Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Best Cat Ever!

Look who is trying to get on Mama's good side!
While I don't advocate harming of animals in any way, I must say that I get a little bit of joy when my own Killer Kitty sees it fit to take care of the problem. She was quite proud of her catch. She kept trying to bring it inside, presumably to skin it and roast it with carrots and potatoes. That's only proper. If you want to know why I dislike squirrels so much, exhibit #1 is here, and exhibit #2 is here.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

In The Weeds

Wow - This summer really got away from me! I woke up one morning and all of the sudden the pool garden looked like this:There truly is a garden path in there somewhere. My husband and I looked each other and said "Ahh, a frost will come eventually and take care of this sticky little problem for us." All those weeds are just too much to think about without the aid of a machete.
Fortunately, there are little bits of joy to be had around the garden lately, if you look for them. This week the weather finally cooled and Floridians seemed to come out of their long air-conditioned hibernation to spend some time outdoors. Everyone was outside mowing their lawns, taking walks (I took two! Wha? Wha?) and putting up Halloween decorations. I took the opportunity to do a little gardening, or more accurately, pull a weed or two and look for plants that didn't croak on me after a long summer of neglect.
Ahh, my gingers. A few survived the squirrels and one even bloomed, although I couldn't get a good picture of it. I still love the leaves, especially at this angle from the bottom looking up.
Some coleus, hiding under the gingers. Both were taken as clippings from my Mother's house.
The camellias are really budding this year, and a few have started to bloom. YAY!!

The last hold out blossom on the crepe myrtle bush. Note about crepe myrtle: You can dig up some of those really annoying seedlings that always come up in the spring and replant them! I keep them in a pot in a shady area for the first summer and then replant them where I want them the following spring. It is a slow process, but I've had success with it. Nothing like a free plant.

I thought for sure the that the Globba Ginger were goners after our deep freezes this year, but sure enough I now have about 10 plants and they are all blooming nicely. I wish they were taller, but other than that I totally love them.
Knockout Rose, knocking me out.

A single vinca, grown back from last years planting. This time last year, the vinca looked like hell and I took them all out. This year, the seedlings I let live are gorgeous. Go figure.

The mighty attack cat, hunting her prey. She always looks at me like I'm intruding on her world when I work in the garden. It is very much her's most of the week.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I'm Back!

Okay. So I wasn't gone for a months as this blog might suggest. Life just got in the way, as it tends to do in Florida during the mid-summer with its blazing heat and mosquitoes that I'm pretty sure are really tiny little aliens sent to destroy us.

Chicago was fantastic! The weather was great. Supposedly there was a heat wave, but the constant breeze meant us Floridians didn't feel it. I was really looking forward to the trip as I've heard from most of you that it is a great garden town. Unfortunately, my daughter came down with a fever halfway through the trip and some things, mostly garden related, had to be cut out of the schedule. I did sneak some shots here are some:
Laurie Park.
Unfortunately I missed the park's prime by about two weeks, but it was still beautiful.
A great little park near the Chicago Art Institute.
Love these color combos.

One of the neatest parts of Chicago is how they use plants in unexpected places.
I really thought these plants on an overpass were really great.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Going to Chicago!!

So this summer our family is taking a vacation to Chicago! We are very excited and are planning all the silly tourist traps we must see. My hubby wants the vacation to be decidedly garden free, so I might get one or two gardens in, tops. Laurie Garden seems to be on the short list, but is there anything else I must see? All suggestions are welcome!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Best Thing You Can Put In Your Garden

Somewhere along the way I once read "The best thing you can put in your garden is you." Any good gardener knows the biggest part of gardening is being in the garden. Picking weeds, looking for bugs, dead-heading, whatever. Fortunately, I've put a lot of me in the garden in the last few weeks. I've got a ton summer cuttings started in the front yard, the butterfly and shed gardens are picking up and I planted a little itty-bitty veggie garden in the corner garden where I finally gave up on some of my gingers growing this year. This concept applies with a blog, too. I haven't put too much of myself here lately. Who wants to be stuck behind computer when there is a garden to garden? I did take pictures in the last few weeks of some of the best blooms. Hope this will hold you over until I get some legitimate update posts done. Enjoy!
I think this daylily was called 'purple grape'. I call it yummy!
African Iris
African Iris
Daylily - 'Clara'
One of the reasons I LOVE coleus is its diversity. On the right is one from the Aurora series. There was no name in the nursery for the one on the left, so it is now know by me as 'Big-honkin' Coleus.
Crinum Scabrum
Crinum Scabrum
Red Canna
Yellow Walking Iris
Hidden Ginger
'Black and Blue' Salvia and 'Happy Returns' Daylily

Monday, May 3, 2010

Summer on the Sill

In Florida, summer is an ending. Most of the plants that did beautifully through the frosts start to look something like this:

The bugs, the heat and the humidity prove to be too much. It gets to be a bit much for me too. Saturday morning I opened the door to go outside and walked straight into a brick wall of humidity. Sometimes you forget what summer in Florida can be like until you get a weekend like this one to remind you. I realized I needed to get the summer garden started. In the front yard I'll take out the snapdragons and petunias. In their place will go lime green coleus, silvery-purple Persian shield, pink pentas and pink vinca. These aren't by any means the only summer plants I could have chosen, but they all have one redeeming quality. In my garden at least, they are all free.

