Sunday, July 19, 2009

Shameless Plug

Howdy to all my gardeners!

I'm here to make a shameless plug for my other blog - Life Makes Me Laugh.

If you would be so kind as to click over (there is a link in the navigation menu, or the button at the top of the post, or the hyperlink in the sentence above), and if you like my writing/stories, vote for me to be one of the top ten Babes in Blogland.

Sorry, for the gardening interuption.

Thanks so much!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Balloon Flower

This is one of my favorite flowering plants. When we were at the nursery pointing out our landscaping preferences, this little beauty grabbed my attention. When it first begins to flower, a pale green balloon appears at the end of the stem. It eventually turns to purple and then bursts open into the star shape seen in the photograph below. To see the balloon and the other anomalies with one of my plants, stop by my photography blog – just click the “Picture This” tab at the top of the page.

Without further ado, I present the Balloon Flower

Common Name
  • Balloon Flower
  • Chinese Bell Flower
  • Campanulaceae
Formal NamePlatycodon grandiflorus
DescriptionThis heavy bloomer gets its name from the way each flower bud swells before its starry petals unfold. As one of the easiest perennials to grow, they bloom in profusion in mid to late summer, when many other perennials are beginning to fade.

  • Borders
  • Containers
Light Requirements
  • Full Sun
  • Partial Sun
  • Partial Shade
Soil RequirementsWell drained, slightly acidic
Water RequirementsModerate drought conditions are ok, but deep watering is preferred.
Height12” – up to 36” Generally smaller than 36”
Growing Zone3 – 8
Manicuring or PruningRemove dead branches in early spring. Balloon flowers are late bloomers, coming up long after most other perennials have begun growing. It is best to mark their position so you do not accidentally pull them out as weeds.

Pick dead flowers as they begin to fade to encourage more blooms. Be careful about it as the next bloom is coming in right behind it.
FertilizationSlow-release in the Spring
Growth CycleLate Spring through frost
Bloom TimeEarly summer through the next two months after the first blooms appear
Bloom ColorPurple (most common), White, Pink
  • Seeds – germinate 2 –3 weeks at temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees, then plant in the fall. Will not flower in the first year.
  • Basal cuttings from non flowering shoots, with about 1/2” root attached. Push soil back to reveal the spot where the stem meets the root. Cutting should be 2” – 4” long.
  • Dividing – dig deep to to avoid root damage – not the preferred method
Maintenance LevelLow
Special Features

Drought tolerant once established

Known IssuesGenerally pest-free & easy to grow
Planting InstructionsFrom seed: Press lightly into soil, but do not cover.

From cuttings: Immediately plant in a good potting medium.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Josee Lilac

When I first came across this little beauty, I thought that I should dig up the lilac I have and plant this one instead.  The nursery that put in our landscaping didn’t give me a real detailed layout.  It said something like this:

  • Cherry Tree (we have a Kwanzan Cherry)
  • Roses (at the time they were Julia Child – that’s another story)
  • Crape Myrtle (we have Razzle Dazzles – had to push for this information)
  • Liriope (this one was sufficient)
  • Holly (we have China Girl – first berries are appearing this year!)
  • Balloon Flowers (again, sufficient)
  • Dwarf Lilac

There are a zillion varieties of lilac out there, even in the dwarf category.  After this weekend, I’m starting to wonder if we actually do have a Josee Lilac.  The


Josee Lilac was the first REBLOOMING lilac I had ever come across.  That the thing about lilacs, when they bloom, they are gorgeous!  After a week or two, the blooms fade and you are left with a pretty shrub, but no more flowers – until the next spring.


Anyway, so I was shocked this weekend when I saw blooms out on my lilac bush.  It’s July!!!!



Category Deciduous Shrub
Common Name

Josee Reblooming Lilac

Formal Name Syringa Josee
Description This dwarf lilac is a gorgeous rebloomer.  It will put out 4” – 5” shoots filled with trumpet shaped flowers intermittently summer through fall.  A perfect hedge or stand alone shrub worth looking at.


Josee Reblooming Lilac My Lilac

The first picture is a stock photo of a Josee Lilac. The second picture is of my lilac.

  • Hedge
  • Stand Alone
  • Border (along side of house would be good)
Light Requirements

Full Sun

Soil Requirements Well drained
Water Requirements Average watering needs
Height 4’ – 6’
Spread 4’ – 5’
Growing Zone 2 - 9
Manicuring or Pruning For shape – I’d let it go natural by only pruning the wild branches. 

