Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Story of Yvonne's Red Salvia

 If I could choose one gardener to meet and have them show me their gardens, Yvonne would be my choice. I want to tell you a story about a remarkable gardener by the name of Yvonne and her red salvia.
I met a girl by the name of Emily some years back on GardenWeb seed trading site and she would always offer Yvonne's Red Salvia seed for postage, me being new would always go after the postage seeds. I asked her about the seeds and she told me of a neighbor by the name of Yvonne who grew the most beautiful and tallest red salvia, nearly 6ft tall  and she would save the seed and give them to all the neighbors and everyone she met  in her town.  It was her fondest wish to give them to everyone in the country that grew flowers. Emily told Yvonne she could help her spread these seed  to a lot of people through using the Internet and gardenweb. I was so excited to receive these and I loved the story of Yvonne wanting to spread the seeds and how Emily would never trade them and by me accepting them I would agree to never trade them. Although mine never were as huge as Yvonne's, it did not matter to me, I was very happy to help Yvonne spread the love. Although Yvonne has long since passed and now gardens in heaven, her red salvia is now everywhere 
"If you receive these seeds from me or others
\Pass them along to your sister's and brother's
I have a dream no matter where I stay
I will see them in gardens on a sunny day
From sea to sea no matter where I'll be
To see them in gardens would bring Joy to me
Grown and collected from my hand and above
And passed on to you with nothing but love"
If you want to trade seeds and are on Facebook Join us at SeedTraders

Sunday, November 4, 2012

How To Collect Butterfly Bush Seed

Butterfly Bush Buddleja is a large arching perrenial shrub which blooms fragrant flowers from midsummer to fall.
To collect seed to grow your own butterfly bushes, you have to wait till September then you will see green seed pods beginning to form
A couple of weeks later they will start getting a red tip as they begin to ripen
A couple more weeks and the red will turn to brown throughout the seed pod and start to become woody
A couple more weeks after that the seed pods will be totally woody and begin to pop open, this is when the seed is ready to be harvested.

Now the seed are very small and really hard to separate from the chaff but I have found a great way of doing this with a hand held strainer like this one
All you do is break the seed pods apart add into this quarter of a cup strainer and gently tap on the side while positioning the strainer over a paper plate and out falls the butterfly bush seed 90 % chaff free
Now here is a close up of what a butterfly bush seed looks like (courtesy of Brenda Reynolds)
 You can actually see the orangish brown seed in this magnified photo :)
If your on facebook and want to trade seeds join us at Seed Traders

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Seasons Change

The leaves are reds and golds and you can almost hear them in the tree's almost like laughter or more like giggles, yeah more like giggles, maybe they are giggling about the cool temperatures and how clean the air feels and smells. I think they are giggling because we are slowing down a bit to notice them and this pleases them very much. To me never is there a month that when you go outside that you do not want to go back inside. Never is there a month when you go outside that you want to say Thank you Lord.Never is there a month that when you walk outside that you want to stop and start giggling with the leaves. This is one of my favorite times of the year, the squirrels are scurrying about even the birds seem to be in a more fast pace, all creatures are really hustling now, but those leaves they seem to just be playing in the breezes and giggling amongst each other, It must be there favorite time of year also, I bet they are looking around at each other and seeing how beautiful and colorful they are that they just burst out in giggles.. Go ahead and  giggle and play my little friends because I sure enjoy watching and listening to you this time of year...

Monday, July 23, 2012

Big Tomato's

It is always fun growing big tomato's and this years winner is "Big Rainbow" I've been impressed with this tomato, the plant was the biggest plant and it was loaded with really large tomato's also" Kellogg's Breakfast" was a good grower of really large fruit.. It is easy to can when you have Big Tomato's like this :) If you want seed's from this tomato come and Join us at Seed Traders on FaceBook, a fun seed trading group of people..

