Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Horoscopes ...

Oct 23 - Nov 21 (Scorpio) ~ for December 31, 2008:
Let your own creativity lead the way. There's no need to follow in another's footsteps when you have the power to chart your own course.

I don't usually follow these, but on this last day of 2008, I was curious and it could'nt be more appropriate for me in my life at this time.

At year's end, I find myself reflecting over where I've been this year and deep in thought as to where I want to go next year. It's always a good thing to step outside ourselves and identify our accomplishments and successes as well as evaluate our failures and pitfalls.

By taking an inventory of our lives at this one point in time, we are better able to identify what is missing or what is needed to move forward and chart a course with a plan for the future. Like any good garden designer, we must first take stock of what exists in our lives (or gardens) in order to prepare a plan of action for the future. This is what I try to do each year.

I challenge each of you to take a few minutes of time today on this last day of 2008 and identify what is working in your life and what needs some adjustments. Set some positive goals for yourself this year. Let the decisions you make in 2009 be guided by these goals you have set for yourself today. Plan your work and work your plan in 2009 and you will be richly rewarded with new blooms and blossoms in your life!

This couldn't be more appropriate! Happy New Year and thank you for stopping by. I hope you'll come by often in the new year.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Narrow-leafed Zinnias

More Zinnias
More Zinnias,
originally uploaded by

originally uploaded by

The photo that appears in the upper right corner of this blog contains Narrow-leafed zinnias and Knock-out Roses, both of which are two of the most hardy plant species for full summer-long color! Both plants literally bloom from frost to frost and therefore, rate very high on my list of preferred plants.

Let's start this blog with the zinnias. Narrow-leafed zinnias (Zinnia linearis) are summer annuals. Here is the skinny on them:

Botanical Name: Zinnia linearis
Common Name: Narrow-leafed zinnia
Size at Maturity: 12 - 18" ht. x 12 - 18" wide
Requirements: They grow best in full sun and are drought-tolerant once established
Foliage texture: fine, narrow leaf
Bloom color: Dark rose pink, bright orange, gold (yellow/orange), white/pale white

This plant is an annual and must be replanted every year. However, as an annual, it blooms prolifically from Spring to the first frost in Fall. I think it is best used en masse -- plant large masses of these for eye-catching impact at entrances or entry signage or where ever you want to feature something in your garden such as bird baths, statuary, etc).

The narrow-leafed zinnias have recently been hybridized and a new variety called "Profusion" is now available on the market. This "new and improved" variety has the same coloring and is slightly larger in size than the narrow-leafed variety.

I usually buy these plants by the flat in late Spring/early Summer. I amend the planting beds by adding organic material such as compost, peat, or mushroom compost. Next, I'll mix in some sort of slow-release organic fertilizer. Always, always raise up your planting beds at least four inches above your lawn areas. This does two things. First it provides good drainage for your annuals, and second, it differentiates your planting bed from any adjacent lawn areas. We'll talk more about bed preparation in another blog.

I plant the zinnias about 6 to 8-inches apart in staggered rows and water them once a day for the first week. Once established, these plants will quickly take off and will need no other maintenance. The flowers of these plants will also attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden.

Courtesy Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder
Narrow Leaf Zinnias also make great plants for the border!

The Last Word: Basically, I have to add that there is absolutely nothing negative I can say about this plant. It is pest free and maintenance free. It's blooms are spectacular and therefore, I give it a 10 out of 10 in the annual department! If you have no gardening skills whatsoever, you will want to purchase and use this annual in your garden or container (yes, they are great for container gardening too). These plants are WINNERS!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Welcome to my world ...

It's my first time! My first time blogging.

I feel as if I am 15 again and diving into a cool dark swimming pool in the middle of the night. I feel free! I feel wild! This is something I've wanted to do for a very long time. I have high hopes for this place. My place.

Welcome. I hope this is a place you will come to often. I have every intention of making this place for everyone who enjoys company and most of all, enjoys the garden and spending time in it. You see, this is a place where I will combine two of my passions. The first is writing. The second is gardening and garden design. I try to be objective with my writing, but when it comes to garden design, you will find that I am very opinionated!

Please feel free to comment or post your thoughts or questions here and I will try my best to answer or respond to them. I want to share my knowledge of landscape architecture and design with you. I want to help you create your own beautiful garden or landscape.

Before we get started, let me introduce myself. My name is Pam and I am a mother of two boys, W. (15) and J. (12). My husband is an architect and we live in Wilmington, North Carolina. A beautiful spot by the ocean. I am a licensed and Registered Landscape Architect with a BA in English and a MS in Landscape Architecture. I am also a life-long journalist. In my eyes, the process of writing and the process of design are one and the same. As you become more familiar with me, you will learn why.

Oh, one last passion I must mention is my love of tennis. I'm absolutely mad for it! It's a sport you can take with you for life.