Sunday, August 1, 2010

Mish-Mash Seed GROW

This post is a mighty mish-mash of miscellany: my monthly Seed GROW post, an OOTS (public plantings) post, a seed swap update, and my favorite Dearborn Garden Walk photo revealed. Deep breath and we're ready!

Seed Grow: Nasty Mish-Mash
It's time for the August post for the Seed GROW Project. (August? How can it be August?!)

Well, things aren't looking so great. I admit I'm just not used to watering plants unless they are veggies. Which, incidentally this corn is, and I did water it, so I'm not sure what's up.

The two nasties are making a little progress up the trellis. Yeah, the hops in the center isn't looking so hot, either. They need more sun and more water, methinks.

The close-up of one of the flowers, with the cute little raindrops, is however, I'm sure you'll agree, noogie!

Out on the Streets — Because Late is Early!
I missed the June Out on the Streets (OOTS) entirely, but I'm right on time for the August OOTS! VP likes us to show public plantings in our area and I've been collecting a few photos.

There are always plenty of wonderful public plantings in my "adopted" (wish I lived there) city of Chicago.


Nice aquatic plants at Trump Tower...

...and regular planters as well. This could change my entire attitude to Mr. Combover.

This photo is purely gratuitous, showing a scene from the Transformers movie being shot in Chicago.

Back in Ann Arbor, and practically in my backyard, is this 15-acre wetland preserve in Mary Beth Doyle Park. It was created two years ago to help reduce flooding and improve water quality in Malletts Creek (into which it flows). It's also aflutter with wildlife.

The wetland has a large central basin that can hold up to 15 million gallons of rain and water runoff during storms. This prevents flooding and reduces phosphorus input from Mallets Creek into the Huron River by a third. Native plants (flowers and grasses) are planted along the edges, and their long roots help clean the water. It's been fun checking the water level whenever I bike by. It's about half full in this photo, though you'd have to see the edges to really tell.

Gray-headed coneflowers (Ratibida pinnata) in Doyle Park.

This traffic circle in Pittsfield Village (Ann Arbor) is well maintained.

Washtenaw Community College where I teach has a few nice planters.

Michigan Avenue in downtown Ypsilanti has nice planters, too. Other parts of town have hanging baskets with ornamental grasses.

This photo is purely gratuitous, showing the Ypsilanti Water Tower, right across the street from my alma mater, Eastern Michigan University. They done teache'd me to write real good.

Had to stop for this bus stop in Westland (south side of Ford, just east of Wayne). It's so out of context with the surrounding area. I suspect the owners of next-door Thrifty Florist planted and maintain it. Good for them!

Save Your Seeds for the Swap!
I know it's early, but start thinking about what plants to save seeds from, to get ready for my third annual snail-mail seed swap in early January (for us winter sowers, holla!).

Favorite Photo — Kew Knew?

Cheryl came closest to guessing that my favorite photo from the Dearborn Garden Walk was this weathered Kew sign. I like the other photos you guessed, especially the stairwell and metal edging (but not those shoes, so not those shoes!), but the Kew sign is by far my favorite. I greatly enjoyed a visit to Kew Gardens in 1999 and it remains one of my all-time favorites. Aside from that, I love mass transit and the sign is in the style of the tube logo. Plus, I love the beat-up, forgotten look, with even the vines covering it being withered. And how even though the sign has holes in the corners, it wasn't even nailed to the fence, just stood up against it.

Plus, the houses on the tour run about $6 million and no expenses were spared in garden design. I'm sure many vignettes were created by professional designers (not even gardeners!), so this forgotten little sign, in an otherwise meticulously cared-for garden, really appealed to me and totally made my day.

Are you still awake? Thanks for stopping by and slogging through this mammoth entry!

Update 8/3: I appreciate all your comments and am getting back in the habit of commenting back (check and see). Holla!

I'm growing Nasturtium 'Spitfire' for the GROW project. Thanks to Renee's Garden for the seeds.


