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Video Blog 600 – Celebrating Wisconsin Bloopers
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Video Blog 730 – Gathering Seeds
Fall is the perfect time for gathering seeds from your favorite plants. Just like harvesting vegetables, harvesting seeds becomes your personal seed bank in case a favored plant doesn’t return the following spring. Today we will begin looking at a variety of plants that seem to have seed pods ready to pick. Even though we collect seeds we are going to leave a majority remain on the plants as a winter food source for birds and small animals throughout the coming winter. Some of the seed we will be gathering are liatris, tree peony, ligularia, native gray headed coneflower, mock orange, giant hardy hibiscus, yucca, zinnias, tea rose hips, short allium, joe pyeweed, Chinese lanterns, blanket flower, marigold, and sunflowers. In the coming weeks we will continue our search waiting for common milkweed and orange butterfly weed seed pods to mature. Who knows what else we may find. Have fun gathering your own seeds.
Video Blog 729 – Playing With Peaches
In today’s playing with peaches video blog we will be making rich and delicious peach smoothies, peach leather roll ups, peach sauce and a four berry blend of peach leather roll ups now that we’ve harvested our peaches. We’ll start with a simple refreshing peach smoothie before we start the cooking process in creating our peach leather roll ups. Once we spread this peach leather mixture to an even thickness, it’s off to the dehydrator over night. Making peach sauce with a juicier consistency can be kept in the refrigerator, or frozen, as a topping for ice cream, angel food cake, bagels and other decedent dessert snacks. Once the smoothies are gone, the peach sauce in the refrigerator, it’s on to cutting, rolling and storing all of the peach and four berry roll ups. The delicious smell wafting through the house is an amazing side benefit just as powerful as freshly baked bread. Hopefully, they will last a little while longer even after trying to temporarily hide them from prying eyes, wandering fingers and sensory cravings. The treasure hunt is on.
Video Blog 728 – Peach Harvest
You know it’s Peach harvest time when a couple of peaches start falling off the peach trees. Several years ago we had a huge peach harvest and then a storm came though our area and in order to save them we had to drastically cut them back. While the wind shear missed us by 6 blocks we thought we had lost them two summers ago when they stopped producing any peaches. Some viewers wanted us to remove them and replant, but our gut reaction and our eclectic experimental garden intuition kicked in and we decided to wait and see what happens. To our surprise both peaches flourished in spring as we continued to cut off all new or over crowded vertical and horizontal branches. We also began thinning them 4-6” apart from each other and keep the center of the tree open and vase shaped as others had recommended. Well today is the day for harvesting and you’ll have to see how well the harvest turned out.
Video Blog 727 – September Garden Tour part 3
Welcome to our September garden tour, part 3 where we will finish exploring what’s growing in our eclectic experimental garden here in Wisconsin. We begin where with frogs and goldfish playing in our first little reflective pond and explore the west side gardens. We had to cut down the dead parts of our Cherry tree and visit our converted 3 tier water fall to see the cattails, lily pads and several blossoms. Then on to see our climbing spinach, hibiscus, knock out rose bush, begonias, and Tim’s morning glories with their beautiful blue blossoms growing on our red trellis. The garden containers are reasonably prolific as are the tomato, kale, and tree peony plants in our original garden area. We’re pleased that we didn’t cut down our two freestone peach trees, which despite drastic pruning are doing very well with dozen of peaches we’ll be harvesting in a couple of weeks. Although disappointed by the number of giant dahlia bulbs that didn’t survive despite packing them carefully over the winter, the ones that made it are starting to grow and develop. The giant hibiscus is nearing 10’ tall and has been displaying dozens of new blossoms daily for the past month. The two smaller varieties are also blossoming and seem to like their microclimates. We conclude our September garden tour along the east side of our front porch and hope you’ve enjoyed this month’s visit.
Video Blog 726 – September Garden Tour part 2
Welcome to our September garden tour, part 2 where we will explore what’s growing in our eclectic experimental garden here in Wisconsin. We begin part two viewing the street side of our front yard berm to see what’ still blossoming and move our way to the McIntosh apple trees, grape arbor, blackberries, raspberry, Zucchini, patty pan squash, and egg gourds creating a new jungle on our new berm. We then take a look at our square foot garden, tomatoes and peppers doing extremely well in our north vegetable gardens. We conclude part 2 of our September garden tour to find several large Butternut squash growing from our compost bin from seeds deposited over winter. Stay tuned for part 3 coming up next.
Video Blog 725 – September Garden Tour part 1
Welcome to our September garden tour, part 1 where we will explore what’s growing in our eclectic experimental garden here in Wisconsin. After an extremely hot and humid July and August that made gardening extremely difficult, and sometimes unbearable, we’ve had to greatly limit our time outdoors, as well as, adding new videos to our video garden blog. Despite being about 6’ behind our normal rain fall totals, we begin part 1 with our beautiful yearly Zinnia patch outside our kitchen entrance and move about our front yard exploring a variety of plants that survived our hot weather. We conclude part one of our September garden tour viewing the south side of our front yard berm to see what’ still blossoming. Stay tuned for part 2 coming up next.
Video Blog 724 – Prairie Garden
We are visiting the Prairie Garden being created on the educational grounds of the Redeemer United Church Of Christ in Sussex, Wisconsin which is open to the public. Our hosts, who take care for the prairie gardens are Nancy and Rick Vollbrecht who guided a prairie garden tour a couple of weeks earlier. After being greatly impressed with their efforts, Richard offered to help film the changing seasons of the prairie by offering to create a series of seasonal videos upon receiving lawful permission to publicly share this first video highlighting the prairie garden in fall. Today was a perfect day for filming, as we take a closer look at some of the native prairie plants already established including; directional compass plants, the cool leaves of prairie dock created by a process called ‘evapotranspiration’, the unique characteristics of sideoat grama grass, the lush russet colored Indian grass, and big bluestem grass which has become rather invasive. Then we visited the Sanctuary garden with its wheelchair friendly 300’ walkway and entrance archway with honeysuckle vines. We enter into an area with six native garden beds filled with more native perennial plants including rough blazing star – liatris, quinine plant, gray headed coneflower, little bluestem grass, along with many other native flowering plants. We also discussed plans for expanding the prairie garden, new plant selections, gathering and sowing seeds, watchful weeding, and bi-yearly prairie burns that help regenerate growth and maintain the overall health of this beautiful prairie garden and its birds, animals and insects.
We wish to express our deepest thanks to both Nancy and Rick for sharing their time and knowledge and to the church elders for allowing us to document the seasonal changes in their prairie gardens. If you and your family would like to tour this beautiful prairie garden, simply call (262) 246-6710, or stop by and tour the gardens yourself. Google their address, W220 N4915 Town Line Road, Sussex, Wisconsin 53089 for directions.
Video Blog 722 – Garden Harvests
Here’s some extra video clips from various garden harvests we’ve had so far this year. It includes our raspberry harvest (90 pints this year), first tomato, pepper, zucchini, patty pan, spaghetti squash, and garlic harvests and all the goodies we collect this morning.. Despite the heat and humidity and working early mornings in the garden, so far everything is doing really well.
Video Blog 721 – Plant Marker Update
This is an important plant marker update that we wanted to share with our viewers who are considering using them in their garden. We wanted to show you how our labels have held up over the past couple of weeks in the field under summertime conditions. We were appalled to see how poorly the paper adhesive labels held up even with 10 coats of clear plastic spray. The PhotoTec fabric labels still look very good but our very favorite labels are those created using the Brother P-Touch labeling machine using black tape with white lettering. We were told by Gary, the owner of Kincaid Plant Markers, that this type of plastic label holds up in all types of weather and he’s been using this system since 1990’s for all of his Iris varieties and that all his labels still look great. If you watched our earlier video you know he sent us the machine you see in this video to us so that we could experiment with this type of labeling system and we are so very thankful he introduced us to this system. Since then, we’ve relabeled all of our own plants and are also redoing all the plant marker labels for the master gardens at the Sharon Lynn Wilson Center For the Arts. We’ll even share some inexpensive alternative methods of labeling for your consideration.
Video Blog 720 – Painting Alliums
Painting Alliums once they have dried is something that caught our eye last year during one of several walking garden tours. They were the hot topic of conversation where even master gardeners took a double take to see if they were having illusions. This was something we talked about for several months and today was the perfect opportunity to try painting our dried allium blossoms with colorful spray paint. Once the paint is dry we will decide where to install them throughout our garden to capture eyeballs as a means of sparking some interesting garden conversations with family, friends, and neighbors. This is fairly easy way to create some unique artwork for your garden as something you may want to try.
Video Blog 719 – What’s Blooming In Our Garden Part 3
As we conclude what’s blooming in our garden, part 3, there’s still a lot to see. We will start with our square foot garden area and walk along the north, west and south garden areas. While some areas are still in progress, or being reclaimed, the vegetable gardens are doing extremely well considering the amount of hot weather and high humidity we’ve had this summer. We even have squash growing and producing fruit in our compost bin. Then we will finish this 3 part video in our back yard next to our original 20’ x 20’ screened-in south garden where our gardening adventures began many years ago.
Video Blog 718 – What’s Blooming In Our Garden Part 2 of 3
Join us in part 2 of what’s blooming in our garden as we will continue our walkabout seeing many more plants and blossoms that delight our heart and appetite. You will get to see the colorful view inside our front yard which continues to expand each and every year. From the shade of our Snake Willow tree, to our sun drenched front yard along the edge of the berms filled once again with a delightful variety of plant color, height and texture to appease our seasonal senses. We’ll look at our yearly Zinnia patch, the plants and blossoms along the east driveway, bird feeders, and eventually head up our newly reclaimed north mound to see how all the zucchini, patty pan, spaghetti squash and gourds are doing.
Video Blog 717 – What’s Blooming In Our Garden Part 1 of 3
Every month is a blessing to see what’s blooming in our garden. It is amazing to witness the rebirth of perennial plants after surviving our long cold winters. Join us today in part 1 of our garden tour as we point out some beautiful plants and blossoms that add a variety of color, height and texture throughout our eclectic experimental garden areas. We will include several varieties of our giant hibiscus plants, the good phlox, a thorny mystery plant at the end of our south driveway, Tim’s lush Magellan Zinnia patch, our butterfly garden, giant fleece plant, and many, many more visual delights. Later we will head to the raspberry, blackberry and grape vine areas and head up the berm to our new squash and gourd area that is growing more prolific every day over our Better-Bilt trellis system. No matter where we walk something is magically blossoming from the miniature to the massive. Our eclectic experimental garden is alive and well.
Video Blog 716 – A Day In The Garden
A day in the garden isn’t always typical but when there’s a lot of work that needs to be addressed, it’s time to get to work before it finally rains. Today we will be trying to figure out why some of our Montauk Daisy plant is wilting badly. We’ll also be amending the soil for our hanging baskets, trimming bushes and trees including our peach trees. We’ll also be digging up all the garlic, pick tomatoes, peppers, dill, zucchini, patty pan and spaghetti squash and finish the day by cutting the grass and filling up the trailer to take to the recycling center tomorrow. Once again, it took a lot of sweat equity and it’s all in a day’s work to keep the garden looking beautiful and picking the vegetable when ready.
