The New Garden

We have been in the new house 3 weeks now and I have ready started the transformation of the garden.  But first, a little about the garden itself. It is located in central New Jersey and there are trees surrounding the property. Most of the soil is sandy in nature and garden areas are covered with black painted hardwood mulch. I have never seen this stuff up close – it looks ok from a distance yet is like bits of plastic close up. I suspect the black paint on the outside delays or even eliminates the stuff degrading and being incorporated into the soil.

The property is 30+ years old and it seems that the landscape was installed at that time. The current landscape includes 5 mature rhododendrons, there were possibly some taller trees at the back (just stumps remain), a few azaleas, 5 burning bushes and a couple of cedars, plus a few yucca and barberry added in. The whole thing was surrounded by landscape fabric topped with gravel. Somewhere along the way maintenance stopped.

In a couple of areas the gravel was topped with some soil mix, planted in and then more landscape fabric follows by gravel.

So here is the good part of the garden – the plus point, so to speak:

Mature rhododendrons which are a little too close to the pool but will stay; and some decent azaleas.



Share on FacebookShare on LinkedInTweet about this on Twitter

The Authors in Bloom Blog Hop winner!

As you know, I have been participating in the Authors in Bloom blog hop which includes giving a prize to someone who posted a comment. The prize is Joel Karsten’s book on Straw Bale Gardens and it goes to Lysette in California!!

I hope everyone had fun in the bloghop and that my readers went to some of the other blogs on the hop.


Share on FacebookShare on LinkedInTweet about this on Twitter

The End of the Author in Bloom Bloghop

I have not blogged everyday for the bloghop but I have been introduced to some great blogs along the way! I hope the other readers did the same!

So a recap on my petite garden: Over the last 10days, the majority of the perennials have shown signs of coming back for me. A few that didn’t have little seedlings that might be cosmos or some other self seeding annual that was in the vicinity of the perennial. They could also be weeds! Outside on the apartment grounds the trees have come into bloom and the bloom is fading to a snow of white leaves drifting in the breeze. The new bright green leaves are showing too.

I hope you have found time to visit this blog on the bloghop and others and please drop by to see the blog again!

Click for the other blogs !

The deck this morning:

morning deck




Share on FacebookShare on LinkedInTweet about this on Twitter

A tomato seedling

Books - it is our memory concept

Last fall I potted up lots of perennials so that I could bring them with me to New Jersey. They all went dormant in Ohio, were put into boxes and transported here then put back outside to keep cold until nature woke them up. Over the past few weeks that has happened to all be about 6 of the plant pots. One that didn’t come back is a knopfolia but there were a few little seedlings in there which I didn’t pull out yet. Today I noticed that one had true leaves on indicating that it was a tomato! I have spent the rest of the day trying to remember which tomato was near the plant but I think I will just have to wait it out until the fruit arrives!


Tip of the day!! Let guests, that is the plant variety,  stay in your garden until they prove to be unworthy – you might just find a lovely surprise!

And don’t forget to comment often to get great prizes including a Kindle as the grand prize! From this blog someone will get Joel Karsten’s book: Straw Bale Gardens

Share on FacebookShare on LinkedInTweet about this on Twitter

An Urban Farm and Victorian Hothouse

Books - it is our memory concept

Don’t forget to check the rest of the blogs on the bloghop!

Today I visited a local garden to see what was going on in the community gardens there. Boy was I surprised! This is an amazing place and free both to park and walk around as well as a free trolley to take you to designated spots. I took lots of images but my favorite two places were the community garden and the 1920’s orchid hot house that is modeled on the European hot houses of the Victorian era.

The community gardens number over 50 plots each with its own water supply – something every gardener would envy.

Duke Community Gardens

The hot house was were the orchid display was – decadent and Victorian in style.


Tip of the day: Pick the right plant for you needs – a naturally large shrub will cause nothing but problems if you  want to make it a hedge!

Share on FacebookShare on LinkedInTweet about this on Twitter

More seeds go in

Books - it is our memory concept

Authors in Bloom Day 3 – late

Ok so I was busy yesterday and missed posting, so today you do get 2 posts – first the things on the balcony are coming back this week. The winner was a coreopsis that broke dormancy a few weeks ago but most are showing signs of coming back to life this week. I love spring when things start to show that they have survived winter and have the will to grace my garden for another year. So far the majority like the rhubarb, and hydrangea are both getting leaves on them and the little seedlings that I sowed a week or two ago have been transplanted into this green metal trough. There is kale and lettuce and they really needed some extra room. I still need one more container for the remnant lettuce seedlings.

