Sunday, February 28, 2010

In Like a Lion...

The sun is trying to peek out today, but I'm not sure the winter weather is quite ready to leave us. I think March will be in like a lion--and, hopefully, out like a lamb. I'm glad there is a small break in the snow and ice today so that my son can come to visit us. It's been too long since I've seen him and I am looking forward to it.

Meanwhile, out in the flower bed, the only activity is the foraging of tree sparrows and goldfinches and even a few brave robins, come out of the woods to look for fruits left hanging on ornamental trees and shrubs. The winter winds have tilted all the shepherd's crooks that hold thistle seed socks. Wrought iron ornaments have fallen into the snow and are buried. I'll right them when the snow melts away. There are patches where the snow has already receeded somewhat, but those patches reveal mostly puddles of mud as the ground is still too hard and frozen to allow water to sink in. I hope all the snow we've had this winter renews the plants in my garden that struggled last year, in particular the oaks and roses.

I'm thinking of purchasing some seeds for starting indoors. One year I did flats of vinca and it was nice to have something going on in early spring. It was cheap, too, compared to buying flowers from a nursery. Mid-March is the time for sowing seeds indoors. The calendar says spring is coming, even if Mother Nature isn't letting us know!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Mid-February Scenes

I'm sharing some scenes from my little neck of the woods this mid-February. The first shot shows how the snow is banked up beside some of my roses. I wish the roses were covered in the snow, actually, as it would provide better protection for them, but this is ok, too. At least the wind cannot buffet them while the snow lasts. Today is sunny and relatively mild and some of the snow is melting off. Lest we get too comfortable with that, the television warns more snow may come sometime this weekend. Enough, already!
In the middle shot is the new baby, Bruiser. Bruiser is a blue heeler, also called an Austrailian cattle dog, 7 1/2 weeks old. The name "heeler" comes from how these shepherd dogs nip at the heels of sheep and cattle when they work them. The breed is supposed to be smart and affectionate. So far he seems to be pretty smart, but he is awfully young. Bruiser is the most speckled pup I have ever seen. Apparently, he was all white when he was born. It will be interesting to see how his coloration develops as he matures. Roxy is accepting her new playmate well, I think, and he has made these late winter days a tad more tolerable around here, to say the least.
The final shot is of the lovely bouquet of mauve roses and alstromeria that my daughter received from her boyfriend for Valentine's Day. These luscious roses have opened beautifully. She thoughtfully left them out for the whole family to enjoy, and, believe me, I do!
What's new with you?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day! Here are your flowers!

"There are many things in life that will catch your eye, but only a few will catch your heart...pursue those." -- Michael Nolan.

Let's make a list today of the things that catch the heart. Perhaps they are things already pursued and "caught." Perhaps not. Look around. Listen. What makes you smile? What warms you in spite of the chill outdoors?

Look and listen, and see those things that catch your heart. Then look closer. At your loved ones. At your home, room by room. At your garden (if it's under snow, as is mine, a little imagination is useful here). At your dreams. Spend some time with these today and hold them close, even if you can only do so in your heart. Dream, visualize, draw close, and love. It's like a Valentine for yourself--and those around you, too. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Desperate For Green? Check It Out!

Where can an Ohioan go to visit 14 blooming gardens this time of year? If you're as desperate for green as I am, why not check out the 54th annual Central Ohio Home & Garden Show, February 27 through March 7 at the Ohio Expo Center (Ohio State Fairgrounds) in Columbus. It will be a great place to get fresh ideas for your garden and landscape.

As if the gardens aren't enough to bring you to the show, there is a great line-up of special guests. Garden writer Traci DiSabato-Aust, author of The Well-Tended Perennial Garden and High-Impact, Low Care Garden Plants: Tough But Beautiful Plants Anyone Can Grow, will make an appearance on opening day, February 27, at 1:00 and 3:00 PM. She'll answer questions and autograph books. Shane Tallant, host of HGTV's Designed to Sell will also make appearances on February 27 at 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM, giving guests tips and ideas for home decorating without breaking the budget. On Sunday, March 7, at 11:30 AM, Geof Manthorne and Mary Alice Yeskey, stars of Food Network's Ace of Cakes will share inside secrets from their show.

The Central Ohio Home & Garden Show hours are Saturdays 10 AM to 9 PM; Sundays 11 AM to 6 PM; Closed Monday; Tuesday and Thursday 3 PM to 9 PM; and Wednesday and Friday Noon to 9 PM. Tickets are $10 for adults; children 12 and under are admitted free. Check their web site for more information,, and I hope to see you there!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Easy Does It

Doesn't the photo of the above rose make you smile? What delicious color! You can almost taste the raspberry and orange sorbet swirl. Yum. And the irresistable ruffled petals practically beg to be touched.

Meet 'Easy Does It,' the only rose to win the coveted All American Rose Selections title for 2010.
What are All American Rose Selections?

According to the home web site,, AARS is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the introduction and promotion of exceptional roses. For the past 70 years, gardeners from all over the United States have tested roses in their gardens and reported their results. Each year the most outstanding roses are chosen to become winners, and are promoted as such in nurseries and garden centers.

What does all this mean for you?
As a home gardener with a passion for roses, I can say that an AARS tag on a rose means it will undoubtedly be among the best performers in your garden. The complete list of past winners can be found on the web site, and there are also lists of the best performers in various regions. For myself in Ohio, I find the Midwest list of interest. I already grow 'Carefree Delight' and 'Knock Out' with great success; I'm thinking of adding 'Julia Child' and perhaps 'Bonica' or 'Cherry Parfait.' I've seen them growing in other Ohio gardens and they always are impressive.
About 'Easy Does It': as a floribunda, the rose will undoubtedly bloom profusely all summer long. It will hold a nice rounded shape. The flowers will be good-sized and somewhat fragrant. In addition, the reports say 'Easy Does It' has excellent disease resistance. I think I'll be on the look-out for this one in the garden centers come spring.
Check out the AARS winners recommended for your area. It's a great place to start your search for new roses to plant when spring finally makes its arrival.