As with all lilacs, only prune right after flowering as the seeds form on old wood.  If you prune them much later, you could cut off next year’s flowers.

That said, lilacs have to be pruned occasionally in order to promote blooming at all.  If the wood gets too old, it won’t bloom.  It’s a delicate balance.  It has been suggested that you prune about a third of the branches down to the ground each year for three years.  In theory, you would be removing the oldest branches each year and thus at the end of three years, would have a completely regenerated plant.  This will promote the best chance at flowering each year.
Fertilization They don’t need much, but use something low in nitrogen.  Nitrogen is good for foliage, but not as much for blooming.
Growth Cycle Moderate to fast growth
Bloom Time Summer through frost – intermittent
Bloom Color Lavenderish-pink
  • Just buy one at a nursery or one the sources below.
  • Softwood cuttings are another option
Maintenance Level Low
Special Features
  • Deer Resistant
  • Attracts Butterflies
Known Issues This is a hybrid so it is most likely bred to resist most diseases.  It can be susceptible to a powdery mildew – generally if it gets too much water.
Planting Instructions Plant in the spring or fall about 5’ apart.  Dig a hole as deep as and twice as wide as the root ball.  After placing the plant, back-fill about halfway with soil.  Water well to remove any air pockets.  After water has drained, finish filling in, and water again.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Light Bulbs - Change the World Wednesday

This one has nothing to do with gardening, but my site is colored green and these challenges are about going green. How's that for a tie in?

This week's challenge is to only change out our light bulbs for LED or CFL.
We already use CFL's through out most of our house, but not in all areas. Call me cheap or decor conscious if you will. For the longest time CFL's were only the swirly kind and did not look good in hanging pendants or ceiling fans. However, the round globe (good for pendants) kind have been out for awhile and I have recently come across candle shaped bulbs - perfect for ceiling fans and dining room chandeliers.

Areas we are not using CFL or LED bulbs (and reasons):
  • I believe they make 3-way and/or dimmable CFL or LED bulbs, but I've been too cheap to buy them. They are more expensive than your everyday use bulbs. It's funny how I now consider $2 (minimum) per bulb normal.
  • When we built the house, it came with incandescent bulbs everywhere. Believe it or not, some of them haven't burned out yet.
  • Three way switches (where you have two switches for the same light - weird two switches is termed a "three-way switch" in electrical speak) cause the light bulb to blink when it is off.
  • Our bird needs a bulb for heat in the winter. We let the house temperature fall to 65 during the day in the winter and that is below the recommended temperature for birds. We turn on his light bulb so he can warm up if necessary. We don't use it in the summer because it's too expensive to cool the house that much.
I like CFL's because we were able to spend less on some of our light fixtures because they took a lower wattage bulb or required less bulbs. The CFL's allow you to get more light from your fixture because you can use a bulb with a higher equivalent wattage than an incandescent (i.e., you can put a CFL equal to 75 watts in a fixture that maxes out at 60 watts for incandescent).

I have to head to Lowes at lunch. I will look for the three-way bulb or the dimmables. I guess it's not that bad if you only buy a couple at a time.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Oregon Snow Pea

We have some of these growing in the garden. 


They are starting to get big enough that I need to go back and add a trellis for them to climb on.  We really should have put one in when we planted the seeds because now we need to work it in amongst all the plants already growing up.  And it’s gotten really hot here so we don’t want to spend a lot of time outside unless it’s next to a pool – working around all the leaves & branches of the other plants takes a little bit of time.


I remember growing these when I was a kid.  I’m not sure any ever made it into the house.  We’d be in the back yard playing and get hungry.  Over to the garden we’d go to the garden an pull up a carrot, pick some peas, or swipe some other yummy goodness and wash it off in the sprinkler.  A backyard garden is a win-win – parents get kids to eat health snacks & kids don’t have to take time out of playing to trudge inside for something to eat.


Category Vegetable
Common Name
  • Bush Snow Pea
  • Sugar Pea Pod
Formal Name type formal name here
Description This pea was developed by the University or Oregon to produce an abundant crop of 4” pea pods.


