Friday, December 16, 2011

I want a dinosaur in my garden!  This dino made from broken limbs after a storm with hot glue!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Beautiful bird baths

Leaves by Jenny at www.leavesbyjenney.com  sells leaf shaped waterfalls you should check out.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Bokashi

Compost Guy talks about bokashi -- how to do it and how to make it.  Can't wait! I'm getting my buckets now!

Bokashi Bran


2lbs Bokashi Bran
Extra bokashi bran to use with your bokashi composting kit or around the house.  Bokashi bran can be added to litter boxes to help control the odor.  Bokashi can be mixed into traditional compost piles to help inoculate the pile.  It can also be added to potting soil or mixed into the soil with transplants to help with the decomposition of organic matter and to inoculate the area with beneficial microorganisms, both of which help with plant growth.
How to Use:
Sprinkle a small handful of bran over each 2″ layer of scraps and press the layers down to ensure contact and to remove airspace.  Harder to break down items such as corn cobs, avocado skins, meat, and cheese will require more bran.  Green mold is bad, white mold is good.  If you are seeing green mold then you need to add more bran.  Foul odors are also and indication that proper fermentation isn’t taking place.  If you smell foul odors then you need to add more bran.  Proper fermentation should have a sweet, vinegar like smell.  At 70 degrees complete fermentation takes about 14 days.  Cooler temperatures will require more time to properly ferment.
Ingredients:  Wheat Bran, Filtered Water, Blackstrap Molasses, Azomite, Sea Salt, EM
Questions?

Price: $11.99

No, I'm MAKING my buckets now!  Lisa's two bucket trick

Make that THREE buckets:

http://www.bokashicycle.com/FAQ.html

Can I use Bokashi culture mix to get rid of my pet's droppings?

Yes. We do not recommend using Bokashi fermentation to process animal feces because there is a small risk that organisms in the feces if then processed and placed in a vegetable garden could cause problems. If you are going to process that material and place it in the ground for ornamental plants, it will work well and get rid of the odors and mess that can be hard to otherwise handle. You should mix the feces with other plant material, leaves, or wood chips so that the Bokashi culture mix has a rich amount of material to process. Then after fermentation bury it in the ground covering it with about 8 inches of soil.

Can I use Bokashi culture mix with my kitty litter?

Yes. If you add a handful of Bokashi culture mix to the kitty litter each week, it will greatly help in reducing the odors of ammonia and waste in the litter. You can then ferment (pickle) the litter mixing it with leaves and other organic debris and use this product in the soil for ornamental plants. Do not put this material in your vegetable garden. There is no harm for your pet in using Bokashi in the litter.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Flavia or yellowtop (or goldenrod) blooms anew

I visited Marie Selby this last week (I'm in love with a strangler fig, i. e. Moreton Bay ficus -- who cares if it strangles its host? Vampires are in this year.) and during our garden tours, I kept noticing nice little straggles of goldenrod out of the corner of my eye. Goldenrod! Why was Marie Selby's blooming and mine wasn't?

So I came home and it was in bloom! It's very ethereal and light hearted, and I like the height of it, between two and three feet tall, but not so bossy and dense as that beach sunflower. It's such a joyful event when a plant blooms again.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Flower bed desire

Note to self:  How tidy and yet cottagey!  The little thingies in the front, bigger in the back, and tall to the side. How right and proper! Must find these plants for Florida sun. Cranberry pentas might work, and angelonia and society garlic for tall, but what about those yellow greens? Succulents?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Long blooming orchid

I bought this beautiful phaleonopsis at the Green Thumb Festival for $7 back in APRIL and it's still blooming!!!
 It sits in front of a window where it only gets a stray ray of morning sun, and I never water it. Rather, it is sitting suspended (on a pile of wine bottle corks (hmmm, I wonder where I got those) with water at the bottom, so it's sitting above the water but not in it. I figure maybe the wine corks absorb and suffuse the water too.  I certainly have enjoyed it.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Organic pest killers

