Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Khaleesi’s Garden: Month No. 1

So the new garden is, for the most part, doing splendidly – I say “for the most part” because it could use a serious dose of weeding! This weekend looks good, so weeding all the gardens is tops on my priority list.

I’ve also had some bunny trouble (they’re lucky they’re so cute!). First they decided to behead Lord Voldemort, hence the green strawberry basket covering the rest of the coleus…of course, then they moved on and decimated one of my Dragon’s Blood sedum (Really?? A sedum?? Come on guys!).

Hopefully the appearance of a herd of dragons will bring them to their senses, right?

I still have one more piece of metal to get out – the unicorn – and then I just have to sit back and keep up with the weeding (in between raindrops, so the season seems to be going!).

Here are a few new images from last weekend.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Five Things to do in July 2015

I can’t believe we’re already halfway through the year – there’s still so much to do! If your schedule isn’t full already, here are a few things to fit in for July.

The Ponies at last year's Man Up
Car and Bike Show
“Man Up” for a good cause – On Saturday, July 18th, the “Man Up” Car and Bike Show is being held at East Amherst Fire Hall, 9100 Transit Rd. in East Amherst. Last year, proceeds from the show went to Make-A-Wish of WNY and Carly’s Club – here’s my piece from last year, and the 2015 event Facebook page.

Mustang madness – I’m a ridiculous fan of Mustangs (my dad brainwashed me early on!) and love the Mustang show each year at the Eastern Hills Mall on Transit Rd. in Clarence. This year’s was scheduled to be held Sunday, June 28th, but Mother Nature decided it would be good to RAIN…ALL WEEKEND…because we needed it (NOT!). Thankfully, it’s been pushed back to Sunday, July 12th, so we should be able to get the Ponies ready for a test run for the previously mentioned show.

Sample the flavors of Buffalo – there are plenty of opportunities to sample some great food this month: Buffalo History Museum’s Food Truck Rodeo (July 1st), the Taste of Lockport (July 5th), the Taste of Buffalo (July 11th and 12th), the Italian Heritage Festival (July 16th through 19th), Hamburg’s Burger Fest (July 18th), the Taste of Orchard Park (July 22nd), Wines in the Wild (July 22nd), the Niagara Wine and Culinary Festival (July 25th and 26th) and the Taste of Lancaster (July 31st and August 1st) – just to name a few!

Celebrate your independence – get ready for fireworks all over the Buffalo-Niagara area (as long as Mother Nature cooperates!). Head to Ellicottville for the Summer Music Festival or Rodeo, get on the MetroRail and go downtown to Canalside or Coca Cola Field, head to Varysburg for some great country music and spectacular fireworks at Jam in the Valley, or attend one of the many events in your home town.
The beautiful backdrop for the Glen
Park Art Festival

Visit an up-and-coming art festival – it’s only in its fifth year, but the Glen Park Art Festival in the Village of Williamsville is quickly becoming one of the go-to art festivals in a summer already packed with great events. This year’s event takes place Saturday and Sunday, July 25th and 26th.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Beyond Khaleesi’s Garden: The Rest of the Gardens

I’ve focused on the new garden and the Proven Winners collection so far, but this time let’s look at some of my other plantings around the homestead.

I went a little crazy with the Perilla this year – I bought eight! – but they do so well out in front of the porch it was a no-brainer. Behind them will be cannas and zinnias (from seed).

This is one of my favorite hanging baskets this year, and I think I’m going to buy this combination for all the baskets next year! It’s a combo of Petunia Baby Duck and Sophistica Blackberry from Burpee and Grape Supercal Petchoa from Jung Seeds.

This may be the combo for this container forever also! It’s Petunia Cascadias Autumn Mystery (Lavocat’s), Sweet Potato Vine Bright Ideas Black (HiWay Gardens) and Petunia Stonewashed Crazytunia (Jung).

My huge canna garden – the home of my “pet” hummingbird once they bloom!

Possible my favorite garden ever, the area surrounding my air conditioner fills in beautifully even this early in the season.

The hibiscus and coneflower garden is also filling in nicely.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Discover Buffalo 2015: Celebration of Coleus and Color at the Botanical Gardens

As mentioned previously, coleus are one of my favorite plants to grow – and also to take photos of, because there are many amazing patterns and colors. That being said, one of my favorite exhibits at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens is the Celebration of Coleus and Color, which is taking place now through August 2nd.

