Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The good....The bad, and the tulips.

 OK....first the good. I made Italian pot roast for dinner, my first ever!   I was watching some cooking show and decided to give it a try, it was delicious. I love everything Italian, the food, the art, the language, and yes the gardens. I truly believe I was Italian in another life. I also have a fear of water, that may have come from a former life as well.
"he likes it, hey Mikey"  both my Bad Cats enjoyed it as you can see, the other Bad Cat is really a person.
He even has his own special dinner bowl, courtesy of the other Bad Cat.  Well aren't you just the luckiest cat around.

Now the bad
You might think he's cute, with their running around, gathering nuts and all. Don't be fooled, these guys can cause some damage, and besides they are not all that cute either.
Now don't get it twisted, I love all of God's creatures(except spiders and centipedes) but when they start destroying my garden...... It's war, I mean war. These little monsters have been eating my tulips. Don't you guy's have nuts buried somewhere, go rummage some garbage cans, go climb a tree.
Ah-ha you guy's have not eaten them all yet. I'll fight fire with fire, where's my blow torch?
 OK, maybe some pepper, only because I couldn't find the blow torch......anyway this will work just fine.
That's right, oh, you don't like spicy, don't give me that look.
You are not going to ruin spring for me, it's been a long winter here.
Did you watch me plant these bulbs thinking they were for you to munch on?  If so then you are sadly mistaken my furry friends.
But don't you dare even think about it.  Now get out of here, before I find that blow torch.

Friday, March 25, 2011

I'll Give You A Rose Garden

 It was snowing again. Maybe we're not ready for spring. Maybe It's because I have yet to put away winter decorations. "Oh come on"
 I have plans. This strip along the fence would be a great place for a rose garden don't you think?
 Most of the day it's in full sun. I can just picture myself strolling along the walk admiring this garden in the morning with a cup of coffee in hand
 Strawberry and creamy.
 The rose garden wouldn't be exclusive to roses, I'd  have a variety of Perennials and annuals  all in the same color range. Though the roses would be the stars of this bed I want other plants to support them. Peonies would be a great partner, they bloom right before the roses, and the colors here are yummy! 
 I love the David Austin English roses, they come in such great colors. I love the cabbage forms, and the fragrance is to die for. This is what a rose should smell like.

 Pinks,blush,and lavenders are my favorites...... bonito!!
 Roses start blooming mid spring til frost. I have even seen them blooming in November.
 Monarda's would be a great companion plant, they come in shades of pinks,red, white lavenders and reds. Monarda commonly called Bee balm is in the mint family, it's aromatic and I love the flower forms it too blooms in the summer.
 I like white roses too, they tend to cool down surrounding colors and add a quiet elegance.
 Another great partner for roses are Purple Cone Flowers, these are my most favorite daisies. They look best planted in groups of at least three or more. I want this garden to be lush.
 The Bad Cat has mentioned that he likes Hydrangeas,the pink and blue ones. They work well with roses too. They'll work in this garden don't you think?  let's make him happy.
 He likes Poppies too I think. The red ones may not work here though, they have a lot of orange in them, but then again maybe they would, since they bloom early in the season and will be done before the roses start. You have to try to please everyone, who knows they might be a pleasant surprise. That's what gardening is all about. Timing is everything.
 Maybe he'll like the pink ones.
Perennial Hibiscus would be great too, the huge tropical like flower would add a special touch to the late summer garden after the Monarda's and look almost unreal....great colors too!

The bed is pretty long, and the possibilities are endless....I just listed a few of my Ideas and a few plants, but I think you get it. This rose garden could be drop dead gorgeous don't you think....we'll see. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sticks and Branches,and still cold

