Thursday, July 28, 2011

And the winner is…..

I’m glad that you liked the butterfly.  Someone guessed that I was giving away a butterfly die set for the Accuquilt Go.   Sorry.  I don’t even own an Accuquilt product but I have been experimenting with the Photoshop Elements program that came with my laptop and I have to say it has a ton of amazing photo editing capabilities.  I can see a lot of potential there for adding some neat design effects to to my blog but I need to play with it more.

So are you ready for the surprise?   Remember last week I said to think “hot, hot, hot”?

Like this….








and you already know about this…Blogiversary Give-away 002







and you’ve seen the butterfly…but did you guess what it was?








So, let’s get to the big reveal and  congratulations to “REGAN” the winner of the Fairy Gardener’s first Blog-a-versary give-away.  Regan, please email me your mailing address.  I’m so excited for you! 

Many thanks to all of you for celebrating with me.  It’s been a great year and I have so much more to share with you in the future and lots of neat ideas for gardening and sewing.   I just need the TIME to share them, LOL.

Regan, cast your eyes on your prize.   Don’t these fabrics just shout summer---hot, hot, hot and cool, cool, cool! Just like the sunny days and cool nights of a summer in New England.

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Blog Give-away 002

Sneak Peak at Give-away Bonus!

Yup, today is the last day to enter my one-year blog-a-versary “Give-away”, so if you haven’t left a comment, you still have till 7PM tonight when I’ll select the winner and reveal the bonus surprise.   Till then, here’s a sneak peak!



Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Don’t Forget…Tomorrow Night is Give-away night!

I work tomorrow so when I get home I’ll do the BIG REVEAL and show evveryone the SURPRISE PART OF THE GIVE-AWAY! AND THEN I’LL DRAW A NAME AT 7PM!


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Summer Replacement

I swear every spring that I won’t buy pansies that will end up being a “throw-away” item when the weather heats up and yet I still buy them. It’s hard to resist the new colors that seem to pop up every year in the garden centers as soon as the snow melts off the  plant tables and once I smell the fragrance of pansies…I cave.

This year I bought a flat of “coordinated” colors ranging from a soft burgundy to a pale apricot.  They were lovely in the hanging basket between the garage doors and in the terra cotta pot at the foot of the walkway but once the  hot weather hit…they went south, lol.  I cut off all of the blooms and arranged them in a clear glass rose bowl and enjoyed their loveliness indoors for a few days along with their scent.

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 Instead of sending the spent pansies to the recycle bin (compost pile), like I would normally do.  I gave them a severe haircut (think flat top), a couple of shots of organic fertilizer and moved them to the shady side of the house for their “summer vacation”. 

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As you can see from the picture above, they look pretty sad but over the summer, I’ve been making sure they get watered and fertilized regularly, and occasionally pinching back some of the taller growth to get them nice and bushy again.  I’ve even been pulling off the flower buds that have started to reappear so that the plants will put their energy into growing thicker, lusher stems and leaves.  When cooler temps return and their summer replacements are done, the cold-loving pansies will take center stage again blooming well into late fall and early winter.

So what is the summer replacement…

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Garden 2011 057I love the look of coconut fiber baskets and have several different sizes.   I have a large 12-inch  basket for between the garage doors and  I planted it with “Blueberry Ice” petunias mixed with “Royal Purple” verbena, white verbena, white allysum and white petunias.  All of them with the exception of the blueberry ice petunias are “Proven Winner” varieties. 

It’s not difficult to make your own hanging container but it takes a couple of weeks before it will fill out and look as good as the ones that you can buy right off the rack so to speak, of course you’ll pay a pretty penny for having the work done for you and you won’t have as many color/combo options either.   

In my area you can spend a small fortune buying a beautiful hanging basket and I’ve seen some go for as much as $75.00 depending on the size of the pot and what plants used.  Mine cost me a grand total of $13.98 and the best part is, I can reuse the wire basket and compost the coconut fiber lining and not add another plastic pot to the landfill.  Here’s the cost breakdown:

  • wire plant basket $6.99 at Big Lots several years ago
  • coconut fiber liner $1.00 at Dollar Tree
  • potting soil – had on hand (I buy this in bulk) $2.00 worth
  • 4” pot “Blueberry Ice” petunia – FREE give-away from a garden club guest speaker
  • 4” pot “Royal Purple” verbena – $2.99 – local garden center
  • 6” pot Mixed White Annual Assortment (Proven Winners) from Big Box Garden Center- $7.99

I water hangers EVERYDAY unless it rains and I fertilize my outside planters weekly during the summer with liquid organic fertilizer “tea” (Neptune’s Harvest).  This is a lot of fertilizing but with five or six plants in one container you have to feed often.  The roots will fill the pot first before the top growth kicks in and takes off and that accelerated growth depletes all of the nutrients in the potting soil in a matter of a couple of weeks.   If you use a granulated fertilizer like “Osmacote” you only need to add it once when you plant your container and it will continue to release fertilizer over the course of the summer.

Both petunias and verbena love the hot weather but do need to be deadheaded every couple of days and pinched back when they start to get spindly looking.   Don’t be afraid to prune annuals back hard when they get floppy and stringy.  If they really look awful after a bad haircut, move them into a protected spot and continue to water and fertilize till they bounce back which is usually in a week or two.  

Don’t forget about the give-away this week!   There’s an extra surprise in store for the winner!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cooling off!

This past week has been brutal….I rushed home from work every night so that I could make sure and soak the garden good but even so, there was a lot of wilting going on and not just outside either.

My daughter came up Friday night to visit for the weekend both of us were really beat from a long work week and the sweltering temps and we both wanted to go someplace cold and wet. 

