DOOR COUNTY, WI – This just in from Peninsula State Park. Campers report a rare sighting of the Grim Reaper soulfully grasping a dahlia. Here he shows his true colors, which are apparently sunshine yellow and creamsickle. Or perhaps he is in search of the muse who the dahlia was named after, Normandy Sweet Lucy. Mr. Reaper was unavailable for comments.
Now that I made my first stepping stone, I can’t wait to make more. And I’m not gonna wait. John will be over with the kids Thursday and it’s time for handprints in stepping stones for Grandma (that’s me). Allie is 4 and Cameron is 1. Allie and I will do ours while Cameron naps so we can decorate ours with glass beads and whatever else suits our fancy. I am soooo ready cuz it was soooo easy.
Mike will pick up a few more molds for me so we can make multiples in one day. It takes 24 hours for one to harden, so it’s worth the extra cash for me to get the project done before they up and move to Fresno next week. Mike will also check options for coloring stepping stones. I want cobalt blue.
I’ll check out Pinterest and coloring pages for more stepping stone decorating ideas.
Steps for making a stepping stone Step 2
Step 1 - Visit the craft store for cement, a mold, and items to decorate the stone with. Remember to buy extra molds if you plan to make multiples the same day. My mold is about 6″ round and it takes a little over 3 pounds of cement to fill it. The cement package will guide you on quantity.
– Find a place to set up where messy isn’t a problem. Keep in mind you can’t use your kitchen sink for clean-up. There is something about putting cement down a drain that is a really bad idea. Also, it takes 24 hours for the stone to fully dry and you don’t want to be moving it while wet. There is something about dropping a glob of cement on the carpet that is a really bad idea too.
Step 3 – Make a plan and have everything ready so you can decorate the stone during the first hour.
Step 4 – Mix the cement with the recommended amount of water. I used a bucket and a flat-bottomed wooden spoon that I could throw away. A wide container is good so you can easy stir it.
Step 5 - Pour the mixture in the mold and smooth it out with something flat; in my case – the spoon.
Step 6 – Place the decorations in. Wholla!
Step 7 – Step away from the stepping stone. Let it set for 24 hours. If you absolutely must move it sooner, be sure to put something solid under it. A cookie tray with a rim would be a good option.
July 25th may not seem like a long time ago. Two months from the end of July to the beginning of October is just a grain of sand on the beach of time. In the history of our pond though, it’s a much longer time period than we planned on for pond completion. And completion isn’t quite where we are at.
We have come a long way though from this starting point.
Time is what you need when you do the work yourself. I’m using the word ‘you’ rather freely, as the ‘you’ in this case was Mike, not me. You also save a lot of money, the ‘you’ in this case being Mike and me. You know how that one goes ‘What’s yours is mine and what’s mine is mine too’. At least that is how it works around here.
So was it a good idea? Let’s look at it this way – It was the only way we were ever going to get a pond. And a pond with a waterfall like ours would easily cost $10,000 if someone else did it. I’ll compile our actual costs at some point. For now it’s enough to say the savings were significant. Let’s make that Significant with a capital ‘S’. Ok, SIGNIFICANT in all caps, based on this sign we saw on a pond walk this summer.
The learning curve was also significant. An experienced pond builder could have done the work in just a few days. Knowing what to do and having a whole crew do it is way different than figuring it out yourself. They would have the right equipment too. We do have a landscape trailer, so that gave us the flexibility of getting our own rocks. Mike was able to select the rocks he wanted, and to shop around for the best price. That was good on the pocketbook. But it was one of the many time grabbers on the time/pond continuum. Somehow, this man who is willing to buy the first shirt that fits was highly selective when it came to picking rocks.
Yep, 2.5 tons of rocks into the trailer and out of the trailer. Worse yet, many of them had to get to the top of the waterfall, and not one rock climbed up there itself. Fortunately, he can drive up relatively close to the pond, so that helped. We also did some rock shopping in our own back yard. We’ve been collecting for years.
