DonfromPA's blog

First day of Day Light Saving Time
Posted on Mar 11, 2019 6:13 AM

Day Light Saving Time has arrived again - indication that spring is not too far away. Another gloomy day here in NW PA with temperatures dropping again to the low to mid-thirties. Waiting for some sunshine to brighten things up a bit. Most of the snow has melted except for the big piles that are mostly frozen and will take some more warm weather to get rid of them. All things considered, though, this past (or should I say current?) winter has been a rather mild one. Taking some time off today from thinking about gardening to checking in with my family doctor. Have had a bad headache for several days (uncommon for me) and a rash on my forehead and scalp - with a very painful head. Think possibly it might be an onset of shingles. So will give the doctor a call for an appointment just as soon as his office opens up. Had a case of shingles when I was in my youthful 20's but around my waist. I thought at the time I had appendicitis as the pain was pretty bad. I miss my perennial gardens that I had at my previous homes - nicest part of spring was watching them make their new appearance for another spring. Got to go and check in with my doctor's office. Talk to you later.

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Still Pondering Whether or Not to Order More Seeds
Posted on Mar 10, 2019 11:37 AM

Here it is Sunday, March 10th early afternoon. Very dreary, cloudy and forecast to rain later on - possibly some light snow flurries. Fortunately the temperatures have risen to the 40's and 50's - promising that spring is on its way. I am still pondering whether or not to order a few more seeds. There's a couple calendulas that are very appealing: Pink Surprise from Eden Brothers and Snow Princess from Baker Creek. Have already received a packet of Triangle Flashback calendulas from Swallowtail. However, I've previously had a lot of luck with calendulas in past years and ready to give them another shot. One of the other flowers that I plan on trying again is Four O'Clocks. I've already received packets of Marbles from Swallowtail and Salmon Sunset from Baker Creek but can't resist the solid red and solid whites from Eden Brothers. Also have my eye on some asters that look very tempting. If I have ever grown asters before, it's been a long, long time ago as I can't remember. As I mentioned before, due to my age, I have resorted to gardening exclusively in containers. However, I don't think the number of containers I'll need for this spring's seed orders would look too well on my patio. So I guess I'll have to scout around for some teen age boys that would like to earn a few dollars by preparing some in-ground flower beds for me. Once the beds are established I hope to be able to maintain them myself - even if I have to crawl around on my hands and feet to do it. The hardest part for me would be sowing the seeds as I can't bend over for more than a minute or two. Where's there a will, there's a way! Just for the fun of it, I have created a few Excel spreadsheets to track success (or lack thereof) in germination. Talk a bit later when I get a minute or two. Happy gardening, everyone.

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Gardening Background
Posted on Mar 6, 2019 11:27 AM

Now approaching the age of 89 this coming July, my nearly life-long interest in gardening began at around 8 or 9 years of age. Our family had moved from a small town, Conneaut Lake, to a nearby rural area when I was 7 years old. Our new home boasted a woods nearby and my older brother and I found this wooded area quite fascinating. One day in walking through this area I came across a flowering plant that captured my interest. At the time I had no idea what kind of plant it was - I only knew that to me it looked beautiful. Running home and picking up a shovel and bucket, I returned to dig it up and bring it home for transplanting. It prospered for years and years and probably still growing there at the corner of the house (house sold long ago.) Years later I found out it was a spiderwort - who knows how it happened to be growing in the woods - probably from seeds carried there by birds. Anyway, that was the beginning of my interest in gardening.

My father, city-grown and raised, loved to plant and take care of our vegetable garden at our new home while my mother was more into the enjoyment of planting and tending to her flower garden. My brother and I had weeding chores (not especially to our liking) and harvesting chores (lots more fun.) My mother canned a lot of the produce from the vegetable garden and in later years prepared a lot for the freezer. I learned to grow sunflowers, zinnias, marigolds and the usual "easy to grow" annual flowers.

Upon growing up, marrying and starting a family, we settled in the country with about an acre of land. A good part of this acreage was devoted mostly
to flower gardening and a smaller space for a few vegetables. Starting with annuals I soon realized the economics of getting into perennials. Our
home site was previously a farm and the soil was very rich loamy and conducive to gardening.

My work as a cost account kept me indoors during the day, but evenings and weekends were lovingly devoted to gardening. Wanting to incorporate
my love of plants into some kind of job, I became interested in White Flower Farm, a large mail order perennial nursery in Litchfield, CT. After a couple years of periodic correspondence with the owner, I was offered a position of Controller for the nursery. My work primarily was concentrated on the financial end of the business, but I managed to arrive early and stay late to enjoy the greenhouses and fields. At certain times of the year, all employees from the president on down the ladder were expected to help out where needed - especially weeding and harvesting. After about 2-1/2 years at the nursery, our family returned back to Penna. to be closer to our growing family - grandchildren.

I am now retired and still get a lot of pleasure through growing flowers and vegetables - but nearly 100% in containers, other than a rose garden. After
a life time of "down on my knees" gardening, I have to resort now to container-gardening - easier on the back and arthritis.




gardening into

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Seed Order Dilemma
Posted on Mar 6, 2019 10:34 AM

First part of March and I have finalized my spring seed order after about 3 weeks of agonizing and soul-searching in poring over seed catalogs and viewing various gardening websites. Going with four vendors this year - Burpees, Baker Street, Swallowtail and Eden Brothers. All except Eden Brothers are listed in the Green Pages with recommendations. Most of the seeds ordered have already been received but still waiting on a couple that were placed only a couple days ago.

My finalized list is composed of: 1 variety of Bachelor Buttons, 1 variety of Calendulas, 2 varieties of Four O'Clocks, 6 varieties of
Zinnias and 1 variety of Bush type Cucumbers. About 95 percent of my gardening is done in containers as I no longer have the
physical ability to prepare and maintain in-ground growing areas. From the large number of seed varieties ordered it appears that. I will need to buy additional containers this spring. One member suggested grow bags which are considerably less expensive that
regular containers and I will probably end up ordering ten 10-gallon ones. Wow! That relates to a sizable order of potting soil needed.

Spring arrives late and fall comes early in this northwest corner of Penna. - 30 miles south of Erie and 90 miles from Pittsburgh and Cleveland, Ohio. Temperatures start to warm up in April, but late frosts usually occur until Memorial Day. First frosts sometimes
occur mid-September.





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