Monday, September 13, 2010

Mums the Word

Aren't they pretty?  They are now in the front of our house!  They are the nice big mums that are hardy to -(negative) 30 below.  Since it sounds like rain will be with us the next few days I decided I better get the new planting in the ground.  We bought a few beautiful perennials at Country Landscapes in Ames on Sunday - they were 1/2 off!  Sad- we looked at some of the chain stores that had not so nice looking plants for more money - glad we didn't buy there.  Sometimes it pans out to go straight to the experts.

Here is what the area looked like prior to planting (and weeding).

Yes, I know my curtain is hanging oddly - two little boys enjoy playing in the curtains and bending my curtain rods!  Anyway - nasty landscape.  I have so much gardening to do I decided to pick one small spot and focus on that little area.  If I have time later on I will focus on a different area.

All dug up and ready to plant.  Clark was having a great time playing with worms (and centipedes).  Just playing in the soil in general kept him busy.  Boys and cats - natural attraction to freshly dug soil.  At least the one doesn't immediately fertilize it.

Clark helped me haul over the plants in the wagon and we laid them all out to see how they would look.

All planted!  I use many of the same plants over and over again in my beds.  Now is a good time to divide iris and day-lilies so I dug some out and divided them (OK, 1 plant of each) to add to this bed.  I still have lots of iris left over.  Anyone looking for some yellow iris?  Other plants I like include coreopsis, phlox, hostas (where I have the shade), and then something fun like the mums.  I also plant in some bulbs such as tulips, daffodils or crocus.  Luckily, I still had some left from my Spring haul from my brother's house so I put those in too.  

I always make sure I have something for bees and butterflies - which Mr. Bee did not like my moving the mum to plant it.  And I usually try to put some type of bird feeder in.  You can't see it in this picture but we put up the shepherd hook and a finch feeder.  Clark insisted the birds needed to be fed!  I also like to add in large rocks or a vintage find that can be utilized or re-purposed for the garden.  

Purple (the cat) approved.  It's not what we would ultimately like to have in the front of the house but such a large improvement for under $50.00.  Someday if we ever have the money to really fix up the front of the house all of these perennials can be dug and moved and divided (to make even more landscape plants).

I had to show off my favorite variety of phlox - "Candy Stripe."  I think it is so pretty when it blooms.  Of course my beautiful mounds of phlox are currently buried under the collapsed well house (dang summer storms) along with my daisy's and black-eyed susan's and a few other pretty perennials.

One helpful tip I discovered while snapping this photo - I now have a photo of the variety with a picture of the plant!  Where does this become helpful.  Well, with so many little helping hands and such strong Iowa winds I lose all of my tags eventually.  If I save the tags I eventually forget where I put them or where I put the plants.  But today I snapped a photo of all the tags with their own pictures of the plant and the variety name.  I put these photos in a folder labeled South House Landscaping and now if I need or want to figure out what is planted there or go back to buy more of the same variety I have an easy way to look it up!

In other news:

Seriously - I thought all the cats were male around here.  Obviously I missed this little lady.  She is the proud mother of 4 kittens!  Clark and I actually witnessed the birth of the 4th kitten and the devouring of the afterbirth.  Yes - this is why I enjoy country living - nothing like these little life lessons.  We talked about how the babies find food and how the mama makes milk for them (because he was ready to throw them a handful of adult cat food).  Mama cat is pretty exhausted in this photo and I don't blame her.  Clark kept going back to check on them.  I was so proud of him because he was always quiet, careful and gentle.

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