We did meet one of Mike’s big goals – to get the fish in the pond before mid-September. Technically, they went in on the 14th, well before mid-September in his book. It was a whole new world for them, and they spent most of the first weeks hiding. Now they are swimming around freely and sending us big thank yous.
We even rejoined the Midwest Pond and Koi Society (MPKS). They just happened to have me out to speak on Low Maintenance Gardening exactly when we were thinking it was time to get back in the group. We belonged several years ago when we wanted to learn what was involved in having a pond. If you are thinking of building a pond, do your research!
Research includes going on Pond Tours. We’ve done some in the past with MPKS and Aquascape. If there is one thing you quickly learn, it’s that whatever size pond you were building, it isn’t big enough. We did have someone else dig the pond. Then we went on a pond tour. Mike came home and quickly moved the already placed liner to make ours bigger. Ours won’t look like this, but tours do quickly create pond envy.
Where do we go from here? Well, now it’s time for me to pretty-it-up. The first plant is in. I even followed my mantra of ‘no drifts of one’. I was only successful in finding two of the Winston Churchill Aster I liked, so two it is.
Many more plants will follow, as we potted up a lot of plants when the patio and pond were being dug this spring. Like the fish, it is time for the plants to go in before mid-September. Too late! They will go in by mid-October. That is not too late. In the time/pond continuum, autumn is a great time for planting, and plant I will.
Tradition. That is what our annual Garden Club Scarecrow Factory has turned into. Maybe not Fiddler on the Roof style tradition, but close. It’s just so much fun for child-sized kids and adult-sized kids to make a scarecrow. The Elk Grove Garden Club had enough supplies for about 120 scarecrows at our factory last year. We sold out.
This year, it wasn’t ‘sold out’; it was ‘rained out’. Michele George to the rescue! Elk Grove’s Pioneer Days won’t be rescheduled, but our Garden Club president was able to reschedule our garden club’s portion, the Scarecrow Factory.
Join us on Saturday, September 21st where you can pick your parts and make a scarecrow for just $7.00. We’ve got the hay, the heads, the hats, the hair, the faces, and all sorts of clothes. Basically, everything for your scarecrow except the brains. Bring yours.
The factory will be held from 9 AM – 1 PM at the Elk Grove Village Farmer’s Market. We’ll be in the library parking lot at 1001 Wellington Ave.
Did you hear about the scarecrow that won an award?
Apparently he was out standing in his field.
If you’re looking for scarecrow ideas, I’ve got lots for you. I guess I’m one of those adult-sized kids myself.
Field Trip! I was in Milwaukee for a business trip, which of course means you get to see pictures of a garden I visited. Writing for you gives me a reason to visit gardens when I’m out of town (as if I need a reason). If you want to get picky about it, Boerner is actually in Hales Corners, a bit outside of Milwaukee
They were even nice enough to give me a plant to take home. I joined an evening garden walk and won the door prize – an Amsonia. It’s not in bloom right now, but you have to look at it on Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day because I just got it. It will grow to be a 2′ – 3′ mound. Commonly known as Arkansas Blue Star, I’ll be looking forward to blue blooms in the spring and yellow fall color.
I only got to stay for a short while, so they are either a rather small public garden, or it got dark before I got to see much that was exciting. One area that was blooming beautifully was the rose garden. As you can see by the picture, it was quite the rose garden.
One annual combination that impressed me was the contrast between the coleus and two kinds of elephant ears. I always like seeing options that are colorful without blooms. This one would give you some long lasting interest.
Here is a pretty hosta garden. Again, nice interest without flowers.
We’ll enjoy a close-up of the ligularia. We won’t look at the leaves, as slugs have had a field day with them. I’ve got the same problem at home unfortunately.
One last combo that caught my eye included rudebeckia, echinacea, and Japanese blood grass. At this time of year, the gold rudebeckia is great against the Japanese blood grass. My blood grass back home took many years to establish itself and is finally spreading to a nice size. It’s the only red grass that survives our zone 5.
