Monday, September 3, 2012


When I first looked at my backyard and started trying to determine what to plant and where I was absolutely ecstatic to see two flowerbeds right next to the garage. They are raised and one is a perfect size for kitchen herbs, while the other, was long and narrow. However, when I really put thought into it I realized the long narrow bed does not get much sun at all, and to top it all off, the dirt filling it is rather poor, it's sandy and it's rocky. We don't have normal sand here either, we have sand from the mines, so it's black, due to the ore content. It's pretty difficult to deal with in a gardening setting, and really, it makes me nervous as hell to begin converting the backyard into a productive food garden because I can't help but to think about the amount of money good dirt is going to cost me and I get dizzy. But that's beside the point at the moment, the point of this post is, what do I put in a flowerbed, that is pretty much rocks and sand?

So looking at the dirt in the flower beds left me sort of pessimistic, but when I did a little research and really thought about it, I realized violas were the answer. First of all, these guys are perennials, so I am not going to have to replant this bed every year (which, is a HUGE bonus cause I would like to be able to focus on my vegetable garden next spring). They also come in a huge variety of colors, which is appealing visually to me and to pollinating insects which are always handy to have around. Finally, and most importantly, they can grow practically anywhere, and I mean anywhere. You don't have to look to hard to find pictures of them growing in sidewalk cracks, and even on walls!
Just look at that little plant! It's barely got any soil in that hole in the wall, and it is THRIVING! Amazing! Of course, these guys would be totally fine in my little flower bed, which really, has little more to offer than a crack in a sidewalk. (The image to the left was on The Pothole Gardener specifically in a post concerning living walls). So I went to one of the local green houses and selected a few different colors that I liked and started planting, the picture at the top right of this post shows what I started with back in May.

So now it is the beginning of September, leaves are changing around here, nights are getting chilly, and I am breaking out my favorite sweaters. I love sweater weather. My violas are just thriving, and I will have to admit that there has been so much going on here the past few months that I have barely paid these guys any attention. I did scatter some egg shells amidst them to deter the slugs (crushed egg shells are not only good for the soil but they are like walking on broken glass for a slug).
But really these guys have been on their own this summer, and they are doing fantastic, they have bloomed continually, and have dropped a ton of seeds, which the birds have enjoyed eating. I couldn't be more pleased, they really earn their reputation for being eager growers. I think that I will make some candied flowers before their growing season ends. It's just a matter of dipping them in egg whites and then dipping them in sugar. Super simple, and an elegant to top off a cupcake.

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