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Zinnias – the Perfect Summer Flower


IMG_0117zowie new

Zinnias are “perfect”  to me because of the perfectly symmetrical way they grow.  Their rows of crisp, even petals are extremely pleasing. They come in so many colors and bicolors, have a lovely green leaf and no scent to cause allergies.  But, they had one drawback in my garden…they always got mildew.  This year I tried a new variety though and it’s gorgeous and mildew free.IMG_0110Zowie Zinnia

I purchased three 4″ pots of “Zowie Yellow Flame” zinnias at Harmony Farm and Garden. The plants are beautiful and settling right into the garden with no bugs and no diseases present (for now…we all know that can change!) They are doing well in a raised bed, on a drip line (cut back  as much as possible due to the drought), with regular dead heading to keep the blooms coming.IMG_0116Zowie bed

My plants are about 30″ tall with mature flowers 3″ wide…perfect for the vase:


“Zowie” is available at nurseries but you can also purchase seeds for next year at Park Seed. There’s a good description and ordering info from them here:











Donna Jones has always loved to garden. After completing the Master Gardener program, spending some time hosting a garden program on television and writing a garden column, she took time off to be a mom and a school teacher. Now, just beginning the journey as a grandmother, Donna is repairing the garden for little hands again! Raised beds full of flowers and veggies are ready and plans for a few chickens are well under way. To learn more about Donna visit Radish Patch Blog, or you can also check out her professional photography site at Donna Jones Photography.




Gardening in a Rented Space


You don’t need to own a home with a huge yard to grow your own food and flowers! I rented apartments for years and always had the stairway to our unit lined with pots full of blooming plants and a few wine barrels filled with flowers along the driveway. The neighbors shared in the bounty and no one minded my obsession.

My daughter, with her husband and two tiny daughters, lives in a rented, 106 year old  home,  in an  historic neighborhood with a large yard but no landscaping at all. What she’s doing with it shows you can grown your own food no matter where you live.

A big Pinterest fan , she found some great ideas online and, unlike most of us, she actually went out and built what she saw! I’m so happy she loves gardening and is teaching her daughters to “grow their own”!

Her vegetables grow in a concrete block garden set in a sunny location in the back of the property:IMG_8897IMG_8900IMG_8904

Some kitchen pots from IKEA make a nice hanging succulent garden:IMG_8909

Cutting the bottom pieces off a tomato cage makes a nice holder for a potted hydrangea:IMG_8912

When they moved in, a very old wine barrel was half buried under the back steps. She hauled it out, filled it with dirt and we added a hosta and some impatiens to brighten a shady corner!IMG_8894

An old ladder found in the garage makes a nice display with a few pots…plants coming next!IMG_8914

As much as I love what she’s done with plants, I really love the fire pit they made from a photo on Pinterest…they make really great S’mores around this campfire!


While you probably don’t want to put precious plants into the ground in a rented home or to spend tons of money on permanent fixtures you can’t take with you when you move, clearly there are some good ideas out there to spruce things up and make your garden enjoyable on a budget! Have you found any good ideas for gardening in a rented space? Please share!

To see more garden articles visit Donna’s garden blog.


Photos copyright Donna Jones Photography





Grow Your Own Hydrangeas


The hydrangeas are blooming and brightening the shady spots in  the garden! Of the 16 we have all but two are blooming now.

I did a few experiments when I pruned last year. I pruned  this Endless Summer quite a bit because of frost damage and it bloomed even more than usual but with very small flowers…which I love! The unpruned Endless Summer plants have the usual larger blooms.



DIY Hydrangea Wreath


With an empty spot on the kitchen wall and a huge collection of dried hydrangeas hanging all over the place a hydrangea wreath seemed just the thing.  It’s easy to do and adds a natural and homey touch to your wall…or wherever you decide to hang it!

Begin by gathering your supplies. I used a 14″ straw wreath (remove the plastic wrap), a glue gun and lots of glue sticks, at least 20 dried hydrangea blossoms, and a paper clip bent into a nice tidy hanger when looped through the nylon string that holds the straw wreath together in back of your design.