Monday, June 18, 2012

Vegetable Garden Update

So far here is what the new designed vegetable garden is looking like :)

 Join us at Seed Traders on FaceBook If you like to trade seed's for heirloom veggies, flowers, shrubs and tree's

Friday, April 20, 2012

Well I got around to planting my Wintersown Tomato's and I have a few left that I have to find a good home to, more than likely they will probably go to the compost, such a waste but with the new design of the garden that I promised myself I would stick to :( for one season, I've no room left. I planted 24 tomato plants this year and I am trying a few new things.. Eggplant, I have never eaten an eggplant, have no Idea what to expect and I doubt anyone else in Virginia has ever eaten one :) I guess I will be the test dumby, Next I am growing Ground Cherrys, I am looking forward to these unlike the eggplant:) and finally garden huckleberrys, have no Idea what to expect.. Everybody have a fantastic weekend..

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Seed Traders

Join us at Seed Traders for our very 1st Round Robin Seed swap, It will be fun :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Iris's on a Rainy Day

Did my usual walkabout on the property to see what was going on and we finally received rain, thank you lord, we needed it. We are not in a drought yet but sliding towards it. The next few days though it looks like we can get some measurable precip, that makes me happy :) found these beautys at the back of the property along the fence....

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hardy Hibiscus's Return

My Hardy Hibiscus's are returning early this year due to our warm weather we had in March, I will have to keep an eye on the weather for several more weeks to make sure we don't get a freeze and kill them off.. I divided some this Spring, now all in total I have 15 hardy hibiscus's. I can't wait to see them bloom, I have one side of my driveway lined with them

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

New Garden Design

I'm very excited about this new design I'm doing in the vegetable garden, first you enter through a tunnel to get into the garden, it will be covered in beans, this is gonna make them easy to pick and I took extra time to make sure it will last throughout the season, then when you reach the end of the tunnel, there will be two paths, one to the right the other to the left, the left side of the right hand path will be lined with tomatoes and will ark up towards the front of the garden then curve back down towards the rear of the garden. To the right of this path will be lined with peppers, and in the center of the right curve will be a watermelon patch, and the other space will be cukes.Now take the left path out of the tunnel and you come on another path with the identical layout, shaped like a sideway's S, tomatoes again line oneside and on the other side will be ground cherries and garden huckleberries and eggplant. In  one space of the s will be a triangular structure for pinto snaps in the other will be squash.. The front and two sides will be marigolds and the back will be sunflowers,this is gonna be beautiful...The tomato stakes are in the tunnel is built each stake will have 2 tomato plants,Its layed out for 24 tomato plants.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


I took 6 cuttings of lilac,all various colors,4 years ago and I have been very patient, well one is ready to finally bloom this year and the others have lots of new growth coming up from the main plant. The one about to bloom is white and it is very lush, maybe the others will take off this year if not maybe next year, I will wait them out :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


This is the bush that ushers in Spring for many of us and brings on the world of plants returning and for us vegetable gardeners,it let's us know it is time to plow or till and for me it also reminds me it is time to sow my tomato and pepper seed

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Japanese Maple "Emperor 1"

I was peeking in the jugs today and spotted this one, It was wintersown on Dec. 21st. No true leaves yet on it but it came out with that red look already, I wintersowed several different types and am very excited for these. I would like to have around 5 different types of them in the yard hopefully it all works out. The rest of them I will give away to people :)  Join us at Seed Traders A fun place to trade seeds for Heirloom Veggies,Flowers,Shrubs and Tree's on Facebook and trade Seeds with us and you to can wintersow you some Japanese Maples 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Spring has Sprung

Spring has Sprung that's what I say
I can feel it in the brilliance of the day
I can see it in the colors of yellow green and purple in the morning light
I can hear it in the birds song before they take flight
I can smell it after a morning shower
And in winter's ninth hour
Spring strikes a mighty blow and pushes winter into the past
And I jump for joy and yell finally at last :)
                                                                   Tommy Meade