35 Pest and Disease Remedies

Turn to your pantry and medicine cabinet for simple solutions to common garden problems

I’ve found that awareness and a quick response are two of the best allies against garden foes. By knowing my plants, as well as their pests and diseases, I can be proactive in combatting garden ailments.
When problems do arise, I turn to the most benign and natural forms of control, like hand-picking invaders, setting up barriers, or trimming problem areas off plants. If these interventions fail, I apply my easy homemade potions to treat my gardens, keeping in mind the welfare of the soil and the dwellers who share the earth with me.
Anyone walking into my potting area is liable to find four or five mixtures of fertilizer brews and oddball pest blends fermenting in tubs, along with a strange collection of tools and utensils. It is not the aftermath of some cataclysmic disaster; it is my laboratory, my living library, and the makings for a healthy garden.
For more articles on this topic, check out our section on pests and diseases.

Before you begin...

My friend and garden assistant, Peggy, tells me that of all the yards she helps tend, mine is the healthiest (although it is not necessarily the tidiest). I credit that health to myriad factors. Every speck of my growing areas (even potted plants) is covered with rich organic matter like aged compost, worm castings, or shredded leaves. I grow a diverse array of plants—bulbs, annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees—to create a well-integrated yet multifaceted garden that attracts scores of beneficial inhabitants such as insects, lizards, toads, frogs, snakes, and birds. Before adding any plant to my garden, I make sure that it is healthy and thriving and is planted in an area that suits its needs.
On the occasion that I need to treat a plant for a pest or disease problem, I follow these simple guidelines:
• Test homemade sprays on a small portion of the plant before applying it to the entire surface. Monitor the plant’s response for a couple of days to check for burning.
Add a few drops of liquid soap to homemade foliar sprays. It helps to emulsify, or blend together, the other ingredients. It also acts as a surfactant, or wetting agent, which will ensure uniform coverage on leaf surfaces or insect bodies (causing desiccation and death). Always use soap (never detergent) so as not to burn plants; good choices are Dr. Bronner’s, Fels Naptha, or any pure castile soap, all of which can be found in health-food stores.
Apply sprays early in the morning and never when the temperature is above 85°F to prevent sunburned leaves.
Wear rubber gloves when using any sprays containing peppers, alcohol, citrus concentrates, mint oils, or anything else that could irritate your skin. And when spraying outdoors in breezy conditions, wear eye and nose protection.
Examine your plants thoroughly before apply- ing sprays to make sure that you aren’t spraying any spiders or beetles that might be your allies in the fight against pests.

