Gosh Darn You, Martha Stewart!

I fell in LOVE with the cover of Martha’s Easter Issue. I was positively obsessed!!

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I mean, what’s not to love, right??

So, with my characteristic over-enthusiasm, I decided to recreate Her basket for my daughter’s in-law’s Easter Table. That won’t be too hard, I told myself.

Around two hundred dollars’ worth of Martha Products later, I have a reasonable facsimile of Her Easter basket, if I do say so myself. Minus the adorable lop-eared bunny, of course!

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Martha may not have a warm and fuzzy personality, but She’s still one of my Pantheon of Women Goddesses. Hey, Athena wasn’t Miss Congeniality either! And who else could have had a bunch of federal prison inmates crafting?? To gild the lily, She’s an avid beekeeper too!!

She’s the tops in my book.

Have a wonderful Easter, Martha.  I was just kidding You in the title of my post.  🙂

 

Cottage Gardening – October Garden

The coming of Fall is bittersweet. I hate to see my garden dying, but some flowers are at their most beautiful. Here are a few pictures I took yesterday.

Bee-Friendly Dahlia

Bee-Friendly Dahlia

White Dahlia And Hosta

White Dahlia And Hosta

The Last of the Roma Tomatoes

The Last of the Roma Tomatoes

Goodbye Until Next Year

Goodbye Until Next Year

English Cottage Gardening – Bee Friendly In Your Garden

This charming poster is both educational and decorative. It’s a great reminder of what bee-friendly plants are blooming throughout the foraging season.

It’s available for purchase from Friends of the Earth.

bee plant poster

English Cottage Gardening – Bees Love Nepeta And So Do I

I love Nepeta aka catmint!  It’s also a favorite of honey bees and other pollinators. It’s deer resistant too!

Below one of my ever-present fluffy Bumbles enjoys a tasty snack…

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It is a beautiful plant to use in a border. Gertrude Jekyll wrote “it is a plant that can hardly be overpraised.”

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I find catmint easier to grow than lavender. If you cut it back after first bloom, it will bloom again just as vigorously.

My favorite cultivar is Walker’s Low which was the 2007 Perennial of the Year. The name, Walker’s Low, does not refer to the size of the plant, but to a garden in England.

Plant some catmint this summer. Your buzzing friends will thank you!

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Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – May 15, 2013

Foxglove, Hosta, and Clematis are the stars of my garden in May!

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  • Clematis (asurreygarden.wordpress.com)

English Cottage Gardening – Planting Mt. Everest

My back garden is, well, it’s very steep. I twist my ankle every time I take a stroll in it. I call it Mt. Everest.

Mt. Everest aka my back garden

Mt. Everest aka my back garden

I have some nice David Austin rose bushes planted in the border, but this year my gardening goal is to make a beautiful Gertrude Jekyll-style border for my bees who live at the bottom.

Bees at the Bottom of the Garden

Bees at the Bottom of the Garden

So far I’ve planted lots of lavender and some lambs’ ears. Today I’m planting nepeta and lilies. I’m thinking about buying golf shoes to garden in.

To keep myself motivated, I’ll post the progress of my border throughout the rest of the season. Wish me luck!!

Deb

English Cottage Gardening – Plant An Apple Tree For Arbor Day

Johnny_Appleseed_1972_post_card

This Friday, April 26 is Arbor Day in the US. It’s a day when individuals and groups are encouraged to plant and care for trees.

Arbor Day originated in Nebraska on April 10, 1872 and an estimated one million trees were planted that day. Many countries now observe a similar holiday.

Planting trees is also very good for honey bees.

Did you know that trees provide most of the surplus nectar and pollen for bees?  Or that 5 or 6 trees produce as much nectar and pollen as a whole field of wildflowers?

Most people don’t.  That’s unfortunate because planting a tree, especially in an urban area, is one of the most effective things you can do to help save the bees.

So what kind of tree belongs in an English cottage garden? The only trees that can be said to be truly authentic to the cottage garden are fruit and nut trees. An added bonus is that bees love them!

