Thursday, December 1, 2016

Bird of Paradise Update Part Deux

If you read this post and this one, you'll know that I'm trying to revive a gifted Bird of Paradise plant. I've managed to get new shoots to open but the planter still looked a little bare. I had a few young philodendron plants that I didn't know what to do with, so on a whim, I added them to the base.


Much better don't you think? It's my hope that the Bird of Paradise will continue to improve and the philodendron will fill out and spill over 360 degrees.

I'm also playing around with filters on my camera. Kinda liking the subdued colors and antique effect on this one.

Anyone, stay tuned for more updates!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Mini Succulent Garden

I have several variety of succulents in pots around the yard and had more than a few leaves drop while cleaning up. I didn't want to toss them so I thought I'd create a mini planter for my desk at work.

The succulent in the center already had a good root system so that one is actually buried in the potting mix. As for the others, I simply arranged the succulent leaves as I wanted on top of the soil. As the leaves broke down, they gave way to new plants which will be rooted in the potting mix.

 
 
I already had the pot, which is lined with pebbles at the bottom to help with drainage. (It is temporarily resting on the charger, which is awaiting a Christmas makeover.)

Even though I used good quality potting mix and plan to fertilize when required, it will take a few months for these to grow in. They have a nice, sunny perch near a window and will be most delightful to look at. Can't hardly wait!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Bird of Paradise Update

If you read this post back in August, then you know that while my Bird of Paradise has been putting out new shoots, the leaves were not unfurling. After some research, I discovered that the plant was not getting sufficient sunlight in my entry and was temporarily relocated to the back porch. Now that evening temperatures have cooled off, we had to move it back inside, this time in the kitchen. With two new shoots!

Every day I would inspect with bated breath but to my pleasant surprise, both leaves opened completely. Now, I am not sure if this is due to the massive amounts of sunlight the plant received on my south-facing back porch for over two months or the filtered sunlight it receives in my kitchen. Only new shoots will determine that. But in the meantime, I am enjoying a moment of bliss, having saved this soon-to-be gorgeous plant. Now, for it to bloom...


Monday, September 26, 2016

There's Good News and Bad News

I've not done a great job this summer photo journaling my garden. Sometimes life happens and blogging is on the lower end of the totem pole. So when I had a few minutes this past weekend, I thought I'd snap these quick photos to share with you.

I have had an abundance of bell peppers and hot banana peppers this summer. And my bushes are still yielding in spite of the lingering heat and my lack of attention.


Earlier in the year, I had the bright idea to plant a pumpkin vine to have a pumpkin-lined front porch for the cost of a pack of seeds. This is what I had in mind:

http://homehinges.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/autumn-porch2.jpg

My pumpkin vine was lush and green and spread like wildfire. There was blossoms galore. I just knew my pumpkin-lined was going to happen this year. But in spite of the blossoms and tiny, little pumpkins on the vine, there was one sole-survivor:


I don't even know what I'm going to do with it yet. So for now its my lone fall decoration on the kitchen counter.

Anyway, that's what I've been up to. What's happening in your garden?

Friday, September 2, 2016

Zinnia Bug Power

Every year I plant zinnias for Blinky. We love the vibrant colors and the assortment of butterflies and moth they attract.

There are patches all over our yard. But the one I get to enjoy most is in my compost. (Where do you plant the bajillionth seedling pack when you've run out of space everywhere else?) Today, I spotted these beauties:

 
 
  

 
In the first three photos, I believe these are monarchs because they lack the black markings on the hindwings of the Viceroy and the white spots of the Queen. But you decide here. The final picture is of a daytime moth. I am working on identifying it. (If you look really closely, you'll see a pesky little caterpillar, hence all the holes in my leaves.)
 
Other species visit the zinnias at night. I've seen hummingbird moths and a few others I haven't yet been able to identify. I'm working on that too.
 
Hope you guys have a great holiday weekend!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Pumpkins Finally!!!

Last fall I planted a pumpkin vine in the hope that I would have a beautiful fall display on my front porch. The vine did well and did in fact produce pumpkins, however I planted it too late in the season and the frost killed the vine and the pumpkins before they had a chance to mature.

Fast forward to this summer. I planted my vine in late June. I have had a gorgeous, healthy, blossom-laden vine for months, but no pumpkins. I'd all but given up on it when I spotted this beauty:


It's the only one I've noticed but I'm hoping under all that foliage are a few more. Hopefully they will have another eight weeks to mature and I can start decorating away!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Updates

It's been raining and hot here in the southeast, a combination which makes gardening next to impossible. After a very full day (nay, weekend), I finally ventured outside around 6pm while the DH and kids were happily watching a movie in the air-conditioned house.

