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Will be wonderful to sleep in my own bed tonight. Much as I love to wander off for a few days, the return home is most welcome.
First thing every gardener does is look over the flower beds to make sure things are still where we left them, if they bloomed without us and what we can do in the morning.
I still need to finish that bed in the back and get the rest of mulch off the truck in order to pick up another. Now my neighbor wants me to pick up a load for her. And then we will want a load or two for the area between our houses next. Hope they are picking up lots of good yard waste because 'we will be back'!!
Grandson had his 10th family birthday party this afternoon. Boy is it hard to get a young boy to 1. sit still long enough for a picture 2. to get them NOT to make that funny face and 3. to actually look at you while you do take the pix. Or am I just getting too slow to capture them quick enough. That boy racks up the cash at his birthday, his sister who is 13 says SHE never gets that much money. So now I know I don't have to shop for her this year, cash works for me. Don't even have to decide which teen store they might like a gift card. Amen.
DH and I celebrated our 33rd anniversary this weekend. That is what spurred the last minute trip to the beach. Sometimes we wonder how we did it. It was a second marriage for us both and I had three kids between age 4 and 10, he must have really been crazy. And he had a son 6 that added to our group two weekends out of the month. Thank goodness the boys got along. Almost too good, they were like a little band of indians and just as wild. Except when another child threatened one of our three. Then they fought for one another. DH had to go running one afternoon, when my boys came running that someone was fighting with their 'brother'. Nothing happened but it caused an exciting moment or two never the less.
Even way back then, in the midst of doing in-home daycare I was digging in the dirt. Had to put up a flimsy fence so the little kids wouldn't run over the veggie garden. They were allowed to go inside with me and they watched things grow. At one point we had a little kiddie pool dug into the yard. When it began to leak we through it away and I proceeded to make? a flower bed of course. Had the little kids helping carry rocks to put around the flower bed. Got kidded about child labor, but in actuality they kids liked being busy. I think today's kids really need to be busy dong constructive things, not just keeping busy with activities. I love it when families do things for others. It can be one of the best bonding times.
Have enjoyed catching up on the few days I was not on the GG site. More to Come Later
So how long are they holding blogs on the Blog page now? I read one earlier today and now even it is gone.
Sprayed my Tropicals with NEEM oil today. Hope it does OK for them. Sprayed the Cats Whiskers also as she has to come inside with the pretty girls this winter. They will all be watched over by Mr Cereus and all his lanky arms.
Since my DH went out to lunch with a couple of the 'boys', I took that time to fly around town and do some errands. CVS and Walgreens, aren't I a shopper. Then went to walmart for Bananas and a special treat for a new friend, isn't that right MESKA?
Also wonder how long our messages are kept in ou inboxes? Some I don't want to lose.
More to Come Later
The third bud on the Cereus plant will bloom tonight. I will be calling some folks to see if they want to come over for awhile. This has been a real treat. I will not bloom again for months. Worth waiting for don't you think?
I am experimenting this year with a Giant Tibouchina (fuzzy leaves) It is about 4 foot tall and I am going to take cuttings and then bring the plant inside. I am told to bring it in before I need to turn the heat on so it can get acclimated. I will need to do cuttings soon. Right now it is beginning to bloom. I will post pictures in a few days.
I also have the smaller version of the Tib, it has small narrow fuzzy leaves but the same purple flower. They are also just begining to bloom so I will have pix of that one as well. I have taken cuttings of this one before and managed to have them survive inside. This year I will be bringing two plants indoors.
Then there is my Cats Whiskers, the three Hibiscus and now the Cereus plant. My sunny room will be full of plants. Maybe they will do better having some company. There will be a day of moving the furniture around in order to find a place for all the plants plus my little plastic greenhouse that will be holding the cuttings I am going to take. Plumbago, mexican sage, three types of alternanthera and likely there will be others when I go out with my pruners to get the job done. I have been wondering if running a cool air humidifier some would be a good idea? The heat is so dry all winter. Make a comment if you have any thought on this.
This morning I tackled a mess of vines running up into the dogwood, crepe myrtle and a little oak tree. What a job. My body doesn't know why I do these things. It took about 3 hours inbetween resting and helping hubby get set up to finish painting our old metal chairs. In SC if anything stands still long enough, honeysuckle, virginia creeper and that nasty thorny smilax vine (which grows on tubers the size of a man if they get old enough) will latch on and grow to the moon and back again. The Cherry Laurel that I had cut down this spring left behind hundreds of baby's. It reseeds all over the place. If I can pull, cut and kill what I can find this year, there won't be so many to come back next year.
The fern/hosta bed got a head start last week. Planted some toad lilies, sedums and ajuga there as well. As soon as I finish cleaning out the corner part of this area, newspaper and mulch will go down and it will be ready to wait until spring.
Tomorrow is Hubby's birthday, he is still a baby, 9 months younger than myself. :-D So don't know that I will garden any. Would love to surprise him with some friends to come by to say Happy Birthday to him. Will let you know how that comes about.
More to Come Later
Finally on Friday night the big event came about. I had watched it all day and about 8 to 8:30pm realized it was actually going to bloom. Had four friends come over and watch for awhile. It seemed to be a figment of the imagination when you saw the flower actually move. Oh, to have had a video camera to capture it. May try to borrow one for the next event.
