March 31, 2011

Use It or Lose It

Blogger offers some new ways to display photos:

Blogger currently offers five dynamic views for its public blogs. These views are only accessible if allowed for by the blog author.



Too many ways to look at the same old pics?

I can hardly remember how to use the resources already available. Hanni of Sweet Bean Gardening has  panorama shots on her latest post but was unable to stitch them together. I swiped them -- then had to really think hard how to make them into a panorama. Too many things to remember unless you use them frequently enough to keep them in memory. I couldn't remember how to put this pic in a comment on her blog. I'm sure I've done that in the past but not often enough to do so easily.

Anyway, here's your stitched pic, Hanni. Swipe it soon so I can delete the originals and the panorama from my computer.

Hanni's Garden. I look forward to seeing it at summer's end.

March 28, 2011

Followup to Hailstorm Story

We looked everywhere this morning for the missing greenhouse roof panels. We found one broken to bits in and under the fig tree and beyond. We went everywhere to the southeast of the area without finding it. When we came back, looking high and low, we looked a little higher.
Do you see it? In the cedar tree?
The greenhouse is to the left of the RTV.

Gentle nudging with a long pole from the back of the truck brought it down. As it came down it hit the greenhouse and nearly scared Ike the Cat to death as he watched from his perch inside.
This panel was unharmed and is now back in place.
We've secured the area where rain might damage electrical components.
In time we'll get all damaged panels replaced.

After the Storm

March 26, 2011

A New Diva Every Day

A Poppy bloomed today! I didn't take a picture. Let's wait for a show.
Here's foliage and buds from yesterday. We had rain today.

As spring bulbs finish their season here, foliage of summer bulbs is either dying back or emerging, depending on the habit of the bulb. There are a very few late daffodils still in bud. I think I'll plant more late season daffodils this fall.

Lycoris radiata and lycoris squamigera foliage are beginning their demise. The flowers will appear mid-to late summer on naked stems. Elephant ears, crinums, cannas, gladioli and true lilies are showing up daily, the foliage. We'll see blossoms in a month or two.

Yesterday I divided a single Oxblood lily that divided over a few years into a dozen. Some were as large as a tennis ball. The Oxblood lily blooms late August. Buffy helped; a few may not bloom this summer because they lost their tops which were still bright green. I wanted to move them in the green so I could see where daffodils were located and not dig into them later when I moved the Rhodophiala.

I'm dividing my attention between catalogs of summer bulbs which must be ordered soonest to plant timely and fall-planted bulbs that need ordering before they sell out. Before I order off, I need to see what is here that can be divided and moved about.

Somebody needs to talk me out of ordering tulips just once more to prove I can bring them to bloom. How many tulips for the price of one amaryllis, Tulip for the South? The Hippeastrum that I gave my neighbor who doesn't garden has rebloomed this second year. Mine is sulking.

Maybe I can distract myself with finding a new spot for some true lilies that were crowded underneath some shrubs. Neglected lilies tend to get smaller. Renewed in some potting soil and then planted with lots of compost they will bloom again next year. Remember Mrs. Greenthumbs' story about the lilies and compost? She gave hers all the compost she had and they still weren't happy.

Roses are blooming as if it were June. Reine des Violettes here. Peppery fragrance, upright habit.

March 25, 2011

Black Swallowtail Butterflies on Pinks -- Video

Dark Swallowtails were swarming Bath's Pinks this
morning and nectaring on a little 'Alabamense'
Native azalea as well.

Perhaps my lack of expertise in making a video
will be offset by the charm of the butterflies.

It's a real task to ensure a succession of blooms for
butterflies. A Sulphur found Pentas blooms placed
in front of the greenhouse for planting out.

When the weather first begins to warm,
Early butterflies visit chickweed and others
for nectar so I leave the weeds.
Hot sun soon takes it out -- mine is already dying.

It's dry here. I'm watering Dianthus barbatus seedlings
set out so Sweet Williams follow Bath's Pinks
The rest of the Pentas cuttings are ready to plants.

Tiger Swallowtails were visitng azaleas and
the remaining camellia blossoms.

March 24, 2011

A Rose by Any Other Name

Spring arrived and suddenly roses are blooming. From upper left: Pink Knockout; Rose des Violettes with a Swallowtail butterfly in silhouette above the blossoms; Gene Boerner.
2nd row: Livin' Easy, Julia Child and Sunny Knockout after the yellow faded to near white.
I don't think of my roses by the patent names like Radsunny -- just the familiar name.

Julia Child has a marvelous fragrance, kind of 'fresh baked bread with honey.'

Butterflies are visiting Roses, Bath's Pinks and Azaleas.
I've seen Tiger Swallowtails, dark Swallowtails and big Yellow Sulphurs.
Earlier this season I've seen a few Buckeyes and a brief glimpse of a Zebra Swallowtail.

I did get some quick pics of Tigers on Azaleas which I'll post soon on Seedscatterer.