Video Blog 715 – Harvesting Garlic
Video Blog 658 – Planting Fall Garlic
Today we’re harvesting garlic that we planted last October. Just imagine how easy it is in growing your fresh garlic. We’re very excited because our first time planting Hardneck garlic and after today we know that this will become a yearly planting event in our eclectic experimental garden. Now that the leaves on one of our garlic patches have turned brown, it’s time to carefully dig them out of the soil. What’s so amazing to witness is the magic of planting just one garlic clove, how time and nature recreates an entirely new garlic bulb with 8-15 new cloves depending on the garlic specie. Join us and see for yourself how well this amazing growing process works.
Video Blog 714 – Finding Our Strawberries
Our mission today is finding our strawberries despite the 90 degree heat. This is one area in our garden that has been neglected and now full of bindweed. Our goal is to dig up and save as many strawberry plants as possible hidden among the weeds. Once everything is removed we will amend the soil with compos, peat moss, perlite, and other garden soil. With the help of our son Skye, the three of us will attack the area with a vengeance in order to reclaim our strawberry beds. It’s so hot outside we just may stand in the middle of the sprinkler to rinse and cool off. Sure glad this job is finished, at least for a couple of years until we have to do it all over again.
Video Blog 713 – Tricolor Beech Tree
For over a year we’ve been seeking a Tricolor Beech tree for our yard. If you’re looking for a WOW specimen tree in your garden, this is one to consider. After visiting another amazing garden we fell in love with this amazing colorful foliage with shades of green, pink and white that turn copper color in fall. It’s botanical name is a mouth full ‘Fagus sylvatica ‘Roseomarginata.’ Now say that 10 times. It’s a slow growing tree that can reach heights between 24”-40’ tall and a 30’ wide canopy (but not in our yard). The leaves are truly unique. They are wavy, oval in shape and rather small around 2” wide. They produce both male and female flowers on the same tree that produce tri-corner nuts know as beechnut. Our European Beech tree however produces nuts that are bitter compared to the American variety. They prefer a slightly acidic environment but can tolerate most well-drained soil as their fibrous root system does not do well in waterlogged conditions. After transplanting, it does require regular watering and consistent watering, especially for the first couple of years to help the root system become firmly established.
Video Blog 712 – Garden Friends
Today we has a wonderful visit with several new garden friends including Deb and Paul, from Illinois, our friend Dee and her niece and two beautiful daughters from Texas. Ranjit and his two delightful daughters, and our neighbor Brad who all stopped buy to pick raspberries. Deb and Lynn had been playing email tag and were finally able to arrange a day to stop by and tour our gardens. Deb brought us a beautiful Hosta from her garden and after a wonderful afternoon, everyone went home full of goodies and smiles. So if you would like to tour our garden, let us know when you’d like to stop by for a visit. We welcome everyone of our amazing Wisconsin Garden family as friends.
Video Blog 711 – Raspberry Jam
Today we’re making raspberry jam. After 2 hot and humid days of picking 28 pints of raspberries in our raspberry patch we’re spending the day indoors. Making jam is fairly easy. After inspecting, washing and mashing the raspberries I’ll be adding some Sure-Jell fruit pectin to preserve the color, adding the recommended amount of cane sugar or sugar substitute, I’ll be processing and sealing some of them with paraffin wax, while the others will use the hot steam bath method. While I often use the steam bath sealing method, I thought I’d try the hot wax method my mother always used.
So join us in the kitchen as we create some very delicious raspberry jam.
UPDATE: Do Not Use The Paper Adhesive Method In Our Video
Video Blog 710 – Plant Markers
Instead watch the results we experienced in this video.
Video Blog 721 – Plant Marker Update
We’re going to be adding plant markers to help us in identifying our plants. With hundreds of plants currently in our garden we’re finding it a little more difficult to remember some of their common plant names, let alone their botanical plant names. One of the master gardeners we’re working with suggested a company named Kincaid located in Savannah Missouri. We ended up contacting a very helpful gentleman named Gary, who with the help of his son, Jeff, produce quality plant markers. We initially ordered the 15” 2F series with 13 gauge galvanized steel post and also the premium 15” 2P series with 10 gauge stainless steel posts. Prices and more details can be found on their website (www.KincaidPlantMarkers.com). Say hi to Gary for us.
Video Blog 709 – July Garden Tour – Part 3 of 3
We’re moving to the south east side of our property and looking at the garden areas we delightfully get to see from our front porch. Then we will walk around to the see what’s growing on our viewing side of the front berm and eventually move around to the outer street side view. It really has been amazing to see how both our established plants have grown over the years and specially see how the new plants we added last year are doing. While only a few plants didn’t survive our winter, many did, including several surprises that seeded them and joyously popped up in different areas our garden. So join us on this final leg of this year’s July garden tour to see what’s growing in our Wisconsin Garden. Enjoy!
Video Blog 708 – July Garden Tour – Part 2 of 3
We begin the second part of our garden tour on the north side of our property on top of a newly reclaimed berm that used to have a 60’ evergreen tree. We’re heading into our raised bed vegetable garden area to see what survived in our square foot garden, as well as, our tomatoes, peppers, and beets are doing. We’ll travel along the west side of our property and head to our pond areas, water lilies, newly painted red trellis, and see all the flowers that are still in bloom. Then we will visit the original fenced in garden where all of our garden adventures started many years ago. We will end this tour on the south west side of half acre garden and see our newly planted iris bed is doing, along with our two main peach trees. So if you enjoyed this second part of our July garden tour, stay tuned for part 3. Enjoy!
Video Blog 707 – July Garden Tour – Part 1 of 3
Today is July 4th and we thought we’d start our garden tour in our main driveway in front of our giant fleece plants. We’ll move along the driveway to see what’s blooming and along the north section of our home to Lynn’s yearly Zinnia patch outside our kitchen entrance. We’ll visit our recent 3-Day project called “Unwanted Invasion” area where we reclaimed and replanted our iris and hosta then move to our little grape arbor, and our main driveway where we Espalier planted roadside apple trees. After that we’ll head into our Raspberry jungle and end part 1 on top of a newly reclaimed garden area where we planted our Zucchini, Butternut, Patty pan squash and my cannon ball and egg gourds using our Better Bilt Trellis system to support these soon to be prolific plants. So, if you enjoyed part 1 of our July garden tour, stay tuned for part 2. Enjoy!
Video Blog 706 – New Iris Bed
We are tackling another new iris bed along the south driveway that desperately needs the invading grass eliminated. Just like replanting our iris patch along the main driveway, it’s time to divide, inspect and prep this diverse iris bed before replanting. In addition to the iris we are moving some Liatris and collecting all the tulip bulbs that were also in this area. While the weather is cooperating and a bit cooler with less humidity, we still intend to work under the shade of our picnic table umbrellas. Once everything is removed and ready for planting, we will amend the soil with peat moss and perlite to keep the soil looser. With the help of our mini tiller we will reclaim the soil and start planting. We’ll also take a sneak peek at Tim’s surprise Zinnias and another surprise gift from Scott & Sarah Miller from Ohio. Our deepest thanks.
Video Blog 705 – Replanting Our Iris Patch
We’re replanting our iris patch now that we’ve done our best to eliminate that invasive creeping Buttercup ground cover. Day 3 starts the fun work of digging up all the iris plants, inspecting them, trimming and throwing away any suspicious or diseased plants. Once those are ready, we’ll give them a bleach bath allow them to dry and start planting. We wanted you to see the final outcome for this area. We’ve got our work cut out for ourselves because we also have to take a trailer load to the recycling center when we’re done in order to free the trailer for bags of mulch. So, sit back and enjoy watching us work so you don’t have to.
Video Blog 704 – Unwanted Invasion
Tackling our unwanted invasion of Creeping Buttercup ground cover will take us several days to remove. While it looked pretty when we bought it several years ago, it really started invading our iris, hosta, peony and surrounding arborvitae bushes as a 12’ tall mini jungle around our little leaf linden tree. It had to go. We could have attempted to remove it one plant at a time, but because this area is fairly large, we brought in two different roto tillers to help make the job a little easier. In just two days we collected nearly half a trailer load full and still have to dig out the iris to also eliminate this ground cover and any grass that has also invaded this area But it’s time to dig up, divide and inspect the iris for weak or diseased plants and eliminate them as well.
Video Blog 703 – Raspberry Jungle
We’re reclaiming a passage way through our raspberry jungle. Now that most of the berry blossoms have been pollinated and the number of bees has lessened, we’re going to reclaim inner and outer paths so that we will be able to access and harvest the fruit in several more weeks. For whatever reason, this year the number of new raspberry plants have spread to the outer canopy. We’re talking hundreds, possibly thousands. With the help of Richard’s machete, our clippers, lopper, garden knife and kneeling pads we will move in close to the ground to plan our methodical attack. Our goal today is to clear a path that is filled with thistles, deadly nightshade, buckthorn, daisies, and garlic mustard while removing all the old and new raspberry canes that are in our way as we continue to fill another trailer load for the recycling center. A passerby suggested we charge $1 for pick your own raspberry plant and start recapturing some of our garden project investments. Now why didn’t we think of that? Dah!
Video Blog 702 – Garlic Update
We’re posting a garlic update on the Hardneck garlic we planted last fall (#658 Planting Fall Garlic https://youtu.be/onxA02MHNo0).
Today I’ll be removing all Scapes before they flower so that all the energy goes back into the garlic bulb and not go to seed. Even the scapes are a potent source of garlic commonly used in cooking. One of the nice features about hardneck garlic is that it can also be self-sustaining in our growing zone here in Wisconsin. With the number of cloves we planted last fall we should be able to harvest plenty of garlic for our personal consumption, but also enough cloves to replant the entire crop and more if wanted. Now all we have to do is wait till late July after only several bottom leaves turn brown. About a month after the scapes appear, it’s time to harvest. Once carefully dug, not pulled, out of the ground they should immediately be placed in a well-ventilated area out of the sun. They will also dry better with their leaves still attached if you’re not going to peal and use them immediately. After about 3-8 weeks of curing you can cut off the leafy parts and roots for storage purposes in a cool dark place.
Video Blog 701 – Deer Netting Deterrent
Today we’re installing deer netting deterrent, not so much for a deer problem, but to keep the rabbits out of our new square foot garden area. Our hope it to help all of our newly planted seedlings to have a better chance to fully develop. Plus some of our viewers have never seen, or don’t have local access, to this roll of plastic netting. It’s pretty easy to install and wrap around our 4×4 posts we installed many years ago. We had to make some adjustment because of the ground elevation to modify and adjust for our 12” raised beds. We’ll use a couple of Better Bilt Trellis supports for long spans, as well as, to accommodate an adjustable gate entrance into this newly caged garden area. While we hope it also keeps the deer at bay, it does little to prevent the birds from feasting on our seeds or seedling once they begin to develop.
Video Blog 700 – Our 700th Video
Today marks our 700th video. We just want to thank all of our new and long-time subscribers for supporting our Wisconsin Garden Video Blog series. In today’s age of negativity it’s truly amazing to have the privilege of connecting to over 8,500 positive and supportive subscribers from 132 countries. We thought we’d have a personal garden conversation and introduce ourselves to all of our new garden family by sharing who we are and what we do when we’re not in our garden creating videos as often as we have time to create. So sit back, have a cup of tea, coffee, or favorite brew in hand and let’s spend some time together as we celebrate our 700th Wisconsin Garden Video Blog conversation. You’ll even get to know us better. We promise we won’t bite.