I’m back home now and enjoyed working in my own garden today. I planted mums, an aster, ornamental peppers, and blanket flowers. I’m especially loving the new ornamental peppers.
We picked flowers from the dahlia garden for neighbors and for ourselves.
Dahlias are prime right about now. Come to Chicago Botanic Gardens next weekend (Sept 21 and 22) for the Central States Dahlia Society Show. You’ll see them in their glory.
Do you want to know what else is blooming in the September garden? To see what other bloggers have blooming on the 15th of every month, visit May Dreams Gardens – Bloom Day for our Garden Bloggers’ Bloom day entries.
Make scarecrows with us Saturday 9/21. Pioneer Days, our usual venue, was rained out but we won’t let that stop the family fun. Make a scarecrow with the Elk Grove Garden Club from 9 – 1 PM for $7. We’ll be at the Farmers Market by the Elk Grove Village Library.
2500 dahlias is quite the site to see. I know because Mike and I attended the American Dahlia Society‘s National Show in Grand Rapids Michigan last weekend. That sort of trip happens when your husband is President of Central States Dahlia Society, and looking at the planning process. Our Society is hosting the show in 2017, so he wanted to experience a national show first hand. At least that is what he tells me. I mean, really, a guy who already has 100 dahlia plants just happens to go to a competition with 2500 dahlias. Sounds to me like a kid in a candy store.
Photo by Regine Gorgas
Case in point, see that squirrelly looking plant to the right. Yes, that one. It’s a dahlia, though it isn’t the standard look you might think of for dahlias. Its name is Hollyhill Wonderwoman. I just have to love a plant with a name like that and a look like this. Oh, did I say “I”. I meant Mike loved it.
At a national show, there are many dahlias to love. Dahlia growers, new and old, big and small, near and far, bring their best blooms to this competition.
Some of the dahlias have the WOW factor of dinner-plate size blooms. Like the AC Bens below. They won in the category of Best 3 AA blooms. AA are the biggest.
Here are a few other big ‘uns.
Others are smaller; way smaller. This arrangement won in the category for ‘Celebrating the Small Things’.
Speaking of celebrating, we did that at the award banquet. Several other members of Central States Dahlia Society and Southtown Dahlia Society were there too. Some came earlier than we did and went on tours Friday. Others stayed longer and attended a barbq with our hosts, the West Michigan Dahlia Society.
We all got to see Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids. Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park is quite the experience as well. The focus is on sculptures in naturalized garden settings. Yes, there are some border gardens, a great kids’ garden, and a large conservatory, but it’s really about the sculptures.
And look how cute Tyr Joann is. I’m tricking you a bit with my photography on this one. It’s really only a few inches in diameter.
Intrigued? Join us at the Chicago Botanic Gardens on September 21st and 22nd for the Central State Dahlia Society Show. Admission is free with your paid admission to the gardens.
And lest you think our garden isn’t producing any beauties this year, here’s Wanda’s Aurora, just one of the many blooms we are enjoying. Come to the show and you can learn how you can grow them too.
It’s beginning to look a lot like dahlias. Fooled you! I bet you expected me to say “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.” After all
• it looks like Christmas at Hobby Lobby,
• Berthold’s Garden Center got a shipment of Christmas decorations today, and
• Celtic Women have tickets on sale for their December 20th Christmas Concert.
It’s bad enough that Starbucks has their (in-season, can’t be) pumpkin spice latte available. So no, please please please no Christmas.
Fortunately, it’s not Christmas at our place. Or at the National Dahlia Show this weekend in Grand Rapids. Or at Steve Meggos’s garden, which will be open for your viewing pleasure on September 3rd.
Mike’s dahlias are running late this year. We’re about a month behind in blooms. Our dahlias didn’t go in till Mike raised the dahlia bed after digging out the new patio. They are kicking in now.
These are a few of my favorite pictures from today. I could have taken many more. Oh What A Beautiful Garden!
