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zuzu's petals
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Recent Entries to this Blog Extended Season ~
Posted: 01 Dec 2007
Halloween Howls ~ 2007
Posted: 01 Nov 2007
Sizzlin' Summer ~
Posted: 21 Aug 2007
Lasts and Firsts ~
Posted: 06 Jun 2007
The Invasion ~
Posted: 26 May 2007

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Zuzu's Blog

Extended Season ~

Category: Zuzu's Bloomin' Blog | Posted: Sat Dec 01, 2007 11:02 pm

December 1st - and it already looks and feels like winter in many places.

While I'm excited for the folks who enjoy the crisp, snowy days,
I must confess that I feel very fortunate to be enjoying
some lovely flowers which bloom in my garden in late fall, instead.

The sasanqua Camellias are only now beginning to bloom in earnest.

Their flowers seem much too delicate to tolerate
the nightly low temperatures and the occasional morning frosts.

But, each day more and more of them unfold their graceful petals,
exhibiting a wide array of forms and colors.
The blooms of this double lavender variety,
remind me of Peony flowers,

here's a dark pink double,

a frilly white double,

and a neat, bright pink

This big Camellia tree near the street in my front yard has very simple, single pink and white flowers, but it is one of my favorites, all the same,

and the bees clearly approve, too,
visiting it's fragrant flowers regularly.

Beneath it grow my wonderful Encore Azaleas,
which bloom in the spring,
but, happily, they also bloom now, in the late autumn.

Meanwhile, many of my tropical plants
have joined my orchids,
sheltering in the glasshouse, waiting for spring to return.

This is also where most of the cuttings,
which I'm growing for next spring's garden,
are rooting, some in water, some in pots, and some in trays.

The floor is as crowded as the shelves.

The orchids seem happy enough to share their space,
blooming away quite merrily,

perhaps they are dreaming of life in a tropical paradise . . .

. . . I know that I am! Ask the cabana boy
to bring me another Margarita when you see him, will you?

Last edited: Thu Sep 24, 2015 1:42 pm

This blog entry has been viewed 3138 times

Halloween Howls ~ 2007

Category: Zuzu's Homefront Blog | Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2007 9:17 pm

We are Halloween freaks in this house, it's just that simple.

As far back as I can recall, I have always been a nut about it,
and I think that my hubby caught the enthusiasm from me.

We had a great time again this year, and had a much better turnout than I ever expected,
particularly considering that the day fell at mid-week.

A couple of friends came over, we had such fun visiting together over wine and nibbles
greeting the trick-or-treaters when they came to the door.

This year, they had to come through a spooky cemetery to get their treats.

~ Welcome to Zuzu's Family Plot ~

Come right in, the gates are open . . .
YIPES! Look out, there's a bat overhead!

Please step this way, we RELISH new blood . . .
err, I meant to say "visitors".

Many spirits haunt our little plot, and each one has a tale to tell.
Their tombstones reveal many details.

Meet "Digger", he does all of the "planting" around here
. . . gee, it looks like he's taking your measurements.
He's the lazy type, he doesn't like to excavate any deeper than necessary.

True, it is primarily a family plot,
but, don't feel too confident . . .
we DO make exceptions from time to time.

HEY! WAIT!! Come back! Why are you running away?? You forgot your candy!

This blog entry has been viewed 2149 times

Sizzlin' Summer ~

Category: Zuzu's Bloomin' Blog | Posted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 6:48 pm

Yipes, it's been a long time since I made an entry here!

I can't believe that August will soon be over - the time has simply flown!

It's been one thing after the other all season long,
and the end is not yet in sight.

There have been a few little crises in my hubby's family,
nothing too major, but it has all meant a bit of coming and going
at a time when I should have been working steadily away in the garden.

Now I am hopelessly behind with all of my outdoor tasks,
and hubby and I are expecting another arrival sometime this evening.

Still, there is a certain comfort in those words
... "hopelessly behind" ...
I can almost give myself permission to give up trying.

Anyhow, a couple of days ago (when I should have been doing chores)
I took the time to walk around the place and snap some pictures.

Tibouchina grandifolia - grown as tall as the eaves and blooming.

If I had kept up with the pruning early this summer,
this wouldn't be quite as tall, and it would be blooming more profusely.

This year the container plantings in the gravel courtyard are a wild mix,
Plumerias, Colocasias, Coleus, Caladiums, Daturas, Begonias and more ...
- all thrown together, for better or worse -

We can still make our way up to the front door - if we walk single-file -
I won't be able to put off the pruning here for much longer.

A mixture of flowering vines growing on the wire trellis
against the south end of the house.
The Moonflowers flood the drive and patio with perfume all evening.

More Colocasias give the patio area a tropical feeling which I like,
while the orange Ginger flowers scent the air all day.