Video Blog 699 – Square Foot Garden
Square foot garden is a smart way to make the most out of one’s garden space, especially where space is limited. Today we will show how we section off one of our raised beds using some simple tools and supplies. We’ll be using a tape measure, black magic marker, a hammer, some roofing nails, a roll of nylon string and a scissors or knife. Once we mark and set our nails all we have to do is string the pattern and we’re ready to decide what to plant and where. It’s also a wonderful project for children were they can plan and create a space for their flowers and vegetables. This bed has 40 sections that we are going to fill with a wide variety of flowers including tree peony sprouts, special Zinnias, Bee Balm, Holly Hock, Balloon Flowers, Daisies, Four O’clock, and a wide variety of different colored strawberries.
Video Blog 698 – Planting Tender Bulbs
There’s still time for planting tender bulbs. Now that the weather is warmer and the soil temperature remains consistent we will begin planting our Dahlia tubers, Gladiolas, Calla Lilies, Caladium, some mystery bulbs we didn’t label last fall, and Elephant Ear bulbs.
We’ve prepped the soil with lots of peat moss and aged compost and tilled the soil before putting our bulbs in place. At times this was very difficult as a couple of Robins were tending some chicks in a nearby tree. We also added a sprinkling of Azomite, trace minerals, and extra peat around our bulbs. We know it’s a lot of work digging them up each fall and storing them for the following year, but we must admit, it’s all truly worthwhile.
Video Blog 697 – Bug Balls
Today I’m creating some bug balls to share as a unique gift for my Cedarburg High School yearly class of 1965 picnic reunion. In addition to having a Pot Luck luncheon, we have a gift exchange where you have to option to pick a new gift off the table or steal one already picked by someone else. I decided to paint lady bugs on golf balls where I glued tees to the bottom so they could be used outdoors, as well as, in house plants as little works of art. I don’t remember if I saw this idea someplace else but this video demonstrates how I decided to create these baby bug balls from scratch. Now I have many other little critter ideas that will be perfect for this set up.
Video Blog 696 – Preparing A Flower Bed
We are preparing a flower bed to grow and display the zinnias Tim sent us that are now ready to plant outdoors. We brought in a trailer load of aged compost, potting soil and peat moss to create three wonderful new soil beds that these plants will love. We decided to install these dazzling flower beds where everyone walking or driving past our property will also delight in these seeing this massive display of blossoms. We want to once again thank Tim from Michigan for sending us everything we needed to get these seeds growing. Can’t wait to see this amazing bouquet in the very near future.
Video Blog 695 – June Garden Tour part 2
We begin our June Garden Tour part 2 as we continue along the east berm seeing a variety of flowers blooming, bushes and trees planted. We’ll move along our main driveway entrance and enter the front yard where you’ll see an amazing array of blooms, topiaries, tree peonies, honeysuckle, giant bleeding hearts, Chinese lilacs, alliums, liatrus, ferns, hostas, native plants, garden art, and a lot more visual goodies to complete this month’s garden tour. To see how everything has grown since our May tour is always something special. It’s another Wisconsin garden tour you don’t want to miss.
Video Blog 694 – June Garden Tour part 1
Our June garden tour is a great way to see what blooming and how things have changed since our May garden tour. We’ve had so many requests to see our iris and especially peonies; we needed to show them to you now. In part 1, we’ll begin in the NE garden areas filled with fragrant peonies, our raspberry jungle, blackberry bushes, blueberries and grape arbor then we’ll move to the new mound where we just planted various squash and gourds. We’ll look at the newly planted north garden raised beds where we’ve planted several tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins, zeppelin and zucchini squash. Moving toward our backyard you see a wide variety of floral blooms, colorful archway, specimen plants, containers, and plants still waiting to be planted. The enclosed vegetable garden, strawberry beds, peach trees, iris and poppies along the south driveway. You’ll see some of the roadside peonies starting to bloom and move along to the southeast outer berm areas with more peach trees, giant fleece plants, newly planted boxwoods, and our brand new butterfly and pollinator garden. If you enjoy part 1 stay tuned for June Garden Tour part 2.
Video Blog 693 – June Planting
Getting the rest of our June planting in between raindrops has been tricky the past week but today’s the day to finally continue. We’ll be clearing and preparing a new mound area, rototilling, adding our Better Bilt Trellis system and planting our summer butternut squash, patty pans, zucchini, delicate zeppelin, pumpkin, and a variety of gourds. We’ve put Tim’s from Michigan sent us some of his favorite Zinnia seeds and we’ve set these seedlings outside to harden as we look forward to planting them in our front berm where they will receive full sun and be a show stopper for those who pass by. There are only so many hours in the day, so the beans, peas, egg plant and other veggies along with the endless packets of flower seed packs will have to wait for another day. It’s time for some ice cream treats.
Video Blog 692 – May Planting
Today we are continuing our May planting or tomatoes and peppers with my special planting mixture, along with adding sweet alyssum to attract pollinators and marigolds to deter bugs and unwanted pests. We’ll also be adding a pinch of sugar, some traces of Azomite and sprinkling dry powdered milk around the base of my tomatoes before we cage them for protection from deer and rabbits. We do this to deter mold and fungus and also prevent blossom end rot. Powdered milk also adds calcium to the soil for healthy roots to actively absorb throughout the growing season. We’ll also discuss why our Rhubarb bolts, how we use dill that seems to grow everywhere, and also look at what’s popping along our driveway.
Video Blog 691 – Tomato Planting
It’s finally tomato planting time as the end of May is warming quickly. It’s been in the 70s and 80s and we are ready to plant. But first we need to create our special soil formula to help jumpstart their growth. With a mixture of compost, Epson Salt, baking soda, peat moss, worm castings, along with a pinch of sugar and trace minerals in Azomite we have 36 tomato plants to place, cage and trellis. We’re also planting a blueberry bush and several other vegetables in our enclosed garden area.
Video Blog 690 – Garden Fence
Richard started working on our garden fence as soon as I finished painting the red arch in our backyard. He cut nearly 100 spindles by dividing 2×4’s and cutting them to length, building me a wood fence enclosure specifically to keep the dogs out of my new Zinnia patch. Sometimes the dogs like to take a short cut right through my Zinnias when returning to our kitchen entrance. While we’ve talked to all three dogs, somehow they’ve decided they didn’t want to get their feet wet walking through the grass. It only took us a couple of days to finish but I for one am very pleased at how it turned out. Hope they don’t learn any circus tricks and jump over it.
Video Blog 689 – Garden Accents
Painting garden accents was supposed to be a surprise but Richard caught me when I was about half way finished. I wanted to surprise him with a red painted arch to accent our backyard garden. Along with some crystal ware and other found objects, we thought you’d enjoy taking a brief garden tour looking at some of the things you’ll find accenting various areas of our garden from china to some garden sculptures we’ve found at our local Saturday farmer’s market.
Video Blog 688 – New Container Garden
We’re replacing our old containers for our new container garden along our Westside walkway. We found some new heavy duty plastic containers at one of our local food stores. We will amend the soil with half of the old potting soil, and the other half mixed with new potting soil, compost, top soil and perlite. Each container will be a seed starter consisting of day lilies and flowers. We still have another container we’ll be using for some mystery seeds. We will also be cutting the bottoms out of the old containers, sinking them into the ground, and using them for planting new yellow raspberries, blueberries and grapes in an effort to control root expansion.
Video Blog 687 – DIRT vs. SOIL
We’re curious, which word do you more commonly refer to; ‘Dirt’ or ‘Soil’ when working in your garden? Richard loves to tease me and even charges me $0.25 each time I use the word dirt instead of soil. So I personally want to end this debate if possible. This all started when we planted some Zinnia seeds sent to us by one of our viewers in Michigan. We started his in our indoor greenhouse, but then we also wanted to start our Encap seeds for our yearly Zinnia patch outside our kitchen door. After rototilling we spread this Zinnia mixture and watered it thoroughly.
Video Blog 686 – Zinnia Starter Seeds
These Zinnia Starter seeds were a wonderful gift from one of our viewers named Tim. He also loves Zinnias and wanted us to grow his favorite variety in our garden. We moved inside to prepare the starter seed kits he sent us by following his specific directions. His wonderful gift included everything needed for planting and fertilizing. Once individual seeds where distributed one at a time, we watered them with liquid fertilizer and place them in our indoor greenhouse on heat mats to help them grow more quickly. Once the seedlings are strong enough we will slowly adjust them to the outdoors and eventually transplant their colorful bloom along the edge of our front berm in clusters.
Video Blog 685 – Mason Bee Activity
It was so exciting to see all the Mason bee activity that we’ve been hoping to see since installing our bee habitats last spring. When we saw the first bee enter it’s tube reed we we’re so pleased to know our efforts to encourage these incredible pollinators take up residence in our garden, has started to come true. Like we’ve heard many times “If you feed them, they will come,” we’ve applied that same concept to the idea of providing free housing and they will come. So here is a condensed view of these precious solitary bees going out, collecting pollen, return to their selected tube reed, pack a layer of mud, move in backward and lay an egg, collect and add move pollen and seal that chamber with another layer of clay. While they live a very short life cycle, they are very productive and extremely effective pollinator. Once the Mason bee lives end the solitary Leafcutter bees will go out and do the same. But instead of sealing their cocoons with mud, they wrap their cocoons with green leaf materials. We then have the option to collect, protect and store these cocoons over winter in a refrigerator for release the following spring.
Video Blog 684 – May Garden Tour – Part 2
We’re on to part 2 of our yearly May garden tour where we will begin with the beautiful tulip hedge along our south parking area. Then we will move along the new inside walkway that edges the east berm to look at all the plants and flowers growing, blooming, and those that will soon be blooming. Many perennials have started to claim their spotlight in a friendly competition for our visual attention from the newly planted sedums, stella d’oro day lilies, hostas, giant bleeding hearts, mock orange, roses, honeysuckle, tulips to name just a few. We’ll move to under the snake willow and make our way to outside the kitchen alcove, along the front porch garden area, Japanese fern peony, strawberry beds, fenced in garden area with lots of garlic, tree peonies. Lastly we’ve look at our waterfall pond, several tree structures and end where we started. So once again, sit back and enjoy this garden tour.
Video Blog 683 – May Garden Tour – Part 1
It’s time for our yearly May garden tour. This is part 1 of a 2 part tour that visits all the plants that are growing, blooming, or about to blossom. It’s been very windy so please forgive the periodic sound distortions, but we wanted to show you our gardens before several days of rain keep us indoors. We start in our north gardens which we will soon be preparing our raised beds for some of our veggies, square foot gardening and experimenting with some of the unlabeled mystery seeds we purchased. Then we’ll view the raspberry, black berry, blue berry and grape arbor areas along with what’s growing along the front east berm that faces the roadside view. There are still many areas to plant or re-establish this summer. We’ll head past the new butterfly and hummingbird garden area we just seeded with additional milkweed along the berm to the south parking area. So sit back and enjoy the visit.