And then there is this one, Vassio Meggos. There are a lot of other Meggos dahlias too. Steve is quite the hybridizer. So if you weren’t thinking of showing up at his place on September 3rd after 4:30, you might now want to make note of his address: 6512 Fairfax Court, Carpentersville, IL.
Proven Winners has perfected the petunia. I’ve planted Bubblegum for several years now, each year with amazing success. I do water them almost every day and fertilize every week or two. No deadheading. This particular planter was started by Frank Campise and has 3 plants. Mike won it at a Central States Dahlia Society function. Mom provided the pot. I transplanted it. Everyone gets to be impressed.
It’s automatic – We see a rose; we smell the rose. Seems kind of like a useless exercise these days, as so many roses have had the fragrance bred out of them. It’s not that hybridizers don’t like fragrance, it’s just that we consumers insist on roses that are disease resistant, survive the elements, and continually bloom. Something had to be sacrificed in the battle, and it is often the luscious fragrance that we associate with a rose garden.
I wanted to know which fragrant roses a serious rose grower would recommend, so I asked Louie Meggos. We were at his garden this week with the Central States Dahlia Society. When it comes to beautiful roses, Louie sets the bar pretty high.
We’ll start his list with Double Delight, pictured to the right. Truly a double delight – beautiful and fragrant.
He has Veteran’s Honor at the front corner of his house where its visual impact is enjoyed by many. This brilliant red rose was blooming profusely when we visited Louie in June, and here we are again with blooms aplenty.
Mister Lincoln is on his list too.
No, not that Mister Lincoln. This Mister Lincoln.
One more that he’d recommend is Diana, Princess of Wales.
Do you want to know what else is blooming in the August garden? To see what other bloggers have blooming on the 15th of every month, visit May Dreams Gardens – Bloom Day for our Garden Bloggers’ Bloom day entries.
The Rose is gowned in petaled grace and lovely beyond telling;
She always lifts a friendly face, regardless of her dwelling.
Her golden silence can express to us, no matter where, joy shared;
give solace in distress from those who fondly care. The Rose has ways of saying things we much delight to hear;
without a spoken word, she brings and keeps our loved ones near
~Laura S. Beck
Other people leave town; then they come back home to that which is comfortable and familiar. I leave town, and Mike considers that an opportunity to tear the place apart.
Case in point. I went to visit my friend Regine for a few days many years ago. I came home to no kitchen. Cabinets out. Dishwasher out. It wasn’t a pretty picture, so I won’t show you a picture.
This time, I left for a business trip and came home to a hole in the ground. A 12’ x 20’ hole, about 8” deep, with my nice new patio table planted in the middle.
The plants from that area had been relocated to temporary homes, aka pots.
The dirt from the hole had been used to raise Mike’s dahlia garden.
What, you may ask, was Mike thinking?????? He was thinking he’d get help and finish a big project in a short time. He was thinking he would surprise me with a completed patio. The best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray.
Still, there was a method to his madness, and astray was just a short delay. The rest of the patio work was done by someone else just a few days after I came home. Yes! We had someone else do work for us. Very much out of character, but such a wise choice. Really, can you even imagine the poor guy moving this 12 tons of gravel by himself?
Mike had built a small paved path for us last year. It took a lot of time, and it was a lot of manual labor. Bringing in the sand and gravel, moving the bricks, laying the bricks, removing the bricks to get the leveling right, laying the bricks again. Sure, he learned a lot and would have eventually finished the patio. But why?
The job was much better left to the professionals from the Hickory Group. Yep, the same guys who did some of our pond work. For both the pond and the patio, Mike is being selective as to which work he is doing, and which work they are doing. They did our patio in one day. One day. Got that? One day!
They did what they said they were going to do, when they said they were going to do it, and for the price they quoted us. I like that.
This was one productive crew.
By the end of the day, it looked like this.
And the next day, it got decorated by Allie.
Has it stayed quite this pretty? Has there been afterwork? Well, let’s just stay in perfect world for now and we’ll talk about that another time.