Rob's plants
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plant sale journal topics plantlinks fun guestbook

Welcome to Rob's plants

Details for the 2014 Parkland Garden Club private garden tour on July 12th
Overhauling the rock garden - an April project
A page about our collection of hypertufa troughs

Where on earth have I landed?

This website describes our garden on a plot in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley, an hour north of Philadelphia, in the suburbs of Allentown.  We jokingly refer to our piece of zone 6 paradise as "The Lush Gardens of Allentown".

Read more about gardening in the Lehigh Valley.

Who's a-gardening?

Mostly me (Rob), as much as I can, and Amy (as much as the kids let her).  Then there's those kids: Max (14), Ben (12), and Lily (11) all have their own little back-yard gardens along the fence, although Max has officially returned his plot to my care, after years of hardly tending it. Ben's and Lily's may not be far behind if they don't shape up! Bear, one of our two cats, likes to escape the indoors and terrorize the bird and vole population. There's our muttpuppy Maddy, who has a rather utilitarian view of the garden. And then, less predictably, a resident squirrel, chipmonks and rabbits.  In the small pond, a gaggle of fish fight for themselves (even though they aren't fed, they breed like mad), and we always hope that some frogs will make it through the winter. This year, we had a couple that survived, and they are livening up the surroundings with their foghorn croaks, competing with the occasional shrill cries of toads.

What's going on?

You can read about the latest musings about what's happening in the garden in my garden journal. I'd write more right here on this page, but I was always forgetting to update the information, and found some embarrassingly out-of-date statements - so I'll just try to keep my thoughts in my journal from now on. I'd call it a blog, but I'm an old-fashioned kind of guy... (latest entry: July 10, 2014)

What does it look like?

Allright, since you asked...  Our almost-one-half-acre plot has plenty of garden space - the lawn area is constantly shrinking.  Our smallish front yard is strewn with trees, with mixed borders along the front of the house and a "Lane" leading from the front doorstep to the side garden, which is supposedly our most display-worthy garden (and it may be, one day - but not now).  Meanwhile, the other side of the house is flanked by a driveway with a narrow strip of perennial border, which gets parched in summer - we really value perennials that can survive our driveway bed!  The back yard is more free-form: relatively demure plantings near our patio and around the patio-side pond, a cutting garden turned 'curve garden' which in fact is more of a wild annual playground, and an herb garden which is a wild mint romping place. The pièce de résistance is the big pond, which along with its waterfall and filtration bog takes up a lot of space, and runs into our original back yard island with trees, shrubs, a hill, a Dutch windmill and lots of perennials with a concentration on prairie-dwellers.  And then there's the vegetable garden (home to baby bunnies) and the orchard (which doubles as plant nursery/holding area). For a map leading to more information and photos, visit our garden page.

What plants?

I haven't tried to keep track of the number of different plants we grow, but it has to be over a thousand.  Every year, new ones join the fold, from various seed trades and exchanges, mail-order, and local nursery purchases.

For a good number of plants, I've collected some general information and added my comments, and in many cases photographs from our garden. Access these plant portraits from:

Because these pages have different purposes, the plants described don't completely overlap. Look around, and see what you can find!

I even have a page dedicated to our weeds!

The plant portraits below are the ones most recently added or updated

Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora
Potentilla argyrophylla
Penstemon kunthii
Kunth's penstemon
Sisyrinchium bellum
blue-eyed grass
Penstemon tenuis
Gulf Coast penstemon
Salvia forsskaolei
Indigo sage
Saponaria x boissieri
Delphinium pylzowii
Campanula punctata
spotted bellflower

Other garden essentials

When I think of the garden, I mostly consider the plants and the hardscaping. But this business of presenting my garden to the web wide world has given me a new appreciation for some of the other things, living and inanimate, that complete our garden. First, there are the many animals scurrying, buzzing, creeping, and fluttering around. I hadn't an inkling of the sheer variety of flies that populate the premises - let alone bugs, bees, wasps, and caterpillars. To celebrate their colorful diversity, I put up a series of wildlife pages filled with pictures taken in our garden.

You can also take a peek at the most recently added critter photos.

 

Then there are all those fungal lifeforms that rear their heads at various times of the year (but especially in fall). Some are dainty and frail, others odd, and a few just plain disgusting. But it makes for an interesting collection, which I have documented on my fungus page.

 

Now that we've covered the lively and the merely alive, the last (so far) category of garden essentials is garden art. One can debate whether the eclectic grab-bag of objects that constitutes our "collection" has much at all to do with art in the finer definition of the word - that's why I've titled the page showcasing it all ¿Garden art?.

Seed trading

To get through the winter, I spend a lot of time growing plants from seed.  That means I collect seed from the garden in summer and fall, and have plenty to trade.  Most of my trading is through GardenWeb, and I also participate in the annual HPS/MAG and NARGS seed swaps.  See my seed trade list.

Keeping track of the many seed varieties and trades in progress can get to be a nightmare.  To help with this, I put together an Excel utility that does a lot of the hard work.  If you'd like to give it a try, go to the seed tool page.

Other favorite websites

The internet has become one of the most important tools for many gardeners — I'm sure it has for me! On my links page I collect web links to sites I've found useful or interesting: informational sites, sources for supplies and plants, and other gardeners' homes on the web. For even more gardening-related sites, you can also visit the Open Directory Project's gardening category.

Miscellaneous

Just because I have no other place to put this, here goes. I put together a nifty little php script to view your server web access logs from any browser. If that sounds like something you'd like to try, check it out.

If you are interested in advertising on robsplants.com, please drop me a line using the contact link below. I can accommodate custom ads, or facilitate direct access to the Google ad blocks on the robsplants.com pages.

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Last modified: June 20, 2014
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