Neighbours talking over the garden gate has long been a tradition. They share gardening tips, complain about the weather and pests yet are ever eager to discuss their gardens. That is what I had in mind when creating this blog. So stop by my garden gate to find out the latest happenings in my garden.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome
"All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child." ~ Madame Marie Curie"

Monday, May 29, 2006

Watering Tips

Watering can be the single most make or break of gardening. Improper water whether too much, too little or at the wrong time can spell disaster. So here are some of my watering tips most of them learned through trial and error. They are by no means perfect and you will have to adapt to your situation.

I prefer to water in the early morning before the full force of the sun hits the plants. Water acts as a magnifyer to the sun's rays causing sun burn on the plants. Watering in the morning also helps them get through the heat of the day. The only time I water during the heat of the day is if I see a plant in distress. Most times this is a container plant that dried out too quickly. Then I hand water the soil not the plant. I have watered in the early evening after a very hot day to give my plants a little pick-me-up but I'm always sure to water early enough that any wet foliage is dry before nightfall. Sometimes raised beds just like containers need a little extra water. Watering at night without time for the foliage to dry encourages mold and fungus. Wet soil encourages snails and slugs.

I think this is one of the critical points to watering. Make sure you water enough but not too much! A brief spraying isn't going to do any good. It will create demanding plants with shallow roots. Too much water will create water logged soil and unhappy plants dying from root rot. So you need a happy medium. In general water once a day but only if needed. Soak the soil well but don't oversoak. For containers that means soak until water runs out the drain hole then stop. My rule with my raised beds is when I see small puddles I know that is enough water. You really have to dig into the ground to see how far the water has penetrated to determine how much to water with raised beds but once you've watered them a few times you will instinctively know. A rain guage is handy when watering raised beds. Watering both raised beds and containers are different than watering traditional in the ground gardens because the soil is controlled but the principles are the same. My neighbour has a large in ground vegetable garden. He handwaters if necessary but seldom uses the hose and never a sprinkler. Basically he let nature take its course. Then he complains his garden doesn't do well. OTHO, I have over producing raised beds watered regularly but not always daily depending on the weather.

Sorry but if you are going to garden you need to pay attention to the weather. That means learning to read the skies and keeping in tune with your local conditions. I have found true the the sailors warning is true and being a boater I heed that warning, there is no point watering my garden if the sky is red in the morning. If the night is clear and there is a ring around the moon, don't water because rain is coming! If the leaves on your trees especially maple are turning over, don't water because it is going to rain. I can smell when it is going to rain because of increased ozone in the air but some can't pick up on this smell. My bones ache when it's going to rain too so that is another sign. In our high tech days, sometimes we fail to notice these signs. As gardeners check your weather report and planting guide daily but also learn some of the old ways to help you with your watering needs.

We are under water restrictions here allowing for watering every other day. I devised rain barrels to help with the watering if needed. We live on the water so we could always cart water to the gardens but that is rather a pain as would pumping water to the gardens. Rain barrels are inexpensive and easy to set up. Get a 50 gal plastic drum and remove the lid. Add a spiggot with hose attachment near the bottom if desired (preferrable). Test you spiggot for leaks "before" continuing. Turn the barrel right side up and attach window screen to the top of the barrel. This will keep debris and leaves out of your barrel. Place your barrel near your downspout. Cut downspout and/or redirect into the centre of the barrel. Wrap chicken wire around the barrel and secure. Now, push the barrel into place. The downspout should be in the centre of the barrel. Plant vining plants of your choice such as ivy or clematis around the base of the barrel. These will grow up the chicken wire masking the barrel. When your barrel gets about half full, add feeder goldfish or ruby red minnows to control mosquitoes. Now you have an inexpensive but visually appealing water barrel to help your watering needs. There are two ways to use your barrel. Hook up a soaker hose or hand water. If you have access to a natural source of water which we do you can either cart water or hook up a pumping system if allowed. Some municipalities will not allow you to do this but most will. If you can it will provide a nutrient rich souch of water hopefully chemical freee. At any rate any type of water souce for your garden should be used to its full potential without wastage. Municipal water is easier to use but conservation is still necessary. In most cases there is a charge for municipal water.

