Bret Michaels Never Grew Anything This Pretty—Except Maybe His Hair

For years I’ve wanted to grow roses.

It’s one of those things that remind me of my mom. For years she has had roses growing in her yard. Each summer she would cut the flowers and put a bloom or two in vases around the house. And the smell is incredible. You wouldn’t even have to get your nose that close to the flower to be able to smell them. The scent just emanates from them.

Plus, they were always so very pretty.

So for years I’ve had rose envy.

Until now. This year I was fortunate enough to be at Menard’s at just the right time and they had huge cardboard containers of rose bushes in all types of colors and styles. The best part? They were only $1.50 each with a mail in rebate. Hell, for that price I could kill them all and not feel like I was wasting a ton of money.

So I bought three.

One Eclipse—a yellow long stem variety, one Mr. Lincoln—a red long stem variety, and one simply labeled Heirloom—a pinkish variety that touted lots of blooms and a strong scent.

They started blooming last week.

And they are beautiful.

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Even better is how good they smell. Right now I have a few sitting in a glass canning jar on a table in the living room. When the lightest breeze comes through and I catch a whiff of their scent? It smells amazing and feels like summer at my mom’s house.

Which is to say, it feels like love.

And that makes me happy.

*This week I’m joining in Wordful Wednesday hosted by Seven Clown Circus. Want to play along? Click on the button below.

I imagine I could eat them too

For his birthday back in March, G-tot got a set of really cool kid’s yard/garden tools. Attached to the set was a pack of white pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds to plant. The seeds didn’t come with the tools, they were picked out especially for G-tot by his grandma. A woman who loves flowers and gardening as much as I do. I couldn’t wait until spring so we could plant them. I have never grown pumpkins before. And I have never grown sunflowers.

The sunflowers are AWESOME!

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They tower over all of us. They attract the bees which is great for our garden and the environment. When the flower petals fall I am cutting off the heads and drying them out. Some of the seeds will feed the birds this winter. The others will be planted next spring in our yard or sent off to friends to be planted in theirs. The flowers are a blend of red, orange, and yellow with gorgeous concentric circles of color. If you want some, let me know and I’ll send them to you when the packets are ready. Oh, and they produce multiple flower heads per stalk at a time. I had no idea they grew like that.

They really are beautiful. And did I mention tall? Here’s a shot of me and said flowers for a sense of scale. I’m a wee 5’4″, but still.

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Lazy Gardener

A big part of gardening for me is experimenting. Finding the perfect type of tomato. Growing brocolli for the first time. Building your own support system for cucumbers and peas. Starting carrots from seed. It is all part of the experience and it is one of my favorite parts. When I lived in various apartments I grew things in pots but it wasn’t until we bought our house that I had a real garden. A garden that takes up a decent portion of the yard and gets bigger every year. This is the fourth summer for us at the house, our garden this year is at its largest size yet and it is packed. Which is you know, AWESOME!

However, I have been a super lazy gardener this year and it is only packed because of the all the work I put in the past two days. Up until then? I would plant a little something here. Start a few seeds there. Prep the soil a wee bit. Get distracted twenty-five times by G-tot. Then get tired and go inside. It has taken me forever to get this operation up and running, but I finally have and I know I owe a great deal of that to this little item we picked up called a sandbox.

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This sandbox has made working in the yard so much easier. G-tot absolutely loves it and it allows me to get so much done while still being able to keep an eye on him. The sandbox is about 5 feet in diameter so I can get in and play along! Plus, we got the frame for free. We just had to buy the sand which JQ picked up on sale. Total cost? About $25. Sweet.

But this isn’t a post about the sandbox, it’s about the garden. Which is now in. Almost. I still have a few packets of seeds to plant but I ran out of room in the actual garden. I also have a few packets of herbs to plant in pots that I didn’t get finished today. Because I’m a lazy gardener. Also because the transplanting of some cilantro proved to be impossible for whatever ridiculous reason. I mean seriously, I am having  a hell of a time with cilantro this year. I’ve tried twice to transplant seedlings into larger pots. Both times the soil just crumbled away leaving me with a handful of spindly roots with no dirt around them. So tomorrow I’ll just plant it in the big pot outside. Screw this indoor seed starting crap.

Anyway…want to see some pictures of the lazy garden?

