Saturday, December 22, 2012

Frozen in Time

Frozen in Time is a fitting Violet to introduce to my flower fans a few days before Christmas. It is freezing outside. My door to the deck was frozen shut this morning from the recent snow fall and a little melting that occurred recently.  I never had a violet with these colors. Notice the tips of the leaf are etched in white and the blooms are a faded white with green tints. How unusual, how intriguing to the eye. This flower has bloomed so abundantly for me; it is the rich soil that has made this happen. It is so simple, yet the average house plant person has no clue where to get good soil. You make it. Comment to me if you have questions.  

Here is a closer view of the blooms and the white etching on the leaves. Can you believe how plentiful the blooms are? You too can have abundant blooms. It is so simple a child can do it. Write me to tell me what your experience has been with violets. You might like this blog about African Violets.

Ma's Melody Girl

You would not believe the size of the cutting I received that resulted in this mature Violet called Ma's Melody Girl. It was not more than two inches across. And now look at it. From leaf to leaf it is probably 10 inches across. How about the healthy leaves? Look at the rich greens; light and deep green. So lush. You too can grow magnificent violets. The recipe is simple. You need rich soil, watering from the bottom and indirect lighting.  Voila! Amazing blooms charming your life and amazing your imagination. Always something bright to look forward to.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Deck Day Dreams

When the dreary clouds of late autumn and early Winter pour out their buckets of rain for days on end, don't you just day dream for the time when your deck will be once again dotted with beautiful blooms, with colors galore?

This is what I am dreaming of::  flower pots filled with  deep pink, fire engine red, and bright white geraniums overflowing in great abundance. The picture below is one example of what we saw this past summer immediately out our back windows overlooking the deck and thick woods.  The spike plant adds a nice variation of texture and complements the charming rich green leaves of the geranium plant. One of the amazing traits of the geranium is the fragrant scent from the leaves. My memory of this scent goes back to my childhood, when we used to plant geraniums on my Gramma and Grampa's graves, every year on Memorial Day. 

Do you take advantage of the hardy geranium as you adorn your deck with color & beauty? Properly planted in rich soil, you will have a bounty of blooms all season long. The key is to dead-head the spent blooms to make way for the new buds that are just itching to begin multiplying. Geraniums are a staple of our summer Deck Decorum.  Don't heed those little rain puddles huddled on your deck; Day Dream with me. It won't be long and you can start your geranium cuttings for next summer.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Mum's the word!

Once the cold arrives in early October virtually all of my summer flowers displayed on the deck (in pots and flower boxes)  reached their peak and began to whither. I took my geraniums out of the pots and flower boxes for their long winter nap. I store them in a green garbage bag, after drying the roots a bit, and shaking off most of the dirt. I poke several holes in the plastic bag so the roots have some air and don't dry out.   The pink and red geraniums  go dormant during the winter but start shooting out little buds about mid February.

With our son Paul's wedding around the corner I knew it was the perfect time to cheer the place up with some autumn  Chrysanthemums. I bought five different colors from Kollmans' Greenhouse in Twinsburg. I transplanted them out of the plastic containers into my clay pots for display on the Deck.

I will try to plant these in the ground before the hard frost arrives, and hopefully some of them will survive the winter and be a source of many new mums next year.  I will  re-grow the Mum's shown and I will make cuttings from each of them.  

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Kentucky Zinnias Win the Race

How would you like this bouquet of Zinnias on your dining room table as you sit down for a romantic dinner for two tonight? This picture was sent to me by my cousin Brenda Lee. She grew these marvelous specimens way down in  Kentucky. Notice the bright yellow Zinnias. They give such a lovely contrast to the reds and pinks and oranges. 

In early October Brenda said her Zinnia's were still setting buds and blooming. Virtually all but a few of the  Zinnias in the Garden of Deegan are gone. It has been unusually cold this October. 

I have already harvested a good amount of Zinnia seed and placed the stems and dried blooms in the compost heap. I can hardly wait for next Spring to start my Zinnia seed. If you would like to order some Zinnia seed please let me know.     

To  enjoy more gardening wonders check out Brenda's grdening blog Where the Green River Flows  at See you in the Garden. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Zinnias Create a Festival of Color

Zinnias offer a rich variety of  pastels to brighten your garden. I started my zinnias from seed this year. A friend from Toastmasters gave me some Giant Zinnia seed and some Lilliput (small) Zinnias. These were seeds that she grew from heirloom plants; the varieties that produce true seed. Many hybrid seeds will not produce seeds that mimic the original flower. So it was a treat to be able to germinate these seeds.

The beauty of Zinnias is that you can cut your best blooms and create  a gorgeous bouquet for your loved ones.   The blooms last a long time, and they look just as attractive in an artistic vase (an expensive cut glass variety) or in a more plain vase that you would be willing to give away when you share a bouquet with a neighbor or friend. My wife Nancy keeps the bouquets at their peak by removing blooms that have lost their pizazz and by adding new ones, periodically.

The bouquet shown below highlight the wonderful variety of colors and illustrate the interesting geometry of the bloom itself. The symmetry in the concentric circles creates a unique artistic flair. When you place the vase on an interesting table cloth a composition is created which adds to the simple enjoyment you can experience, day after day while the bloom holds up.  The height  of your zinnia flowers will depend greatly on the nutrients in
your soil. If you have a composted soil you can get blooms up to five feet tall. If your soil is average or
below average expect zinnias about two feet tall. Zinnias are perfect for the back row in your garden, and serve as a perfect backdrop for smaller flowers such as impatiens or snap dragons.

