Wednesday, July 05, 2017

LILIES, JULY 2017


LILIES – July 2017

 

Here’s some of what we have blooming right now. Remember, they are Day Lilies... there are different lilies blooming every day.  I know, several of them look like the same lily, but they are not, except for Dark Prince, the deep red with yellow ruffle and yellow center. The shot of 3 of them did not really show their beauty, so I included a single shot. There are slight differences, different names among the yellow with red centers. We go lily shopping this week.










Aren't they beautiful????

Sunday, July 02, 2017

SPOOK, HOOVER, THE GARDEN, AND A SURPRISE AMONG THE FLOWER POTS


SPOOK,  HOOVER, THE GARDEN, AND A SURPRISE AMONG THE FLOWER POTS

 

I wanted to share some of this year’s lilies with you, and, having a nice day for a change (read low humidity) I toddled out with the old trusty Nikon to try to capture the amazing beauty scattered around the place. But, my critters seemed interested in what I was up to (read hungry, as usual) and I got a few interesting shots of them – so, critters and garden first, lilies in the next post.
 

Hoover has found a new sleeping place, in the wiper opening on the van when she is not up on the top in the luggage rack. On top she can see what is going on… as a windshield wiper, she is not noticeable… a surprising hide-away, I guess. Spook had been under the van but came out as he heard the back door open. This is a sad shot of him. His age is showing along with his damaged ear as the hobo cat, as we call him, did a number on him earlier, requiring several stitches… and we chipped him while the ear was being operated on anyway.
 


I am grateful Spook is staying home more and not across the street like he used to. He and Hoover are getting along better (SO GRATEFUL!) and these hot days Spook is usually snoozing under the bushes out front where there is usually a breeze. I found him napping there when I was getting a shot of some of the front yard lilies.


In the back yard, I thought it was interesting that my Christmas poinsettia was still in bloom. See it? Here it is with my 6 foot+ tomato on the left and a bunch of day lilies behind. The house plants seem to like being tucked in next to the pine tree. The 4x4s are there to keep them in place. Here is the 6 foot plus tomato plant.
And the first crop of beans in the Stand-Uppity garden.

Ashley has been helping me in the yard this year for which I am SO grateful, and last Wednesday she dug (I potted) about a dozen baby camellias for her grandmother. But first, I needed to wash out a dozen or so pots… and that was when I spotted one of this year’s newest. See him (her)?

OK, I will go ahead and do the lilies next – they will come up in a couple days. By then I will have been to Sterrett’s to order some more which Ashley and I will plant down along the road at the base of the row of Crape Myrtles. Then we will be able to enjoy the daffodils first, then the azaleas (someone stole one of them – can you believe it?) then lilies and finally the Crape Myrtle. If my body can handle it, I think I will find something to put in around them for fall…the fall azaleas are struggling out there – maybe a few fall camellias? It is hard work, but my flowers bring joy to so many people on their way to work or home… even if I don’t get to see them. My legacy, perhaps?
Come on by, sit for a spell... enjoy my labor of love for all to enjoy.

 

Monday, May 29, 2017

HOOVER and SPOOK



One day last week, a neighbor asked me if I had a little grey tabby cat… one had been visiting his place recently. I assumed it was Hoover as she often disappears back thru the woods behind the house. So far, she seems scared of the road out front and so confines her travels into the woods around my place and back to Frank’s behind me.

            Hoover got her name from the way she attacked food when she first came here. Her dish was so clean you would not have known any food had even been in it. The bowl of crunchies looked vacuumed including the floor around it. In some other countries, the word Hoover is synonymous with cleaning. A neighbor from the UK says he is going to Hoover his car when he just means cleaning it out, not necessarily vacuuming. Hoover still acts like any meal is the first she has had in a week… often her week is 2 hours long! And she eats her food as rapidly as she can then jumps down to push Spook away from his food and clean his bowl up, too. Sigh. Poor old Spook, never the fighter, at age 14 he just moseys away and takes a nap. (You know “the grass is always greener???” Well for Hoover, the food in the other bowl is always better.)

            Anyway, the point of this post is to give anyone interested a view of this little girl kitty… a strange little thing, totally unspectacular in appearance, who squeaks, does not meow, and pesters poor old Spook because she so wants to play. Poor old man. But, he is no longer growling at her and actually does play wrestle a bit. Then it is serious nap time.

            Hoover is a great hunter. She stalks anything that moves, including deer. I have watched her do that, moving from bush to bush, belly to the ground, hiney twitching in anticipation of the moment of attack. I have never had a camera ready when she does these things, so you will just have to take my word for it. But last week, oh how I wish I had had a video camera for her last great adventure. To start with, I heard the bird – a very distinctive cry. So I looked around to see where it was. I have a family of them that live on my land and I feel so fortunate. I have posted about them before. This time, it sounded like the bird was up in the big hackberry tree behind my house. It definitely was close by… while scanning the tree for a glimpse of its distinctive colors and markings, I saw something else moving slowly up a big branch of the tree. As you have seen, Hoover is ‘dressed’ in perfect camouflage, she can disappear almost anywhere… but this bird can’t.

