noun...1. seemingly effortless beauty or charm of movement, form, or proportion.

Grace Gardens is...

This blog's purpose is for me to keep a garden journal of sorts. To detail some of the things that I accomplish in the garden and a little of what I do in my home as well. It will also be a place where I will post the photos that I love to take so much. Maybe a place to post my overflowing of pictures that I particularly like or find artistic. Some posts will be wordy...and some may have no conversation at all. Just a post to bring back to mind a lovely day or a meaningful memory. I have disabled the comments on this blog, but feel free to e-mail me for any questions about what you see here. My e-mail address can be found in my profile.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

It's in the dirt!

I give all the credit to the success of my garden to the preparation of the
 soil in each of the beds.
At the time I was starting the garden from a bare patch of ground,
I was working at a local nursery in a neighboring town. I learned so much about the value of
starting with the best soil possible.

Here in my part of Idaho, irrigation is a big deal. We have very little rainfall
 in the Summer and Fall months,and even very little in most Springs.
We depend on water that we own that is held in a reservoir nearby. Dale and I have 5
acre feet which is plenty for the property that we own here,
but we don't want to waste it unnecessarily and making the soil all it
can be is a good way to conserve. 
When I planned the soil mixture I would build the beds with, I took into account
 the kinds of perennials I wanted to grow and the type of watering I would do.
The soil must be able to hold moisture, because of the dryness of our climate.
We have a lot of wind here and it dries things out fast.
 I was lucky because the topsoil that already existed here on this piece of ground
was very fertile. It had been a my grandfather's place and I understand that the
dairy barn sat here. I knew that I wanted good drainage as well as fertility. 
I had the guys at the nursery mix a truckload of 1/4 soil,
1/4 reject sand (or C pile) for good drainage)) and  1/2 compost and then mixed
that with the existing soil I had here. I then decided where I wanted the
beds and had worked the soil in those areas. We then just had the truck
 dump the soil into those areas and worked it in all little.
The beds have only gotten better over the years as those wonderful earthworms
 works their magic at keeping the soil aerated. The weeding in the beds is even
 a pleasant pastime. I love it when the soil is so loamy that the
weeds just pop out when tugged on.
Because we have horses, we have a lot of manure so I take advantage
of it by having Dale pile it when he cleans the stalls and we let it age and
use it in the beds as well. The downside to using horse manure is that
 with it comes more weeds.
It's a good thing I don't mind weeding.

Whenever anyone asks me how to plan and plant a garden, I stress that they
 must start with great soil. It will definitely pay off in a big way.

The poppies are blooming now and the peonies are starting to come on as well.
I love poppies!
I have many different colors in the garden and just bought a beautiful new pink one
called 'Juliane' today.
I wish these could seed true, but because they are hybrids, the seedlings always have
come back to the original orange.  
Poppies do not like to be moved, so when planting a new (and very expense) poppie, try to be sure
you are going to love it where it is. The plant I bought today was $10.00 so I will be
looking around the garden today deciding where it should live the rest of it's life.
Because poppies go dormant soon after the bloom and seed (they are very ugly when the dry up)
I plant then in a among things that tend to bloom later than they do.
Usually among my tall garden phlox , Johnson Blue geranium, echinacea or some thing that will
hide them and fill
in where they were, but not interfere with them in the Spring.

Most poppies are so easy to grow, but for some reason the hybrid below
 is extremely hard for me to have success with in this garden.
It is Beauty of Livermoore. I love it's deep blood red color and tall stems.
Unfortunately I end up planting about five new plants a  year,
and only because I can't seem to live without it.
There are very few plants I will trouble myself like this for and this cultivar is one of them.
Carolyn or Carole, if you are reading this and have any tips 
for me on this plant I would love to know.


I have a couple more poppies that are just starting to bloom and will post them
 in my next post along with some of the other Spring bloomers.