Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Gardening. Not Just For Old Ladies.

First of all,
if we've been friends for any length of time, then you know I have this odd obsession with summer.  I love it.  I see summer as the best of life, and winter is punishment for what you did during summer.
'S how I see it.
And every year, I do this nerdy thing, where I pick a summer theme song.  Yep, I do that.  I love how listening to a song over and over will forever associate it with the occasion.  Meld it to your brain.
two summers ago, it was this song.  I have to put it on here 'cause it's so freaking awesome.

Last summer?  This one.  Relatively unknown last year, but possibly a little overdone this summer. 

And this year, (dun dun dun)

I love this song.  Just listen to the chorus, at least.  It's calm, it's chill--it makes me want to sit on my bench swing that can barely hold up my weight, sip a cold drink, and watch my kids play and beat the crap out of each other out in the yard, and then do nothing about it.  Because I'm feeling calm.  Chill.

Man I love summer.


to the matter at hand--

I have a lot of questions for you, by the way.  Questions that need answers.


Gardening.  People.  As a kid, it seemed like pure torture.  Weeding was as fun as a dentist trip. 

When I get to heaven, I'm going to apologize to my grandparents when they took me on a grand tour of their pride and joy garden, and I didn't appreciate their hard work.  So ashamed.

As an adult?  This shiz is addicting, man.

I can't get enough of digging in the dirt and planting.  I love being outside, I love seeing stuff grow--I love this crap. 

First question--
(plants for my porch)

can one have too many potted plants?  Is that possible?   Because I'm just putting them anywhere.

(another random pot 'cause why not)

Can it be like a whole crazy cat lady thing?  Like, could I become the crazy pot lady?

(this isn't my place, but I'd definitely take it.)

That didn't come out right.

(Urns for the front of the garage.  I bought the geraniums on clearance nearly dead and think theyr'e starting to perk up nicely)
So, basically, if it'll hold soil, I believe that it should be planted in.  This is true, right?


I took these dollar pots, and the daughter and I got all fun 'n crazy with 'em,

and then we planted 10 cent packets of zinnia and teddy bear sunflower seeds in them,

and miraculously, 10 cent packets do indeed grow!  Hurray.  And obvs, I stuck them outside by my garden because I'm still under the impression that I can have as many flowers and pots and crap out here as I want until someone tells me differently.

Oh, Oh!  Other sidenote!

I also planted trumpet honeysuckle to climb my arbor in the garden and am ridiculously excited about that, AND. . .

everyone's all, "I like your flowers!" and I'm like, "Those are hydrangeas, and they're gonna be like 5 feet tall and they're going to be amazing I swear just wait!"

Please don't die, hydrangeas.

Kay.  Second question:

every dang time I ask someone what I could plant next year in my planters that would be perennials next time (since it cost me so dang much to plant these annuals this time),

I get the same response:

"Oh, anything would be fine in there."

Um, no.  Not all perennials would just look amazing in here.  Help a girl out.  Something not too tall?  Not too wide?  And please don't mention how I need to edge my grass?

Kay.  On with the next question.

I know, I'm beating a dead horse here--

But with thee change of scenery back here with the deck 'n all, just like I said over and over, it's snowballed.  We wanna make it better back here.

And I cannot stop dreaming of a firepit area.

Something like this.  Something hardscaped.  Something nifty.  I'm serious about this.  Seriously serious.

Serious enough to call and get estimates and start digging up the lawn, and I'm this close to having the work started like now-- yesternow--

but help me. 


Stamped concrete?


Stamped concrete?

Slate, stamp, slate, stamp,

slatestampslatestampslatestamp. . . ?? 

If the price is basically the same, what do I do?  Does it even matter?  Am I always this indecisive?  I have no idea?  Help, I think? 


Jasi said...

You're so funny. I have nothing useful to add. I plant green things that are not likely to die as long as it rains a few times a year. I neglect them and they either die off or eat my house. It's the agreement we have, you know?

I like stamped concrete best but it could crack and that would suck. But slate is easier?

Morrise Family said...

I never comment on the blogs I read, but you asked a question that I actually know something about (I'm a landscape designer), so. . .

Your hanging baskets & pots provide so many flowers that I would focus on texture in the planters. I assume you probably get a lot of sun, based on what you planted this year.

