Monday, October 19, 2009


I know it has been a while since I posted the corner garden, but it is coming along nicely!

Didn't the pathways turn out good?
Love the Angel's Trumpet!

And lots of new visitors!

Alright. I'm not fooling any of you. These are pictures from the Butterfly Rainforest at the Florida Museum of Natural History. A girl can dream, can't she? If you live near Gainesville it is worth a visit. It may be the only good reason to visit G-ville (stupid Gators.)
Last weekend, I hit up the Master Gardener's fall sale. In past years I have been less than impressed with fall sale. Pretty much the same ol' stuff. This year I got there much earlier, and I don't know if it was the earlier time or just a better show, but I could have bought the whole place. The above haul was for my yard: 6 red cannas, a pagoda plant, a terribly awesome curly-leafed coleus with burgundy spots (I already have cuttings rooting) and the plant on the chair, which is something random my daughter pick out. I still don't know were I'll put them all.
For my mother's yard, I got a fantastic variegated spiral ginger, a peach ginger (Disney??) and two red firespikes.

Now for some ginger blooms from my garden.

Well, it is a big mish-mash of stuff for this post. Hopefully I'll have some real garden updates next week!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Gardening for Dummies

Ok. So I have million reasons why I have not posted in a while, but they are all terribly boring, so I just recap some of the gardening stuff I've been doing. Last week, I took a course called Gardening for Dummies at the Extension Office. Now I've been around the gardening block a time or two, and this course was really designed for total newbies, but I got a chance to hang out with other gardeners and even learned a thing or two. Much of this info pertains specifically to FL gardeners, but some of these facts are might be useful even if you aren't one. Here are some of the highlights:

  • I am in zone 8b. It seems every map I reference says something different. Some say 8, some say 9. There is a road that bisects the county (SR 40) and anything above is 8b and anything below is 9a. I am north, so I am once and for all 8b.
  • There is a website called that has a great plant database. Pick your area of the state, the specific conditions of your site, and it recommends some suitable plants. Kinda cool.
  • Echinacea is a FL native. Need to get some.
  • Rain water has nitrogen and there for is healthier for plants
  • Put a few drops of veggie oil in rain barrels to keep mosquitoes from breeding
  • Don't use "Weed and Feed" products in Florida for your yard. Weed preventive should be done in January, while the best time to feed is March. Cheaper and smarter to do them separately.
  • Iron supplement will green up grass quickly and runoff doesn't cause the problems fertilizer does. You can add it every week if you want and it won't make the grass grow faster, so less watering.
  • "Volcano Mulching": Mounding mulch around the base of a plant in the shape of a volcano. Can cause the plant to change its root structure and cause rot. Don't do it.
  • There is a caterpillar that feeds on the candlestick cassia plant. If it eats the yellow flowers, it turns yellow. If it eats the leaves, it is green. If it eats both, the caterpillar has yellow and green stripes.
  • Nutrient Deficiencies (This was info I always wanted to know)
    If it is deficient in:
    Nitrogen: Older leaves will yellow uniformly
    Potassium: Brown spots on older leaves
    Magnesium: Yellowing of old leaves in "V" shape
    Iron: green veins, yellow in between veins of new leaves
    Manganese: yellowing in between the veins of new leaves
  • Nutrient Properties:
    Nitrogen promotes color and growth
    Phosphorous promotes flowers
    Potassium helps with water uptake, stress tolerance
    Calcium helps develop cell structure
  • Plant Amaryllis and Crinum with the crown of bulb exposed.
  • Most bromeliads produce pups that can be divided.
  • Publix will give away free pineapple tops, if you want to make your own plant
  • Less than 1% of incests in your yard are harmful
  • There have been little to no reports of Brown Recluse spiders in Florida (Since this is the only spider that really scares me, this was good news.)
  • Stink bugs with pointy shoulders = good. Stink bugs with rounded shoulders = bad.
  • Scarlett Hibiscus is a native - gotta get some.
  • Plumbago blossoms are sticky and 6 year old girls can stick them to their earlobes and pretend they are earrings.
  • Karst = Porous rock our county is built on and drains water into the Aquifer. Excessive amounts of fertilizer will flow through the karst and into our drinking water.
  • Liatris are pretty and I need some.

