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Fertile FRED

Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 6:27 pm

Things I found in the yard this morning. Besides weeds a foot tall from the rain and sunshine.

In my bloom house the Cardoon, Safflower, Gourds are sprouting up beautifully. These were only planted about a week ago. I forgot to plant the Scabiosa-Black Knight until today so it is potted.

I dug up yet more wayward Glads, Lisa gets these whether she wants them or not. When I find some of those gorgeous purple ones like Glenda has, I will have no trouble finding a home for them tho.

Cypress Vines have become a constant out there. I bought one at the end of the season three years ago, it grew like crazy and covered that blue ladder. Every year since then I have found seedlings scattered all over the yard. The ones coming up in the large wooden planter are going to be moved where they can use a small tree by the fence to climb on. The tree is a volunteer hackberry and rather than going thru the hassle of keeping it chopped down, it will become a trellis.

Also, found out by comparing some pictures, that those yellow and white Iris are not Siberian, they are Dutch. Still only yellow ones blooming, no purple like last year.

It looks like only a couple of the perennials I moved last fall did not survive the trauma of moving day. I can't remember what they were so I guess I won't really miss them. One of these days I will suddenly think, gee I wonder what happened to the _____. Then I will go buy another one.

The blue Plumbago which the tag said was an annual is coming back.

Last fall I moved the white Liatris. I had started out with 3 a few years ago and ended up with 8 after dividing and replanting them. I have wondered if they would come back and boy-howdy did they!! Each of the 8 divisions is coming up in multiples, I think there is something like two dozen this spring.

White Autumn Sage, Mealy Sage and the Lipstick Autumn Sage are blooming. Blooms are beginning to open on the Texas Betony and the Gaura.

The jury is still out on the Carolina Jessamine. It suffered thru the freezes this past winter, the buds that have been there for months are opening but the vine itself looks pretty sad. Think I will give it to the end of April then decide if it needs to be replaced.

And, and, and,some my absolute most favoritest flower out there...the Purple Bearded Iris... have bud swells forming!! Each year the highlight of spring is being able to greet them each morning and inhale deeply of their wonderful fragrance....my popsicle plants.

I am a happy gardener today. Now I have to get cleaned up and take Amanda to a doctors appt. On the way home we will pickup sub sandwiches from Subway, Randy will be having supper with his shooting buddies so I don't have to cook. There is a little matter of last nights supper dishes that I put off doing tho.

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Rhythm of the falling rain

Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 12:33 am

For several years I have stood at the front door dreaming of having a shed of some sort where I could sit and listen to the rhythm of the rain on the roof and watch my garden soaking it up. Now with my new bloom house, I have that place and today it rained.

The rain started here just a tad after Amanda and I got home from the grocery store and had the bags in the house. I got the perishables in the fridge and/or freezer, grabbed a glass of wine and headed out to my bloom house. I have a nice comfy wicker chair with a flowery cushion just waiting for days like this.
I sat out there listening to the rain on the plastic house, almost as nice a sound as on a tin roof.

I sat out there for about 2 and a half hours, looking at the way the rain makes the brown of the tree limbs and trunks a richer brown and the green of the new leaves a more vibrant green. Only coming in a couple of times when it eased up a bit,for more wine and some potato chips. Rambo joined me for a few minutes once he realized that the rain couldn't get him in there.

Came back into the house about 7 and of course I was closing up the 'door' of my shed when the rain was coming down the hardest. My back got soaked and I loved every drop of it.

It has eased up to a steady, easy rain now...there is 1.25 inches in the really large rain gauge out back and the weather radar shows more coming tonight. Should be even more until sometime tomorrow afternoon.

This in no way diminishes the drought, this is month 23 of that and the lakes where the cities get thier water are still 5-15 feet below normal. And I am so afraid we are in for another hot, dry summer like last year...but for now I am reveling in today.

The whinning about the heat and drought starts later.






