Still Thinking About Flowers

I wish I could see past my thinking that annuals are a waste of money, because I really like a lot of them.

I love Dusty Miller. And how cute is it with these petite flowers at the local garden center?

Flats of Flowers for Sale

I did buy some Asparagus Fern though, which is an annual here. I had some last year by the front door and it grew like crazy even when I was less than attentive to it.

Murray's Examining the Greenery

The only thing Brandon and I have done outside is prepare the ground. I also planted an anemone in a pot, and it’s doing really well! Now, this is where I can trick you and show you how pretty my garden is

Red and Purple Anemones

But it really looks like this:

Blank Slate

The cinder block is my favorite. So pretty.

I planted the Asparagus Fern in some hanging pots from IKEA.

Potting Plants

They look nice on the porch, but everything still looks so dead around here. Come on spring!

Hanging Pots

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  • Justine
    April 20, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    Those petite little flowers are Sweet William and they come up every year. I think they reseed like crazy.

  • Lili
    April 20, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    Did you see the smaller round glossy pots at ikea? I wish they came in other colors besides ick tan and rusty red.

    I am really terrible at gardening as well. I never remember to water anything.

  • Amy
    April 20, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    Justine is right – the smaller flowers can be perennial (they also come in annual and biennial flavors). They are called Dianthus but go by the common names Sweet William, Pinks, and Carnations (which are different types of Dianthus). I’m zone 4, nearly three and they do well (I grow Pinks).

  • Stefanie
    April 20, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    Thank you for the “actual” picture I loved this post!

  • trayla
    April 20, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    Spring may seem slow, but everything will burst open all of the sudden! My cherry tree went from bud to full bloom in like two days, so pretty.

    Be careful, I had an incident w/ my cat and a plant, asparagus fern is a potential poison to dogs. Now I check this list whenever considering a new houseplant. I know the ferns are now up and out of harms way, but here’s a good list to check: http://www.aspca.org/site/PageServer?pagename=pro_apcc_toxic_asparagusfern

  • Jennifer
    April 20, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    I have lots of perennial dianthus in my garden! I love it.

    I do mostly perenials, too… but a lot of annuals seed really well! The only one I buy in plant form are pansies… I plant them in the fall and have fall and spring (and sometiems even winter) pansies before it gets too hot again.

  • SuzyQ
    April 20, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    Haha! The cinder block is a nice touch. I know the feeling though…my backyard is less than appealing with huge bare spots all over and no grass growing – we are going to finally focus on getting grass seed to grow there this year! Sheesh! I can’t get past annuals either – so pretty but they are just going to die and not come back – arg. But I often give in for few when they go on sale.

  • Darren
    April 21, 2008 at 12:25 am

    Hi Nicole,

    Just wanted to let you know with the asparagus fern that it is actually a weed. If it gets planted into the ground (it goes back to its prehistoric form..)and they call it wild asparagus.. you will never EVER get rid of it, not even common poisons will kill it. I’m sorry but not a very good choice.( I have had a terrible time with it..and in the new back fence…grrr, anyway…best of luck with everything else, i know it will look fantastic when you finish it.

  • M&CO
    April 21, 2008 at 2:36 am

    I’m just like you …I really feel many annuals are a waste of money, but then again, they are pretty… so every year I grow a few plants from seeds, and also when the urge get too strong I’ll buy a few from our local garden center.
    Dusty Miller is beautiful, the silvery grey color is so gorgeous! I’m really looking forward to follow the progress of your garden :-)

  • Eve
    April 21, 2008 at 3:17 am

    Hi! I just found your blog, and I think it’s beautiful! I will try not to rave and gush about your blog, but I feel like I can stay on it forever! It’s really, really easy on the eyes and so fun to browse! (I feel like I’m in a store, all excited). Also, I really respect how you are a designer in all senses – how you do it all! (I’m not a designer, just moderately artsy. I love colors, for example, and I love clothes..but for some reason as much as I try to, I just am not enjoying myself when I sew! I get all crunched up and stressed…anyway!)

    :) A delighted reader

  • Julie
    April 21, 2008 at 6:01 am

    I always thought Dusty Miller was an annual – until one year I didn’t pull it from the garden in the fall. It’s been coming back for 3 years straight now! (one of the few times it’s paid off to be lazy with our fall clean up :-) )

  • Amanda
    April 21, 2008 at 7:43 am

    Hey, now that you’ve got the ground ready, maybe try planting annuals from seed? Seeds are pretty cheap, and there are a lot of pretty ones that are easy to direct-sow (you just drop them in the dirt, instead of nurturing along the little sprouts in pots and then transplanting them). The ones I’ve tried that have been ridonculously easy are cosmos and zinnias (liked the zinnias the best! they looked like dahlias) and nasturtiums. I think it might have been too hot here for the nasturtiums, maybe you’d have better luck in your area.

