Posts Tagged ‘garden tips’



Tip Number One: If you are going to adopt a rescue dog, be prepared for issues. Adopted dogs have issues. I used to think Murphy was the worst dog in the world, but we have conquered most of his issues (that whole dominant-aggressive thing he had going on when he was a puppy. He still doesn’t quite recognize me as The Alpha when Don is around, but one-on-one when it is just Murphy and me, he acquiesces.

But Harvey? If there is a fence that blocks his way, he is bound and determined to get past it. If it is wooden, he will chew it to shreds. If it is decorative, he will squeeze his fat body through the gaps. Even when I double the decorative fence to keep him away from the wooden fence – nay, even when I triple and quadruple it – Harvey finagles, works, schemes, pulls…


And when I catch him, he’s a White Ghost . Who me? Tail wagging, innocent looking, fence-eating son-of-a-gun!


Tip #2 – Before filling a garbage can and piling all those weeds beside it (because they don’t fit), S-T-R-E-T-C-H. I neglected to do that last week and I woke up on Sunday with a stiff and sore back. I felt like I was ninety years old. I did not sweep my house or vacuum or mop. I curled up in a chair with an ice/heat pad and groaned about aging all day.

I hope I followed my own advice today. I did back exercises while I was weeding and I did a number of stretches before I even started and during.

Tip #3 – Drink plenty of WATER. I mean, drink so much water that you have to run for the house several times, waving frantically at anyone who gets in your way and screaming, “Gotta pee! Gotta Pee!” Having to pee a lot is so much better than dehydrating or getting sunstroke.

I guess this rule could also be worded: Pee frequently, and if you aren’t peeing – drink more water.



#4 – Take “before” photos.



#5 – Take “after” photos. Preferably from the same angles, but in this case, I didn’t quite capture the same angles. But the change is dramatic.

#6 – Blog about the plants you plant just so you can remember what they are long after the little white card is gone.


“Honeydew Melon Sage” – attracts hummingbirds.

Lately, I have had several face-to-face encounters with my Anna’s Hummingbird female. She is getting to be extremely friendly and curious. She hovered six inches from my face yesterday as she decided if I was friend or foe.


Salvia – guarnitica black & blue – Black and Blue Sage. Another hummingbird favorite.


Leptinella squalida – Platt’s Black, Brass Buttons.

It’s a rock garden ground cover.



#7 – Log when you move plants for better exposure. It’s OK to make mistakes. I tried growing rosemary in a planter and it froze. This time, I am placing it in direct sun in a corner of the yard.

This particular corner has been host to four plantings now. There was a lilac here when we moved in. I moved the lilac to the front yard where it blossomed (until the neighbor’s fir tree outgrew it and covered it in limbs – but we will take care of that dilemma this summer when we prune up the neighbor’s fir tree (we have permission). Then I planted a noxious butterfly plant which was a housewarming gift from a friend who meant well. The thing took over and grew huge. But I never liked it because of the invasive nature of butterfly bushes. Eventually, I had to take it out because it was too large and I felt like I was violating some unwritten naturalist’s code of honor by keeping a highly invasive non-native plant in my yard, especially one that is illegal to purchase in the State of Oregon. So, like the friendship, the butterfly bush has been expunged. (Except I did not expunge the friendship. She did. I may never know why. Sometimes, you just don’t want to go back and ask.)

Then it was home to a native Oregon plant, the black-cap raspberry. Rubus occidentalis.


Don dug it up in the Cascades several years ago and I had high hopes for it. Hands-down, it is my favorite raspberry. We had one growing in our side yard in Ely, Nevada where I grew up. Don and I had one that took over our yard in our little mobile home park yard before we moved into town. It was a monster and I had black-caps all summer long that I ate off the vine and froze.

But this one? It blossomed one year and then died back to almost nothing. It’s never really taken off. So when I moved the new rosemary bush into it’s corner, thinking it was completely done – of course, I found it growing. Just a start, mind you, and not much more than last year. I moved it to a different location and we will see if it survives. If it doesn’t – Don will dig me up a new one.


#8. Don’t be selfish. Let others share the work – and glory. This is Don’s veggie garden, over taken by grass and blackberries last summer when he let it go fallow. He powered up the weed whacker and mowed down the meter-tall grass. He dug up the blackberries. He cursed the neighbor who allows their ivy to grow over the fence.


That’s his weed pile. He can’t put it in the yard debris recycle bin because he mowed the lawn and the grass clippings are in there. It can’t be composted because my compost bin doesn’t get hot enough to kill the grass seeds.


This is what I dug up. It can’t be composted, either – because the compost bin doesn’t get hot enough to kill the weed seeds. I filled this can and stacked the weeds on either side of it, for a future date when I can load it into the yard debris can.

See the “mushrooms” in the back there?


These guys. I abhor chemicals and we try to avoid the use of chemicals. I use a mix of vinegar and Dawn dish detergent in a spray bottle to kill most weeds I can’t dig up. But slugs and snails??

Hint #9 – Resort to killer stuff when it comes to slugs and escargot snails in the garden. I put the slug bait under the mushrooms, safely out of sight for birds and cats and dogs. It’s in a dark place where the slugs – and snails – like to go. The hazelnut mulch helps to a certain degree, but when you have so much foliage and places for the gastropods to hide…

Beer is a lost cause and very messy. If you don’t drink, you have to suffer the looks of other non-drinkers when you purchase cheap beer to pour into bowls. If you do drink, you have to suffer the looks of other beer aficionados as you purchase their favorite brand to drown slugs in. And then – there’s the clean up. You have to dispose of those drowned, twisted bodies.

The best bet is to throw them as far as you can and hope the impact kills them – but if that means throwing them into a neighbor’s yard… well, you should deal with them in your own yard and not pass them on.


No tip on this one. I just wanted to share what I did with my yard sale fine, a little “wishing well”. I put some of my hens-and-chicks into it.


The tortoise was something I picked up from my mom. I planted some sedums in it today. It’s lasted decades of Nevada summers, we’ll see how it does in the PNW.


This is MY corner. I want to drag my bench over here so I can hide out on quiet Sunday mornings. It is really shaping up. The worst part of this corner is the neighbors directly behind me, behind the bamboo screen. Nice people, but they tend to be out in their yard talking loudly on their cell phones. Or chasing their tortoise around, saying, “Baby Girl! Come here! No Baby Girl. Stop that, Baby Girl.”

But they aren’t around on Sunday mornings. My prayer garden is open.

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