This is by far the largest area to differ on. I like easy methods that don't waste water and for that reason I "prefer" soaker hoses. They can be concealed by mulch or ground cover. Once in place they only need to be hooked up and used with draining in the winter if you are in an area that freezes in winter. No muss, no fuss and easily adaptable to the water barrel. They best part is of all watering methods they put the water where it is needed and reduce evapouration and wastage. Second to that I use hand watering for the vegetable gardens consisting of a multi-sprayer set to shower. In the greenhouse I use the mist or shower setting but my son is experimenting with a drip system so that might be changing very soon.

Hand watering by watering can works well too. It is more time consuming but can be a great diversion for a restless young one :) I still very much enjoy watering this way. My neighbour still does it this way the majority of the time.

Sprinklers waste a lot of water through evapouration, large coverage area and they soak the foliage creating problems you don't want such as mold and fungus especially if used in the evening. There is a tendency to overwater because you walk away then forget the sprinkler is on. The problem is they are a cheap and easy solution for the novice gardener. So most of us have at one time used them and some of us still do. I think a rain guage is important when using a sprinkler. Water to your desired amount in the guage then turn the sprinkler off. While a sprinkler is an easy solution, try to use it only when necessary.

Containers present their own problems because they can dry out so fast. I use the shower setting with the hose but have come up with a couple of other ideas. I'm testing my sons drip system on a couple of plants so if that goes well I'll post the instructions. So far so good. I use the wick method on other container plants. Simply take a plastic container like a sour cream container. Fill with water. Poke a hole in the top and tread synthetic wick through it long enough to reach the bottom of the container. Put the lid on the container. Push wick up through the drain hole of the pot to near the surface. Set pot of reservoir (plastic container) and the plant will water itself for about a week. Use larger reservoirs for larger containers.

While you are considering water, add a water feature or a couple of bird baths. You want to encourage birds, butterflies, and bats into your garden. They all need water. There are several ways of doing this of which I won't go into detail now. Keep your bird baths clean. Change the water daily! Add the sounds of water flowing buy using a smal recirculating pump and air tubing to create a fountain or bubbling water. Birds are drawn to the sounds of tinkling water. The sound is rather pleasant while you pull weeds in the garden :)

Happy Gardening

Garden Gnome

Monday, May 22, 2006

Attracting Butterflies

Butterflies are a beautiful sight in the garden but more important they are pollinators so should be encouraged in your garden. Some decide to plant a specific garden to attract butterflies while others like me encorporate butterfly attracting plants and elements into the garden. I plant marigolds aroung the perimeter of one of my raised beds that is home to tomatoes, peppers, onions, and lettuces. Marigold is the perfect companion plant for these vegetables for pest management yet they are perfect for attracting butterflies! Many herbs and flowers are perfect companion plants. Most will deter the damaging pests yet encourage the beneficial allies.

Here's my number one rule: if you want butterflies, don't use pesticides indiscriminately! Instead rely on natural insect control like companion planting, toads, birds, bats, lady bugs, rosy red minnows and parasitic wasps. Keep your plants healthy by proper watering, not over crowding them and regular fertilizing to help ward off insect infestations. If you really must use some form of pest control, try the simplest solution first like manual removal. If that doesn't work, use Safer's Insecticidal Soap or a homemade solution of 2 drops liquid soap, 2 drops vegetable oil dissolved in 1 quart water. The homemade insecticidal soap is likely the strongest chemical I've used in my garden in the past four years. With that being said, here are tips to attract butterflies to your garden.

Butterflies are insects that go through a complex life cycle: egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly. It is important to recognize the stages of the butterflies you are trying to attract so you don't inadvertedly destroy them. It is also important to understand that there may be some foliage damage ranging from minor to severe during the caterpillar stage. There are two ways to deal with this problem. Plant some sacrificial plants, remove the caterpillar to those plants and let them be or plant a special butterfly garden away from your vegetable garden. You can simply manually remove and destroy which is not the best solution but sometimes may be the only way to save your favourite crop.

Butterflies need the basics including a food source for caterpillars, full sun, sheltered areas to reduce wind, water, and nectar for the butterflies. The most successful butterfly gardens bloom from early spring to late fall. Include native plants in your garden including some weeds like milkweed and thistle. Emphasize red, yellow, orange, and purple single blossom flowers. Here are the top 20 plants that butterflies love: aster, bee balm, butterfly bush, butterfly weed, cardinal flower, cosmos, globe thistle, goldenrod, joe pye weed, liatris, lilac, marigold, mexican sunflower, phlox, purper coneflower, scabiosa, stone crop, sunflower, yarrow, and zinnia. Other plants include members of the carrot family, cleome, clover, dill, dogwoord, hollyhock, milkweed, snapdragon, thistle, violet, and willow but be aware that certain caterpillars will feed on the foliage. Night blooming plants are attractive to many moth species.

