What a project!
You might remember a couple of days ago when I posted “Heart of Gold”, that I was just beginning our shade garden on the NW side of the house. Today my little partner in crime played hooky from school (its preschool, relax) and joined me at the nursery for our second round of planting.
I filled a whole red wagon with 5 gallon Peter Pan Agapanthis (no small feat with a 3 year old in tow!), taking it all up to the register and ultimately putting it all back. I’ve lived in Las Vegas for 14 years and thought that the gambling bug must have escaped me… but when I saw those big, giant Peony plants out of the corner of my eye I realized I truly was a gambler after all.
Like any young lady, coming of age in the 1990’s I LOVE Peonies… its no wonder they were the most popular wedding flower of the mid 2000’s (along with the ultimate desert-hating plant; Hydrangea). Something about those solid stems, humongous double blossoms, rich colors and sturdy construction just speaks to me in a way that roses never could.
Only I never thought I could grow them in Vegas. $200 later I decided to take a gamble… I ended up filling TWO red wagons with Peonies, Vinca Major and my favorite ground cover “baby tears”.
These are the varieties I chose:
Now I’m crossing my fingers. Because as we know… Just because the guy at the nursery said they’d grow well, doesn’t always mean its so. Also, if you’ve had any success growing these flowers in the desert, please, please, please send me your tips and tricks. My Mom suggested depositing left over ice from summer bbq’s on them to help them stay cool. Which works well for us because, well, we party A LOT!
For before photos visit my first post here.
Below are the after shots.
With Spring having sprung a little early here (in Las Vegas) we still have quite a few pots of flowers around our house from forced bulbs (i.e bulbs tricked into thinking its spring so that they will flower in winter.) The following is a post that began back in January and is being finished now with a spectacular “AFTER” photo. Enjoy!
January 5th, 2012 – Being the lazy animal that I was all of Fall, we’re only now getting our onion bulbs in the ground. I think they’ll be okay as we line the outside of the garden that we used last season for tomatoes. I had some green onions last year that grew well out of the direct sunlight, shield by our mountain of egg plants.
HOW TO PLANT BULBS FOR SPRING!
Step one – Clear the bed.
This happened the other day when Gadzuki and I tore through a bush of dried and died tomato plants. You can see that we’ve left the basil behind because (as its not perennial) we let it go to flower last year so that it would drop seeds and come back in spring.
Step two – Dig a hole.
The typical distance that the bulb should be planted is 6 inches. Im not much for “exacts” (which is why if you find me in the kitchen baking ANYTHING not out of a box, its usually against my will.) So we just use the distance of the spade on a typical hand held garden trowel.
Step three – Place the bulb
Now this is important… especially when your helpers are of the “under 15 set”. Place the bulb POINTY side up, i know no better way to describe this. Its pointy… like a little gnome hat.
Step four – Cover
Fill the hole up with dirt. Only instead of using the same dirt we dug out, I like to replace it with some of our premium composted mulch!
Step five – Lather, Rinse, Repeat
Step six – Water the ground and kiss your kids (it also helps to take them somewhere fun.)
You’re going to want to keep the troops happy, so that they keep helping with the manual labor.
Now wait and wait and wait and wait. Oh and try to remember where you’ve planted the bulbs so that you don’t dig them up later when adding to the garden. Some people like to plant a small annual flower on top to mark its spot… but I’m just going to remember that they are lining our bed and plant the tomatoes dead center when the time comes.
UPDATE – February 25th 2012
Here are some bulbs growing up out of the soil.
NEXT UP! A Year in the Sh*T! An updated blog about the trials and tribulations of my first year composting. Look for that tomorrow February 27, 2012.
The fact is, it is an excuse. If I were a different kind of person I might have kept gardening after a car drove through my flower garden, and into the living room… but the fact is I gave up. On June 4th, 2011 a couple of drunk teenagers with a BB guns, joy riding in their parents Chevy Malibu were chased by the cops into our neighborhood… it ended in our living room. The driver was arrested, but we were left with a massive hole in the side of our home and I guess now that I’m actually taking time to write about it… our hearts too.
We were very lucky that no one was hurt. The big boys were at their Grandma’s house and none of the neighborhood kids happened to be playing on the corner (a RARE day!) Our incredible friends and neighbors came over immediately and spent hours helping us clean. We weren’t the only ones amazed when the house was livable at the end of the night. Here is a clip from the news if you want to see it.
