Friday, September 30, 2011

What Is It?

Recently I showed a picture of this same type of stuff that I found in one of my vegetable garden boxes in my back yard. A couple of days ago I found this in the front yard. It is really weird, especially because it was sitting on top of the grass, unlike a toadstool. The next day there was one more. I don't have a clue as to what it is. It looks light and airy, unlike something that a cat or dog would vomit. Next time I will cut it open to see what its structure is like--maybe that will help!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Finally! I'm finally able to get back online! Thank you for your patience!
I was pulling weeds and deadheading plants the other morning and saw this sight!

I thought it looked like the snails were on a carnival ride or something! That didn't last long, as I helped them on their way to their happy hunting ground!

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Glitch . . .

I won't be posting for a couple of days at least--I am having computer trouble. I will be back as soon a I can!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Fall Is On It's Way

I don't know if you can see the slight change in the color of these peach tree leaves--it's not from a bright sky--but they are starting to change color in preparation for dormancy. The tree is pulling the nutrients out of the leaves so it can be stored in its roots for use next spring. If I was to prune this tree now, I would be short-changing the tree of some much-needed nutrition.

Friday, September 9, 2011


In the lower center of the picture there is a leaf of my Granny Smith apple tree that has an interesting color design. Nature is the greatest creative force! All things can be altered, nothing needs to remain the same, although there are generally certain patterns that help create order in our world. It would look strange for an apple tree to have pine needles or palm fronds in amongst the apple leaves!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Grape Hyacinth

Now is the time to buy bulbs for early spring blooms. One bulb that thrives in my yard is grape hyacinth. I have grown them for many years, in full sun, and they keep coming back year after year. The first time I saw these flowers en-mass was back in the mid-west, about 25 years ago. My Dad and I went on a genealogy trip, where we would drive from one courthouse to the next, looking for our family names in the vital, land, and other records. We went to one cemetery in Illinois, which had been abandoned for a very long time. This cemetery was covered with trees that were about 20' or more high. Underneath the trees were the headstones of our ancestors. We started walking in under the trees, and once we were in the shade, we saw that grape hyacinths had completely covered the ground and were in full bloom. It was such a beautiful sight, I will never forget it. Long ago someone had planted a few bulbs to beautify a grave. Grape hyacinths are relatively cheap and multiply quickly. You will know spring is here when you see these flowers pop up!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Make It Happen . . .

No, this is not my garden! In our newspaper there is a weekly article that I like to read, by Harvey Mackay. He writes about how to improve your business. Although I don't "work", I still like to see what I can learn and apply it to my life. Recently he asked a woman at a conference what she did for a living. She replied that it's what you do with your life that matters. Mr. Mackay then gave several little sayings to show that you have to do something to be able to get something--it doesn't magically appear just because you want it, "you have to make it happen." The one saying that fit this blog says: "Life is like a garden. Plant good seeds and tend them, and the bounty is plentiful." It's like what the Bible says, where you have to sow before you can harvest. My Dad always says you have to give, to get; meaning you have to give up something (like snoozing in a hammock) to get something else you want (like a bountiful garden). Time passes by whether we are busy or not, so we should get ourselves in gear and make something happen!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Praying Mantis

This is a praying mantis eating a grasshopper. Today as I was pulling weeds in my yard, I saw three mantis', one large brown one and two medium sized green ones. I was pulling weeds around them, trying to get them to move over. After a couple of minutes I looked over to see if they had moved, and the big one was eating one of the green ones! I was really surprised as I had not expected it--I do know that they have a tendency to each other, though. Mantis' eat a lot of things, including humming birds on occasion! Praying mantis' can eat up to 16 crickets a day--so you can see they are really handy to have in the garden!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

New Construction

We are having a new walkway installed in our back yard. I'm glad to get the bermuda grass out and a nice cement path to use. My husband took out the cement curbing yesterday, as it was cracked in several places. My cat, Dottie, insisted on being in the picture, too.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Another Black Widow

This morning I went out to clean our pool, and found a black widow spider living in the center of a plastic pool ring that our grandkids left in the pool. In the picture below, you can see her at the 1 o'clock area of the inside of the ring.
She was just floating along with the ring, seemingly happy with her new home. That didn't last long--I showed my husband and that was the end of that!