Butterflies are cold-blood so like to bask in the sun. Add flat stones to a sunny spot in your garden for them. Male butterflies like a wet patch of mud or sand for "puddling" and will often gather in large groups to lap up the minerals. Use a shallow dish or birdbath to provide water for butterflies.

Here's my second rule: take pictures! Get close and personal but get those pictures not only of the butterflies but any other life stage you can find. Some caterpillars are absolutely gorgeous! Keep details such as when to discovered the butterfly, caterpillar or chrysalis along with what plant you discovered it feeding on. This will help you fine tune your butterfly garden.

Happy Gardening

Garden Gnome

Saturday, May 20, 2006


Sometimes you can't win for losing. Now I haven't seen the deer myself or any indication there have been deer in the gardens but my neighbour three doors down has some really nice pictures of deer in his back yard. I'm not really sure what to do. I've been fighting the wild rabbits and think I have them under control. I sat in the garden until dark and saw no signs of deer then spred more mothballs around the perimeter and the garden pathways as well as turned the motion activated sprayer up to full tilt. I fear that if deer are in the immediate area, I might just as well shut down the gardens. I'm not sure how else to deal with it. We would need at least a 6' fence and I honestly think if we decided to fence we would add some type of topper to keep all the larger animals out.

So far the garden looks good. There is no sign of any type of damage from any animals although we know something larger was in the garden a couple of nights ago. A larger bucket was overturned the next morning. It was large enough that a squirrel or even large bird could not have done it and I doubt even a rabbit but could be. I'm going to try a radio playing in the greenhouse along with the mothballs and the motion activated sprayer. Time will tell if I'm sucessful.

Garden Gnome

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

A Walk Through My Garden

Come take a walk through my garden. This is a longer post with a lot of pictures. Relax and enjoy.

One thing that you will notice as you walk through my garden are dandelions. We live on the water and have a field behind us. Dandelion control is a lost cause. I don't like to use herbicides that could get into the water so the dandelions stay. Yet in some ways they are a welcomed sight in the spring with their cheery yellow blooms. We enjoy the untreated dandelion leaves in salads.
Dandelion You will also notice lots of little garden decoration whimsy and flowers in the vegetable garden. We have little ones that love to find a surprise hiding under the leaves of growing plants. I love flowers in the vegetable garden as well so that's where you'll find them.

Greenhouse The greenhouse is the focal point of the garden. It is a small 6' x 8' hobby greenhouse. I grow some plants to maturity as well as start a lot of seeds in the greenhouse. I opened up the greenhouse in March. It really gets too cold to leave the greenhouse operational during the dead of winter. However, by March it was warm enough the nigh temperatures in the greenhouse stayed just above freezing.

I've had an old rocking chair in the garden for some time now. I think it signifies Mother Earth. It makes a lovely spot to set potted plants.
Rocking Chair Last year I had geraniums on the chair. This year the geraniums are sitting beside the rocker and I have marigolds planted in the pot on the rocker. So far there is no sign of seedlings yet.

I'm short and the pole beans grow to about 8' on trellises so I need a step stool in the garden. The pole beans are grown in bed #3.
Step Ladder I figured that since the pole beans haven't been planted yet but the ladder was out I might as well put it to good use. The potted flowers will be moved when the ladder is needed.

The main vegetable garden is planted in raised beds. Each bed is planted in a particular fashion using companion plantings. Bed #1 holds tomatoes, peppers, and onions. Bed #2 is home to herbs while beans and peas are grown in bed #3Beds # 1 - 4 Bed #4 is completely filled with June bearing strawberries. It wasn't meant to be this full but they filled in the bed so we have just left it.
Beds #1, 3 and 5 Beds #1-3 are 4' x 10' while beds #4 and 5 are 4' by 8'. The beds include companion planting that includes some flowers like marigolds, nasturtiums, and petunias as well.

Bed #1 and 5 This picture was taken just after tomatoes were planted. The marigolds haven't been planted yet. At the front of bed #1 there is a window box of panseys outside of the bed followed by lettuces and onions in the bed. It will be another couple of weeks before we can plant the various peppers in this bed. Later, as the tomatoes grow my husband will add the removable A-frame trellis that supports the tomatoes. Another 16 tomato plants will be planted in a new raised 4' x 4' bed outside of the main vegetable garden.