In addition to the coleus showcase, the Albright-Knox Public Art Initiative is featuring the exhibit ‘Shayne Dark: Natural Conditions,’ both inside the Gardens and on the Gardens’ grounds.

The Western New York Garden Railway Society is also offering one of its Garden Railway Exhibits as well during the coleus showcase.

Part of the Gardens – my favorite part, the waterfall area :( - is currently undergoing some renovations, but a neat little fairy garden is present outside the area showcasing the dinosaurs, the waterfall and the bridge.

Find out more about the Botanical Gardens and other events at buffalogardens.com

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Beyond Khaleesi’s Garden: Proven Winners – Month One

It’s been about one month since I received my big package of goodies from Proven Winners, and for the most part I’m pretty happy. I did lose one of the sedum – it just disintegrated – and the hibiscus seems to be at a stand-still right now, but 16 out of 18 success stories isn’t bad at all!

The sedum in question is called Lemon Coral (available spring 2016). It’s very cool – and it looks even cooler in this stone-like planter set in a metal chair! In spite of losing one, I really like it and will likely look for it in stores.

I mixed Superbells Holy Moly! calibrachoa and Campfire Fireburst bidens (both available spring 2016) in two different containers – one containing two of each and one where I mixed one of each with a Chocolate Drop trailing coleus.

The three Meteor Shower verbenas (available spring 2016) were added to a small garden (left in front of fencing) which also includes the Summerific Perfect Storm hibiscus (available spring 2016) and a previously-purchased Summerific Summer Storm hibiscus.

As mentioned previously, the Magic Show Enchanted Indigo veronica (now available) landed in my Sci-Fi/Fantasy garden and is doing well, while the Fun and Games Leapfrog heucherella (now available) landed in a perfect spot in my “air conditioner” garden on the west side of my house.

The three flowering shrubs I received were plants I had never considered buying previously, so I’m very interested to see how they work out. I planted Tuff Stuff hydrangea (now available) on the east side of the house (my garden project for next year!), because my neighbor has hydrangea on the east side of her house – and they’re beautiful.

Pink Mink clematis (now available) and  Double Play Red spirea (available spring 2016) both made their way into my lilac/butterfly bush garden, the clematis sneaking into an empty spot where I could brace up a trellis and the spirea replacing a butterfly bush that had seen its final days.

Proven Winners provided me with many of the above-mentioned plants. All ideas and opinions are my own.

all photos: paulathompsonfreelance.com

Saturday, June 13, 2015

2015 Garden Walk Buffalo Niagara: June 20th through August 8th

Buffalo’s National Garden Festival is now Garden Walk Buffalo Niagara, and its purpose is to expose the area and the world to the great gardening ideas and destinations in the Buffalo-Niagara region. Garden Walk Buffalo Niagara gets underway Saturday and Sunday, June 20th and 21st with Lewiston GardenFest and ends on Saturday, August 8th with the East Side Momentum Tour. Needless to say, this is my favorite festival of the entire summer!

There are 15 garden walks and tours scheduled for the 2015 event:
  • Lewiston GardenFest – Saturday and Sunday, June 20th and 21st
  • Parkside Garden Tour – Sunday, June 28th
  • Samuel P. Capen Garden Walk – Saturday, July 11th
  • Town of Amherst Garden Walk – Saturday, July 11th
  • Buzz Around Hamburg Garden Walk and Fair – Saturday and Sunday, July 11th and 12th
  • Lockport in Bloom – Saturday and Sunday, July 11th and 12th
  • Snyder-CleveHill Garden View – Sunday, July 12th
  • Lancaster Garden Walk – Friday through Sunday, July 17th through 19th
  • Ken-Ton Garden Tour – Friday through Sunday, July 17th through 19th
  • Grand Gardens of the Niagara Portage –Saturday, July 18th
  • Village of Williamsville Garden Walk – Saturday, July 18th
  • West Seneca Garden and Home Tour – Saturday and Sunday, July 18th and 19th
  • South Buffalo Alive – Sunday, July 19th
  • Garden Walk Buffalo – Saturday and Sunday, July 25th and 26th
  • The Black Rock and Riverside Tour of Gardens – Saturday, August 1st

The annual Garden Art Sale will take place Sunday, June 28th from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Delaware Park Lodge – the same day as the nearby Parkside Garden Tour. More information will be available here closer to the sale.

