After gardening in semi-arid Colorado for nearly 40 years, Debbie returned to her native state three years ago and has been learning how to garden in a totally different climate -– more rain, more heat, the dreaded heat-index, more bugs, and certainly more weeds.

Perennials are her passion and discovering and trying new plants is her addiction. She's also become a vegetable gardener on her two acre retreat in the country. Besides outdoor gardening, Debbie loves houseplants, especially succulents, begonias, and gesneriads, especially in the winter months when nothing else is blooming. As a new Master Gardener, she's trying to convince her neighbors that growing flowers is just as rewarding as growing corn.

 

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Aug 14
Greetings from your new Kentucky Gardener Blogger…  

 

 

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Greetings from your new Kentucky Gardener Blogger…
by Debbie Griffith - posted 08/14/13

Hello, fellow gardeners.  I’m excited to be blogging for Kentucky Gardener and look forward to sharing all kinds of gardening information with you fellow Kentuckians, and other gardeners as well. 

Here’s a little background information.  I’ve been growing things for many years:  houseplants, perennials, annuals, succulents, and Gesneriads.  Currently in my garden I have plants that cover the entire alphabet from Alliums (ornamental onions) to zinnias – my favorite annual.  I love trying new plants and seeking out plant sources.  Because our local plant sources are pretty minimal, I order lots of plants via the Internet. 

After living in Colorado for 40 years, I relocated to Eastern Kentucky in February 2010.  Even before I’d redone the interior of the house, I was planning the garden.  The very first thing I did was have the front lawn dug out.  I’d rather sit on my porch and admire the flowers than look at grass.  When I say I’m addicted, I’m not kidding.  As I was planning the new garden, my gardening friends in Colorado went to my old garden, dug out the perennials, and mailed them to me.  Now that’s being addicted.  Once I had the grass removed, I hauled in loads and loads of garden soil to amend the clay soil that covers most of my gardening area.  I planted the perennials from Colorado, along with new plants I had mail ordered.  Within several weeks some of the perennials were already blooming.  Then came the rains of May.  We had over 9 inches of rain in one day.  By Colorado terms, that would equal 9 FEET of snow.  I watched as the plants stood in water thinking they would probably drown, but the newly amended soil helped with the drainage and they all survived, including the drought tolerant plants I had grown in Colorado. 

Now, after three years of Kentucky gardening, it has been an experience.  Things grow here at startling rates.  I have a butterfly bush that is now more than 10 feet tall and wide, and that’s after I severely pruned it in the spring.  I’ve learned which plants are invasive here – loosestrife (Lysimachia) in particular will take over everything if allowed.  With each new gardening season, I’ve expanded my gardening area.  I live on a very steep hill and mowing the grass is a challenge that I would rather forego.  So, I have gradually replaced grass with flowers.  Since I live in a farming area, it has been interesting to see my neighbors’ reaction when they see all the flowers.  I do grow vegetables – tomatoes, onions, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, squash, peppers – and ornamentals – gourds, pumpkins, and broom corn.  I’ve given up trying to grow eating corn as all I seem to do is feed the raccoons who reside in the area.  Thanks to the previous owners, I have an orchard of cherry, apple, peach, plum and pear trees, all of which have produced large quantities of fruit this season. 

All in all, it has been quite a learning experience.  This summer’s record moisture produced a bumper crop of tomatoes…and weeds, both of which are still growing.  It has been interesting to hear people who live nearby report that their tomato crop was dismal at best.  Growing conditions vary so greatly even within the same area.

In the coming weeks I look forward to talking and sharing information and hearing from you about what’s happening in your garden.  As fall approaches and the gardens begin to wind down, I’ll still be enjoying fresh blooms from the fall crocus that will soon appear as well as the mums and asters.  

 

 

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