  1. Oooh, count me in for a seed swap. I love Chicago, they do know how to garden.

  2. Hi Monica
    Danke, dass Du mich mit nach Chicago genommen hast. Hätte nicht gedacht, dass die in Chicago so schöne Bepflanzungen drauf haben. Super!
    Das Foto aus den Filmaufnahmen von Transformers ist crazy :o).
    Übrigens shrubs sind auf Deutsch Sträucher ;o)... hätte noch einige, die geschnitten werden sollen. Aber heute ist Sonntag, da lassen wir das besser bleiben, sonst schimpfen die Nachbarn *smile*.
    Geniesse den Sonntag und ich schicke Dir liebe Grüsse

  3. I looked quickly at the first photo and thought, "What a beautiful daylily!",.....then put on my glasses!

    I think my favorite of these is the traffic circle. Beautifully done!

  4. Good morning Monica... I love the tour.. All of the photos are very nice...

    But My favorite photo is the pond in front of Trump Tower.. I love the plants"

    I can't believe it's August!

  5. Hi Monica - you're bang on schedule for August's edition of OOTS :) Fab photos - I do envy you guys in Chicago. The OOTS kick-off post is due tomorrow, so I'll make sure your contribution is entered into Mr Linky toute suite!

    Thanks for remembering OOTS and taking the photos :)

  6. How cool to see them filming Transformers in your city! Love the pic! I was way far off on guessing your favorite pic I guess I guess. I like the saying Kew Knew though! Very witty.

  7. Looking really good where you live. I loved Mr. Combover. Funny. He does hire good landscapers so that's to his credit. Hope your plants get happier before the summer is over. Mine are all just hot, hot, hot. It's going to be 101F here today.~~Dee

  8. Monica, it is always a treat to se plantings and planters in other cities. We often take them for granted, but they require a lot of work and we should be grateful to those who put in the hours to beautify public areas.

    I hope your plants start doing better. I know my containers are barely hanging on in this dryness.

    And yes! I am already saving seed. :)

  9. Hi nasties are finished. The dry spell seems to have put an end to several annuals.......
    My hops have done exceptionally well this year and have started showing flowers.....they really beautiful. I love hops.....they used to grow all over Kent, but sadly there are only a few hop farms left.

    The pond in front of the trump centre is stunning. Why doesn't my pond look like that??

    I love that sign.......just love it......

  10. I sometimes get the urge to live in a big city then I remember how you have to drive through all that traffic to get to anyplace you want to be. I quickly drop the idea of moving. I do crave some of the fun things you can do.

  11. Hi Monica, today I went out and cut back the foxglove seed heads, and shook out the remaining seeds, so I have my first packet for the seed swap. It looks like the hummers are doing a good job pollinating the cardinal flowers, so hopefully I'll have some of those for the swap too. (Sounds like you found some reserve energy to do it again! ;)

    Looks like a couple of nice ears of corn you've got growing! Wish I had enough room, and sun for corn. You're proving the naysayers wrong - you clearly don't need to plant corn in the quantities recommended in order to grow a few ears.

    This being my first time growing nasties, I'm not too impressed, although I've long admired them in other people's gardens, and in little nursery pots at local greenhouses and garden centers. It's nice to see yours blooming.

    Love all the public planters you photographed, and I'm smacking myself on the forehead for not guessing the Kew sign would be your favorite.

    Hope you had a wonderful weekend. Give Fiona and James a cuddle for me.

  12. My rotten dialup wouldn't let me see many images, but your corn and the nasty look good!

  13. p.s. I have this cute little soft hammer with crashing sounds I'll be happy to lend next winter should the need arise ;)

  14. Chicago is amazing in the summer... thank you for sharing some of your visit with us.

  15. Your nasturtiums look like mine! I love the traffic circle garden!

  16. Great pictures!!
    Great tour of Chicago.
    The swamp would be of interest to me. I am sure there are many insects and flowers to photgraph.
    Lovely flower arrangements.
    Thank you for sharing.

  17. Chicago is a great place to visit, and I agree the plantings there are outstanding, but I think your home state is every bit as beautiful, Monica. It's great to see so many public plantings being maintained in cities during these tough economic times. I keep wanting to take some photos of our local remains to be seen if I have time. Love that water tower!! It looks like a medieval fortress.

    My nasturtiums didn't do well at all this year--not the same variety as yours, but I think the weather hasn't suited them this year at all.

