Dahlias Blooming! Long Entry (sorry gardening gets me excited lately)

Dahlias Blooming! Long Entry (sorry gardening gets me excited lately)

Someone requested in my last post I post when the Dahlias bloomed. They finally did! I had one bloom last week, now we have several with still more to come! I love the color. I definitely want to keep these around for next year, I just need to figure out if they'll be staying where they are or possibly moving to a new (to be constructed) bed. The purple flowers I let half die are bouncing back! I'm so excited! I expected I'd killed the plant, with my brown (turning green, I hope) thumb. I cut all the dead material away and hoped for the best and it's rewarded me with tiny purple flowers! I hope it keeps growing! I'll definitely find a home for it somewhere in the yard. My lavender is not blooming, but I'm not sure if it should be. Question - how do you (if you do) plan out your garden? For those who do it on the fly, have you been gardening for years and learned to trust your instincts, or do you rely on local nurseries to help you in your choices? I have been working on ideas and plans for our yard. First I sketched the house from google earth (cheesy, but hey it worked!) and then I made several sketches. One of what it looks like now, showing all current plants (and colored with crayons ;)). Another with some ideas for the front yard and another with a sketch of the yard and several boxes singling out areas in the yard. They all indicate existing beds or places I'd like to build one. So far the more definite plans are in the backyard- a raised herb garden in a more shaded area (with morning sun) and a veggie and bush garden (approx 10ftx10ft) that will be two tiered, the second tier built up to separate the veggies and the bushes I'd like to put in. The last bed is our front yard. It's walled in on 3 sides by fence (we live on a flag lot, I believe it's called, inset from other houses). I'm really going to have fun with it, I think. I'd like to do some really cool statues that are kind of tucked away that you'll find when you walk back in it. My timeline is to have all 3 beds built by Spring 2011, with hopefully the veggie and herbs growing in 2010. If you have anything that's like I've described, I'd LOVE to see your pictures! I love this and other places (like folia) for ideas! I'm really having a lot of fun planning and most importantly, I've been reading a beginner's guide to gardening book I picked up! I actually got 3. Do you have any books you keep on hand as a reference guide? The one has really been fantastic, it has color pictures demonstrating their different points.
Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Oh and I saved this picture, my first bloom before it was totally open. Photobucket
Mystery Corner

Mystery Corner

Perhaps they’ll make me happy this year.

Perhaps they’ll make me happy this year.

Shifting Hybrid Teas

Shifting Hybrid Teas

Lobivia dobeana

Lobivia dobeana

Crazy Sunflowers

Crazy Sunflowers

I need your opinions!

I need your opinions!