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Thoughts on the Garden and My Goals for This Week

 Peony Festiva Maxima The Prudent Homemaker

My first peony! 

I've seen Claus Darby's name on several of the photos I've pinned on Pinterest before, but it wasn't until Friday that I started reading his blog, inspired by the photo I saw on Pinterest of his sunken white garden. The more I read, the more I realize how much my white garden was inspired by his photos of his own white gardens.

Saturday I went to the nursery, inspired by his gardens and other flower pictures on Pinterest. I went searching for double begonias after seeing them on Pinterest, hoping to find them but pretty sure I had seen only single begonias before. Begonias had never captured by eye before, but the double ones were so different than what I had seen before.

Begonia The Prudent Homemaker

The nursery only had single begonias, which looked nothing like the beautiful rose-like flowers that had inspired me to rethink begonias. I bought a six pack of the single begonias anyway (for $2.98)  and planted them (pictured above) in the shady spot by the front door. They are tiny right now.

White Garden April The Prudent Homemaker

Claus had this interesting post about what constitutes a lush garden. In his words, a lush garden is one where you can no longer see the dirt. That, combined with all of the photos of his bench surrounded by flowers (like this one), made a light go off in my head, and I realized what was bothering me in the white garden--all of the bare spots and about to be bare spots, as the greenery of spring bulbs dies back.

We are expecting temperatures in the upper 80ºs this week; it's time for me to plant summer seeds in the garden.

Iceberg Roses and Snapdragons in the White Garden

He also made me reconsider dahlias. I've always thought of dahlias as being a cooler climate flower, but Claus said that dahlias originated from Mexico. A little research on my part and I found that in hot climates, dahlias need what pretty much every plant needs here in the desert: morning sun and afternoon shade. Winco has had some dahlia tubers in the front of the store for a bit and now I am thinking of trying a few, if they have any left! (My plan to not buy any new flowers for the garden this year is being completely erased; it seems that flowers are all I can think about lately, and since my birthday is today, I think flowers it is!) What I don't know--and I would love to hear from those of you who grow dahlias, is if they make a single flower, flower for a short while, or flower all summer. (Update: They don't have any more dahlias! Anyone have a preferred online source?)


Star of Bethlehem The Prudent Homemaker

Star of Bethelem

Plans for this week:


1. Remove four non-producing trees from the garden

2. Plant new trees in their places

3. Plant more basil seeds in the white garden

4. Plant zinnia seeds in the white garden

5. Plant vinca seeds in the white garden

5. Remove pea plants from the garden and keep the pea pods for seed to plant next year

6. Replant summer seeds: Armenian cucumbers, red noodle pole beans, and zucchini. With all the wind storms we've had lately (49 mph at one point last week) I've not been in the garden much this month except to thin my fruit trees and cut flowers to bring in.

7. Pick mulberries from my neighbor's garden

8. Plant zinnia seeds in the circle in the backyard garden

9. Cut chamomile buds to dry

10. Remove spent plants, including broccoli.

11. Plant butternut squash seeds


Chamomile The Prudent Homemaker



1. Make a new apron for myself



1. Finish folding and putting away all outgrown children's clothes which are currently in my room

2. Finish organizing the pantry



1. Can mulberries in syrup

2. Freeze mulberries

3. Cook a large pot of black beans in the solar oven



1. Trip to Winco to check out the dahlias  I went; they were all gone!

2. Search online for new dress shoes for Winter



I have several blog posts I'm working on, and another 2-3  more that will go up this week before the Frugal Accomplishments post on Sunday/Monday. Make sure to check back for these.


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Tagged in: Goals White Garden


  • Miriam from Estonia April 20, 2015

    Happy, happy birthday! I hope you enjoy your birthday flowers all the summer! :-)

  • Kelly April 20, 2015

    Happy Birthday Brandy! Your flowers in your White Garden are quite lovely! :)

  • Janell in Georgia April 20, 2015

    Happy, happy Birthday.

  • Talyah April 20, 2015

    Happy Birthday Brandy! Sending you blessings from the Holy Land :D

  • Adriana Bean April 20, 2015

    Happy bday Brandy!
    You are my inspiration in gardening, frugality & creativity.