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A key on a chain and no end to Glads

Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Wed Mar 21, 2007 9:31 pm

Last year when I was digging up the Glad bulbs to move this spring I just thought I got them all. I spent a good portion of this morning digging up more little ones left behind. I now have them planted in 6 more places around the yard. Any others that show up will be transplanted in Lisa's yard, don't know if she wants them, don't really care at this point. I will plant them while they are gone during the day if I have to.
Or I could be like Johnny Appleseed and go around planting them in other peoples yards. I think I am being to understand how people with over productive Zucchini plants feel in late summer.

I was planting some by the side gate between the two wood triangle shaped planters when I realized that the dwarf Hollyhocks had formed their own bed. The second year I had the Hollyhocks we had a couple of hard freezes and 4inches of snow on the ground that Valentines day. In spring there were several of them that didn't make it, I pulled them up and laid them on the ground by the gate awaiting trash day when they would go to the curb for the green-grabber to pick them up. Later that spring I found one solitary Hollyhock coming up where they had lain. Since then that one plant has continued to grow and bloom, this year it is becoming a really good sized plant and has about 10 off spring around it......they had become thier own flower bed. Got the weeds pulled up around them and will find some sort of fencing to keep them safe.
That is where I found a very rusted chain with a likewise rusted key attached. Maybe it is the key to a treasure chest buried out there.

Couple of times I got sprinkled on by rogue black clouds that passed overhead. Never amounted to much but did feel good on my back. Now it appears the sun is gaining a strong hold in the sky and the place will be heating up, already 78.

My routine when finished in the yard for the day is to take a can of Chrysanthemum Tea out back and enjoy it while surveying what I have done and planning what I need to do. This morning I also made a pretty long list of plants to buy this weekend.....I am tired of being a good girl when it comes to new plants!!!

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A zillion peach pits and a snake

Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Tue Mar 20, 2007 3:23 pm

My arms are sore this morning and the thought of getting up and down out back makes me ache all over. Today I will stay inside and get caught up on laundry, oh joy oh joy.....and make more soap.
Amanda is out of her Tea Tree...Tea Tree soap is wonderful for acne.
We are out of Peppermint - boy that scent will wake you up in the morning and is a great pickmeup after a day of yard work too.

I have been working mostly on the north side of the backyard this spring and am finally going to get the paths done this weekend.
The Lantana bed I worked on earlier, covered with landscape fabric and mulch will be used for something else now. The large multicolored Lantana bush didn't make it thru the winter and I really don't like the spreading yellow ones anyway. One of the yellow ones is coming back, don't know about the other one yet. Either way I think I will make an Offer of it or them on the rEcycle list and pass them on to another gardener. That bed is going to become a potted plant garden. I have several that I move around from time to time when I need their garden spot for in ground plants. I have 7 of the black plastic halloween cauldrons,one holds a bronze chrysanthemum that is coming back from last fall, one has another red chrysanthemum, one holds tiny red Zinnia seedlings and one has tiny red Poppy seedlings. I want some red Impatients in one and something else red for the other two, probably at least one more red Geranium.
And I found a really cool plant stand on the curb waiting for trash pickup a couple of weeks ago that would look really good holding two pots of red Petunias.

The Horseherb is coming back, in it's 5th season now. I was pulling up winter weed growth from inside and around it and pulled up a little snake. About 8 inches long and still really slow from the cool ground. Tossed him over into another shady area and decided it would be wiser to put my knee pad down on the already bare dirt instead of on the part I haven't pulled yet just in case he/she had siblings laying in wait. It was just a harmless garden snake, there have been some in the yard longer than we have lived here, but feeling one wiggling across my bare leg wasn't something I wanted to chance.

Next I moved on to the part where the peach tree used to be and the squirrel feeder is now. I had transplanted a Blaze climbing rose there a couple of weeks ago...that thing had a root two feet long, not deep but long. Thought I never would get to the end of it when I was digging it up. The stems above ground are still green, certainly hope I didn't do any permanent damage to it in the move.
In the part of that area I got done before my body started yelling "foul" I must have scooped up a zillion peach pits. The last 5+ years of the trees life it produced peaches but they all fell off before ripening. There are at least a zillion more out there and almost that many peach seedlings sprouting up around it.