Video Blog 682 – Planting A Butterfly Garden
Today we are planting a butterfly garden in a section of our front yard berm. While we have thousands of flowers growing on our little half-acre property here in Brookfield, Wisconsin, we wanted to dedicate an area close to where common milkweed naturally grows. We’ve also added Swamp milkweed and orange Butterfly Weed seeds plus Wildflower Butterfly and Hummingbird Mix and Wildflower Aromatic Mix from Encap, a Wisconsin based Seed Company. We scattered them generously with the intent to have a dense area for a dramatic roadside display. We look forward to encouraging many pollinators including butterflies and hummingbirds to our Wisconsin Garden along their journey through our collective lives. – P.S. “Happy Mother’s Day to all the amazing women in the World.” – Lynn & Richard
Video Blog 681 – Amazing Garden Friend
WOW – Today we received a surprise package from an amazing garden friend from Michigan who knows our love for Zinnias. Inside his gift package was a complete growing system including seedling trays, starter pots, potting soil and his special fertilizer. His Zinnias of preference are the Zinnia Magellan Hybrid Mix from Park Seed. He even included extensive notes on how he grows this variety of Zinnias. He also sent some Morning Glory seeds and asked us to plant them in honor of this mother’s side of the family who once lived in Wisconsin. Tim has been a long-time viewer and generous supporter of our garden blog series. One thing about gardeners, they are extremely supportive and giving. Tim’s been candid and willing to share his expansive gardening experiences, tips and suggestions with us and our viewers and as always, his advice is deeply appreciated even as we experiment with an idea in a slightly different direction. Tim, we thank you for your generous surprise gift and being so supportive of our garden blog.
Video Blog 680 – Garden Pathway
Today we are installing phase 2 of our Garden Pathway. Last summer one of our neighbors gave us over 70 stepping stones. We were able to finish phase 1 but had 37 more to set into the lawn. After moving over 50 cubic yards of free mulch (Video Blog 679) out shoulders, arms and neck are still recovering. Plus today it’s a race to see how much of our garden pathway we can install before the rain stops our progress. Regardless, we will finish this project shortly before we do our next Wisconsin Garden video blog.
Video Blog 679 – Free Mulch
If you’d like Free Mulch delivered to your property consider talking to tree trimming services in your area. We’ve worked with Eduardo’s Tree Trimming Service for several years and he gives us a call when he has a quality load of shredded bark. Unfortunately his truck got stuck and they couldn’t drop the load where we had hoped. It took another large truck to eventually tow it out with half the load left in the street because they couldn’t close the tailgate in time. It took several of us to scoop it all into dozens of wheelbarrow loads just to clear the main road while redirecting traffic. All in all, it was quite a couple of days. Later that afternoon he dropped off another truckload into our side driveway which we finally finished this afternoon. Lots of soar muscles but it sure looks pretty top dressing the front berms.
Video Blog 678 – April Garden Tour
Come along on our first garden tour of the year. Our April garden tour begins on this beautiful 76 degree sunny Sunday afternoon. Finally some warmer weather has arrived and today is the perfect opportunity to see what’s budding in our Wisconsin garden beside all the yellow daffodils. It is amazing to see all the pollinators from the Mason bees, flies, and bumble bees hard at work considering the real buds have yet to open. So join us and see our garden through the lens of our camera.
Video Blog 677 – Feeding Hummingbirds
With fluctuating weather patterns, we decided to start feeding hummingbirds because our son spotted one a week ago that buzzed around his head as he was heading for work. While it seems too early, but with weather predicted in the 60s and 70s this week, we wanted to make sure our hummingbird feeders where ready and waiting for the northern migration. We’re experimenting with an interesting horizontal hummingbird bar feeder that can handle feeding over a dozen at a time. Now that we are ready, we will keep our eyes open and begin recording our sightings.
Video Blog 676 – Killing Grass Safely
Killing grass safely without herbicides is our preferred method of weed control in and around our plants, especially early in spring. Today we will use several methods first where we simply pour hot boiling water directly on unwanted grass. The second is using hot boiling water with a vinegar mixture to pour on stubborn weeds on pathways, sidewalks and driveways.
SAFETY WARNING: Adult supervision is mandatory when using household chemicals and if in doubt, DO NOT attempt using these methods. Avoid accidentally splashing vinegar in your eyes and be EXTREMELY CAREFULL whenever using any form of FIRE: NEVER TOUCH anything hot or burning, and always make sure you have a garden hose handy, or enough water available, to immediately distinguish potential fire from spreading. Avoid using fire on windy days. Always Work Smart – putting Safety First!
Our third method is not the quickest or the safest, but it has proven to be very successful. The third is the fire breathing method that one of our neighbors uses to keep the edges of his lawn under control. Try these methods and see which one works best, quickest and safest for you.
Video Blog 675 –Instant Greenhouse
Using recycled containers to create an instant greenhouse is a useful way to start your seeds early in the season. It can also be a great way for the entire family to create some unique gifts for family and friends. Today we will be planting a variety of seeds including some Wallflowers, Hollyhock, Lobelia, Marigold, Ornamental Grass, Burning Bush, Lettuce and Egg Gourds. We’ll be cutting bio-degradable paper towel tubes into smaller mini planting beds and placing them inside a large plastic container that will make a perfect instant greenhouse on our dining room table. This way they will keep warm; have plenty of sunlight where I can keep a daily eye on them for their watering needs. We’ll also use recycled yogurt containers to plant seeds and give a growing plant as gifts to family and friends. You can even get the kids involved in decorating the containers to express their creativity while encouraging them to garden.
Video Blog 674 – Avocado Update
Thanks to many viewer requests, it’s time we did a indoor Avocado update before we venture out into our spring Wisconsin garden activities. We’ll be removing old plants and adding a couple of new seedlings to our indoor Avocado grove container. We grow them purely for pleasure rather than fruit production. Despite being located in our cathedral ceiling living room, we’ll need to prune and trim some leaves to keep them under control as best we can. With a little TLC they will continue to thrive as our house guest along side other flowering plants that keep gardening alive and well the winter long.
Video Blog 673 – Attracting Pollinators
Attracting Pollinators to your garden is a crucial process for all flowers, trees and vegetables. Today we’re adding a Mud Box for the Mason Bees in our area, attracting them to the housing habitat we installed last spring. While installing new blocks and tubes in our two larger bee houses, much to our surprise we found over a dozen Mason Bee chambers that had already hatched in the block inside our PVC bee house that somehow we forget to inspect last fall. We even saw a Mason Bee in our garden a couple of days earlier. We were excited and felt our mission hadn’t failed, rather it proved to be a partial success. Now once the Mason Bees complete their life cycle around May, we’ll be on the look out for the Leafcutter bees around June. Hopefully more nest chambers will appear this year for next year’s release in our effort to expand and attract these efficient pollinators into our garden.
Video Blog 672 – Essential Oils
We’ve asked our niece Gwen Dehaan to share her personal story about using Essential Oils. Most gardeners know about the historical value and important aromatic qualities derived from specific plants purely for their health benefits, whether breathing, eating, drinking, and even applying topical lotions to ease a wide variety of pain and discomfort. Think of all the plant and herb products we commonly use including; olive oil, grape, coconut, peppermint, cinnamon, lemon, lavender, oregano, rosemary, sandalwood, eucalyptus, and even frankincense and myrrh, each extracting the essence for their natural health benefits. The process of extracting true essential oils, by steam or cold press, continues to provide mankind with incredible solutions to serious problems. But buyer beware as inexpensive products claiming to be essential oils may contain more fillers or carrier oils than those truly providing us with quality 100% essential oils. So when it comes to you, your children and your family, quality does matters greatly in the long run. We hope you found this introduction to essential oils helpful. Thanks for watching, sharing, and giving this video your “Thumbs Up.”
Video Blog 671 – Dormant Pruning
Late Winter is the ideal time for dormant pruning of fruit trees here in Wisconsin. After cleaning and sterilizing our tools we are going to prune and reshape our Honeycrisp and MacIntosh apple trees plus our 6 freestone Peach trees. We had hoped to prune them last month but couldn’t work it into our teaching schedule and other personal projects. Our goal is to trim off all dead or horizontal branches, and those rubbing into one another while selectively topping off major vertical branches to encourage new side shoot growth. We ultimately want to keep all non-competing branches growing upward at a 30-45 degree angle that will have the capacity to support the weight of the fruit without splitting or breaking. Once all of our fruit trees are pruned and caged we will return early this spring to remove growing fruit buds leaving 4-6” spacing between buds that will allow the fruit to reach its full size.
Video Blog 670 – Garden Pop Ups
It is most unusual to see so many garden pop ups sprouting here in Wisconsin even on February 28th. Normally we would have 6-12” of snow cover at this time of year. Yesterday was in the 50’s and we may even break an all-time record above 54 degrees today. As we walk around the garden areas the tulips, hyacinths, sedum, allium, strawberries, bush and tree budding activity is highly active around our Wisconsin Garden. Now it’s up to Mother Nature to decide exactly what she wants the rest of the winter to look like before spring takes shape. How’s your weather patterns affecting your garden in your part of the world?
Video Blog 669 – Free Seed Catalogs
January and February are the perfect time to request and look through all the different free seed catalogs. Most are free online just for the asking. Each one is full of great information, color photos, growing schedules, allocated space recommendations, seed saver qualities, heirloom, hybrid, GMO, and a general growing guide. It’s also a great time to start planning what you’d like to grow in your garden this year. These seed catalogs are truly a handy guide to take with you when buying plants, helping you take a closer look at the features and quality of that seed or plant that meet your growing zone requirements. So while the snow may still be flying around your garden, you can at least sit in your favorite chair and seed the kind of garden you desire.
Video Blog 668 – Saving A Split Tree
Saving a split tree doesn’t always work but rather than cutting it down and starting over, we’ve decided to give it a try and save this beautifully shaped flowering pear tree. If it doesn’t work then we will have little choice but to cut it down. We were shocked when we first noticed the split when this tree was one of the last ones to drop its leaves a couple of weeks ago. Today we are going to cut off the branch that caused the problem, drill a hole, and bolt it together. With a little help from our son Skye, we’ll share you our progress.
Video Blog 667 – Very Strange December
Here it is December 15th and in Wisconsin we are having a very strange December. With warmer than normal temperatures in the 40s, 50s, and even 60’s we may have to bring out the shorts and surf boards. Some plants must be very confused such as our honeysuckle plant that’s still blossoming, our quince and forsythia bush full of buds, and every the grass may soon need cutting. Very strange weather indeed, especially for us here in Wisconsin. But Richard loves this weather as long as he doesn’t have to shovel that four-letter word that starts with S and ends in W. I’m forbidden to speak the word. Sadly our beautifully shaped flowering pear tree is split down the middle and we’re seeking helpful solutions in order to save it. Your suggestion will be deeply appreciated. Here’s hoping the weather in your part of the world perfect.
Video Blog 665 – Indoor Propagation
After saving cuttings for our outdoor garden, it’s time to do some indoor propagation. I took some cuttings from different coleus plants, a burro’s tail, a couple of orange sun star bulbs, and a test cutting from a dying jade plant. For those cutting that developed healthy roots I’m going to take them out of their water baths, paint on some root hormone, and replant them into plastic pots using a soilless potting mixture. It’s always a treat to have growing plants inside our house to help tide us over through the winter months. If you haven’t tried propagating your cuttings, it’s fairly simple and something you should consider.
Video Blog 664 – Transplanting In December
Just imagine entertaining the thought of transplanting in December here in Wisconsin. Normally at this time of year snow would be covering all of our garden areas but the warm earth is loose enough after all the rain we received in November to move some plants. Several burro tail plants have been growing over the edge of our main driveway making shoveling and snow blowing rather tricky. These plants are really hardy and are one of our plants that stay green even through our cold winters. Because the weather is still cooperating today on December 1st, we’re going to transplant them back a couple of feet and see what happen. You’ll have to see how everything looks on December 2nd as we take you on a quick winter Wisconsin garden tour. Peace on Earth!
