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What do these plants have in common?

Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 2:09 pm

Munstead Lavender
2 Obedient plants
2 Impatients - hot Red in color
4 Persian Shields
Greek Oregano
3 Patchouli
3 Artemisia 'Powis Castle'
Ganzia Linearis 'Colorado Gold' aka African Daisy
Aegopodium 'Snow on the Mountain'

The question was just too easy, they all will soon be residing comfortably in my garden of course.

Yesterday we headed out east of Dallas to check out an 'antique gas stove' that had been offered on freecycle and we had been given first choice of. Well as it turns out the description was not as detailed as it should have been, so instead of finding a neat stove that could have been made useable with a little work, we found one that rodents and dirt dobbers (relative of wasps) had been nesting in for about 8 years. With that much internal damage it would never have been safe to use and is most likely headed for a scrap metal dealer.
Anyway, the trip was a nice outing for Randy and I. Had breakfast out, got to see a little town neither of us had ever visited. Also, we went right passed the location of a really good organic garden center that I only get to once or twice a year. Randy had the pleasure of pushing the cart while I loaded it up with plants. He also found a really neat hummingbird feeder for his Mom for Mother's Day so 1/3 of the final cost of that visit was not my fault.

After we got home, Randy worked on the bathroom sink drain and found he needed to make a trip to Home Depot for a part. He should have known not to ask me to come along, but he did it anyway. I was hoping to find some summer bulbs on sale and promised I wouldn't buy much, if anything. I didn't buy much, just one Elephant Ear bulb to replace the Sweet Broom bush out at the back fence that didn't make it thru the winter....and 3 Purple Coneflowers 'Echinacea purpurea'.

Today is another dentist appointment for Amanda, then it will be either too warm or possibly raining this afternoon. Tomorrow is supposed to be really stormy, so it will be Wednesday before I can get started on the planting. I already know where everything is going so the planting will be the easy part. Getting Randy up off the floor after he saw the total at the garden center was more difficult.

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Up, Up and Away

Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 9:26 pm

I was looking out the front door yesterday afternoon and saw a lot of buggies flying up from the sidewalk, checked it out and realized that we had termites and they were swarming. I hosed them down with a bug spray and got the ones I could see.
Later I went out back to water the seedlings that were out soaking up some sun and saw the same thing happening out there. Looked around and there were literally thousands swarming and flying off. This time I went to HD for some stronger insecticide to hose down the whole backyard. By the time I got back almost all of the swarm was gone, flying off to cause damage to other places. With apologies and regrets to the beneficial bugs out there, I got the yard sprayed, Randy sprayed the sides and front yard. Had a termite control guy come out this afternoon, he said that in a house this age it would be a miracle if there hadn't been termites already. Sure enough he did find evidence of some previous damage, but since we have not seen any of them inside and two years when our side room was gutted and rebuilt those guys didn't see any evidence of damage when they took off the interior walls he didn't think there would be any real concern yet. He suggested we get some termite monitoring tubes and place them in the ground several places thru the yard, check them every month and if they show up then put a food stick in the tube so they will have an easy meal instead of eating on the house, call him and he would come do an extensive spraying.
He was really nice, he is a local Fireman, the name of his company is Off Duty Fireman Termite Control. We would much rather help out his business than one of the big companies. He was the one who suggested we get the tubes at Home Depot instead of paying him $300-$500 to do it since he didn't think it was an emergency but was something to keep an eye on.

Would have been interesting to see him in full fire fighter gear, he was cute. Yeah and probably young enough to be my son. ;)


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No major damage from the storm

Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 5:30 pm

I have plans for today that do not include being out in the garden. I need to get some herb tea mixtures put together. And I absolutely have to go thru those two larges boxes of LP's Mom gave me a few months ago. There are some I want to put on CD for me, she doesn't want any of them recorded for her use and no one else in the family is interested in them...think I will do some research to see if ebay is a possibility for some of them.

I did go out to survey the plants after the heavy rain Friday and the high winds yesterday. It looks like a couple of limbs of the Fig tree have been damaged and will most likely have to come off. I should have trimmed off some at least a month ago, gotta get that done before they start getting heavy with figs.
The rain did splay out the Texas Betony and the Gaura, I need to put a stronger fencing around them to hold them up straight. The Paprika Yarrow is sorta smooshed down again this year, rain got it last year too. But this time it looks like it will stand up again since the stems were shorter this time than last time and it has buds forming.

I also put some seedlings out to begin the hardening off process, specifically the Pumpkins, Gourds and Morning Glories. With these storms lately (it appears there are more in our future, it is really nice to be having a normal spring even with the storms)....anyway, it is delaying when I feel safe putting seedlings out in the ground and that is something new for me.
I have to keep reminding myself that it is only mid- April and even tho summer will be another scorcher as usual, something keeps telling me to slow down and not to stress out about it this year.

Randy is teaching our son-in-law how to do some work on their mini-van today and is supposed to bring home the bricks Lisa is giving me. Maybe tomorrow I can get started on the wishing well. That nice big area I cleared out a couple of months ago is almost covered with weeds again.







