Friday, November 30, 2007

Red sky in the morning..

This is the day we are given today. Up to us to make the best of it.
What a glorious beginning!

a rose, by any other name....

Oh, wait! This is not a rose....

This is what we call 'bulbine'. The American Horticulture Encyclopedia of Plants calls it 'Bulbinella'. Whatever, it is still a marvelous plant.

It is native to S. Africa and New Zealand. The leaves are kind of thick, like an aloe vera, or a succulent of some sort. It blooms orange or yellow. The orange flowered plant seems to be the tougher of the two, but the yellow grows much taller, and much more elegant.

It seems to like whatever conditions you give it, but it doesn't like real cold weather.

Supposedly, you can grow this from seed, but I have not found seeds yet. Perhaps because I have not looked for seeds. Who would suspect you could harvest seeds from a succulent?

At any rate, you can propagate by division.

Very worthwhile, in my opinion.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

This is such fun to look at!

Squealing here! Y'all have to see this!

This is Dr. William Welch at Chelsea Garden Show, and other places. I saw them for the first time tonight and it is spectacular! Turn up the sound!

If you lose this URL, just google Aggie Horticulture, then click on The Southern Garden on the side menu.

WHAT is this???

Would you look at that last post? It says I posted it at 4:46 A.M.! I was just opening my poor tired eyes at that time, certainly not posting anything here!

Who runs the clock department here? The clock on my computer is correct. Where is home for this blogger outfit?

Is it really important? Why does it bother me?

The Front Garden

This is a peek into the front garden. We ripped all the grass out from the front yard and put in a cottage-y type garden. I am excited about changing some things in this garden this coming Spring.

The majenta flower is a Hardy Hibiscus called 'Cranberry Punch'. The blooms are close to the size of dinner plates, and it has a 'bloom and rest, bloom and rest' cycle for the summer months. I have cut it way back now, and stuck the cuttings, but it grows very easily from seeds. I just have to be very vigilent about harvesting seeds.

Some other things you see here are Purple Fountain grass, and rosa 'Nearly Wild'. Lantana 'True Gold' and 'Red Spread', Confederate rose, and bi-colored iris (Butterfly Iris) are also in this space. It is actually a rather large space, just doesn't look so big here. The garden is approximately 50' long x 40' wide. There is a lot more to explore in this garden.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

More from my gardens

This lovely is a 'Cat's Whiskers', Tacca chantrierei, also known as 'Bat flower' or 'Devil Flower'. I prefer the name 'Cat's Whiskers'.

It gets about 2' tall and blooms in either white or lavender. The roots are rhizomatous. In our winters, it will freeze but will readily come back.

I say it gets about 2' tall, but I have had it reach my waist (well, what would be my waist, if I had one). It just depends on what is available in the way of plant food, I think. It loves acid soil, moist but well drained, and partial shade.

Root cuttings with at least one bud, seeds, or cuttings of semi-ripe wood will get you many new plants. This one is very easy to propagate.

This is a native of India, or SE Asia. Isn't it marvelous how they get into our yards from so far off?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

back in the good old days...

Does anybody eat fried potatoes anymore?

I don't mean french fries. I am talking about cutting up potatoes in rectangular pieces, but short pieces. Then you fry them in grease- oil, shortening (horrors!) or whatever. If you stir them just right, they will cook soft, with maybe a bit of crispy on one side. If you don't stir them, they will cook crispy on one side and not be soft. Also, they will probably stick together, if you don't stir them.

When I was a kid, we ate fried potatoes at least 5 days a week. My Mother and Dad ate fried potatoes after all us kids grew up and went away, but then it was mostly Daddy doing most of the frying. Sometimes he would get on a health kick and lay off eating eggs, but he never heard about hydrogenated products being full of trans fats and all. So he didn't swear off fried potatoes, and they always used Crisco, in the can. Daddy took real good care of himself too, and back then, he was in great shape. He never heard about frying stuff being bad for you, but I think they would have had to prove it to him.

Anyway, back to those fried potatoes.

When I met my spouse, he had NEVER HEARD OF FRIED POTATOES! I couldn't believe it! I almost didn't marry him because of it! He said his Mama had never cooked them, nor had his spouse from a former life.

Now that the fat phobia is on us, I don't cook them very often.

Tonight we had fried potatoes for supper. Hamburger steak, with brown gravy and onions, fried potatoes, (fried with some bacon drippin's) and cole slaw left over from Thanksgiving dinner. It was a delicious supper.

Sure brought back old memories. I was wishing for some biscuits, too.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

My friend Pat

This is my friend Pat.

She is demonstrating how she had injured herself while dancing the YYYY-M-C-A at a wedding the weekend before.

Pat is highly thought of around here. She works about non-stop. She is always taking care of somebody, or doing something for somebody.

Pat is a widow, very devout in her faith. She lost her little boy to cancer when he was about 5 years old. She takes care of all these old folks around here now because when Nicky was sick, they had benefits for him, blood drives for him; they brought crops in for them so she and her husband could stay at MD Anderson with Nicky. She has never forgot their kindness.

