Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hummingbirds are Back!

We weren't sure when the hummers would be back so we put the feeders out on Sunday evening. Yesterday we had several hummingbirds! I'm looking forward to another good season. Hubby is looking forward to taking pictures with the new camera. :)

Old post about hummingbirds, with nectar recipe

Monday, March 30, 2009

Garden progress, 3.29.09

Here's what we did this weekend. I say "we", but I really mostly mean hubby and kids.

We built a new fence to block off the SFG area:

The main SFG is to the right. I want to move the clothesline and use the other side as well, but until then I'll just add a few things.

The gate for the new fence was once in the arch. Here is the arch now:

That rose is a "Joseph's Coat" and it's covered with buds! I can't wait to see it in full bloom, but for now here is a closeup:

On the right side of the arch, in the herb garden, there is a maypop vine (everything in the herb garden produces something edible). Turns out it's a host plant for the Gulf Fritillary caterpillar and they tore it up last year! But apparently it's coming back:

On the end of the SFG box we put in some cucumbers:

For the experimental plastic garden box we (thanks, hubby!) made a tomato cage:

And some of the flowers for this week:

I have two of these; they were here when we moved in. They grow very tall - should be visible over the fence pretty soon. I don't know what kind they are. Dark red, and fragrant.

The "rose corner"

The vinca vine doesn't bloom often and it's not showy, but I like it.

And finally, the zebra "cactus" that lives in my sunroom. I have collected zebra items through the years (not so much now that I'm in declutter mode) and bought this on a whim.

The long spike has an interesting little flower:

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Square-Foot Solution?

We're going to enclose the small area of the yard where we built the SFG box ASAP. That will solve the dog problem, but in the meantime I wanted to get some of what I bought into the ground. Keeping in mind that Mel says it needs to be 6-8 inches deep, and can have a solid bottom, I am experimenting with these:

The boxes are 7 inches deep. The mix settled a bit so I will add more. So far they seem to be doing fine. The onions are so close together because we planted them too late to get big bulbs anyway, so we're using them as green onions (in which case they can be planted that close together). The tomatoes are grape, and need to be staked soon. There are a few extra onions in the box with them, but they needed more space.

It's kind of an expensive option to do too much with, and not very pretty, but it seems like it will work.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Shaping Up

It's really starting to shape up, now. Racing the coming rain, I spent a hard hour this morning - then, of course, it cleared up after my shower! But it's looking good.

Today I planted the Mexican Heather and dwarf mondo grass along the walk to the gate. There is already heather between the other side of the walk and the sunroom wall, and I love the way it looks. It's so far out for two reasons - concrete farther out than the walk, and it will grow and fill in that space pretty quickly. I put in the yellow rose and maypop vine along the far fence the other day. There are also now Moonflower seeds planted along the perimeter.

I'm still not sure what else to put in this area. I'll put some stones for walking on, but I would like to have plants in the rest of it. I'm really horrible at planning and design, so it will just be totally random. I don't want to hurry, but I want to get it done!

Just beyond the bird bath is a satsuma tree. Around that tree I planted various summer-blooming bulbs.

The stones are under the bird feeder. I want to have something underneath it so weeds don't sprout. Still thinking about how to do it.

The two plants in the right of the picture were also planted this morning.

The seeds I planted in the waterfall bed are sprouting nicely and may even need thinning. I'm so excited! I rarely have luck with seeds. Those are zinnias, blanket flowers, and coneflowers - hoping for butterflies! I put in a parsley plant for caterpillar food. Just the other side of the water feature is where I put the milkweed. They should be happy now.

I was thrilled to see the new daffodil has TWO flowers on it!

I put several herbs in pots - mint and oregano because they need their own space, and another parsley to put wherever (just because I like the look of pots too!). My garlic chives are blooming so nicely right now.

The sun room is the room right inside my garden area. I've been loving sitting out there doing my paperwork. Hoooray for portable laptops! Now the view is getting even better.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

New Friends

Saturday was my Mom's birthday. Wanting to get something she would have liked, I went to the Garden Center and bought this:

It's a St. Patrick.

Then I also could not resist this maypop vine:

I know the caterpillars like to munch on this, and because I want butterflies I won't stop them. Hopefully it will come back!

Both are in the ground. :)

Saturday, March 14, 2009


I bought some herb and veggie transplants last week: two types of tomatoes, cucumbers, Japanese eggplant, hot peppers, spicy globe basil, lemon thyme, parsley (enough to use as caterpillar food too), and cilantro. My goal for today was to get the herb garden cleaned out and planted.

