Monday, May 22

First Blooms, Portland, OR

One of my first roses to bloom every year

Here is a look at what is blooming in my May garden. The weather has taken a change for the better, which has resulted in the gardens first blooms. All of these flowers are on my patio.

Unknown climbing Rose

This peach rose is a climbing variety at the side of my house. I don't prune or deadhead it much because the rose plant is so tall, that I would need a ladder to reach the blooms.

One of my potted Roses

I don't remember planting so many pink roses last year. This is one of  the cheap roses I bought last Spring for $3,99 from Fred Meyers. I planted it along with the other pink rose in a one gallon pot. It needs to be transplanted to a bigger pot this year. I would suggest that you start with a 2 gallon pot or bigger first if you want to grow your roses in pots.

Another pink Rose that turned peach when cut

I have noticed that the colors of the roses in my garden this year are really intense. This might be because I have been feeding all my plants with Organic Fish Emulsion. It is a liquid fertilizer that you just mix with water and apply around your plant every few weeks. I also have 3 very expensive David Austin old fashion English roses in pots.

Hostas do good in the shade

It appears that it is a good hosta season. I love hostas. These are also potted on my patio.  There is no escaping slugs here  with our wet Oregon weather. I have been using organic slug pellets. Some years I have put out dishes of Beer and that has worked most of the time. This year I did not want to take any chances.

This one is by my front door

Pink Snapdragons

This is a annual Snapdragon that never died. Annuals will often do that here in Portland because of our very mild winters.

Potted Strawberries

Potted Strawberries. My favorite fruit. I also have a raised bed for Strawberries.I mix the June fruiting varieties with the ones that produce fruit many times during the season.

Saturday, May 13

Monday, May 8

Caroline's Flower Seeds 2017

Flower seeds for Caroline's Summer 2017 flower garden.

Bachelor Buttons
Oriental Poppies
Canterbury Bells
Perennial Mix

Sunday, May 7

The Lazy Way to Make a Garden Bed-Portland, OR

Pretty purple petunias

I made a new flower bed a few weeks ago, and started planting it with annuals today. I wish I was one of those gardeners that are in to doing things the correct and right way all the time. But frankly, I no longer have the energy, or time to always do things the right way. More times than I care to admit, I like to take the easy way to complete many routine gardening projects. Making new gardening beds is one of these projects that I try to do the "easy" way.

Snapdragons. I noticed that the ones I planted last year, grew back this year

My new bed is a 9ft by 4ft bed that I made over grass. My lazy bed technique included covering the grass with two layers of black weed blocking fabric, followed by dumping several inches of mulch over the top. By next summer the grass should be dead underneath leaving a nice layer of soil. If you can, it is best to mow the grass and remove any weeds that you can.

These annuals should fill in as soon as the weather is warm everyday

Today I was able to plant some annuals in the bed. I also transplanted many annuals such as Cosmos and Zinnias that were seed starts. Planting is fairly easy. You just temporary remove the mulch where you want to plant. Then cut a slit in the fabric with a knife and tuck the plant into the slit. You may have to dig a hole if the plant won't fit. After placing the plant, I just pushed the mulch back around the plant.

 I selected this method to make the bed because it is still cool and wet here in Oregon. If it was the middle of summer I could have just covered the spot in black plastic or weed blocker fabric.  The heat from the sun, and lack of light would then  kill the grass underneath in a week or so. In fall I like to cover areas with cardboard then add soil and compost on top. The cardboard method is my favorite way to make a bed because the cardboard breaks down quickly, leaving a rich soil underneath by next planting season. It also attracts a lot of worms. Here is a video that shows you how to do it in a raised bed.

Saturday, May 6

Signs of a late Spring Start-Portland, OR

Love these rock garden plants in their full Spring glory! 

A carpet of color on a front garden border

A view of a rock garden border on my street

I like the color of these tulips

Rhododendrons in full bloom 

Unknown flowering tree


Blooming in my garden right now

A pot of succulents at the Community Garden

A mini bouquet of herbs that I made for my new rabbit

Thursday, May 4

Note To Michele: New Green House, Spring in Maine


Happy Spring! Spring has been slow arriving to Maine this year. We've had fluctuating temperatures and ample rain, with more due over the weekend. One sunny day recently, I assembled my new greenhouse. It is identical to the one I had before which lasted me three years. The plastic finally gives out as mine did, but considering the affordable price of this green house, I think it's well worth it.