Most of you probably already knew this stuff, but this website is equal parts my personal garden journal as much as a public site. I will promptly loose the notebook I wrote these notes in, so now I have it for good. Hope you can take something useful from it.

Friday, September 18, 2009

In the Garden this Evening. . .

Camelias are blooming already.

I should have more ginger blooms by now, but the squirrels did their damage. There quite a few buds, so I should see more soon.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

My Kind of Pest Control

I'm totally fascinated watching this guy in the garden.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Signs You've Neglected the Garden Too Long

Plants try to take things into their own hands.
The spiders start thinking they own the place.

There are trees growing out of the compost pile.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Recent Flowers

Yep I'm still here! I'm still gardening too. I've just been a bit, err, pre-occupied. Oh well. Here is what has been blooming in the garden:

The cannas have been doing very well this year, despite the leaf-rollers.

The front garden has done especially well. It attracts multitudes of butterflies, and reportedly a few hummingbirds as well, although I haven't seen them yet.

This is an iris from the front garden.

The Globba Ginger managed to avoid the squirrels and blooming nicely - yay!!
September is when the weather cools in this area and the garden and the gardeners start to perk up. I've got some big projects planned soon!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Once Bitten . . .

I was just outside for 10 minutes. Now I count 18 bug bites, and one more the size of a quarter on my forehead.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Letter

I just wrote this to a local nursery that has gotten too big for its britches - locals will probably know exactly which one. I don't do this sort of thing often, but I know we read these at my work, so maybe it will do some good.

Hello -

I'm writing about an experience I had last Sunday. I went in looking for Bt, a common organically approved pesticide. I was the only one in the store, and went to find an associate who was insisting you did not have it. She walked over to the pesticides, said "Nope, nothing like that here" and tried to give me some harsher chemical options. As soon as she left I found it under Bacillus thuringienisis. I'm writing this because this is the second or third time I walked into this store asking about organic products and have been looked at like have 3 heads. This is becoming a big issue for gardeners, and working with associates who are very informed and can even recommend organic products and native plants would make many of us devoted customers. Since this store has the reputation of being a local place with all the warmth and selection of a big box store, I think developing this niche would be beneficial in the current economic climate. Hope this helps - I don't like being the only one in the store!

BTW: Bt worked beautifully on the leaf-rollers.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

This is so cool . . .

Found it here.

Monday, July 6, 2009

I've Been on Vacation.

I've been hanging out on the Gulf of Mexico, enjoying fireworks by the beach.
Hope to be hanging out in the garden tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Has anyone used this product? I NEED it!!! (They even have a blog!)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Buggin' Out

My cannas are doing very nicely.

So I was terribly annoyed when I went out and saw the below:

Canna Leaf Roller!

But not all of the bugs in the yard are bad:

This little guy has been busy! Bugs that eat bugs are the best!
Don't get me started on the mosquitoes. . .

Monday, June 8, 2009

Mother Nature is Hating Me Right Now

Remember my beautiful pentas from this weekend? I came home and found them majorly chewed up. After a close inspection, here is what I found! A good dozen of them, grazing on my local, organic produce. I'm sure they are lovely butterflies, but I determined a while back that I garden for flowers, not for bugs. I won't use pesticides or fertilizers, but that didn't stop for plucking each of these big nasties off my pretties. This whole organic thing is rough.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

UPDATE: The Front Garden

Time to do updates! It has been ages since I've posted updates. Mostly because there hasn't been much to take pictures of. Now it is time, and I've had a lot of changes in the front garden. Gone are the white snapdragons and petunias, and in there place are the gorgeous pentas that grew back from the fall planting. It actually drives me nuts when I see all of the snapdragons and petunias on sale at the garden center in the spring. Down here, with all the heat and humidity, these plants don't last long. I've added heat friendly vinca, hot pink coleus and yellow day lilies (not in bloom.)