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Thump Your Pepper Plants

A couple of years back,early on in the season my pepper plants would flower but no peppers. They would just drop their flowers and I wondered why. I met an old farmer and I asked him about it and he said to go out early in the morning and give them a thump.I asked what do you mean by giving them a thump? He replied to just take your finger and flick it on the main trunk. So I did this and what do you know it worked. I didn't know why it worked, just that it did. A couple of weeks ago, my friend Pam at Thyme Square Gardens said tomato and peppers don't usually cross, well that puzzled me, I just assumed they did. So I did a bit of research and found out
Tomatos and peppers are self pollinating that means  Tomato and Pepper blossoms are perfect, meaning they have both male and female reproductive structures. They are capable of pollenization without the aid of pollinating insects and without pollen from other blossoms.There is only 2 to 5 percent chance of cross pollination then the odds of you saving seed from that one flower that was crossed, that bears fruit, are again likely 2%,  though it could happen that you saved cross pollinated seed the odds totaled would be 1% meaning out of 100 times you collected seed 1 would be a cross.

Now back to my theory on why thumping works.The plants produce the flowers in the morning hours and during the months of June and early July the nite temps are still low compared to the day time temps which causes dew . Now dew causes the pollen to clump up and not easily fall out and when you thump the plant it aids the flower in releasing the pollen and thus self pollinating itself..
So remember now if you want to be eating that homemade salsa in late July, go out in June and give those tomato's and peppers a good thump early in the morning.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Almost Tomato Time

Here in the next few days,I will be wintersowing my Tomatos and Peppers and what a list I have to do,Thanks to all the members of Seed Traders, It is gonna be a good year I can already tell it,I have a lot of new to me seeds to get out in a short time period and am looking forward to sampling them come July and August.Here is a picture of TuttiFrutti lupines wintersown,they are just starting to get their true leaves
If you want to trade for seeds or just learn all about seeds Join us at Seed Traders

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


It's amazing to me how a plant can survive in the harshest elements and thrive, I suppose I shouldn't be amazed I have seen it time after time, You see examples all around you of a plant making it,like during natural disasters,heavy rains,diseases,cold,heat. Gives you hope when you see one coming up in the crack of a sidewalk,this plant wants to live this much that it would come up here to hopefully go to seed and live on. I can see why, what a beautiful world that the lord gave us all to enjoy and marvel at.When your around a baby,their little arms moving around reaching and that wide eyed look and smile.They are trying to touch the beauty all around them and we are in awe of them.What a great big gift we all share, this amazing world

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Winter Finally Arrives

From 60's one day to snow the next,this is our first snow of the year,not much of one just a teaser
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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Wintersowing Update

Today I went out and peeked down in the bottles to see if I had any sprouts,well guess what I got sproutage and some even have their true leaves.Here is what has sprouted so far
Basket of Gold Allysum
Yellow Gallardia
And I have a Japanese Maple that has sprouted
I took the tops off to give you a better look

It wont be long and I will be wintersowing Tomatos and Peppers then the tender anuals
and join us at Seed Traders

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Change of Plans:(

Well my plans all went out the window,seems where I had my wisteria vine growing there is a distribution box for the drainfield and with a bit of research I discovered that the wisteria roots would have grown into the distribution box and clogged it up which would have given me a lot of work to do down the road with digging the box up and removing the roots and who knows how much damage.I did the smart thing and killed the wisteria,this really bugged me,I could have moved it but after 3 yrs of growing it I decided if I can't have it where I want it,I'm not having it

Not a good pic but here it lays :(

On a brighter note,I finished the swing and it turned out sweet now to scratch my head and figure out what to do with it,for now it will go back in the storage shed, hanging from the rafters until one day when I come up with "The Plan"

Friday, February 3, 2012

Arbor Phase 1

Today I got the first coat of paint on the rebuilt swing for the arbor,I used a oil based stain killer for the 1st coat.I will let that dry and lightly sand then add the gloss black top coat then add the color to the back slats,still haven't decided on white,or green but ruled out red:) I'm kinda leaning towards white because the top rail I would like to freehand some vines and green leaves and it would show up on the white,just to fancy it up a bit.Here's the pic so far

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Rebuilding old porchswing

Got started on the 1st phase of the arbor build.I took the old swing apart and cut new pieces and put it back together..

