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 www.seedscatterer.blogspot.com 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 www.seedscatterer.blogspot.com 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 www.dottypants.blogspot.com 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.

    June 07, 2010

    Buffy's Daylily

    Buffy's Daylily Bed has stones, and a buff colored bitone daylily grows there. This daylily is a seedling of my daylilies and was without a garden name. It now is officially Garden Name 'Buffy's Daylily.'

    A wet Buffy sits on orange Violas earlier this spring. The rest of the pics are current.

    Other plants in Buffy's Daylily Bed are Maroon Mexican Hats Ratibida, Verbena bonariensis, Calfornia poppies, Yellow Lantana and 'Dominic' daylily.

    I just planted Chartreuse alternanthera cuttings where daffodils
    died back. Daffodil stems are still visible.

    The Buffy Bed is nearer the highway past the bed where 'Victoria' Salvia  farinacea is featured with yellow Ratibida. Lilacina Crape Myrtles showing signs of buds are the last to bloom here.

    Flowers and text are from the garden of Nell Jean at http://www.dottypants.blogspot.com/ in the hot, humid depths of Southwest Georgia USA where designs seldom turn out the way I planned. Sometimes with the help of self-seeders, they are even better.

    June 05, 2010

    Making Do with What's Available

    I was not the lucky winner of the composter Dave gave away. Congratulations to All American Belle.

    I'm consoled with my new compost container. If I'd won the composter, I promised to save my tea bags and coffee grounds, shred my prunings, deadhead faithfully saving the corpses and become a dedicated composter. I'll be doing that, but the receptacle will be not a fancy manufactured 'green' compost tumbler. Instead I'll be dropping all my compostables into a recycled Stock Tank with a hole in the bottom. Notice the great patina it acquired in the edge of the woods before it came to be my compost holder.

    You can see where it came to live at upper right along the field road, well past the Stick House and my stash of cedar saved in case of a need for Improvisational Carpentry. The little mound next to the Stock Tank is a scoop of well-composted gin trash.

    While we're out here tromping around, come around to the other side of the Live Oak and see my new wide path.When vines and weeds get beyond me, He-who-mows just takes care of the whole thing. That explains why some of my 'design' methods are a little unorthodox.
    I'm always aware that the mower has a 54" cut.

    I didn't finish my part of the prep work, so it needs tweaking.

    The path passes by my Hosta collection and some
    Aucuba and ferns. Hostas do not reach great size here.

    Looking in the opposite direction from the Stock Tank and Stick House.

    Among my first offerings to the Compost receptacle will be deadheaded daylilies.
    Note the little pile of yesterday's 'soggy socks' at upper right.
    Also of interest in this pic: Crinum starting to bloom again,
    Reseeded Salvia coccinea in front of the stone and between daylilies,
    altered color on the hydrangea from limestone leaching nearby,
    Pinks thriving along the stones  despite the humidity; reseeded Gomphrena.

    Flowers and text are from the garden of Nell Jean at www.dottypants.blogspot.com in the hot, humid depths of Southwest Georgia where Gardenia fragrance floats on the breeze and dayliles are still putting on scapes. Among those yet to bloom are Pandora's Box and Bride Elect.

    June 04, 2010

    Would You Set Your Garden on Fire?

    The time of wild fires is approaching, When drought makes conditions right lightning, careless persons or arsonists start small fires that escalate. Homeowners all over the world worry about the possiblity of  fire.

    Two summers ago during a drought there was a huge fire in the eastern part of Georgia, 200 miles from us. Smoke carried all the way over here and as far north as Atlanta. Town Mouse had fire near her home last October:


    Our county has become the first in the 16-county Southwest Georgia Forestry district to be certified 'firewise' which means the county has taken steps to protect property and lives in case of encroaching wildfire. Among the tactics used are prescribed burns, long a method of protecting pine forests from wildfires. Steps in creating a protected home environment include a 3-foot fire-free area on all sides of a house, clear the buildup of pine needles and leaves from the base of a house, trimming low hanging limbs over the house and deciduous trees rather then evergreens close to structures.

    I wouldn't set the whole garden on fire, but a little prescribed burn might help a few plants. When Susie gave me some Gulf Muhly plants, she told me that 'the guys at the Lab burn Muhly grass in the winter.' I set mine on fire and the pine needle mulch that I thought was raked back caught fire, too.  Care is needed for prescribed burns.

    Muhly grass, Melampodium and Purslane

    It's hard to see the coming infloresence that looks like cotton candy in fall.
    Meanwhile, we'll just set the garden on fire with Tithonia and Daylilies

    Hot colors for a hot summer.

    Wildflowers are blooming in the median of Highway 84 outside the last Georgia town on the way to Dothan, AL. A month ago when we passed by, mowers were cutting very tall weeds in the median. Now blossoms in drifts of coreopsis, moss verbena and other summer annuals brighten the scene.
    Maintaining a meadow requires some kind of management of weeds and trash trees like wild cherry. We use a combination here of summer and fall mowing and early spring controlled burns.

    Pics and text are from the garden of Nell Jean at Dotty Plants Journal in the hot, humid depths of Southwest Georgia USA where the heady fragrance of gardenias makes going out in the heat almost bearable. Coming inside to a glass of iced Ruby Tea, dark and barely sweet is a constant treat. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids when the weather is hot.

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