Friday, May 21, 2010

Fit in a Fun Friday - Gardening

Okay, I'll admit it right now, I have a black thumb.  I am a plant killer.  Yet, even I have been drawn in by the lure of color.

Gardening may or may not be your cup of tea, but the results are usually worth it.  When we bought our home, it had grass in the front yard and a grass/weed mixture in the back.  I thought this would be fine to me since I don't spend much time outside of my own home, but two years ago, HGTV did me in. 

Just a few episodes of Designed to Sell convinced me that I needed some color and I needed it NOW!  In my tv show fervor, I seemed to forget that September in Houston is usually the end of planting season and that I can't keep plants alive even if my life (or wallet) depended on it.  That started the saga of digging up areas for flower beds and hunting down plants that could survive an owner like me.

After several failed attempts that month, I was finally able to get a surviving group of plants out front.  One Double Knock-Out rose bush got an area to itself.  Miniature Monkey Grass and Sun Proof Lily-Turf shared the walkway bed with two Caladiums.  A green shrub of some sort finally got the area next to the garage to itself since no other plants seemed to be able to survive.  I also bought a Red Dynamite Crepe Myrtle for the center of the yard to add the biggest splash of red possible.

The joke was on me.  That Crepe Myrtle hasn't bloomed since it was planted 2 years ago.  It gets taller and it gets greener, but I swear it's laughing at me.  So is the green anonymous is almost exactly the same size as 2 years ago - it looks healthy but it refuses to grow.  The Monkey Grass and Sun Proof Lily-Turf also look exactly the same but have killed one of the Caladiums, so the walkway no longer seems symmetrical to me.

In fact, only my rose bush seems to love me...she's the prettiest rose bush ever and blooms 9-10 months of the year.  She grew triple her starting size in one year alone.  I think all the other darn plants know that she's my favorite and are sticking it to me...

Anyway, as you can tell from the before and after pics below, my front yard is at least more interesting than before.  All the plants I have now seem healthy, and I refuse to replace anything that survives through a year with me (just ask my hubby, lol).

Do you have a garden?  If so, are you more into flowers or vegetables or herbs?  Do any of your plants hate you too?



Anonymous Shrub and Accidentally Planted Mother's Day Roses

Monkey Grass and Sun Proof Lily-Turf with Remaining Caladium

Rosie the Rose Bush in Bloom Last Year
(She Was Just Pruned in the Overall Pic Above)


  1. My husband loves to garden! So I get to enjoy the beauty with no work.

  2. Oh, the plantings look nice, BFS! Love the caladium. Maybe just a little more mulch to help the ground hold moisture since it gets so hot in TX.

    I also bought and planted a knockout rose bush last spring after seeing my mom's neighbor's 3 bushes blooming constantly.

    Well, last spring and summer it grew and grew and bloomed like crazy. This year it doesn't look as nice because I didn't think to prune it and it has gotten very leggy with most of the blooms weighing down one side making it lop-sided. Still blooming, though!

    Does anyone know when it's best to prune these rose bushes -- in the spring before it buds, in the summer, or in the fall? Can I prune it now (I'm on the upper East Coast)?

  3. Nice plants BFS! I love to garden, even though I am not the best at it. For instance, I have a hydrangea that is supposed to be blue, but it is pink. I guess it needs more acid and that is where I am bad is taking care of those small things. I can plant, I can water, but I am terrible at fertilizing.

    My vegetables are going in this weekend! Woo hoo!

  4. Nice pictures, and progress. Looks good!

    I like nice landscaping, though not I'm not a "gardener" per se. So, while a nice lawn and some curb appeal is good for me, in the past I hadn't gotten into planting things.

    I recall when I bought a prior home about 8 years ago, the previous owners had a backyard garden. I had a long commute, so there was no time to deal with the garden. So, the weeds grew. At one point a couple grew like 3 feet high, and I thought things were getting out of hand so I just got rid of the whole thing and planted grass. When weeds get as tall as small children, that's not good! With a garden, you need to make the time to care for it, and in my case I wanted to fair to the neighbors and not let it get to be an eysore (which it got to be before I cut it out).

    All this said, I'm getting more into good nutrition, so if I had the time and space I would consider growing vegetables, herbs, etc. I have an uncle that has grown all kinds of things, including strawberries in his backyard garden. Nothing like instantly picked strawberries - they taste WAY better than anything I have purchased in a store, organic or otherwise.

  5. I love gardening! I knew nothing about it until last year when I checked out some books from the library, read them, and then went to Lowe's to get materials to build a raised bed. We had a good crop last year and I'm hoping this year will be even better! The good thing about TX is that we have a long growing season.

  6. It looks good!

    I used to think I had a black thumb, but then I discovered that plants grow better when you remember to water them. Once I added that reminder to my calendar they started growing ;)

    I have a vegetable garden (mostly corn at the moment - yum) and some herbs. Except for one tree, the rest of our plants were here when we bought they house, and they're whatever survives on just rain, because I don't water them. Ever.

  7. BFS, one of these days I will get around to posting our plant life. We have a lot of trees and tons of flower-type things. They were from previous owners. I have no idea what things are but my mom informed me last month that we have a peony flower thingie.

    I don't water usually but even if I did I would have a black thumb. Thank goodness for my husband and a sprinkler system.

    All I know how to take care of are hostas. You just don't touch them and they grow and grow.

    When I have some time, I will go around and take a few pics to share, too. :)

  8. Frugal Scholar, you are a lucky, lucky woman. :-)

  9. Holly, good catch on the mulch! I actually took these pictures the day before adding more have a good eye.

    I prune my rose bush everytime it's done with a big bloom...she doesn't seem to mind. I don't know if there's a difference between the Knockouts and the Double-Knockouts, but if they react the same, they can be pruned from April-October. I try not to cut anything during the cooler months just to be on the safe side.

  10. Everyday Tips, I love blue hydrangeas but I'd never remember to fertilize properly either.

    Hope your veggies come out well!

  11. Squirrelers, yeah, my neighbors have appreciated me hiring a lawn service. $25 biweekly from April-October and my lawn is kept mowed, edged, and weeded. I've actually gotten compliments on the difference (you never feel more embarrassed when someone actually goes out of their way to tell you that your lawn looks really nice mowed...)

  12. Carrie, what do you grow here? What's the hardiest thing? I'm looking to start a small veggie/fruit garden (1-2 things max for now), but I need to know what I'm least likely going to kill...are cucumbers easy?

  13. Jackie, yeah, 90% of my black thumb is that I wasn't watering. Now I water the front and back yard and all the plants once every week or two depending on the heat. I don't do anything from October-March...they are left on their own, lol.

  14. Julie, I'd love to see your pics. We thought of installing a sprinkler system but our yard is so small that we couldn't justify the cost. Maybe in our next house...

  15. BFS - I'm all for lawn services, and $25 is a solid value. It's one of those things that may be more costly, but I think is worth paying someone to do. Also, getting professional weed control makes a big difference too, compared to doing it on your own. The quality of service, plus savings of time, makes it all worth it, I think. And I don't care for spending money:)

  16. Squirrelers, I'm glad I'm not the only personal finance blogger who pays for this, lol. We're in the minority I think...

  17. Yes, cukes are easy (it's best to have a trellis for them to climb). I've had good luck with squash in the summer and lettuce in the spring/fall.

  18. Carrie, okay, I have a little plan. I’ll put the garden near the fence in the corner and leave a little room for a trellis too. Mmmm…cucumbers…tasty…