Video Blog 663 – Final Garden Harvest
It’s time for a final garden harvest with our first snowfall heading our way. We will harvest our sweet Dinosaur Kale, red Russian kale, flat and curly parsley and some young and tender oregano. What we don’t put in our salads and smoothies we will dry them in our food dehydrator to add to our soups. That way we can still enjoy goodies from our garden even on very cold days throughout the winter. Now that the weather’s cooling off we’ll go inside to make some chicken soup with goodies from our garden.
Video Blog 662 – Storing Tender Bulbs
Storing tender bulbs is important garden task to address before it freezes or these tender bulbs will turn to mush. We will trim our elephant ears, regular and giant dahlias, gladiolas, calla lilies and rain lilies. All have been drying for over a week outside and with our first snowfall scheduled to hit our area this evening, it is time to prepare our tender bulbs for storage. Some will go inside a netted bag to hang from the rafters while the larger bulbs will be kept in an open tray with ample space for circulation and placed in our humidity controlled basement. We’ve been storing bulbs this way for many years with great success the following year so we will continue this tradition.
Video Blog 661 – Pointsettia
This is the time of year Pointsettia plants are getting ready for market. Today our master gardening group was invited to a house plant seminar at the Shady Lane Greenhouses in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. This is an amazing family owned business currently with at least 3 generations actively running all aspects of the greenhouse, including relatives from Germany stopping in to pitch a hand. After the seminar, we took a stroll though the entire operation, asked lots of questions and left with a wide variety of house plants including a couple of species selected from over 8,000 pointsettias on display. Now this is the kind of greenhouse gardeners would love not only to visit but even apply for a job opening.
Video Blog 660 – Chocolate Surprise From Whoopi
Today we received an amazing chocolate surprise from Whoopi Goldberg. The box contained four incredible layers of William Dean handmade chocolates each a work of art. We never expected anything in return for the handmade gourd I created and sent to her in September. We just hoped that one of her personal assistants on The View would make sure she actually received our artistic gift. We know celebrities have busy schedules and receive lots of requests on a daily basis and were thrilled to hear back from Whoopi who took the time to include a thoughtful ‘Thank You’ note that made today even more special. Thanks Whoopi for taking time to personally connect with us. We are deeply appreciative of your note and delicious chocolate surprise. You have two giant hugs waiting to greet you when someday we hopefully have the honor to meet and greet you in person. Lynn & Richard
Video Blog 659 – Planting Fall Bulbs
We’re planting more fall bulbs today seeing that the weather here in Wisconsin is still amazingly mild. Actually it’s been much warmer than average this November and is the perfect time to dig up some Allium bulbs, plant more daffodils, tulips, and some mixed bulb packs around our flower beds. We found our Allium globe masters are in such a tight cluster growing on top of each other that they must be divided and replanted. The five original bulbs have multiplied into 34 large bulbs. We a wind and rain storm heading our way we’re happy to still have this window of opportunity in planting more fall bulbs that will expand the beauty of our spring Wisconsin garden.
Video Blog 658 – Planting Fall Garlic
This is the perfect time of year for planting fall garlic here in Wisconsin zone 5. After contacting several local garden centers, only Minor’s on north 76th carried any garlic, which is kind of strange considering fall is the best time of year to plant garlic as it needs the cold winter to properly develop. We’ve selected Deerfield purple hardneck garlic for planting variety and dividing the bulbs into singular garlic cloves planting them about 4” deep into the cool fall soil. Once planted, it’s important to water them to get them settled in the soil before the ground freezes. We will also be covering them with 2-4” of mulched leaves and grass clippings as a winter blanket. Think of planting fall garlic at the same time you begin planting your other fall bulbs such as tulips, crocuses and daffodils.
Video Blog 657 – Day 2 Putting Our Garden To Bed
It’s Day 2 of putting our garden to bed. We’re finishing spreading more bags of leaves and grass clippings left on our property from generous neighbors sharing their bags of golden garden gold. We’ll be collecting more seed pods and continue digging up all our tender bulbs, more elephant ears, all of the dahlias, calla lilies, rain lilies. With dry weather in this week’s forecast we’ll wash off the tubers, set all the bulbs out to dry before wrapping the bulbs in sawdust or peat moss and putting them in safe storage for the cold winter months.
Video Blog 656 – Putting Our Garden To Bed
It’s the first week in November and we’re putting our garden to bed. We’re finishing spreading hundreds of bags of leaves and grass clippings left on our property from generous neighbors sharing their bags of golden garden gold. We will also be collecting seed pods from our orange butterfly weed and starting the process of digging up all our tender bulbs, elephant ears, dahlias, calla lilies, rain lilies, and tuberous begonias. With dry weather in this week’s forecast we will set all the bulbs out to dry before putting them in safe storage for the cold winter months.
Video Blog 655 – The First Frost
It’s October and we had the first frost of the year. Two nights in a row we’ve had 23 degree weather which took its toll on many of our plants. One day they are in their glory and the next morning their leaves are no longer green and the plant is completely drooping. It is the end of their life cycle. Most notably it was the end of the season for the elephant ears, coleus, marigolds, zinnias, dahlias, grape leaves and gourds. While we still have some hardy flowers such as Montauk daisies, mums, nasturtiums, cosmos, monkshood, balloon flowers, sun blanket flowers, and even our giant hardy hibiscus are still standing and blooming. Our gardening tasks have begun to remove all the dead or dying foliage and start digging up and storing all our tender bulbs until next year.
Today we’re reclaiming our first garden area where our original Wisconsin Garden began. Nearly 30 years ago we created a small 20’ x 20’ fenced garden area designed to keep the rabbit from eating our vegetables. While this garden area has been used every year the raspberry patch has taken over nearly half of the planting beds so it’s time to pull all of the wandering root system and clear our raised beds for spring planting. It’s a lot of work but with four hands, a pitch fork, rake and shovel we were able to clear this entire area in less than 3 hours. Nice to have a big chunk of our first garden area ready for next year’s Wisconsin Garden.
Over the years our eclectic experimental garden has expanded to all areas of our half acre property with berms filled with an exciting mix of specimen plants, hundreds of perennial and annual plants, multiple flower beds, fruit trees and bushes, and 27 raised beds.
Video Blog 653 – Drying Elephant Ear Leaves
Today we will be attempting the task of drying elephant ear leaves. Remember preserving leaves inside a thick telephone book? Since we didn’t get around to doing cement castings of these monster leaves, we decided to cut and bring a variety of sizes inside before the first frost is scheduled to hit us this weekend. They were truly huge and majestic this year as they grow larger and larger every year. The elephant ear bulbs including their babies from just a couple of years ago have doubled and tripled in size. Being tender bulbs in our zone 5a, we will have to dig them out of the ground in the next couple of weeks before the ground begins to freeze. If we don’t, they will not survive our winters. Once we dig them up we will store them on large trays in a cool dark spot in our basement. As for the elephant ear leaves, we decided to weight them down with books and store them in our living room under a coffee table. Not sure what will happen, but this is why we consider ours an eclectic experimental garden. So stay tuned.
Video Blog 652 – It’s Apple Time In Wisconsin
Yes, it’s apple time in Wisconsin. Today we will be making apple sauce using the steam heat canning method and dehydrating apple slices. When making an apple pie, cider or apple sauce we like using a mixed variety of apples because it creates a smooth and creamy taste bud surprise. And if you’ve never dried or dehydrated apples before, you should consider adding this to your ‘To-Do’ list. The flavor is intensified and lingers the longer you can force yourself from swallowing these delicious slices from heaven. If you’re going to make apple souse this is the perfect time to consider drying some extra apple slices in your oven or dehydrator during the canning process. Make sure to pick up some extra quart canning jars and lids on your next trip to your favorite food store. You never know when your taste buds will want to can something delicious from your garden.
Video Blog 651 – Yummy Apple Dip Recipe
Here’s a simple yet yummy apple dip recipe. We first encountered this at a recent party and it left a delicious desire to duplicate and share. All you need is one bar of cream cheese, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, a half cup of brown sugar, and optional, a half cup of your favorite nuts (walnuts, pecans, cashews, peanuts, etc). Mix until ultra creamy then serve with plenty of sliced apples or other favorite fruit. It’s quick and easy, and a huge hit during halftime or anytime your fans are ready for something absolutely delicious and possibly addictive.
Video Blog 650 – Vegetable Clean Up
It’s that time of year for our annual vegetable clean up. The tomato cages are ready to be taken down and the raised beds cleaned up by removing all debris. We planted radishes this year to flower and help pollinate the garden and now it’s time to remove these giants. Some of the yellow, butternut and spaghetti squash will be harvested but we will leave the plants continue to grow and develop. Our Better Bilt trellises were extremely handy in supporting the weight of the squash making access really easy and handy. Despite pruning the runners my bumpy gourds have gone absolutely wild and are now growing into the raspberry patch nearly 40 feet away. Once the frost hits we will begin clearing the vines and storing the gourds over winter. We still have to clean up and store all the tomato supports. To complete the day we had 12 bales of wheat stray delivered for our experiment with bale gardens next spring. Stay tuned.
Video Blog 646 – October Garden Tour – Part 1 of 4
Join us on our October garden tour – part 1 of 4 as we take one final look at what’s still flowering in and around our garden before the first frost hits. Watch out for the creative Milk Jug Skelton. In this video we’ll look for as many plants that are still flowering including our Zinnia patch, nasturtiums, coleus, fibrous begonias, lemon balm, elephant ears, balloon flowers, hostas, snapdragons, blanket flowers, honeysuckle, rose bushes, phlox, chrysanthemums, weigela, monkshood, calamintha, hydrangea, mock orange, goldenrod, stella de oro, sedum, moss, giant hibiscus and Montauk daisies. We often deadhead old flowers which often produces a secondary blossom that extends the flowering season.
Video Blog 647 – October Garden Tour – Part 2 of 4
Join us on our October garden tour – part 2 of 4 as we take one final look at what’s still flowering in and around our garden before the first frost hits. In this video we’ll look for as many plants that are still flowering including our recently transplanted baby giant hibiscus plants, our prolific giant dahlia with platter size blossoms, better built trellis system, update on our drastic peach tree cut back, tuberous begonias, tender bulbs, container garden, nasturtiums, butterfly garden mix, chenille plant, tea rose, giant bleeding heart, asters, Japanese iris, day lilies, frogs, pond, Chinese poppies, vegetable garden area, and how our Russian cucumber heirloom seeds are doing that we planted in a container. Stay tuned for part 3.
Video Blog 648 – October Garden Tour – Part 3 of 4
Join us on our October garden tour – part 3 of 4 as we take one final look at what’s still flowering in and around our garden before the first frost hits. In this video we’ll look for as many plants that are still flowering including our fruit trees and vegetable garden along with some of the flowering bushes and plants still sharing their beauty for as long as the weather cooperates with their blossoming and growing efforts. We’ll update Encap’s zinnia, cosmos and butterfly seed mixture, orbital’s, rejuvenating plum tree, and continue our backyard tour. As we move to the north vegetable raised beds we see the tail end of the tomatoes, zucchini, butternut, yellow & spaghetti squash being held up by the Better Bilt trellises, radishes as pollinators, bumpy gourds, milkweed, black-eyed Susan, moon lilies, seed pods, and end up at the Sharon hibiscus bush. Stay tuned for part 4.