In the higher planters, around the posts, I'd plant a creeping juniper-- a gold variety like "Mother Load". In the lower planters, I'd use a mix of Blue Oat Grass and Japanese blood grass. These plantings would provide a mixture of colors, textures & forms, year round interest & low maintenance.

Ana Moly said...

I live in California, so not sure if these work in other areas but these plants just keep growing despite my neglectfulness
* some varieties may try to take over your yard

Amanda said...

slate slate slate slate slate! are my feelings clear? ha! so natural and pretty looking with all that wood you put on your deck.

Carla said...

Slate. And you can totally be the crazy pot lady... I'm working in being the crazy gnome lady!

Connie @ Measured by the Heart said...

You have to tell me how the hydrangeas do. I love them but heard they don't do good in Utah. Also, I love the stamped concrete that looks like cobblestone. . Reminds me of my childhood in Germany.

funjani said...

I had flagstone years ago. It stained and mildewed. I had to constantly clean it. And the little rocks...when it rains...
Go to Stone Gable's blog. See the firepit and new patio she put in.
She used pavers. Everywhere I see pavers, they look fabulous. Cement cracks. You can replace damaged pavers. Second choice would be stamped cement.

S Matherne said...

I would plant dianthus in your planters. Lowes insists that they are annuals, but mine came back year after year. You just have to dead head them regularly, and cut them back at the end of the season.

Emily said...

Dianthus and snap dragons! I had a snap dragon show up last year and it just keeps kicking. Both of those are perennials in our zone :)

Cara said...

I agree with the landscaper. I just watched a gardening thing yesterday that said to plant a lot of different green plants in various shades and colors because flowers bloom and die but the green always remains. This way when your plant flowers you'll have that contrast but you'll have color and dimension all year long. and I have no idea about slate or stamped concrete :)

Arlene said...

If you want flowers, I'd suggest Gaillardia - also called Blanket Flower. I love Arizona Sun variety. They bloom all summer long and come back next year. They're very hardy - they grow wild in the sand at the beach, so they can take much abuse and "non-watering". Personally I hate potted stuff because I forget to water it one day and it is toast. I only plant perennials now. But hey, if you want to water every day - go for it.

Libby said...

while I agree with the landscaper designer, I'd also throw in roses. The hardy ones, not tea roses unless you actually want to fuss over them. I can grow them in my east facing side of our house in S. Alberta so you should be able to. Grapes too crawling up your posts. We can grow them in one spot in our yard and hubby gets enough grapes to make jelly! (one batch).

While I like pots, I think you can have too many pots...that number would be when you dread planting ANOTHER pot. Or when hubbins says he can't find the yard for the pots.

The slate/concrete issue? Gosh, I'd go with slate & concrete not slate & gravel. I guess it depends on frost heaving for the concrete. I do like the stamped concrete though.....

Sugar3 said...

Concrete is hard to fix...I would go with the slate. Besides it would be a more natural look to compliment your beautiful patio. And you should make a wall of pots on your fence...have you seen that? Just google 'wall of pots on fence'..technical, I know. I like the ones with the painted terra cotta pots. All the fun and you can still find your yard :)

Mel@Mellywood's Mansion said...

Do not go with stamped concrete!! I have it and when it cracked there is no good way to fix it it go with the slate. The garden looks beautiful and I'm not aware of pot rules I think you're okay. Crazy flowerpot lady smells nicer than cat lady and a heck of a lot brighter than pot lady.

As for plants in the patio what about dwarf fruit trees and espalier them. Pay once you decide the height gorgeous in spring and Summer rewarded with fruit is fall and bare in winter so you still get light in through the windows. It's very easy to do.

~ Laura said...

You always make me smile!! :)

Our business is hardscape and while all I do is type bids and sort receipts, I asked my husband what he thinks. He has done stone and stamped concrete patios as well as pavers.

As said above, concrete eventually cracks, even with adequate expansion joints and there is no fix. Weather and settling just happen even to the best out there. That's not to say avoid it because if a little imperfection charms you or wouldn't bother you and you get the look and color you really love it would be worth it. I have seen some beautiful colored, stamped and stained concrete!!

Stone though!! Always such a natural and pretty choice!! My personal favorite so it will be hard to think of the negatives!! :) You can set it in concrete, decomposed granite (love this even on it's own!!), soil/ground cover, turf and it always looks perfect. Stone can also crack, but it doesn't take away from the look as much as when perfect concrete cracks. Plus, depending on the setting it can be replaced. Sealing stone really brings out the colors, too. I has to be redone over time, but it can be diy'd for sure.

