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‘Garden Plans’ Category

  1. Let the Countdown Begin!

    January 30, 2008 by Jocelyn

    It’s official, there’s only 112 days left until May 21st! What’s the big deal about May 21st? Oh, nothing much, except that it’s the estimated date of the last spring frost in my gardening zone! The weather outside has been more than frightful, with wind chill temperatures between 40 and 50 degrees below zero. I pretty much feel like I’m living in the Arctic Circle right now. But on the bright side, it’s supposed to be a balmy 25 degrees this weekend, and I’m hoping for an early spring.

    I’m very excited because we’ve signed a lease to rent a big house starting on June 1st, and the landlord is going to let me do all the gardening I want! He also said he will pay for any perennials or supplies that I want to buy. I’m going to be drawing up a garden plan within the next few months. I’m going to keep it simple since I’m sure he doesn’t want to be spending hundreds of dollars on my springtime projects.

    As for right now, I’m trying not to get too ahead of myself. I’ve made a list of plants, including fruits and veggies that I want to grow, along with different color combinations to try out. I’m still planning on doing a few containers of annuals, and I’m also thinking of renting a plot at the community garden for my fruits and veggies.

    I checked out the Minnesota Gardener’s Guide: Revised Edition book from the library to help me with my plan. Once I’ve gone through the book, I will have a better idea of what I’m going to do. I’ll keep everyone posted about my ideas!

    Thanks, and happy gardening!

  2. End of Summer Review

    September 28, 2007 by Jocelyn

    I would like to give all of you a summary of everything I’ve learned during my last 4 months of gardening adventures. My containers of annuals are gone by now, and since we’ve been seeing 40-50 degree days for the past few weeks, I am finally convinced that the cold season is here.

    In May, I posted when I got a lot of my plants; all of them made it through the entire summer. After 3 months with these plants, here is what I’ve found:

    Most Impressive Plants

    • Vincas are very hardy, and mine withstood a lot of abuse. During my move, they got left in my car for an entire 90 degree day- and they were fine. This summer was my first time growing them, and I was very pleased with the continuous blooming of their simple flowers.
    • Super Elfin Impatiens are gorgeous; mine really filled out, bloomed profusely, and were always a treat to look at. I will definitely be using these every summer! I was not a fan of Impatiens at the start of the summer, but my opinion of them has since completely turned around!
    • Alyssum is an awesome filler plant! Most of the Alyssum I had this summer was what I started from seed (it was one of the few seed started plants of mine that actually survived). I never pinched them back when they were growing; they got quite large and looked fantastic!

    Most Disappointing Plants

    • Wax Begonias are a shade annual, but mine never filled out or looked very healthy. They kept flowering through the summer, but the leaves frequently turned brown. I was so excited for these plants, and they never did very well.
    • Ageratums are supposed to be low maintenance annuals, but only half of mine survived the summer. I really have no idea what happened to them, but some of them were continuously turning brown and crispy. It may have been an issue with the soil mixture having too much manure in that specific container.

    Tips I’ve Learned Over the Summer

    • Do your homework before investing in a new plant. It sucks if you buy a great new plant, and proceed to kill it within 2 weeks.
    • Pay attention to the weather reports. This is especially important in cold climate areas like Minnesota. Springtime freezes are very spotty, and even when you think it has warmed up, there is no guarantee.
    • Be patient. Give your plants time and good care, and you will be rewarded!
    • Don’t be afraid to admit defeat! Learn to know when you need help. I use the UBC Botanical Garden Forum or the GardenWeb Forums when I have questions. These are large online communities, and you will get a fast response!

    Let Me Know!

    This is a short summary of my Minnesota summer gardening experience, and I will be posting pictures of my annuals sometime next week. I’d love to hear any comments or questions from all of you!

    How did your annuals perform this summer? Let me know what worked (or didn’t) for you!

    Until next time, Happy Gardening!

  3. Life is Good.

    June 3, 2007 by Jocelyn

    I am tired, smelly, and bug bitten- and I couldn’t be happier! Even though this weekend was a complete washout, my mom and I still managed to seek refuge under the deck to get all of our planting done. We completely underestimated the number of plants that we had, so each of us ended up with about 5 more containers than we originally planned on (which is fine with me).  We went to the greenhouse on Saturday and Sunday, just because we didn’t get enough dirt to plant everything in.  I have a lot of beautiful containers on my patio now, and it looks wonderful!

    I also took a lot of pictures this weekend that I will post later, and I have a new plant of the week coming up for you guys in the next few days!  Keep in touch, I’ll be posting again soon!

  4. Plant Weekend

    April 25, 2007 by Jocelyn

    This weekend was finally warm (over 50 degrees), but rainy. The boyfriend was out of town, and I had all day Saturday to myself. So I took the opportunity to jump in and get my hands dirty! Here’s what I did:

    impatiens.jpgI transplanted all of my Impatiens seedlings into larger plastic containers. They were getting too tall for my flats, and the root systems were growing together. It was definitely time to move them to bigger containers. They all seem to be doing really well now that I have moved them to bigger pots. It seems as if they just keep getting taller every day! I think they should slow down here soon, because all of the Impatiens I’ve had before never got much taller than my seedlings are now.

