Sunday, October 26, 2008

Whiteflies

I had to ditch the pretty croton that I had in the sunroom. it had the WORST case of whiteflies that I've ever seen, and it just wasn't worth the risk to me to have them spread. I was also not willing to expend the effort to get rid of them - they were THAT bad, and I was THAT busy, and frankly the plant is just THAT cheap. So, buh-bye, croton. I'll probably replace it - I love them, and it looks so nice in there.

I was in such a hurry to get it out of there that I didn't think to take pictures! Suffice to say I hope I never get the chance to take them again. Yuck.

Now, of course, I wonder where they came from!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Butterflies!

We enjoyed watching 15 - 20 butterflies fluttering around in the zinnias earlier today. This video doesn't come close to doing it justice, but it's still cool!

video

And a few more pictures. I'm loving this little flower bed! I can't wait till next spring to have more!







Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Trumpet Tree

This is an interesting plant I found on sale at the Garden Center this summer. They called it Trumpet Tree. Looking online, it seems like it's probably called "Angel Trumpet". It was so cheap, I bought it, but I was unsure what to do with it so I just put it in a pot. She did tell me to save seeds for next year, and to wrap the pods in pantyhose because they would just explode and let loose when they dry out. So I have 2 dried pods saved for next year. It's a beautiful plant, and I hear it grows like a weed. That could be good or bad - good, because my thumb is not all that green yet. So we'll see!




Closeup of the flower:



Then I walked out the other morning and something had spent the night eating every single leaf off the plant! I knew iut was eaten because there were NO leaves or any kind of waste anywhere around the pot. "It" even ate most of a seed pod! But left the other. Hmm...curious.



The brown you can see there is not a leaf. It's the piece of pantyhose from where I cut off the seed pod. NO TRACE of leaf was left anywhere! Just that lone seed pod!

So I have NO clue what ate my plant. I don't know if it will resprout, but I'll just leave it. Frost will kill it, anyway.

The jury is still out on this one - it's gorgeous, a showpiece. So maybe out front. Weedlike, I think I can handle...stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Giant Zinnia

I wrote this a while back for my other blog:

(August 21, 2008)

In the spring, on impulse, I picked up a packet of mixed flower seeds. Why, I don't know...I've never, ever, even once, had any luck with seeds. Normally they're just an expensive gourmet bird food. Razz But I had the new flagpole surrounded by little plants, and there was a bit of space left, and this variety pack said "Easy Grow! Tolerates Neglect!" Well, that's all I needed to hear. Laughing Once home, I dumped them into the dirt, covered them up, and forgot about them.

The flagpole is in the side yard, and I've been focusing on the back, so I hadn't paid too much attention. I took this picture on July 29, and called it "The Zinnia that will Take Over the World".



This is the same plant, a little over three weeks later.



Yes, I need to mow. Yes, the portulaca isn't quite as neglect-tolerant as advertised. Please ignore those; I'm trying to think of something else for next year. Confused

Here are some kids in front of it for some perspective. The Boy is exactly 48 inches tall, and they are standing on a 2 inch thick stone.



Hubby says the tallest blossom is at 51 inches. The info I found says they grow around 3 feet tall - possibly bigger if treated with "tender care". Wow. I wonder how big it would be if I didn't completely ignore it? Laughing

So I'm saving the seeds. Who knows? I would love to have a row or two of those next year. Cool



By the way - that is the ONLY plant to grow from that entire packet of seeds.

/end part one
____________________________________________

Interestingly, the very next week a storm roared though, I forget the name...the named one before Gustav, I think. It gave us a minimal amount of rain and a pretty stiff wind. The next day I went out and found this:



The thick stem (more like a trunk) of the zinna had split. Three ways! I was sure it was a goner. I cut off all the pretty flowers to put in a vase. May as well enjoy them while I could....and I pulled off the few dried seed pods to save for next year. I started to pull up the remains of the plant, but I left it. I was feeling lazy, and more than a little bit dejected, thinking to myself that nothing lives for long in MY garden.

I forgot about it for a few days. When I finally noticed it, I was amazed! The broken stems had curved back up to meet the sunlight, the buds that were left after I cut the blooms were blooming, new buds had formed. I hadn't touched it, other than to cut the flowers off with a long stem.



Yep! The main parts of the stem are STILL broken. I can't see how they could possibly still sustain life. Look at all those blooms, all those smaller side shoots popping out.

I can't explain it. It seems miraculous to me, because it looks impossible. It seems like there must be a message there, something spiritual maybe...maybe it's that God can take what looks impossible, and do great things with it. God can take something broken, and make of it something beautiful, even while still broken. And then add butterflies and hummingbirds (see header picture) to it for good measure. There must be a message in there somewhere. Cool

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Weed Blocker

I heard about using newspaper for weed blocker a long time ago. I've done it here and there for years, but couldn't remember where I heard it - which caused a few comments from doubters! But I recently found this article, where I learned that I could use cardboard, too! So I've been cleaning out the back garden, and covering it with a nice blanket of newspaper for the winter.

This



turned into this



I'll just let it sit for the winter, adding fallen leaves to the blanket as we rake them. In the spring it will be all ready for planting. I'll have all winter to measure and web-surf and dream of what I want to plant! I do want to plant a few irises this fall. I don't have a lot of money to spend, so that will limit me to a few, plus after reading up on how fast they spread I think a few is a nice start. Maybe a few more for the front beds. Heehee.

I am pulling up most of the weeds first, even though it says I don't have to. For one thing, it's sort of a therapeutic thing at the moment. When I get tired of pulling, as I did this morning, I leave most of it to be smothered. Another reason is that the ground is still very uneven. So in the process of weeding I use the hoe and shovel to smooth it out a bit (which should also help the paper stay put).

I'm very pleased with my progress! :)

I do have some nice boxes I'm reserving for the stubbornest area on the other end of the garden. That is on next week-or-two's list.