Sunday, March 29, 2015

Goodbye, Hello

I've decided to close this blog.  Every so often, there comes the urge to start a fresh blog with no mistakes in it (yet).  This seems like the right time. 

This blog will stay up for the time being (mainly to help jog my faulty memory), but I don't expect to put up any new entries here. 

Instead, you can follow our gardening exploits ;o) and (I'm sure) the occasional tidbits of Real Life on the new blog (which at the moment looks an awful lot like this one): 
A Garden of Coastal Alabama (

And of course I'm still blogging along on a fairly regular basis at a couple of other blogs. 

For crafty this and thats (crochet, knitting, quilting, etc.):
Sew I See!

And for book reviews/reactions (hey, there's a chance someone might care!):
I've Read That

I think that's about it...
Goodbye, old blog; hello, new one!  :o)

P.S.  I've transferred over a few of the most recent blog posts, so it looks like an actual blog, but there's nothing new over there yet.  Maybe by the end of the day...

Friday, March 20, 2015

Two in One Day?

Second post of the day!
I just noticed that I never blogged about the photos I took earlier this week (even if it feels like I did).

Raised Vegetable Beds

The raised vegetable beds, above.  They're in their new spot behind the garage.  Near a water source.  Out of sight.  Inside the yard (not that that will deter deer or rabbits, if they're so inclined).  They're not completely finished, yet, but at least they're in the right place!  (The bigger of the two blueberries is in the background.  I hope we'll actually get to enjoy some of the berries, this year.)


Here's my pile of rocks and old pieces of shingles.  (There are more rocks, but this may be enough.  I won't bother carting around more until I'm sure.)  I'm still not positive what I'm going to do with them... I need to decide soon, though, or the weeds will begin to grow in/around them. 

New Oak Leaves

The trees are beginning to put on leaves.  Amazing how they can go from bare to well-covered in just a few days' time!

Bridal Wreath

The bridal wreath with the tiny flowers is looking lovely.  The one next to it with larger clusters of flowers isn't so happy, right now.  Maybe it's just getting a slow start.  Otherwise, I need to remember to prune it back to the ground.  (I think that could help rejuvenate it.  Just need to determine when to do it.)


The viburnum that had just barely poked out a few tentative leaves, last week, is now greening up nicely!

Earlier this year, I cut a few ill-placed new-growth branches from this shrub.  At first, I was just going to toss them on the burn-pile, but then it occurred to me that they might possibly root.  I stuck them in a pot of soil, then (after days) thought maybe water was the better way to go about it, so I brought them inside and stuck them in my favorite old-jar-turned-vase.  Just when I'd decided they weren't actually going to do anything-- roots!  (I don't know that I've ever successfully planted something that I've rooted in water... I think maybe I tend to wait too long to plant them.  Still, it's exciting that they even grew roots!) 

Japanese Magnolia

The Japanese magnolia has been giving us a nice, long show.  The one in the front isn't quite as impressive, but it's newer.  It should improve with age.

Wild Iris

The wild iris has been growing steadily, along with the in-ground daylilies (not pictured). 

White Iris

We had three white iris blooms all on the same morning-- then this one the next day.  Funny how they are so perfectly in sync!

Creeping Phlox

The creeping phlox from Mom's garden is still going.  :o)  (This should be an easy plant, from what I understand, but I managed to kill the one I had before... We can only hope that I'm a slightly better gardener than I was back then.)


The achillea Mom gave us is growing!  (And a good thing, too, because the seedlings look so pathetic!  So spindly!)

And that is all for now! 

Plantasia 2015

Mobile Botanical Gardens' Plantasia spring plant sale is going on this week (through Sunday).  We decided to check it out-- the first time we've gone to one of their plant sales.  It was busy and warm, and there were at least a couple of things on the posted "plants for sale" list that I simply couldn't find (though if I'd been persistent, I could've asked until I found someone to either show where they were or explain that they were sold out).  In any case, there were plenty of plants to ogle, even without those fancier varieties of echinacea.  ;o)

I'm not sure how their prices compared to nurseries and home centers...  Some things (the fruit trees, maybe the hydrangeas) seemed a little high to me, but others felt like a fair price-- especially considering that plants are rarely cheap, unless you catch them on clearance.

We decided to splurge and bring a few things back home with us.

Hibiscus mutabilis "Plenus" (double)
Confederate Rose
A Southern heritage plant.  The flowers start out white, then turn pink and darker pink through the day, and the petals on this one are supposed to be double.  I think Mom used to have a confederate rose in her garden... At least I know I remember her talking about them.  (If this one does well, I can give you a cutting, if you need one, Mom!)

Carex oshimensis "Evergold"
Japanese Sedge
Donald liked this one.  Evergreen, variegated, grass-like plant.  Good for a shady spot.