Animal pests

Make your own deer repellent with eggs, beef bouillon, water, and liquid soap.Make your own deer repellent with eggs, beef bouillon, water, and liquid soap.
Deterrents for deer
Most gardeners agree that a strong, tall fence (preferably electric), tilted outward at a 45-degree angle, or two fences about 5 feet apart are the longest-lasting solutions to a deer problem. But if a fence isn’t in your budget or doesn’t fit in with your garden design, here are some alternatives:
• Dangle strips of Mylar or compact discs from tree branches to alarm deer.
• Poke a hole with a needle and fishing line through tiny, scented bars of soap (wrappers on), and hang several on each shrub or tree in your garden. A Smithsonian Institution research team found Lifebuoy soap to be the best.
• Make your own deer repellent. Rotten eggs and beef bouillon are ingredients in many commercial deer repellents. Break 1 dozen eggs into a bucket, add 4 cubes of beef bouillon, and fill the bucket with water. Cover it with a lid, and let the mixture sit until it stinks. Add 2 tablespoons of liquid soap per gallon of liquid, and pour the mixture into a spray bottle. Then hold your nose and spray the plants. Do not spray it directly on plants that you will consume; instead, spray it around them to create an invisible barrier. For edibles, use “garlic soup” (see “Diseases”), which I also apply to thwart plant diseases.
What does deer damage look like? Watch a video...
Sweet gum pods protect plants from rabbits.Sweet gum pods protect plants from rabbits.
Simple ways to keep rabbits at bay
The heartbreak caused by a mowed-down sunflower, hosta, tulip, or whatever happened to be on the resident rabbit’s menu that day is something no gardener should have to bear. Here are a few tricks I use to divert those rascally rabbits:
• Shake baby powder or flour on young seedlings and garlic powder on mature plants to make them unpalatable.
• Surround prized bushes or herbaceous plants with a thick planting of garlic and wormwood to offend rabbits’ discriminating sense of smell.
• Encircle plants with small branches of spiny holly leaves or the large, dried, prickly seed vessels of the sweet gum tree (Liquidambar styraciflua). The evergreen holly branches can be collected and used anytime. Gather the sweet gum pods in the fall, and store them in a dry area. In early spring, place them firmly in the soil surrounding the plants.
Moles be gone
To discourage moles, sink a line of glass bottles into the soil with about 1 inch of neck exposed. The whistling sound of wind blowing across the bottle tops disrupts moles’ sensitive hearing and hinders their ability to find prey. Poking several noisy toy windmills into the soil will also disturb moles, as the vibrations will drive them away.
Moles dislike garlic, so try dropping some crushed cloves into the run. You can also repel them with a castor-oil concoction. Mix 8 tablespoons of castor oil and 1 tablespoon of liquid soap in 1 gallon of water. Dig down into one of the critter’s runs, and pour the mixture inside.

Insect pests

Grapefruit rinds lure slugs.Grapefruit rinds lure slugs.
Barriers and baits for slugs and snailsSlugs and snails are responsible for wiping out many a gardener’sdreams. I create barriers around prized plants to protect them from annihilation. Copper strips produce a shock to snails and slugs trying to cross them. Wrap inexpensive, thin copper, found in craft stores, around pots, plants, and trees to create a protective barrier. Pine needles, coffee grounds, crushed eggshells, or diatomaceous earth (fossilized, silica-shell remains of prehistoric diatoms that desiccate insect bodies) provide a scratchy barrier and should be reapplied after a rain. Always purchase natural diatomaceous earth because swimming-pool grade contains crystalline silica, a respiratory hazard.
• I also use several bait techniques to catch slugs and snails; then I scrape the creatures into soapy water in the morning. Here are some ways to lure them:
• Set out fresh grapefruit and melon rinds each evening in a moist, shady area plagued by slugs and snails.
• Lay empty flowerpots or milk cartons on their sides in a shady area.
• Water a small portion of your yard in the evening, and put down a small, wooden board that is elevated slightly on a rock. The slugs and snails will congregate on the board’s underside.
Blended larkspur or delphinium leaves make an effective spray against Japanese beetles.Blended larkspur or delphinium leaves make an effective spray against Japanese beetles.
Japanese beetle busters
Like slugs and snails, Japanese beetles have plagued gardeners for years. One way to stop them in their tracks is to suck them up with a small, handheld vacuum. Another way is to throw a handful of larkspur or delphinium leaves into a blender, add the blend to 1 gallon of water, and spray the mixture onto plants being attacked by Japanese beetles. The deadly alkaloids (deliosine and delsoline) in the leaves will zap the beetles.
Some gardeners have had success deterring Japanese beetles by planting a ring of garlic and chives around the affected plants, while others bounce those bugs into a bucket of warm, soapy water with a long-handled spatula or spoon. It is a natural defense for a bug to drop to the ground, so the Japanese beetles will fall straight into their sudsy demise. Try to catch them in the early morning when they’re still a little sluggish.
Knock the beetles into a bucket of soapy water.Knock the beetles into a bucket of soapy water.
Red-pepper powder repels pesky critters
I have been using red-pepper powder for years on everything from cucumber beetles and spittlebugs to leafhoppers and cabbage loopers. Now there is scientific backing for this treatment: Entomologist Geoff Zehnder of Auburn University in Alabama credits McCormick red-pepper powder for protecting cabbages better than any standard chemical insecticide.
Mix 2 tablespoons of red-pepper powder and 6 drops of liquid soap in 1 gallon of water. Let the mixture sit overnight, and stir thoroughly. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle, shake well, and spray weekly on the tops and bottoms of the leaves. This will protect plants, especially members of the cabbage family (including broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and brussels sprouts), from destructive insects.
Adhesive tape lifts small insects from plant leaves.Adhesive tape lifts small insects from plant leaves.
Tricks for removing aphids, mites, and other small insects
Scientists at Texas A&M University estimate that up to 90 percent of problems with aphids, mites, and spittlebug nymphs can be cured by dislodging them with a strong blast of water. You can also use adhesive tape to remove aphids and other small insects from plant leaves. Simply wrap a long piece of tape around your fingers (sticky side out), and blot off the bugs.
For aphids in particular, set a yellow dish filled with soapy water near the plant. Aphids are drawn to the color yellow. For spider mites that persist despite a daily spray of plain water, use a buttermilk spray developed by scientists at Purdue University. Combine 1/4 cup of buttermilk and 2 cups of wheat flour in 2-1/2 gallons of water. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle, shake the ingredients thoroughly, and spray it on your plants.
Crushed strong-scented herbs make a tea that repels many insects.Crushed strong-scented herbs make a tea that repels many insects.
An herbal brew to combat troublesome creepy crawlers
Basil and especially potently scented herbs- such as lavender, rosemary, tansy, southernwood, rue, mint, wormwood, or sage-help fight harmful leafhoppers, aphids, cabbage loopers, mites, cucumber beetles, and many other creepy crawlers. Simply gather a handful of fresh basil leaves and stems and any other herb trimmings you have on hand, crush them slightly, and stuff them into a mesh produce sack, if you have one. Put the sack (or the loose herbs) into a bucket or a large glass jar that is at least 1/2 gallon in size, and fill with water. Cover the container, and set it in the sun to brew for a few days. Remove the sack, or strain the solids from the mixture. Store the liquid in a covered container in a cool, dark area until it's needed as an insecticide. When you're ready to do battle, pour the herbal brew into a spray bottle, add 1/8 teaspoon of liquid soap, and shake well before spraying.

