Monday, February 25, 2008

Planing a new Bed and Weather

This past week we got what else, more snow! The predicted 1-2" turned into 6-8". Our only saving grace was we did not have any wind. Here on the prairie wind can be dangerous when mixed with any amount of snow. Now that some of it has melted and the roads are once again clear, we are under a Winter Storm Warning for tonight and tomorrow. Well, technically spring is still 3+ weeks away! While we were having the snow, my cousin who lives about 200 miles south and is in zone 6, was getting ice. We think of ice as an inconvenience usually and know we have to watch for slippery spots so we don't fall, but normally we do not experience ICE! Ice, thick ice on everything! And while it was beautiful and made the area look like a sparkling wonderland, it did do a lot of damage to the tree population. Majestic old growth was horribly destroyed and most looked maimed beyond belief. Some will never recover. Some will grow back but will be disfigured for ever. Some will have to be cut down and hopefully will be replaced.

But even with all the destruction, there was beauty. The dried hydrangea bloom below I found strangely appealing. It looks like it has been freshly washed and dripping dry.

This is just a blade of grass that has taken on the appearance of a curved staff. Notice how thick the ice is!
Okay, enough winter pictures!
I am planning a new flower bed. It will contain mostly flowers for cutting. I am going to put it on the south side of the house along a brick walkway that leads from our patio to our deck. One side of the brick walk is covered in a low juniper bush that I am constantly cutting back to keep the path clear. On the side where the new bed is going, I have mostly ground cover and mulch. The plan is to cut back and pull out if necessary the ground cover and to remove the mulch. I will have to spade up the soil as it has been covered for several years and I am sure it is very compacted. Then I will sow my seeds and sprinkle potting soil on top. Below is the packet with "dark opal" basil. I love the color and think it will set off the other flowers' color and is supposed have a wonderful fragrance. Of course I can use it fresh in cooking, and later freeze some of the leaves for use in the winter.

Next, of course, is the good old standby Zinnias! These are called "Bright Border Mix" and will only get 12-15" tall. They promise 2 1/2" double and semi double flowers on disease resistant stems. And the packet says I can pinch young plants to promote bushiness. ( I didn't know I could do that to zinnias!)

I have never tried to grow Statice of any kind. But the flowers on the packet looked so lovely, that I thought...why not? I am supposed to get "dense, graceful sprays of dainty papery everlasting flowers that retain color when dried." Doesn't that sound wonderful!? And I think the butterflies will like them too.

Lastly, I am going to try once more to grow the Butterfly Flower. I was given a plant last year, but even with tender caring it died. And that is so frustrating because I have seen them just a little south of us growing wild. Maybe, I will have better luck starting them from seed. I have read somewhere that they do not like to be moved. If they do grow, they will stay in that spot as they are a perennial. Next year then, I can just fill in around them.

Well, That is one new bed done. Now I just need to start thinking and planning my new fern bed, my very shady bed, and my up sized day lily bed.


Beth said...

A cut flower garden--that's such a great plan. My grandmother had one and the house was always filled with flowers in the summer. She was in western Kentucky, probably the same zone as you and had wonderful luck. My grandfather was a daylilly hybridizer in western Kentucky. His name was Martin Standard--not sure if he is still known in daylilly lore, he died in 1991 but was well known in his day for hybridizing lovely daylillies.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Beckie, your snow is impressive yet. I can see where you will have a wonderful cutting garden though. Isn't it fun to dream??

I am thinking that you may find the soil under your mulch not so compacted except around the edges that people have walked on.

beckie said...

Beth, do you know of any of the lilies your grandfather hybridized? It would be such fun to have them in your garden!

Liza, you might be right, we don't really walk on that part. And thaks again for the picture tips!

Cheryl said...

Picture of the ice were so interesting. So sad about the old trees, I hope they make it, they are such a precious thing for us all.

I grow Zinnia every year for my Dad, he absolutely loves them. I have also grown statice, they are really good for cutting and seem to last forever. You sound as though you are getting excited already.

Hope you are keeping well.


Beth said...

Hi Beckie! My mother has most of his best ones--I'll send you some scapes once they thaw out--that would be fun! His most famous was one he named "Beth Standard" which he named after me in 1967 or 1968. At the time it was considered a very fine daylilly and sold for $100/scape--an astronomical sum then. I have tried googling it and not found anything--so it's superiority must have passed--oh well.

beckie said...

Cheryl, wish me luck on the statice! I am sooo ready for spring!

Beth, How fun to have a lily named after you! Thank you!! That would really be neat. I will see what I can find on Beth's Standard.

Cheryl said...

Tks for visiting Beckie...Its only just around the corner. Its been warm here today and I saw a queen bee and a peacock butterfly in the garden. Its been a strange year so far with the British weather. I am never sure where its going. I have a gunnera and various other tender plants still tucked up for winter. I dare not take their covers of until I am sure there will be no more frosts. That should be around May!

Glad to hear I am not the only one with the word verification, my daughter finds it highly amusing!

Hope you are keeping well. lol

Kylee said...

Hey Beckie! I just wanted to pop in and say hi! I will take more time later to read bunches on your blog. I'm leaving in a bit to join my mom at the Ft. Wayne Home and Garden Show and then I have "the meeting" tonight, so I won't be home until late. I'll be back though! Have a great day!