Salvia purpurea
Mexican Purple Sage

Ruellia elegans
Red Mexican Ruellia
This and the salvia listed above are supposed to attract hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies.  I'm not sure how cold-hardy the Mexican purple sage is, but we'll give it a try...

Dryopteris ludoviciana
Southern Shield Fern
For the shady north side of the house.  I hope it will be satisfied.

Louisiana Iris "Jeri"
I really want this one to do well!  The flowers are supposed to be a rich, "grape purple". 

Baptisia australis "Purple Smoke"
False Indigo / Blue Wild Indigo
This is another I'd love to see succeed.  Need to remember that this one is best not to try to divide-- or transplant after it's established.  Apparently it has a deep taproot, so it's a good idea to choose its spot carefully, remembering that it can get large (3 to 4 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide).

Bambusa multiplex "Golden Goddess"
Golden Goddess Bamboo
Clumping.  Non-invasive. 6 to 10 feet tall (and wide), depending on who you ask.

Chasmanthium latifolium
River Oats / Northern Sea Oats / Indian Woodoats / Spangle Grass
Some people complain that this reseeds too freely, so maybe it's best not to include in the main flower beds... If nothing else, I think it would be pretty along the edge of the shed... maybe around the edges of the fire ring clearing.  The thought of the grass and seeds rustling in the wind was too enticing, so this was on my "look for" list going into the sale.  Maybe I'll be cursing them in a year or two. ;o)

Photos of the new plants:

Plantasia 2015

Plantasia 2015

Plantasia 2015

Plantasia 2015

Plantasia 2015

Plantasia 2015

Plantasia 2015

Now to plant them... ;o)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Spring in Full Swing

This weekend, we set up the last of three vegetable beds in its new place behind the garage.  (Photos next time?)  They still need some more soil, but they're in place.

Then we started working on clearing some brambles/wild blackberry briars from the southern wall of the house and taking out some of the scrub growing along the fence on that side of the yard.  We could be fancy and call it a wilderness garden or something similar, but it's actually just a mess.  An invitation-to-snakes garden?  The clearing-out helped, but it still needs work.

Somehow, we went from chilly to hot almost overnight.  The temperatures are nice enough if you're sitting in the shade, but work of any description (especially in the sun) is a very sweaty and exhausting proposition.  Highs in the 80s already!  Weeds popping up everywhere!  Time to get serious about mulching.

- - - - - - -


Daylily seedlings in their new home on the covered patio:

New Daylily Seedlings

Attempting to propagate ivy (to grow on the lattice wall of the covered patio):

Propagating English Ivy

Blueberry blooms:

Blueberry Blooms

Azaleas about to burst into bloom:


Tiny daffodils:

Tiny Daffodils

Aloe plants coming out of the garage again:

Aloe Vera

White loropetalum in bloom:

White Loropetalum

A new plant-- blue sea holly:

Blue Sea Holly

Another new plant-- red-hot poker/torch lily:

Red Hot Poker / Torch Lily

A new climbing rose ("Joseph's Coat") for the planned arbor by the main gate:

Joseph's Coat Climbing Rose

Green anole on the ivy trellis:

Green Anole on Ivy

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Planting and Moving Pots

Last week, I planted a bunch of things Mom gave me pieces of from her garden.  There were several volunteer yellow Knock Out roses, divisions of the daylilies that Carrie and Victor grew from seed, a piece of pink-flowering creeping phlox, Mexican heather, a branch of Encore azalea that had rooted itself, and one or two things we didn't know the names of. (After doing a little googling, I think the unknown plant may be achillea, which is one of the plants I'm currently trying to grow from seed. Coincidence!)

Placing those plants has made me excited about the prospect of one or two other projects for the garden.  For one thing, I'm gathering up stones from various piles around the yard.  A small rock garden, maybe?  Just off the back porch, beside the proposed site of a small patio.

This weekend, I moved the seed pots outside and brought out the plants that spent the winter in the garage.  They're all on the covered patio, where they can acclimate.  (Judging by the forecast, though, I may need to move the delicate seedlings back under cover.  We're expecting a lot of rain.)

Below, photos from last week.   Pink loropetalum, white loropetalum (witch-hazel), daffodils, camellia, Japanese magnolias, and periwinkle (variegated vinca). 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Green Seedlings

Last week, I planted the last six daylily seeds-- the late sprouters.  One of them still hadn't sprouted, but I stuck it in the pot anyway, just in case. (Can't do any harm to try.)

Many of the already planted seeds have put up their first green shoots.  (Exciting!)  I counted over 90 this morning.  At this point, they seem to grow before your eyes!  They're bigger by mid-day or evening than they were in the morning. 