Diseases

Chamomile tea works against plant fungus and mildew.Chamomile tea works against plant fungus and mildew.
Chamomile tea is a cure-all for fungal diseases
It’s a little-known fact that chamomile tea has antibacterial and fungicidal properties that will aid plants suffering from fungus and mildew. I often make a simple brew for my sickly plants. Place 16 chamomile tea bags (or 2 cups of dried chamomile flowers) in 2 quarts of water, and simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat, and allow the tea bags to steep for several hours. Strain, if using dried flowers. Use the tea to irrigate tender seedlings (from the bottom) to prevent damping off, or use as a foliar spray to battle diseases on plants. Because I never let anything go to waste, I also add leftover tea and used tea bags to my watering can.
A tonic for black spot and powdery mildew on roses
Roses, while beautiful, are often plagued with black spot or powdery mildew. I mix these ingredients into a tonic, which I spray on my roses: 2 teaspoons of baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of liquid soap or Murphy's oil soap in 2 quarts of water. The tonic protects the roses for months.
Garlic helps thwart noxious diseases
For plants with a fungal, viral, or bacterial disease, cook up a batch of what I call "garlic soup." Purée two cloves of garlic in a blender for a minute. Slowly add 1 quart of water, and continue blending for about six minutes. Strain the mixture, and add 1/8 teaspoon of liquid soap. Pour the liquid into a storage container and cover tightly. When you're ready to take action, mix 1 part garlic soup with 10 parts water into a spray bottle and apply the mixture to the top and undersides of your sick plant's leaves, taking caution not to spray beneficial insects and larvae. Scientists have discovered that garlic leaves are potent in their own right, so you can also purée two handfuls of leaves instead of using cloves.
Aspirin is the remedy for fungal headaches
Black spot, powdery mildew, and rust are a terrible trio of fungi, which can attack and destroy your plants. Scientists have found that two uncoated aspirin tablets (325 milligrams each) dissolved in 1 quart of water and used as a foliar spray can thwart these diseases.
Puréed garlic cloves or leaves help restore plant health.Puréed garlic cloves or leaves help restore plant health. Photo/Illustration: Amy Albert
Use an aspirin foliar spray to combat black spot, powdery mildew, and rust.Use an aspirin foliar spray to combat black spot, powdery mildew, and rust.