The vinca are starting to reseed themselves in the garden bed, and the pentas cuttings do best with a slightly different method. But coleus and Persian shield I am propagating by cuttings. The method is pretty basic and any seasoned gardener knows it well, but I'm always surprised by how few take advantage of DIYplants.
First step is to find a momma plant. In my case, momma is actually a collection of cuttings I took hastily right before our first freeze in November. I typically pinch off a stem about 3 to 4 inches long. I strip the leaves off, leaving a small pair at the top, and at least one leaf node below. Then stick in some water and wait for roots:
When the roots come, you could plant straight into the ground and the coleus would probably be just fine. The Persian shield on the right is a bit more finicky, so I put both plants in small containers of dirt:
For some reason, I kind love the little yogurt cups. I poked holes in the bottoms with a nail heated by a candle. They fit great on my window sill, but they will only hold the plants for a couple of weeks. At that time I put the cups outside to acclimate for about 24 hours and then it is planting time:
Above is a little coleus baby tucked behind a still peaking snapdragon. When I tear out the snapdragons in a few weeks, the coleus will be ready and raring to go. The nice thing about this method is that the volume increases exponentially. This little plant will soon be big enough to take clippings from it, and the whole process starts again.

Hope this post didn't bore you too much. I enjoy watching other people's methods, and it seems like every gardener has their own variation on the method above. What is yours?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


The African Irises in the front garden are putting on quite the show.
In other parts of my yard, I think I'm going to give up on growing gingers this year.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The pot didn't work and most of the gingers were chewed up. Moving on to massive amounts of habanero sauce.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Oy - Before Pictures. Whether it is a chubbie chick or an underdeveloped spring garden, they are never pretty. I hate showing them, but I know in a few months it will be fun to look back. Above is the circle in the middle of the corner garden. It was a happier spot once, but the frosts hit the palms and the squirrels decimated the gingers, and frankly, last year I kinda gave up on it. I'm now trying to revitalize it, and, as almost always, with no budget. The biggest problem is lack of definition. Ideally, I'd like to add a limestone border around it, in a more natural shape than the tight circle I originally created. That was a great plan until I priced out limestone. $10, per stone! For a girl that has a garden budget of right around $10 per week, more or less, that seems out of my price range. I could feel the spirits of my ancestors waiting to kick me if I even thought of spending $10 for a rock.

At times like these, I sit down and think: "What would Pearl do?"

Some of you know exactly who I am talking about. For those of you who don't, stop reading this and immediately get yourself a copy of the movie, A Man Named Pearl. It is a documentary about gardener and topiary artist Pearl Fryar. He is practically the patron saint of frugality and creativity in the garden. One of the reasons he took up topiary was that he could take a cheap discarded nursery plant and shape it into something totally unique and special. He is such an inspiration for me. So when I look at the area above, the thought comes in to my mind, "What would Pearl do?" How can I use the resources I have to make something really special? Unfortunately, I don't have Pearl's brain, so I still don't know what I am going to do with this area. I have filled it with with red canna I picked up from the Master Gardener's sale last year and some grass divided from the front yard. But I still have no idea how I'll define the bed. Suggestions, especially for cheap rock sources, are welcome.

The cannas are pretty though.

In case any of you are wondering how the war on squirrels is going, I'm trying a new tactic: physical barriers! On some of my more prized ginger shoots, I've cut out the bottoms of garden pots and put them over the shoots. In other areas, I've surrounded the gingers with branches. Anything to make them harder to reach and get to. I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, April 16, 2010

And the Winners of my Undying Respect and Admiration are . . .

Congrats to Garden Lily and Susan for correctly identifying the mystery plant as an Amaryllis! I'd tell you the variety, but since it looks nothing like what was on the package, there is no telling.
Whatever. I'm just happy to have something blooming in the garden!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mystery Plant

Alright - Here is a little fun for you guys today. What is the name of the plant above? The winner gets my undying respect and admiration.

Monday, April 12, 2010


I've been busy lately, but I had to show you the Daylilies. They are quite literally the garden variety, but I'm just so excited to have an actual flower in the garden right now.

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