Thursday, September 1, 2011


I'm not sure what this is, except it's a fungi of some sort! It was really white, and about 1 1/2 inches across. The next day it was tan; and the day after that it was more brown. Have you ever seen such a thing? I haven't!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

More Flowers

This is another bulb that I planted a couple of years ago, that I don't remember the name! This is the first time it has bloomed, and it smells so good! It has a vanilla, plus something else, scent. It looks kind of forlorn, as it's doesn't like the afternoon sun. I will to move it once it dies back. I will be moving my Naked Lady bulbs to the same area, where they will get afternoon shade--I think they will thrive there. This bulb may not look pretty, but the scent is heavenly!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Siberian Iris

My Siberian iris' finished blooming weeks ago, but I leave the flowers. The flowers turn into seed pods, which can be used in flower arrangements. Instead of making flower arrangements, I go out in the fall and break open the pods and spread the seeds around. These are a no-fuss flower, easy to grow, prolific bloomers (pretty purple flowers), and they love wet conditions. This spot in my back yard is kind of boggy, so I planted plants that like this type of ground. These iris' have thrived with neglect and not much fertilizer, for many years. Siberian iris are drought tolerant once they are established, and grow in zones 3-9.

Monday, August 29, 2011

More Pecan Trees

This morning I was tidying up my lantana and spied something amiss! Weeds will often grow amongst plants that look similar, so they can grow without notice. I found that this pecan tree was actually four pecan trees! I was able to get three of the four out (one stem broke at ground level), so I will be watching for the last one when its leaves show up again. Those blue jays sure are busy planting pecans!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Fall Rose Care

Now is a good time to deadhead your roses. As you cut off the spent blooms, cut the stems back to help shape the plant. To have mores rose blossoms, cut the stems just above a 5-leaf leaflet (see picture below). A new stem programed to make a flower or flowers will grow from that leaflet.
The more vigiorous the plant, the more you can prune back; be careful with a small or weak plant as they will need the leaves for food. Once pruning is done, give your roses a good dose of fertilizer (coffee grounds?!), so they will have another flush of rose blooms for your Thanksgiving

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Coffee (Grounds) In The Morning

Yesterday I stopped at Star Bucks and picked up some coffee grounds! They give it away, because they like to recycle. I actually didn't get very much (this is all they had), but I was happy to get it just the same. I think next time I am running errands, I will plot the Star Bucks stores on my route, and pick up coffee grounds along the way! The coffee grounds come in round "blocks" instead of loose, so they are easy to handle. They crumble easily, so spreading them in the garden is quick work. Years ago I read that earthworms and roses really love coffee grounds--so I figure everything else will, too! Free fertilizer--what more could you ask for!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Star Jasimine

I had two Star Jasmine growing here several years ago. They were full and lush, just beautiful, and they covered the fence. Then, my husband needed to replace the fence, so he just hacked off the shrubs to about three feet high (I nearly cried). One shrub died, but the other has bushed back out. It keeps sending out runners, trying to find something to climb on. This runner lacked support and kept bumping into the board that goes across the fence. This runner has actually tied itself in a knot! I thought it was kind of funny!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Nature puts all kinds of colors together. People are the ones that get anxious about putting flower colors together--don't mix cool and warm colors; don't put pink next to orange; use red sparingly, it's a hot color; etc. Nature is just filling in empty spaces with weeds, flowers, shrubs, and trees. She uses the wind, animals (seeds stick to their coats and drop off somewhere else), people (sometimes we do like the animals, and sometimes we see a flower and take its seeds to plant in our garden); and most especially, nature uses birds to transport seeds. I read somewhere one time that "nature arbores a vacuum", which I figured meant open ground in gardening terms. If you love a riot of color, enjoy it in your garden! Plant what you love and nature will applaud you!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


These are some pretty flowers that have come up from a bulb. I don't remember planting anything here (at my age I am forgetting a lot of things!), so it was a surprise to see them! I love these kinds of surprises!

8/27--I figured out what this flower is--a white zephyranthus, which blooms from August through October.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

This Is What Happens . . .

. . . when you don't do yard maintenance! These are two pecan trees that have really taken hold! I should have clipped them when they were just tiny, but now it will take some real work to get rid of them. They are persistent, but if I keep cutting them down each month, it will eventually kill them. This is on the north side of my house, a dead-end piece of ground, so I rarely go there. I really do need to get after these pecans!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Praying Mantis

I found this praying mantis sitting on a leaf of a Jerusalem Artichoke. It is in a defensive stance, and it's not sure if I am a threat--it's ready to strike out if necessary. I like having mantis' in my yard, because they eat all kinds of pest bugs; and I go out of my way to keep from accidentally harming them.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

"My Wife the Gardener"

I had to laugh when I read this poem--my husband could have written it! Yes, I'm that bad! Do you see yourself in this poem, too?