March 21, 2011

The Neighbors Offered Me Some Pups -- Cycas revoluta

The winter was not kind to cycads in this area. Mine had many winter-damaged fronds.
Opinions on how to deal with the damage vary.

My neighbor called last week to offer me some 'pups' from her Cycad.
The yardman had pruned it she said and there were more than a dozen 'babies' 
she was giving to various neighbors 

I went armed with a trowel, expecting to find teacup-sized pups at most.
Instead, they were the size of basketballs!
I'll have to go back with big buckets and a spade.
It takes months for the pups to root and put on new growth.

The neighbors prune off all the old shoots to encourage a pretty new
topknot of new fronds at the top on a fat bare trunk.
I prefer more judicious pruning that leaves as much green as possible. 

My Sago has no pups; it has had seeds. They were not fertilized and did not germinate.
The remains of the 'nest' where the seeds were remains. 
A few stray fronds grow straight out of the ground. 

There's a little column of developing fronds in the center.

Looking ahead to June:

Sago mid-June 2010 when new fronds sprouted.

March 18, 2011

ABC's All about Me

Thalia is Blooming; late triandrus, fragrant.

I got this little ABC meme from Lady of the Flowers who got it from her friend. I thought it was cute.

A. Age: Stone

B. Bed size: Never big enough for all the plants and seeds I want to plant.

C. Chore you dislike: Edging

D. Dog: Buffy. Cat: Ike. I felt compelled to add Ike, he frequently feels left out.

E. Essential start to your day: Coffee and a stroll to inspect the garden.

F. Favorite color: Yellow

G. Gold or silver: Silver

H. Height: 5'1"

I. Instruments you play: Piano

J. Job title: Yardperson. I'm retired from whatever it was I used to do.

K. Kids: Adult

L. Live: from New York, it's Saturday Night! Oh, wait, you mean where do I Live? Check sidebar.

M. Mom’s name: Mama

N. Nickname: Miss Prissy

O. Overnight hospital stays: Post partum and when the cow hurt me.

P. Pet peeves: Drivers with cell phones in their hands or up to their ears!

Q. Quote from a movie: Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday, "I'm your Huckleberry.” 

R. Righty or lefty: Right but I taught myself to use my mouse with my left hand to save my right wrist.

S. Siblings: none left

T. Time you wake up: When DH has the coffee made.

U. Underwear: yes

V. Vegetables you don’t like: What's not to like about vegetables?

W.What makes you run late: Dawdling

X. X-rays you’ve had: Teeth, back, wrist, chest

Y. Yummy food you make: Takeout

Z. Zoo animal favorites: Monkeys

March 13, 2011

What I Saw Over the Fence

Les of A Tidewater Gardener issued a fascinating end-of-winter challenge:
walk about your neighborhood and share what can be seen outside your own yard.

I toured around and took pics over the fences that separate us from various neighbors.

This area was once a pond, long since filled in by washing soil and now a grassy flat.

There are horses in this pasture but they were not
to be seen today, just the barn.

Across the highway, live oak trees putting on new leaves.

Deer stand surrounded by round hay bales.

More round hay bales to feed the cows that will soon be on this grain patch.

Power lines

A field of grain under a circular irrigation system. Two fences form a lane for cows.

Across the fence, across the dirt road,
Bradford pears have almost finished bloom.
The white donkeys were too far from the
road to get pictures today.

Down the dirt road in the other direction.

On the way back, I found this feather on the
field road. Maybe an egret feather.

March 11, 2011

Waiting for Spring with New Blotanical Members

Heather of Trying to Keep It Alive has interesting seedlings, sprouts and other delights inside awaiting warmer weather. She welcomes your interest in what she's trying to grow.

Holley at Dreaming of Roses is also dreaming of getting all those little seedlings out of the house and into the ground.

Carol Flett at Gardening Tips and Pics is reviewing past successes to keep herself and visitors encouraged until the blousy wonders of Spring open up.

Loretta at Crazy Since Tuesday and Blueberry Pie is already growing veggies with the help of family in her Florida garden.

J Gorran maintains a specialty blog directed to greenhouse growers, Helping Growers Grow which features abstracts of scientific research articles. Much of the information in those articles is invaluable for anyone growing inside or out. Browse this blog.

Mrs Pie has not updated her feed, but you can access her blog on her Plot if you don't find Casa Decrepit on the alphabetical lists. This wonderful account of remodeling an 1876 Victorian house is not to be missed. Last post, they were pouring footings for a wall

I'm trying to get past a predicted freeze tonight. I haven't planted tender plants outside YET but fruit trees are in full bloom.

March 10, 2011

Cool Weather Returns

Yesterday's rain passed on through, leaving continuing wind. We watched for tornadoes yesterday. The nearest one touched down in Lee County. Tomorrow night we expect near-freezing temperatures.

