Monday, October 26, 2009


We are people who include animals as members of our family. We had our old cat, "Fluffy" for forever. She was 20 years old when she died on May 15th.

A few weeks later as we were visiting yard sales, my husband mentioned he wanted another cat. The very next yard sale advertised they had kittens! The lady hollered and called the kitties, but they didn't come out. It turned out her little girl was hiding them in a box under the table that served as the check out counter. My husband snatched this cute little kitten and we left, with the cat.

We named her Belle. It was the perfect name for this kitty.

She was a big help, right from the start. She found the perfect place to catch a nap and be close to what was going on at the same time was my keyboard! She sure had long legs. This kitten, by the way, was born the same day that Fluffy died. She acts a lot like Fluffy.....maybe that is the way all cats act. Fluffy liked the sprinkler, this one likes the shower. I don't know.....
Belle has settled in nicely. Her favorite place is wherever I am. We are nuts about each other. My husband too. Both of us, silly about this cat.One of her very most favorite things to do is play with the Dixie the dog. Dixie will chase her down the hallway, Belle will stand up on her hind legs and bat Dixie around a bit. Then run, then bat. What fun! Except when they do it in the middle of the night..... She doesn't seem to be the slightest bit afraid of Dixie.
Oh, yes, this is Dixie. She looks mean, but she is just a little judgmental. She has to be muzzled at the vet's office, but only while I am there. She has never tried to bite anybody, but she makes believers out of everybody. If I leave her, she loves them all. She is only trying to protect me. She scares the daylights out of most people, but anyone can come in if I'm not home.
Well, what make me think about all this tonight is that Belle went in for surgery today! We got this kitty fixed up, and I am hoping for 20 good years with her too. I would take a picture of her, but she has scowled at me already.....she must be tired.

.........but beautiful still

Somebody threw her away. We found her. Her wings were broken off and her head was broken from her body and broken into several pieces. They took her to the dump.

We found most of her, but not the wings, which she doesn't need anyway. We never did find her left hand, but we figure if Venus Di Milo can be beautiful with no arms, our angel is still beautiful with one hand.

Bobby put her back together, and she is destined to live in the ruins garden. She is sunning herself in the front garden now, but will be moved in due time.

She is well over 4 feet tall, and I consider her a treasure. She can live in our garden forever.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

pots, pots, pots, POTS.....

I read a blog by Persephone in Bloom about the pots she decorated because she didn't like the plain old black plastic pots. I got some good ideas from her, and thought maybe someone would like to see some of our ideas.

I, like Persephone In Bloom, like to change things from the ordinary to things that I like to plant in. I like reusing things, rather than putting them in the landfill.

Those ugly black pots can be dressed up, changed to be unusual pots.
This is a 3 gallon black pot that something else came in. I took a can of Great Stuff- that expanding insulation that comes in a can, and (after washing and drying the pot) sprayed it on the pot from bottom to top. A spray around the lip of the pot tops it off and makes it look finished. Let it set up, dry, then paint it with spray enamel. This pot is about 3 years old, it has been repainted a couple of times, but it will last for goodness knows how long. And I think it looks a LOT better than a plain black plastic pot! An extra benefit is that the insulation keeps the plant roots cooler.

We like to make other things useful for planting too. These were tires from four wheelers, small aircraft, and some were the spare tires that come with a new car now days. My Darling cuts them with a jig saw, both sides of the blade ground to smooth edge, then turns them inside out. I paint them with plain, exterior paint that I now purchase by the gallon. They will last forever, and they are really great for growing a couple of tomatoes, or as in this picture, lettuce. You can grow anything in them, they are particularly good in the vegetable garden.

This pot is a particular favorite of ours. It began as a papa san chair, like this. Actually that is THE papa san chair.....
So, what we did was keep the sitting part of the chair, and sent the base of it to the vegetable garden to be a planter for herbs (that is another story). We covered the seat with chicken wire, then stuffed it with long cut spagnum peat moss; add some potting soil, plant with Macho ferns, and it was ready to hang.

YES, this is a hanging basket! We hung it in the pecan tree out front, using chains that support it around the bottom of the pot too. It is on a chain that is about 20' long, and it hangs close to the ground. We don't want it to fall on anybody. My Darling likes to sit on the porch while he has a cool Lite Beer from Miller, watching it sway in the breezes.

Every body used to have old chairs around to set on, but they are hard to find anymore. That is because everybody is planting their chairs.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Gardening, made easy, or "How to Mark Your Plants".....

I am a kind of lazy gardener. I am always looking for a simpler way to do things. In this vein, I have, over the years, learned a few things that make my gardening efforts much easier.

