Busy Gardening and Fighting With Computers

blue hydrangea address labelsI work online. I spend anywhere from 5 to 10 hours a day online either creating for my Zazzle stores or promoting products. But, after my laptop began giving me trouble, I was forced to buy a new computer. I’ve gone from a pc to a Mac and that means a learning curve. My biggest problem is figuring out the photo area. With the option of “pictures” and “iPhoto” I can’t seem to integrate the two, or access the photos I want when I want.

Along with all this brain crowding of technology that I dislike immensely, my vegetable gardens have been overflowing with cucumbers, zucchini, parsley, and now tomatoes. It’s almost time to plant lettuce and peas for the fall season so there is garden clean up to do as well.

Fortunately the weather has been great. In fact, it’s been very cool. When I went to the dump yesterday I noticed that some trees are beginning to change color! Does this mean the foliage season will begin early?

My hydrangeas, on the other hand, are not blooming. The plants have grown nicely, but the macrophyllas are disappointing. Now I am wondering if I fertilized them too much in Spring. Or was the summer too cool? I’m not sure, but after waiting a year for my beautiful blue hydrangeas to bloom, I have only ONE bud that will be blue. On the other hand my Pinky Winky is looking wonderful! A little lop-sided thanks to the munching from the deer, but it’s full of flowers and they look so pretty. Once I get my photos straightened out I will share my pictures here.

Rustic Wood Hydrangea Birthday Party

blue hydrangea invitations

This paper is 4×9 inches.

I’m on vacation and have not been able to find time to write, but want to keep this blog from becoming too stale. I have been working, and this is one of the new birthday party invitations created in the BlueHyd store. The hydrangea is a photo of my Endless Summer bloom from last year. I’ve been away from my yard for a couple of weeks and when I return I hope to see many buds on my hydrangeas. I count on them to get more photos to use over the winter when I am creating stationery and products. A big reason I love hydrangeas is the long living flowers.
This pretty, light blue flower pairs well with the dark wood background. The rustic look is quite popular and I hope to sell bunches of party invitations. With the customization option, this invitation can be used for almost any type of event. My sample text is for a woman who is turning 30, but it could serve as a wedding announcement, vow renewal invitation or even a thank you card.

Click on the card image to see paper options and pricing.

Chicken on the Grill: Food on the 4th of July

grilling chicken Happy 4th of July to my fellow Americans. Here in New Hampshire it’s a dark and rainy day and we won’t be doing any grilling. But a few days ago, before the heat wave hit, we grilled up some huge chicken breasts to use for our “no cooking” meals. It’s always difficult to find food to feed the family on muggy hot days. I could easily eat a salad, or have cheese and crackers (with wine of course), but my kids want more.
So I headed to Roys’s Market in Peterborough where the chicken pieces were humongous and bought six pieces.   I marinated them in my special, homemade marinade, and my older son grilled them for us.  It’s been enough for the 4 of us to eat for 3 days. I’ve made chicken salad sandwiches, quesedillas, and enchiladas. Today we will finish up the enchiladas and maybe get some clams and seafood from Kimballs. Not cooking in the heat is top priority for me.  We may drag out the ice cream maker and cook up some of that!
So happy 4th to everyone, whether you are grilling, eating out or whatever. Be safe on this American holiday and enjoy the fireworks if it’s not raining where you are.

New Free Hydrangeas – Propagating My Blushing Bride

how to propagate hydrangeas

The Blushing Bride after 2 new plants were dug

Last summer I had noticed that my ‘blushing bride’ hydrangea had low-lying branches which were taking root. I had successfully propagated a hydrangea before – started a new bush from an existing one – by digging up a rooted stem and transplanting it.

There is all kinds of info about taking and rooting leaf cuttings to begin a hydrangea plant, but the ground root layering method will give you a larger plant with a stronger root system. And you have an instant new shrub.

Click my link above to see my story about doing this in the past, or follow along here on my blog, and I’ll explain what I did this time – with pictures!

This method of gaining a new, free plant for your yard (or to give to a friend) works with the macrophylla variety of hydrangeas which tend to have branches that grow close to the ground. In my yard I grow the blue endless summer and the white blushing bride which are this type. Their flowers are rounded and the color of the flower can be changed according to the soil conditions.

Once you find those low lying branches and find one that is rooted to the dirt, tug gently to see if it’s rooted well. If it comes right up, put it back (cover it with lots of dirt) and add a weight (like a rock) to hold the root down into the soil. I leave those to dig up at a later time.

rooting hydrangeas

The rock will hold the stem in place until the roots get larger and stronger.

The offshoots that I dig up are well rooted and look like little hydrangea plants all on their own. It is easiest to do this in Spring before all the leaves have come out and make it difficult to see around the base of the shrub. As I searched around the base of my original plant, I found one well-rooted shoot by itself, and two that were so close together that I kept them as one plant.

Clip the stem(s) that run under the dirt from the original plant to the new one. Dig around and down under the new plant as best that you can and put it in it’s new home. It helps to know where you will put it, and get that area ready before you dig up the new one! Do you know how to plant hydrangeas?

picture tutorial to propagate hydrangeas by root layering

Find the stems to cut and remove the new little plants from the original.

As with all newly planted shrubs, give it plenty of water and watch it each day to make sure it’s doing well. Lots of sun will make this type of hydrangea wilt, but after watering it should bounce back.

I now have two new ‘Blushing Bride’ plants (see my pics below), and best of all they cost me nothing but a little time!

baby hydrangea bush

New plant #1

propagated hydrangea plant

New hydrangea plant #2

Get a Tick Key to Remove Those Nasty Critters

tick key tick removal

Remove Ticks Easily

I can’t remember how I heard about the tick key, but I am glad I have one. In fact I think they come in sets too, and it might be a good idea to have more than one since it’s easy to lose track of it.

The shape of the opening narrows to a point and I’ve used it to remove 2 ticks from my cats. Just slip the wide end over the tick and slide it down to the point. The tick comes right off – head and all. It’s so simple! Wish my photo was better, but you get the idea. I hate these things, like everyone else, and getting them off the animals was always such a chore. Then I’d worry if I’d removed the whole thing.

I find most bugs to be interesting and usually helpful. But there is no reason for ticks to exist, as far as I can see. Lime disease is so bad in New England, we have to find the best ways to avoid getting ticks in the first place. But if you are bitten, or you furry family member is, try the tick key – I think you will like it.
tick key and tick

My Greenhouse is Full

mini greenhouse

This years greenhouse plants

With a small yard and a tiny deck, I never dreamed I would have a greenhouse. It’s not exactly what comes to mind when you say “greenhouse” but my mini-greenhouse does the job. It fits nicely in the corner of my deck, up against the house (so it won’t blow over in a strong wind), and it holds plenty of seedlings.

This year it is nearly full, with tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, zucchini (courgettes), parsley (already planted in my raised bed), and flowers. I didn’t start anything from seeds this year, but I’ve purchased a grow light so I can start seeds indoors next April. Then I’ll move them out to the greenhouse in May. That’s my plan anyway.

A few weeks ago I went to House by the Side of the Road in Milford, NH and bought my tomatoes and a few pepper plants. The other veggies and some flowers I bought at Tenney Farms in Antrim.

I don’t ever have luck growing peppers, even though I’ve read all kinds of helpful tips. I have fewer tomato plants this year too. The “Celebrity” type seems to give me a nice crop, so I am sticking with that kind. And of course the small, grape tomatoes too. I’m the only one in the household who will eat them, and last year I had too many!

green and red tomatoes

Last year’s tomato crop, end of season.

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