Toads are special and are welcomed in my garden anytime. They can eat an incredible amount of insects in a evening! For that reason, I don't use pesticides such as Sluggo. This type of pesticide will go through the skin of toads, killing them.
Toad So I was thrilled when I found one little guy decided to take up residence in my greenhouse. Then looking around the greenhouse I found another toad trying to get into the greenhouse. I must be doing something right to be blessed with toads.

I mentioned in a previous post how I try to attract birds to my garden. Well, these little guys love niger seed so I have a feeder special for the smaller birds. The easiest way to control the types of birds in your garden is through choice of seed followed by choice of vegetation.
Goldfinches I put up one feeder on the shed wall then filled it with a corn mixture. That was a huge mistake something I realized after chasing off two wild rabbits. I should have known better! I changed that seed to black oil sunflower seed only to be bombarded with starlings and grackles. Somehow the cowbirds missed it. The starlings are so aggressive that they chase away the song birds so I changed the black oil sunflower seed for niger seed, something the starlings don't seem to like. However, that is rather expensive so I'll be replacing the niger seed for safflower seed. Safflower seed will attract the song birds as well as cardinals. So I have three bird feeders all aimed at attracting songbirds without creating a problem by attracting unwanted critters. On feeder holds sunflower seeds. It is squirrel and large bird proof. The hopper birdfeeder will hold safflower seed to attract more song birds and the tube feeder is aimed directly at the finches.

I hope you enjoyed the walk through my garden.

Garden Gnome

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Come Wander Through My Garden Thoughts :)

Where do I begin? This entry is more of a mish mash, or wandering through the garden. We were on vacation in Las Vegas and arrived home mid Thursday morning. I think I worried the entire time we were gone about the gardens even though I knew they were in very good hands. My son took the seedlings home to baby them while my neighbour took care of the main vegetable garden beds and the greenhouse. When we left Las Vegas it was 94 o to arrive in Detroit at 60o and rain. Then we drove through blinding rain to get home! Despite lack of sleep I was itching to get out into the garden so was a little disappointed when the rain refused to let up.

Yesterday brought more rain. I wanted to get the beans planted but there wasn't enough of a break in the rain. So I contented myself with online research and tidying up my shopping list. Now this is just not a good time of year for me! Honestly, I'm not a shopper until it comes to plants. That means I "have" to stop at every nursery or garden spot for miles around. That means I end up with more plants than I really need. My son picked up the seedlings from my other son so they are back in the greenhouse. He also picked up wood for a 4' x 4' raised bed except he got pressure treated instead of plain spruce. So that bed will be used for flowers or shrubs only. The plants brought indoors are also back in the greenhouse and the electricity has been re-connected.

I woke late this morning to more rain. Drat! So I decided to at least do a little work in the greenhouse. It wasn't much but at least I made a list of exactly what plants I have so I wouldn't inadvertly buy duplicates. Then I went shopping at the local vegetable stand. The have nice, healthy plants! I bought a couple of hanging baskets of petunias, sweet peppers, ultra sweet tomatoes, big beef tomatoes, and coleus. My son arrived with enough wood for 3 more raised 4 ' x 4' beds. He assembled the beds but they are still empty until my husband can give his input as to location. At the moment they are forming a diamond pattern that is rather appealing. That means another 48 sq. ft of grass gone withouth the other 16 sq. ft bed to be planted with flowers. If it were up to me I'd have no grass at all. I seriously hate grass! It is boring yet in some cases high maintenance. I'd like to turn the front yard into a wildflower bed essentially eliminating all grass. This just might be the year.

The main vegetable garden beds are doing remarkably well! The peas will need staking shortly. The lettuces and radishes are promising to be bumper crops. I need to take pictures of both. The herbs are doing well too. Unfortunately the unplanted squares have attracted a few weeds but that will be easy to remedy. I planted asparagus the day before we left for vacation but there is no sign of growth.