            It squawked again and flapped its wings at her. Hoover paused blending in with the bark of the tree, but she had definitely interrupted its snacking on the tree. We all held still, probably barely breathing. I tried to sneak closer, basically not believing my eyes… Hoover was stalking a Pileated Woodpecker that is probably bigger than she is. She crept up her branch a little further. She was probably less than 5 feet away from him. I thought, my god, what if this was a raptor and not a woodpecker? We do have a family of red-tail hawks here, too, and a family of great horned owls, both of which could pick her up in a heartbeat and have a tasty meal for their young ones.

            One more sneaky creep up the branch and the woodpecker had had enough. It opened its huge wings and flew out away from the tree, but then turned and flew back aiming straight for Hoover! I remembered a mocker than used to dive-bomb Punkin like that. I thought OMG! That long pointed beak would totally skewer Poor little Hoovie! OH NO!  But the bomber jet pulled up in plenty of time to miss Hoover, BUT, that dumb cat stood on her hind feet to make a grab at the bird! YIKES! What kind of an idiot is this????  Needless to say, she missed, in fact she almost fell out of the tree in her excitement. The Pileated flew off to snack at another tree deeper in the woods and Hoover backed down the tree. I started to breathe again, but I swear, my knees were weak!  

            Anyway, here are a few shots I took of Hoovie and Spook out in the yard the other day. Spook is still sleeping in his favorite Adirondack. I keep a big board on it to keep him dry when it sprinkles and he doesn’t want to move. It also keeps him in the shade, and it gives Hoover a place to nap or wash after she gets tired of pestering him.
And in case you forgot, our Pileated Woodpecker



Sunday, May 07, 2017

AFTER THE RAIN

IT WAS ONLY an inch and a half spread out over 3 days, but a slow gentle deep soaking rain does amazing things. The peas were a little over a foot tall a week ago - but they are now 3 feet tall... and not at all photogenic.
The Beans popped thru the dirt and started unfolding their tiny leaves.
I can almost taste them! Those 3 things, top, right, are romaine plants after 3 days - an inch and a half of new lettuce!
 The netting hoops arrived and one set is in place over the new blueberry plants - but I have not had the time to put the net on yet.
No berries this year anyway. But it will keep the deer from eating the plants. Until I get the net on the hoops, the flags will keep the deer away.  Right now, Spook thinks it is a new bed for him!
Along with the hoops, I ordered a sidewalk from amazon.
Yep, you read that right. Nice big blocks 16"  that I can carry and move because they are plastic. Instant sidewalk. Other big advantage - weeds won't grow and I can walk on them and not get muddy. I have since straightened them... need to dig up a daffodil in the middle where you can see a space, but the body is not up to it just yet. The coral bells survived another winter... color did not come out too great, but it gives you an idea.
 So, this has been a busy week... I am most grateful for the rain, the garden is, too! Next - pix of the peonies.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

ALMOST MAY! Azaleas, irises, peonies

YEP, it is April 30. We have just had our first 90 degree day, humidity at least 200%! Thanks to the almost 2 inches of rain we got spread out over the last week. We did need it. I promised a couple people some pictures of the yard, the irises that have started blooming... I would have taken more, but it was getting too hot out there and I needed to cool off. 80 degrees by 10 AM. Durn. I should have started earlier, it was 70 when I got up, but so many things got in my way. My greatest achievement for the day is that I got my first 3 rows of yellow wax beans planted. YEA! I hope to get the Italian flats in next. Still haven't started planting in the new Stand-Uppity garden... that is for tomorrow.
Anyway, here are a few high-lights from the flower side of things - and a shot of my laziness - some peas growing in a flower box and climbing up a store bought trellis. Well, when your body does not want to do like it used to do, you find ways to compensate, right?
But first, the iris, backed by azaleas:
 
 
 
 
 
azaleas and peonies
 
azaleas, purple iris, and peonies
 and peas.

There are, of course, lots more in bloom... maybe later when it gets cooler.
ENJOY!

4 hours later... and 85 degrees... I have my yellow wax beans and Italian flats in the old Stand-uppity garden and a row of yellow's in the new one, just for comparison in blooming time, maybe difference in pony poop and wholly cow organic poop, planted a flat of lavender and a peat pot flat of snap dragons, both sitting in the new garden for now. Just way too tired to do anything more outside. Hoover and several dragon flies kept me company. I disrupted the lives of 3 blue tail skinks, tho one was missing his tail. I bet Hoover could tell me about that. Heard then saw an eagle fly over.
It has been an awesome if tiring day!
Heading for the shower.



