Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Story Behind the Name

and the story behind this Meme.  :-)

It seems I know a lot of gardeners.  

It also seems that many of them have lived in my neighborhoods, over the years.  

Somewhere along the way, it became apparent to me that like homes, while residing within (basically) four outer walls, they are completely different - one from another - on the inside.  And so it is the same situation with yards and garden spaces.  Basically located within a perimeter of four borders, the spaces therein vary as widely as the personalities of each of their owners! 

All that is to say, it's not fair to compare one against another.  However, the contrast is FUN to observe and somehow that relates to the name of my blog!

I truly do have some gardening neighbor/friends here.  And it's always inspirational to see what's happening in their yards!
Dixie's yard
(click to enlarge a bit)

Chris' yard
(click to enlarge a bit)

When we moved to this location, now 9 years ago, the greenest and most prolific thing on the ground was moss!  While that's all very well and good in certain locations and situations, I thought perhaps it might be fun to expand the repertoire!  Besides being a great learning experience!

There are wonderful sources of inspiration found in books, magazines, and on the internet for gardening in the shade.  All truly helpful and informative.

However, it has been FUN to visit my neighbors.  We may occasionally foray 'round the SE Iowa area in garden centers, and bring home a load of new plants.  And we can comment, communicate and commiserate about our gardening successes and woes.  

Early Forays

A little group of friends and I began a small, informal Garden Club several years ago.  It has grown some each year.  We all enjoy working outdoors.  We enjoy learning more about gardening, from experience and each other.  We enjoy creating whimsical projects from time-to-time, and we enjoy each others' company.  We comment, communicate, and commiserate about our gardening successes and woes.

      Plant Foray  July 2010                   A variety of iris to give away!       A Second Plant Foray - July 2010

I completed my Master Gardener course a year ago, the continuing education classes and the forty hours of community service this summer.  Yea!  I'm a Master Gardener! ;-)  There are quite a number of us that gather once-a-month, when we can.  We also comment, communicate and commiserate about our gardening successes and woes.  (I haven't visited most of their gardens, but it's something to which I look forward some day!!)

The local hospital garden completed in November, 2011.

It's like what we do on our garden blogs!!  :-)   And so it is that I consider YOU my "neighbor."  I can visit you and you can visit me . . . as we've done these past 4 1/2 years!!  And WE can comment, communicate and commiserate about our gardening successes and woes.  :-)

Something besides Green . . .

                 'Strawberry Candy' Daylily     Campanula 'Cherry Bells'    unnamed Hemerocallis - Daylily

                     Tricyrtis 'Tojen'         Anemone japonica 'September Charms'   Sedum 'Bertram Anderson'
           Ligularia 'The Rocket'          Pasque Flower  Anemone pulsatilla     Phlox 'Laura' from Aunt MEA

So... how goes it?   
DOES Everything Grow Better In My Neighbor's Yard?
And I'll still say ... "probably!"  At least it grows differently!! :-)

Nothing Shady here . . .
Just my location!  :-)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Challenge: Christmas Countdown - Z

'Zee' End!

Something I wrote in 1997 - when both our "kids" were in college . . .
a parody on Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening
by Robert Frost

Stopping in the Laundry Room Over Christmas Vacation

Whose clothes are these, I think I know,
They usually reside at college, though;
The owners'll be pleased if I wash them here
However washing and sorting is often slow.

It does seem odd they're on MY floor
As I rarely see them anymore . . 
Time between visits at home can take
Longer now as at their studies they chore.

I give each garment a little shake,
Dousing items important is a mistake - 
The only other sound's water's rush
Like that a waterfall would make.

The clothes are lovely, memories sweep,
Where did the years go, I seem to squeak!
But I've much to do before I sleep,
So much to do before I sleep!

This poem is the property of
Please do not attempt to copy.

Merry Christmas to Each of You!!!


'Zee' Beginning!!

Looking forward to 2012 with You -
my family, friends and garden blogging buddies!!