  • Michelle Baker
    April 21, 2008 at 8:15 am

    I don’t know…that cinder block looks a little dry. You might want to water it a touch. ;P

    I feel the same way. I have a hard time shelling out money for annuals. If you like the dusty miller, silver mound is a nice alternative, and it’s a perennial.

  • amy purple
    April 21, 2008 at 8:46 am

    To show all of you how much I know about gardening, i don’t even know what you guys are talking about when you say annuals and perennials! I know zilch! seriously. How humiliating!

    Nicole – i loved your fake and real photos of the garden space! :)

  • JenReally
    April 21, 2008 at 11:09 am

    Thank you so much! I have had those flowers popping up in my garden and had no idea what they were (I tried describing them like poppies and only confused the florists more)

    I’m now going out and getting hundreds to match!

  • elissa
    April 21, 2008 at 11:13 am

    “My” yard (really my landlord’s) is rapidly turning into a prairie at the moment. The daffodils and grape hyacinths I planted look great, but the 10″ tall weeds growing in the lawn leave a bit to be desired. I hope they mow soon! If you’re looking for early color, plant bulbs this fall. They are one of the first things to pop up and bloom in the spring.

  • Ryan
    April 21, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    I’m new to the gardening concept too but I err on the side of the perennial. Spending not only the money on annuals, but the time to plant them every year is not in my “plan.” But I splurge on some pretty seed packets and if/when they come up I get really excited. I think I might set myself a $20-30 annual budget to get a few pretty perimeter annuals of things that don’t grow from seed. My yard looks dead still (It snowed again today) and even the tulips are still waiting to bloom.

    Lambs ear is also a perennial that has that furry grey look (but with smooth edges) and will grow well in the north and can take over if you don’t contain it but that also means it will fill in quickly.

  • Kate of All Trades
    April 21, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    I understand how you feel about annuals. But let me make a case for them. Perennials typically only bloom once all season. So you have to plan the garden carefully to make sure that something is blooming. And it probably won’t really pan out that well until the second season the plants are in the ground.

    But annuals bloom over and over again all season. They’re predictable! And especially important if you don’t have much of a garden in place yet.

    If you forgo annuals, your garden is going to be an exercise in delayed gratification….trust me, I’m in it.

  • Laura
    April 21, 2008 at 9:55 pm

    Hi Nicole:
    Gardening is daunting. I started doing it for real last year and we had a killer drought. It’s interesting this spring to see what survived…kind of fun, actually, and yes, there are so many pretty perennials…just drool on over to the White Flower Farm website (and then see what you can find for a more reasonable price locally. Also, research what’s native because they will likely thrive).
    Also…some herbs are hardier than you think. I know Chicago winters are tough but it wouldn’t hurt to plant your herbs in a sunny, sheltered spot and then see what survives over the winter. Maybe I’m just being naive about that, though…I’ve only gardened in the South.

    Just wondering if your pots have drainage…can’t tell from the photos but so many pretty ones don’t and I question their usefulness. You could probably plant the ferns in small plastic pots to set inside the Ikea pots if the pots don’t have holes.

  • Making it Lovely
    April 21, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    Nope, no drainage holes (in ANY of the pots). Hopefully everything will be OK.

    Kate, thank you! I knew there had to be a reason people liked annuals. That makes sense (even if it doesn’t make cents, ba dum bum).

    Darren, yes the asparagus fern is an invasive weed in warm climates. Here it’s an annual though. In fact, I think I probably love it so much BECAUSE of its weedy nature – it’s so easy to grow!

    Lili, I saw those little pots at IKEA! I almost bought a bunch of the red ones, but they weren’t quite right for our house. Too small? Not special enough? I don’t know. They were cute though.

    OK, silver mound and lamb’s ear… I’ll have to see what I can find. I do like the silvery white plants for contrast.

  • Darren
    April 21, 2008 at 11:54 pm

    As long as you like it, I didn’t mean to offend or anything, was just passing on my experiences…but i really cant wait to see what you do with the garden!!!

  • Toi
    April 22, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    Careful with thos asparagus ferns. To dogs they must look yummy. My Lucy was always trying to eat mine and then would promptly get sick. I finally got rid of mine. Don’t want the little guy getting sick!

  • kim
    May 2, 2008 at 10:18 am

    Just wandered over to your blog (following the trail from someone else’s) and wanted to mention that Asparagus ferns can be wintered quite nicely. I have one that’s been growing 4 years now — I plant it in a big planter outside in the spring, then rescue it for the winter. They’re nearly impossible to kill as houseplants ;) Same with your spike plants (not sure what kind you’ve got pictured there) — they’ll get very large if you keep them for a couple of years!