First task was watering all the potted plants with found water from the HVAC unit. Five gallons later, I began repotting several plants that had been forced to wait on me for far too long. I also did a little cleanup in the veggie garden area, mainly trimming vines and a little weeding. Finally, I ended the evening transplanting a volunteer crape myrtle that sprung up near my fire hydrant. (God really does have a sense of humor as he saw fit to multiply a tree that I have unsuccessfully tried to for years.)

There's one change inside, being the absence of a 50lb bird of paradise plant in my entryway. I was gifted it by a co-worker a few months ago and have been trying to nurse it back to health. I repotted it and tried to make it work in the entryway, but alas the lighting was not right. After little to no success in coaching new leaf growth, I did a little research and learned that these plants are best left outdoors when the weather is warm enough. The DH was kind enough to transfer it to the patio, which I hope will be just the fix I need.


As I type this, I notice it's raining outside my office window. Again. But as I think about southern Louisiana's devastation, this is nothing to complain about. It will dry up and I will once again find a small window in which to tend to my garden.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

They'rrrrrrre Baaaaaaack!!!

Remember not long ago when the DH accidentally edged my bridal wreath spirea? Well thankfully the roots survived and my little fighter is making a comeback. Yay!!
 

 
If I seem a little too excited, its because it took forever for me to find two of these bushes. They are old-fashioned plants and not easy to come by in big box nurseries (at least in my area). So I'm eagerly anticipating mature shrubs that will just be awash in white blooms. This is a setback for sure, but it could have been worse.
 
From now on, and much to the DH's chagrin, I'll be supervising the edging. You know, just in case he gets trigger happy again.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Hydrangea-Mania

When we bought our home ten years ago, it was a brand new house built on land used for grazing animals. The developers leveled every tree in sight. This means I have zero shade while I wait for the trees I planted to mature. [Cue video about grass growing.] There is however one tiny area on the north side that receives partial shade from our house's shadow. In went the hydrangeas!

 
Can you tell pink is my favorite?!?

 
I just adore these circular blooms.

 
I would love to have a grouping elsewhere on my property but for now these will have to do. Although I hear limelight hydrangeas do well in full sun. Something to think about.



Friday, May 27, 2016

Fresh Spinach Salad

So you know from previous posts that I am growing a wealth of spinach. The kids won't eat it outright but I am finding creative ways to incorporate it into their diets. I've added it to spaghetti and smoothies with much success. Recently, I came across this recipe for Spinach Chocolate Chip Muffins that I'm eager to try.

As for me, I like it fresh in a salad. I made this last night:


Here's the recipe:

3 handfuls of freshly chopped spinach
1 large tomato, diced
1/4 onion, dices
1 small jalapeno, cut as finely as possible
salt and pepper to taste
juice of 1 freshly squeezed lemon
chill and serve

I love the acidity of the lemon juice with the earthiness of the spinach.

Let me know what you think.

Friday, May 20, 2016

May

It's been a good month for gardening. We've had healthy amounts of rain and its not prohibitively hot which means I've been able to weed everything.

My veggie garden is coming along nicely. To my pleasant surprise, I have a peach tree, two Idaho potato plants and several watermelon vines (the latter will be transplanted or given away) growing in my compost. Other than Blinky uprooting and subsequently killing one of my marigold plants; my main preventative measure in my tomato and pepper bed; I could not be more pleased with this section.


Occasionally I have to run the sprinkler for the veggie garden and found it amusing that the water created a line of demarcation in the grass. Can you see it?



While letting the dog out at lunch, I noticed my hydrangeas are starting to bloom. Aren't they beautiful? They are a pink hybrid, but one is starting to adopt a purple tinge. While also beautiful, I prefer pink. Will have to get a soil test and amend according.

 
Finally, a butterfly bush bloom to kick start your weekend:
 


How does your garden grow?

Monday, April 25, 2016

Crape Myrtle Flower Bed Expansion

Last weekend, the DH was kind enough to dig the holes for my Crape Myrtle flower bed expansion. [Try saying that five times!] On either side, I placed two Encore azaleas with a bridal wreath spirea in between. Here's what it looks like:


 
 
Of course I backfilled with good potting soil (i.e. rich in nutrients), combined with the original topsoil. Because the DH dug the holes the depth of the pot, I had tons of red, clay dirt leftover.