Weeds

A vinegar spray thwarts weeds.A vinegar spray thwarts weeds.
Vinegar wreaks havoc on weeds
Attack weeds with a directed stream of vinegar (5 percent acidity) mixed with a few drops of liquid soap. You may substitute equal parts water and isopropyl alcohol (70 percent solution) for the vinegar. This works well for areas in stone or brick patios where you don’t want grass or weeds. Drench the weed leaves in the heat of the day. When applying, be careful not to spray any treasured plants; cover them with newspaper for protection.
For large areas, spray the vegetation, lay down pieces of cardboard, top them with shredded bark (a layer at least 3 inches deep), and let the bed “rest” for a season. The next spring, the cardboard will be like mulch, and the bed will be weed-free and easy to work.
Corn gluten prevents weeds.Corn gluten prevents weeds.
Corn gluten stops weeds before they start
Professor Nick Christians and other researchers at Iowa State University found an amazing use for corn gluten meal, the tough, sticky, elastic by-product of milled cornmeal. The protein-rich corn gluten meal contains an herbicide that inhibits root formation during germination, and this effect lasts for months.
Timing is everything when it comes to using corn gluten. If the weed seeds have already germinated and sprouted, this technique won’t work. To protect a newly planted (but unseeded) bed from a weedy invasion, work corn gluten meal into the top 2 to 3 inches of your soil, and water thoroughly. Lawns and existing flower beds can be top-dressed with corn gluten meal. Do not fertilize the treated area for a month after application because corn gluten meal is high in nitrogen.
Photos, except where noted: Jennifer Benner
From Fine Gardening 104, pp. 50a

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Hibiscus & fish emulsion

A beautiful red bloom on the hibiscus, amid the beach sunflower.  I fertilized with fish emulsion last week, and this week, the hibiscus do seem to be blooming better. The fish emulsion is stinky, but it's fine stuff.
 I'm thinking a little purple queen near the wall would do well and look good.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Ti plant & bird of paradise

I love the combination of these two plants, the variegated ti plant with the bird of paradise.  Perhaps I would add some sedum to fill in a bit, but these two are a very spectacular combo. Photo taken at Tina G's house.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens

For $6 apiece, Marty and I spent a very pleasant time touring the Kanapaha Gardens near Gainesville.  For the price of your ticket you get bamboo gardens, rose gardens, herb gardens, smelly gardens, water gardens, cactus gardens...  The list is quite lengthy.  This is not a Disney production; there aren't a lot of high intensity labor things like annual flower beds and topiary.  Which made it more inspirational for me.  I love going where all the plants have little labels.  "Why don't you do this at home?" Marty said, looking around. "Put little stakes in front of everything so I'll know what they are."