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April 25, 2009

With the expansion in size we had to reset all the fencing. At this point we don’t have the door on and the only things that are planted include some rosemary that wintered over, my first batch of green onions, and snap peas (in one of the large pots that would later be transplanted). The fence posts are set 8 ft. apart so we are looking at a space around 12′ x 14′.

img_6811_2May 30, 2009

I took this shot after dinner tonight. Right before I snapped the shutter I shoved that pile of weeds and maple helicopters from inside to garden to right outside the garden door. Instead of picking it up. Lazy gardening strikes again. Let me tell you what we have happening here.

Left to right, starting with the pots in the upper left.
Strawberries
Rosemary
Garlic Chives
Sugar Snap Peas
Broccoli
Cucumbers
Jalepeños
Carnival Mix Peppers (purple, gold, red, orange bell peppers)
Green Onions (in the long pot in the middle)
Grape Tomatoes
Roma Tomatoes
Stringless Green Beans
Romaine Lettuce (in large pot in upper right corner)
Carrots (in large pot in lower right corner)

Still to come—once I find a spot:
Cilantro
Parsley
Dill
Pumpkins (orange and white varieties)
Ambrosia Cantaloupe
Broom Corn
Hot Peter Peppers
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In addition to all the vegetables, I planted a bunch of flower seeds in the beds around the yard.

Morning Glories
Sunflowers
Cosmos
Asters
Snapdragons
Marigolds
Zinnias
Wildflowers from the Netherlands (given to us by friends that visited there last year)

I can’t wait to see everything in full force this summer!

It’s like nature’s shag carpet

I love moss.

I don’t know what it is that attracts me to it so much—but my love for moss is undeniable. Every time I pass a patch of it growing in some shady spot I smile. Most would try to eliminate it from their landscape—I welcome its growth. I want to bend down close to it and run my fingers over the soft terrain. I’m fascinated by the fact that a small patch of moss is actually made up of hundreds of little plants. I love how some of those little plants go wild and grow high above the surface of its neighbors.

So today I made a terrarium to bring a bit of that moss I adore inside. I grabbed a big mason jar from the garage and scooped a small pile of rocks into the bottom for drainage. I topped that with a bit of soil and then with G-tot’s tiny shovel—I couldn’t be bothered to find mine—I dug up a bit of moss from a shady spot in the backyard and carefully arranged it in the mason jar. Really simple, but in my opinion, quite lovely. What do you think?

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maybe I should go to La Tomatina

During the last half hour of G-tot’s nap today I went out and picked some veggies from our garden. Cucumbers, green peppers, jalapeños, and tomatoes. Good God the tomatoes. I had to go back for a third container I have so many tomatoes. And I’m not talking about big beefsteak tomatoes either. I’m talking little 1–2 inch Cherry & Golden Pear tomatoes along with some Romas.

Need proof? Here’s a picture of what I picked just now. The cukes, peppers, and Romas are in the basket. The two bowls are all Cherry & Golden Pear (with the exception of a few jalapeños).

This is not an accumulation of several days harvest. Trust me, there are many more on the counter & in the fridge (cukes & japs only in the fridge) that I picked the other day. Nope, this it just what I could pick in that 30 minute window before G-tot woke up. The gallon of milk is there just for a size comparison. Everyone knows how big a gallon of milk is, right?

It’s not like we planted a ton of tomato plants either. Just six. Two of each variety. Now I need to figure out what to do with all of them.

Does anybody have any good tomato recipes?

morning glories

A little update on the morning glory seeds I planted this season. You may remember that the plants are from the seeds that I harvested by hand from last year’s plants.

I had never used seeds that were harvested by hand. For that matter, I had never harvested seeds before. I had no idea if they would grow at all. I kept the seeds in a white number 10 envelope tacked to the bulletin board in the office through the winter. When spring rolled around I sorted them into several smaller packets of seeds. I sent out seed packets to four different people in addition to a large pile of seeds that I kept for myself. I’m not sure if any of them had any success with their packets. I think the heat was too much for a couple of them. But here in Toledo growing conditions are perfect.

Let’s have a looksy shall we?

May 23, 2008: The little seedlings are transplanted around a small iron trellis. You can see two out of three pieces of twine tied to the trellis that lead up to a small hook at the peak of the garage roof. They give the vines something to grow along in addition to the trellis. Along with the morning glories are a few moon flowers that I grew for evening blooms.

August 3, 2008: The same area from a slightly different angle. You can see the vines trailing up the twine now. The peak is just out of the frame above the wind chime (one of my favorite wedding gifts. It has a beautiful sound and is hand tuned to the Key of E). The two large pots hold lettuce at three different stages of growth (sown every few weeks or so to extend the growing season).

