Monday, December 31, 2007

Looking Back: Projects Completed in 2007

Sometimes I walk around my house and only seem to notice all the little (and big) projects that haven't been done yet. When I'm feeling overwhelmed, it helps to remember all the projects that are done. While I didn't get everything on my to-do list for this year done (ok, I wasn't even close), there was a lot accomplished around here this year. It helped tremendously to have a handy boyfriend with lots of tools and know-how who also finishes projects when I'm not around.

Inside projects completed in 2007:
Outside projects completed in 2007:

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Garden Showdown: Online vs. Locally Purchased Plants

It's been awhile since I've had anything to post on Green Thumb Sunday since it's winter and I live in Ohio. But this is a perfect time to take stock of how my new plants did in 2007 and to see how plants purchased from local nurseries compare to those purchased online.

Purchased online from Michigan Bulb Co.:

  • Canterbury Bells (Campanula) - $7.99 for three bareroot plants. One bloomed, then died.
  • Bellflower (Campanula glomerata) - $7.99 for three potted plants. Saw good growth on two plants, but no blooms.
  • Double Anemones (Anemone coronaria St. Brigid Group) - $5.99 for 40 bulbs. Planted in summer so too late to see anything this year. I just read that I should have pulled these bulbs up this fall for winter storage, so I don't have a lot of hope of seeing these next season.
  • Liatris (Liatris spicata 'Alba') - $5.99 for 20 white bulbs. Saw growth on 10-12 bulbs, but no blooms.
  • Mixed Lupines (Lupinus polyphyllus (Russell Hybrid)) -$7.99 for three bareroot plants. Two started to show growth then dried up and died. I never saw anything from the third.
  • Mini Hollyhocks (Sidalcea malviflora) - $7.99 for six potted plants. Saw growth on several; one tiny hollyhock bloomed.
  • Scabiosa (Scabiosa columbaria 'Butterfly Blue') - $5.99 for three potted plants. Some growth and profuse blooms.

Purchased from local nurseries:

  • Lavender - $0.99 for three cell-pack size plants. All three showed great growth, and two plants bloomed.
  • Coneflower - $0.99 for three cell-pack size plants. All three showed good growth and one bloomed just before killing frosts arrived.
  • Cosmos - approx. $3.18 for eight plants. Good growth and bloomed profusely.
  • Miss Kim Lilac, Dwarf - $10 for two plants. Little growth and few blooms. May not have watered enough.
  • Shasta Daisies - $0.99 for three cell-size plants. Good growth, but no blooms.
  • Strawberry Dianthus - $0.99 for three cell-size plants. Not a lot of growth, but blooms.
  • Veronica Speedwell - $0.99 for three cell-size plants. Great growth and bloomed profusely.
Now to be fair to Michigan Bulb Co., they have a policy of replacing plants. I haven't tried to contact them about replacing my plants because I think I may have had a hand in their deaths. We also had a very, very dry summer and I didn't always water as much as I should have.

After these results I plan to stock up at the local nurseries when they have great sales and save online plant ordering for rare plants I can't find anywhere else. Of course perhaps my winter sowing efforts will be so fantastic I won't need to buy any plants this Spring. Yeah, I'm not holding my breath on that one either.

Gardeners, Plant and Nature lovers can join in every Sunday, visit As the Garden Grows for more information.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

On the 837th Day There Was Bathroom Storage

Once upon a time this was the only bit of storage in my tiny, tiny bathroom besides the medicine cabinet. This rickety little over-the-throne number was left by the previous owner. It served its purpose for two years, but was never ideal and always seemed about to collapse on your head.

But this week my very kind boyfriend surprised me and assembled and installed the new IKEA storage cabinets I bought. I put my foot in my big, giant mouth bigtime on this one though, because the first thing I thought, and unfortunately said was, "oh my god those things are TOO BIG." Which apparently isn't the thing one wants to hear after spending four hours working on a project. Then I promptly proceeded to freak out over buying more oversized crap for my tiny 1940s house.

But I'm getting used to them, even starting to like them. I definitely love having all that storage space and being able to keep more than two rolls of TP and one extra towel in the bathroom. I've almost got things smoothed over with the boy too.

The bathroom continues to look 100% better than it did when I moved in.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Three Green Cleaning Tips

Is this a pic of:

A) The makings of a really wacky drink
B) Oompa Loompa bath supplies
C) Green cleaners

If you guessed C, you win...the self-satisfaction of knowing you're right. ;)

I'm a bit of a clean freak, so I've slowly been trying to switch from toxic to non-toxic cleaners, but only if they work. Here are three new-to-me green cleaning tips that work for me:

1. Besides the million other uses for white vinegar, did you know it makes a great stainless steel cleaner? Yup, it's true.

2. Orange, lemonade and other powdered drink mixes with citric acid make great rust removers. Even Tang will do! I doubted it too when I read this tip in Apartment Therapy, but it works. While Apartment Therapy mentioned putting Tang in the toilet bowl to clean rust stains, I tried it on the stubborn rust stain in my tub (even the Magic Eraser didn't touch this rust stain) and it worked great! I just wet the tub, put the powder on the stain, and let it work its magic for 45 minutes. When I rinsed the orange Kool-Aid off, the rust stain was gone and it has stayed gone for a week. Plus the Kool-Aid left a nice orange scent, much better than the typical chemical cleaner smell.

3. Adding white vinegar to your laundry helps remove soap residue and can eliminate the need for fabric softener.

What are your favorite green cleaners?


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