Love the pentas!

UPDATE: Pool Garden

Please ignore the lime green pool. I don't do pool duty, and with all the rain we've had, my honey has had a hard time keeping up with it. But there are some jems in the pool garden, literally the jewel of the Nile is blooming in the corner. The yellow canna above is beautiful, and hopefully there will be more of these flowers soon. The happiest bit of news? The bird of paradise that frozen heartbreakingly to the ground has bounced right back.

UPDATE: Corner Garden and Shed Garden

The tropicals in the corner garden are just loving the wet weather. The gingers are starting to recover from the squirrel attacks and the crinums look great under the palm. A canna I thought I moved to the pool area is blooming in the corner. Moonflower vines are crawling quickly up the trellis. The spiral ginger is struggling in the circle, but I've found ginger tends to struggle a bit its first year. The shed garden is having a tougher time. The Persian shield is doing well, as always. Maybe I'll change things up. Plant the P. shields along the front, with a line of gingers behind it. The banana on the left and the palm on the right have been slow to recover from being frozen over the winter.

UPDATE: Butterfly Garden

The butterfly garden is looking soggy with all of the rain.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

What is blooming right now . . .

More crinums are blooming.

The corner is starting to coming along, if the squirrels would just leave it alone. See the big red blob at the bottom? Here is a close up:
It is a blood lily I bought last year. Pretty much gave it up for dead. Dead, dead, dead-ity, dead. But then I looked in the pile where I throw plants right before they hit the compost pile, and I saw a very healthy bud. Planted it, and now check out the bloom! My husband thinks it is the coolest thing I've planted by far.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Trying to read what looks like a very interesting blog, but I just gave up. The writing scrolled over the very pretty background, making it impossible to read. Another had a text color that blended very nicely with the background color. Newbies: If you want us to read your blog, make sure we can read your blog.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Good Thing About 3 Days of Rain

After three solid days of rain, the sun finally came out today. I had been noticing some crinum bulbs blooming about town, especially around the older neighborhood my daughter's school is in. They are growing in huge clumps, even in gutters. I keep thinking, "If these guys knew how much these plants are going for on Ebay, there wouldn't a single one here!" Well, I went out and checked my plants this morning and look what I found:A bloom! When they are blooming, I want a thousand. The rest of the year I'm wondering why I planted so many crinums.

The salvia has perked up too! Maybe I'll keep at this gardening thing. . .

Monday, May 18, 2009

Lizard Porn!!!!!

You know you love it.


We've had sustained drizzling rain for 24 hours now. Thank god! My garden is already starting to perk back up. Now if the squirrels will just preoccupy themselves with someone else's garden for a while, I might perk back up as well.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Give up.

Squirrels won.

Don't care anymore.

Taking up knitting.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Monday, April 27, 2009

(*^&*&^% Squirrels!!!!!

So I was planning on showing you some nice pics of how the garden is coming along. The butterfly and Disney gingers were finally coming up. Above is a picture from last week when they were just peaking over the Ti plants. This week they were a good foot taller. Emphasis on "were."
This is what they looked like when I got home this evening. Chewed down. The Disney gingers, on the far sides of first picture were totally gone, not a leaf left. We weren't sure what was getting them until my husband saw a little squirrel shake one of the Ti plants. Then it took half a plant in its mouth and headed up the fence. His little buddy stood on top, a very tiny little squirrely middle finger held up just for us.

Hope you like Mexican food! I gotta spicy surprise waiting for you tonight, you bastards!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Bits of Joy in the Garden Tonight

A bug on a day lily in the butterfly garden.

The society garlic from earlier in the week. These are common flowers that you see on every roadway this time of year, but they are quickly becoming favorites.

And here is something very cool . . .
I won a bird feeder!!! I love it! Thank you, Shawna!

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