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Wooohooooo, it's raining again

Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Sat Jan 28, 2006 7:14 pm

It will seem strange to most that I would be so excited about rain. But last Sunday we had 3/4 inch and today we have had 1 and 1/2 inches. While this is pretty much what we normally get in January, it is also more than we had in the last 5 months of last year.

We are also having well above normal temps this winter and since the longrange forecast for our area is continued above normal temps for the rest of the winter I have declared it time to buy and plant.

A dozen new Daylillie bulbs (6 yellow, 6 purple), two Patchouli, 3 chocolate mints, two Indian Hawthornes and a Lavender have been added to FRED. Out on the front porch I added a red Primrose and a new Rosemary to replace the potted one the freeze got last month.
I need to refill the large tub out front with more red Geraniums as soon as they are in the garden center.

I am also going to get some seeds potted next week. I was given some watermelon and wisteria that I want to see if they sprout. Also have some gourd seeds from the birdhouse gourds I bought a couple of years ago and painted for gifts. I don't know what the "shelf life" is on these but I thought I ought to try anyway.

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Standing in Tall Cotton

Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 1:41 am

Three years ago I grew some Erlene's Green Cotton. I had such a good crop and a wonderful time. My Ladies, as I referred to them, seemed to have a wonderful time in my garden too.

I went out every morning and again in early evening to check for bolls that had opened and were ready to pick. The naturally colored cotton has to be picked when the bolls first open before the sun has time to bleach the color. From August thru October there were very few days when I picked fewer than 10 bolls each time.

Autumn that year was very mild, we did have lots of rain and some cool nights but on the sunny days the temperature was still in the 70's until early November. The first freeze of the season in early Nov killed them and I finally had to pull them up.

They grew much larger than I ever expected since the land our housing development was built on in the mid to late 1960's had been a cotton farm during the early part of the 1900's,the soil is very fertile.

The tallest plant in the middle of the picture grew to about 5' 8" before the freeze. The picture was taken in October when she was still just barely shorter than me (I am 5'7")

I tried another crop the next summer but the weather didn't cooperate and I didn't have much of a crop. Last year I didn't even consider planting more once the rain ended.

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Let's explore my yard

Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 6:03 pm

That's what I did this morning, I went digging under the mulch, fallen leaves and general dead stuff that has accumulated from the drought and I found a remarkable amount of life springing up.

Other than the Dragon Lady Cross Vine that has been an evergreen for three years now and the previously mentioned hollyhocks, I found signs of life from the blackeyed Susan, Bee Balm, Goldenrod and the Sage. The Rosemary is happy as a lark out there still. One of the Lavender plants is still robust but the other died. I know the hardy Hibiscus will return, they always do. The Blaze climbing roses are still green and leafy. One of the mums is coming back. Time will tell for the Astilbe, but they should be okay again this year.

The Raspberry vines are greening already, someday maybe my youngest will beat the birds to the fruit.
The Chocolate Vine has actually been doing some growing. The Canna are almost 6" tall.

The Lantana should be back, usually is since it is a native. It's one of those plants whose fragrance brings back childhood memories for me. Some would say it stinks and I guess it does compared to roses, but I like it. I am 6 yrs old in summer again, everytime I smell it.

The Fig tree is starting to bud and this year I have a dehydrator. We couldn't eat them all last year and after the car crashed into the house our life was just too weird and making jam was the furthest thing from my mind.

AND my wonderful purple bearded iris are coming up....the ones that smell like popsicles we used to get from the ice cream man when I was a kid. I planted the bulbs several years ago, but last spring was the first year they bloomed. While they were in bloom last spring, I went out every morning to bury my face in their blooms and enjoy their fragrance. It was the perfect way to start the day and I am very much looking forward to my time with them this spring.

We are hoping for some rain on Sunday. I am not holding my breath, but if it happens I will be outside enjoying every drop of it.

This blog entry has been viewed 517 times

Hollyhocks are like the energizer bunny

Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 10:01 pm

Almost 5 years ago I bought one Malva sylvestris Zebrina.....dwarf hollyhock according to the tag. It was about 18 inches tall and that first summer it was covered in small purple and white striped flowers.

I enlarged the bed around it and the birdbath that fall and since we had a mild winter the original plant survived and thrived. The next summer the bed was filled with 2nd generation plants and the original one started growing. By it's second fall in my yard, it was roughly 5 feet tall and 3'-4' in diameter. That fall was rainy and warmish so lots of my plants believed it was spring and started blooming again.
That winter we actually did have some ice and snow that covered the hollyhock to the point that I really expected it wouldn't survive a 2nd winter. The snow melted, sun came out and the plant picked right back up where it left off and kept growing. The ice had bent the tall stalk over onto the ground, but it didn't break. It just started growing up along the stem.
The 3rd summer was really hard on the already weakened plant and by fall all the plants were pretty much gone, so I pulled them up. In the process of carrying them from the bed to the compost pile, they dropped seeds everywhere. The next summer I had them all over the yard and filling the bed. Last summer was #4, I really had my doubts about anything surviving out there and for the most part I was right.

But last week I noticed some green peeking up thru the leaves that were mulching the bed. Sure enough the bed is filling up again with hollyhocks.....and it is only January 17th.

This blog entry has been viewed 1365 times

Sleep is so overrated

Category: Random bulletins from my brain | Posted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 9:34 pm

I was a baaaaaad girl yesterday evening. I forced my hubby to take me to the really large HalfPriced books in Dallas.....he says I forced him but I just suggested it might be a nice place to spend a couple of hours on his day off.

Now I have 6 gardening themed books to add to the 4 unread knitting themed books in the basket by the sofa. Also found another copy of Anne Morrow Lingbergh's Gift From The Sea. I had it years ago and lost it in a move. Like I said sleep is so overrated.

The gardening books aren't "how to" books, they are memoirs, essays and various stories by gardeners about their gardens.

This blog entry has been viewed 527 times

Why the name FRED

Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 10:56 pm

A few years ago I was reading entries on a gardening website about the names everyone had given their gardens. Since my imagination is sometimes not as active as his, I asked my dearest hubby "What do you think I should name my garden?" without a second's hesitation he answered "FRED"

Rather than thumping him upside the back of the head as was my first inclination, I started giving it some thought. It grew on me, so my garden is named FRED. Sometimes it reminds me of Fred Mertz from the I Love Lucy series.....ornery and always ready to argue with me about plans.

I will be making a sign for it this spring using Runes as the letters...
Fehu - success
Raido - progress
Eihwaz - endurance
Dagoz - security

This blog entry has been viewed 812 times

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