  18. Huh! I SO nearly picked the Kew sign, but went for MY favourite instead! :(

    I went past the Kew station stop on the tube a couple of weeks ago ....looks just like your sign! :D

  19. OOOHHH! What a beautiful city indeed! I have never seen a roundabout as well planted up as that one...or water features either.

    I thought it was such a coincidence that you and I have both got a nasturtium ...almost identical in fact, on our posts this week...

    Thanks for a lovely walk, dear Monica, and thanks for being such a faithful friend on my blog :)

  20. $6-million? A little out of my range. I see that here a lot with our garden walks. The one in June had professional landscapers standing by to answer questions because the homeowners didn't really know a cleome from a catalpa. I don't know, somehow I don't enjoy those gardens as much. It wouldn't really be MY garden if half a dozen workers came in and blitzed it every week.

  21. Wait, wait. You got corn forming on just one plant? I thought you were suppose to plant a bunch of it to cross pollinate?

    How is this so?

  22. I love to visit Chicago too..but I wouldn't want to live there. It has an energy and feel all it's own. They do know how to work those flowers.

  23. Meemsync, Details will follow. :)

    Alex, Kennst Du uebrigens die Toten Hosen? Denn dann hier kommst Du! ;-) Ja, fuer eine Grossstadt kuemmert sich Chicago viel um gruenes. War auch ueberrascht.

    Tim, LOL, the thumbnail of the nasty does kinda look like a daylily and even though I'm a daylily hata, I do like the orange ones.

    Vetsy, Yeah, I was surprisingly impressed with the planting around Trump Tower. Even though it does eclipse my fave Mies van der Rohe building!

    VP, I love your OOTS idea. And I'm right on time? Wow--buy a lottery ticket, the universe is aligning for good.

    Tina, I'm only a wanna-be Chicagoan, and I'm not so into action movies, but, yeah, it was pretty cool to see the movie setup.

    Dee, it's not quite as hot here, but HUMID! Eep.

    Beckie, yay on the seeds. And, yeah, I don't do a lot of ornamental containers myself due to the maintenance. And being lazy. But they're so nice in a city city of glass and concrete.

  24. Cheryl, I'm glad you won because you were so kind to send me tea last year. I'm working on getting the seed packets together for you, though the lack of little envelopes (which should arrive soon) is holding me back a bit.

    Lisa, I certainly wouldn't want to live downtown Chicago (not long-term anyway) which is great because I'd never be able to afford it. I do like the vibrancy of a big city (the closest big city to me, Detroit, does NOT have it goin' on), but I also like to have my patch of soil. Could be smaller, though.

    Xan, Happy is good!

    Linda, Ha, hammer time may indeed be required. Yeah, several people were all on my case about only having one corn plant. I did winter sow six, but only this one came up. I like to experiment (trial plants if you will) so I planted it out. It only has the two cobs and is maybe 6 feet tall. I'm going to guess it self-pollinated, with the seeds from the top falling onto the silky tassles below. No one near me is growing corn, so the normal wind pollination from other plants couldn't have worked. I peeked at one of the cobs and it does seems to be forming kernels. I didn't want to count chickens, but if/when the cobs are done, you can bet I'm going to have a gloaty post about it. :)

  25. Lisa, Good to know about dialup speed--I'd sized some of the photos larger than usual so they expand if you click them, but if it takes longer to load, I'll go back to normal smaller size.

    Bren, Yep, Chicago is a great place with nice people!

    Angela, Except I sowed them 5 months ago, lol. And I don't have a chicken coop. :)

    Gisela, Yes, there were a TON of insects in the plantings around the water basin, including what I now know is a mud dauber wasp.

    Rose, because Ann Arbor has UM it hasn't been hit as hard economically as the rest of metro Detroit. Not that the car industry decline hasn't rippled everywhere... it's just that doctors and professors are still living large. (Note: I'm not a doctor or professor.)

    Nutty, Oh sure, rub it in. No, really, that's fine. It's not like I'm insanely envious that you live within a reasonable distance from one of my favorite gardens, noooo!

    Wildie, Always good to see your comments. I think your weather is kinder to nasties than ours.

    Roses and Lilacs, Well, apparently the bad economy has made one of the houses a steal at $4.6 mill! But I fell ya. That's why the Kew sign was my fave. :)

    MBT, That's the fearie part. Plus, you know I'm green and awesome! Meanwhile, back in the real world, see my response to Linda.