My Wife the Gardener

~ Peter (poem found in old magazine)

She dug the plot on Monday –
the soil was rich and fine,
She forgot to thaw out dinner –
so we went out to dine...

She planted roses Tuesday –
she says they are a must,
They really are quite lovely
but she quite forgot to dust.

On Wednesday it was daisies –
they opened up with sun,
All whites and pinks and yellows –
but the laundry wasn’t done...

The poppies came on Thursday -
a bright and cherry red,
I guess she really was engrossed –
she never made the bed...

It was violets on Friday –
in colours she adores,
It never bothered her at all –
all crumbs upon the floors.

I hired a maid on Saturday –
my week is now complete,
My wife can garden all she wants –
the house will still be neat!

It’s nearly lunchtime Sunday –
and I cannot find the maid,
Oh no! I don’t believe it!
She’s out there WITH THE SPADE!

[Poem from: ]

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Emily's Square Foot Garden Blog

This is from the "My Square Foot Garden" blog written by Emily. I have been following her blog for about 2 years, and find it quite informative. Although I don't follow the whole square foot gardening plan, it does guide me in my gardening. She has a free newsletter, where you click on the sidebar on her blog, [this is what it looks like:]
and then select your "color", which represents your growing zone. Emily will send you a weekly email to let you know what to plant in your area. Emily has a lot of information about starting a garden, keeping a garden, problems in the garden, and how to grow the different kinds of vegetables. You should check it out!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Bell Peppers

Some of the veggies in my garden are showing signs that they are past their peak, but the bell peppers are still going strong!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Calla Lilies

These are my calla lilies, which are growing on the north side of my house, in my back yard. They have finished blooming, but I thought the way the leaves were standing up like soldiers was interesting. Even though they are on the north side of the house, they still get a little too much sun in the afternoon, as you can see by the yellow edges on some of the leaves. Calla lilies are native to South Africa (where they are called "pig lilies"); and have a symbolic meaning that's associated with "magnificent beauty". Calla lilies come in several colors, each one beautiful!

(flowers picture

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Society Garlic

I have some Society Garlic blooming in my back yard, and the flowers are really pretty. This garlic is not for eating, but it makes a nice perennial. I have seen it around some of the strip malls in my area, so you know it is a hardy plant!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Black Spot

I have a miniature rose that is in a wet spot in my back yard. I guess it is a little too wet, because it now has a fungus that's called black spot.
None of my other roses show signs of black spot, so I think it is because this rose is getting too much water. And, yes, again, this is the first time I have seen this problem in my garden!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Drift Roses

No, this is not my yard! I get a weekly gardening newsletter from P. Allen Smith, and the picture is his. This week he showcases Drift Roses. They seem to be useful in several situations--ground covers, and small gardens to name two; and they are low maintenance and trouble free. Here's a link to Allen's Drift Roses articles. If you go to the bottom of the page, there is a link to other pages that talk about the Drift Roses (related articles).

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Squash Blossom

There is a simple beauty in a squash blossom.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Tomatoes . . . and More Tomatoes!

I guess you know what I will be doing today! Yes, I will have to process these tomatoes--I ignored them as long as I could! I am grateful that I have these tomatoes, and I will be grateful for the sauce I make when I prepare spaghetti and pizzas later on--it's so good!

Friday, August 12, 2011


I enjoy having dragonflies in my garden, I think they are really pretty. This dragonfly is more subdued than most that I have seen. Last year I had some that were neon orange, and bright turquoise. One of my cats especially likes dragon flies, and catches all that she can--I need to retrain her! Dragonflies like to eat mosquitos and other small insects, and don't bite or sting, so they are perfect for my garden!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Almonds Are Ready!

My almond tree is loaded with almonds this year. The crows have returned (last year was their first year) to harvest the almonds on the tops of the branches. I tried to take their picture, but they were weary of me and kept flying away.
The mocking birds and blue jays also like to eat the almonds. My almonds are full of worms, so I don't mind sharing. I am going to be getting some chickens soon, and I will pen them in under my almond tree next spring, so they can eat all of the new crop of worms, which live just under the surface of the soil as they await their time to travel up to the nuts.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sweet Smelling Lilies

I have had these Stargazer lilies for several years. They get full afternoon sun, which is a little too much and they burn, but they keep on growing. They bloom twice a year and smells so good!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Summerfelt Bean Trouble

Something has been eating my Summerfelt bean stems. I'm not sure what it is--maybe a cut worm (I didn't find it) or perhaps pill bugs (I'll look into that). I have lost three bean plants so far, but I have plenty that are still growing like crazy.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Navel Orange Tree

I was looking a little closer at my Navel orange tree and realized that there are two oranges at the end of each branch. So, I will be removing one from each branch, and then the tree won't be overloaded this year. Besides that, the oranges will be bigger, and they taste oh-so-good!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Ready to Go!

