Category Archives: Rantings by Katie Ketelsen

I thought it was cool

So last year I was privy to a purchasing decision.  I thought it was a good one..so did the person asking my opinion.  Yet NONE of you purchased one of these cone-shaped, mossy baskets last year…or maybe one of you did.

What you can’t tell from this picture is that the dark spiral on the basket is actually green (I love the color green) and the shape of the basket was different.  I’m sure now you may find these everywhere, but I still contend they would look nice in your garden and if none of you take me on my word..then I guess I’ll have to take em all home..and have the coolest garden on the block.

Try one.  I dare ya.

Happy Planting!

Katie Ketelsen

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Rotate~Water~Rotate~Water

So…how’s your victory gardening coming along?  Mine surprisingly~very easy.  I’ve only watered once since I sowed the seeds and have rotated the tray probably every 4th day or so.  Rotation is important to balance the stalk from reaching for the sun.  And from this view you can see clearly the 2 sprouts per soil pack I stuck in based purely on the lack of patience I had.  We’ll see if this will prove a wise decision….or not.

If you’re still struggling to figure out which seeds to sow…whether to sow inside or wait for the frost to disappear, don’t fret.  Next week I’m going shopping with Hannah Inman with KDC Builders and we’ll be digesting the overwhelming decisions surrounding seed selection.

Til then…Happy Planting!

Author: Katie Ketelsen

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“Cyclamen” Plant of the Month~March

Alright….so Cyclamen is not a plant sold at TimberPine.  But in a moment of cabin fever weakness, I went out and splurged on 2 bright-colored Cyclamens and I’m loving myself for it.  Check em out…and wipe that jealous drool off your chin as you see how cool they look.

AND not only do they look smoking hot…but they smell scrumptious!  Imagine yourself…sitting at your decrepid desk boxed in by your mile high cubicle walls and all a sudden your schnoz catches a whiff of something….something sweet smelling.  You KNOW it’s not you as you’re not quite sweet enough.  You KNOW it’s not your co-worker as you’re certain he doesn’t know what deodorant is.  What ELSE could it be but the dainty, flower power packed within the petals of the Cyclamen.

For those of you sensitive to floral scents, this one is for you.  It’s not overpowering and actually leaves me wanting more (so I occasionally lean over and bury my nose in the plant). And this, ladies and gentlemen, is what is getting me through this miserable winter.  Sometimes it’s just the simple pleasures.

Because I’m only knowledgeable about Cyclamen when it comes to testifying about their smell, check out how Elizabeth Licata managed to keep her Cyclamen alive for 10 years!!  Yeah you read right.  10 years…my houseplants don’t make it past year 1.  How’s that for a horticulturist?

Do you have a Cyclamen?  Share where you found your’s so others can reap the rewards! I snagged mine at Harvey’s Greenhouse in Adel.  They’ve got great houseplants!

Happy Planting!

Author: Katie Ketelsen

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I see a sprout!

Just wanted to share with you all that I saw a sprout yesterday….several sprouts in fact, and I’m barely 14 days into it. Getting excited!

What do your seedlings look like?  Did I start too early with  my peppers?  Still got enough snow here to last us till July!

Author: Katie Ketelsen

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My 10 Favorites~New Plants 2010

TimberPine is pulling in some cool, new plants this year.  Some are new to the industry, and some are brand spanking new to us.  Here are my 10 favorites from the list of 36 new varieties this year

1.  Sunny Knockout Shrub Rose

If you’re a fan of the Knockout Shrub Rose series, you already know what I’m talking about.  However, if you’re not familiar and actually cringe at the thought of having a rose in your garden, cringe no more.  The Knockout Roses are fabulous, a show stopper till the first frost and a rose that’s virtually no maintenance.

2.  Korean Fir

This Fir is one for a special spot but once settled in, will become a focal point envious of the neighborhood.  The new growth of this Fir reveals silver-white characteristics with striking dark cones as accents.

3.  Weeping Alaskan Cypress

I’ve been working really really hard on my husband to let me put 1 or preferably 3 of these in our backyard.  I love their weeping, free flowing nature and think they will do well to help hide the intersecting road near our house.

4.  Autumn Delight Sedum

I don’t usually flock to the Sedums unless it’s a ground cover variety, as they get to leggy for me.  However, I’m intrigued enough to give this one a try, just for the slight variegation in it’s foliage.

5.  Twilite Baptisia

I was fortunate enough to snag one of these Baptisia last year and slip it into my garden.  I’m very excited to see how it will grow this year with it’s petite stature (roughly 3.5-4′ tall) and striking bloom color.

6.  Rozanne Geranium

I love perennial geraniums and currently have several Johnson’s Blue Geranium in my garden.  I like their color, their form, their fall color…I like em!  This perennial will go well along the edge of your planting bed.

7.  Brother Stefan Hosta

I’ve always been a fan of the Frances Hosta, so this was just an easy mark for me.  A nice sized Hosta, reaching roughly 20-24″ tall and wide.

8.  Huron Sunrise Grass

Grasses of almost any kind are great for many reasons.  One use I get out of them is creating a quick, economic screen for privacy standing upwards of 6′ tall.  Huron Sunrise adds a little twist with its full burgundy plumes that emerge in late summer.