Oh yeah, I started pulling weeds in the area where we will be putting down pavers for a patio.

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Fence post and beer can tabs

Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Mon Mar 19, 2007 2:00 pm

I got the landscape fabric and mulch down on the new bed. Found an edging that is super easy to put down so that bed is ready.

I started expanding the main garden along the east side. I found the usual half dozen beer can tabs.
Those pumpkin seedlings are getting huge and will need to be in the ground soon. I have never grown pumpkins before so I hope I have enough room for them.

While digging weeds/grass out and hand tilling I hit something hard, again. Thought it was more bricks but turned out to the the bottom section of a metal fence post, the type used on farms made out of iron bent at a 90 degree angle. It was very jagged on the end that was just a few inches before ground level, Randy was able to drill a hole thru it and use the car jack to pull it out.

This house was built in 1967 on land that for many, many years before that had been a cotton field. In fact, thru the rEcycle list I own, I met a lady who went to school with the children who lived on this farm back then.
Scenario #1....a farmhand ran over the fence post with a tractor, didn't want to mess with pulling it up so he used a torch to cut it off at what was then ground level and installed a replacement a few inches away.
Scenario #2....when the contractors people were clearing the land in preparation for building the houses this fence post (and possibly others that have not been found yet) wouldn't come up out of the hard dry clay that hot summer day so they took a blow torch to it (or them) then dumped fill dirt on top of them.
That was the largest find but not the best. The ring I found out there years ago is still the best I have found http://www.gardenstew.com/viewtopic.php?t=853&highlight=

This morning my shoulders aren't as sore as they were last night so it is time to get back out there. Looks like another completely overcast day with a nice breeze, I should have plenty of time to get a lot done.




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Bricks -- a root crop?

Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 3:10 pm

Yesterday I got the black landscape fabric and mulch down where the Lantana bed will be. The very friendly dog next door was trying to help me get the whole area covered with the fabric but his idea was to dig under the fence until his paw would fit thru, stick his toenails into the fabric and pull it to his side of the fence. I found a length of plastic edging, Randy hammered it down into the ground along the fence and Clown lost interest in my project.

Then I worked on expanding the bed along the back fence.
I have a garden feature I have been wanting to get installed and planted for a couple of years, now I have finally figured out the best place for it and will get it done.
In the process of removing the weeds/grass and hand tilling the soil, I started hitting hard objects about two inches under ground. Found an edge of one of the objects with the trowel and levered it up. Up popped a nice dark red brick, used the same technique on the next one and up popped another one. In total in that 2 foot x 3 foot space I unearthed a dozen nice dark red bricks.
I had attempted to have a vegie garden near that spot about 18 years ago and had used bricks to outline the bed, those I have been digging up over the last few years in the making of my garden. These may have been extras from that project and just got covered over with dirt and grass during those years.

On the other side of where I was yesterday and will finish up today is where I want to create a long bed for the pumpkin seeds that actually sprouted for me this week. I had saved seeds from some pie pumpkins I bought a couple of years ago, found them in the freezer and decided why not. I planted 4 and two are now almost three inches tall.

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Wandered and now I am worried

Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 3:07 pm

I really love the way fresh rain makes the yard and garden look.
The grass (or what passes for grass in my yard) glistens with rain droplets making the green all that much greener.
The cypress mulch, which had turned grayish having been faded by the hot, glaring sun for months, is now almost it's original beautiful honey brown color.
The spots of bare earth have taken on a dark, rich black color and are squishy to the touch instead of the hard as concrete dry clay it really is.
The perennials and new seedlings are growing taller as you look at them. And there are two yellow Siberian Irises that are about to open and buds swelling on many of the others. Woohoo, this many have never bloomed before and certainly not this early in the spring.

What has me worried after viewing the wonder of nature? Well you might ask. For the worry is that not all of what we have that passes for grass is growing in it's proper place. The rain droplets are also glistening on those clumps that are growing amongst the perennials and seedlings. And not just a few either, for everywhere I looked this morning I saw new clumps needing to be pulled up. I did a major weeding out last week and until the rains came the weeds were under control, but no more.