Thank you for accompanying me on the Countdown!
I've truly enjoyed it, even though it did add a little more of an effort this past month!
Thank heaven's one can schedule posts!!

Enjoy a memorable Christmas and holiday season with family and friends!!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Challenge: Countdown to Christmas - Y

"If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
yet what can I give him:  give him my heart." 
In The Bleak Midwinter
by Christina G. Rossetti, 1830-1894 

Christmas Countdown!
Very Close! 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Challenge: Countdown to Christmas - X

X for "Xtra" effort!  ;-)

Someone posted a photo of these cookies on Facebook recently:

Aren't they so cute?

Well, after a little
-tra effort,
I came up with a somewhat reasonable facsimile . . .

They used a different type of frosting.
I couldn't do fancy things like bow ties...
Does anyone have the recipe for the proper "fancy frosting?"

Counting Down!!
It's Almost Christmas!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Countdown to Christmas - W

Weed?  Weed?  Weed?  Weed?

No!  And it's Not Christmas Pie!  ;-)

Joe Pye Weed, Eupatorium purpureum, was named after a Northern American herbalist named Joe Pye who used the plant to cure fevers. This plant is a native prairie wildflower that is definitely NOT a weed! A person should definitely consider planting this in their garden as an additional food source for butterflies such as the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Great Spangled Fritillary, Pearl Crescent, Monarch, and the Tawny-edged Skipper. 
Picture found by Google search (Wise-acre gardens)

This perennial can be divided every two years. To make the plants grow a little shorter and bushier, you might pinch them back in the early summer. Normally, "Joe" blooms from July through October.

photo found by Google search (

You can start the plants indoors by sowing them 8 - 10 weeks prior to the last frost, or you could sow them directly into the soil during any season.

Joe Pye weed generally grows from 5 to 7 feet tall with a 2 to 4 feet spread. The blossom might be called Mauve pink. It thrives in full sun to part shade with a low degree of maintenance.

I planted Joe Pye Weed in my Raised bed gardens, which lend themselves to some sun, partly shady and nearly full shade. Joe receives a lot of shade. He looks pretty good this year and is actually blossoming for the first time in the six years since he was planted! :-)

In the Fall of 2008, I planted 'Little Joe' in the Sunny Corner Bed. He's doing very well!  He has divided into a three-part plant and is also blooming. He's pretty tall, for being "Little." lol.
I planted him because a height of 3 to 4 feet sounded more manageable for the SC Bed. However, I'm sure he must be at least 4 1/2 feet tall! He likes it out there!

 September 8, 2008

"Joe" looks great with all the blues, purples and oranges. Actually, he looks great with about anything!

Some of my information tells me to cut the plant, all the way back, after they finish flowering. Other information tells me that the flower heads give way to attractive seed heads which persist well into Winter.

I think you'll just do what you want. I've never cut Joe-Pye back and he's doing fine.

This is 'Little Joe' in my front Sunny Bed - with a beautiful butterfly that I'll let Randy Emmitt help me identify!  Okay, Randy - a Black Swallowtail? The Dark Phase of a Tiger Swallowtail?  Or the Female??

 I had a hard time running after him all over the the yard this past August!  But what fun!! :-)

Please smell the flowers but don't eat any part of the plant, as it's poisonous. 

 Counting Down!
 We're nearly there - Wishing you a Very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Challenge: Countdown to Christmas! V - Va-Voom!


One of the most excellent, multi-season shrubs for insects and birds.
 Although I have a couple of other varieties, I'm going to feature my favorite!

Viburnum x burkwoodii 'Mohawk'
In early Spring
 Viburnum x burkwoodii 'Mohawk'

 Viburnum x burkwoodii 'Mohawk'

co-habits with Spirea 'Gold Crown'

fall color and ripe fruit

 ripe fruit


Virginia Blue Bells!
Early Spring


 May you enjoy a blessed, heart-warming,
Very Special

Contents of this post are the property of
Counting Down!  :-)