Showing posts from 2014

Review of 2014 Goals: How Did I Do?

As the year ends, this is the time to assess what was accomplished over the year. I'm going to do this in two posts.

In this post, I will assess how I measured up to a post that listed all my 2014 goals for my garden areas that I posted here on January 1st of this waning year.

I apologize that this is just a boring list. The list is pretty long, as I have numerous garden areas that needed a lot of work. Feel free to skip to the end if you're short on time or interest in the minutiae of my garden -- this list is really more for me, a self-assessment that I've posted online to keep myself honest.

Everything in normal font is from my original post; my assessment and comments are written in bold font. I will answer:

Yes, if I accomplished what I wantedNo, if didn't get it done, and I still need to do itSome, if I partially accomplished what I wanted to doDecided Not To, if I realized there might be better ways to handle a particular area, or I need to think more about what I w…

Merry Christmas!

It's good to be back! After a month away to focus on other things -- taking a mental break from gardening, working on my new research/writing project (a book about Iowa garden history), and the last two weeks of preparing for Christmas -- I'm glad to be back writing this blog, thinking about gardening and catching up on what others have been doing.

It's hard to believe that another Christmas is over -- the last of the family staying with us left our house this afternoon, and the weather was so warm, I actually worked outside in the gardens for a little while today -- not something I ever remember doing in late December before. After an unusually cold November, most of December has been quite mild, and the last few days have seen temperatures in the 50s, with no snow on the totally non-frozen ground. It's like we have English weather this month. We had not a white Christmas, but a brown one this year -- and I liked it!

Yesterday when I was outside, I noticed a disconcerti…

Garden Fancy: A Year Old Today!

Yay! I'm celebrating my garden blog's first birthday today, having written my first post on November 24, 2013. (It was a pretty lame post: "Hello, this is my inaugural post at Garden Fancy. I know no one will read this for quite some time, but I have to start somewhere," and wrote a few words about what I hoped to cover in this blog, which I hoped would be of interest to a few readers.)

Since then, I have written 79 blog posts including this one, an average of one about every four and a half days. I had hoped to post about twice a week so I didn't quite make that, but it's still a respectable effort, I think.

And a few people have started to read my blog fairly regularly; I now have 18 followers, 11 Feedburner email subscribers and 11 Google+ followers -- every one of which I'm so happy and honored that they actually are interested in reading about my gardens and my thoughts about gardening. Thanks so much for continuing to read!

And I have made a number of …

Bulb Planting Travails

So I finally got nearly all my bulbs into the ground on Sunday and Monday. I always buy more than I should when I go bulb shopping -- the containers look like candy, with their bright, tempting photos of beautiful spring bulbs, and I'm too much like a kid in a candy store. I also ordered a bunch of bulbs online from Van Engelen, the wholesale distributor for John Scheepers (I almost always buy large enough quantities to qualify for the wholesale price).

But then I have to plant them all, and I curse my greediness, often putting off the work so late in the season that I've had to use a pickax to hew a planting hole in the frozen tundra of my flower beds.

This year, I vowed to get ahead by starting earlier. In early October (a good time for planting bulbs here), I planted 550 bulbs of various kinds in my new Yellow Garden: tulips, daffodils, alliums, hyacinths, crocus and winter aconite -- all yellow-colored, of course. I hope the heavy clay soil there won't be too much for th…

Our Swank New "Grand Chicken Hotel"

My husband has kept chickens since we moved out into the country more than six years ago, but we have never had a permanent structure for them. He has, over the years, built them several shelters out of lumber, small-gauge wire fence and blue tarps, around which he stacks straw bales in the winter for protection from wind and cold.

These have worked well enough most of the time, although they aren't very roomy in winter, and don't provide any protection from gnats in early summer, which can kill chickens in bad years (we lost three during this year's wet, gnat-filled May, which was really sad and upsetting).
So we resolved to spend the money to get a better structure for them before winter came. I contacted a local builder who has listed a number of small chicken sheds on Craigslist and he built us one to order in a "mini-barn" style and delivered it to us the other day.

Our chickens were a bit suspicious of the new shed for a few days, but they have started making …

Going, Going.... Gone.

We had our first killing frost last night. I'd been dreading it because the flowers were still so beautiful, but we don't get to tell Mother Nature her business.

Some illustrative scenes from my gardens: Before (a few days ago), this morning in frost, and After (this afternoon after the sun rewarmed and destroyed the structure of the plants):

Autumn Colors

Things really look like autumn around here: leaves turning colors (and some trees completely having lost their leaves already) and mums in bloom. We haven't gotten frost yet so the annual flowers are still going, but they don't look as vigorous as they did six weeks ago. Here are a few scenes from my gardens:

Hope your own autumn scenes are easing the transition to the non-flowering months for you too. It looks like we might have frost this weekend, but I hope nevertheless that we all have a few more warm days to enjoy. Thanks for reading! -Beth

A New Google Earth Aerial Photo!

I've been waiting for over a year, hoping since last fall that Google Earth would soon have a new aerial photograph of our property, and I finally noticed one has been added! The last photo had been taken in September 2012, and we have made some significant changes to our gardens and added several new areas since then. I could hardly wait to see what the changes would look like from the air, and the new photo clearly shows all the major changes we've made this year and last year.

The changes can be seen if you compare the two photos:
The Kitchen Garden and chicken pen, lower left, hadn't been laid out yet, although the lumber for these was waiting on the edge of the driveway in September 2012.

The Gazebo, bottom right, wasn't in place until Spring 2013.

The new West Island and North Island, to the left of the house, were laid out and planted in Spring of this year.

One of the two ash trees behind the house was removed this spring and the border on the north side of the hous…