In Dothan today, I could hardly look at garden plants because it was so cold and I had not dressed for such a windy day in an unlined jacket and no head covering. The garden clerk at Lowe's said she'd had to run down to Target and buy a sweater because she hadn't anticipated such cool wind either.

The Mexican restaurant where we ate lunch had large plantings of yellow, white and orange violas -- so festive.

At home, I potted up alternanthera cuttings that rooted in water in two 18-cell flats. Nineteen chartreuse and the rest in red except for two pentas to finish out the cells. I think I'll put the purple cuttings directly into the garden. I'm anxious to see if any return from the dead.

Pine straw stored in stick house.

March 09, 2011

White Camellias in To Kill a Mockingbird

In the book To Kill a Mockingbird the boy Jem takes Scout's baton and destroys Mrs. Dubose’s camellia bushes. As punishment, Jem must go to the Dubose house every day for a month and read to her. He and Scout endure Mrs. Dubose’s verbal abuse and peculiar fits, which occur at the end of every reading session. Each session is a little longer. Mrs. Dubose dies a little more than a month after Jem’s punishment ends. His father reveals to Jem that the reading was part of Mrs. Dubose's successful effort to combat an addiction to morphine. Mrs. Dubose had given her maid a box for Jem. In it lies a single white camellia, waxed to preserve it.

The camellia mentioned in the book is 'Snow on the Mountain'
a Camellia sasanqua. These are Camellia japonica.

Last year I wrote about the movie Camille and
the camellia connection when my white camellias bloomed.

Weather has not been kind to the early to mid-season pinks.

Camellia season will end when the weather gets hot, usually mid-April 
when the dark red Blood of China is in full bloom.

March 07, 2011

A River of Muscari or A Trickle of Blue

I always aspired to a River of Muscari as seen on the site. I managed to plant a trickle. Only droplets bloom in my garden. I wasted money on 'starch hyacinths' or M. neglectum in hopes that the literature was correct in saying these were Muscari for the South. Here are some of the existing  Muscari armeniacum blooming this year: one here, one there, fewer than a dozen total surviving but each one precious to see.

Muscari is the Turkish name for the bulb.
M. botryoides translates as "like a bunch of grapes."
Unlike the Dutch Hyacinths in my garden, Muscari will continue to send up
new blooms and rebloom until hot weather.

Muscari make a good marker for other spring-blooming bulbs.
Muscari puts up leaves in fall, so hidden Daffodils can be located
if they are planted with a handful of Muscari.
That is, IF the Muscari returns.

Muscari is in the Lily Family, as is Hyacinthus (Hyacinth).

2011 is a good year for Hyacinthus.

This is the river of muscari I always wanted to emulate.
Muscari River photo from site.

March 05, 2011

Daffy Down Dilly Days

Has come to town
With a yellow petticoat
And a pretty green gown.
She arrived here mid-February. Suddenly daffodils were everywhere, made more lovely than usual by a cold January. We've seen daffodils for 3 weeks and some remain to open. Hawera in shade is just bursting buds. Tahiti, usually late, came on fast and some of the bulbs in sun blasted from the heat.

I think this is a Fortune hybrid.

Jetfire or Tete a Tete? Or both?

Van Sion, here for decades; half a century or more.

Tahiti, in center is blasted bud.

Tahiti in which orange edges show.

Hawera; Ice Wings behind

Hawera again. Notice backgrounds in
many of these pics show more daffodils.

A pretty jonquilla without a name.

Pink Charm. Always charming.

Notice the two at bottom left kissing.

Ice Wings

Ice Wings and Sailboat

There are a few more daffodils yet to bloom here. Baby Moon is usually the last along with Misty Glen.

2010 was the first year in several that I failed to plant at least a few daffodils. I'm taking time this spring to move some that are planted too deep to bloom or are in too deep shade or otherwise in an undesirable space. I'm wavering between more daffodils or more hyacinths this fall. Maybe I'll try  tulips in pots again, now that the dog is older and more discerning about her diet.

March 03, 2011

I Might Be Your Mentor, and a Poll

In my early enthusiasm over Blotanical, I sent frequent messages of encouragement to new members. My spirits were dampened by a woman who brusquely informed me that she wanted nothing to do with Blotanical. We eventually became more cordial.

When Blotanical announced new changes I was so excited. A Dashboard appeared. I clicked and experimented. That was before I knew clicking on a candidate made me Processor of that blog. Suddenly I was responsible for the fate of certain Blogs. It took several tries to see if it worked.
I “approved” one member 3 times. She sent a message to my blog that she had a mentor and it wasn’t me. I stumbled across another new member and noticed that I had sent a message of welcome to his Plot -- not of my doing; automated.

I possibly am the mentor of others. Carelessly, I didn’t make a pen and paper list of everybody I tried to admit to Blotanical. I read there is a record but I can’t find it.

If I am your Mentor, please let me know.

Poll on the sidebar. Choose as many as apply. 

I Blog Here & Here too