  • AshleyAshley April 20, 2015

    Happy birthday Brandy!!!

    I really enjoy seeing the links to your pinterest and knowing some of your inspirations for your gardening. Cant wait to see more!!

  • Michelle April 20, 2015

    Happy Birthday! I love your garden. Gardens always seem to be a work in progress.

  • Ms. Sandie April 20, 2015

    Happy Birthday!

  • Lynn Dailey April 20, 2015

    Happy Birthday!!!!!

  • patsi @ a working pantry April 20, 2015

    Happy Birthday Brandy! Your garden is absolutely beautiful! I haven't set my goals or more commonly known as my 'to-do' list for the week yet ... that's the next thing on my 'to-do' list!!!!

  • Celia April 20, 2015

    Argh y comment got eaten. Happy Birthday!

    Your garden is so lovely, however do you keep your children from digging it up? Sometimes my children help and sometimes it's more like"help".

    We were ecstatic to see our cucumbers sprouting yesterday. Today there is a nice rain too! Our tomatoes have a flower, and some strawberries are ripening. I have to go out later and check my slug traps. They love strawberries :( I get more excited harvesting slugs than I do harvesting veggies sometimes. DEATH TO SLUGS!! Anyhow, our flowers are looking nice, the pink tulips should open tomorrow. We planted a variety of flowers to see what did best out front and in the fall are planting more grape hyacinth. We have a lot of violets this year and are going to try and encourage them to grow around the flower bed.

  • Libby April 20, 2015

    You made me laugh! I have "helpers" too! Years ago I told myself that their "help" from their tiny hands was more valuable than the flowers and veggies they will destroy, and destroy they do!

  • Celia April 22, 2015

    Mmmm. yes. I keep reminding myself that "help" now will be really helpful when they are a few years older. They slaughtered some tulips in an ecstacy of mud and trucks yesterday. RIP chuch shoes.

  • LaurieS April 20, 2015

    Happy Birthday Brandy! May you have a blessed day!

  • Jenni April 20, 2015

    I can well understand the need to order more flowers than you thought you would :).

    We grew dahlias a few years ago in our zone 5b garden in newly turned clay soil. I didn't expect much, and the summer was very hot, with temperatures often reaching triple digits. I only amended a little with bone meal when I first planted them.

    They performed marvelously - I would estimate that each of the twelve dahlia bulbs we planted (we got ours from Sam's Club) probably produced at least 4 - 7 flowers. Some are larger than others, but once cut, they lasted quite a long time in bouquets.

    For you, I would imagine that you could even leave them in the soil once the growing season is over. We have to dig ours up and store them because of the cold winters.

    Here is a link to growing information on Dahlias that I found extremely helpful: http://www.elkhorngarden.com/Growing-Info.html. Happy Birthday!

  • Thank you for sharing your experience! If they make several flowers each then that will be wonderful, and good to know they last a while in a vase!

    We have triple digits for several months here. I would love to have them still blooming then!

  • Rhonda A. April 20, 2015

    Wishing you a lovely, fun filled birthday, Brandy! I imagine your children would plan a "party" and decorate for you, as you do for them. Please take pictures and share if they do. I would love to see their creative take on a birthday for mom.

    The photograph of your white garden was wonderful to see. It has been interesting to see the changes as it grows through your photographs. Thank you for sharing its marvelous beauty.

    As for my plans this week, I am trying to tie up some loose ends before returning to work. I start back on April 23.

  • Melissa April 20, 2015

    Happy birthday! You have such a beautiful garden!

    Do butternut squash grow well in the summer heat? We're new to gardening in the desert. This is our first summer. I've planted tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelon, and green peppers. However, our main plot gets sun all day until about 4:30 p.m. I've noticed that the plants start to yellow in the afternoon. Any suggestions for shade? I did plant sunflowers, but they're not tall enough to provide much shade yet.

    How do you dig up your non-producing trees by yourself?

  • With a shovel! ;) And probably a saw for some of the larger roots.

    They are only about 7 to 8 years old, so not impossible, but definitely hard work!

  • Sonia April 20, 2015

    Happy Birthday. I love the white garden.

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