November 20, 2010

Nothing Beats Motivation

There's a new pump in the greenhouse to circulate the water in the heat-sink barrels that mediate temperatures. The little, old pump burned up. This is a much sturdier model.

During the heat of August I tended to let the whole plant world here depend on survival of the fittest. Now I'm starting over.

Succulents managed on their own all summer. These all grew from a single leaf each and I put them in one pot.

Persian Shield is good to hold over. It has tiny blue blossoms mid-winter.

Christmas Cactus has buds.

Amaryllis bulb had a rest, now resprouting.

Cutting of Pentas and Shrimp plants.
White Shrimp plants bloom in the greenhouse midwinter.

Pentas and alternanthera in the garden; good in the greenhouse.

October 09, 2010

Harvest Time

Buffy sits on peanuts and agrees with Farmer Danny that peanuts would probably have
a better yield  if he irrigated them before plowing. Dad looks out over the field: no rain in sight.

August 26, 2010

Bulbs, Bulbs! It's Time to Plan

Today's Butterfly:
Tiger Swallowtail on Lantana montevidensis

Janie sent me a picture of a tulip called 'China Town' in ruffled pink. We can't just plant tulip bulbs in the ground here and expect stems longer than 2 inches because of the lack of chill. We can make elaborate schemes for chilling bulbs in the fridge in the absence of fruit like apples and then planting them. My last attempt at tulips in pots was eaten by the new puppy just as they put on buds.

Tulips just peeking out of the soil that would have bloomed in the spring of 2009 if Buffy hadn't eaten them.

Last winter I forced Amaryllis instead of Tulips.
Amaryllis are much more expensive, but one bulb makes a big show.

It's time to plan, order and remember where the bulbs are stored until time to plant in the fall.

I review past years' spring bloom pics to see what performed well and where there are spaces without bulbs. Sometimes I lift some existing bulbs and relocate them either in the fall if I know exactly where they are or when they show green in the spring if I'm not sure.

The catalog photos are very tempting, but experience shows that the best bulbs for pretty shows in the spring are generally the tried and proven. They are generally cheaper than new cultivars, another consideration.

August 14, 2010

Esperanza or Tecoma Stans?

Whichever name you know it by, it is a beautiful late summer bloomer despite drought.

It plays well with Pride of Barbados, bringing out the yellow in the blossoms. P of B is setting seeds and I haven't clipped them off. Only one of the seeds I set early in the spring produced a plant. It has struggled in the drought.

Other tropicals that have survived drought and bloomed are Shrimp Plant and Curcuma. No Cannas have bloomed and Lantana has very small blossoms.

August 02, 2010

After a While by Virginia Shoffstall

  • After a while you learn the subtle difference

    Between holding a hand and sharing a life

    And you learn that love doesn't mean possession

    And company doesn't mean security

    And loneliness is universal.

    And you learn that kisses aren't contracts

    And presents aren't promises

    And you begin to accept your defeats

    With your head up and your eyes open

    With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child.

    And you learn to build your hope on today

    As the future has a way of falling apart in mid-flight

    Because tomorrow's ground can be too uncertain for plans

    Yet, each step taken in a new direction creates a path

    Toward the promise of a brighter dawn.

    And you learn that even sunshine burns

    If you get too much

    So you plant your own garden and nourish your own soul

    Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.

    And you learn that love,

    True love,

    Always has joys and sorrows

    Seems ever present, yet is never quite the same

    Becoming more than love and less than love

    So difficult to define.

    And you learn that through it all

    You really can endure

    That you really are strong

    That you do have value

    And you learn and grow

    With every goodbye

    You learn. -- Virginia Shoffstall

    I found a yellowed clipping in some papers with this clipping from an 'Ann Landers' column. She said it was one of the most requested poems of all time.

    July 13, 2010

    What To Do for Bloom Day?

    Please don't forget  Bloom Day, hosted by Carol of May Dreams on the fifteenth of every month. Time sped by and I almost forgot to think about it in advance. We are dry, very dry and many blossoms have dried on the stalk. Hydrangeas are a good example.

    I hold off watering just as long as possible, hoping that the little thunderclouds that I see on NOAA in the Gulf will come our way. Lately they miss us more than they hit. Yesterday we had 0.1 inch -- enough to gauge, but hardly enough to wet the ground. The cat didn't even mind walking around in it as it fell.

    On my way to the mailbox, I turned on a sprinkler for some dying plants and looked to see what I might display on Thursday. I reviewed what I showed last July: Bloom Day July 2009.
    It looks as if we had more rain last July. Blossoms on Zinnias and Pentas were more plentiful.