I thought to post this because I was going to advise a few on a comment on Dung Hoe's blog concerning THE way to mark your plants, and not have it washed off, faded off, or (possibly) raked up and discarded. But then I thought that maybe more people would see it in a post of it's own, so here I am. Some might not know some of the other tips, too. I hope you can use at least some of these tips.

I took a Plant Propagation Specialist training course a few years ago. The man who taught the class was Mr. Tom LeRoy, the Extension agent for Montgomery County, Texas. Mr. LeRoy does not allow unmarked plants on his place, and any plant that he finds not marked go into the garbage; no exceptions, no retrieving it, regardless of the rarity, value, or the source of the plant. He espouses that a plant that you don't know the name of is of no value.

To this end, we learned to mark our plants! We use mini blinds, cut to convenient lengths, with a slanted cut on one end and a hole punched into the other end.

We use a plain, #2 lead pencil to mark our markers. Nothing fancy, nothing expensive. I don't know how many people have refused to learn this, as it doesn't require any effort, so may not seem to be worth a lot. BUT, the pencil marks the mini blind marker very well, and also marks most other materials we would use in the garden. It will not fade over the years, will not wash off, cannot be rubbed off, but you can erase it and reuse the marker. Attach the marker to the plant, using a small piece of soft pantyhose, or a cable tie, run through the hole punched in the end of the marker.

Cable ties are very valuable in the garden, by the way. They come in many sizes and many colors. Their main drawback is that most cannot be reused. They are so inexpensive, however, that it usually doesn't matter.

If you use a cable tie, attach the label to the plant loosely, to give the plant room to grow. The PVC cable tie isn't going to rot or otherwise deteriorate in the weather, at lease not for a long, long time.

PVC is a real boon to gardeners. Not natural, I know, but the beauty of it in the garden is that it lasts, and it will serve you for many years.

Plastic baby bottles are perfect for measuring 'stuff' in the garden. Dedicate one for herbicide, one for fungicide, one for insecticide, one for fertilizer, and LABEL THEM AS SUCH! Be sure to put a big X on them. The baby bottles are clearly marked in oz. on the side of the bottle. They are cheap, and I find them at yard sales. Very, very cheap. You cannot have too many.

Instead of bending over to plant seeds, use a length of PVC pipe, cut about waist height, as a planting tool. Drop the seeds down the pipe to the ground, to land exactly where you wanted them . No backache with this method!

Use punctured plastic water bottles as water reservoirs for large planters.

Empty detergent bottles make handy watering cans. Wash well, drill small holes in the cap, and a small hole at the top of the handle. Nice to have one for each grand child, or if you have small children, they love to have their own watering can.

Two liter bottles are perfect for propagation, whether winter sowing seeds or taking cuttings. They let you see the root development without guessing. Just cut one in half, leaving the top half the larger of the two. Poke a couple of drainage holes around the bottom (on the sides of the bottle), and plant in the bottom half. Put the top half on like a little greenhouse, and set it in the shade, to allow your cuttings to root, or your seeds to germinate. Works great!

And while I have propagating on my mind, when using ziploc sandwich baggies as tents over 4" pots (when rooting starts or cuts), turn the baggies inside out and the pressed-in seam will keep the tent ballooned open.

And about planting seeds; I use a salt or sugar shaker to plant fine seeds such as poppies. Mix seeds and dry sand, and shake the mixture where you want them. You can use sugar in place of the sand, but you have to plant the seeds right away. No clumps of seedlings with this method. Larger seeds like larkspur can be planted in the same way, using a cheese shaker, like what you see in a pizza restaurant.

I guess this is enough to remember for today, class. Come back to see the next post concerning gardening made easier. I know things about twine and super glue that will just thrill you!

Oh, yes, one last thing. Aspercreme is the first thing that goes into my gardening bucket or bag. It is great for rough dry hands - and tired feet. You will be glad you tried it!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

a good resource.....

I thought you all might be interested in this site.

It is a site where you can go to check on all the nurseries in a state, city, or community. I used it for a recent trip across Texas- and I got to see nurseries that I would not have known existed otherwise.

Open the site.
click on your state.
click on your city or town.

Nursery/landscapers are listed first, then all the plant nurseries in the area, along with maps showing the locations of the nurseries. It has been remarkably accurate for me.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Wandering this morning in my garden.....

My favorite time of the year. This morning I found this confederate rose blooming. It is so happy! This one is a sport, came from a seed thrown by my pink blooming CR. That one blooms huge, round, delicious pink blooms, which turn crimson.

This one blooms white, as many seedlings do, then changes to a dark pink in about a day.

I love it. They are not long lived, but they are so easily propagated from cuttings, that it doesn't matter a lot. They will grow into a smallish ornamental tree. This one is like a sapling.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Honest! This is NOT my fault.........

LeSan, over at BlueGate Garden, gave me this award.

That girl has a mean streak.

