Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pumpkins Today, Party Tomorrow

Here are this year's pumpkins. Mine is the second from the left. It would have won if my spider wasn't missing a leg.

Monday, October 29, 2007

A Shout Out to Some Fellow Bloggers

This is a shout out to some fellow bloggers out in the blogosphere. Emma from Today's Garden Ideas wrote a very nice post about Wicked Gardener. Thanks Emma! If you haven't seen her blog, check it out!!

I also received a lovely email from a fellow Southern gardener, Patsy, at Georgia Girl's Garden. Very sweet!!

Just sharing the love!

Sunday, October 28, 2007


As you might imagine, being a Wicked Gardener and all, Halloween is a very special time around my home. There are so many reasons why this season is special. As a kid, Halloween was full of fun and exasperation at finding out what mother had come up with for my costume. One year I was a Rubik's cube with a large immobile box and construction paper squares. Another year I was Dorothy from Wizard of Oz. It was a very cute costume sewn by my aunt. Unfortunately my hair was blond, and Dorothy's was not. So my Mom and Aunt spray painted it black, which gave my Dad a conniption fit when it didn't come out for a few days. Finally, I was once a gumball machine. Yep, a gumball machine. The gumballs were colored balloons stuffed into a clear plastic bag and the whole thing put over my head. The worst part of this was that the plastic bag tore and the balloons started falling out, delighting the neighborhood kids who went down the street popping them. Seriously, was a fairy princess that hard to pull off?

Halloween became more significant over ten years ago, when I was a co-ed on vacation from school and my Monster was a married waiter who worked with and lived next to my friend who now is the Nursery Nazi. She had young son and I'd come over to help carve pumpkins. Her husband and my Monster, who was always there hanging out, joined in. Eventually, the carving became a competition, and an annual tradition we still do today. One year, when my Monster's marriage had ended and I moved back to Ocala, he asked me out. The date, our first, was on Halloween. Six years and a little girl later, we were married on Halloween. This October 31st will be our first anniversary. The party developed just as organically. The neighborhood we moved into is very Halloween friendly. I wanted to take my daughter trick-or-treating and my husband wanted to come with us, so my Mom volunteered to stay at the house and pass out candy. My Dad heard she was coming and wanted to come by too. My Monsters-in-law heard my parents were coming by and they wanted to come. Everyone else heard our parents were coming to our house for Halloween and a party was born. I don't even have send out invitations. Everyone just comes over! Eventually, I'd like to turn it into a block party, a fun way to meet the neighbors. So these are decorations for this year. A skeleton theme. Halloween decorations always look crappy in the daylight. Come back to the blog Thursday and I'll post the pictures of decorations at night and of the party.
Happy Halloween!!!!

Green Thumb Sunday

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Do They Make a Spray for This?

First the caterpillars, now these! Yes, in Florida, where the leaves do not change color and the air only barely cools off, sometimes the only sign that fall is here is the first sighting of skelatons on the oleander. In a week, the yard will be infested! Yay!!!

It has been a rainy week so far. The plants have enjoyed it, but everything is soggy. It was fun to be standing in the house, looking out at the garden and suddenly see an unidentifiable spot of pink. I ran out to the butterfly garden and found this brand new bloom on my camellia, which did a whole lot of nothing last year. Lots of buds on the plant so I should have many blooms to come!!

Fresh looking vinca soaking up the rain.

Even the roses in front of the play house, which looked dead all summer, decided to perk up.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

What's Blooming?

The coleus is blooming. It is not supposed to. You are supposed to take these off. But I'm trying to collect some seed. If you have collected seeds from these, I could use some advise.
salvia guaranitica ‘Black & Blue’
The butterfly gingers are still going strong

I love the gingers!

This is the prettiest view in the garden.

Coral Cannas

Yellow Cannas

Grasshoppers. I thought they were very cool until I watched them for a moment. I could literally hear them chomping on the bird of paradise.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Plant Sale

Today my friend and I went the Master Gardener’s Fall plant sale. She’s the friend that recently got a job inspecting local plant nurseries, so for the purpose of this blog, she will be here on out called the Nursery Nazi. (Hee, hee. This is my blog and she can’t stop me!) Anyway the sale was smaller than the Extension Service’s spring sale, which has elaborate setups from local vendors. This event included plants grown by the Master Gardeners themselves and most of the plants were steals.