 I know.... the calendar Say's spring began two day ago, but it's still cold here in Michigan. Spring doesn't really start here til mid or late April.  The Crocus are blooming, but it's still very dismal and grey outside. The grass is starting to show signs of's all the cold rain, but to me it all just looks like a bunch of sticks.
 A good friend of mine is starting to landscape her new garden in Oregon. She is already enjoying spring. We have grey cold sticks and branches. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot you can do with sticks and branches. Fact is I love using them in my designs, and seeing how other artist use them too.
 Check out these sticks, this is the work of an artist in India.
 Birds love sticks. Take a look at this Cardinal in my front porch winter pots..... O.K he's not a real bird but doesn't he look happy in the sticks and branches?
 Here's another way to use branches in pots. Here tree branches were used to decorate the entrance of a church. Simply add some white birds, you know something magical was going on inside.
 This time of year pussy willow branches are great......they are one of my favorites, along with red twigs. These pots were done for a client of mine who wanted something in her pots for a early March party. It's too early to plant anything, so sticks were the answer.
 I know cut branches and sticks are dead, but look at how much life and structure they give to these winter pots. They can be used in thier natural state or spray painted any color you desire. The possibilities are endless. This is just a sample of how I use them  in my work.
 This artist Patrick Dougherty uses sticks to a whole new level creating sculptural structures....WOW!!

 This makes me think of the Wizard of Oz for some's almost magical don't you think?
 My Big Bad Cat even uses sticks of the cookie kind in his Chocolate Mousse desserts. Yummy!!
Of course my other Bad Cat could care less, he prefers a warm bed.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Is In The Air!!!!!.......we hope.

 Spring is in the air once again here in Michigan. It's been a long hard winter, finally Mother nature has changed the channel to warmer temps and longer days (Thank God!) The river is thawing, and Ive seen Robins in the backyard. Oh we're not out of the woods yet this is Michigan anything can happen...but we are closer.
 Another sure sign that spring is in the air are Crocus, one of my favorites!!  I didn't plant any last fall in my beds, but I have see them elsewhere blooming their little hearts off.
I get so excited when I see them, this is spring to me. I can remember them from my childhood....admiring them in yards on my way home from school. I used to think they were tiny I know better!
My Mother once planted them along our driveway, I can remember showing them to one of my Kindergarten classmates. In my old neighborhood I still look for old plantings of them that I can remember. Someone else must have loved them too..... whats not to love?
 So this fall I'm gonna plant some crocus, after a long winter they are just a small reminder that spring is in the air. Try them, affordable and easy to grow, and next spring when you see them you'll know spring is in the air rejoice,rejoice!!I
 I love deviled eggs, another sign of Spring to me. Of course my  Bad Kitty had to put on a special egg show.
 My two Bad Cats in the kitchen.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Real vs. Real looking

 I would never think about using fake or artificial flowers in my garden. You know those people, the ones who buy the fake stems with blooms and poke them in the soil in the spring and are content because they have a worry free border. No water, no deadheading, no fertilizing, no cares, perfect from one season to the next. That is until the blooms start to fade from the sun and the foliage becomes dirty and ragged.Who are they trying to fool...... this is not a good look. The first mistake is using something that was intended for indoor use outside. Plastic and silk flowers are not made to withstand the ravages of weather.
 Recently I was commissioned to do a flower arrangement for a client of mine using artificial flowers. I was amazed with the selection of life-looking blooms. Lillie's,Hosta,and Callas, all very real be used indoors of course. Everything has it's place, no harsh weather here.
 There are advantages to using artificial flowers indoors, no water, no mess, and always perfect especially great if you want to keep your home clean. Did I mention no insects.
 I have used artificial blooms before with live materials for a special effect, here fake cattails are surrounded with miniature pumpkins and ting-ting for height. This fall display was only temporary and was removed before harsh weather set in.
 In this winter pot arrangement I used curly willow branches,red dogwood twigs tied with preserved protea blooms. Boxwood branches and artificial apples and pears make up the bottom coller. These arrangements were on a covered porch that gave them winter protection. If you use artificial material it should be in a protected

We do have several arificial arrangements in our house, they do brighten dark corners where real flowers just would'nt work. Sometimes real-looking is just best.
I also used plastic fruit in my holiday decorating....why not? It has to be long lasting,and I'll be able to use it again next year. Plastic fruit can be very realistic and it dosen't rot!..... it's a good thing!
Real flowers have thier place too. This arrangement was just for the holidays,it was nice on the dinner table.
Plastic fruit replaced the real arrangement when the holidays were done, this is our staple centerpeice....until we switch it out for a real flowers, this way we'll have the best of both worlds. This works for me!