Thursday, September 11, 2014

Goodbye, Molly

Goodbye, sweet little Molly-dog.  Thank you for all the laughter and happy memories. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Major Pet Peeve: Just Report It!

Dear local weathermen/women, anchors, etc.:

I know you're trying to put a personal touch on things, but please, just report the weather.  Don't feel the need to subjectively judge every weather forecast.

I'm so tired of hearing that, hey, it's great news!  No rain for a week!  And oh boy!  Isn't it wonderful that the rain we were expecting today has shifted toward the west, so we'll only get scattered showers?!  YAY!

Everyone hates rain, right?  So everyone will be happy happy happy that there's no rain!

Um, no.
I wanted that rain.  My plants needed that rain.  I don't particularly care if it's scheduled to fall on a holiday weekend; I wanted my darn rain!!  We've been waiting a long time for it, and I'm tired of watering plants with the garden hose.

A little thing, I know, but it's grating on my nerves.

Could they just stop assuming that everyone hates the rain as much as they apparently do?

Oh, and when winter's rolling around, y'all can just not even start complaining about the cold weather, okay?  Some of us have been praying for it to finally get back below 80 in the daytime. 


Friday, August 15, 2014

Garden Notes

Annual Flower Performance Notes:

--Cosmos:  Merely "okay".  Not my favorites, because they looked so skimpy next to the zinnias.  But possibly they didn't get a fair try, sown so late in the season, in a really poor soil.

--Sunflowers (Russian Giant):  Meh.  They weren't so giant as I'd hoped.  Also not so pretty, but maybe a mix of sunflowers (in a better spot) might be fun to try next year.

--Zinnias:  WOW.  More Zinnias, please!  Many, many more.  I loved them!

--Coleus: The ones in pots on the patio and right in front of the patio did best, this year.  They're still looking pretty good.

--Impatiens: They did better in the soil directly in front of the patio, but most of them aren't looking so hot anymore.  (Something ate them, I think.)

--Begonias: also under attack.  (Slugs? I don't know!)  They're still hanging on, but no longer looking so happy and pretty.

--Marigolds:  Plant more next year. Hardy and pretty. They grow easily from seed, so save some money that way.

--Polka-Dot Plant / Freckle-Face:  Next year, I'd probably stay away from these.  Some of them are still doing okay, but they seemed kind of finicky.  Leggy and needing pruning, but then not bouncing back quickly.  Too much sun fries them, too little makes them leggy and takes away the pretty leaf color.

--Cleome:  More, more, more!  Mine got a little sad about the middle of summer, this year, though... Not sure why.  Plant in the back of the bed to hide their ugly legs. ;o)  There are lots of varieties around, apparently.  Not sure how much the seeds would be for these different types, but could be fun to try, if available.

--Verbena:  Didn't last long.  Probably planted it later than optimal. Also it was over-run by weeds.  There's still a sprig of it hanging on, poor thing, but no blooms for a long time.

--Pineapple Sage:  Meh.  It bloomed earlier, but then I pruned it a little (as I read you should to keep it compact), and it hasn't done much since.  The leaves smell nice (like pineapple), but where ours is planted, I rarely touch it (and you have to touch them to release the aroma).  Also, the leaves seem prone to scorching on the tips.  Not a favorite.  Probably won't bother next year.  

--Lobelia:  It reseeded itself, so we overwintered it in the garage.  It's still not so full and lovely as it looks in some photos, but I'm impressed that it's doing as well as it has, since it doesn't like the heat.  It might be worth growing from seed again, sometime. 

--Vinca:  Some of them are doing well.  The one (or two) that didn't were facing poor odds.  Need to plant early and keep the weeds down.  Oh, and make sure they're watered well enough during establishment period. 

. . . . . . .

Other Plant Performance Notes:

Passionflower:  Gorgeous!  Took over the whole trellis and looks like it's been there forever.  (Need to take a photo...)  I hope it is as cold-hardy as they say.  I'd love to have some of the other colors/varieties of passionflower, but those aren't quite so hardy.

Spanish Lavender:  I can't believe how well it's doing!  Not only has it survived the heat and humidity, it has actually grown.  Still putting out new blooms.  The tight pot was the way to go.  I'll need to research this one again.  Can't recall if it might survive the winter if taken into the garage... Couldn't hurt to try... This lavender doesn't have the same soothing, calming lavender smell of "real" lavender-- it's spicier-- but it's still a pretty little plant. 

Lantana:  Doing ok, but not growing so much as I hoped.  Not a big deal.  It should come back next year, I think. 

Daisy Gardenia:  It put out a few new blooms just recently!  I didn't know it might rebloom!  Now, the second bloom wasn't anything to write home about, but still, I'm impressed.

Crepe Myrtles:  The white ones at the back of the yard have been beautiful this year.  Blooming more/longer than usual.  The bark peeled off earlier in the season, and it's the deepest, most gorgeous cinnamon color right now.  Really striking.  I hope this is a sign that they have "come into their own" and not some "perfect weather" fluke.

Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus Tree):  Blooming forever this year.  Tons of flowers.  Would be interested in getting more of these, if I can find good spots... They do attract flying insects (bees, dirt daubers) and small ants, though.  Hard to get a decent photo of a bloom, because there are so many insects crowding around. ;o) Best viewed from a distance, maybe?

. . . . . . .

I think every perennial and shrub we planted (in the flower garden) this spring has done pretty well.

The new roses are growing-- especially the one Mom gave us that was so small to begin with.  (It's caught up to the others already, I think.)

The ivy is slowly growing.

The night-blooming jasmine was covered in blooms, recently.  (Donald still likes it; I still don't really care for it-- but am rarely in a position to smell it, anyway.) 

Our new daylilies seem to have made the transition.  The baby daylilies in pots are doing pretty well.  Some of the first batch are really putting on some size.  They may bloom next year-- but sometimes daylilies grown from seed don't bloom until the third year.  Wait and we shall see. (g)

The viburnum has grown a lot, I think.  (Hard to tell, it happens so slowly.)

. . . . . . .

I'm making big gardening/hardscaping plans for the autumn and winter.  To do even half of the things on the list, we'll have to be dedicated to the cause. ;o) (Some of it I can do alone, but other things will require Donald's help and in-put.)  I'm looking forward to it, though! 

It's mid-August.  In about a month we'll have guests for a little while (so I have some motivation to get into gear and do a few things in preparation indoors, if not out).  In a month and a half it will be OCTOBER-- one of the best months of the year.  Can't wait!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Way to Go, Man...

"We tortured some folks"? 

Really?  Really?
...What an unbelievable idiot.  ("Idiot", by the way, is the generous interpretation.  The only other way I can see to view it makes him something much, much worse.)

Well, happy Friday, everyone.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Garden Update (No Photos)

I've been neglecting the garden/yard for a while, now.  The weather this time of year... I just can't muster the will to get out there.  It's miserable.  If I made myself put on mosquito repellant and get out there very early, I could do a little every day... But I don't care enough, to tell the truth.  Maybe next year?  Maybe if the yard as a whole was in better condition?  (And if we/I do some of the things on The List this autumn and winter, it should be better.) 

...So, an update.  I can't remember what all I mentioned in the last update, and I'm too lazy to go back and read it.  (Laaaaaazy.)

The food garden is pretty much DONE for the year.  I just picked four more bell peppers today, and there may be more, if the plants keep going.  The green (bunching) onions and chives are still fine, too, but the tomatoes are pretty much all done, and nothing else has hung on this long.  Something got some of them.  Other things (tomatoes) probably needed better care from us.  Cost-wise, the tomatoes were still a success, but it sounds like you can get your tomatoes to live longer into the summer (in our climate) if you "baby" them a bit more-- watering, fertilizing.  I've read about other people (no idea where they live) putting in two plantings of tomatoes.  One for early harvest, another to ripen later. 

We're planning to move our raised beds somewhere behind the garage, this winter.  That is, if we discuss it and decide we want to put in the work.  (We probably will.  You forget how miserable July is when you're a couple of months away from it.)  Maybe we'll install some soaker hoses, this time.  In any case, I think that having the beds inside the yard will keep more attention on them.  Less effort to water.  Easy to pull weeds when they're small or catch other problems, because we'll be walking past them every day, anyway. 

(The downside is that the dogs may pay more attention to them, too... We'll have to make sure Luna, in particular, doesn't dig it up and/or eat the produce before we can pick it.  She's made a habit of picking the cherry tomatoes from the two plants we grew inside the yard, this year.  Naughty, naughty dog!)

I just weeded and fertilized the pots of baby daylilies this morning.  (Taking advantage of an uncharacteristically pleasant morning with temperatures in the mid-to-upper 60s and lower humidity.)  Most of them seem to be doing alright.  We may lose a few, but the bulk should make it through.  

Our morning glories this year have been one disappointment after another.  The first batch died after a late cold spell.  (Covering with plastic pots wasn't enough protection.)  The second batch (Grandpa Ott) were blooming early but never putting on much growth-- and then something ate through each and every one of them!  Whatever it was (rabbit?) didn't eat the whole plant-- just the part that connected the roots (in the pots) to the bulk of the plants (on the fence).  Frustrating! 

My cleomes are looking pretty weedy and sad, now, so I'll probably go out one morning and pull them up.  (I just want to let them drop as much seed as possible for next year.) 

The new roses are doing well (imho-- though someone who fertilized more often would probably have them looking even bigger and better), as are most of the other new plants.  The passionflower has filled in the trellis wonderfully, and even the ivy seems to be growing-- though more slowly.  I've been impressed that the lavender has hung on this long.  Through combined heat and humidity (which it apparently doesn't tolerate well), it's still lush and flowering regularly.  I think having it in a crowded pot really does help.

...Well, that's enough of an update for one day!