October 24, 2014

The Perfect Hydrangea – My Fast Growing “Limelight”

Limelight is one of the easiest and fastest growing hydrangeas around! This hydrangea is a truly stunning flowering shrub!  It’s the only one that I have that made it through our unusually cold Georgia winter without any damage. All my other hydrangeas are just leaves with a few blooms (except my Endless Summer ). Here’s why I think this is a must have hydrangea in your garden (zone 3-8).

The perfect hydrangea - growing Limelight Hyrandreas

Hydrangea paniculata  ‘Limelight’  blooms from May into fall and has soft lime green petals. The petal mature into pink in the fall. You can just see a tiny bit of pink on the one above.

Growing Limelight hydrangeas - My Limelight planted with pink zinnias and pink crepe myrtles

Limelights bloom on new wood in the summer which is why this one is doing so well despite our cold winter. You should prune them late in the fall, winter or early in the spring. Although, I never got around to pruning this one and it didn’t seem to mind.

Awesome Limelight Hydrangea!

It is noted for producing large, dense, upright, cone-shaped panicles and is  hardy to Zone 3/4. They can grow to be  8-10 feet tall and can also be trained into a tree shape!

young Limelight Hydrangea blooms

Above is what they look like when they first start to bloom. As they get older and fill out the blooms get ginormous!

Limelight hydrangea planted in 2012

I planted this shrub in the spring of 2012 as you can see in the photo above. That’s it in the pot. The shrub with the white flowers is a rhododendron that died. Just as well-there wouldn’t have been room for both the hydrangea and rhody!

Limelight hydrangeas are easy to grow and grow fast!

That the same little shrub this summer. Limelight is fast growing! This one does get a lot of early morning sun but is shaded by the barn in afternoon.

Limelight hydrangeas growing against a red barn

Limelight is truly a spectacular hydrangea. I highly recommend it especially if you’ve had problems growing other varieties of hydrangea!

Why you should grow Limelight Hydrangeas. They're really the perfect flowering shrub!

Vegetable Garden Tour 2014

Hi everyone! I have a pictured filled vegetable garden tour for you today. I took tons of photos since this will probably be my last year of gardening here since we will be listing our house in a few weeks. I thought I’d share a few with you. This is very bittersweet…I’m ready to move but I’d like to take my yard with me :)

Vegetable garden tour

I didn’t plant as much as I usually do since I think we won’t really be around to harvest much of it.  I also got a late start because I had some other things to finish up (like my deck). So the garden is not as far a long as it normally would be this time of year.

A Cultivated Nest Raised Bed Vegetable Garden

My Vegetable Garden

growing cantaloupe in a raised bed

I’m getting lots of cantaloupes this year! You never know what will do well :) Still no zucchini! I always laugh when people say that zucchini is the easiest thing to grow!

tomatoes planted in a raised bed with marigolds and basil

I’m not growing many tomatoes this year so I put them all in this bed with some marigolds, basil and micro greens (at the other end). The tomatoes in the front are romas. If you want to know how I plant my tomatoes you can check out my post here.

potting area in vegetable garden

I moved my potting bench into the garden when I did a back door area makeover. My daughter and I built this paver patio one summer.

container garden

I planted a few things in pots so I could take some veggies with me.

potting bench with a sink

My husband built me this potting bench out of salvaged wood ( link here).  It’s really wonderful – so large and it has a sink! There’s a bucket underneath the sink to catch water – which is great not only when rinsing vegetables but also when it rains.

growing eggplant in a raised bed

I only planted this one eggplant this year.

banana peppers companion planted with eggplant

peppers companion planted with eggplant

I have lots of different peppers. Which I companion planted with eggplant and cucumber in one raised bed.

bean teepee

The beginning of a bean teepee. This first planting didn’t grow so these are ones I replanted a few weeks back. There’s a pumpkin plant in that bed as well.

I also have a  herb bed. I grow my most used herbs in a container on my deck (link here) so they’re easy to get when I’m cooking . The bed in the garden has mint, dill, thyme, and lemon balm.

There’s also one bed devoted to greens – swiss chard, 2 types of kale and some lettuce.

compost area in the vegetable garden

The compost area.

vegetable garden seating area

A seating area. You can see more of that in this post (link here)

And there are  lots of flowers!

teacup birdfeeder in  clump of zinnias

I like to just let the flowers that pop up stay where they are.

carrots gone to seed make pretty "flowers"

That white puffy flower is actually a carrot that popped up outside this bed gone to seed. So pretty!

flowers in the vegetable garden

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the garden. I’m going to be doing a video tour of the garden in a week or so that I’ll post to YouTube but I’ll let you all know when that is ready.