On Thursdays and Fridays during July, Garden Walk Buffalo Niagara will feature open gardens in 13 separate areas in the region, as well as numerous public gardens. More than 90 private and public gardens will be available for viewing, with 20 new gardens for 2015 – find the list of open gardens, days and times here.

Also among the events are three motorcoach tours hosted by local gardening expert Sally Cunningham and Horizon Club Tours’ Great Garden Travel program.
  • On Sunday, July 12th, check out “Herb Gardens, Flowers and Pollinators,” including a trip to the Cats Tail Farm Herbal Center, a behind-the-scenes look at Mike Weber Greenhouses, a visit to Masterson’s bee yard and more.
  • On Friday, July 17th, “Famous Buffalo Gardens and Architecture” visits some of Buffalo’s famous gardens, as well as some of the area’s historical sites and architectural treasures.
  • On Thursday, July 23rd, “Fabulous Flower Gardens, Hamburg and the Lake Shore” explores private gardens and the professionally designed gardens at Wanakah Country Club along with a local daylily farm.

Each tour includes roundtrip motorcoach transportation and a meal, as well as all taxes and fees. For more information and to sign up for these tours and others offered by the Great Garden Travel program, visit the Great Garden Travel website or www.horizonclubtours.com.

Garden education is an ongoing topic of interest, even when there’s snow in the air and on the ground. A number of garden centers and nurseries, including Lockwoods Garden Center, Menne Nursery and Urban Roots Garden Center, have educational seminars going on right now – click here for the schedule.

Find more information about Garden Walk Buffalo Niagara at nationalgardenfestival.com

all photos: 2014 National Garden Festival - paulathompsonfreelance.com.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Khaleesi’s Garden: The big debut

As far as planting goes, Khaleesi’s Garden is complete.

The tour begins at the north end of the garden, featuring the Darth Vader coleus and Dark Angel Star Wars dahlia (three clumps).

Next up, the coleus called Apocalypse, also the name of the next big X-Men movie.

This is one of the perennials I received from Proven Winners, a Veronica…it nearly went in another spot, until I remembered that Veronica is the nickname of the Hulkbuster in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Welcome to the garden, Veronica.

Harry Potter, represented by Hedwig and Lord Voldemort.

The Game of Thrones section, featuring Dragon’s Blood sedum (in pots), Red Witch coleus, Yellow Dragon, Black Dragon and Fire Dragon coleus, and my new windspinner (“Sun and Stars” being Dany’s pet name for Khal Drogo).

Oh…Hi, baby dragon! (the others are still in the house.)

And at the south end of the garden, more Star Wars – Dark Angel Star Wars dahlia in front (three more clumps), the Jedi Free Spirit daylily and the Leia Aloha lily in the rear (along fence).

I’ll be posting more pictures of the garden throughout the summer – and a few visitors along the way!

Khaleesi’s Garden: Easy plant markers

I knew I would have to integrate plant markers into the new garden so I had the full effect of what it was all about – just in case I wasn’t around to explain it to someone. The coleus I purchased from Rosy Dawn Coleus are easy – they come with “name tags.” Some of the others needed their own “name tags.”

Michael’s had a terrific sale Memorial Day weekend – 60-percent of their Make Market line and an additional 20-percent off the entire purchase – SCORE! I had cork in mind for these plant markers, and I knew Make Market had some big bags of cork pieces that would probably last me the rest of my life! I picked up these, plus some waterproof floral tape and some green wood stems. (*note – All items were purchased by me.) (*note 2 – this isn’t all I bought! Stay tuned to see what else I made for the garden!)

These were really easy to make:

Take a piece of cork and a stem and center the stem on one side of the cork.

Starting on the back of the cork, put a strip of floral tape around the center of the entire piece of cork, securing the stem to the back and creating two writing areas on the front of the cork piece.

Secure the stem to the cork and the top and bottom of the piece of cork with additional tape.

On the front of the cork, using a Sharpie or (waterproof) ink marker, write the name of the plant.