine
3 LP Opalka
1 LP Constoluto Genovese
1 LP Sandul Moldovan (Started Feb. 26)
1 LP Gold Nugget Tomato (Started Feb. 19)
1 LP Green Cherokee (Started 3/14)

11 Scarlet Starlet Marigold (wait for April 5 next season. Moved to LP 4/5.)
8 Salvia Mix (Lady In Red, Coral Nymph, Yvonne’s, Dill); Heavily resown 3/22
7 Strawberry Fields Gomphrena; PT, cover lightly
1 Helen Mount Viola
1 Mosaic Kong Coleus (Planted 3/5)
1 Sun Mix Coleus (Planted 3/5)
1 Giant Exhibition Coleus (3/5)
2 Onion Chives (Planted 3/12)
1 Red Rubin Basil (Planted 3/16)
4 Simpson Elite Lettuce (Planted 3/20)
18 ‘Evergreen’ Long White Bunching Scallions (Onions) (Planted 3/22)
D. Sow ‘Cherry Belle’ Radishes (Planted 3/28)

April 5
12 SP Queen Mix Cleome
4 Thumbelina Zinnia
10 SP Will Rogers Zinnia
7 SP Alaska Nasturtium
2 LP Black-Eyed Susan Superstar Orange Vine
1 LP Mexican Sunflower ‘Torch’
1 Fernleaf Dill
Pkt. Burpeeana Early Peas (First planting 3/25)
Pkt. Sugar Snap Peas (First planting 3/25)

APRIL 28...The final round
2 LP Cameo Elegance Morning Glory (For container with Thumbelina and B-E Susan Vine)
4 LP Scarlet O’Hara Morning Glory (S) Notch or 24 hour soak morning glories
2 LP Clarke’s Heavenly Blue Morning Glory
2 LP Scarlet Runner Bean
2 LP Jack Be Little Pumpkin
2 LP Salad Bush Hybrid Cucumber
2 LP Bush Sugar Baby Watermelon
3 LP Minnesota Midget Muskmelon
2 LP Iroquois Melon