Last week I was able to get out into my garden most mornings, while my grand-kids slept in. I got all of my green beans chopped up and left in place; then, I covered them up with mulch--a green layer covered by a brown layer (composting in place). I did leave my regular cucumbers (took out my pickling cucumbers), and my dill. The dill is nearly ready for harvesting the seeds.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

These pictures are of an unnamed coleus that I bought at Lowe's a couple of weeks ago. I thought it was so pretty!
I need to get it potted up in a nice pot, and put it by the front entryway. Coleus are shade-loving plants, and are frost tender. They come in a multitude of colors, and many different leaf design patterns.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Controlled Chaos?

I used to think that I liked my flowerbeds to be controlled-chaos--is there really such a thing? I liked it when plants grew into each other, and still do to a certain point. I also treated the plants like I do my spoiled kitties--let them do what they wanted! That lead the plants to be more chaos than controlled, and I am paying the price. Most of my yard is in chaos, and I can't get control of it. With our summer heat, it is difficult to get out into the yard any length of time so I can get it back in shape, but I keep working at it. These pictures show one flower bed that I got control over last May and have kept it looking nice.
Sometimes I am oblivious to the obvious, and have had some really, "Well, Duh!" moments; it's just the way I am! I was visiting a special friend of mine, who has been working on her small yard for 10 years, and has gotten it to the point of gorgeousness. Every day she goes out and prunes back anything that is getting a little too energetic, so it looks beautiful and well groomed all the time. It is the most tranquil garden I have ever been in, and I am trying to imitate her methods--that's how this bed has stayed so nice! This flower bed has lantana (plus, a Gala apple tree), which grows vigorously. I used to prune the lantana back once and expect it to stay in place. My husband would complain when the lantana covered our pool decking nearly to the edge of the pool! I would finally get it pruned back, if he was lucky, and then it would get out of control, again. Now, I get it! I will do a post of her yard in a week or two, so you can see what I mean about it being so well groomed!

Monday, August 1, 2011

More Trouble . . .

It looks like my cherry tomato has fusarium wilt, too. Plus, the closest cucumber plants to the first tomato plant with the wilt are also showing signs of wilt. I'm glad that our springs are usually warmer and dryer than it was this year, so we don't have to deal with this problem too often.

A Short Break . . .

I may not be able to post for a few days, although I will try! Three of my grandchildren will be here for a week, and they are quite active! It will be fun, and tiring, but I will love every minute of it! I will be back the second Monday in August, for certain!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Growing Garlic

Growing garlic is really easy! If you have some garlic that you bought at the market, and it is starting to grow, just stick it in the ground so that the very tip of the pointed end is sticking out of the soil. Then, make sure it gets watered regularly. Garlic generally doesn't have trouble with pests or diseases, but sometimes aphids will attack the leaves (just wash them off with a stream of water from the hose). Last month the leaves of my garlic started drying out. Once they were mostly dry, I pulled the garlic out of the ground and let it dry completely in my garage. In the picture above, the garlic on the left is how that garlic looked (after I cut off the leaves). The garlic on the right is after I trimmed off the roots, and pulled off the first, and dirty, layer of skin. Now it looks like the garlic you buy in the market!
This is how my garlic looks in my kitchen. It sits on the counter all the rest of the year. It is close at hand for cooking, and out of the way, too. This year my garlic was small--I believe the long cool spring we had stunted its growth. No problem! I can use two cloves of garlic instead of one when I cook--I have more than enough!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Citrus Trees

A while back I was talking (whining, actually!) about how my citrus trees were so over-loaded at the last harvest, that they wouldn't produce for next year. Well, I was wrong, at least about two of my three trees. Above is a picture of my new crop of tangerines! They will be ready for picking in February.
Here are my navel oranges--they look like they are doing just fine! They will ripen around Christmas. I searched my Valencia orange tree, but didn't find any small green fruits, so I guess it is in the cycle of lots of fruit one year and nothing the next.