    I am actually quite impressed with myself and the fact that I’ve managed to keep all of my seedlings alive thus far with only one South facing sunny window and no grow lights! My apartment is too small, and I am too poor for grow lights right now. I think that the sunny window is working just fine for now; my roommate might be going crazy about the amount of plants that I have in the office, but I have assured her that I will be taking all of my little babies outside once it is warm enough. Honestly, I think that knowing that is the one thing that has kept her from freaking out and throwing them all out the window. I guess it does look a bit like a small jungle in here.

    My other seedlings are not far behind my Impatiens, and some of them may need to be moved up to bigger pots by this next weekend! My snapdragons are getting pretty tall, and will probably be the next ones that need to be potted up. My Four O’Clocks seedlings are enormous right now, and can’t wait to go outside. Hopefully within the next few weeks I can start taking some of them out at least in the afternoons.

    african-violets.jpgNext, I repotted both of my African Violets with better soil. Can you tell which one I’ve had more time to kill? The flowering one I just got a few weeks ago, but the tiny one with browning leaves I have had for a while. I’m not sure how I managed to make it look this way. I had it sitting in bright indirect sunlight, and watered it under the leaves, which should have made it happy. So, after a bit of research I decided that they both needed better soil. This conclusion proved correct when I finally took them out of their current pots and saw the condition of the soil. It was dry as a bone and pretty much hard as a rock. I haven’t had either of these plants for too long, so I figured they wouldn’t need to be repotted right away; I was wrong. I found that it is actually a good idea to repot your African Violets as soon as you get them.

    The reason for this is because African Violets need soil that will allow for good drainage. This fresh potting soil will also give the plant more nutrients. One recommended potting mixture for African Violets is 1 part perlite, 1 part peat, and 1 part vermiculite. There are other mix recipes you can find online that contain soil as well. You can certainly make your own, or if you prefer a faster method you can always buy some pre-mixed African Violet soil. This is what I did, but I added a little more perlite to the mixture. It has only been a couple days, but I can already tell that both of the plants are perking up!

    peperomia.jpgLastly, I tried to divide my Peperomia Isabella- not a good idea. I found mine at the local WalMart in a large hanging basket- it was huge! It was so thick that I couldn’t even see or feel the dirt to see if it was dry before watering it, and all of the leaves on the underside were turning crunchy and brown and falling off. Anyways, I tried to divide it and it pretty much fell apart. The root system on this plant is quite small. Not to mention that the vines were very tangled up. I think it may have been a better idea to just move it up to a larger pot.

    This picture on the left is what I managed to split of from the main plant. Some of it is dying, and some of it isn’t. I have tried to look up this particular variety of Peperomia, and have found very little. It seems like quite a hardy plant thus far, and I’m sure it will be just fine after my uneducated mutilation of the poor thing.

    All of this was done inside, which was kind of messy and required a good sweeping afterwards. I am hoping that I will be able to use the patio for my gardening soon! If I am correct, I think that the average date of our last frost is sometime in May. Either way, I am just happy because it can’t get cold again at this point! Happy Gardening!

  5. Summer Plans?

    March 19, 2007 by Jocelyn

    I have been patiently waiting for some of my planted seeds to start sprouting, and they just can’t grow fast enough for me. Until then I figured it would be a good idea to go over gardening preparation, since that is the stage that most of us are at right now. The best thing to do when you start thinking about your summer garden is to make or draw out a plan. Do you only want flowers, or would you like some vegetables too? Where are you going to put everything, and when/how long does it bloom for? These are all things to consider.

    In my case, I have a small patio that gets partial to full shade. I am located in zone 4, and will be planting mostly annuals. (Need to find out what zone you’re in? Check out this map.) It is definitely a possibility that I will be moving soon, so I am only planting in containers. Here is my list of plants that I am going to put on the patio:


    I am starting some pink ones from seed, they are going to be sprouting soon!

    Wax Begonias

    I have never had these before, but they are always at my local nursery. I think that I’m going to try to find some orange ones for a little extra color.


    I am starting these from seed as well. They are sturdy little plants, and are a great choice for any garden.


    I am going to buy this at a nursery as well. I believe they can get pretty bushy, so I will have to make sure to get a big enough container.

    So, that is my plan for now. I have a bunch of other packets of seeds that I randomly picked up while shopping; I plan on starting those within the next few weeks. I am still making my plan for how many containers I am going to get and how big they will be, etc.

    So, now that you all know part of my plan, I want to hear yours! Is there something that you do every summer that you just love? Are you trying out a new design? Let me know! I’d love to hear everyone else’s thoughts on this- especially those of you that have large areas to work with!

    I will keep everyone posted on my seedlings’ progress! Until then, happy gardening!