After the former wall was removed and our house was successfully boarded up I did spend a couple days transferring the plants from my demolished garden into the backyard. Here’s a photo:
The new spot in the backyard is now called “the salvage garden”, it made it through the summer heat and is now thriving. But after seeing my little flower garden, my first attempt at gardening in our new home, my baby really… completely demolished and subsequently stomped on day after day by “constructors” (as Gadzuki called them). I really did lose my steam. I quit.
I continued doing the bare minimum and managed to keep the gardens in the backyard alive through the long summer, but didn’t touch the front. After 3 months of construction, buying a new business with my husband and the kids back in school I was finally able to look at that little space again without feeling sad. I’m no psychologist but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t just the superficial loss of my flower garden that was the problem. Maybe it was what all of those dead flowers represented. The truth is It could have been me, more easily could have been my husband (who was sitting in the living room when the car hit) and the worst thing of all… The most horrible thing a mother could ever think of; it could have been my baby. Gadzuki. Who was sleeping on the couch, under that window, just minutes before THOSE kids, drove THAT car across my lawn, through my garden and into my living room.
In the end I guess it helped me put things in perspective… I was spending 8 hours a day gardening and blogging before the accident. Afterwards my priorities shifted and all I wanted to do was spend time with my family. I needed to keep Jesse & Gadzuki where I could see them, and as luck would have it I was able to all summer!
2 weeks after construction started we bought a guitar shop, http://www.cowtownguitars.com for those interested. In a funny twist of fate I was able to keep them by my side and in my line of sight all summer long as we worked together in our new shop.
So as we get ready to welcome 2012, I’d just like to say that I’m back (and I’ve got the leaves and dirt in my hair to prove it). Today I turned composts #’s 7 & 8, tore out tomatoes/eggplants and added some brown matter to the old beds. The next couple weeks we’ll be busy getting three new raised beds installed before spring and before long we’ll be starting seeds in the garage! Thanks for reading and I can’t wait to share with you all of my trails and tribulations of the next growing season here at the Hotel Amoroso!
Happy New Year!
Next time: we’ll revisit the old compost pile and hopefully teach (and document) a friend as she starts her own!!
One of my flower gardens from the front yard is featured in this weeks SEVEN Magazine.
Click here to read the article and see a larger version of the photo.
On another note, I finally found a way to go outside without my allergies going crazy. Jesse and I went to Lowes and bought some of those painting masks. They look weird, but work! The guys and I (& Gadzuki) spent a couple hours cleaning up the yard from the party last weekend and planting.
I put two Australian Ferns in some borrowed pots (thanks Dickie!) that the family got me for my birthday. I’ve never seen them before and as much as I LOVE fern, I’m hoping its the solution for growing fern in our desert climate. Putting them in pots is all part of my “find the perfect location” strategy. My yard has a few different climates, full sun, part sun, part shade, total shade, humid/full sun…ect. So I figure we’ll drag them around until we see what they like best. I put them in part sun to start.
Also, I got a Plant World gift card for my birthday and its its BURNING a hole in my pocket. Maybe I’ll take Gadzooks tomorrow after play school and post some photos of our favorite spots at the BEST nursery in Vegas.
The trees are making us sick. I’ve been told by a friend that it should pass in a couple weeks. I hope so. The culprits are the Oleander & Olive trees and they are all over our property. Next year we’ll get the injections that stop the Olives from producing… until then, we suffer.
So from the luxury of my air conditioned bedroom, While Gib & I watch cartoons… here is a site we like to go to. He likes pointing out all that he sees (like a web version of an I spy book) and something about the “Wee Gardens” takes me back to when I was little and played with my Maple Town figures in the wild & crazy backyard we had in Paradise, California.
Here’s the link: http://www.weegarden.com
Hopefully we’ll be back in the garden tomorrow for the holiday, but then again… everyday is Earth Day around here.
So what if you have to scroll all the way to the bottom to read it… they OBVIOUSLY saved the best for last!
“Although no longer with Las Vegas Country Saloon, music promoter and Pigasus bassist Roxie Amoroso is now doing the unthinkable—garden-blogging! Don’t worry, she’s still putting on shows at several venues in the coming months. But now she’s also finding time to rediscover her green thumb. Ever wondered how to propagate ivy, do DIY floral design or water by osmosis? Visit RoxieGarden.com to figure it all out courtesy of Vegas’ punk-metal queen (as well as a wife and mother). When Roxie lands the cover of Fine Gardening magazine, you’ll hear it here first!”
First SEVEN, then the world!