I posted about bird feeders so thought I should follow it up with this comment. Choose your seed wisely. It will determine not only what birds eat at your feeders but also what wild life the droppings might attract. I feed the blue jays daily with a handful or two of unshelled peanuts. They take everything within a very short time so the peanuts don't attact any wild life. However, I filled the one feeder with a generic mix that included corn. This really wasn't too smart as the day we were leaving two wild rabbits were happily munching away at the droppings while the starlings/grackles fought to see how much they could spread the seed. My husband emptied that feeder before we left and I filled it with black oil sunflower seed today. Another feeder holds black oil sunflower seed but only the smaller birds can get to it and a third holds niger seed. The first feeder with be changed for safflower seed. The cardinals and smaller birds like safflower but the starlings do not like it at all. If you research the birds in your area, you will find out what attracts them. If you find one seed is attracting unwanted attention from certain birds or other critters, change the seed.

Chives! I'm going to do a whole post on the topic of chives but for the time being, chives are already being cut here. These are almost like weeds. You can't kill them and they spread like wildfire. However, they are the ultimate addition to so many dishes so I grant them a little lee way. This year I split my chive section up. I ended up with a half barrel, two large pots and I'm giving away chive plants. Even if you don't eat chives it is one of the easiest herbs to grow and it is very pretty. I love the flowers!

Well, now that I've wandered, I really need to sit down and do a little more planning. I'm garden shopping again likely in the morning but if not Monday morning. I really, really, really "need" a new garden gnome! My old one is looking a little ratty but he'll just get moved to another spot in the garden. I was rather proud of myself this year. I love garden decorations as long as they don't interfer with the function of the garden. This spring I tossed out a lot of garden decorations that either were too ratty or no longer met my needs. However, a garden gnome is a must :)

Happy Gardening

Garden Gnome

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Birds, Butterflies and Bats

Too often we focus on the garden pests without paying much attention to the beneficial garden visitors. These visitors should be encouraged as they help keep garden pests under control. They are a sign of a healthy garden. Make your garden a haven for these visitors. Don't use pesticides!

You can't have butterflies without the caterpillars that will do some foliage damage but you can attract them to your garden along with a plant or two you are willing to use as butterfly bait for the caterpillars. Put these plants just slightly away from your main garden bed. Carefully remove any offending caterpillars to the appropriate bait plants. This will allow them to mature to the butterflies you want without destroying your crop plants. Plant flowers to attract butterflies. Marigolds and petunias are especially beneficial as companion plants in the garden and should be planted throughout the garden. In general butterflies like red, yellow, orange and purple single blossom flowers. Some herbs like dill, echnacia, and yarrow will attract butterflies. I had a swallowtail caterpillar last year so have already planted a pot of parsley to transfer any caterpillars to this year. If possible, plant a few milkweed plants to attract Monarch butterflies. Other great butterfly attactors are aster, bee balm, members of the carrot family, cleome, clover, dogwood, hollyhock, snapdragon, thistle, violet, and willow. We are very lucky that we have a nice patch of wild violets!

Birds can be very beneficial in the garden. I always hang at least one bird feeder and plant sunflowers for the birds. This is for the seed eating birds but anyone who has ever fed birds know that each variety of birs will attract otheres including the insect eaters like woodpeckers. We have a lot of sparrows. I have caught them on more than one occasion eating insects and spiders around the windows even though they love to eat from the feeders too. House and gold finches seem to prefer the feeders. We have at least three blue jays each with their own personality. They prefer unshelled peanuts and sunflower seeds. They are very entertaining birds especially when they are chasing squirrels out of the garden. Larger birds like the common grackle, robin or larger crow will take care of grub problems and they will help keep caterpillars under control. They seem to be attracted by other birds! If you are lucky you will attract a hawk or two. Hawks will go after the smaller birds but more importantly they will keep the rodent population in check. Owls will do the same thing. Attracting birds to you garden is easy keep in mind the basics of food, water and shelter. You will need to provide one or more feeders and keep them filled. Birds need to know they have a secured food source. For best results use squirrel-proof bird feeders unless you want to go through a lot of seed very quickly. Add a water source. Try to mimic natural water puddles by placing a shallow bird bath at ground level in a shady spot. If cats are a problem, raise the bird bath a couple of feed and keep it away from shrubs. A small pump can be used to create the sound of tinkling water. This will help attract birds and provide a soothing sound in the garden. The final thing needed to attract birds is shelter preferrably natural as in shrubs and trees. Add nesting boxes (bird houses) and nesting material.