  • Eating Raw (excellent for getting dip into your mouth)
  • Stir Fry
Light Requirements

Full Sun 

Soil Requirements Rich, nicely composted
Water Requirements Average
Height 30” – 36”
Spread Rows should be at least 12” – 18” apart although 24” apart is ideal.
Growing Zone Will perform anywhere soil maintains a temperature of 50 degrees or more.
Harvesting Harvest about 68 days after sowing when pods are just getting firm.  As long as there are at least 68 days until frost, a second crop may be sown and harvested in the fall.
Fertilization As long as seeds are planted in decent soil, supplementing fertilizer about one week after planting should be sufficient
Growth Cycle Germination in 1 to 2 weeks; ready for harvest in 60 – 70 days.
Bloom Time NA
Bloom Color NA

Seeds  (dried peas)

Maintenance Level Low
Special Features
  • Freezes well with no loss of color (Place them on a cookie sheet and place in freezer.  Once frozen store them in the freezer in a re-sealable plastic bag).
  • The more you pick, the more you get.  Plant will continue to produce.
  • Will endure a light frost without protection.
Known Issues Will likely stop producing one the temperatures consistently reach 80 degrees or higher.
Planting Instructions Sow directly in garden about 2” below soil level and cover with garden soil.  Plant six inches apart in rows.  A trellis will help this vine-y plant grow to its fullest potential – only one is necessary for every two rows. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Local Foods - Change the World Wednesday

Sorry this is getting out so late guys! Unfortunately, we had a funeral to attend today and I'm just now sitting down at the computer.

This week's challenge is to only eat local foods. I can sort of make an attempt at this, but I'm not making any promises. I have two little ones who will eat chicken nuggets, fish sticks, PB&J and cereal for every meal. This kind of challenge takes planning on our part so to just jump out and do this on a moments notice isn't going to happen. I'd think it take planning for most people - you need to figure out where you're going to get fresh meat!

Here's what I can definitely do: local fruits, vegetables & eggs. We have a garden with almost nothing to harvest, but there are a bunch of other farmer's markets near by. The Pleasantville farm has fresh veggies and eggs straight from the hen house. Seriously, my friend Barbie collects eggs and puts them in the cartons - I've been thinking about being one of the neighborhood volunteers.

Update on how I did last week with the plastic bags. Pretty good - I only messed up once. I don't think I did a lot of shopping, but I royally screwed up by going to Wal-Mart. Being at the store of ultimate consumerism, I didn't even think about the plastic bags until I has half way home :(

I'll just have to keep on trying!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Plastic Bags - Change the World Wednesday

I just found something pretty nifty, and I want to share with all of you.

I started this gardening blog at first just to get my personal plant research written down somewhere. Then, I started my garden at the Pleasantville farm (which is 100% organic) and have come to realize how important it is to preserve, and in many cases, get back to the natural order of things.

I'm not going to stop using deodorant or anything like that, and I believe there is a really strong case for many man created things (modern medicine like epidurals included), but there are some things even the least environmentally conscious of us can do.

Reduce Footprints issues a challenge each week. This week, the challenge is to avoid plastic shopping bags. Please click on the picture above to see the specifics on the challenge. I'll post a link every week and let you know whether or not I'll be participating. I at least want you to know whether I'm being a hypocrite or not before you elect to be part of the challenge :)

Since I just bought a re-usable shopping bag from Aldi yesterday, I am going to try meeting the challenge!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Cherry Belle Radish

We had our first harvest!!!!!

We hadn’t been up to the Pleasantville farm for at least a week and a half because it’s been raining so much. I figured I didn’t need to check on everything because they were getting plenty of water.

I was right because the plants are getting huge. One in particular, our radishes. We actually lost some because they got too big and burst open. Apparently, you’re supposed to pull them when the red part of the plant starts to come out of the ground. Oops, that was happening last time we checked in.

Oh well, lesson learned.

In now present, the Cherry Belle Radish

Common Name


Formal NameRaphanus sativus
DescriptionA salad garden standard, this tasty red radish is tolerant of poor soils. It is also resistant to pithiness, even in hot weather.

Note: Pithiness is when the center gets all spongy – took me awhile to figure this out so I thought I’d share.

  • Salads
  • A vehicle to get dip into your mouth
  • If you’re really talented, you can cut them to look like roses. This can be a hoity-toity way of decorating your buffet platters. Yah, and I use that kale stuff too.
Light Requirements
  • Full Sun
  • Partial Sun
Soil RequirementsPrefers moderately fertile soil enriched with compost. Will perform in poor soil.
Water RequirementsRegular watering
Height1-2” root
Growing ZoneAnnual so it can planted anywhere the soil gets to at least 45 – 70 degrees. Prefers a slightly cooler climate.
HarvestingHarvest when bulbs begin to form and show color. The longer they are in the ground, the hotter they will get.
FertilizationFertilize one week after planting.
Growth CycleReady to harvest in 20 – 30 days.
Bloom TimeNA
Bloom ColorNA


Maintenance LevelLow
Special Features

Fast growing

Known IssuesI don’t know of any
Planting InstructionsDirect sow at 1/2” soil depth. For a steady harvest, plant desired amount every 2-3 weeks.