    We're having butterflies attracted to Tithonia and Lantana. I saw a Zebra Swallowtail and several others. Tithonia wants a little water or it gets ugly leaves. I pulled out one that was crowding  companions like Duranta and Porterweed. 

    Crocosmia is everywhere. Butterflies are finding it.

    I'm considering whether to plant more gladioli.
    This shade would be great with Laura Bush petunias.
    They laugh at heat and sun.

    I'm going to omit caladiums next year. They do love water.

    Brazilian ruellia came back from the dead. It has bloomed nonstop,
    unlike Porterweed, which has not taken off; blooms are sparse.

    If nothing else, there may be a few roses to show. Not lush as they are in spring, almost all have a few blossoms despite the heat.  Deadheading is a chore in the heat, but stimulates more bloom.

    I'm looking forward to seeing what you have blooming on Bloom Day.

    July 05, 2010

    Second Chance for Nasturtiums

    When June was really hot and humid my Nasturtiums literally fainted and fell over. I mourned their imminent demise and Renee's Seeds graciously sent more seed for a fall trial. I set the pot and basket aside with some other plants that were not faring very well.

    As hurricane season sent winds, moisture and cooler temperatures up out of the Gulf our way, the Nasturtiums decided to make a comeback. New growth appeared and even a few brave new buds. I cut the long dead vines and foliage away and gave them a dose of liquid fertilizer. I am aware that fertilizer isn't necessary, perhaps even sacrificing blooms, but the new leaves are so small they look starved. Topdressing with regular garden soil might be helpful as well. I'll try that.

    It was interesting to hear on the national news tonight that temperatures in New Jersey reached 100 degrees with no relief in sight, while we had only a high of 92, cooled off with a rain shower of 0.2 inch of rain. Dark clouds are gathering again to the south.

    I am growing Nasturtium "Spitfire" for the GROW project.

    Thanks to Renee's Garden for the seeds.

    July 04, 2010

    Byzantine Emperor

    Byzantine Emperor in a cycle of rebloom. Cooler days
    have made the colors more vivid than when the sun was
    so hot in June. Melampodium reseeded behind it blooms in
    the yellow of the daylily throat.

    In the fall, these daylilies will get an edging of
    Bourbon Kings, a smaller dayliy in the same shade
    planted elsewhere and badly in need of relocation.

    June 21, 2010

    Summer Begins, Focus on Tropicals

    Little bright Sulphur butterflies were flitting around where I was watering flower beds today.

    Caterpillars are on my white Dutura and one of the tomato vines. I saw the fat green one on the Datura but left him there. I haven't seen the tomato worm.
    Today's view is of the loaded pear tree behind the Pride of Barbados, supported with pecan sprout props cut to fit.

    Pride of Barbados Flower close up.

    Flowers and buds, Caesalpinia pulcherrima
    A neighbor brought us tomatoes, peaches, some kind of hybrid between peach and plum and a huge watermelon from his garden. "I carried a watermelon," is my favorite line from the movie Dirty Dancing. I carried the watermelon to refrigerator in the garage.

    June 19, 2010

    Summer Doldrums

    Mama used to talk about Summer Doldrums. I had no idea what it meant. It has meaning in the Stock Market and there is a meteorological meaning about a site near the equator. I think it has to do with the boredom of hot sultry days when it is almost too hot to garden.

    Despite the Doldrums, there is daily excitement in the garden.
    Night Blooming Cereus Buds

    First Periwinkle Bloom in palest pink

    Tithonia reseeded among Stargazer Lilies. Clashes. 

    'Sundance' Gaillardia from seed

    I planted out the only Pride of Barbados seedling that successfully grew this spring.
    Meanwhile, the big Pride of Barbados has blooms opening, always exciting to see.

    June 18, 2010

    Headed for the Beach

    The rain usually comes from the general direction of The Beach, moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. Today, clouds were all going southwest, away from us and in the direction of The Beach.

  • Today's Blossoms

  • Pandora's box. Above Pandora grows a double Rose of Sharon.

    We always called them Althea. Hibiscus syriacus
    They root easily. I think to root several and make a hedge.

  • Today's View

  • Today's view is across the hydrangeas and lilies to the little monkey who hangs in my garden.

  • Today's Edible
    We went to Johnson's Produce and picked tomatoes today. They were ripe and beautiful, well irrigated. My tomato plants look heat stressed. I think they need some shade.

  •  Flowers and text are from the garden of Nell Jean blogged on Dotty Plants Journal in hot, humid Southwest Georgia, where a small raincloud almost sprinkled us but not quite, on its way to The Beach.

