Home of Stella's Gardens

We are now living full time in Northeast Iowa, and working on the new gardens. It will keep us busy for quite a while...

As an avid gardener since I was about 7 years old, that gives me over 45 years of experience gardening in this part of the world. And every year teaches me a bit more.

Also, working on a new website at stellasgardens - dot - com. Feel free to check it out and comment!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Overpriced bird feeders and homes

So I get all of the catalogs, for gardening and birding.  I see overpriced gardening items, and the bird feeders and houses are sometimes a bit over the top too.  I keep many birdfeeders here and when we head to our eventual home in Northeast Iowa, the tradition will continue.  But some of this pricing is...wow.  You can buy expensive plant supports from whomever with nice green coating.  Or buy the $.99 (or maybe a bit more) tomato cages and hack them up for 2-3 flower rings, not quite as elegant but with all the foliage who can see?  I like the website of Renegade Gardener (http://www.renegadegardener.com) in Minneapolis - who is low-bullshit gardening - but his "revelation" about some of this is "no kidding?  Been doing that for a while."  Some day I gotta meet this guy.

For instance, we bought locally from one of our local garden shops a squirrel corn feeder for a few bucks, made of cedar. But if you go buy a board from the local yard, chop it up and nail it together you get it for way less than half the price.  The son and I made a comparable one for a few dollars (and I got to engage my son in a joint project, first and last one so it's special to me!)  I have seen bluebird houses, or nice feeders that if you want, you could have it for a quarter the price if you do the work yourself....

So maybe we will be starting a line of bird/wildlife feeders, at less than you would pay retail.  Things I want in my yard, with some design element and style, for birds or for wildlife.  We have a lot of native birds that would love some help - bluebirds, wrens.  I understand that there are some nice designs for owl boxes too, to keep the rodentia in check...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The new season begins

So this is an interesting thing that I should just start posting in some stream of consciousness way about my life.  OK my garden at least.
The first seed order from Burpees is on the way.  They claim a new Brandywine derivative called Brandy Boy, and given my love of Brandywine and long-past successes with BetterBoy et al, I am giving it a try.  Also the new dianthus Diana Blueberry hybrid which is an annual.  I have lots of spaces to fill with the new gardens up north, as well as under the eaves here at home.
Of course it is MUCH too early to start anything here in Iowa...sigh.