Here are some other pictures:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Rainbow Lewisia

Category Perennial
Common Name
  • Rainbow Lewisia
  • Rainbow Mix Bitterroot
Formal Name Lewisia cotyledon-hybrid 'Regenbogen' (Rainbow)
Description This little evergreen is a compact, heavy bloomer.  Star shaped flowers bloom for several weeks upon succulent foliage that has a rosette appearance.


  • Borders
  • Rock Garden
Light Requirements
  • Full Sun
  • Partial Shade
Soil Requirements Well drained is a must.  Gritty and sandy is good.
Water Requirements This is a succulent so it is drought tolerant.  Do not let it sit in water or it will get root rot.
Height 8” – 10”
Spread 10” – 12”
Growing Zone 5 - 8
Manicuring or Pruning No pruning, but dead-heading will promote continuous blooming.
Fertilization Once a year with slow release fertilizer.
Growth Cycle Slow to moderate growth rate.
Bloom Time Early to late spring
Bloom Color Pink, Purple, White, Orange & Yellow


Maintenance Level Low
Special Features
  • Evergreen
  • Rock Garden
Known Issues Sharp drainage a must.  Susceptible to root rot is it is watered too much.
Planting Instructions Plant in sandy, gritty soil with the crowns high to help prevent root rot.

If planting from seed, the seeds do need to be frozen at some point in order for them to grow.  It is suggested that an entire seed packet be planted in one hole 3/8” below surface in a pot (let it winterize).  Leave in the pot for an entire season.  The next year, the sprouts can be separated and planted individually 8” – 12” apart.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Delosperma ‘Stardust’

I didn’t plant any petunias this spring.  I can’t stand the amount of maintenance they require! 

When you deadhead petunias, they leave behind a sticky substance on your fingers.  I inevitably wipe it on my pants.  Did I mention I do most of my quick plant maintenance right before I leave for work in the morning?

Along the lines of deadheading, petunias require so much pinching – DAILY – in order to get a bushy flowering plant.  If you don’t pinch, you end up with stringy vines with sparse flowers – very unattractive. 

It was a little bit of a bummer having to wait a bit longer to plant my annuals, but it was worth it to avoid the summer long aggravation. 

In order to remedy this problem for next year I’ve decided to plant Stardust Ice Plant.  It blooms early and requires almost no maintenance.  I don’t even have to plant it each year – it’s a perennial!

I now present, Delosperma ‘Stardust’

Category Perennial
Common Name
  • Ice Plant
  • Delosperma
Formal Name Delosperma floribunda ‘Stardust’
Description A really cute plant with 2” purple blooms with white centers growing on dark green, succulent foliage.  This drought tolerant ground cover is great for those dry areas of your landscaping.  A hardy plant with blooms from spring to frost make this a beautiful addition.



  • Landscaping
  • Groundcover
  • Containers (it’s a spiller)
  • Rock Gardens
Light Requirements

Full Sun

Soil Requirements Tolerates almost all types of soil.  Sandy, clay, loamy – it doesn’t care!
Water Requirements From dry to moist & well-drained.
Height About 6”
Spread About 12”
Growing Zone 5 – 8
Manicuring or Pruning Cut back the dead stuff from the prior year in the spring.  Otherwise, leave it alone.
Fertilization Early spring, then again in mid summer
Growth Cycle Spring to frost.  Semi-evergreen in very mild climates.  Perennial that remains healthy with occasional division.
Bloom Time Early spring thru frost
Bloom Color Purple with white centers
  • Seeds
  • Cuttings
  • Division (early spring every 2 - 3 years)
Maintenance Level Low maintenance.  Baby it in the first year by making sure it has a good amount of water and fertilizer in order to get it well established.  Subsequent years require almost no maintenance.  That’s my kind of plant!
Special Features
  • Pest Resistant
  • Disease Resistant
  • Drought & Heat Tolerant
  • Attracts Butterflies 
Known Issues Unknown
Planting Instructions Surface sow seeds in moist soil.  Germination will occur after about two weeks as long as the temperature remains above 65 degrees.  Can be transplanted to 3” pots until they are ready to be planted directly in the ground.  Plant 12” to 15” apart.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

You Like Me!