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Adventures of Blaze, the Climbing Rose

Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 2:48 am

We have been in this house for just over 20 years so when I say many years ago, I mean many years ago.
Many years ago I planted my first rose, it was a Climbing Blaze Rose, at the side of the old metal shed.

It grew like a weed and every spring was covered with blooms, but unlike some Blaze's it only bloomed once.
One winter we had several days in a row of temps ranging from 10 at night to 20 during the day and the rose died back to the ground. The next spring it made a complete recovery, stems were coming up quickly and were soon covered in buds. When they bloomed the roses were white...it had died back to the root stock. Later that spring one more stem started blooming and was soon covered with red roses.

The next spring you wouldn't have known it had ever been damaged by weather, except for the white and red blooms on the same plant and they were joined that year by a stem of pink blooms.
The next year the white and pink had disappeared and replaced by only red blooms.

Over time the birds planted an evergreen shrub on top of it and since the gardening bug hadn't really bitten me yet, I just didn't take the time to do anything about that. But Blaze, being so resilient and able to take care of herself found a way to move herself. She started coming up at the corner of the shed and soon was all the way around the corner and almost a foot away from the shed wall, moving herself about 5 feet from where I had planted her. And in the process of moving the original plant died.

She tried so hard putting out many long stems every year, I propped up a trellis for her and had to keep her tied to it but she would break free be in the way of the tractor mower when Randy drove it out of the shed and get a haircut every week. She wasn't getting enough sunlight there anyway, so last fall I trimmed her way back.

This spring when we put up my bloom house, it became apparent that she would have to move again and this time I would be the mover. I trimed the three stems back to about 6 inches long then started using the garden fork to get her up. I ended up having a two foot long trench across the path before I was able to pull the root up.
I found a spot on the other side of the yard, dug a two foot long trench and laid the root in it. I have been watering and watching the three little stems for signs of life. The stems have stayed green since the move in early March and today I found what I had been hoping for. Two of the stems have tiny leaves coming out...I was so afraid I had killed her but now I'm so relieved.

Of course, back over at the corner of the metal shed there are now three more stems coming up from yet another part of her that I didn't know was there. I think I will just leave them alone and keep them cut back to a managable size. They may not ever bloom but I just can't bring myself to kill something with such a determination to live.


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'Guns' and Roses

Category: Puttering Around The House | Posted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 9:04 pm

We are now locked and loaded. Well not actually, but we do now have an alarm system installed. I have to get used to having the alarm beep everytime I open either the front or back door and please-oh-please let us remember to turn the alarm off before letting Rambo out back at 3:30 in the morning!!

Not all windows are alarmed, just the ones that can not be seen from the street. But there is a motion detector in the house if someone should get in without a neighbor or passerby seeing them.

The installer was very nice and he even brought his own vacuum cleaner with him for getting up the wood dust left on the floor from the holes he had to drill.
Now I just need the ummph to get some things put back in their proper places, things that had to be moved to allow him access to the attic, my closet where the control box is and in front of our bedroom windows.

Amanda is asking for rose bushes to be planted under her front bedroom window. She figures several thorny bushes should be a good deterent and that gives me the perfect excuse for buying those rose bushes I found online back in February....the Black Baccara, 2 Hot Cocoa, Midnight Blue and Angel Face from heirloomroses.com





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Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 12:12 am

Our weather will be returning to normal for April over the next few days. The snow flurries that were in the area on Saturday were the first reported in north Texas since exactly 69 years ago....April 7th, 1938. We did not have a freeze afterall, tomorrow I will be putting the seedlings back in the bloom house. Time to put some in the sun for a while everyday so they can grow stronger too. Amanda did not know we had brought them in Saturday afternoon until she came out for supper, then she asked if I had bought out a garden shop.

Yesterday I got the obelisk put together, the one I found at our favorite thrift store back in January. In the main bed I found two pole bean sprouts coming up from last years crop. I had thought that either the squirrels or the drought had gotten them all since I didn't find any out there last summer. The one in front of the wheelbarrow needs to be moved to join it's sister behind the wheelbarrow then the obelisk will be put there for them to climb on.

Today Randy, Amanda and I treated ourselves to lunch out, we were going to go to a movie but couldn't find any we all wanted to see. We did find a small mall with what appears to be the only 75% Off Book Store left in the area. The books are new,overstocks from publishers or from stores that just could sell them and they are all under $7. I found a nice one of Ansel Adams photographs for Lisa's birthday, she loves his photos especially the ones of the American Southwest area in New Mexico and I got one on basket weaving for me. We stopped for ice cream at a Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream shop, then home. We passed two Calloway's Nurserys, both of which were open, I sighed deeply but never said anything about stopping, Randy apparently did not take my hints seriously.

