Welcome to Rob's plants
All of the information on this site is (slightly to greatly) out of date
– in no small part because I have relocated to Texas, leaving the
Pennsylvania garden described in these pages behind. Over time, as I learn
about gardening around Houston, I hope to share my experiences on this same
website, so robsplants the website isn't going away. But it will be a
little slow in receiving updates for a while, until I'm well settled in my
new home and my mindset can return to gardening.
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.
Mostly me (Rob), as much as I can, and Amy (as much as the kids let
her). Then there's those kids: Max (16), Ben (14), and Lily (12) 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! Our cat Bear 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some embarrassingly out-of-date statements - so I'll just try to keep my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: March 20, 2016)
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, a
rock garden, 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 has become a wild playground of annuals, tall perennials, and boisterous
herbs. 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.
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
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?.
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. I used to do most of my trading is through
GardenWeb, but since they changed hands, I set up my own trading website, at
PlantLinks trading. 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. Recently, I joined the growing community of gardeners
socializing and building a plant database at All Things Plants.
For even more gardening-related sites, you can also visit the DMOZ gardening category.
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.
February 25, 2016