I am to tell you 10 true things about myself, and pass the challenge on to others (several, not sure how many, I will have to check on that). I am not sure that there are 10 true things about me that I care to discuss.

1. I have 6 kids, my Darling has one, and between us, we have 2 girls. It seems like you need more than 2 girls, just to keep the heirlooms in the family. You know, give them to the boys, they are probably going to let the DIL get them and be lost to our family forever. Seven kids in one house, all related, will either make you, or break you. You be the judge.

2. I didn't garden in my youth, but I feel I have made up for it lately. I only started to garden to supplement our food allotment, way back when we were newlyweds. Wow, when I think of all the money I have saved.......

3. I am a pack rat, and to compound the problem, I married a pack rat. I should have paid attention to the Chinese calendar thingie that said "Stay away from pack rats!" We have pathways in the garden, 'trails' in the house, and we say just about every day..."We need to get rid of some of this stuff!"

4. LeSan saved a person's life once. I did too. I delivered a little baby for my neighbor. Three pounds, one ounce she weighed. Well, maybe I didn't save her life, she was going to get here anyway.....

5. I am a Texas Master Gardener, have been for 11 years. I don't know why or how it has kept me interested for that long, but it has. I think it has to do with my 'Quest for Knowledge' drive. If I get interested in something, I am going to learn all I can about it. I guess I have not learned all I need to know yet. I know enough now to be dangerous.....

6. My daughter used to come to me when she was a teenager, and say, "Mom, I need to talk to you". I would cringe and say to myself, "Not today...Lets talk tomorrow" My Daughter was a very truthful little girl, I never knew what she was going to tell me! Like once, she wanted me to talk to her friend, Susan. "Because Susan is going to get in trouble! She is sneaking out of the house at night, meeting Matt"....... just made my head swirl around and around. I always worried that I was a bad mama, for not welcoming her 'talks' more.....

7. I have my whole yard planned. My Darling doesn't know this, he thinks the yard is finished. It might be finished in .....well, probably not in my lifetime. My Darling mutters under his breath that his next wife is not going to be a gardener. He doesn't know I have heard him......

8. I like cats, but I love dogs. We have so far been lucky that our dogs have reached old age. This year, we lost our 15 year old Blue Heeler/ Lab cross pair, Bart and Lisa Simpson. They were siblings, and I can confidently tell you that you really don't want 2 pups from the same litter. I loved these two, but I need to take someone with me if I ever go to look at puppies again. Now, we have a Boxer, and a cat. The Boxer is about 5 years old, and the cat, 5 months old. This cat was born the same day our old (20 years old) cat died. Just a bit of coincidental trivia there....

9. I love to read. I have my nose in a book all the time. I have been stuck on John Grisham for the longest time now, but I think I am about out of books by him. I love to read true murder/crime stories. I read a lot of gardening books too, and my favorites are the AHS books and propagation books. My Darling has no idea that some of these books were expensive.

10. I always said that you couldn't give me a computer. I didn't have one, didn't want one. Then, I got elected Secretary of our Master Gardener Association, and I needed a computer. So, My Darling said to go ahead and get one.....He was confident I would only want to use it to do the minutes of our meetings. NOW, I have two desktops, and a laptop. Darling has a desktop, which I have to maintain, which is difficult. He is not allowed on my computers, as his taste in sites and mine differ substantially.

O.K. that is mine. Now, let's see.....

I would like to hear from....

Catherine @ A Gardener in Progress

Esther @ Esther's Boring Garden Blog

Debra @ Aunt Debbi's Garden

Sue Swift @ The Balcony Garden

Grace Peterson @ Gardening With Grace

Debra Howard @ Behind My Garden Gate

Amy @ Go Away- I'm Gardening!

Nell Jean @ Secrets of a Seed Scatterer

Well, none of them live very close to me. I do hope all who read this will go over and visit every one of these blogs. They are diverse, very interesting, charming, and I learn something every time I venture 'over there'.

And lastly, (is that a word?) don't forget to visit LeSan over at BlueGate Gardens. Just don't forget about that mean streak.....

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Old Post revisited.....

I posted about this rose a couple of years ago. I love this rose so much that I thought I would bring it to the world's attention again. I think everyone needs this rose.

Her name is 'Aimee Vibert'.

rosa 'Aimee Vibert'

I have this rose. I love this rose!

I first saw it in my absentee neighbors yard, and I coveted it from first sight. It grows under a big old hackberry tree there, with never a bit of care, watered only with rainfall, and never fed.

I decided I would have a cutting when the appropriate time came. Actually, the appropriate time would be whenever I had time, but I was on a dead run all the time, and just didn't get over there to 'borrow' a cutting.

Then one day, it was gone. I was horrified!

As it happened, the neighbor had 'pruned' the rose.
In August.
He cut it to the ground.