The gurgle of a new small fountain makes the patio
seem just a bit cooler and more comfortable in the summer's heat,

and Impatiens add some color to the shadiest part of the patio.

One of the sunniest parts of my garden is in front of the glasshouse,
I'm not very happy with the summer plantings in this bed,
I'm still looking for just the right combination of plants for this spot.

Back into the shade - and here's something I do like,
these plants that remind me of fountains of water spraying up
from these cobalt planters.

Botticelli's Venus soaks her feet in the pond,
I sometimes join her and sit at the edge,
dangling my legs and reading a book
while the goldfish nibble at my toes.

You're welcome to join us ... I'm sure the fish would enjoy a new flavor.

Last edited: Wed Aug 22, 2007 3:38 pm

This blog entry has been viewed 2257 times

Lasts and Firsts ~

Category: Zuzu's Bloomin' Blog | Posted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 3:05 am

It's early June, and the weather here already feels much more
like summer than spring.

The appearance of my garden is changing again, accordingly.

The very last stem of Amaryllis flowers is fading rapidly.

For many years, these have been some of my best springtime performers
and I just can't get enough of them.
I prefer to grow them as outdoor plants, so I'm making notes to myself,
*** watch for those post holiday sales,
when the bulbs left behind by Christmas shoppers
can be bought for a song.

Also finishing for the season, are these colorful Asiatic Lilies.

Something else that I like to grab on sale,
pots with fading flowers are a steal after Easter or Mother's Day.

Yes, I'll really miss the spring blossoms.
But, with the summer comes other pleasures,
flowers that I've been anticipating since last year.

Gloriosa rothschildiana is a favorite of mine,
I plant the tubers I saved from the previous year in succession,
and the first pot is now beginning to bloom in earnest.

I will begin another potful in a day or two.

I love the glowing petals of Angelwing Begonia,

and who can resist the fascinating patterns of Foxglove?

Or the intoxicating scent of huge, trumpet-shaped Brugmansia flowers

Frosty Pink

Charles Grimaldi

I grow only one Dahlia, and I don't even know her name
but, oh how I love all of those big, blood red, cactus-type flowers.

Oh, one more "last" thing that I will sorely miss,

this was the very last bowlful of fresh salad greens
from my "salad-in-a-wheelbarrow".

I must take a new photo of the re-planted wheelbarrow,
the garlic chives and parsley remain,
but the lettuces have been replaced with several varieties of Basil
and colorful hot peppers.

Some spicy cooking is in the cards this summer,
shall I set a place at the table for you?

Last edited: Wed Jun 06, 2007 3:13 am

This blog entry has been viewed 2194 times

The Invasion ~

Category: Zuzu's Homefront Blog | Posted: Sat May 26, 2007 5:23 pm

Well, it's Memorial Day weekend, the weather is fantastic
and the population of our area has exploded!!

I think that all of the local hotels are all at full capacity,
and most (if not all) of the expensive beach houses
are rented out for the week.
And those of us who live here have suddenly been remembered
by friends and family looking for a free place to stay at the shore.
Folks who probably haven't given us a second thought
since this time last year.

I don't mean to sound crass, but it's hard not to get an attitude
when we suddenly find that we are the favorite Aunt and Uncle of
frantic young families who can't even remember our mailing address
to send a Thank You card after Christmas.

Suddenly the two of us find ourselves outnumbered
in our own little house, inn keepers to families of 5 or 6
(depending on which group thinks to call first).
Trying to make everyone comfortable in a home
that is ideally suited for 2.

Constant shopping, cooking, cleaning,
and stunning amounts of laundry,
these are the realities of my life for the next week (at least).
If you don't see much of me for a while,
now you'll know why.

Oh well, it's time to count small blessings,
at least they left the dog at a kennel this year.
Oh, not because the dog was a major pain in "dear old Auntie's" butt
the last time they brought him, destroying the insides of both
exterior doors one evening when we all went out to dinner
(we had to leave him in the house alone
because we don't have a fenced yard).
Rolling in my garden beds,
treating the fish pond like it was his own personal spa,
and generally terrorizing our poor old sick pussy cat.
And barking, barking, barking!!
At every strange sound, all night long.
In short making an already stressful visit, MUCH worse.

But NO, that's not why we were spared this year.
They left the hell hound behind because the kids are bigger now
and they just didn't want to spend 6 cramped hours in the van with him.

Don't get me wrong, I really do love 'em, honest I DO!
It's just kinda hard to remember that sometimes
when they're actually here,
working my last nerve to a frazzle!

Little wonder this island gets soooo quiet at the end of summer,
those of us who live here, lock ourselves inside our homes
with the doors closed and the phones and lights turned off,
repeating the mantra
" Never again, never again, never . . ..