Thanks so much to Squirrel Queen for the Most Wonderful Favorite award!

It gives me a lot of pleasure to know I'm helping people with my posts. It also gives me hope because I'm not the only lost gardening soul out there :)

The rules:

Deliver this award to eight bloggers who then must choose and deliver the award to eight more and include the following text into the award:

"These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers."

Without further ado, please take a minute or two or three to visit:

1. Three Bedroom Bungalow

2. From the North Fork Long Island

3. I Need a Martini Mom

4. Newlyweds Next Door

5. Red Rain Rants

6. The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks

7. The Little Web

8. The Crazy Suburban Mom

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Attracting Beneficial Insects

I recently planted Zinnias in my garden to attract some beneficial insects to our garden plot at the Pleasantville farm.  And, as promised, I’ve put together a table listing the pests and the flowers that attract insects to combat them.

If you see any of the five insects below, let them live.

These are the good guys!

Beneficial Banner

Let the Garden Wars begin!

 Beneficial Table


Now, there are plenty of other pests that flowers just aren’t going to attract the right insects to kill them off. 

In a lot of cases, there are these nifty, microscopic worms that can take care of them.  They are called Beneficial Nematodes.  They occur naturally and are not harmful to humans, pets or plants, but sometimes you need an infusion of them so you can place an order with (it is sold by the pint so I’m thinking it’s a liquid spray).

Beneficial Nematodes are known for going to war against:

Ants, Beetles, Japanese Beetles, Black Fly Larvae, Billbugs, Cabbage Worms, Cinch Bugs, Cranberry Girdler, Fleas, Flies, Fungus Gnats, Gail Gnats, Grubs, Loopers, Mole Cricket, Mormon Cricket, Saw Flies, Sod Webworms, Soil Swelling Pests, Squash Bugs, Boll Weevil, Root Weevil, Vine Weevil, White Grubs, and hundreds of others.

I can’t guarantee planting flowers or spraying nematodes all over your yard will get rid of all the pests, but at least you’re trying!

Good luck!

Thursday, May 7, 2009


We started our garden at the Pleasantville Farm! Thus far, we’ve selected lettuce, radishes, tomatoes, basil, oregano & strawberries. They didn’t have the Albion strawberries I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, but a strawberry plant of any kind is ok in our book.

“Beneficial” flowers are recommended in a vegetable garden. What the heck is a beneficial flower, you ask?

Beneficial flowers attract beneficial insects. Such insects are ladybugs, lacewings, mini wasps (not the paper wasps everyone is afraid of), etc. These bugs either pollinate or take care of other garden pests.

Diane’s Seeds has some great descriptions of what flowers attract what kind of beneficial insect. Where as, Garden Insects tells you what insect you need for a type of pest. I was going to suggest you use the two together to come up with a cross reference, but how about I put together a cross reference for my next post? I like you guys, so I’ll do that for you.

Not all flowers are allowed according to the agreement we signed when renting our plot. Anything invasive was out and typical bedding plants (petunias, geraniums, begonias) don’t necessarily attract the right insects.

To be quick about it, I choose a flower I knew I liked. I was buying a package of seeds and I didn’t need that many for the bed (only 10% beneficial flower plantings are allowed). So I wanted to pick something I would be willing to plant in the landscaping and/or containers at home too.

Without further ado, I present, Zinnias

Category Annual
Common Name


Formal Name Zinnia elegans
Description This easy-to-grow annual is an all-time garden favorite. Zinnias generally bloom profusely throughout the entire summer until fall.

Zinnia Seeds - small Sorry, I only have pictures of the seeds right now.

I’ll replace with a picture of the real thing once they start popping up.

  • Cut Flowers
  • Mid to Rear Flower Garden
Light Requirements

Full Sun

Soil Requirements Thrives in a wide variety of soils
Water Requirements Moderate watering until maturity (allow surface to dry between waterings)
Height 3’ – 5’
Spread 9” – 12”
Growing Zone 3 – 10
Manicuring or Pruning Excellent cut flowers – cut just before peak of bloom. Cut individual stems after flower fades.
Fertilization Minimal fertilization required
Growth Cycle Annual
Bloom Time Late summer to early fall
Bloom Color Orange, Yellow, Pink, White, Red


Maintenance Level Low
Special Features
  • Attracts Birds
  • Attracts Butterflies
  • Attracts Beneficial Insects (hoverflies & mini parasitic wasps)
Known Issues Unknown

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