Herb garden before we started.

I had some good helpers, at least for awhile.

Fire ants interrupted our progress. I was able, at great expense to my back (thank you Advil), to finish the plantings; I'll have to pull the weeds after the ants are gone.

So I moved on to the waterfall. I cleaned out the weeds and did some trim work, added soil mix (soil, peat moss and coarse vermiculite) and sowed some flower seeds: small orange zinnias (seed saved from last year), blanket flower, and coneflower. I added a parsley plant to host the caterpillars (and hopefully keep them away from my herb garden).

I spent a little time cleaning up my mess and taking pictures - not many, because I was racing the coming rain. As I was finishing up, hubby came home from mowing at church with a new resident for the garden...

He probably won't stay long, but at least he won't get run over by a tractor here!

A few minutes later, the rain came...

I hope it won't drown out my hard work. On the other hand, it will be much easier to pull weeds later this afternoon (if it ever stops, that is - which is not looking very imminent)!

Sunday, March 8, 2009


That daffodil in my header is my very first one to bloom! It's located behind the waterfall so I didn't see it until I went around there to do some cleanup. I was so excited!

At first it looked like this

But a little later in the afternoon it was fully opened to this

I planted them late, as detailed in this post, and wasn't sure what would happen. I've been seeing them blooming around town and wondered again if I would have any.

Seeing it reminds me so much of my own Grandmother. And it seems especially fitting that the first one to bloom would be yellow - Mom's favorite color.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


I know you Northern types are dreaming of spring. All that snow seems cruel, but at least you're not being teased mercilessly with alternating frigid/springlike temperatures. It's hard to start gardening like that. So I'm dreaming.

Yep, I bought seeds yesterday. I swear, this is it. I won't buy any more (this time). I can stop any time I want, honest.

Seriously - I've never had much luck with seeds. I keep trying, though. You know what they say - if at first you don't succeed, try, try again... I would add that if you consistently over the space of several years and many dollars don't succeed, get a clue and save up for established plants!

Last year, I was ready to quit, but then I got this. Clearly this was a message that I am to try more seeds again. How else can I take it? I mean - I saved seeds from it and everything! A massive pile of seeds...if only a few of them "take", I will have zinnias coming out of my.... eardrums. How about this pile of seeds!

**Note: I confess. I have no idea how to save seeds. So I saved the entire pod, and figured there are seeds in there somewhere and they will sprout when I stick them in dirt. Cross your fingers!

Here is another miracle plant. Mom and Dad brought me this plant from Hawaii. We're 99% sure that was in 2004. I know it wasn't 2005, because I had it then. As we packed up to evacuate Katrina, I stuck the small plant in its pot behind a bush and forgot about it.

So it lived through Katrina - albeit right up next to the house behind a bush - but still. And the following winter, and the winter after that. Probably not getting much water, up against the house like that. I found it the next spring - yup, that would be 2007 - when I finally got up off my (duff) and cleaned out the front flower beds. If you're counting, that's almost two years in a tiny nursery pot, up against the front wall of my house.

Well, I planted it. Here it is today. Well, it's the low plant in the shade...the leaves are not very visible. I was taking the picture of this flower - wow!

The plant - Dad calls it a leather leaf - spreads easily. There's a lot down there.

Dad took a leaf and put it in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel. Today he took it out and stuck it in dirt:
Look at all those shoots popping out of one leaf.

My azaleas don't appear to realize there are still freezing temperatures on the horizon. This is my favorite color.
They are planted all around the big live oak tree. When they grow up, there will hopefully be mostly this color with some white for accents as well as this:

And.....I need a new flag.

Disclaimer - grainy cell-phone pictures with bad light.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


My garden has a dog problem.

Well...the ones in the big part of the back yard do. That's where the dogs and kids play. I realize I can't have a richly landscaped space back there just now, but I would like to have a plant or two. And it's really the only place I can see to put my big square foot garden box (it goes along the back wall and is 8 feet by 3 feet).

So the dogs have made HUGE holes in the lawn in general. What - are they trying to get to China??! I dunno. The dog trainers say pay more attention to the dogs, but they do get plenty of attention. Fact is they HAVE to be left outside for periods of time and there's nothing we can do about it.

Then I started to make the mix and fill the SFG box. I needed to get my onions in a month ago, but they're still not in. Why? DOGS! Dogs sleeping, digging and POOPING in my SFG box! So I'm not sure what to do now. Sure, I could fence it. I guess I'll have to. Durn dogs!!!! Photobucket