    MGRR, The first time I visited Chicago as an adult, I felt like the proverbial bumpkin that fell off the turnip truck. I'm a little more used to its energy now. But I can see where it can be both exciting and draining. I admit I do like my garden tucked up against a quiet nature area, even if it is infested with buckthorn, poison ivy, wait... what was I saying?

  26. You post more pics of Chicago than the people who live here do! Happy to see that The Donald is keeping his end of the public space bargain. I'm sure he's out there personally planting and watering those flowers :D

    The nasties are rather finicky, aren't they? I'm starting to think I need to keep them in containers so I can keep shuttling them around to get just the right amount of sun. I wish they'd bloom more because that orange is awesome.

  27. Love your Mish-Mash posts, Monica ... so much to see through your creative eyes/lens. Keep 'em coming ... you are on a ''posting' roll :)

  28. A nice post filled with fun for all. I really do amire towns and or business that take time to have beautiful pots or small gardens for passer bys to enjoy. I am takend back as to how healthy the potato vines look in all the planters when mine is full of holes from some insect. I suspect grass hopper but not sure. Maybe the secret is all the concrete or asphalt surrounding them in the city. But I will keep my grass. Great pictures you snapped for us to enjoy...

  29. Monica nice views of your surroundings!I loved the image of the wetland preserve..a peaceful place.BTW I'll be close enough for you to come visit me! I plan on treking to Michigan often..Sarnia only 35 min. away from my new home! I love cross border shopping!

  30. Diane, because it's not my own city, I don't take it for granted! I don't have a ton of photos of Ann Arbor, but try to keep my camera with me. I hope to be back in Chi or a few days in Sept. You wanna go to the Calder exhibit at art inst?

    Joey, Hey pumpkin! It always amuses me that you like my perspective. To me it's just ho-hum normal. :)

    Skeeter, I'm surprised how good the planters look in my area, too. It must be volunteers who water them!

    Anna, Port Huron/Sarnia is about an hour and a half from me, so it's totally doable. Looking forward to visiting your castle! Plus Carole and I might do the Kitchener Christkindlesmarkt this year. :)

  31. That water tower reminds me of a shaggy mane mushroom. Good thing it isn't a real inky cap. Think of the mess something that size would make.

    Did you know there's a NY State Park named after The Donald? Do a Google search and you'll find some interesting reading on the park.

  32. Nice shots out and about. Whoever The Donald hired to oversee plantings has done a great job.
    Only one of my Nasturtiums is blooming. Some have nice foliage, but most of them are severely stunted. What kind of loser can't even grow a Nasturtium? (Obviously me.)

  33. Hallo Monica
    Schau mal bei mir im Blog vorbei. Ich hab was für Dich und hoffe, Du freust Dich.
    Liebe Grüsse

  34. You know, I think the last time I was at Kew Gardens was in 1999 too! Love those public plantings. I wish I had some good ones to show.

  35. Hi fellow Monica :-) Love the nasturtium photo with the water (dew?) drops. Only one of mine survived past seedlingdom (OK, I just made that up - not sure what else to call it - seedlinghood?) and it still hasn't bloomed - Mr. McGregor's Daughter, you're not the only one who's nasturtium-challenged!

  36. Hi Monica,
    I had to laugh when you asked if we were still awake. I am actually having trouble staying awake, but not because of your fun post. I will be going to bed early tonight.

    I always like mish mash posts. You showed some nice blooms and gardens. I think I like the prairie/meadow one the best.

  37. WiseAcre, that's a much nicer comparison than the ones people usually make. :)

    MMD, lol, my nasties aren't doing so well, but I don't think that makes me a loser. (I'm a loser for completely different reasons, HA!)

    Alex, Danke ich habe zu den Post gelinkt, den ich schon vorher zu den Meme geschrieben habe.

    Jean, it would be funny if we were there on the same day, but I doubt it as we went off-season in freakin' March. (Which was still a lot more in season than MI at the same time of year.)

    Monica, it's always fun to meet another Monica--we're not so common, are we? And I also like junk. :)

    Sue, Thanks! I also love prairies and meadows are kind of in my blood.