Monday, April 20, 2009

Albion Strawberries

So, we went to the Pleasantville farm this past Saturday. It's pretty cool to live in a town with an organic farm less than a 1/2 mile from our home.

They are renting out planting beds for a pretty good price. Our yard consists of 4.5' X 108' on either side of our house. The 20X14 courtyard is completely patio'd over. We don't have room for a garden.

We're going to rent a 39" X 24' bed for $200 a year and it includes irrigation and a community shed with tools. Compared to other places in the area this is a really good deal and we can't beat the convenience. The closest place we'd be able to rent a bed otherwise is at least 25 minutes away.

Since we love strawberries, we've decided it's a plant we definitely want in our beds. More to come as we decide on other plants.

I now present, The Albion Strawberry


Edible Fruit
Common Name

Albion Strawberry

Formal NameFragaria X ananassa cv. Albion
DescriptionThis neutral bearing strawberry plant provides a continuous supply of strawberries throughout the growing season. It is resistant to root rot and Verticilbium wilt. This strawberry is distinguished by its long, conical & symmetrical shape. It is known for being a firm fruit with excellent flavor.

  • Raised planter beds
  • Container gardens (they don't do as well as in planter beds)
Light Requirements

Full Sun

Soil RequirementsLoose & loamy; Slightly acidic (pH of 6 - 6.5)
Water Requirements1" of water per week (drip system preferable)
Height6.5 to 8.5 inches
Spread12 inches
Growing Zone3-ish year perennial through zone 5
Manicuring or Pruning

Prune the runners in the first part of the growing season (These can be put in pots to root & re-plant later).

Pinch the first flowers to encourage leaf growth which leads to more fruit.

FertilizationTop quality compost encourages beneficial bacteria & earthworms. Fertilization beyond this is generally unnecessary.
Growth CycleBegins to fruit in June and should continue through Fall.
Bloom TimeFlowers shortly before first fruit
Bloom ColorWhite
  • Seeds
  • Cuttings (Runners)
Maintenance LevelConstant weeding is necessary as the shallow root system does nothing to compete with weeds. Weeds can be minimized by mulching and/or straw.
Special Features
  • Attracts Birds
  • Produces Berries
  • Produces Fruit
Known Issues

Birds love the berries and will pick them off faster than you can unless you take measures to scare the birds away. This can be done with flash tape or by simply putting bird netting over the top (recommended).

Fruit will rot when it ripens in contact with the ground because of excess moisture. Straw will help prevent the fruit from touching the ground and act as a protection from the excess moisture.

Slugs & snails are attracted to the plants. Keep them away with traps or copper strip barriers.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Crape Myrtle - Razzle Dazzle

I'm partial to plants that stay somewhat small. I'm also partial to lots of color. My front landscape is a sea of reddish-pink, purples, & yellows. If a plant's main feature is that it stays green, it's not in my landscape.

The Razzle Dazzle series of crape myrtle is perfect for me. Not only does it stay fairly small at 3' to 5' tall and wide, it has a lot of color. In the spring, the leaves appear first as a reddish color, mature to green & finally turns back to a deep burgundy in fall. The flowers bloom just as I'm getting bored with the green and contrast very nicely. Even after the leaves drop, it is still pretty because the branches have a nice red color instead of muddy brown.

And yes, I know you could spell "Crape" as "Crepe". I've seen it both ways and I decided to stay consistant by just going with "Crape", so don't give me any "Crap".

I now present the Razzle Dazzle Crape Myrtle

CategoryDeciduous Shrub
Common Name
  • Dwarf Crape Myrtle
  • Razzle Dazzle Crape Myrtle
Formal NameLagerstroemia
DescriptionThis is a compact mounding shrub - typicially called a dwarf. It has showy summer flowers, leaves that turns deep orange to red in fall, and a bark that looks nice after the leaves drop for the winter.

  • Mass Planting
  • Border
  • Foundation
Light Requirements
  • Full Sun
  • Partial Sun
Soil RequirementsWell drained; Semi-moist
Water Requirementstype water requirements here
Height3' to 5'
Spread3' to 5'
Growing Zone6 - 9
Manicuring or PruningDead head spent flowers to encourage new blooms; prune away "wild" branches, but allow the shrub to take on a natural shape. Prune in late winter/early spring.
FertilizationFertilize in the spring when new growth appears. A general purpose fertilizer is all that is necessary.
Growth CycleNew growth will appear mid-spring. Flowers show up mid summer and will bloom thru fall.
Bloom TimeMid-spring thru fall (with dead heading)
Bloom ColorRed, Pink, or White

Go to the nursery & buy a new one?

Maintenance LevelFairly low, especially once established. Faithful dead heading throughout the summer, minimal pruning in late winter & once a year fertilizing in spring will keep your shrub beautiful.
Special Features
  • Mildew resistant
  • Fall color
  • Drought tolerant once established

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I'm The Goofy Gardener

Welcome to my new blog!

I want to have a nice garden like those I see in the neighborhood. I'm petrified I'm going to plant something that is going to overtake the entire landscaping bed - either by being a "creeper" or it will just grow up huge and block all the other plants.

Also, I can't seem to find all the information I'm interested in on any one site. I figured I'd use this blog as a place to combine and present all my research and acquire tips from more experienced gardeners.

I also like to tell stories so it won't all be this is this and that is that. As it says over in my sidebar, I will also share my success stories and my adventures. If you've read my other blog (, you will get a good taste of my sense of humor. I'm sure I'll have just as many stories about my gardening adventures.

Here's my first "plant" entry:

Common Name
  • Monkey Grass
  • Lily Turf
Formal NameLiriope Muscari
DescriptionThe muscari species appears as a grasslike clump, which can either be solid green or verigated (my preference). In late summer, stalks of showy flowers begin to appear with berries following.


Edging in planting beds & walk-ways

Light Requirements
  • Full Sun
  • Partial Sun (preferred)
  • Partial Shade (preferred)
Soil RequirementsWell drained
Water RequirementsRegular watering is necessary
Height12 to 18 inches
Spreadabout 12 inches
Growing Zone5+
Manicuring or PruningMow or clip plants close to the ground in early spring before the first new sprouts appear.
FertilizationDoes not need regular fertilization
Growth CycleCan be evergreen in the south. In mid US, shoots begin to appear in April and look pretty nice thru September. That first frost makes the leaves fall flat (like a really bad hair day).
Bloom TimeAugust & September
Bloom ColorStalks of purple, lavender, blue, white or pink

Divide in early spring

Maintenance LevelLow
Special Features

Produces Berries

Known IssuesRabbits think it is candy