I will add a vote for pavers, too! So much variety these days, doesn't crack and typically costs less than concrete or is very close. I think it gives the feeling of stone with the clean lines of concrete, if that makes sense!! :)

One last thought, my husband often combines stone and concrete. Depending on whether it is a walkway or patio, he may frame a concrete walk w/stone, or insert stone "ribbons". The smaller patches of concrete can help with cracks and it looks nice with the variations.

Sorry if this is tmi!! :) I wanted to share what might help you but not bombard you too much!! :)

Ps. We also do fire features so if you have any questions..... :)

Susan - Uniquely Yours or Mine said...

I considered slate or concrete pavers, I chose the pavers even though I'm a slate girl at heart. The pavers just went better with our newly built house. So I think it depends on your house style and also slate is more expensive, just saying. As far as plants go I happen to love lavender and lambs ear, but also herbs like oregano and thyme all of which come back in my zone 7. Have fun gardening!

Jen said...

Did you know that if you plant petunias far apart, they EXPLODE and get super huge?!?!?! It'd only take 3, maaaybe 4 across your lower planters to fill!! No joke! I planted some left overs I had last year in my neighbors back yard, without telling her I did. They were sparse and few and far in between, but they ended up being about 3 feet in diameter! Also, fyi, just in case you didn't already know about this, every year, the week before Mother's Day, Smith's Marketplace has their solid flats on sale for $10.99!! One flat would more than do all your planter boxes! You can get a mixed color one, too, if you want more than one color. :)

Anywho - perennials....I LOVE my coral bells!! The bells themselves get about a foot tall, but it's main foliage is low, like petunias. They're just so sweet and cute! I even have a few starts you could have, if you're interested. :) Dianthis are also awesome. They're listed as annuals, but mine always came back, year after year, as long as I left it alone and didn't cut it down or tear it out! I found that out on accident one year, simply because I was too lazy in the fall to clean up my beds. I also love, love, love black or green eyed susans. But alas, they get tall. However, I THINK, but don't quote me on this, I saw a dwarf version of those at Lowe's last year.

You know what else might be the bees knees in those planter boxes of yours? Succulents!! With an accent of either white alyssum or white lobelia! (Even though those two are both annuals.) OH, BABY! I can just picture those dainty white flowers with some awesome succulent action! Just sayin'!!

What about planting strawberries in them?!!?!! YUM!

murphyboysmom5 said...

Many annuals actually reseed themselves, like the snapdragons someone mentioned above. You might do some research on annuals you like and see if they reseed. I, too, have snapdragons beside my porch and have been pleasantly surprised to have them "come back" the last few years. This year, we even got a different color. Good luck! By the way, I vote for the pavers or maybe you can DIY using one of those concrete molds that looks like cobblestones or pavers. I have seen a lot of them on Pinterest turn out great. You can also add stain right in if you choose.

Jessica said...

LOVE your songs!

Bohemian said...

Yes, Gardening can be seriously addictive... and Crazy Old Pot Lady made me LOL until I realized that wasn't what you meant?! *Winks* As for Slate or Stamped Concrete... how about some of each for an eclectic mix... that always works for me when I'm totally indecisive, have it ALL... or at least some of it all!

Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

Natasha said...

Two ideas for your planters:
1. Perennials could be daylillies, sedum, columbine, just some ideas. The only thing about perennials is that they have a smaller flowering or color window. Which leads me to my second point.
2. If you're looking to save money on your annuals you could direct sow the seeds right in your planter, zinnias are my first suggestion.
Good luck.

Jocelyn said...

stamped concrete is slippery when wet

Leslie@leserleeslovesandhobbies said...

For flowers, coral bells come in lots of colors, but they like shade more than sun. Hostas are also good for shade and they come in all sorts of greens and whites, with purple or white flowers, but they are mostly planted for their foliage. Same with coral bells. If it's sun, I think you should plant some spring flowering bulbs this fall. I also like the idea of planting strawberries. You could also do blueberries in the planters. Depending on your soil, you might need to add sulfur or something to make it more acidic. There are some great blueberry varieties for planters. Mums would be good to plant for fall flowers.

Go with the slate or do what I did, and just do small, roundish gravel (not the crushed gravel), and then, if you want build the stone fire pit. We have a metal one that we can put away during the winter, so we don't have to worry about weathering.