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Just singing in the rain

Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Fri Feb 24, 2006 11:24 pm

thank your lucky stars that you don't have to hear me tho. We are only getting about 1/2 inch but it has been a slow steady rain almost all day.

Of course this was the first chance I had to go to one of the best native/organic nurseries in the county. The herb section is covered so I was able to shop and stay fairly dry. It was certainly pleasant listening to the rain hitting the plastic roofing and the ocassional splash of water hitting the top of my head and running into my eye was really, I truely enjoyed it.

FRED will soon be home to more plants.....
Pennyroyal where our dog has to go thru it to come inside
Curry....I don't cook very much but the plants smell soooo good
Thyme, again I don't cook but I like it
Feverfew, good for headaches so I hope to dry it for tea when needed
Tarragon, my oldest loves it in flavored vinegar
Lemon Balm, again I love the smell
Sage....purple sage actually
Peppermint, again for tea
2 sweet pea vines that I think will be turned loose to cover the windmill
one pink phlox (yes I hate pink and yes I bought a pink one, call me weak when it comes to pretty plants)
3 scarlet geraniums for the planter on the front porch

Next week will be wonderful gardening weather here, close to 80F by the end of next week.

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Colder than a well diggers back pocket

Category: Random bulletins from my brain | Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 1:00 am

Winter is here. Only three months late and only 4 days long but I was afraid it had forgotten us completely.
24 degrees F outside with a wind chill of 11 degrees now.
Supper of red beans with rice and cornbread.....hubby will be making lattes later and I am starting over for the 4th time on a sweater whose gauge I just can't seem to get correct.

Grandsons are here for the weekend, they are playing video games with my youngest daughter and eating supper.

This blog entry has been viewed 471 times

Oh yeah, the front yard

Category: Random bulletins from my brain | Posted: Wed Feb 15, 2006 2:57 pm

I need a lackey, my husband thinks it is him but he hates yard work and won't do but a portion of the work that needs done out in the front yard. He did buy a chainsaw last week and volunteered to use it last evening...saying something about making up for forgetting to buy me chocolates or flowers for Valentines. Guilt can be a good thing, wonder how much yard work I can get out of him because of it. hehehehe

We have two crepe myrtles between the sidewalk and the street that I trimmed yesterday morning. I do NOT cut them way back as appears to be the way the so called landscapers say it should be done, most landscape experts call that crepe murder. Mine are just trimmed enough to keep them from scratching cars parking in the street and let people walk down the sidewalk by them without having to double over to do it.

We will be taking out the remains of the original shrubs next to the house. They were planted when the house was built and are way too high maintenance. I want to replace them with an assortment of native grass plants, then work on filling the rest of the yard with native plants.

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Fred's Birdy Bed-n-Breakfast

Category: FRED - the garden | Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 8:34 pm

We had a king-size bed headboard in the backroom for several years that my daughter didn't want with her bed, so we attached it to the back wall and started adding the birdhouses.

The two on the right have seen many babies over the past 5 years, especially the smaller one. One Momma sparrow hatched at least 10 babies in it between April and June of last year.

The red two story one in the middle must be cursed or may sparrows don't like the color red, it has been there as long as those other two but never been used.
The two on the left were just added last month, but already have had Mommas checking them out for their families this spring.

The houses face east so they get the morning sun in early spring, then when the large pecan tree nearby leafs out they are shaded from the summer heat. The eave overhang is quite deep so they are protected from the rain too.

My washing machine and dryer are in the back room just to the left of that wall and with the window open in spring I can hear the babies cheeping and keep an eye on their progress while doing the dreaded laundry.

This blog entry has been viewed 643 times

The Moon doesn't lie

Category: Random bulletins from my brain | Posted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 3:41 pm

Last Saturday (Jan 28) we had just about 1.5 inches of rain and it was wonderful. No drought breaker but it was nice. After that the weather people stated that they didn't see anymore rain in our future, at least for the next 7-10 days, since February is typically one of our dryer months. Heck, the last 10 months have been dryer than the normal February.

They did forecast a cool front to come thru last night, dropping the temps from the 70's(f) down to the 40-50's(f) for today but any rain that came with it would be well to our south and east....we would remain dry.

Last night I needed my hubbys muscles and pickup truck for a trip to Home Depot for mulch, a new rake and a few bits to put together an arbor this weekend. Got the things at the indoor part of the store and headed out to the enclosed but unroofed garden center. Loaded bags of mulch on the cart and I happened to look up to see the sliver of the waxing moon surrounded by a mist. Aha, that means rain within 24 hours.

My hubby works at home two days a week and this week his home days are Thurs and Friday. So this morning when he got up he heard it and immediately woke me since he knows how much I love to watch it........RAIN!!

The sky is getting lighter now and the rain has almost stopped but my rain gauge out back has just a bit over 1/2 inch in it and I am happy.

This blog entry has been viewed 488 times

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.

This blog entry has been viewed 542 times

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 487 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 1340 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 504 times

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