Video Blog 649 – October Garden Tour – Part 4
Join our final October garden tour – part 4 of 4 as we take one final look at what’s still flowering in and around our garden before the first frost hits. In this video we’ll look for as many plants that are still flowering including our elephant ears, coleus, milkweed, and other goodies in outside our kitchen garden area. We will also take a look at our two new apple trees and take a walkabout around the outer roadside view of our garden berm filled with a variety of plants, sedum, grasses, bushes and trees which we rarely included in our other seasonal garden tours. So as this growing season winds down we begin the task of cleaning up our Wisconsin garden for another year. There’s still a lot to do including adding hundreds of bagged leaf and grass clippings from all of our neighbors adding a 4-6” blanket of nature’s own mulch to all the flower and vegetable beds. This is the method we used originally to start building all of our berms which now consists of 2-3 feet of incredible soil.
Video Blog 645 – Handy Garden Tools
Today we’ll take a look at some of the handy garden tools, along with many other tools that found their way into our garden. We thought we highlight some because we often receive questions from viewers asking us about specific tools we like, use, and occasionally recommend. Whether standard or ergonomic we’ve found that many hand tools and power garden tools are true back saver, making tending garden tasks a more efficient use of time and energy.
Our all-time favorite garden tools are our handy garden knife, gloves and a variety of clippers. Next are the shovels, hoes and rakes. Having a sturdy sitting stool and kneeling pad also make the job easier on our back and knees. Yes, there are cheap tools that last a season or two if you’re lucky, and then there are tools of quality that can last a lifetime and even be past down to the next generation. While it’s often difficult to justify the cost of even a simple garden tool, we have found that buying quality tools that actually last are still the best bargain in the long run. You can also find some great bargains at local rummage sales so keep your eyes open for great bargains as well. If you have a favorite garden leave a comment.
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Video Blog 644 – Stepping Stone Walkway
Today we’re installing one our garden gifts, our stepping stone walkway. We want to lower each stepping stone at grass level in order to avoid a nasty collision with lawn mower blades. After placing all of the stones in position on our lawn for nearly two weeks it’s time to use our handy cutting spade and cut around each set of stepping stones. Then it’s a matter of moving each stone so we can remove each square section of grass. Once the grass is removed, we level out the soil and put the stepping stones back in position at grass level. In doing so, we’ve disturbed the roots of the surrounding grass so we make sure to pack soil in any surrounding gaps and thoroughly water the entire walkway for the next couple of weeks. Once settled into position our new walkway will be another option for entering our home.
Video Blog 643 – Garden Gifts
Today we’re receiving even more garden gifts in the way of more stepping stones and several dozen autumn harvest sedum plants and Stella de Oro daylilies. But first we have to reclaim an area of our front garden we’ve neglected for a couple of years, especially eliminating grass and weeds that have also made this area home. We will also be adding compost, mixing and amending the soil to give these plants a great head start. While we’ll only place the large stepping stones in place, we will have to make time to dig and sink them to ground level in order to cut the grass along this stepping stone pathway. Our deepest thanks to our generous neighbors for their wonderful and timely garden gifts that now add even more structure to our eclectic experimental garden. We thank you for watching, sharing your comments and if you like, please click the button at the end of this video and join our garden family by subscribing.
Video Blog 642 –Garden Stepping Stones
Who can resist free garden stepping stones when a generous neighbor offers? Naturally we said yes and began the journey across the street with our wheelbarrow to dig up, transport and recycle cement slabs back to our garden. Earlier this spring we actually discussed putting in a walkway so imagine our surprise when our neighbor asked if we wanted them. He’s redoing all the garden beds around his entire house and wanted these slabs that were installed by the previous owner removed. For the time being we will simply lay them out on the grass and allow the sun to dry up the grass underneath and lower them into the lawn at a later date. But in the meantime, we were move that eager to help our neighbor and put them to good use. We thank you for watching, sharing your comments and if you like, please click the button at the end of this video and join our garden family by subscribing.
Video Blog 641 – Invasive Fall Cleanup
Today we are tackling an invasive fall cleanup in an effort to eliminate bindweed, thistles, quack grass, weeds and invasive Buckthorn. Buckthorn was introduced in the 1800’s as an ornamental but now has become one of the most prolific invasive species around here. It’s a tree or shrub loaded with toxic berries, bark and roots that spreads quickly if not identified early. We’ve had our suspicions of several new trees growing in our garden berms which were confirmed by another master gardener as in deed, buckthorn which we are digging out today. The problem has gotten so bad several organizations now target invasive groves and go in and cut them down in an effort to slow down the spread of invasive species which quickly establish dense thickets. As for bindweed, we’re not sure we will ever see it gone from our garden and regret getting free mulch from our recycling center several years ago. In this case FREE continues to cost us an enormous amount of time and energy to remove. We thank you for watching, sharing your comments and if you like, please click the button at the end of this video and join our garden family by subscribing.
Video Blog 640 – Transplanting Giant Hardy Hibiscus
Today we’ll be transplanting giant hardy hibiscus baby plants that have seeded themselves last year. Unfortunately they grew in our pathway to the gazebo work area. We’ll put them in pots and eventually find a new area in our garden for them to grow. But first I’ll be using a rooting hormone to help stimulate root growth as well. Then with a balanced mixture of potting soil and some organic fertilizer and a lot of watering, we hope the majority of these beautiful babies will survive. We thank you for watching, sharing your comments and if you like, please click the button at the end of this video and join our garden family by subscribing.
Video Blog 639 – Making Whoopi – My Gourd Art Collection
Making Whoopi is my artistic tribute to Whoopi Goldberg as part of my gourd art collection. This artistic representation uses a large gourd grown in our Wisconsin Garden. I’ve been working on this creation, on and off, over several years and decided it was time to finally complete my work of art. As a respectful fan I have no idea whether or not Woopi’s assistants would ever allow her to accept my artwork when we mail it to her. And if for some reason it never reaches her hands, perhaps she will accidently come across our video someday and enjoy the fact that she inspired me to create this natural work of art. It’s our simple way of thanking her for being true to herself and her devoted fans. Her achievements are truly incredible as she was the first of only 12 people to earn and win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar & Tony award. As former classroom teachers we thoroughly appreciate her openly discussing important issues of the day and her willingness to share her honest opinions. That’s a rare and open personality that we both appreciate even should we disagree. We thank you for watching, sharing your comments and if you like, please join our garden family by subscribing.
Video Blog 635 – September Garden Tour – Part 1 of 4
We’ve had several requests so begin our September garden tour – part 1 of 4, by looking at our giant California Zinnias testing out a special seed mixture from a company located in Green Bay Wisconsin called Encap. With an amazing array of color and blossom types they’ve grown to nearly 4 foot tall. We’ll also update the progress of our new Chinese Lilac bushes, peony trees, balloon flowers, giant hibiscus, our new front bed of transplants with Arizona sun blanket flowers, marigolds, Hosta, Astilbe and blue heaven grass, along with our new pink hibiscus blossom and finish this portion of our tour with little knock out roses. In part 2 we’ll begin where we left off by looking at our experiment with container garden tomatoes and what’s happening in our SW garden area. Thank you for watching and if you like, please join our garden family by subscribing. Watch for part 2 coming soon!
Video Blog 636 – September Garden Tour – Part 2 of 4
We begin this second part of our September garden tour by reviewing our experiment with container garden tomatoes, looking at how our giant Dahlias are developing, our purple baptisia, luscious calla lily leaves, peony and strawberry beds, our peach tree revival. Then on to our herb containers, vegetables growing in the SW portion of our raised bed garden area including Chinese cabbage, peppers, kale, peas and beans, our rose bushes from seed, straight 8 cucumber plant, baby peach trees we found growing from pit seeds, and end this part of our tour by observing the late development of our Chinese poppies we also grew from seed in one of our containers. Coming up next, we move to our north vegetable garden areas where we grow our big tomatoes, spaghetti, zucchini, butternut and yellow squash and more. Thank you for watching and if you like our garden video blogs please click the button at the end of this video and join our garden family by subscribing.
Video Blog 637 – September Garden Tour – Part 3 of 4
CORRECTION: These are Tuberous Begonias not Fibrous Begonias as I incorrectly mentioned. We begin this third part of our September garden tour by viewing of my favorite begonia blossoms growing in a container. Then on to SW portion of our backyard garden area where we planted several containers that include nasturtiums and wild flowers from Encap seed mixture, sedum, Hostas, honeysuckle vine on the corner of our gazebo work area. Yes it’s nice to see that our peach trees are re-growing after a major cutback. We also planted a chenille plant in our Grecian sculpture, a new crop of Russian cucumber seeds, our little pond, water lilies, frogs, more zinnias, plum tree revival, and our gingko tree. We’ll also pull out some ground cover and move on to our Better Bilt trellises. We end this portion of our September garden tour in our northern raised bed areas, seeing how the tomato plants are progressing along with our spaghetti, zucchini, butternut and yellow squash. Thank you for watching. Watch for our final part 4 coming soon!
Video Blog 638 – September Garden Tour – Part 4
We conclude this fourth part of our September Garden Tour by taking a final look at what’s growing in our north raised bed vegetable garden. In part 3 we updated viewers on some of our tomato plants and our spaghetti, zucchini, butternut and yellow squash. Today we see how the cantaloupe, gourds, tomato berries, grapes, blueberry, blackberry plants and our raspberry forest. Then we will head to the garden area outside our kitchen window to see more flowering plants and conclude our September garden tour for this season. While there’s still a lot of work left to do in all of our garden areas, we still look forward to the rest of our fall harvest, eating more delicious fresh veggies, canning and dehydrating, deadheading, collecting seeds, and finally cleaning up and preparing all of our garden beds for next year. We thank you for watching, sharing your comments and if you like, please join our garden family by subscribing.
Video Blog 634 – Becoming A Golden Bulldog
Today I am becoming a Golden Bulldog. Yes, thanks to our dedicated Cedarburg High School Reunion Committee, an exciting weekend of events for our graduating Class of 1965 has been created. My classmates and I enjoyed a joyous party filled with fun awards, prizes, food and drinks. B.J. Pliskie and Bob Schroeder provided entertainment as they MC’d the evening event as Sonny & Cher look-a-likes, while Bill Begos created charicatures of each class member. Clint Atterberry put together a touching video for those who shared their personal memories and comments about CHS. Mark and Marji Wittenberg commissioned a beautiful hanging carpet banner displaying all the names of the 1965 graduating class. Even Brutus the bulldog joined our Friday evening festivities.
Lucky Kathy Thiele won Cindy Brunell’s amazing award-winning quilt which raised nearly $2,000 for the Golden Bulldog Scholarship Program on behalf of the Class of 1965. Saturday afternoon over 50 of the 142 grads were honored at the amazing Cedarburg Performing Art Center where they received their 50th Golden Bulldog Reunion pins from the newly appointed superintendent. Two dearly loved teachers, Mr. Phillip MontMarquette and Mr. James Ketter and their families were honored, as well as, the grads who served in the armed forces and all the graduates no longer with us.
The support for this closely knit Class of 1965 has made the effort to stay actively in touch for fifty years. This celebration is a true testament as to why so many families decided to make Cedarburg, Wisconsin much more than just a home; a loving and supportive community. This video is a special tribute and salute of gratitude to everyone who helped make this 50th milestone such a memorable event for all.