Black Eyed Susans

Later, we stopped by the Nursery Nazi’s house. She and her husband built a very pretty wood trellis and surrounding garden where there once was an above ground pool.

A canna from her garden.

A huge elephant ear so big it is about to clear the house.
So here is what I came away with today:

From the sale:
2 pots of crinum. I think (hope) that they are Nassau Lilies. From the description at the sale, the flowers are less trumpet-like and more lily-like than my other crinums. The flower petals are white with dark pink stripes. No flowers on my plants, but they have lime green leaves that are creased, which match Nassau Lily descriptions. The plants were a good deal at $6 a pot because there were at least five bulbs in each pot.

This is someone else's Nassau Lily.

1 angel trumpet. I’ve wanted to try this plant for a while. This one has peach and cream flowers. $4.

I got more stuff at the Nursery Nazi’s house:
1 big elephant ear and several small pups. She said something about them being invasive in this area. Whatever.
3 4-inch pots of orange portulaca plants
1 aloe plant with lots of pups
1 bag of four o’clock seeds.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Interesting Garden Links

Here are some interesting articles I found this week. Enjoy!

- So that's how they seem to know I'm coming!

- I'd kill them too. By the way, if you haven't read Metal Floss, get thee to a bookstore. Best Mag around.

58! And dropping! Yah-hoo! It is FINALLY cooling off.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Screw the Butterflies

I fully understand the cycle of life. You don't get the butterflies without a few caterpillars. I even planted passionflower vine knowing it would ultimately be devoured. But coming home to this sight on my oleander was just ridiculous. Fortunately I had a bad day and was totally in the mood to kill something. Took 'em off one by one and watched squirm and twist in "cat hell" - a red plastic cup with water. I'm slightly concerned that I enjoyed it a bit to much.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

The Gardens Have Come Back to Life!

Recent rain has finally cooled the air and made the outside bearable again. The plants for the most part of responded and everything has perked up. Once again, the butterfly ginger is stealing the show, but I’ll spare you another picture of it. Instead I have a picture of the nearby Persian Shield. I think its iridescent purple foliage is just so cool. It really shows up from across the yard, especially against the lime green sweet potato vine. This something I’m thinking about for the other gardens, especially the butterfly garden. For most of the year, it is a sea of green. I think I’ll incorporate more colored foliage, mainly coleus. Below is a pic of the tree lantana that our neighbor gave us. It was looking pretty rough for most of the summer, but started blooming this week. I’ve noticed that the bright banana yellow lantana does well in the hot weather of summer, and the pale yellows and purples bloom as it cools. I kind of wish they would all bloom together, but oh well. I’m much more optimistic about the garden right now. I’m reading Garden Bulbs for the South by Scott Ogden and getting completely inspired. Just wait until next year!!

The New Racetrack

As of late, my beautiful, meticulously cared for gardens have become the resident NASCAR fan’s practice track. Okay, maybe “meticulous” is a bit of an overstatement, but still. My monster has discovered that he can fund his new RC car habit . . ., I mean hobby, by selling random old stuff on ebay. He has actually made a good amount of money on it and has become obsessed with buying RC cars. These things are expensive! Holy smokes! I know why I garden – it is relatively cheap! It’s really cheap when you become friends with the nursery folks. The last time I visited my favorite one, I wanted a plant that they had planted in their display garden beds, but didn’t have in stock. After seeing my disappointment, the owner gave me a clipping! Cool. I should be getting some more insider info soon. My best friend just got a job as a nursery inspector for the county. I’m now hoping for the inside dirt on cool out of the way nurseries and which ones to avoid because of too many buggies. Of course I’ll blog about her finds.


For some reason, maybe it is the recent rain, there have been a bunch of mushrooms growing in the yard. These are the pretty ones. Some of the others look mushy and oddly deformed - yuck.

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