Assembling the greenhouse is simple. Anyone who played with Tinkertoys as a child will have an easy time with these, and if not, the instructions are clear and the parts labeled. It took me about an hour and 15 minutes to assemble.

So now that it is done and the temperatures are slowly starting to rise, I will start some seeds soon. I have mostly flowers this year. I will buy starts for my veggies.

I wintered over my geranium plants with a grow light this year. Most survived and are now out in the greenhouse. I am also going to attempt to re-bloom a beautiful poinsettia from last Christmas. It's looking quite sad at the moment, but still alive, so I'm going to try it. I have heard it's not an easy feat, and simpler just to buy a new one, but I'm up for the challenge.

I don't have too much going on in my garden right now but the forsythia is in bloom, as well as daffodils. Tulips should bloom soon.

That's about all the news from here, but now that spring has sprung, I will be posting with regular updates.


Saturday, April 29

Note to Caroline: 2017 Season Start, Portland, OR

Dear Friend,

It looks like we are going to start gardening this year at the same exact time. This is not great gardening news for me since in past years I have been able to get going months ahead of you. But as we have noticed in previous years, you always catch up because your summers in Maine are so much warmer.  I heard on the news that it has been none stop rain since October.  This is more rain than even us Portlanders are used to. They also said that it was in the 80's this time last year. I don't know what has happened to our much milder spring weather. I can remember starting in February or March most years. This year I have not planted much of anything and it will soon be May.

View of the Community Garden
Sensing that this year could be a challenge, I decided to start a lot of seeds indoors,  hoping I would get a better start. So now the challenge is that the seeds have sprouted, but are not growing at all since they got their first set of leaves. I am starting to feel that I am going to lose all my seed starts. I had to move the seedlings outside on my porch on some shelves covered in plastic because they were getting too leggy and there was too little light. Maybe it is time to invest in some indoor lights and shelves for a better indoor seed starting set up.

First Spring Bulbs

Some of my gardening activities have involved making a new bed at my home for a cut flower garden, preparing the "gorilla gardening" space at the back of the property for planting, and getting the raised beds at my street's community garden ready. I love the raised beds because I can get them ready and plant all in one day.

Lettuce starts at the Community Garden

This year I am concentrating on flowers and herbs. For the past couple of years I have been blogging about vegetables. One reason for this is that I want to have a "Cut Flower Garden". I would love to be able to fill my home with flowers, and have some extra flowers to make  bouquets to give away.  I have been learning about growing cut flower gardens from these two books: Cut Flower Garden by Erin Benzaken and The Flower Farmer by Erin Benzken. Both authors are growing cut flowers to sell, but the information is invaluable for just regular gardeners. I am planning to review both books soon for our blog.

Community Garden after the grass was mowed

One other goal I have for the 2017 gardening season is learning how to arrange  the flowers. I am thnking of ordering this book The Flower Workshop by Ariella Chezar. I have also been watching flower arranging video channels on You Tube, such as this one on how to make a hand tied Wedding Bouquet.

Another post I will be doing this season is a review of these channels. I want to also post each arrangement I make on our Instagram account. If you are reading this note and are a reader you can sign up for our Instagram account here Sprouts Blog Instagram. We will also be taking photos of our gardens, product reviews, etc.

Potted Roses

Yesterday I received  the stackable planter with internal slow drip watering system from GreenStalk
that I will be reviewing in a few weeks. My initial impressions are very positive. It holds 25 plants. That is a lot when you think about it, and you are not using a lot of space.  I am thinking of just growing all my herbs and most of my vegetables in this one planter which will free up a ton of space for flowers.

Different view of raised beds before weeding

I am so glad that we agreed to free up more time this gardening season to accept more requests to review gardening products and do more posts. If  you are a business and would like us to review your
product, be sure to contact us ASAP, so we can pencil you in our 2017 schedule. Also keep in mind that we like to see how the product works in both our gardens, Maine and Oregon, so you need to send us two of whatever you want us to review.

One of the David Austin Roses that I planted this spring

Lastly I want to apply some of the bio dynamic gardening methods I read about last season in the
Biodynamic Gardening Book. I think you remember that they garden by the phases of the moon. They have some simple fertilizers made from weeds and other garden by products I want to try.

So what is new for 2017 in your Maine Garden?


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