Video Blog 633 – First Tomato Harvest
Today is our first tomato harvest of the summer. Due the dry summer weather our yield seems to be a little less than normal. But our favorite Tomato Berries are doing extremely well and we only wish we could give you a taste test through your viewing device. We also gathered some zucchini, spaghetti and yellow squash, along with several varieties of larger tomatoes during our first harvest. We also were encouraged by the developing gourds, cantaloupe, cucumbers, peppers and kale growing in the other garden areas. Even though our harvest isn’t as large as years past, we still have plenty to share with family, friends and neighbors. Depending on the remaining weather patterns we’re hopeful that we will have many more harvests before the growing season ends.
Video Blog 632 – Cooked Peach Jam
Today I’m making cooked peach jam. This jam recipe is fairly easy and incredibly delicious. Simply heat peal approximately 3 pounds of peaches to remove the skins and pits then finely chop and measure into 4 cups of peaches. Place peaches in a large pan then add 1 package of Sure-Jel, 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, and ½ teaspoons of butter (to reduce foaming). Bring mixture to full rolling boil while stirring constantly. When you can no longer stir down the full boil add 5 ½ cups of sugar all at once. Continue stirring until it returns to full boil then time it exactly for 1 minute and remove from heat. Immediately begin ladling the peach mixture into prepared Mason jars filling each to within ¼ inch from top. The next phase is placing them into a canner. Bring water to a gentle boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove carefully and listen for the lids to pop so that you know they have sealed properly. You’ll find the complete directions inside the Sure-Jel box. If you haven’t watched the frozen version see our Wisconsin Garden Video Blog 630 – Freezer Peach Jam. These favorite jam recipes are just like eating a slice of sunshine. Enjoy.
Video Blog 631 – Dousman Stage Coach Inn
Today we’re visiting the historic Dousman Stage Coach Inn built in the 1850’s along the Watertown Plank Road here in Brookfield, Wisconsin. For many years this building was an important rest stop for shoeing your horse, fixing your wagon, a hot meal, a place to wash up, and if lucky, an overnight stay in a warm room with a soft bed. We volunteer here to help maintain their authentic garden and visitors can talk with knowledgeable Master garden volunteers who will gladly explain historical plant usage and the important roll this Inn played in the life of local farmers, trappers, fur traders, and travelers.
While the property was owned by several families it was donated to the Elmbrook Historical Society in 1997 and moved to its current site. If you love history and appreciate the role buildings such as these played in our society, we encourage you to stop and visit when visiting Wisconsin. This historic museum grounds are open to the public unless a wedding, civil war reenactment, garden or other special event is taking place. The Inn is about a ½ hour drive (15 miles) west of downtown Milwaukee. Google “Dousman Stage Coach Inn” for directions. Don’t forget to stop by our Wisconsin Garden when visiting. We’d love to meet you in person.
Costumed docents give tours of the historic Dousman Stagecoach Inn Museum from May through October on the first and third Sunday from 1:00pm to 4:00 pm except on federal holidays. Admission: Adults: $6.00 Children: 12 – 6: $3.00 Seniors (60 +): $4.00 Children: 5 & under free. All proceeds go to maintenance of the buildings and free public programs. For more information please visit: www.elmbrookhistoricalsociety.org for up to date information.
Video Blog 630 – Freezer Peach Jam
Freezer peach jam is pretty simple to make. Sterilize your canning jars and prepare your lids and covers then simply follow your favorite jam recipe. Here’s the recipe I’m going to follow for making jam today. Simply heat peal approximately 2 pounds of peach which measures 3 cups of finely chopped peaches, then add 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and 4 ½ cups of sugar. Stir occasionally for 10 minutes. In the meantime, prepare ¾ cups of water in a sauce pan and add one packet of Sure-Jel (pectin), bring to a boil and continue stirring for 1 minute. After the peaches have been patiently waiting for 10 minutes add and stir the Sure-Jel thoroughly for 3 minutes until sugar is completely dissolved. Then it’s simply a matter of filling your canning jars allowing ½ inch at the top for expansion. Make sure the glass canning jar is free from cracks or chips then apply the lid and cover and allow sitting for 24 hours in a cool place before putting into the freezer. They will also keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks if you intend to eat them right away instead of freezing them for later. Now it’s simply a matter of making enough.
Video Blog 629 – Hardy Hibiscus Update
Now that they are starting to bloom we thought you’d enjoy seeing our hardy hibiscus update. Richard couldn’t help himself and bought two red blossom hardy hibiscus plants at one our local farmer markets to compliment the white and pink ones we already have growing in the garden, Seeing that this plant dies down to the ground each year here in zone 5, it’s amazing to see them grow to over 6 feet tall with hundreds of platter size blossoms blooming day after day for at least a month. Every day old blossoms drop and new ones take their place. If you have room in your garden and want to include a conversational plant, then you may want to consider buying a giant hibiscus plant online or from your local garden center.
Video Blog 627 – Garden Stroll
It’s exciting to take a daily garden stroll through the garden areas to see what’s new and what’s blooming. At least once a week we take a clipper with us during our stroll to attend to anything that needs trimming or shaping. Today we’re looking at our front yard berm where to planting beds were completely developed from leaf mulch and grass clippings over the past 20 years. Every day in fall we would literally receive hundreds of bags of grass and leaf clippings and have 4-5 feet of standing leaves that would compost into great soil. As the berm began to create its current height of 2-3 feet in areas we began to expand our perennial plants, bushes and trees. Come join us in this week’s garden stroll to see what we’re doing in our Wisconsin Garden.
Video Blog 626 – August Garden To-Do List
Every gardener probably has their own August garden To-Do List. It’s hard to believe August is already here or that gardening maintenance is merely limited to just this month. As every gardener knows, it’s a constant on-going challenge. Today as we walk around some of our garden areas, we’ll catch up on deadheading flowers that we missed during our last passage. We will also address our issues with bindweed, thistles, tree saplings, weeds and other invasive plants in a feeble attempt to really eliminate them, but at least remove temporarily out of sight. We’ll even remove a branch or two that’s getting in our way along with removing our old crop of flowering lettuce, preparing our container for a second crop of seeds in the near future.
Video Blog 625 – Ozaukee County Fair
We promised to take each other to the Ozaukee County Fair in Cedarburg, Wisconsin before we were married. We enjoy seeing all the animals, (especially Richard’s goats) dizzy rides, fun games, 4-H exhibits, student artwork, produce winners, tractor pulls, demolition derby, live concerts, lots of food and delicious treats. Today marks our 47th consecutive year of attending, but this year we also have an ulterior motive for attending. This year we’ll both be assisting the Ozaukee master gardener booth with fellow MG’s meeting, greeting and answering questions visitors present for answers through our collective experiences. The UW-extension office in Madison provides many free publications that address some of the most commonly asked questions and gardening concerns, while OMG chapter provides several valuable prizes for visitors to win. All in all, it was a wonderful day with near perfect weather for this year’s Ozaukee county fair and a true pleasure to have assisted and attend. We both look forward to #48 next summer.
Video Blog 624 – Major Makeover
In our last video blog we mentioned that our neighbor Josh was doing a major makeover in his backyard. Fortunately for him, he works for a large construction company that offers him the ability to bring in some big equipment over the weekend when available. Josh purchased this property recently and we’ve known the condition of this property and the past 3 owners since 1978. The previous owners, Rachel and Chris started clearing the backyard jungle and now Josh felt it was time to complete this major makeover The original backyard was truly a unmanaged jungle for Nancy and her mother who originally built this house and live here when the area was a horse farm. When we think about the many tons and trailer loads of compost, soil, mulch, straw, bagged leaves, etc that we moved and spread by hand over the past 40 years, it sure would have been a lot easier with these toys. But then again, we didn’t need a gym membership to gain muscle. Another fringe benefit for gardeners. Come along with us as we watch his equipment tackle the job with mechanical muscle.
Video Blog 623 – Adding More Color
We’re adding more color to our garden now that we have over 50 shades of green. Sorry EL James but that’s going to be the title of our next garden book. This is the perfect time to visit your local garden center to find some great bargain as many perennials are under $2 each. Today we’re adding more color with the addition of several colorful Echinacea plants, a hardy Hibiscus and 12 more mums along the front flower berm. As we all know flower can be very fragrant, sensual and extremely colorful characters all playing their part within a garden drama that always seems to have captivating alternative endings. Maybe it’s the challenge and anticipation of what the next chapter is about to reveal that grabs and keeps gardeners on their knees, thankful that a garden sequel is always in the works. Got to love being a gardener, right?
Video Blog 622 – Raspberry Heaven
Day 3 – 52 pints so far and counting. Today we’re in raspberry heaven despite the hot and humid weather. Since the rabbits ate every stalk two winters ago, the plant roots began spreading and expanding beyond the original raspberry patch. It has almost become invasive. Not quite sure how we’re going to contain the root system already in place. While this is only our first harvest, it appears that less than half of all the berries have yet to ripen, meaning, just like Arnold Schwarzenegger, we already know “We’ll Be Back.”
After picking only 12 pints of raspberries we had to stop as the sweat kept rolling off or our eyeballs and everywhere else. And to think, this was just the coolest part of this morning’s adventures in raspberry heaven. Thank goodness for a slight breeze and the absence of mosquitos. The two days later we went out and picked 16 more pints several of which we shared with our neighbors. We anticipate harvesting at least 20 more pints for the freezer this week. Not bad for our little raspberry patch.
Video Blog 621 – Overgrown Garden
Having an overgrown garden isn’t unusual when you have many different area to manage. We’ve taken on a massive project this week to tackle on the NW side of our Wisconsin garden. For years we layered cuttings that started to create a natural fence along this area of our lot line. But when it starts to look ugly and embarrassing it’s time to take action. It took the better part of two days and several full trailer loads to our recycling center but this area looks so much cleaner. We even rescued a Hosta and replanted some sedum, tiger lilies, giant fleece plant and currants. Thank goodness the weather was cool, in the low 70’s and the rain held off until after we got home and cleaned up the mess left in our driveway. We’re glad we were able to clean up this area to accommodate even more summer tours around our entire property.
Video Blog 620 – Rain Barrel Update
Several viewers have asked us to do a rain barrel update. Some rain barrel manufacturers unfortunately provide cheap spigots that break easily. It’s very frustrating when that happens to a full barrel. Earlier this year a company call Rain Reserve sent us a complete spigot kit to test. Rain Reserve kit provides everything you need to convert any rain barrel or water storage containers. Once we installed their sturdy spigot shut off value the flow and water pressure dramatically increased making it a better-built spigot system. Because we have 4 rain barrels we wanted to explore alternative ideas we found at our local hardware store. Thanks Bryant for sending us your Rain Reserve rain barrel spigot kit. As you can see, it works great and much easier to turn on and off.
Video Blog 619 – Giant Fleece Plants
Our giant fleece plants have started to collapse due to their 7-8 foot stalks with heavy blooms. Because of their size, weight and lack of rain, several of these massive flowering plants desperately needed trimming. While the 110 mile an hour wind shear that crossed Wisconsin last night missed us, we’re glad we decided to trim them back half way just in time. We are doing this to encourage new growth and even second blossoms in mid to late summer. Each year this huge plant dies back completely in fall and pops out of the ground around mid spring and begins growing very quickly. Many people stop, photograph and ask us about these majestic giant fleece plants. They‘re simply amazed to touch and smell them and see these flowering plants grow to a height of 8 feet in clumps flaring 8-12’ wide. Now that we have divided the mother plant, each one has become a very impressive plant in our neighborhood.