So don’t forget that Joel’s book on Straw Bale Gardens is the book to win in Authors in Bloom – winners are taken from the comments – so comment often!

Tip of the day: Don’t rush to prune lavender and hydrangeas – they both take  a week or longer than other plants when it comes to breaking dormancy and hydrangeas can indeed play ‘dead’ until spring has really arrived! Wait until you see buds on both these plants before you trim them (and many hydrangeas bloom on last year’s wood so wait until they have bloomed before you trim them).

green troughrhubarb starting

hydrangea bud

Aren’t they all lovely!! :)

Share on FacebookShare on LinkedInTweet about this on Twitter

A Small Garden with a View

Books - it is our memory concept

Day 3 of Authors in Bloom

To see who else is on the bloghop and the great prizes

My garden right now is very small but does has a pretty view today. The warm temperatures that I have mentioned in the past two blogs brought out the blossom in the trees below and I was motivated to transplant the little kale and some of the lettuce into the bright green trough that I brought the other day in TJ Maxx. I hammered holes into the bottom and planted today. And because I had freed up a butter container and we had Chinese soup last week, I was able to get my peppers and tomato seeds in.

Tip of the day: You don’t need fancy trays to start seeds – butter tubs, salad clam trays etc all work well for germinating seeds. You just have to remember that you need to punch a few holes in the bottom for drainage.

The balcony/garden and view:



Remember that we are giving away lots of prizes to people who comment and my contribution is Joel Karsten book on Straw Bales Gardens – great book.


Share on FacebookShare on LinkedInTweet about this on Twitter

Spring overnight

Books - it is our memory concept

It seems that it was just the beginning of this week when buds were still waiting for spring temperatures to arrive. We two days ago they did and the buds burst forth with a vengeance! Trees, daffodils and other flowers are lining roads and office buildings making walking around the local neighborhood a pleasure. This morning I noticed a large saucer magnolia, a little star magnolia and some lovely early daffodils as well.

saucer magnolia

 Part of Authors in bloom is the tip of the day which today is keeping bulbs away from critters: Deer love tulip leaves and squirrels/groundhogs etc will all try to dig you your healthy bulbs. when you plant them, line the hole with fine chicken wire to protect them or opt for containers. Deer are obviously not bothering this patch of spring bulbs:

spring flowers

For more blogs that are on the blog hop – more the 60 all together – and lots of romance writers too!!


Share on FacebookShare on LinkedInTweet about this on Twitter

Two Days of Spring

To see who else is on the bloghop and the great prizes

The weather said that we hit record warm today – which is quite something after what seems like weeks of below normal temperatures. The good news is that the spring blossom is popping out all at once rather than coming out early and being killed by frosts.

Today as I walked outside I saw daffodils and a magnolia blooming that were barely above ground last week.

My ‘garden’ outside consists of a dozen or so pots with perennials that are returning from dormancy and hopefully they will stay small enough to transport to their new home in a few weeks.

As I am behind the ball with the blog hop and hope to include images in the next blog, but the tip for the day is to wait patiently for hydrangeas to break dormancy – they take a long time and you may think they are dead but don’t trim back until the buds are growing. The blooms are borne on last year’s wood so pruning back too early will take off this years’ bloom. Happy blog hop everyone!


Share on FacebookShare on LinkedInTweet about this on Twitter

The Philadelphia Home Show

Since we moved to New Jersey we are within an hour of both New York and Philadelphia which means I was able to attend the media day at the Philadelphia Flower Show! It was really a delight and the gardens were amazing – this year is was all about Britain and the slug was Brilliant which is very fitting for the event.

The entrance really set the stage for the show:

philly show

The show gardens were, of course, spectacular and covered everything from Cricket, to Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes and royalty themes. Here was a royal throne made with dark red rose blossoms:

royal rose throne

There were vendors and suppliers too and this beautiful display of seeds caught my eye from the Hudson Valley Seed Company. The packets are carefully designed to open from the back by removing a sticker. Inside there are the seeds plus a little script story about the seeds. A great little company and great images.

philly flower show 2

Share on FacebookShare on LinkedInTweet about this on Twitter