Sitting in the sun all day at Hampton Beach, just didn’t have the same appeal it usually does so we decided Saturday morning to drive up to Zealand Falls and hike to the waterfalls that we’ve visited before but Carolyn read the wrong directions in my hiking guide and we found ourselves in Lincoln, NH at the trailhead for Franconia Falls.  We had gotten a late start and it was already nearly 4PM—too late to turnaround and head for Zealand Falls which is at the end of the White Mountain National Forest so after talking briefly to the park ranger who told us it was a flat hour and a half hike to the Franconia falls, we decided to give it a try since neither of us had been on this trail before.

We walked along an old logging railroad bed that followed the Pemigawasset for most of the way.  I wouldn’t categorize this as a hike because most of the distance was flat with a slight climb at the end to the falls, unlike the  Zealand Falls trail which is vertical for the entire hike.  It took us about a little over an  hour to walk the 4 miles to the falls and even though the trail is heavily wooded, we were still hot and sweaty when we reached the end.  Which made the cold mountain water at the falls feel all the more refreshing!  

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Help Me Celebrate with A Give-Away!

This give-away is now closed.  Thank you for for stopping by.

TODAY is my one-year “BLOGIVERSARY”!   My first post was made on July 21st, 2010.   I can hardly believe it’s been a whole year since that first nervous post.  I worried that no one would be interested in reading what I had to say about gardening and quilting or whether I would be able to come up with new things to write about.   Back then my goal was to write at least once a month and while sometimes I’ve exceeded that goal, there have been some dry spells too but what I feared most—running out of topics—hasn’t happened and  I still have lots of  ideas and information that I hope to share with you in the future.

Up until last July I had only ever followed ONE blog myself, knew very  little about blogging and struggled with the mechanics of adding pictures and “gadgets”—what were those? I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers  and  I have  been lead to some wonderful blogs that I follow and even have followers of my own.

My last give-away was several months ago  when I celebrated my 50th post by giving away a stack of fat quarters.  This time, I’ve decided to give away something garden-related.  So I’m offering a wonderful book called “Month By Month Gardening in New England” written by Jacqueline Heriteau and Holly Hunter Stonehill.

Blogiversary Give-away 002This 383 page paperback book is packed full of suggestions for each month as well as sections called “Did You Know” which feature hints and projects. It includes eleven plant categories from annuals to water and bog plants, charts and lists for trees, shrubs, companion Blogiversary Give-away 003plants, summer bulbs, fall bulbs, tips for drying herbs and flowers, thinning vegetables, how to deal with bugs, prune roses, lawn care and maintenanc, organic alternatives, how to stake perennials properly, the language of flowers and what they mean…..and on and on.   Blogiversary Give-away 005

Don’t be deterred from entering just  because this wonderful  book targets New England---the information inside is relative to any area of the country, because it’s written in almanac style.  For instance, when I’m reading the planning ideas for March, you may be reading the planning ideas for April or May if you happen to live in the mid-Atlantic or southern half of the US.Blogiversary Give-away 004

Oh, and did I mention there will also be a surprise included with the give-away?   The “surprise” will be disclosed once the winner has been chosen by random number drawing.  Here’s a hint….think hot, hot, hot just like the temps around the country this week!

So to enter the drawing, leave a comment about what is in bloom in your garden right now.  If you don’t have a garden you can still leave a comment telling me what summer sewing or craft project you’re working on.

This give-away will last till Thursday, July 28th at 7PM.  Winner will be announced then.   Good luck! 

Sunday, July 17, 2011


I know it’s been awhile since my last post, but I’m finding it very hard to write, take care of the house, garden, and work full-time this year.  Don’t know why when  for fifteen years, I managed just fine with a longer commute and teenagers but somehow I just don’t have the mental or physical energy or maybe the enthusiasm to come home, change and do anything outside except water until the bugs drive me inside.  Then it’s make something for dinner, clean up and get ready for the next day. 

I’m not complaining ---I’m very grateful to be working in this economy and by all indications—this will turn into a permanent job with benefits in a few weeks--but these beautiful summer mornings when I’m driving to the office make me long for all I’m missing outdoors. I love having coffee on my tiny porch in the morning, then loading up the wheel barrow with my tools and supplies and spending the morning outside in my gardens coming in for the hot part of the day and then back outside till dusk.

This weekend was the first since April  where the weather and my family commitments fully cooperated and left me with a free weekend.  I have been trying to catch up with my weeding and planting the stuff I got at the plant sale.  I vowed that I would not buy any more plants this year until everything that was living in a pot was planted but this morning on my errand run for gas and composted cow manure, I caved at Home Depot and brought home  two new pale yellow daylilies named “Joan Senior”!  They are not in bloom yet, but I promise a picture when the buds open.   

This post, I also wanted to write about Butterfly Weed (Asclepia tuberosa) also called “pleurosy root”.  It’s a member of the milkweed family and really too beautiful to be called a weed.  If you have a really dry sunny area, it’s a a great choice.  Having a deep taproot it’s drought resistant and will spread freely if you don’t dead head it and let the seeds fall, but otherwise I find it easy to control.   I don’t mind it spreading because friends always want a plant, once they see mine.  There aren’t too many pure orange flowers other than annuals.  It comes in other colors too but the orange is a stunner and seems to attract the most butterflies.  Mine is planted with a clump of English lavender and blooms the same time—the combination is stunning.  It’s also excellent for cut flowers and lasts quite a while. 

Here are some butterfly pictures I took yesterday and today—I think after seeing them, you’ll understand how Asclepia tuberosa, got its common name.  One summer before I started blogging I counted fifteen Viceroy butterflies feeding on it at one time.  The butterflies in these pictures are Great Spangled Fritillary and Yellow Swallowtails.   They’re the real deal in garden art!