June 5, 2008: To the right of G-tot are a few of the seedlings that I planted along the perimeter of the fence. JQ has some mad trimming skills because not one of these babies were hacked down to little nubs.


July 11, 2008: They climbed the fence nicely but not as fully as I expected them to. When they hit the top of the fence the vines would use each other to climb and get completely jumbled together. I’ve spent hours unwinding the vines and redirecting them down and back up the fence. It’s almost meditative and once you start it’s hard to stop.


August 3, 2008: Overflowing and flowering like crazy.

balloon flower

2006 was the year we spent our first summer in our home. I had been dying to finally be able to plant perennials—or really anything—anywhere I wanted on my property. Being confined to a handful of potted annuals on a 4 x 6 foot porch that faced a parking lot for 5 years had really gotten old. Okay, so we also had a view of the Maumee River from our porch, but regardless I didn’t have a yard to call my own and the foliage was less than desired. A lawn full of goose crap and a bunch of weeds and grape vines growing on the hill that led down to the river. The hill that was primarily out of view from our place. Let’s just say that we mostly saw parking lot and grass. Plus, the gardener in me wanted to spread her photosynthesis-driven wings far and wide.

Click the picture to see the bug up close and personal.
Come on do it. See how much this camera rocks.

That first spring in our home I was ecstatic to be able to hunt for the perfect plants in my yard. In 2006 I found the balloon flower. I had never seen this beauty before but I was intrigued by what I saw on the little flower identification tag tucked along the edge of the pot.


Platycodon graniflorus has not disappointed. What started out as this tiny 5 inch plant has grown into this huge showy display. The branches seem to get so heavy and they just sprawl in all directions. I’ve been so happy with it that I bought another one this year. It looks so sad compared to the monster I planted two years ago. I know how much potential it has though, so I just smile at its minuteness.

one plant after two full seasons of growth

The flowers are so cool that the whole growing process is something to marvel. The buds start out small and round like an underdeveloped grape. Then they puff up and take on the appearance of a hot air balloon with out the bucket.
When they finally open they look like five-pointed stars with almost all trace of the balloon shape gone. Just beautiful.
They thrive in sun to part sun and come in a variety of colors. Very easy to grow and require little in the terms of maintenance. Plus they add some real visual interest to the landscape. I’m so happy I discovered their existence.

home grown goodness

A quick peak of what I harvested from the garden this morning. I’m hoping JQ, G-tot, and I can go on a picnic this evening and what better way then to eat what we’ve grown. The two heads of broccoli will be mixed with some sharp cheddar, red onions, and a sweet mayo based dressing for a killer salad. I’ll make a big tossed salad for JQ and I out of the Baby Bibb lettuce. The jalapeños will be added with the others I picked earlier in the week, stuffed with cream cheese, wrapped in bacon and grilled. I’ll make some cilantro lime rice—from the cilantro of course. The green onions will get diced for the salad and trimmed to munch on with a little dip. Add some fried chicken that I’ll make once I get to the meat market and I’d say we’ve got ourselves a picnic. I’ll have to toss in some mandarin oranges for G-tot—since he can’t eat the tossed salad or the jalapeños.

environmentally friendly

Today I watered the flower beds with water from the kiddie pool. I must have filled 20 watering cans up. Back and forth. Good for the arms. Good for Mother Nature. Good for my water bill.

Did you do anything today to help reduce your carbon footprint?

the birds are going to be mad


I picked these little gems this morning before the downpour hit. It’s 3 quarts, a pint, and an empty mushroom container full. That’s pretty much the last of them. I left behind the partials that the birds had already gotten to and a few that were out of reach even with the ladder. I have the batch I picked last weekend in the freezer. I’ll probably try a tart with some of those. With this fresh picked batch I’m going to make “spirited cherries”. I’m not sure which spirit I’ll use quite yet—vodka, rum, or brandy. This venture also requires a canning process—which I have never done before. But it’s on my list!

I want to can them this weekend or by Tuesday at the lastest. They’re really ripe and I don’t want to lose any to procrastination. Especially after I worked so hard to pick all of them. The family went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond today and they didn’t have any canning supplies. Sucky. I have a couple of stores in mind that I’ll run to tomorrow. If all goes well, the drunken cherry fest will commence shortly.