This is the damage,it's a gonner
Here it's been disassembled and the good side used as a pattern
Here it is reassembled with all rotten wood replaced
I'm starting the painting tomorrow,Its going gloss black with the back slats going green or white or red,can't make my mind up yet..

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Wisteria support

I've been thinking of something to do down in the corner of my property for over a year now and I think I've come up with an Idea.I like climbers and I have a wisteria plant from a cutting,growing down in that corner so I've decided to build like a freestanding arbor for it and my brother gave me a porch-swing he was gonna throw away that needs quite a bit of work but the chain is there and most of the frame is decent.I will just have to replace a few boards on it and strip it put a new finish.So here is a sketch of the plans,I'm know artist,this is just a generalization of the plan
As you can see up top,no drawing skills
Now here is the corner of the property,the arbor will go just in front of the tumbling composter and it will be 6x6 with a foot overhang on each side

This will give me a shady place to rest when working in the vegetable garden
Next is a pic of the wisteria,it's ready to really start climbing,Im thinking I would like to have clematis and other vines climbing it too.Will have to see if they can coexist together and I could have a couple of potted shade loving plants inside the arbor also

If you click on the pic,you will get a better view,It's ready to start climbing big time

Next is a pic of the swing hanging in the shed

As you can see there are several pieces that need replaced but all I have to do is disassemble it and then I will have my pattern pieces to cut new ones by .This should be a fun project and I look forward to starting.I will start on the swing first

Thursday, January 26, 2012


This is going to be a demonstration on How to WinterSow.We start wintersowing as early as the wintersolstice in December.Some seed need cold stratifying (meaning to go through cold-warm periods)to coax the seed to germinate,just as in mother nature when a plant reseed's itself. 1st the reason we wintersow in recyclable containers  is to protect the seed a bit,If you direct sowed,meaning to plant the seed in the flower bed,It could very well get washed away from heavy rains, or seedling may come up in a less than desirable place,It could be eaten by a insect or bird or other.You might not be able to Identify it come spring and accidentally weed it out.You could grow the seed inside under lights.This is expensive and brings gnats into the home and seedlings would need to be  hardened off(meaning to be acclimated to their surroundings)You would also lose seedlings to damping off(a fungal disease common to seedlings and seed grown inside)Also with wintersowing,you don't need to scarify or presoak a seed..Mother Nature takes care of that...

It's an alternative way of germinating the seed as to emulate mother nature in a protective setting,No hardening off,No damping off,No expensive lighting.No scarifying,No presoaking seed.Here's how.Start by prepping a recycled plastic container.There are many different types,MilkJugs,Soda bottles,Juice containers,Take-out containers,just to name a few.

Start with container

Remove screw top and throw away!!
  • Cut holes in the bottom of recycled container and one hole in the center for inserting scissors

Cut container in two pieces,If using a bottle or jug.

  • Cut V's in side of bottle,this allows the top to fit back on and can be raised or lowered for ventilation.

  • Have your seeds ready and you can label the top.I use a paint pen,it doesn't fade out in the elements.

Add soil, Rule of Thumb,at least a thumbs length,I'm using Miracle gro potting soil,any good quality potting soil will work

.Wet soil and let drain to the consistency of brownie mix and add seed's

Add the top and set it out and forget about it

Now here is what you get come Spring

Its That Simple and Addicting

That's it there are many different variations of wintersowing,this just gives you a general ideal
    For more information Go to
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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Rose Cuttings

I decided to put my vegetable garden to some good use this winter so I stuck 20 rose cuttings in it and some butterfly bushes,if they take,I will pot them up and give them away as gifts this Summer to my friends,I was pruning them back anyway and the garden was so nice and tilled:)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Seed Traders

I've started a facebook group called seed traders,it's just a place for gardeners to go and trade their extra seeds away for some new seeds and add more plants to their garden,cheaply.Come on by and Join us