Sunday, April 16, 2017

Stand-Uppity Garden #3 - Cedar

As requested by several folks, this is a picture How-to-do-it for my latest Seriously Raised Garden.
These materials - the Cedar Raised Bed kit came from amazon - as did the Wholly Cow poop bag of fertilizer. All other materials were acquired locally.
The kit came with 21 4 ft cedar slats, dove tailed at the ends to fit in the corner posts, already grooved, as you can see. Rather than build this as a 4'x8' raised bed on the ground - since I have serious trouble getting DOWN that far to plant, weed, or harvest, I build my garden areas up on concrete blocks. This is workable for me and it also seems to help with weed control. However, it requires daily watering. And I find a 4'x4' size more manageable, so that gave me the left over parts, like slats, for the bottom.
 There are salt-treated 4x4s on the concrete blocks - the cedar frame fits on top, the extra pieces of siding are nailed to the 4x4s leaving a drainage space. Do NOT use treated wood next to your soil - the chemicals can leach into the dirt and be absorbed by your plants.
To keep the soil in the garden and not let it wash out, we put a cover of "rat-wire" over the cedar and a double cover of heavy garden cloth (that roll of black stuff) over that, stapled to the sides.

 

The 'garden' is filled with a mixture of garden/potting soil, peat moss, perlite, more garden/potting soil, and about a quart or so of dehydrated cow poop. Stir well, level it, and add seeds or plants! In this case, however, since it is the Ides of April and the soil is not warm enough, we may have a few more cold nights, I covered it with a garden cover (that gauzy stuff)  to keep it clean until I have a chance to get my heirloom seeds and plants next week, and the maple trees stop sending their whirligigs down on everything.
  
 
Those are extra grooved boards on the edges holding the cover in place - freebees from the local building supply scrap pile. The actual garden soil goes all the way up to the top, almost 12 inches. It will settle and will get topped off again later.
It will be interesting to see how long the cedar lasts. The first Stand-Uppity garden rotted out rather fast and the wooden legs were not very stable. The second one is still standing - but it is a garden bag with a 4+ foot diameter on plywood on a pallet (another freebee from the building supply folks) but set on concrete blocks. It will soon have its 6th crop of yellow wax beans on one side, and Italian flats on the other. I have learned not to grow so much that it gets wasted. You can give just so much away, and southerners are not generally fond of yellow wax beans. So I feed my Yankee neighbors that surplus. I gave most of my pole beans away last year, preferring the yellow wax and Italians.
The theory is your food is better for you if it is grown near-by. This new garden is 10 feet from my kitchen!
Also, this way I know exactly WHAT poisons are put on my food - or in my case, zero poisons. No pesticides, no herbicides, and the gardens are small enough pest control is easy.
Next, after planting is done, I need to attach some 1x1s to the corners and some nylon fencing to keep the deer from munching. The loose nylon keeps the coonie-bears from climbing into the garden, too.
Have fun! It is easy to build - just a few hours once you have all your materials together. The only tool I used was a hammer to tack down the rat-wire and slats and a heavy-duty gun stapler for the garden cover. That's it. Even an idiot can do it. I am proof!!!!!




Sunday, February 19, 2017

TRYING AGAIN - FEB IN THE GARDEN

I HAVE BEEN STRUGGLING WITH BLOGGER - and so far, blogger has won. So, I will try again especially since so many of you have complained that I "don't blog anymore." Well, I do - but then I get messages that say I cannot publish because of some unnamed error. SIGH.


So, last week, I did a long post of the garden... my escape from the chaos of trump... and an escape from my health problems... but nada. Error messages each time. So, I will try again. Last time I wrote:
Yep, it was warm out sitting in the sun. I sat with my shirt open to expose as much skin to the free vitamin D as possible. I believe in the healing power of sunlight – and, as some of you know, I have been a bit under the weather. “Strep throat,” the Dr said.


“Should have bought stock in Kleenex,” my broker said.


My voice was so deep even the cat cocked his head when I spoke to him. “Who is that?” he said.
Its pretty bad when your cat cocks his head at your voice.  But, that was last week... I am better this week, have one more day on amoxicillin, and am grateful I bought a Super Pack of Kleenex at Sam's last month. My sinus's are still, um, active (?) I guess you could say. But, the sun is shining and it is already 60 before 9 AM. I will spend as much of the day outside as possible soaking up the free vitamin D as possible - and getting a start on the springtime chores. But first I will share what is blooming in the garden, starting with the new daffodils I planted last year in the Meditation garden. I am excited to see how many came up - I planted a few hundred here, around a hundred at the Town Garden, and gave another hundred or so to the Baptist Church for their new garden area. It is right next to the road so the whole world (!) can enjoy the daffies as they drive by. More my gift to the traveling public than the church, actually.

And some camellias.
Aunt Alice
I found a NEW one! next to the propane tank. I have no parent plant like it.
The heavy snow bent this18 foot tall camellia over. Maybe it will straighten itself up???

OK, I need to see if this publishes... and head on outside and not waste the 60+ temps today.
Enjoy!