Zinnias will continue to bloom in the garden all summer, until the weather changes. I watered mine regularly during the dry and hot weather we had this summer. They droop easily in the heat of the day, but a little droopiness is better than over watering. They recover from 'heat stroke' quickly, so don't panic at the site of wilting leaves.

Finally, zinnias are very photogenic if you have a knack for taking pictures. They are a great subject for an 8 x 10   enlargement that you can place in a rustic frame. Add a professional touch by placing a border around the photo. If you are really creative zinnias make a great front cover on a hand-crafted greeting card.  Make your own picture card by going to my web site: to send up to three free greeting cards. Do the walk through to learn how to create and send a real card by using this online system. It is user friendly and fairly intuitive. If you like the service let me know. 

The bouquets shown above and to the left produce a wonderful festival of color.  Also notice  the interesting geometry of the bloom itself. The symmetry in the concentric circles is artistic and aesthetic in its own right.  When you place the vase on an interesting table cloth a composition is created which adds to the simple enjoyment you can experience, day after day after day  while the blooms hold up. If you have not yet grown zinnias in your garden give them a try next year. They are sure to add a new excitement to your gardening experience.  See you in the Garden!     

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Deegan in the Garden: Lemon Boy Tomatoes yield Sunny Taste

Deegan in the Garden: Lemon Boy Tomatoes yield Sunny Taste

Lemon Boy Tomatoes yield Sunny Taste

My foray into new tomato territory this year was well rewarded. Lemon Boy yielded a wonderfully shaped round tomato, with bright yellow skin, smooth in texture and marvelous in taste. I honestly feel the taste surpasses some of the heirloom tomatoes. Rich flavor, juicy and meaty. It is everything you want in that fresh tomato taste on your summer BLT's.

I must confess I bought my plants at Kollman's Greenhouse; planted some in my garden and some in a large flower pot. My tomatoes as a rule, do better in the garden where the moisture is more constant. But this year I put one of my Lemon Boys on the landing of my stairway leading to the deck. Because of the partial shade, I was able to hold the moisture pretty evenly and the modest sunlight produced slower growth and I was happy with the fruit.
The second picture includes a simple model of a Canadian Loon and a Lemon Boy tomato. It is fitting that these two are companions in this shot. They both represent nature at its best. What is more beautiful than the a serenading loon at dusk or dawn? And what is more beautiful than a brightly colored fruit, that is fresh, ripe, and scrumptious to eat. The "Good life" is all around us if we have eyes to see it, ears to hear it and palate to taste it. How can anyone enjoy a full life without the fruit that comes from your own garden. See you in the Garden.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Red Ripe Cherry Tomatoes

There are an abundance of cherry tomatoes this time of year. I have a jumbo cherry tomato plant in a large pot on my deck and cherry tomatoes at the Church Garden. They are so delicious. We eat them daily, in salads, or just cut in half and lightly salted. Mmmm. Good! Nancy likes to share with her friends at the Pre School. They love them down there. I also planted some yellow cherry tomatoes that are acid free, yet very tasty. No summer garden is complete without Red Ripe Cherry Tomatoes.
Tips for when to pick. You really have to pick cherry tomatoes when they are orange. If you wait until they are red on the vine you will find they tend to burst. Pick them when they are orange and then let them ripen on a plate in indirect light; not sun-light. Within a day or two they are ready to eat.
To enlarge the photo click on the above picture

Friday, August 31, 2012

A Bowl of Sweet Green Peppers

I started sweet green peppers from seed this year, indoors, and as is traditional they are slow growers. Yet, because of my rich soil and frequent watering, we are having a great harvest. The fruit looks so rich in color, and healthy in general appearance. We have been making Stuffed Green Peppers like crazy and have two batches frozen and have had two meals of stuffed peppers.
Nancy makes extra sauce to pour over the rice and hamburger filling. Nancy admonishes me not to let them grow too large as the skin gets a little tougher. We seem to have found the happy balance. The peppers in the picture are just the right size.

Nancy's Deep Blue Morning Glories

It seemed Nancy's morning glories took forever to grow up the trellis this year. I started the seedlings as usual and transplanted them to flower boxes. The soil was probably too porous as we had to water nearly twice each day to keep moisture present. It was common to see the leaves wilt and yellow throughout the summer.
In late August they finally started blooming. They are truly glorious to look at. Nancy has about five Morning Glories blooming each morning. They are best to view in the early morning when the dew is present.

Sunflowers at the Church Garden

The Sunflower in this picture was started by seed this May by children in the Gardening for God program, in lieu of Vacation Bible School. I absolutely could not believe how tall the church garden Sunflowers grew. It was our first year of the new garden, and the soil seemed heavy with clay. I worked closely with Ellen Ackerman, the sponsor of the Gardening with God program at Rejoice Lutheran Church this spring and summer. The picture you see is a close up of about a 12 foot tall Sunflower. Gorgeous. The perimiter of this bloom is at least 12 inches. The kids watered weekly and Ellen and I took turns watering as the garden needed it. Since we had a drought a good deal of the summer, we had to water frequently. We hauled containers of water up the hill from the church spigot. This was easier than dragging a hose across the parking lot regularly. What a joy to see these blooms. Soon the birds will feast on the Sunflower seeds.