I am blessed to have Pat for a friend. People take us for sisters, and have asked if we are twins before. We have the same build, same coloring, same deep gruff voice, and many of the same mannerisms. We are no kin, never knew each other until we met when I transferred to the local Master Gardener group. Our friendship was instant. We have so much in common.

Pat turns another year older this coming week. I am going to take her to lunch at 'Los Cuckos', a nice Mexican restaurant, and celebrate with her. And be glad she is my friend.

Just bustleing around here...

...getting ready for Christmas.

Actually, I am feeling dismayed that Winter is upon us, and I will have neither bloom nor bud, so I am working feverishly to fix that.

I have potted up 8 amaryllis bulbs, to have them look nice enough to give as Christmas gifts, even if they are not blooming then. Also, I have 12 pots of paper whites to force. Each pot has at least 3 bulbs (blue enameled mugs), and some have as many as 7 bulbs (pretty crystal vases). They (the bulbs) are just set on pretty gravel, and when they get tall enough, I will gather the foliage and bloom stems into a bouquet, and tie them up with a gingham ribbon. It keeps them from flopping over.

Also, to keep them from getting extremely tall, you can stunt their growth with a shot of vodka. Keeps them about half their original height.

And...when the blooms are gone, I always plant these narcissus in the ground. They will come back next year.

Tough plants, the daffodil.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

In my yard...

...this passes for 'orderly'.

I am not what you could call an orderly person. I seem to thrive on dis-organization.

Perhaps it is because my perception of what is orderly and that of some others is different. My sister TOO's ideas of orderly are amazingly different. TOO (The Organized One) would have to have those zinnias laid out in precise patterns, encased in a border, and probably clipped to a height no taller than..... and no shorter than.....

I like to throw the seeds out there and see how they look when they come up. I don't care if they are random heights, or falling over the front edge of the bed. As long as they aren't affected by mildew, I am happy with zinnias as they prefer to be.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The prettiest YELLOW flower....

This is THE prettiest, most vibrant flower in the garden. The prettiest yellow one.......

This is a Native of Texas called Esperanza. I think it was Greg Grant who saw the potential and went to work to put this plant in every nursery in Texas. It blooms like this most of the year.

It grows easily from seed or can be grown from cuttings. It will easily reach a height of 8 feet, blooming profusely for most of the way.

There is also an orange Esperanza, but it doesn't have the flash that the yellow one has. There is just something about this yellow flower that shouts "I'm happy! Be happy!".

And who could look at that flower and not be happy?

A puzzle for you

What kind of plant do you think this is?

It is kind of bushy, with dark green leaves; BIG, glossy, leaves, but thin. Not a thick leaf at all.

It blooms bright orange. Pretty little rosette-looking blooms.

This might be a clue.

This thing has NASTY long thorns!

It is a cactus!

and another.....

This is the Confederate rose. Actually, this one is a sport, hence the two tone appearance.

I have them that bloom pink, then turn colors to finish as a crimson bloom. And I have them that bloom white, and turn to crimson. Both are show-stoppers when they are in full bloom.

The bloom is enormous, as big as a man's hand in most cases.

This one is from a wayward seed, so it isn't really sure which way it is going to bloom. It isn't all white, nor all pink. Not very big, but not a single as many sports are. (The singles remind me of magnolias.)
I like it anyway.

This plant is incredibly easy to propagate. Just cut it and stick it; don't let it dry out. It will grow.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Shredded Hankie

This is one of my favorite plants. It is a brugmansia called 'Shredded Hankie'. This is the bloom, fully unfurled. It looks like a wadded up kleenex. LOL

Like all brugs, it is poisonus. All parts, all the time.

But, since I don't eat them, and don't teach children to eat flowers, I don't care.
People are asking for trouble when they teach their kids to eat the nasturtiums. Let them wait until they are grown to find out you can eat flowers. Like I did.


What does it take to get a simple 12 pack of diet soda on the shelves at our store?!!!

I have talked until I am blue in the face, and I cannot get the derned vendor to leave any Diet Rite Cola at our HEB. I have talked to store managers, department managers, and shelf stockers. The store manager today told me that it was up to the vendor to decide what gets put on the shelf.

SO TELL THE VENDOR! They can't sell it if it isn't on the shelf, and I hate to drive 35 miles to buy diet soda!


Thursday, November 15, 2007

WHAT was I thinking?????


Janie was elected 2008 President of the Jackson County Master Gardener Assn.

WHAT was I thinking?

WHAHAHAHAHahahahahahaha! can I get out of this one?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

seeds, seeds, seeds......

I TOL' you I had a lot of seedlings! And this isn't all of them. I just kind of go nuts about sowing seeds.

I think these are snapdragons, with one tray of calendulas. I put them in trays because I have too much work in some the flowerbeds to be sowing a lot of seeds there. I will over seed these, when I put the transplants in the ground. It is a good technique, works most of the time.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

WHOOOwhooooo! I think my internet is fixed!