Have a great weekend!

New Seating Area In The Veggie Garden

Hi everyone! We’re still plugging away at projects here. But I wanted to share with you a new seating area in my vegetable garden. Some of you may remember that my daughter and I built a paver patio in the veggie garden a few years ago (link here).

A pretty seating in a vegetable garden

Anyway, we moved my potting bench into the garden onto that patio when we re-did our back door area (link here). Plus I took out my strawberry bed and my reclaimed door garden shed. So I had a big open space that I felt needed to be filled with something. So I decided to stage it as a little seating area. I used furniture I already had. I only bought some new seat cushions from Target and solar light/plant hanger from Big Lots.

Let me show you around. I’m really happy with how it turned out!

Entrance into the vegetable garden

As you walk into the vegetable garden you go past our blueberry bushes to your right (we took down the blueberry hut as well link here if you want to see what it looked like).

garden display of coleus, old shutter, old bench and plate flower

This little bench is from a picnic table set we first had when we moved to this house. The shutter I’ve had for a while. I have two- one I actually finished re-painting and it hangs in my screened in porch. Don’t remember where I got the wire basket from but I painted Home Sweet Home on the front.  It’s filled with some coleus (which I really like because they are super easy to propagate). The dish flower is from Cracker Barrel.

old french door repurposed in a garden

This is the door from my garden shed which I’m repurposing as garden art. I was going to hang a window box on it but decided that I didn’t want to damage it since I’d like to reuse it at some point.  The blue pots in iron hangers I’ve had forever. They’re planted with some potato vine. Love their chartreuse color!

blue transferware in an old iron planter

I used to keep some garden tools in this iron planter. Now it’s filled with some blue transferware that I don’t use any more. The blackberry vine is from blackberry bushes I have growing on the outside of the fence.

a concrete chicken in the vegetable garden

The only chicken I have :)

seating area in the vegetable garden

The view is pretty nice from this seating area and it’s a great place to take a break from weeding!

looking out onto the vegetable garden

Tour of the garden coming soon!

zinnias growing in the vegetable garden

Apple Trees That I Grow In Pots

Love apples but don’t have room for an apple tree in your yard? Grow a Columnar Apple tree in a pot!  I do have a mini orchard in my backyard but I was fascinated by the idea of these fruit trees a few years ago and ordered two from Stark Bros.com (there are lots of other places that sell these trees).

Columnar apple trees are great  for balconies, patios or urban gardens where you don't have room to plant a tree in the ground.

These trees are created to mostly grow up (like columns) not out so they’re perfect for a patio, balcony, urban garden or any space where you don’t have room to grow even a dwarf variety of fruit tree. They fruit on the main trunk on spurs, but if you let some of the side branches grow you get a sort of tall apple bush!

columnar apple trees grow up not out. Making them perfect for small space garden areas!

These grow between 7′-9′ tall and you can plant them in the ground but they do well in whiskey barrels. I bought mine several years ago and these are not self-pollinating. I don’t know if they offer a variety that is these days. But that’s something to remember. If it’s not self-pollinating you’ll need two. I’ve had these for about 4 years (when you first get them they just look like sticks!)

Columnar apple tree planted in pots

I was using them as a screen to block the view of the compost bins (there are 3 in a row) since we had a seating area to the left of the trees.

apples on a Columnar Apple Tree

But now I’m just glad that I’ll have some apple trees that produce when we move! I can’t remember what varieties my two apple trees are. But if you’re interested in this type of tree you can search Columnar fruit tree .

You can get other varieties besides apple like plum, cherry, peach, pear etc!

Back Door Area Makeover

Well I’m finally starting to see the light with some of our outdoor projects! Just in time too. It’s already hot early in the morning so soon working outside at any time is not going to be happening. Let me show you what we did with the area outside our back door.

Beautiful back door area makeover with lots of budget friendly ideas!

I finished painting the gingerbread screen door we installed and the door behind it.  I’m excited that I  can cross that off my many painting projects list! This is just an in stock wood screen door from Home Depot. It already has all the gingerbread trim on it. (If we were staying here you know I would have painted that door more than one color :) )

wooden screen door before and after makeover

I used to have my potting bench here that my husband made me out of reclaimed pallets and wood. Which worked for me but we didn’t think most people would be happy to see a huge bench outside the backdoor. So we moved the potting bench into the garden (I’ll show you the new potting area soon) and used a lot of what we had to make this cute little seating area.

