Tag Archives: peony

More Prep for the Yard and Garden…Painting Wrought Iron

One of the best things about having a porch, or arbor, or pergola, is to have beautiful things climb up the supports.  I just love climbers that cover a support with beautiful blooms.  It doesn’t matter to me if it’s wisteria, or clematis, or even gourds (I saw this years ago in a Martha Stewart Living magazine and had to do it, and it worked…they were awesome), I love the climbers.  And both my front and back porch have great wrought iron More Rustsupports in a traditional scroll pattern that are perfect to have these vines climb.  The only problem is, the flowers can put some extra wear and tear on the finish.  I’ll admit it, in all these years, I’ve never touched up the wrought iron with paint, but I couldn’t put it off any longer.

Because my supports have vines growing up them most of the spring, summer, and early fall, I had to get a jump-start on the painting.  I also had to wait until the weather was warm enough.  Lucky for me, this past weekend was perfect.  The weather was in the 60s, and, while the vines are growing, they haven’t hit the supports just yet.

RustAs you can see, the supports were looking pretty bad.  There were many places where the paint had completely come off, and there were some spots that had a good bit of rust.  I really shouldn’t have put off this project as long as I had, but I digress.  The first thing I did was got my supplies together.  I needed a good, durable paint, and, after consulting with my friends at Home Depot, decided on 1 quart of Rust-Oleum Stops Rust in flat black.  This is Rust-Oleuman oil-based paint, but I needed it to be oil-based for durability and because of the rust.  It’s pretty easy to deal with, but you need to use a paint thinner to clean the brushes, and yourself if you’re like me.  I just used some gasoline…I put some in a metal can for the brushes and rubbed some on my hands to get the paint off.  Maybe not the best idea, but it worked.  As for the color, the reason I went for flat is glossy paint shows more imperfections…and I figured I might end up with some Brushingimperfections!

To begin, I took a wire brush and metal Brillo pad (without soap) and knocked as much of the old paint off as I could.  The wire brush gets most of it off, and I used the pad for sections that I couldn’t quite reach.  You don’t need to take all of the old paint off, just everything that’s loose or flaking.  Once that was done, I wiped everything down with a damp towel and got started.

The paint was pretty easy to get on, and it covered really nicely.  I did use two types of brushes, one that was about an inch wide, and another that was much smaller for those Clematistight spots.  It also dried really well.  I didn’t do a full two coats, but I did spot check and touch up where needed.

I’m pretty happy with the finished result, and how well the vines are growing.  As you can see, the clematis is already stretching out to reach the trellis.  I just kept pushing it away until I was done the painting.  Now I can be nice and redirect it.

I’m pretty happy about how well the other flowers and trees are growing too.  Here are some pictures of what’s going on in the yard, outside of the climbers, so far this spring.

Daffodils are blooming like crazy.

Daffodils are blooming like crazy.

The magnolia tree is bursting with color.

The magnolia tree is bursting with color.

The apple trees have a lot of buds on them.

The apple trees have a lot of buds on them.

And the tree peonies are going to be great when they open up.

And the tree peonies are going to be great when they open up.

An Update on the Garden and Seeds!

Today was finally the kind of day I’ve been waiting for.  It was beautiful, the sun was shining, the temperature was in the mid-60s, the grass was turning green, and everything outside seemed to be green and growing.  It finally feels like spring, so I took the opportunity to check things out in the yard.  I also wanted to provide some updates on the seeds I planted a few weeks ago.

Bearded IrisAs I wander through the yard, it’s always nice to see mother nature in action, sending up new shoots.  I spotted some of my bearded irises first.  They have such beautiful blooms, even though they are short-lived, but the spikes of leaves last longer and really add contrast to the garden.  The other great things about bearded iris is that they multiply fast.  What starts out as just 1 small rhizome quickly spreads.  You can divide them also to have more and also spread them out.  I’ve found that after the clump gets too big, you really need to divide or the flowers aren’t as big.

PeonySome of my favorites, especially in the spring, are peonies.  I love the big flowers.  They put on quite a show.  I have both tree peonies and herbaceous peonies.  The tree peonies are interesting in shape, but I think I lean towards the good, old-fashioned herbaceous ones.  Thankfully both are starting to show growth in the garden.  The herbaceous ones always send up these amazing red shoots.  They are easy to spot in the spring soil.  They will be bursting with color in May.

Tree PeonyThe tree peony is a very interesting specimen.  As the name suggests, it grows as a tree, and it sends out new shoots every year.  These shoots will include the buds that will also put on quite a show in a few months.  The one very nice thing about the tree peony is that the flowers don’t weigh the plant down.  Often times, towards the end of the blooming season, especially if we get a good rain, the herbaceous blooms will end up on the ground because they weigh the delicate branches down.  The tree peony comes with its own built-in support!

DayliliesDaylilies are just starting to burst through the soil.  The bright green shoots are coming up in a number of places.  They prefer a little bit of shade and do really well, growing into very substantial clumps, sending up big, colorful blooms.

20140331_161038Even though many people think of mums in the fall, they do start to sprout now if you have them in the garden.  They are a hardy perennial, and I’m always lecturing people about how they can plant their fall potted ones in the ground.  The good news is a bunch of friends have no desire to do it, so I get their leftovers!  These will need a cutting back before July 4th to make sure they don’t bloom too early.  Any later than that, and they won’t have time to bloom at all this season.

Probably the favorite plant in my garden as far as my Strawberryniece and nephews are concerned, the strawberry plants are doing well already.  They will have sweet, delicious berries in a few months.  One thing to note, they spread like crazy.  I have a few sections on the side of my house where there are beds that are surrounded by sidewalk.  They have done great in this location, and also can’t take over anything!  It’s a win/win.

TulipsI have a number of bulbs that I’ve planted over the years.  Some of my favorites are daffodils and tulips.  I love that the daffodils are one of the first to bloom in the spring.  They are such a welcome sight, and they multiply and create full clusters in the garden.  Tulips are another favorite, and you can really spread out their bloom time with the different varieties available today.  They are just starting to poke through, although they will take a little while to send up buds.  Even so, they are always such a welcome sight in the early summer garden.

As for the seeds I wrote about a few weeks ago, I’m happy to report that I have seedlings for all of them.  Some have definitely done better than others, but I’m not loosing hope.  There is still time for a few to come through.  Here is what’s growing so far:

Cucumbers

Cucumbers

Eggplant

Eggplant…small, but coming along.

Kale...I've gotta thin these!

Kale…I’ve gotta thin these!

Tomatoes...these are both the San Marzano and Brandywine varieties.

Tomatoes…these are both the San Marzano and Brandywine varieties.

Beets...you can't miss these...I love the red color.

Beets…you can’t miss these…I love the red color.

Fava Beans...these are growing like crazy!

Fava Beans…these are growing like crazy!

Sage

Sage

Chives...these are also so tiny.

Chives…these are also so tiny.

Taragon

Tarragon

Squash

Squash