I looked around for the cuttings, as I knew they were somewhere. I found them on the 'burn pile'. (Those things designated as needing to be disposed of made up the 'burn pile'.) The rose had been cut for at least 3 days, so I didn't have much hope for the survival of any stuck cuttings, but felt I should try anyway.

So, I drug a nice cane home and cut it up and stuck it all. I had 7 nice cuttings.

I got 7 rooted cuttings.

This is the toughest rose, so hardy in heat and cold. It responds to the slightest kindness with beautiful blankets of delicate blooms. Starting with the palest of pink, it actually blooms white in big clusters, and the fragrance is amazing! In my garden, this rose blooms off and on for the whole of spring, summer and autumn. I have never had to spray it for any disease!

I would urge everyone to try this rose in their garden. It is a winner!

More information about this rose can be found here.


And a GREAT time was had by all.......

I am a Master Gardener, in Jackson County, Texas, working under the Extension Service of Texas A&M University. Our big fund raisers are (no surprise, here!) Plant Sales! We have 2 of them a year, and raise enough money to allow us to do the projects we agree to do, give a scholarship to a local kid going off to college, and fund our Educational programs. We have a great time doing these plant sales, and of course, we all buy a lot of plants, too.

Our Fall Sale was September 19, and it was a fantastic success! My hat is off to all the MGs who worked so hard on this sale.

This was taken as we were setting up the plants the day prior to the sale. We had a lot of exotic tropicals in this sale.

Below is what it looked like when we opened the doors.This is a large auditorium, a very large room, and it was FULL of plants! That picture of a pretty flower there is the label on a Hawaiian Sunset Vine. Gorgeous!
It kind of looked like a jungle in there.

We sold out by noon.

Click to enlarge the pics.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Hey! Those are pretty cool!....

My friend MaryJane send me an email detailing their plans to visit Washington DC, leaving today.

She said they are going for the 'Solar Decathlon'. I had no idea what that was, but I followed the link she provided.

MaryJane's Adored One is a Home Builder, and builds spectacular homes. He is some kind of high muckymuck with the National Home Builder's Association. He will be presenting the 'People's Choice' Award at the Solar Decathlon on Saturday, put on by the Department of Energy in DC.

Follow the link, scroll down and you can vote on the house of your choice. I personally LOVE the steel shutters on the LA house! Also, I liked the Rice University house.

Not trying to influence you.....

These are really cool houses.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

"Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!"...

.....said the Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. And that is how I feel sometimes.

Let's see....
We did go to Gonzales, and we did meet Jolana! It was as though we had been together all our lives, even the three 'strangers' that I took with me. Jolana said she never felt that any of them were strangers; I love it when the chemistry works!
This is us; "The Girls". We have so much fun, and get into more 'stuff'', always looking to have a good time. It was very hot that day, and my hair is plastered to my head. Cute, huh?
I think Jolana is one of those people who always look pretty. She is pretty on the inside, and it just shines through. THIS is Jolana and Peggy. It turns out that Jolana's husband is Peggy's cousin, although they didn't know it before they met, and Jolana's married surname is the same as Peggy's maiden name. That is the reason Peggy was so interested in going to meet Jolana.

We had a great time. Lunch with Debbie and Jerry at the "Mr. Taco" Mexican restaurant, , purchasing plants, and more plants. We all left there loaded down, very satisfied with our day, and thinking of ways we could meet again in the future.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

About 'Blotanical'

Wow! When I said I had joined ‘Blotanical’, I didn’t realize that I had entered a whole different world!

There is so much to learn! I am amazed by the blogs, the photography, the knowledgeable gardeners, and most of all, by the friendly welcomes I have received.

On September 29th, I said on my blog, “Also, I have joined 'Blotanical', but I am reading the FACS before I rush in and make a supreme fool of myself. I have had several nice comments from people who saw I had joined, and I appreciate them very much.”

To those who are not familiar with 'Blotanical', I am not sure how to describe it. Let me put it this way; I have found dozens and dozens of interesting and informative blogs that are aimed at sharing a love of gardening, and reaching out to other gardeners. It is amazing!

For those who reached out to welcome me, I have been searching out each of you to say 'thank you'. If I have not found you yet, I am still working on it.

I have found several blogs that I would like to name a favorite, and I am hoping to figure out how to do that soon. I have a little note pad by my keyboard that is filling up with notes about places and subjects and it is filling up fast!

I am not a teacher by profession, but I love to share what knowledge I have accumulated over the years. In that effort, I am always looking for more knowledge, trying to learn more, in order to share more! I think I have struck gold in joining Blotanical! There is so much to learn here!

For some who may come by to visit my blog who don’t know about Blotanical, click for a glimpse of what it is all about! Better yet, come join us; You will love it, too!