Okay, thanks for letting me get all of that off my chest,
now I'm going to glue the smile back on my face
before the crew gets back from the beach . . .
. . .
maybe if I think about seeing the back end of that van . . .

I think I'll try to get a little bit of gardening done
while I have these few moments of "me" time.

Last edited: Sat May 26, 2007 5:35 pm

This blog entry has been viewed 2034 times

The Decorated Garden ~

Category: Zuzu's Bloomin' Blog | Posted: Sat May 05, 2007 2:58 am

Or perhaps I should say over decorated?

Browsing through some of the photos that I've taken over the last few days,
I noticed that almost everywhere I'd turned my lens
there was some sort of . . . . . . object, for lack of a better word.

This realization made me scan back through some older pictures,
and yep, there they were, in nearly every shot,
a whatsis here, a thing-a-me there,
. . . things . . . lots and lots of things.
Things standing amidst the flowers and along the pathways,
things in the pond and hanging from the branches of trees.

Some of these ornaments were designed for gardens,
I have concrete benches, tables, planters and pedestals,
birdbaths and creatures of all descriptions
tucked and nestled wherever you look.
Terracotta and glazed ceramic pots are another favorite.
Cobalt blue glaze is, apparently, an irresistible temptation to me.

Other items were never meant to be displayed this way,
many of them are, in fact, cast-offs . . . . .
other people's garbage, to be exact.
Rusted, broken, unloved and disused, found in fields and trash piles.
Nothing is too low or humble, old bits of farm machinery,
even empty glass bottles are prized ornaments.

Now, to be fair, this next one isn't in my garden,
but I grabbed a snap, because I thought it was so charming,
. . . so how long will it be before I find a cute yard sale chair
and go in search of a can of the "perfect" red paint?

And this is one that Mother Nature saw fit to throw in
I can't be held accountable.

There are dozens and dozens more,
perhaps hundreds, I've never counted.

Would anyone care to stop by and do an inventory for me?

Last edited: Sat May 05, 2007 3:03 am

This blog entry has been viewed 3246 times

My Backyard Rain Forest ~

Category: Zuzu's Bloomin' Blog | Posted: Sun Apr 01, 2007 12:26 am

It's total genius . . . . . . or complete madness
. . . the jury is still out!

Okay, our problem was a fairly simple one,
we needed a watering system for the back yard planting beds.

You just can't count on Mother Nature
when it comes to rainfall around here.
It's always either too much or too little.
When we aren't getting drowned, we are having a drought,
in fact we are over 4½ inches behind right now.

Too much rain isn't usually that much of a problem for my plants,
because this island is basically a sand dune
and the excess drains down through it really quickly.
But the flip side of the coin is
that the soil gets really dry really quickly here, too.
A good rain on Saturday morning
can still leave you needing to water on Monday afternoon.

Hauling the long, heavy hoses up and down all my winding, twisty paths
usually results in some mangled plants
and occasionally an achy back or shoulder joint.

So, as I said . . .
we needed a watering system for the back yard planting beds.

But, no ordinary watering system would do, noooooooo.
It had to be different, clever, unusual . . .
"weird" is probably the word I'm looking for.

As hubby and I sat over french toast this morning at our
favorite Saturday breakfast restaurant, we started to scheme.
And on our way home, we stopped to pick up supplies.

Hubby dived into the project with enthusiasm as soon as we got home.

So here is the result,

two Rainbird type impact sprinklers
mounted in the top of our Wisteria covered pergola.

They are up at a height of about 9 feet,
and each of them sprays water out in a semi-circle of about 35-40 feet.
The water falls like rain over most of the back yard.

I think the plants and birds are gonna LOVE it!!
And, when the weather gets really hot and oppressive this summer,
I'm gonna run through those sprinklers like a kid!!!

Well . . . maybe not run exactly, pro'ly more like stroll,
wanna join me?

Bring your swimsuit.

Last edited: Sun Apr 01, 2007 12:27 am

This blog entry has been viewed 2205 times

Herbin' Renewal ~

Category: Zuzu's Bloomin' Blog | Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 5:40 am

One of the rites of spring, for me,
is my first trip of the year to Meg's herb farm.

Of course, my friend's business has grown over the years
(yes, I'm painfully aware of the bad pun)
and they sell much more than herbs these days,
but that's how she started out, back when I first got the habit,
and so it will always be "the herb farm" to me.

This trip has become something of a pilgrimage.
A gal pal and I get together for brunch first,
honing our appetite for the event over scrambled eggs and coffee,
comparing shopping lists and catching up on each other's news.
Then we pile into the SUV, and drive the 20 or so miles to paradise,
chatting happily along the way, both of us admiring the way
the landscape is coming back to life after winter.
The day is perfect, bright and warm enough for T-shirts.