Tomorrow I am going up to the city pound to rent a humane trap. I really want to get rid of the stray cats in this neighborhood. They rip thru some of my flowers chasing birds or squirrels. I am tired of finding bird feathers and pieces in the yard, they jump up on the birdbaths knocking them over - the tray on the large one is cracked and chipped, I glued the tray to the stand after that time so it is safe but the smaller ones aren't. They have even started coming into the backroom thru the window we leave a raised a little for Rambo to use on his way in and out and knock things off shelves scouting around for whatever.

I think I will put off working in the yard until Tuesday, it is supposed to be a little warmer and my old bones are tired of being cold this spring.







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I just don't want to, so there!

Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Wed Apr 04, 2007 8:41 pm

Have you ever just not wanted to go work in the yard? Today was one of those days.

Took Amanda to the dentist for stage one of a root canal this morning, got home almost noon. I had planned on getting out back when we got home but I just can't get out there.

It is a beautiful day for gardening in north Texas, sunny but at the same time the front that came thru last night is keeping it really comfy. This time yesterday it was 84, today it is 66. Thinking about the weather makes me feel guilty for not being out there....so I went out to have a look around and take a picture of the first bearded Iris in bloom.

I also opened up the door of my bloom house to let the air thru and realized that the pumpkin seedlings really have to go in the ground soon, they are about 8 inches tall now. Really hate to put them out yet since the forecast for later this week includes more heavy rain storms and I don't want them broken down.
Oh, wait, I just realized that I could get them in the ground tomorrow and protect them when needed by turning a plastic storage box upside down and putting it on top of them, weigh it down with a brick so the wind doesn't blow it away...that would work.

We did some tree trimming yesterday evening. One of the branches was a really long one on the large Hackberry. It was putting too much weight on the part near the trunk of the tree, that part has grown out perpendicular with the ground for almost 10 feet and is a really cool looking feature, I didn't want it to be damaged by the end of the branch getting too heavy.
Pointed out to Randy where to cut...which was just a little away from the hanging birdfeeder. He took the chainsaw to it, then we chopped it into smaller sections and carried them to the curb....I did not fall when doing that chore this time. Went back to look things over for other possible branches to take off and realized that without that weight on the branch, the end of it was now about 12 feet off the ground. Have you guessed where this is going yet? That meant that the birdfeeder is now about 7 feet off the ground. I can reach the bottom of the feeder but can not pull it down and hold it while raising the lid to fill it. We will need to make the chain longer so I can feed the birds before they think they are starving to death.

I will get out there tomorrow. I haven't finished getting the area around the half barrels cleared out and I noticed the weeds are enjoying the absence of me and my trowel too much. That heavy rain is forecast for Friday into Saturday so tomorrow is it for the rest of this week.




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Just another morning in the yard

Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 7:27 pm

After last weeks 2.5 inches of rain I knew it would take a few days for the ground to become less soggy enough to work without feeling more like making mudpies, today the soil is just about right. It still sticks to the trowel but not too bad.

Last night we went to Lowes for the 10 bags of mulch I need this week and 5 bags of potting soil. But NO PLANTS, booohoooo, we didn't realize they closed early on Sunday nights and got there 10 minutes before they locked up. Randy loaded a cart with the mulch and a smaller one with the soil. He pulled the heavy one to the checkout counter but took a more direct route than I did.
The cart and I made a few detours and extra turns but got to the checkout eventually. I blame it on the wheels of the cart I was pulling, they just wouldn't go in a straight line, kept making turns that coincided with the aisles of plants. I think someone in the corporation had put a computer chip in that cart so the customer would not be in control of where that cart went. I didn't have time to actually shop but did get to look at what they had.

Last Saturday the trip to our favorite thrift store proved beneficial to them and to me. I came home with a couple of baskets, a large bowl that will become home to a waterlily and an old school type desk that fits perfectly into my bloom house as a potting table.


This morning I cleared out the area in front of the bloom house, the old potting table is going out for trash pickup, pulled weeds and laid down 7 bags of mulch and made a really cool comfy spot.

To the left of my new comfy area where the main Iris bed is.





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My birthday gift a month early

Category: Puttering Around The House | Posted: Sun Apr 01, 2007 2:39 am

I have a stack of records that I just don't want to get rid of...for you youngsters reading this, records are also called albums and LP's and my Mom gave us two good sized boxes of the records that she and Daddy collected over the years. Many of those I have no interest in but some are ones I remember hearing when I was still a kid at home and would like to hear again.

Since the advent of CD's we have been collecting our favorite albums on CD when they become available. But several of my favorites are not yet and from what I can find out will not be out on CD.
We have a turntable that came with a stereo but hooking it up to the stereo and that to the computer and hoping everything went just right was a major pain. So my records have just sat waiting to be heard someday.

Today I got my birthday present early. We found a USB Turntable (brand name ION) at Hot Topic, unusual store for it but whatever works. Randy got it hooked up for me and now I can record my records to the computer then to a CD and even a DVD for long term storage in case a CD gets scratched or broken.

I started with the Exile album then moved to the stack of Ed Ames records. Got two albums recorded before the Rod Stewart concert on PBS started. I am going to be having a blast from the past getting these recorded.


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