    June 16, 2010

    Today's Butterfly:

     Today's Chore 
    I commenced deadheading. Echinacea has faded. You can see the oakleaf hydrangeas are done. Daylily scapes need cutting off all over and deadheading is a daily chore. Deadheading today's blooms late in the afternoon eliminates 'soggy socks' the next day.  It wasn't an artful ruse to park the wagon in front of Persian Shield to add extra color. Threat of rain ran me inside when it started to thunder.

    I read that deadheading Oakleaf Hydrangeas might stimulate more bloom.
    These formed secondary blossoms without encouragement.
    Had I not deadheaded, I would never have seen the new blooms.

    Flowers and text are from the garden of Nell Jean blogged on Dotty Plants Journal in hot, humid Southwest Georgia. We had a brief rain shower, just enough to raise the humidity. Temperature remains at 89 degrees, so it wasn't a cooling rain, but it did wet the ground a little. More rain may be on the way.

    June 15, 2010

    There were so many flowers that I wanted to show on Bloom Day, so as not to miss any of them. Of course not everthing gets on display so as not to overcome the viewer. Here are some pics that were too good to miss as I was clicking, clicking and Buffy got bored with flowers posing.

    Pictures and text are from the garden of Nell Jean blogged on Dotty Plants Journal in hot, humid Southwest Georgia Join us in a bowl of water with a couple cubes of ice and watch Buffy blow bubbles getting her ice.

    We went to T'ville today for He-who-mows to have an injection for low back pain under fluoroscopy. When we got to the Imaging center, he was not on the list. According to the tech, the woman who keeps up with all Doctor's appointments was off last week and whomever gave him the appointment failed to put him on the schedule. I was afraid we'd be sent home and rescheduled for another day, but Doctor did his procedure and almost on time. The other old gentlemen who had the same procedure came out doing a little dance.

    When we came out to go home, it was 103 degrees in the parking lot. I didn't do any yard work this evening.

    June 14, 2010

    Buffy and I dragged hoses and placed dribblers all day. It was 99 degrees by midmorning. I made pics for Bloom day, much too many to post. I wanted to show every little bloom -- people do that, you know -- but there were so many. Perennial phlox is just coming into bloom. Crape myrtles are opening while the white crapes which open early are starting over. There is a huge clump of Tithonia where I laid spent plants last year.  I wound a flexible soaker hose through the stump bed and everything perked up. Anyhow, Bloom Day collages will grace Seedscatterer on the 15th tomorrow.

    Today's Prettiest Flower:

    This lily is taller than I am. My nose comes to the bottom bloom which is very fragrant. It isn't Casablanca, but I've forgotten the name or even when it was planted. It might be Versailles, with the raspberry spots faded because of the heat. Lilies have a secret life underground. You can't be sure where they'll come up, whether they will bloom in a given year, or how they'll look.

    Today's Blossoms:

    Clockwise from top left: Little Gypsy Eyes, Superlative or maybe Kent's Favorite II; Salmon Sheen, and Byzantine Emperor, all blooming in the heat. Byzantine Emperor that bloomed early by the driveway in the brick ruins beds has already put on a second set of scapes for rebloom.

    Pet of the Day:
    Buffy takes a break from Household Chores.

    Flowers and text are from the garden of Nell Jean blogged on Dotty Plants Journal in hot, humid Southwest Georgia. I've had several glasses of Ruby tea today in the heat. I even iced my morning coffee.

    June 13, 2010

    There Was No Cool of the Evening Today

    Today's Butterfly: Susie showed me a Tiger Swallowtail on Echinacea on her cell phone. Susie was worried about what may have wilted in the Butterfly Garden at her work over the weekend. I hope everything was well hydrated on Friday.

    Today's Blossoms are lilies. One is Dazzle and I forgot the name of the other.

    Today's View:

    Today's Edibles: Sweet corn, and I picked enough blueberries for another cobbler.

    Today's Weather: Hot and humid. Cloudy in late afternoon but the heat lingered on after dark.

    June 12, 2010

    They Are Supposed to Be Trees!

    Today's Butterfly: Zebra Longwing. Naturally I was without a camera, watering. When I came out again with a camera, he was gone. I got a glimpse of two large swallowtails at a distance. Pics of golden skippers turned out fuzzy. All I got was this moth on Lantana montevidensis.

    Today's Pest: Mosquito bite.

    Today's Blossom: Daylily. These are perhaps the toughest daylilies anywhere.

    Today's View: Pink Crape Myrtle. I like what Grumpy Gardener says about Crape Myrtle in this Video on planting and care of Crapes, even if he doesn't use the southern spelling.

