Every summer, I like to gather up a hearty handful of garden photos, to share in one long post. Today happens to be that very day. A day to share insights and tales, and pretty things too...
As you have heard one too many times, I love to garden. However, I am by no means a professional, or super fantastical gardener (I know many of you are). Like everything else in my life, I was drawn to gardening (at 19) and tried it by blindly jumping in. This goes for almost everything else in my life as well. If I am intrigued by something, I jump in.
I have to admit, I don't take classes for anything I have ever tried (hardheaded). I get anxious in a classroom. I don't know how I ever got through college sometimes. Although I did enjoy many of my classes, come to think of it.
One thing I do enjoy is reading books.
So, whenever I have been interested in something that I know nothing of, I try it, and then pick up some books to assist me along the way. But I am mostly a "wing it" kinda girl.
Concocting and inventing along the way, sometimes making my life more difficult.
The thing about gardening is that, over the years, I have planted many different seeds, and over the years, the seeds which have chosen to grow, are the ones I usually stick with...
(front yard below)
I decided to create this post, after receiving different e-mail questions about which seeds grow best, if container gardening works, how much water seeds need, etc.etc.
Of course, I live in the desert, and different climates make a world of difference in the garden.
Here in Southern Arizona it is hot in summer (over 100+ almost all summer). However, where I live is a very different climate from say Phoenix, or even Northern Arizona. Northern Arizona is much much cooler, and Phoenix is much hotter.
Here there is little rain, until monsoon season comes (now), and a snap of winter rains. (autumn and winter are wonderful here (little to no snow), but it does get into freezing temps sometimes in winter)
The summer sun is more than hot, but we do have a lot of huge shade trees.
The flowers that do the best for me, year after year are cosmos, marigolds, roses, hibiscus, black eyed susans, coreopsis, verbena, snapdragons, sunflowers, yarrow, morning glories, nasturtium, dahlias, a handful of assorted wild flowers, and last but not least, the ever kind zinnia.
The zinnias have been incredible this year.
I planted Stover brand zinnia seeds, both Lilliput and California Giants Mixed. Both in the ground, and in pots.
The results have been rather jaw-dropping.
Small tree like zinnia bushes (3-4 ft), that keep giving and giving and giving. So, as you can imagine, I highly recommend trying zinnias.
They like to be watered everyday, and every time you cut a bloom, a handful of others turn up to take their place.
When I lived at the city house, I tried to plant zinnias from small store bought plants. They never worked. Oh and, believe it or not, at the city house I had a beautiful ficus tree, and ferns, all of which freeze just 30 minutes away at the country house due to different elevation.
Anyhow, this year I planted a ton of zinnia seeds...
The color assortment has been amazing, with even some giant two toned zinnias...
The bees, hummingbirds and butterflies stop by for rests on the zinnias all day...
The thing is this...
When you find seeds that like to grow in your garden, you can then start delving into all the different kinds of flowers within that one kind.
Also, I tried a test.
I planted seeds in all of my pots this year.
I pulled out all the pots I had, in every different size.
All my pots are concrete or clay, and the seeds did wonderfully in pots. Something I didn't really expect, as I have always been an "in ground planter." But, because of the gophers and the bunnies, and the lizards, I tried pots.
It was a huge hit.
So, I hope you are inspired to plant in pots (if you don't already)...
It can be as rewarding as planting in ground.
Such a great thing to learn this year.
This year, my hibiscus is in ground. But at the city house, the hibiscus grows beautifully in a giant clay pot that is about 3 ft. tall, and 3 ft. in diameter at the opening.
The zinnias are doing excellent in the ridiculously hot sun all day.
I am really impressed by their resilience.
The lilliput zinnias below, burst up through our orange tree.
So many colors!
The other thing I have learned, is to plant seeds that I harvest each year. Last year I had 4 ft. tall marigolds and cosmos, so I made sure to harvest seeds.
This year I planted those harvested seeds, and got some amazing tall beautiful flowers. This is especially true of the cosmos and marigolds.
When I harvested the seeds last year, I mixed them all together, and I put them in an airtight glass jar. Then, I simply planted the seeds in spring.
The large white cosmos are from last year's harvested seeds.
I also have a huge respect for self seeding flowers...
You never know what you are going to get from last year. The best thing I ever did was plant a cottage seed mix in 2009. It has been the gift that keeps on giving. With evening primrose galore, and coreopsis, and more...
The original cosmos came from store bought seeds, however, these below are also from my own harvested seeds.
Now, here is the fun thing. Since cosmos do so well here, I decided to try different kinds of cosmos. In spring I planted Rose Bon Bon cosmos seeds, from Select Seeds. They are beautiful with a triple ruffle. Right now they are blooming all over the garden. They are super tall, and ever so pretty...
Such a delightful addition.
As for growing in pots...
I personally, overfilled (not good) some of my pots with seeds. I had a seed mixture of my own seeds, and plunked them in all of my pots. I also threw in a few seeds I bought. I thought the birds would get some of them, but they really didn't.
(my home-office courtyard below)
The good thing is that, all of the sunflowers below have already bloomed, and I got to put them in vases. There are giant sunflowers still around the garden (in ground). But these small to mid sized sunflowers worked great in vases. And, now that they are gone, the cosmos, calendula, bachelor's buttons, and hearts n'flowers that were also growing in the pots, are doing great...
The point is, pots work.
Oh and, I don't believe that some people can't grow anything. You just have to find the right plants/seeds for you, your climate, and figure out how to care for them best.
Before you know it, you'll have all sorts of goodies growing like crazy.
So, pots are good.
I am now a huge planting in containers advocate.
Go for it!
A burst of color in pots is such a lovely treat...
I have had this very ivy growing in this pot for 7+ years, and it is going great. It is just a matter of making sure your plants get water, that they are pruned if need be, and that you check for bugs. Also, do research on the type of fertilizer your plants might need...
The reward is excellent.
Somehow, a yarrow seed got in one of my pots last year, and gifted me a nice little yarrow bush. From that bush last year, through wind and birds, yarrow has been dispersed all over my garden. It is pretty to look at. And, the pot it gifted itself in last year, was self seeded, and now bursting this year...
Planting seeds in pots is one of my new fave things. Oh and, I even tested some pumpkin seeds in pots. They are growing beautifully. I will take a photo and show you. For those of you in apartments, wanting to grow pumpkins? It is totally possible if you have a little patio.
(front yard below)
A true gift from nature...
With the power to lift the spirit, even when you feel gloomy.
I found a way to pull myself out of a bout of sadness at 19 years of age, by discovering the garden (and that I loved it). Playing with seeds and dirt keeps my brain healthy.
I keep gloomy feelings at bay by finding things that work for me. Like gardening, painting, playing piano & not having cable (and my beloved furry children). We all have things that will work for us. Finding them is the secret key ;)
Yes, I am having an epiphany. The garden keeps me sane.
Thank you garden!
This is my favorite singing in the garden song. It is Mister's favorite song too (not really), teehee!
The tune is called Weep You no More Sad Fountains, and I listen to it daily as performed by the Crouch End Festival Chorus (it's on iTunes). If you can get your hands on it, it is quite lovely.
With that, I must say, see you soooooon!
ps: Bracelet winners, selected by random number generator are.....