The notion of planting a tree for shade would have been totally foreign to cottage gardeners. A tree was worthy of space in the garden only for what it could produce for the table. Most of these traditional trees weren’t large and were further pruned back to reduce their height for ease of harvest.

Cottage Garden with Apple Tree

Cottage Garden with Apple Tree

Apple trees were by far the most common type of tree found in a cottage garden. Cultivars which are especially suitable are Heyer #20, Parkland, and Rutherford.

So plant a tree and save a bee this Arbor Day!

Never-Fail Recipes For Organic Deer Repellent

They’re Only Cute When It’s Not Your Garden!

It’s that time of year again! Time to brew up a batch of my never-fail deer repellent. Actually, I have several recipes.

Here they are:

FROM: http://www.farminfo.org/pests
3 raw eggs
3 tbls. of red hot sauce
3 tbls. of garlic juice or minced
Add enough water to a blender to process and mix well. Add this to a gallon of water and spray on plants. You can make the spray last longer by adding Wilt Proof to it.

FROM: A Minnesota Master Gardener at http://www.extension.umn.edu/yardandgarden/AAMG/wildlife
Blend 2 eggs and a cup or two or cold water at high speed. Add this mixture to a gallon of water and let it stand for 24 hours. After 24 hours, spray on foliage. The egg mixture does not wash off easily, but re-application 2-3 times a season may be needed. For a larger quantity, blend a dozen eggs into 5 gallons of water. This mix is also said to repel rabbits.

FROM: http://www.Rutherford County.org

6 eggs
4 hot peppers or enough to make it very hot
6-12 gloves of garlic, enough to make it stink
5 cups of warm water.
Put it all in a blender and liquify it. Put it in an old milk jug. Set it out for a couple of days in the sun to let it cook and get really stinky and hot. Strain it good if you want to use it in a sprayer. You can also pour it on and/or around the plants directly from the jug.

FROM: Backyard Magazine

1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 Tablespoon of cooking oil
1 Tablespoon of dish soap
Add 1 gallon of water and shake well. Spray or sprinkle on plants every two weeks or after heavy rain.

FROM: Kreftmeyer Fine Gardens/Missouri Botanical Gardens
2 eggs
1 cup skim milk
1 cup water
2 Tablespoons liquid dish detergent
Put all in blender and spray.

I personally use a combination of all of the above ingredients. I don’t want to take any chances.

These really work, and I end up spraying all of my neighbors’ yards too. The only downside is that with all that hot sauce, our yards smell like Buffalo Wings for a day or so.

Good luck!

Composting Day!

Loyal Yard Dude Alex shovels compost with the assistance of The Noble Bayard

Loyal Yard Dude Alex shovels compost with the assistance of The Noble Bayard

The heart of every organic English Cottage Garden is compost, and lots of it!  You are looking at three cubic yards of specially blended compost which is equal to 45 bags. It isn’t going to be enough.

I add at least 4 inches of compost to my beds every year.  My gardens would do better if I added twice that much.  Southern Ohio soil is mostly clay, and it needs a lot of work by earthworms and microorganisms to make it friable. The only way to achieve that is to add organic material.

I make my own compost, but it’s not nearly enough to cover my beds. This year I was lucky to find a supplier who will blend compost to my specifications and deliver it for a reasonable fee. I’m using 1/3 aged manure, 1/3 leaf mold and 1/3 mushroom compost.

I’m also lucky to have the assistance of Loyal Yard Dude Alex Lang. For a reasonable fee, he will shovel compost for hours and doesn’t complain except when it comes to composting the border running down my back yard aka Mount Everest. He also doesn’t mind the bees, which is very important!

I help too, and am writing this post during our lunch break.  Time to go shovel some more poop!

Loyal Yard Dude Alex spreading compost over the hosta bed.

Loyal Yard Dude Alex spreading compost over the hosta bed.

The Noble Bayard makes sure the work is up to spec!

The Noble Bayard makes sure the work is up to spec!