Lots of overhanging live oaks; waterfalls here and there; lilies (confined with chains to little floating  pond prisons), and an incredible variety of bamboo -- with room for it to grow in clumps three feet tall and to spread all over the acreage.  I had some second thoughts about bamboo on my postage stamp.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

My New Pile of Dirt

Look at the difference between chunky twiggy mulch and the superfine stuff the city delivered.  It's dark and delightful.
This is what a cubic yard of "soil builder" mulch from the city looks like!  Isn't it gorgeous!!! I'm so happy!  When tired Janie came in the front door instead of the back because she couldn't get her car in the garage, I went out with my pitchfork to start clearing it away, and I couldn't pick it up with the pitchfork!  Went right through the tines, I had to use a shovel. My garden soil is in for some yummy times. Michelle kindly offered to truck some in for me for free, but weeding the beds and putting it down is going to be rawwwther a lot to do, so I was willing to pay for a little muscle.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"Soil Builder" mulch delivery from City of St. Pete

 Tomorrow the City delivers 1 cubic yard of "soil builder" mulch.  I told them to put it right behind the garage so as to avoid the tragedy my neighbors and Helen suffered earlier from mulch deliveries.  Janie told me about the ticks in Diana's city mulch, and Bethia Marie spoke of rocks and broken glass, but I am optimistically hoping that the City, like the River Nile of yore, will rise up and deliver a rich alluvial deposit behind my garage that will enable my plants to thrive, create beautiful tidy garden beds, and handy walkways.  And all for $33 plus tax posted to Marty's utility bill!

Soil Builder order form

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Dionysian garden

From Stanley Silverstein:
It is true. Sometimes all it takes is a landmark and the natural gaze of the eye to decide where to plant a flower bed or other plants. I have found the introduction of objects like fences, concrete benches, bird baths and statutes are great starting points for plants. But mine is a different philosophy to some extent relative to where I live. I believe in the Tao of gardening. But even more so my wife Jill does. She lets the plants decide where they want to be.

By contrast, my neighbor's yard  is Apollonian. Form and structure in the way of straight lines and right angles. His palm trees and azalea bushes turn corners like soldiers in a parade. His grass, manicured, soaked with "roundup" greets you at the street.The sound of his lawn mower greets you Sunday morning.
My yard is ruled by the God Dionysus and is not meant to be viewed not from the outside but to be more experienced within. I am not saying my garden is better, but only that we worship at different temples.


Well Stan, if your neighbor soaks his yard with round up and has to mow every Sunday, I'm betting you do think your gardening technique is better. I do.

For those of you curious about what a Dionysian garden looks like:


Barbados Cherry -- I think.

Oleander, with bamboo in the back.

Thanks for sending me these great pictures, Stan!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mrs. Greenthumb by Cassandra Danz


 “When you don’t know where to put a flower bed, look for an object in the landscape and plan the design so that the garden is between there and the place where you look at it the most, such as the backdoor of your house. For example, a path leading from the kitchen door to a garden bench is the first step to making a garden, even if it is surrounded by weeds. If you go ahead and enclose the area with a fence or a hedge and plant roses, flowers, or even vegetables along that path and around the bench, not only will you have created a beautiful garden, you will have made a new place to live."

A new place to live doesn't sound bad at all.  Janie's starting to bring home cat furniture. 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

"Yellow top" or flavia discovered at Twigs and Leaves

Claire kidnapped me for Mother's Day and took me to Twigs and Leaves in its new location next to Roco Traders, at 2131 Central Ave in that lovely new section of renovated midtown.  (I mentioned I wanted to go there for Mother's Day about six months ago and she remembered! So sweet) Always a pleasurable experience, T & L is definitely new and improved.  The plants looked better cared for, although the goldenrod I got was a bit rootbound.  BUT while strolling around looking at authentic & beautiful Fla plants, you also get to take in all the gorgeous planters.  Plus his helper was extraordinarily pleasant.  I fell in love with above plant, unlabeled "because of the rain."  "It's a Yellow Top,"  said the bearded youth.  "It's not a great butterfly plant, but it's excellent for attracting pollinators.  I saw six different kinds of bees on it last year." Wow!  I had to buy it. I knew it was really a type of goldenrod, but it's so lacy and pretty.

Update: Next year: Where's the flavia? It's just a memory now, disappeared from my yard and NOT self seeding.  And the spiderwort described below? Still all over my yard. Lesson: Don't buy things in pots.