Birds add an entertainment aspect to the garden. We live on the water so have the benefit of enjoying water fowl as well as song birds and birds in general. I think all birds are song birds after observing them so long. Some have songs that are prettier than others. Our water birds include many varieties of duck, tundra swan, Canada geese and the ever almost annoying cliff swallow. They have nests under our dock so I have some really nice pictures of the babies. However, for their size they are vicious little birds swooping within inches of your head if you try to use the dock before the babies leave the nest. My neighbour says they are good luck so they stay. The water birds don't bother the gardens with the exception of the swallow but only if they have a nest nearby. Some birds like my blue jays have their own personalities. Big Blue sits on the porch railing waiting for his daily peanuts. If they don't come fast enough he moves to the window sill where he will peck at the window until I toss out his peanuts. Little Blue sits on the eavestroph watching this closely and always manages to scoop up a few peanuts before Big Blue does. Neither are concerned over the door opening. Robins have their own personality as well. One robin decided to ensure his worm supply last year by following me around the garden when I watered. He'd stay about 4 feet behind me and followed me everywhere as long as the hose was on. We thought this was hilarious so my husband video taped him. Birds are welcomed in my garden anytime!

Bats are very beneficial in the garden. Some eat frogs, small mammals, fish and nectar but the majority of bats in a typical garden eat insects. The common brown bat can consume several hundred mosquitoes in a night as well as moths and beetles that can do a lot of damage in your garden. Mature trees provide roosting spots for bats. If you don't have mature trees install a bat box. Build the bat box from wood, and stain them brown to help retain the heat. Bat boxes should face south. Boxes smaller than 20 inches across by 24 inches tall likely won't be used. Chambers can be made using wood slats. Bat boxes should be mounted on the side of a building at leat 12 feet from the ground. Provide a water source larger than an average bird bath so the bats can swoop and grab a sip while flying.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Odds and Ends

I really enjoysunrises and sunsets so I take a lot of pictures of them. This morning, the sky was threatening rain. The clouds were heavy enough to wipe out any sunset. I pondered the gardens while sipping on my morning coffee disappointed there wouldn't be a gorgeous sunrise to great the day. One thing I've learned living on the water is nature never disappoints. The water constantly takes on a life of its own. Today was no different.
Tundra Swan
Three tundra swans swam by so I couldn't resist taking a couple of pictures. The lighting was a little too low an I used the zoom so the picture is a little grainier than I would like. One of these days I will get the perfect picture of them but for now I'm just happy they blessed my day.

I just realized that while I've talked about my gardens, I haven't really posted pictures of them. I have five raised beds planted in the square foot method. I use push pins to attach cotton yarn to form the grids. This picture was taken a sunrise a couple of days ago. Sunrise is one of my favourite times of the day. Here you can see part of bed #1, bed #2, bed #4 (strawberries) and bed # .
SFG beds
The grids remain for the entire growing season. A particular vegetable is destined for each square. Each bed has a specific use though. Squares are replanted as needed so most of the time the beds are rather full.

I have a love hate relationship with the greenhouse. I wanted it so bad yet didn't know that most times I would be fighting it. It does extend the growing season by about a month on each end. However, because of its size, it is difficult to heat properly in cold weather and overheats in July and August. Last year, we cleared it out for the summer months. Still it is useful and a beneficial addition to the garden. Here are a couple of pictures of the greenhouse.
Greenhouse at Night
Until the past week or so, I used a 150 watt grow bulb to light the greenhouse. Being energy conscious, I changed that bulb out to a 26 watt CF floodlight. So far I haven't noticed any problems with the plants.
Sunrise on the Greenhouse

Basil is one of my favourite herbs. Each year I experiment with different basils but always grow sweet basil. Basil pesto freezes well and basil makes a really nice vinegar.
Sweet Basil
This year I'm growing purple basil, cinnamon basil, sweet basil and lemon basil. Basil is an annual here so I start the seeds in the greenhouse. When frost threatens, I bring the basils into the house to enjoy a little longer. Unfortunately, basil tends to get leggy indoors so usually by mid January, the plants aren't very good. A little tip for basil is to root it in water. Take a snipping from the main basil plant. Fill a jar with water then cover with plastic wrap. Poke a hole in the plastic wrap to put the snipping then wait for it to develop roots. Either leave as is or pot in soil. This is one way to extend your basil yield.

I love tulips so they grace along the south side of the house. They make me smile as they wave gently in the wind. I was very concerned today as the house was being power washed. I know the service is professional and know what they are doing but that didn't stop me from worrying.