Now, I want to explain that I really do try
to approach this project with an orderly and organized plan,
I've made a list of things that I think I need,
plants that have performed well in previous years,
which I want to repeat, and others, which have not done so well,
and need to be replaced.

The problem is, I begin to lose interest in "the plan"
before my feet can ever touch the ground.
As my friend brakes to a stop, I'm already scanning the goods.
We both grab our checkbooks and sunglasses and get going.

As I grab the handle of a little rusted Red Flyer wagon,
a "shopping cart" that has seen many seasons of service,
logic falls into a deep coma and something more primal takes over.
There's no use fighting it, I may as well enjoy the ride.

If I were able to divert my attention to the other shoppers,
I'm sure that most of them would have the same glazed eyes
and euphoric grin that I know I am wearing,
I am not alone, I am with kindred spirits, all is well.

Everywhere I turn, there are so many temptations.

Red and green lettuces with flat, ruffled or curly leaves,
countless varieties of mint and thyme,
more types of oregano than I ever knew existed.

The numerous greenhouses are filled with tender treasures
which cannot be exposed to the still chilly nights of mid-March.

Pepper plants and Basils, Nasturtiums, Salvias and even citrus plants,
row upon row, lush and blooming, it truly is overwhelming.

I'll bet you think I spent a ton of cash and overloaded my friend's SUV,
But something sort of strange happened,
maybe I was paralysed by the sheer magnitude of choice.
By the time it was all over and my tab was totalled,
I came away with everything I needed in the way of salad greens,
which were the primary things on that forgotten list of mine.
I also found that I had bought the two Turkish Basil plants I'd wanted,
and I only had a few impulse purchases,
including a Lemon Bergamot that I just couldn't resist.

I'm rather proud of myself . . . considering.

But, that was a couple of days ago, and I have found myself thinking
of making another trip back out there already,
there are a few things I just can't seem to get off my mind.

Anyone feel like brunch and a drive in the country?

Last edited: Sat Mar 17, 2007 6:09 am

This blog entry has been viewed 1890 times

A Spring Outing ~

Category: Zuzu's Bloomin' Blog | Posted: Thu Mar 15, 2007 5:53 am

Today's weather couldn't have been better,
the weatherman predicted perfection, and that's just what we got.
The temperature hovered around 80°F and the sky was like crystal,
so I couldn't resist spending the day out,
and for once, I remembered to take the camera along.

The Star Magnolias are blooming

and the Tulip Magnolias, too.

Everywhere I went, the landscape was splashed with color,
Forsythia and Quince

drifts of Daffodils and precious little grape Hyacinths

and, of course, my favorites, the Camellias,
are still blooming their ever-lovin' hearts out.

How can you not love a shrub that gives such a profusion of
lush, rose-like flowers so early in the season,
and continues for months on end?

I was fascinated by some of the older homes that I saw
while I was out today, too. Some of them were a bit ramshackle
but still quite charming, in their own way, I think.

This one has had a recent make-over.

There is so much new construction around this area,
it really warms my heart when someone rescues one of these old gals.

The fine weather isn't going to last,
a cold front is headed my way and it may get pretty stormy when it arrives,
but that's okay, I made the most of today,
and all those lovely flowers need the rain.

You should have stopped by earlier, we opened a really nice Beaujolais,
and enjoyed it out on the patio.

This blog entry has been viewed 1717 times

A Host Of Golden . . .

Category: Zuzu's Bloomin' Blog | Posted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 5:55 am

Yup, you guessed it . . . Daff-O-Dillz

It's beginning to feel rather spring-y following our recent cold snap,
and my spirits are rising with every degree on the thermometer.

I found the first few Periwinkle flowers today.

We've had quite a few nights with lows down into the mid 20's
which wouldn't be all that bad, except that the Camellias were already opening,
and I was afraid we might lose them all
but I'm happy to report that we still have lots of pretty flowers.

I can't grow roses worth a flip,
but I guess these beauties are the next best thing,
and the fact that they bloom so early, when I'm just desperate for color
doesn't hurt my feelings much, either.

I got a real thrill to see the first buds on my Blueberry bushes.

And in the glasshouse,
the cuttings of coleus that I took last fall are doing pretty well.

I love colorful accent foliage in the summer garden
and these will help to fill the bill.

I love Begonia foliage, too.

And, last, but not least, the 'chids.
My pride and joy.

Well, that's all I found today, not too bad for February.
I know that the weather is likely to throw a few more
winter surprises at us, but I'm loving the longer days
and I think I just might make it through the next few weeks.

I'd offer you some blueberry muffins,
but it's gonna be a while before those berries are ready to pick,
how about a nice cup of herbal tea, instead?

Last edited: Tue Feb 20, 2007 6:14 am

This blog entry has been viewed 1791 times

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