 
We're waiting on the cover of night to empty the dirt-filled wagon in the vacant lot across the street. I kid you not.
 
Still to do:
  • Dig up grass around the expansion.
  • Add some type of border. (The plastic border held up fairly well for the first few years, however it has gotten brittle and breaks when it comes into contact with the mower or edger. We priced having a stone edging installed but that was waaaaayyy over our budget and an over-investment for our area. We're currently looking into metal edging.)
  • Mulch
It's quite an undertaking as we're at the ball fields FIVE nights a week! But in the interest of cost, I'm determined to do this myself. I would like to have it completed before June when the grandparents start their summer treks. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Amaryllis and Veggie Garden Pics

Sunday was pretty sunny, so I was able to snap a few shots for you.

Flanking my maple tree:

 
By the HVAC unit:

 

 

By the mailbox:

 
In the backyard near the vegetable garden:
 
 
Still waiting to bloom in the backyard:
 

 
And finally the vegetable garden:

 
Blueberry bushes are in the back left bed. Spinach is in one half of the front left bed. I am going to add some peas or beans in the other half, which will help shade the spinach when the weather gets really hot. If you look really closely, the white poles against the house are my bean trellises. The DH made them for me out of PVC and they work really well.
 
My new compost pile is in the back right bed, and tomatoes and peppers are in the front right bed.
 
The flat in the walkway is filled with sunflower and zinnia seedlings for the kids. Not sure where I am going to transplant them yet.
 
Over in the corner there is a blueberry bush, two young Crape Myrtles, two century plants and a garlic bulb all of which need transplanting or new homes.
 
So much to do and so little time (especially spending most nights at the ball fields), but I'm getting there.



Friday, April 15, 2016

Updates Finally!!!

My amaryllis are in bloom and I have been waiting a week to photograph them but the rain won't let me. In fact, I'm afraid the blooms will start to fade long before I have a sunny opportunity to capture them. Bummer.

In other news, I have decided to enlarge the crape myrtle flower bed in the front yard with the azalea bushes that I wrote about in this post. I even purchased two bridal wreath spireas to add to it. I just love their cascading look and think the texture and color will compliment my bed nicely. Mine are very young, but here's a picture of a mature one:

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/bridal-wreath-spirea-white-flowers-florist-barbara-griffin.html

Also, the hummingbird feeders are out. I've purchased a new, wooden bird feeder, even bought a large bag of bird seed, but I still need to get it hung. Baby steps.

But perhaps the best news of all is that my veggie garden is in! In fact, it was installed a few weeks ago, I just haven't gotten around to writing about it. Yet. It has benefitted greatly from the rain and the kids and I are looking forward to watching it grow.

Sadly, no bird nests that we've noticed around the yard. Even the bluebirds that have nested in one of my backyard birdhouses for years have gone MIA. {Sigh} Maybe next year.

What's going on in your neck of the woods?

Thursday, March 17, 2016

My Favorite Things

Blooming daffodils means its officially spring and this chick couldn't be happier!!!
 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

I'm not crazy! This is all part of my master plan!!

For all the times people looked at me like I'm a crazy bag lady for toting home:
  • seaweed from the beach
  • coffee grinds from work
  • anyone's dead potted plants
  • rabbit poop
  • chicken manure
THIS. IS. WHY.

 
No matter how much you spend on fancy potting mixes at your big box store, nothing beats home grown, mineral rich, dark and lovely compost. My veggies will thank me later.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Here Comes the Sun!

[In my best Chicken Little voice] The sun is out! The sun is out!!! Can you tell I'm excited? It's fixin' to be a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Encore Azaleas

A few months ago I was gifted five small Encore Azalea bushes from a colleague who were not going to use them. Total score! They're since been sitting on my driveway as I'm debating where to plant them.


My first thought was to create a new flowerbed in the backyard, just outside my kitchen's bay window. However that would use up a lot of the flat, usable space which Stinky uses to play ball.

My next thought (and probably what will happen) was to expand the front island that houses the kids' Crape Myrtle trees. There is a stunted Encore Azalea there already that needs to be spaced a little further from the trees' roots so that it can prosper. That would make six, which would enable me to create a nice little azalea ring around the island with three in front and three in back.


It's much too cold now to work on any of this so it will be a few weeks before my plan is set in motion. Still, makes for an exciting, albeit hard-working spring.