Now I'm just waiting for the weather to warm enough that they can be moved outside.  They're making do on our breakfast room table, for the time being.  There, they get the full benefit of the bay window and are beyond the reach of a curious Luna.  Fortunately, we eat on the couch, in front of the TV ;o) so they're not in our way.

Here are the daylily seedlings on Thursday-- just a few barely poking up:


And here they were Sunday night:


On Friday, I planted a few more envelopes of seeds.

We're waiting for signs of growth of blanket flower, butterfly flower, salvia (blue bedder sage), purple coneflower, cupid's dart, achillea/yarrow, and snow-in-summer.  I'm skeptical of a couple of them, but we'll see what happens!  There are more to plant, but by the time I stopped, the table was almost full!  Time to set up a couple of TV trays by the windows, maybe...

...The table, crowded with potted seeds:


- - - - - - -

There aren't many things blooming, this time of the year.  (Not in our yard, at least.)

A pink camellia:



These, I thought were called "summer snowflakes", but they always bloom in spring, and now I've read that there's such a thing as "spring snowflakes", too, so maybe that's what these are:

Summer Snowflakes

New growth from the "wild" iris (yellow flag)... These bloomed so prettily last year-- the first time I remember ours ever blooming.  I hope they'll repeat the performance, but even if they don't, their leaves are nice-- especially in early summer. 

Iris / Yellow Flag

The ivy is slowly conquering its trellis:

Ivy Trellis, February 2015

This is what it looked like in September, so it really has grown over the winter:

Ivy Trellis Progress

I'm considering putting a few containers of ivy along the lattice wall of our covered patio.  I'd like to cover the lattice in something that flowers, but that spot doesn't get much sun, so options are limited...  We did get some cardinal climber (cypress vine) to grow there, but I'm trying to avoid that plant.  It's a little too invasive for my tastes-- for that particular place, at least. 

- - - - - - -

I still haven't done the mulching that needs to be done, and weeds are already beginning to take over some of the flower beds.  (*sigh* I mean, really?  It's only the beginning of March.  Stupid weeds.  Also stupid rabbits that are sneaking in and snipping off the leaves of my poor daylilies!  Anyone hungry for rabbit stew?) 

Today's been overcast, but warm.  The catch is that it's also humid.  Yuck.  Tomorrow will be a repeat-- but by Thursday and Friday, we're expecting highs in the mid 40s.  Crazy weather, but however crazy it is, I need to get out and work in the yard this week. 

Oh, and the reptiles and insects are beginning to emerge.  One of the nice, warm days we had recently, I spotted a wasp and a couple of those dratted carpenter bees out and about-- already scouting for wood to destroy.  (We need to get our bee traps in working order!)

The green anoles are showing themselves again after a month or two of the disappearing act.  We've seen garter snakes twice in the past month.  While I was down on my hands and knees, pruning branches in a tight spot under some crape myrtles, I looked down, saw a snake wriggling right below me, and divided my energies between shrieking and scrambling backwards.  ;o)  Fortunately it was just a garter snake, but not a very pleasant way of finding one!  Then this weekend, Donald found one right on our kitchen doorstep.  It was an aggressive little thing, striking at Donald as he relocated it with a shovel.

While we're out getting started on springtime yard work, it's good to remember that we're not the only ones taking note of the warming weather.  ;o)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Seeds Here, Seeds There

Yesterday afternoon, I checked the daylily seeds to see if any had sprouted.  Yes, they had!

(I didn't remember to take a photo until after I'd potted some of the seeds, so this isn't all of them...)

Germinating Daylily Seeds

Over the weekend, I'd prepared some little pots for the seeds, so I brought some of them inside and began planting.  (It's too cold, yet, to leave the delicate little things outside, so they're staying in the breakfast room, by the bay window, until milder weather returns.)  So far, 44 of the 125 have been potted.  The rest have gone back into their warm, humid ziploc bag.  (I'd show you the planted pots, but they're pretty boring to look at right now.)

Envelopes of Possibility

Here are the envelopes of the other seeds I mentioned last time.  It's probably not too soon to plant some of them, also-- at least the ones that I'm not planting directly into the ground.  (The yogurt cup holds morning glory seeds harvested from one of last year's Grandpa Ott vines.  None of last year's morning glories did that well, but I'll still at least scatter these seeds somewhere.) 

Frugal Seed Starters

Last year, I saved a lot of cardboard tubes from used paper towel rolls-- particularly during Luna's puppy months.  Now they're cut and folded into free seed starters.  Just add potting soil!

- - - - - - -

In other garden/outdoor news...

Donald's been bringing home the stones for our fire pit/fire ring, several at a time.  It shouldn't take long to get that set up, and then we can have an inaugural "campfire", one of these chilly early-spring evenings.  (Photos when it's done.) 