    Grumpy Gardener on Crepe Myrtle

    "They are supposed to be trees!"

    Flowers and text are from the garden of Nell Jean blogged on Dotty Plants Journal in hot, humid Southwest Georgia Join us in a glass of iced Ruby Tea, dark and barely sweet and the last of the blueberry pie.

    June 11, 2010

    Another Hot Day

    Today's weather. Hot, hot, hot. I was not minding it so much until DH looked at the thermometer and remarked that it was 109 in the greenhouse and 98.8 outside in the shade. I took the last of the little cuttings and things outside for planting. A wasp and I were going in and out of the greenhouse. I saw him duck under a bench and discovered a wasp nest there.

    Today's Butterfly: Buckeye and American Painted Lady, peaceably nectaring on Lantana montevidensis.

    Today's Pest: Mealy Bug. Did you know those things bite? They don't leave a welt like a mosquito, but the bite is noticeable and then you see that it is one of those hateful little flying creatures that you disturbed, chomping on your leg. I am going after them with a spray bottle of alcohol, which melts the waxy coating on them.

    Today's Blossom: Dark Red Gladioli

    Today's View:

    Today's Edible: Corn from Farmer Danny's Cornfield. Most folks around here prefer sweet corn and it is being harvested up and down the road. Corn trucks and buses that carry migrant workers are up and down the roads. I like the taste of field corn, more like corn, less sweet. We picked 11 ears and I cut it off the cob, composting shucks and cobs. When I go back I must remember to take a camera. The long runs for irrigation leaves a wonderful 'corn maze' alley.

    Flowers and text are from the garden of Nell Jean blogged on Dotty Plants Journal in hot, humid Southwest Georgia Join us in a glass of iced Ruby Tea, dark and barely sweet.

    Ourania, Muse of the Heavens

    Had I thought to look up, I would have noticed these earlier. They tower above the daylilies, bright against the fading Oakleaf Hydrangeas.

    Orania, Orienpet Hybrid

    OURANIA or Urania was one of the nine Muses, the goddesses of music, song and dance. In Classical times Ourania, translated from the Greek as 'Heavenly,' came to be titled the muse of astronomy and astronomical

    "Urania sang of night that clothed the infant world,

    In strains as solemn as its dark profound--

    How at the call of Jove the mist unfurled,

    And o'er the swelling vault--the glowing sky,

    The new-born stars hung out their lamps on high,

    And rolled their mighty orbs to music's sweetest sound."

    - James G. Percival

    Flowers and text are from the garden of Nell Jean at in the hot, humid depths of Southwest Georgia where Trumpet lily fragrance is headiest near dark.

    June 09, 2010

    Peanuts Don't Thrive in Zone 4

    Looking at new members' blogs I ran across  a line that said, "...Jackie quickly learned that peanuts and oranges don’t thrive in Zone 4!"  

    Oranges seldom thrive here either despite the few folks that I've seen who were able to grow certain citrus very well in protected spots. This is Peanut Country.

    This week I made pics of peanuts just starting fine green growth in the field north of us.

    Peanuts grow in sunny, sandy soil in hot humid climates.

    As they grow plants will meet in the middles. Plants send out pegs after
    bloom which go into the soil where the nuts form underground.
    Harvest is two months away. 

    Flowers and text are from the garden of Nell Jean at in the hot, sandy soil of Southwest Georgia where peanuts make long ribbons of green across fields. Join us in a glass of iced Ruby Tea, dark and barely sweet.

    June 08, 2010

    Looks Good, Smells Good, Tastes Good, In my Garden

    We expect June to be a hot month here. The daily thundershowers have ceased and irrigation engines drone in the background. Here's what caught my eye this morning. June is a month for roses, a second round of bloom following the first show here in April.

    Julia Child. I have two, one full of blossoms and one resting.
    This is only Julia's second year, great floribunda.
    Violas behind this rose are still blooming.

    Most of the violas in full sun have dwindled away.
    These have just gone on and on.

    Gardenias are still the most fragrant spots in the garden.
    The biggest show is over but new blossoms still open daily.

    I had eaten most of the ripe blueberries when I thought to make a pic.

    A collage of yellow daylilies, poster flower for June.

    These daylilies are heirlooms, here for more than fifty years.
    They open with fragrance in the evening and last through the next day.

    Flowers and text are from the garden of Nell Jean at in the hot, humid depths of Southwest Georgia where Gardenia fragrance floats on the breeze. Join us in a glass of iced Ruby Tea, dark and barely sweet and oatmeal cookies with walnuts and dried cranberries.

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