Saturday, July 19, 2014

A hypertufa planter for mini hostas

I've been making hypertufa planters for a few years now but mostly smaller stuff. I really wanted one to combine a collection of mini hostas in one container.
Whenever I make hypertufa planters, I let them cure over winter in a dry place before planting in them so this is the one I made last year. You don't necessarily have to cure them that long, a few month's is usually good enough. Maybe longer for larger pieces like this one. It's just by the time I get around to making them its too late to plant in them so I let them cure all winter.
There are a lot of recipes out there but mine is pretty straight forward. Equal amounts of Peat Moss, Portland Cement, and Perlite. A little more or less of one or the other is not going to matter.
For more details of the mixing and what it should look like go here.
For this container I'm using a large sturdy cardboard box. First fill the bottom for a depth of about 1 3/4 to 2 inches. I do a little less for smaller pieces but I figured a larger piece might benefit from a thicker base.
I start building up the sides. Now the best way to do this is to insert a smaller box and fill in the sides, but I didn't have a box the right size and I have had luck just forming it with my hands.
I work my way around the box, slowly working my way up. It takes a lot of time and patience doing it this way. Add more water if your mixture gets too dry.
 Try to keep it as even as possible but it doesn't matter if a few places are a little thicker than others.
Now cover it with plastic and let it dry for a few days before removing the cardboard.  Make sure its completely dried before lifting it because they are still very fragile at this point.
 Drill a few drainage holes in the bottom before planting in it or you could insert some wooden dowels in the bottom while your tufa is still wet.
 Then the real fun begins. I put in Stiletto on the left, Blue Mouse Ears on the right, above Blue Mouse Ears is Cracker Crumbs, on the top right is an unknown petite hosta. The rest is just fillers for now.  My plans are to gradually make this a Mouse Ears collection and remove the other hostas. There are many varieties and I would like to add a new one every year.

Friday, June 20, 2014

New Hosta's in the Garden

I know it's been a while since I've updated but there are a few reasons for that. First, there's the never-ending spring work of which I'm about a month behind this year, went on vacation, and after we came home my computer was giving me issues again.

Blogging is kind of like having a second job and its really hard to get back into it after being away from it for so long!

But regardless of how busy I am, I have to have some new hosta's!
'Lakeside Shoremaster'
For a while I was thought I wasn't going to have time to go hosta shopping this year but last week we found a day that worked for both of us, and took a day trip to Wade and Gatton in Bellville. I also picked up some of these hosta's from Cory's Hostas in Chillicothe, Ohio on our way home from vacation.
'Earth Angel'
'Earth Angel' is Hosta of the Year 2009 and is a sport of 'Blue Angel' but with a cream margin.

'Sun Power'
 'Sun Power' is a large hosta that likes some bright light for best color. It was so tall I left it tied up until it gets settled in.
'Peter Ruh'
'Tokudama Aureonebulosa'
Try to pronounce that one! A notorious slow grower but a beauty when full grown.
A compact hosta with semi-glossy yellow leaves that turn apple green in summer.
Love that name!
'Clear Fork River Valley'
This was a Van Wade 2007 introduction named for the river that runs through Wade and Gatton.
This hosta offers some of the heaviest corrugation found on a hosta.
'Great Expectations'
After I bought this one I read that it can be very difficult to grow and it grows slowly. So I'm guessing it might not live up to its name.
'Lil Abner'
'Richland Gold's Moonlight'
'Mighty Mouse'
My third mouse in the 'Blue Mouse' series. Love these tiny dwarf hostas but they tend to get lost when planted among other hostas. They look best planted in pots or I edge them with stones or bricks to make them stand out.
'Lakeside Kaleidoscope'
'Blue Jay'
Supposed to be one of the bluest hosta available. Blue hosta's require the most protection from the sun. This is because the blue color is actually a waxy coating on the leaf. In full, hot sun, this waxy coating can melt and expose the green leaf underneath. Touching them rubs off the coating as well and unfortunately it doesn't return.
'Cracker Crumbs'
Another miniature hosta that looking a bit bedraggled but a perfect hosta for my hypertufa planters. Hopefully it will look better next year. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

May Blooms

The garden has finally started to come alive the past few weeks and even though the harsh winter took it's toll on my garden, most of it survived.

 It's Garden Bloggers Bloom Day again and I'm happy to share some of my blooms with you.

I'll start with my tulips and daffodils. I love this combination of  Tulip 'Christmas Marvel' and Daffodil 'Thalia'.

Tulip 'Angelique'

If there is one spring flower that I wish I had many more of, it's tulips. I just lose too many of them to the critters but I can't resist planting a few every fall.

These are the last of the daffodils. Not sure of the name.

I am loving the miniature flowers you can buy these days. These mini irises stand about 6 inches tall and bloom earlier than the tall ones. So cute!

Another favorite is bleeding hearts. Usually the pink ones bloom at the same time but they are behind this year. I'll try to post some next month.

I lost a lot of my forget-me-nots this winter. Enough remain to hopefully reseed themselves again.


Variegated Solomon's Seal

Epimedium Rubrum also known as Red Barrenwort. 
The heart-shaped leaves of this plant have a red tinge which turns to bronze in the fall. The blooms may be small, however the whole plant makes an impact in a woodland garden. This plant can be used as a ground cover. I love the foliage on this plant just as much as the flowers. I will definitely be adding more Epimediums to my shade garden.   

 Heuchera 'Little Cutie Sweet Tart'

Virginia Bluebells are almost done blooming.

Pulmonaria 'Majeste' 

 Dogwoods are in bloom......

and the Crabapples are just done.

They were so beautiful this year.

To see more gardens in bloom head over to May Dreams.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Springtime Favorites

SPRING.....truly the best time of the year! I'm loving it even more than ever after the winter we've endured although I'm starting to wonder if we are going to have a summer this year. The cold just persists!

Every chance I get I love walking through the garden to see what new things have come up. It changes almost daily. Now if it would just warm up a little and a good dose of sunshine would really help, this girl would be really happy!

Here are some of the things I look forward to the most every spring.

H. First Frost

I always anticipate those first hosta pips emerging from the ground. I love the bright spring colors of the hostas, before the yellows fade to cream or turn green.

H. Winsome
I love watching ferns awaken in the spring. They remind me of little seahorses! I've never tried it but they say fiddleheads are delicious sautéed in a little olive oil. I think I would rather enjoy my ferns in the garden.
Virginia Bluebells
The Virginia Bluebells are just starting to bloom. Probably my favorite springtime bloom.
These bloom for a few weeks then they go dormant so you might want to mark the spot so you don't mistakenly dig them up when planting annuals.

The first tulips opening.
Bluebirds nesting are high on my list.
Baltimore Orioles
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak
I always make a note on my calendar when the Orioles return each year. This year the Orioles, Hummingbirds, and Grosbeaks all came back on the same day. So far the Grosbeaks have not nested here but move on after a few days, but I always hope someday they will decide to stick around for the summer.
I have several pairs of Orioles that nest here but this male has done nothing the last few days but sit on my window sills pecking on the glass. The females arrive a few days after the males so hopefully they get here soon. He probably thinks his reflection is competition.
Love Hummingbirds!
Fairy Gardens.
 It been too wet to work in the garden so I've been working on my fairy gardens. I try to do a few every year slowly adding to my collection. I especially love fairy gardens in my hypertufa planters. I will do a post on these when I get them done.