While clearing the fire ring area, we set aside some of the small trees.  The idea is to make two or three very simple, rustic obelisks to support annual vines.  I don't know what they'll end up looking like or how sturdy they'll be (or how long they'll last), but since they'll be almost completely composed of things we'd have no other use for, anyway, it's worth trying. 

We've started figuring out where, exactly, we want to place the raised vegetable beds, in their new location behind the garage.  (It's thanks to Donald.  I wouldn't have gotten that far, yet, if left to my own devices...)  Right now, we're thinking three beds perpendicular to the west-facing garage wall.  Enough room to mow between the garage and the beds (and enough room to keep the beds out of the garage's shade).  Narrower walking/kneeling spaces between the beds (where the weed-eater will come into play, since the mower won't fit).  ...We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Preparing for Spring

It's hard to believe, but spring is nearly here, so we're trying to get a few more things done outside.

We still have plans to put in a gravel parking area right in front of the garage and a gravel path through part of the yard/garden.  It's the part of the yard that gets the most traffic, and I think it'll cut down on the dirt and grass that gets tracked into the house.

Our idea is to have the gravel pathways roughly where the edging pavers are in place, then turn the rest of this area into a cottage-style flower garden with shrubs, perennials, and annuals.

This will be my main flower garden.  There may be flowers here and there, elsewhere about the yard, but I'm trying to focus on getting this one area as nice as possible.  It's where we spend most of our outdoor time-- and anyway, I'm not interested in maintaining many more flower beds than this. 

- - - - -

Other outdoor projects:

-- Replace part of the fence (the part nearest the garage/the flower garden area) with something different/nicer than our current ranch-style fencing.  (This will probably be a long time coming...)

-- Build an arbor over the path at the main gate.  (We have a climbing rose already in place, so getting the arbor up should be a sooner-rather-than-later project.)

--  Move the raised vegetable beds from their current location to a new spot directly behind the garage.  (They'll be closer to the water, there, and also inside the fence and out of sight from the front of the house/garage.)

-- Finish clearing our path(s) through the woods.  We've made a lot of progress there, already, but there's still work to be done.  (Trees to be pulled out of the way.  Limbs to be trimmed.  A few small stumps that are tripping hazards.)

-- Put a fire pit in the little clearing we're currently working on, nestled into the woods on the north side of the garage/parking area.

-- Transfer the pavers currently leading from the gate to the covered patio to a smaller patio area off the back porch (once we put in the gravel path).  The smaller patio area will be behind the passionflower trellis, and I'll extend the cottage-garden flowerbeds to surround that area, too.

-- Build some sort of trellis for the jasmine to climb.  (Not sure what we'll do for that, but it needs some sort of support...)

- - - - -

The cottage garden area should be overflowing with plants, so to jump-start it, I'll try to grow some perennials from seed, this spring.

Last year, we grew daylilies from seed, and we had such success with the second batch that I've decided to do it again this year.  That second batch I ordered was 50+ seeds.  This time, I decided to go really crazy and went for the package of 100+ seeds.  I counted them when they arrived-- 125!  Some of them were already starting to sprout!

Here they are getting ready to go into the damp paper towels...

Daylily Seeds

And here they are in their cozy ziplocked bag...

Sprouting the Daylily Seeds

- - - - -

More seeds we'll be starting soon...

-- Blanketflower (Gaillardia aristata)
-- Snow-in-Summer (Cerastium)
-- Cupid's Dart, blue (Catanache caerulea)
-- Chinese Lantern (Physalis franchetti)
-- Yarrow (Achillea)
-- Purple Coneflower (Echinacea)
-- Salvia (Blue Bedder / Sage)
-- Butterfly Flower (Asclepias tuberosa)
-- Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)

-- Black-Eyed Susan Vine (Thunbergia)
-- Morning Glory (Heavenly Blue)
-- Moonflower (Giant White)
-- Spanish Flag (Mina lobata)
-- Nasturtium (Fordhook Favorites Mix)
-- Marigold (French dwarf double & Crackerjack, mixed colors)
-- Cosmos (Single Sensation, mixed colors)
-- Moss Rose (double mixed colors)
-- Zinnia (Violet Queen, Giants of California, Giant Cactus, Semi Dwarf Pumila)

Some of these may not succeed, but seeds are relatively cheap entertainment.  It's worth a try!

- - - - -

I haven't blogged consistently here for quite some time.  (My craft and reading blogs have been more active.)  However, I'll probably start updating regularly again, with the approach of spring.  I hope you like garden-themed photos and blog posts.  ;o)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Farewell for Now

Ann Lassitter
(my "Granny Lassitter")

May 31st, 1941 - January 16th, 2015


“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.”
-- L.M. Montgomery, The Story Girl