Giants in my Garden

When I planted the sunflowers, I was thinking along these lines: Or even something like this: I did not anticipate coming home to this, after a 2 week garden hiatus: Here's another picture with a shovel in it, just to give you some perspective: The Wiz says she can't even tell they are sunflowers, that they just look like big weird green things. My point exactly. I might also point out that even though the shovel doesn't give the greatest perspective, these big green weird things that are supposed to be beautiful sunflowers also happen to be about 12 feet tall. I guess caterpillars don't like sunflowers.


Blogger Lisa M. said...

Oh my.


I don't know anything about sunflowers, except they are so pretty!

Oh Heather, I have something to share...

Are you sitting down?

Ethan just said, Momma.

8/14/2006 11:37:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Oh, Lisa, congrats! I grinned a mile when I read that. That's awesome!

8/15/2006 12:13:00 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Heather, You (and dh) seem to be quite the gardeners. I would love you to do a series on gardening. We just moved to a house and have some space for flower beds and perhaps a few veggies. But, first we have to haul off these awful landscaping rocks that are everywhere. All a project for next summer! Anyway, I just don't know where to start with planning. Maybe for early next spring???

8/15/2006 01:35:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...


Oh, I LOVE spring planning! It's one of my favorite things to do, and I even have a diagram of where everything is going to go next spring. It gets me through the winter!

Depending on where you live, if the fall is warm enough you might be able to get away with planting some cool weather veggies right now, like sugar snap peas, beans, spinach, and lettuce. These veggies all need cooler temperatures (radishes will even thrive with some frost), and do well in part shade (especially lettuce). If you don't get frost until October, you might be able to put something in now. If you live in Utah, well, the planting season is probably pretty much done, so get out the notebook and start thinking about spring!

We are actually pretty novice gardeners, really. We have had 2 seasons working with a real garden, and have learned a lot along the way. There are 2 basic things you have to concentrate on when you garden: sun and soil. Make sure your soil is good, which in our case involved working in a lot of store bought soil and compost the first year. We also have our own compost pile, and we spread the compost in the fall after everything is dead, and in the spring before planting. You can also get the PH of your soil tested, which we have never done but are planning to do next spring. Most vegetables like a Ph of between 6-7.

Also, you need enough sun. Our next door neighbors have a garden that they put in way before us, and they are really struggling to get anything out of it. However, they planted in part shade, which causes some problems. You have to understand that your yard has a multitude of microclimates, and you have to plant accordingly.

For example, I planted the same sunflower seeds not far away from the monsters I pictured, but since they don't get as much direct sun all day, I got other sunflowers that are only about half as tall. You really have to know where the sun and shade are in your yard, and pick out which plants will do the best in each microclimate. The same goes for houseplants. Figure out what microclimate you want houseplants to live in, and pick them out accordingly. You can't expect a plant with a need for high light to flourish alongside something like an African violet, which can't handle that kind of intensity.

Sheesh, put in a quarter, and she won't shut up!:)

8/15/2006 04:39:00 PM  
Blogger Mo Mommy said...

Eek! I know what those are!! They're Triffids!!

8/15/2006 09:24:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Mo Mommy, thanks for the laugh!

They have actually opened up today, and resemble sunflowers. Finally!

8/16/2006 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Thanks for the tips Heather. When you first started, how did you know what works to plant in your area? We live in minnesota, just moved here, and I have no idea about what kinds of plants (shrubs, flowers, and vegetables) would grow successfully here.

By the way, I love your bloomed sunflowers! So gorgeous.

8/21/2006 11:00:00 AM  
Blogger Heather O. said...


Minnesota is going to be tougher than, say, here in Virginia because your growing season is so much shorter. Y'all are in Zone 4, pushing Zone 3, whereas we are pushing Zone 8. That means that earliest frosts come much, much sooner than in Minnesota. At this point I doubt there is much you can grow, just because your first forst comes in early October, right? But you can push your growing season a little farther by starting things indoors before it is frost free outside, things like tomatoes or peppers. You should also focus on hardier veggies that can handle the cool weather, like spinach, carrots, radishes, lettuce, and winter squashes. You will definitely have to find some good, direct sun to maximize growth.

As far as flowers, etc, go, you will probably be okay putting in some fall bulbs pretty soon. Again, focus on things that can handle cool weather and come up even if there is a frost, like tulips, crocuses, daffodils, hyacinths, etc. I don't know as much about hedges and shrubs, so I can't help you there.

Home Depot has a great series of books called "All About...." They are very basic and informative, and will give you lots of info about what kind of plants will grow in what type of climate. I have 3 of these books: All About Bulbs, All About Houseplants, and All About Vegetables. They are not too expensive (I think maybe around 20 bucks a piece). They are the perfect books for anybody who is just getting started. I highly recommend them.

Have fun!

8/21/2006 12:21:00 PM  

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