And they had a pot of Florida scrub roseling from the spiderwort family for sale for $5.95 even though it grows in my yard like a weed.  "It's a lovely wildflower," said owner MIchael Manlowe huffily. And it is a wonderful blue.  So I resolve to cultivate it in the future; let it grow in the shade, where the blooms don't close so early in the day, and keep it small, because when the clumps get very large, the spent spires are ugly while its roots spread like octopus tentacles.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

April gardening tasks -- Month of not doing much

Area

Upkeep:

New plantings:

Plans
Zone 1 Kuan Yi garden

 weeding seedlings


Zone 2 Left garden


Planted sweet potato vines from two sweet potatoes sprouted in pantry 
The lettuce in my planters with their auteurs (love that word!) grew nicely in March and is now shot.  Turns out that cuke vines and lettuce CAN'T coexist

Zone 3 Right garden

 lookin' good!


City strip

 weeding

 mimosa keeps filling in
Zone 4 Sunflower garden

 keep picking the sunflowers, otherwise they are everywhere and leggy


Zone 5 Backdoor strip &
lemon tree & roses



Planted Carl's ivy along the fence strip, and filled in with various cacti where the sprinklers leave barren gaps

Zone 6 sunny backyard


 Ooowee roses upon roses!

Garage mess

 Thanks to Carl, I have an incredibly gorgeous potting shed!





Sunday, April 24, 2011

Jacarandas in bloom

This beautiful jacaranda at 1219 49 St. N. creates a gorgeous picture against the turquoise house, emphasized with a white picket fence.  The owners were very clever to plant a schefflera behind it to give a pleasing bushy green background, like ferns in an arrangement of roses. The jac has been in full bloom all over town for three weeks now, and purple carpets of dropped blooms have already begun to decorate lawns.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Day lilies

Day lilies started blooming in the side garden in the backyard.  The ones in front are still just in bud.  What a welcome they give every morning!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Passion vine as monarch caterpillar entree

Four years ago I bought a passion vine at a garage sale. It established pretty well the first year, but by the third, it was popping up all over the yard.  And I mean all over the yard.
No need to worry about implementing a Passion Vine Control Program!  I kind of snicker when I see them popping up where I don't want them, because I know a very hungry monarch caterpillar is heading their way. Circle of life, Passion Vine! My yard is full of butterflies.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Hand to hand combat with spaghetti squash

Bethia Marie told me she loved spaghetti squash, so, always on the lookout for a good veggie, I bought one of the unattractive footballs and brought it home, where it lived in my fridge for about a month before I decided that too bad, I evidently wasn't learning to love spaghetti squash by osmosis and pitched it in the compost.

The same compost that I then added to my vegetable bin. This year I didn't have the energy to cultivate my vegetable bin.  But I didn't have to.  Looks like I'm going to be getting another chance to learn to love spaghetti squash!  It won!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

return of the ground peanut!!!

What a surprise!  I sighted this ground peanut in a nursery last year, where it was gorgeous and flourishing. Planted it in my front yard and ooooh, not so flourishing.  Every day, a little more dead.  I'd forgotten all about it when this morning, as I was weeding, I witnessed its return from the dead.






Ornamental Peanut is an attractive, low-maintenance groundcover, that blooms bright yellow flowers from spring to first frost. This drought-tolerant, hardy perennial requires no supplemental water after it is established. It is in the peanut family, thus it makes its own nitrogen. This eliminates the need of nitrogen fertilizers. It has no known pests or disease which makes it an excellent ground cover of choice!

(From Sunset Ground Covers)

Friday, April 8, 2011

mermaid roses at last

I really was sure that John Starnes was a big fat liar for assuring me that he had gorgeous branches of mermaid roses.  Five years later, I have them too.  Unfortunately, my family doesn't believe they are roses -- thinks they are some inferior plant type because they have only five large petals. I hope my neighbor nicens up to me for sharing, because they're climbing right over to her sunny side of the fence.