Peoples scurrying all over the place here this afternoon. Three techs from my ISP here to fix the internet. It seems to be working since they left, MAYBE it is fixed!

Let us hope it is so!

I have little baby seedlings up. Swiss chard 'Bright Lights' are about 3" tall. There are a lot of them, and the stalks are all different colors. I love this plant because it lends colors to the garden so beautifully.

My dill and parsley are up. Goodness, I have a lot of baby dill plants! I am going to moved some of them to the front flowerbed. Dill is so elegant, and in winter, it is nice to see the seed heads when they are full, like big old flowers.
ALSO...............I have a ton of spinach. I like it raw, hate it cooked. We will have many fine salads from this crop.

The pepper plants are full of peppers; every color you can imagine, even PINK! The 'Super Chili' is my favorite, although 'Black Pearl' and 'Christmas Ornament' are also my favorite. The 'Super Chili' looks like a pepper plant with a hundred old fashioned Christmas lights sticking out from among the leaves...all different colors.

My vegetable garden is growing nicely. I was given a 9-pack of Brussel sprouts- what will I DO with all those Brussel Sprouts? We don't eat them, I just like to watch them grow.

And the cardoon and artichokes are up!
Cardoon is a beautifully architectural plant, and good to eat too. The last cardoon I grew got to be 12' across, so be sure to give it plenty of room. The flowers are a big old purple thistle looking flower, and they are pretty too. They are supposed to be frost tender, but mine did not freeze.

I suppose they might, if it gets cold enough.
The artichokes are very similar, but a coarser looking plant than the cardoon. My grands love finding 'neat' plants in the garden.

Also, my husband was not too thrilled when first I was growing 'a thistle' type flower. He did mellow when he realized it wasn't going to take over the whole garden. And look like a weed.........

Friday, November 9, 2007

I promise, I promise......

I promise I am working on a post. I accidentally published one this
morning, and the pictures look better than I expected,
but I deleted it because it looked stupid the way it was.

It was an 'accidental publishing'......

These desperate characters have just enjoyed a good meal. Do we look like we were drinking?

This little one is our precious SIL. She never ceases to amaze me. Loves that junk!

I am working on it, Really, I am!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

First Monday sale

I have my pictures downloaded to my computer, but the sheer number of them is confusing!

I didn't buy much. I bought a birdcage with a nice tarnished finish.

I bought a nice old composition doll that was crying for me to bring her home. She is a baby, with open/shut eyes, and two teeth. She is in really good condition, but she only has her old underwear on. She needs a dress. She was only $7.50, which is why I know she was wanting to come home with me.

I bought a slew of doll clothes for almost nothing. I know I have a doll that will fit into those clothes.

I bought a cute Christmas ornament made from an old piece of quilt. It is a boot shape, flat, cut from old quilt, and starched. I bought it for the idea, mostly. I am always looking for an ornament to make for my whole family- that is a whole bunch of ornaments.

I bought raspberry tea. I could have bought it elsewhere, but I was there, and so was the tea, so I bought it.

I bought a steak turner for Bob, and some racks for his air hoses and extension cords. They also had them for water hoses, but I didn't buy them. I probably will order some of them later. You can see them here- Bob really liked his presents.

I bought a sign for Pat, and an old iron cross. A few little doo-dads. Only one gardening item- a little clear bottle with holes drilled into the sides of it. A piece of copper wire, quite substantial wire, too, was run through the holds and twisted and curled up to make a hanger. It is for rooting cuttings.

Oh, wait! The other thing I got was a double rinse tub for a wringer washing machine. I am going to use it to grow herbs. I had one once before, and loved it, and it looks really neat!

The real story was our actual stay at Canton. We stayed at a B&B that turned out to not be a B&B, really. Rather, it was an older couple who rented out their bedrooms. She told us we had to eat at 7:30- take it or leave it- and she didn't make coffee. There were possessions in every drawer, the closets were stuffed to the brim, and the man sat in his recliner in the living room and watched us run to and from the bathroom getting dressed.

We went and bought a coffee pot and coffee and all the trimmin's, and made coffee at the crack of dawn. We didn't have even a card table to set around, so there was no card playing or anything like that. It wasn't very relaxing. The thing is, we were there, and there was no room at any other inn in the whole derned country!

Canton swells to a population of about 400,000 during First Monday Sale. The natives number about 3,000. To make up for them having to put up with all the aggravation once a month, they don't have to pay an electric bill. The city takes care of it.

So, now we know. Bob and I are going back in the Spring, and I have already made reservations. At a motel!

The whole time I was gone, I had this really naggy guilty feeling. I kept thinking Bob would just love this! I sure did miss him!

Monday, November 5, 2007

I have returned.........

I am back from our great adventure at First Monday at Canton, and what an experience! I have pictures too! You wouldn't believe that place! Acres and acres of junk! The whole town is a huge garage sale!