Video Blog 615 – July Garden Tour Part 1 of 4
us on our 4 part July Garden Tour. In part 1 we will begin our walkabout along our east side of our eclectic garden areas, just outside our kitchen entrance. Then we will meander under our snake willow tree and along the front yard, including the entirely new bed we completed yesterday in front of our screen porch. This part of our garden tour will end along the front bed of our east berm where we just completed our video on rescuing summer plants. Come along and see part 2 of our July garden tour coming up next below.
Video Blog 616 – July Garden Tour Part 2 of 4
Join us on our July Garden Tour Part 2. We’ll continue along the east berm area, the S driveway area, strawberry beds, then walk around to the front street side view of this eclectic garden berm area. You’ll see a variety of perennial plants, flowering bushes, and trees. Something special has happened to one of our giant Fleece plants that we’ve never seen before. Then we will discuss how we’re trying to save a boxwood hedge and the addition of a, new non-invasive, Buckthorn specie. We end with a little surprise growing on one of our newer trees planted 2 years ago. Continue along and watch part three as we continue our July garden tour coming up next below.
Video Blog 617 – July Garden Tour Part 3 of 4
Join us on our July garden tour part 3 walkabout. We head for our little experimental grape arbor and our blueberry plants, then inspect our blackberry plants and see this year’s prolific raspberry patch is doing, especially since the rabbits chewed the stalks down to the ground two years ago. Then we will look at the perennial plants on the south side of our property, the new Dahlia bed, tomato containers and finally see how our leafcutter bee houses are doing. Come along with us next to see the conclusion of our 4-part series of our July garden tour below.
Video Blog 618 – July Garden Tour Part 4 of 4
Join us as we complete our July garden tour part 4 walkabout. We start where we left off in part 3 as we head to the SW corner of our property where we planted our first garden many years ago. Here’s some vegetables such as kale, peppers, beans, peas, and our perennial roses and peony trees we planted from seed. We’ll check on our Honeycrisp Apples destroyed by rabbits, more perennials and our water lilies in the upper pond. We’ll show you the roots of our cattails, damage to our Albert Spruce bush and the topiary created, our Better-Bilt compost bin and the north garden with raised beds where we’re growing tomatoes, squash, melons, and gourds and complete our July garden tour. Enjoy and thank you for joining us on our summer tour.
Video Blog 614 – Replanting Our Bed
Replanting our bed in front of our screen porch became a priority this summer as it’s always important to maintain curb appeal. Now that our amazing giant bleeding hearts are done blossoming along with several other spring bulbs and perennials, it’s time for us to relandscape this entire area. Day one was all about digging out and saving selected plants. Day two began by digging up positioning 4 of our bleeding heart plants then 6 Hostas, and purchasing some new perennials. We symmetrically positioned 4 grass plants called Blue Heaven, 6 pink and red Astilbe plants, 6 flowering Arizona Sunblanket plants, and some left over marigolds and alyssum. Then off Richard went to our local garden center to purchase 26 bags of Cypress mulch to finalize the replanting of our bed.
Video Blog 613 –Releasing Preying Mantis
Every day we check for indicators in releasing praying mantis egg case (or praying mantis) that we purchased at the Chicago flower show this spring. We were told to keep them in our refrigerator for several months at 34 degrees then last week we decided to put the egg case in a paper bag on a west facing window on our back porch. Supposedly, this 1 egg case contains 150-300 Mantids or more. Because our Wisconsin temperature keeps bouncing between 40’s and 80’s, we were also told they will begin hatching when the temp is a consistent 70-75 degrees. Once they hatch we will release them into several garden areas where they can begin to feast on a variety of live insects. Last year we had several living on our porch screens taking swift care of flies and other insects that trapped themselves in our front porch.
Video Blog 612 – Rescuing Summer Plants
We didn’t think about rescuing summer plants when we produced a recent video called a splash of color. Despite ample watering these colorful plants were struggling after a couple of weeks and we had to make a decision to replant them over again. We decided to repot some of these annual flowers in colorful containers and separate the rest hoping that as we divided them it will help their roots develop more quickly. Now with continued care and a watchful eye we hope to see a second set of blossoms very soon.
Video Blog 611 – Making Compost Tea
Making compost tea is a pretty simple formula creating a healthy tonic that improves plant growth, root development, healthy soil nutrient retention. I’ve mixed 3 cups of compost into a 3 gallon pail of water. Then I added 3 tablespoons of molasses to feed and activate the microbes in the compost.
After aerating the mixture for a couple of days before I begin the filtering process which then needed to be watered down before using it in our garden. If you don’t water it down the formula could be too strong. I completed the formula by adding 3 cups of clear water to every cup of compost tea.
Video Blog 610 – Training & Trimming A Weeping Tree
Training & trimming a weeping tree is at least a once a year garden task that helps keep branches under control and growing in a downward position. Whether training the wild branches with string, wire or rope you don’t want to tighten them to a point where they strangle or girdle either your tree or the branches. Once the majority of branches are under control then it’s time to decide whether or not to trim the length of all or some of the weeping branches to create the effect you’re after.
Video Blog 609 – Flowers That Repel And Attract
Today we’re going to add flowers that repel and attract insects in our vegetable gardens. We’ll be planting scented Marigolds to repel white flies, bad nematodes, aphids and mosquitoes alternating them with Sweet Alyssum to attract to attract pollinators to our garden. We will also sprinkle radish seeds, eat some, but let the majority flower and go to seed. The radish flowers will also attract pollinators while the roots repel the bad nematodes and the plant itself will help repel white flies from the garden.
There are many other plants you may want to add to your garden if you’re looking for more ways to repel unwanted bugs and infestations or attract beneficial insects into your garden.
Video Blog 608 – Releasing Leafcutter Bees
Now that the Mason Bee season is over we’re releasing leafcutter bees into their new home. While our first batch of solitary Mason bee we released didn’t appear successful, we’re hoping the leafcutter bees we purchased will fully develop from their cocoon and begin their pollination life-cycle. Every day we check on these little cocoons, and while a couple seemed to have opened, we haven’t seen a lot of activity around the tubular housing systems we installed as their starter home. Many simply find hollow plant shafts in a field to lay their eggs then die when their season is over, passing on this work for future generation of solitary mason and leafcutter bees to continue their pollinating mission. This is an important study due to the massive disappearance of the honey bee around the world. And yet, just one of these mason or leafcutter bees are known to be 100 times more effective in pollinating plants than 100 honey bees. That’s why we decided to add this study in our Wisconsin Garden.
Video Blog 607 – Planting Giant Dahlias
Today we are planting giant dahlias we recently purchased and reclaiming a southern slope just off our garden gazebo. We been so busy with many other areas that by the time we get around to this area we stopped planting anything new. So this year we decided to pull out all the existing vegetation and start over. We even installed several of our Better Bilt trellis sections to help support the upper level. These giant dahlias are expected to grow 4-6 feet tall with platter size blossoms. Unless the growers in the ad were very short, we believe this south facing garden area should be perfect for their yearly bulb development. Come late fall, all of these bulbs will need to be dug up and stored in a cool, dry, dark place.
Video Blog 606 – Topiary Trim
It’s time to consider some topiary trimming especially on several arborvitae bushes that exist in different parts of our garden. Both overcrowding and the winter sun has burned and destroyed much of the southern side of these plants over the years. Rather than digging them up and throwing them away, we decided to apply our artistic topiary minds to this task. We even decided to topiary six of our full dwarf Alberta spruce trees that we planted along the edge of our berm that if allowed to fully grow would end up blocking our view of many other plants growing on our berm. Now we could have removed and replanted them elsewhere, but from the view of our front porch overlooking this berm area has already revealed other flowering plants, bushes, and trees that will also reveal our topiary structures during the winter months. Now it’s up to us to keep them trimmed.
CLICK HERE – Burgon & Ball 4” Topiary Shears – $50
Video Blog 605 – Pear Slugs
We recently found some pear slugs (saw fly larva) eating our smoke tree leaves. Our smoke trees have been cropped downward into smoke tree bushes planted in two nearby locations. Both were affected and covered with these destructive worm-like pests distorting and eating away at these beautiful russet colored leaves. We’ll include a photo overlay during this video to help identify them. We will also show you how we attacked this infestation before our entire smoke tree plant was eaten alive using four natural methods. Now that we are aware of this problem we will continue to keep a watchful eye open and apply these techniques as needed.
Video Blog 604 – Planting Giant Zinnias
Every year I love planting giant zinnias outside my kitchen door. I love the butterflies they attract as much as their amazing colors and floral displays. This year we came across a product made here in Wisconsin that proved to be less expensive than purchasing multiple packets of seeds. Encap is a seed company located in Green Bay Wisconsin that uses an advanced soil technology that improves the physical characteristics soil for maximum performance. Basically, they prepare and add a special formula that includes; mulch, fertilizer, seed and soil conditioners with their patented crystal watering technology components that indicate when it’s time to water. We will test their product and compare it to our past experiences with zinnias.
Video Blog 603 – Container Garden
Having a container garden allows nearly everyone the opportunity to grow something you enjoy. Whether for its flowering beauty or your taste bud, there is little excuse for not having a container on your porch, patio, or even the entrance to your home. If you’re after something dramatic, a container garden allows many plant and color options to employ as thrillers, fillers, and spillers, Even if you don’t have a lot of garden space, containers still allow you to create a vertical garden area for both determinant and indeterminate vegetable plants, herbs and fruit. Whether utilizing a large decorative container of even a plastic milk jug, creating a container garden isn’t difficult, it’s really a matter of priority, purpose, and price.
Video Blog 602 – Deadheading
Deadheading is the process of removing old blossoms. It’s a seasonal task many gardeners chose to do instead of allowing a plant to go to seed. If the old blossoms aren’t cut off, most of the energy will transfer into creating seed heads instead of root or bulb development. This shift in energy allows some plants (annuals and perennials) to encourage the potential development of second blossoms. Removing the old stems and blossoms also help maintain the overall health of your perennials, and by removing the old debris to your compost bin to fully decompose and be recycled at a later date.
Video Blog 601 – Iris & Peony Update
Here’s a brief Iris & Peony update in our Wisconsin Garden. We have hundreds of beautiful iris and peonies that are now in full bloom. With the early bloom this year we found several mutations amongst hundreds of bearded Iris blossoms along with an unusually large number of peony buds and blossoms on a single bush. This is about the most we’ve ever seen on one plant. This bush alone, we counted over 90 buds several weeks ago and now over 100 blossoms. While many survived, a recent rain destroyed many that were in full bloom. Our next task will be deadheading all of these old blossoms in a future garden update.
Video Blog 600 – Celebrating Wisconsin Bloopers
Celebrating Wisconsin Bloopers is our special “Thank You” video celebrating Lynn’s amazing 600th Wisconsin Garden Video. Yes, this video includes a few of Lynn’s funny Wisconsin bloopers?
We personally want to thank everyone who took time to send us their video congratulations to Lynn. We especially want to thank: Brian, Dee & Kevin, Sarah, Scott & Lydia, Ginger & Alex, Ranjit, Greg, Barb & Dave, Lace & Logan, Keye, Tania & and Skye, along with all of our viewers from 132 countries and the thousands of subscribers who’ve already joined and are now part of our Garden Family.
We hope you enjoyed our “Celebrating Wisconsin Bloopers,” Lynn’s 600th Video as we look forward to the next 600 videos. If you enjoy this video, please give Lynn your “Thumbs Up.” And if you’re a First-Time viewer, we invite you to visit our Wisconsin Garden website. Subscribe and join our growing global garden family.
Richard and I are deeply grateful for all of your kind comments, questions, and continued support.
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