9.  First Blush Spurge

I have never owned or grown Spurge so I’m kinda excited for this one.  What I like about it is the soft pink color as it merges with the green and white.  Standing only 12″ tall, this specimen would work well along the border.

10.  Royal Raindrops Crabbaple

I am not much of a Crabapple advocate…their crabapples can be messy both from dropping on sidewalks and from the birds.  And most varieties are highly susceptible to fungus issues.  However!  The Royal Raindrops and Golden Raindrops Crabapples are hands-down my favorite Crabapples!  A quick rant of why:

  • they have a different leaf that other Crabapples, similar to a Amur Maple I say
  • their fruit is much smaller than other Crabapples and seems to stay on the stem until plucked by nature
  • their mature size, roughly 10’x15′, makes them perfect for small spaces AND why I like to use them is to create privacy
  • And finally, the foliage on either the Royal Raindrops or Golden Raindrops Crabapple is phenomenal.  The Royal Raindrops is burgundy throughout the season while the Golden Raindrops turns awesome shades of red in the fall.

Here is the complete list of new plant varieties at TimberPine for 2010

Author: Katie Ketelsen

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I hate tedious work.

My cabin fever was overwhelming and the smell of soil was too appealing, so I have begun my Victory Garden.  Just in case I didn’t tell you….I found some of the Burpee seeds I’d been eying online, marked 40% off at a box store here in town.  I also managed to grab a 72 soil pellet pack for under $6 (online $8-10).  Needless to say, I was VERY excited with my find.  And alas…. that’s where my frustration began.

I hate….HATE with a passion tedious work.  It drives me crazy bonkers.  Makes me want to scream!  And distributing those dainty little seeds, into their respecting soil pods was TEDIOUS!  I only plugged in the peppers (as it’s too early for the others), however, when the time comes, I’m contemplating hiring my husband to do the sowing.  He’s gotta earn his keep around here anyway.

Soil pellets need to be saturated before setting the seed.

Pellets should expand approximately 1-2″ tall with the soil loose.  (weird sidenote: I love the smell of soil.  Something about it makes me feel good.  If someone knows of a “soil perfume” drop me a line)

It’s begun….tedious tedious tedious!  Keeping my hands steady enough to drop the seeds on the pellet, and NOT along side the pellet where my fat fingers could not rescue a seed=TEDIOUS

Call it frugal or that sowing these seeds was getting the best of me, but I packed 2 seeds in each pod.  In less than 10 minutes, I had had enough.  I’m fairly certain this is one of those moments, that I previously disclosed may happen, where I make up my own rules.  Two to three seeds in one soil pod is just fine guys!

Now, if I was really pinching my pennies, and had a little more patience in me, I would have possibly researched further the many ways I could have re-purposed some of the crap lying around my house.  So take it from the amateur and try following one or more of these frugal methods to starting seeds, I think I’ll be smarter on my next trial.

Happy Planting!

Author: Katie Ketelsen

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“I’ll grow it myself!”

Some people call it “Victory Gardening.” Well…we’ll see what kind of Victory I’ll be eating by the time this veggie adventure is over.

I’ve decided to grow it myself this year…in my own backyard!

I know what you’re thinking:  This isn’t a big deal, Katie.  You went to Iowa State, you majored in Horticulture, you’ve been gardening for years.

I know.  I know.  This is what I keep telling myself as I teeter back and forth between sanity and…well… gardening hysteria.  But I figure, if any regular Jane can do this, I sure as heck need to.  So I’m inviting you to stroll along with me, through my trials….my disappointments…and doubtfully a bountiful harvest so that you can learn from my mistakes and create the Victory Garden your grandma’s grandma would be proud of.

The FINEPRINT right UPFRONT: I am not a veggie expert, nor do I claim to be.  I might not follow all the rules and I might make up some of my own.  I have no idea how this garden will turn out or if it will even turn out anything.  If you’re a veteran veggie gardener, you have my permission from this point on, to poke, snicker, chuckle and talk smack about my lack of veggie gardening skills.  Just make sure you share your own wisdom with the rest of us newbies.

So let’s be realistic for a moment.  If this is your first garden rodeo, let’s start small this year.  Think about what might be the top 3-4 vegetables you know for sure you and your family would eat and go with those.  What you don’t want to do is get burned out the first year and ban vegetable gardening all together.  That being said, I am in no way following said sage advice and have already collected too many seeds that I know what to do with.  And here are the lucky ones thus far:

  • Jalapeno Pepper
  • Hot Mix of Peppers~Anaheim TMR 23, Ancho, Long Slim Cayenne, Jalapeno and Hungarian Wax
  • Big Dipper green pepper
  • Large Bottle Mix Gourds
  • Cilantro
  • Flowering Cabbage (Kale)
  • Iceberg Lettuce
  • Bells of Ireland (I know this isn’t a vegetable…but I love their color and well I’m a sucker).

If you’re struggling to narrow down the laundry list of potential vegetables, take a cue from Thomas at Park Seed as he explains the best vegetable seeds for kid’s to plant.  Hey, if they can do it, you can excel.  Right?

Author: Katie Ketelsen


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