It is too soggy for weeding this morning and I have other things lined up for today so the weeding will have to wait until tomorrow. The sun is slowly poking it's head thru the overcast so it will have plenty of time to dry things out to make the work easier tomorrow. But on the other hand it will also have plenty of time to shine down on those weeds, encouraging them to grow, grow, grow.


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Well that was interesting

Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 10:38 pm

Springtime thunderstorms are a hoot!!! I have really missed them the last few years. Of course, it has been even longer since there has been a tornado in our immediate vacinity and those I do not miss.

Now the brilliant flashes of lightning and claps of thunder that rattled the windows and had me jumping have moved off to the north-north-east. The wind was blowing the rain at an angle so the rain gauge doesn't have an accurate total but I am guessing we got 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch. Just looking at the ground you wouldn't believe it tho, it was so dry out there (no rain since January 12) that it soaked in as quickly as it fell.

The Springer Spaniel that Lisa has is deathly afraid of thunder. She has clawed and chewed her way thru doors, walls, plastic dog crates and mattresses trying to get away from the noise in the past. Lisa and the boys went to the Ft. Worth Zoo today and were not home when the storms reached us. Kenny called and asked us to go up to their house to put Stormy in her crate. She was a basket case when we got there. I had some benadryl and a slice of cheese with me, the benadryl helps her sleep thru the storms.

The Carrollton Ham Radio club weather spotters group was activated about 4 this afternoon. So Randy took off to sit in a parking lot along one of the highways, watching for high winds, heavy rain, hail and/or tornados. He should be home pretty soon now that things are clearing up.

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Time change in my schedule

Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 6:02 pm

Well DUH.
For the last few years I would get out in the yard first thing in the morning before it got too hot. Then when I had to come in I would be so tired, sore and sleepy from the heat that doing the necessary household chores (yes I do them, when I have to, I guess) was a CHORE. And I was always behind in them because I just didn't have the energy to get them finished. And forget sitting and knitting while watching a movie, I would be asleep before the opening credits were complete.

Lately, Randy and I have been having a quite sit and chat time out in the yard in the late afternoon. The sun is low enough in the sky on the other side of the house that the whole yard is in shade and really very pleasant. So now I need to stock up on easy for 'them' to fix dinners or crockpot meals...either of which suits me just fine since I really do not enjoy cooking anyway. And no having Randy cook is NOT an option, same thing goes for Amanda.

I think the new schedule will work at least until June. Then it won't matter how far down the sun is, it will still be in the upper 90's and being outside then is not an option for me.
I think during the summer I might see about changing my schedule to garden by the security light we have out back. Maybe get a miners hat, with the light on the front, for the areas of the yard not illuminated by the light on the 20 foot pole.


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Why no new plants yet

Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 7:28 pm

Looking thru two garden centers on Friday was extremely difficult. I had bought the one plant at HD, they have evidently changed mulch suppliers and no longer carry the brand I like so we had to go to Lowes.
We went to Lowes for the mulch and a small window AC unit for Amanda's room, her room is on the southwest corner of the house and we have never been able to keep it cool even when the room was my sewing room.
I had to pass thru the garden center using my hands as blinders as I followed Randy to the mulch. Probably a few husbands were thinking that they wished they had their wives as well trained. I did see a gorgeous Delphinium on the cart of one lucky lady as she went to her car and did check the others on the tables just in case I had to have one, but it appeared that she got the last good one.

I have way more seeds planted than I might have room for already and some vegie seeds on their way.
But I also have some perennials to divide this spring that I had not factored into my gardening plans.

The Mexican Mint Marigold should have been split last spring so now I will be dividing it into three plants which means finding places for those two new ones.

The Texas Betony also needs to be divided and again I let it go a couple of years longer than I should so there will be three plants with two more to find space for.

The two Lemon Balms, which actually stayed green all winter, need to be divided in half...that means two more. Plus it dropped seeds and at least three of them are becoming nice sized clumps already....so there are three more to move.

Something tells me that the plants I have in the ground now and the new seedlings will be the max I have room for at least until I get the rest of the back yard dug up and converted to flower beds.


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