Thursday, April 19, 2018

Garden Patio

 The patio garden is coming along at a quick pace and I couldn't be more excited. Three tiers of bricks on three sides will be filled with annuals, perennials and trailing plants. 
The pavers will be filled with polymeric sand today. Polymeric Jointing Sand is a high-tech mix of graded sand and binder, specially formulated for the filling of narrow or wide joints when installing pavers, slabs or natural stones, or when replacing existing joints. Unlike conventional sand, it stays in place . As you can see, the brick is missing in the corner, and I will be very interested to see how he manages that fix. 
  The plants are starting to collect in a big way, and yesterday I got a bunch via mail order, packed in a bag and stuffed into the mailbox. Not good. Many of the growing tips were damaged or destroyed, so I contacted the seller and will get them replaced. I will still plant what was ordered and see if they will take. Most of my mail order experience has been quite good, but one never knows.

 My friend Patsy gave me a very nice hellebore, or Lenten Rose and it has been very happy in this pot. I added a cranesbill geranium from the other house in that pot and dug up a small bleeding heart and brought it here. Must have bleeding hearts! I have pink and white and another must-have plant is the Celandine (or wood) Poppy. All work well in the shade.
Image result for celandine poppy

If you recall my post about Huglekultur, let me just say that I neglected to catch my landscaper before he scooped it all up and made a pile of it in the middle of the yard along with other debris. Nevermind.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A Little Quilting / A Little Garden

 I took home some of the donated bow-tie blocks made from flour sack fabrics and other 30's prints. They were hand pieced and and some had only the bow tie part and no connecting fabric. I substituted fabrics I thought looked appropriate to finish them. The border blocks and fabric is all current. The finished size is 47x40"-ish.
 Before binding, taking advantage of the light from my studio window to show the quilting designs.

 The blocks are 6.5" square.

 The landscape guys are busy getting the ground ready for a big patio, 16 feet square, bordered by wide raised beds on three sides. It will take up most of the yard on that side. Don't fret, our lot is way bigger than I realized when we bought it. Now that some of the bamboo is gone, and weedy trees and brush is gone, the space is great and I have PLANS. 

 These bricks will be the patio floor surface.

 What I am really excited about is the concrete brick which are the bigger 12x16x8" blocks. That opening allows for a really good size container for plants. I can't wait!!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Seedling Progress

 The plant collection, so far. At this point, I have no place to plant these babies, but my landscaper Nick is coming next Monday to get the garden ready for me, and I can hardly wait. I am only buying 'bargains' at this point, altho I am awaiting a mail order of plants from Michigan Bulb which are more or less regular priced goodies. I did invest in one pricey plant, a geranium praetense, a dark leafed purple hardy geranium.
Geranium pratense 'Dark Reiter' | Fine Gardening
 The little basil and blue bedder sage seedlings are doing quite well and I am putting them out daily to harden off.
In this saucer I am pre-sprouting Hyacinth bean seeds, a great flowering vine which I have been growing in all my TN gardens since one of my readers sent me seeds.
Hyacinth bean vine
In these buckets I have Cinnamon Fern and Ostrich Fern, which I am pretty excited to grow. I have lots of wet shady areas to let these fill with their leafy goodness.

 Two little baggies of hosta sprouts, Big Blue, which they are anything but. Just roots and a tiny shoot each. I believe they will be big plants before long. Home Depot had a plant sale on the weekend so I got flats of begonias, vinca and marigolds. 

This bucket holds 5 Peony roots and I chose Bowl of Beauty because the flowers don't topple over as quickly as the multi-petaled varieties. Van Zyverden Peonies Bowl Of Beauty- Roots (3-Set)

 These are pink Bleeding Heart roots. Pretty ugly but ready to become lovely flowers, as soon as I can get them planted. I want bleeding hearts for my new place. I had them at the side of my first house, and they were so nice!
On a different note. I brought this quilt to church to get some good photos on our design wall. This Friendship Star quilt is going to be a part of a fundraiser for Hope House, a Presbyterian outreach center at the University of TN Chattanooga.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Knitwits Quilts

 Quilting has crept into the lives of the Knitwits of late. One of our longtime members and KW founder, Martha, had donated her fabric stash and following her example a new member Betty did the same. Both had worked at fabric or quilt shops back in the day so we have a bunch of vintage fabric in our stash. How fabu! Martha was in 'need' of a table runner, and I kept promising to help her design one, but it just never happened, as I was distracted by other projects. Finally I suggested I would be happy to make it for her and she agreed. My quilting/knitting BFF Patsy and I met one Tuesday last week and team sewed this top and it was finished in less than three hours. We had a blast and I can see us doing this team sewing stuff again. We were so efficient! hahahah. Only had to unsew a  couple of times.
I took the top home and procrastinated for a week and finally got it done. We used the pattern Totally Tulips on Youtube.

 Then Sandy, an excellent sewer-KW member but doesn't knit, brought in four finished quilts from Betty's vintage donated blocks.  (Sorry for the spotty pics. When I got home I saw that I had spray starch on my lens!). I got so excited that I brought home some more bow tie blocks from that treasure trove and will play with them today.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Starting Seeds

 I can't wait for planting time to arrive, so I pre-sprouted some lettuce leaf basil seeds and some blue bedder salvia seeds, leftover from last year.
Grow Lettuce Leaf Basil Seeds in containers or your organic herb or vegetable garden. Lettuce leaf basil has large, puckered leaves that are nice in pesto.low purple flowering plant - Google Search

My method is simple. Take a paper towel, fold it and wet it thoroughly and place it on a dish. Sprinkle seeds and cover with plastic wrap or a zip-lock bag. In a few days little white rootlets will show and then you know which seeds are worth planting.
This time I saved some egg cartons and planted my new sprouted seeds in them. Cutting off the top and using it for a tray, and poking a drainage hole in each recess, I then dampened my potting mix in a big bowl in the sink. Why it took me this long to figure out this simple and cheap method...all I can say is Duh!
Here's a close-up of the once black basil seeds. They are now white-ish and covered with a gooey layer which forms after a few days in the wet environment of the paper towel/plate. I use a tweezer to pick up the seeds and place them into the soil.  I hope you can see the tiny rootlet coming out if the seeds.
Then out comes the trusty Rubbermaid! Using the lid as a base and turning the bin upside down, I have a mini greenhouse!
There are a few more eggs to use up and I will make a third seed bed from that carton too.

Thursday, March 29, 2018


 I read about this idea of Huglekultur and decided it was perfect for the discarded logs and branches on the perimeter of our yard. One is supposed to dig a trench, but we already had a recessed spot, so piling in the logs and branches was the next thing to do. We did this pile in less than 30 minutes, then took a break and will return to the project again soon, as there are still many logs and debris all around the yard to add.
After the majority of wood is compiled, we'll go with leaves and then maybe purchase some straw or pine straw to add to the mix. Topping it all with soil or well rotted manure as the final layer and then plants!
A 'how to guide' for building a hugelkultur (raised bed garden)
Our Huglekultur pile is in a rather shady spot so I don't imagine sun loving veggies would work for us, but certainly other edible plants would be advisable. The idea is that it is a compost pile of sorts but works as a garden too. Neat eh? The decaying wood becomes spongy, holding in water and making it available to the roots from above. The bonus is that it usually requires little watering or weeding, and breaks down slowly over the decades.