Pretty outdoor seating area by a back door -aqua screen door and containers with topiaries

The glider I found at Goodwill many years ago and it was on our patio so we just moved it here. As you can imagine, I have lots of pots!

renew your old resin pots with spray paint!

I’ve had these resin containers for probably 10 years or more! All I did was 1. wash the dirt off the outside, 2.then a couple of light coats of spray paint ( Rustoleum Aqua). Then I 3.sanded the raised areas to let the original tan color show through a bit and I have new pots!

I did buy the topiaries but since they’re planted in pots they will be coming with me when we move. They’re underplanted with yellow Portulaca (which is heat and drought tolerant).

fun outdoor pillows and doormat complete the look for this back door makeover

I bought two outdoor cushions from Garden Ridge and a new door mat from Target. I also had to special order shutters for the window above the glider. It’s an odd size but they weren’t too pricey. I think they were $35 for 2 from Home Depot.  They match the other shutters on the house and give this area a finished look.

We also invested in some rubber patio pavers so we wouldn’t have to trim around and under the glider and pots when mowing the lawn. These we just set on top of the ground – no digging required!

pretty outdoor seating area makeover with lots of great ideas

I have a few hydrangeas next to this area. This one isn’t in bloom yet, but I think this area will look even prettier when they’re in bloom!

How To Grow Bell Peppers & 10 Delicious Bell Pepper Recipes

Bell peppers are usually so expensive in the grocery store that it’s one of those plants that you should try to grow yourself if you can.  I’ve grown them in containers and in raised beds and both methods have worked for me.

How to grow bell peppers and 10 bell pepper recipes

 Tips for Growing Bell Peppers

Bell peppers are a long season plant, so they require patience from gardeners before anything is ready to harvest in late summer, especially if you want red, yellow or orange peppers since green bell peppers are actually immature fruit.

Thankfully though, if you love peppers and want to be able to harvest a large number, each plant is able to produce multiples. Plants do not require a lot of growing space so you can pack a lot into a single bed, or like I said,  grow them in pots.

how to grow bell peppers

Setting Up Your Garden
Bell peppers like loose, well drained soil, so make sure that the soil in the garden bed or containers is not dense and heavy. Add nutrients to the soil with organic fertilizer or organic compost, that is well mixed in. Because bell peppers are vigorous growers, they need to be in a garden space that is located in full sun for at least eight hours out of the day.

Starting Vegetables
You can start bell peppers as seeds. You need to start your seeds 8-10 weeks before your last frost date. Then bring them out into the garden once all chance of frost has passed. Transplants are easier and can be added to a warm garden bed spaced approx 10-18 inches a part (check your tags)  or 1 per square if you’re doing Square Foot Gardening.

Caring and Maintaining Peppers
Bell peppers do not require a lot of oversight before they begin to flower and bear fruit. Water thoroughly and regularly but don’t overwater the plants. Pepper roots do not like to be wet all the time and rotting will occur at the base of plants that are left to grow in soil that is constantly moist. So allow the soil to dry between watering.

Bell peppers are good companions to many other plants but do not plant with the brassica family. I like to plant peppers with tomatoes, basil and eggplants as companions.   Support your plants with cages or stakes because they’ll start to bend once they are heavy with  fruit.

Tips for growing bell peppers

Harvesting Peppers
Once the peppers begin to flower they will begin to bear fruit.  There are always going to be peppers that are ready to begin growing, or are in the middle of growth, so it is important that you carefully remove each fruit from the stem. Use sharp scissors or a knife to cut your peppers off the stem, avoiding damage to the plant. The longer you let a pepper mature the sweeter it will taste.

If you have too many peppers to use at one time, they are easily frozen or dried.

10 Delicious Bell Pepper Recipes

  1. Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers
  2. Chicken Fajita Stuffed Bell Peppers
  3. Roasted Red Pepper Potato Soup
  4. Marinated Red Bell Peppers
  5. Hawaiian Style Sweet & Sour Pineapple and Bell Peppers
  6. Shrimp with Bell Peppers and Swiss Chard
  7. Crock Pot Beef Stuffed Peppers 
  8. Jalapeno Mac & Cheese Stuffed Peppers
  9. Roast Chicken with Balsamic Bell Peppers
  10. Turkey Stuffed Bell Peppers

You might also like to check out my Gardening 101 Series

Gardening 101 Series: How to start a vegetable garden

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