As the blossom was near the floor, it was difficult to get down and take pictures. Not for you younguns maybe but I am after all a granny, yard or no yard.
Will be repotting it with the help of at least one friend. It is heavy and unweildy to boot. It needs some tender loving care, so I hope I am up to the task. Another friend told me she has a book on the Cereus plant and will loan it to me. That should give me some ideas for pruning and feeding this magnificent plant.
Thank you for sharing all your thoughts and tips. More to Come Later
Thought I would share with you an article by our Extension Agent for our county. In case you have any questions about how 'great' it is to garden in the south - take note.Extreme Gardening in the Pee Dee Well, folks this has been a gardening year to put in the record books. First, we had a warm winter until Easter when the bottom- feel-out and many plants were damaged by the cold. Then we had a moist but hot spring followed by an extreme hot bone dry summer. Finally, in the middle of September we are getting a little relief from the heat and drought. The only problem is this is fairly normal for S.C. weather. Extremes are our norm. They call extreme sports X- Sports, this is X-Gardening. Many northerners move here soon to find S.C. is in a totally different gardening world. In the north, you throw out a few seeds and it is like the “Jack and the Beanstalk Story” with everything growing to the sky and producing and abundance of flowers and fruit. I have seen many avid gardeners head back north with their horticultural pride abased murmuring to themselves that S.C. is full of insects, weeds, and disease (Oh My). Truthfully, because of these extremes the Pee Dee is one of the most difficult areas in the country to grow plants. However, many southerners and transplanted northerners have learned to appreciate, manipulate, and love our southern growing environment. Personally, I love having something growing twelve months out of the year, quick growing plants, and having a long growing season without frost. But gardening is not easy in S.C. You've got to get your hands dirty, sweat a little, get down on your knees, plus have a little plant knowledge. Gardening is the manipulation of our biological environment to meet our wants and needs to form a “Garden.” Albert Einstein once looked at a stream bed and wondered if he wanted to be a biologist. He came to conclusion that it was too complicated so he developed the “Theory of Relativity.” However, his son Albert Jr. to outdo his father became a biologist and actually worked at the Agricultural Experiment Station at Clemson University. The “Moral of the Story” is this you must get out there amongst the insects, weeds, and disease to be a “Good Gardener” in S.C. Window pane gardening does not work here. It takes a hands- on approach. Fertilizer, pesticide, and irrigation systems must be adjusted to meet our environmental extremes.
Still feel the envy of living in the south. I have lived in West Virginia, Pittsburgh, PA, El Paso Tx, Huntsville, AL, Atlanta, GA and being in South Carolina is the best of them all. More to Come Later
What wonderful weather we are having now. Back into the normal range of 80's and 60's. Such good sleeping weather. Even with an air conditioned home it just cools faster and makes for good sleep. My next favorite thing after gardening.
Began working in the area at the back corner of the yard that I started in the spring. Have a little more to do in the morning, pulling out 'stuff', cutting branches, trimming other 'stuff' before beginning to haul mulch one cart at a time to ge it ready to plant. My goal is to have the ferns, hostas, toad lillies etc. planted in there by the weekend.
My DH began painting an old metal chair while I was digging in the dirt. This is a set of three chairs and a double seated chair that belonged to his mother and dad so many years ago we dare not count them up. If you consider we are able to use SS and are grandparents, that is a really long time. One of the chairs is featured in my photos I think. It was painted purple a few years back and I love it in the garden. The other will be a steel grey.
Even got the debris from my endeavors on the curb in time for the yard trash pickup. That was a bonus. Sometimes you miss those trucks and stuff sits for a week and looks bad. Seems funny to think that the truck takes stuff you cut out of your garden back to the recycle site, shreds it, lets it sit to 'cook' into mulch and then you go back and pick a load to bring right back to your yard again. The world goes 'round, the world goes 'round. Remember that song from Cabaret?
Took plants to our Master Gardeners meeting last night to give away. Another MG had brought me his Iris he had thinned out some weeks ago and thank goodness they all went home with someone else. Got rid of an asparagus fern that I just didn't care for. It looks so soft but really is such a spiny plant. Also passed on a couple of 3 to 4 inch high Azeleas a friend had rooted from those in his yard. Then had some Ornamental pepper plants I had started from my plant. I have put the plant in the ground on the south facing side of my house. Will see if it makes it or not. Was going to take a couple of Boston Ferns as well and then decided not to. Don't know if I will bring them in again this year or not. They do look nice hanging in the gardens during the growing season.
Have some things to do now - More To Come Later
It has been a busy week what with doctors appts, dentist appts, lunch with a few gals, pick up the lawn mower.
OK, so now it is back to work in the yard. Weather is back to a moderate norm for SC and the grass needs mowing. finished the front this morning, the back can wait. Had to treat a fire ant hill. Boy those little devils can run fast and always right where you are standing it seems. They always disappear but I think they just go to another yard.
Sprayed grass killer (sorry KeeWee) on some more spots in preparation for hauling in more mulch next week. Then it will be time to do that planting and transplanting I have been talking about for what seems 'decades' during those very hot, dry days of high summer.
Need to take the little work horse of a truck in for some work after it helps haul the mulch. The air conditioner needs to be repaired and the windshield wipers won't move unless you flop both of them from the outside. Getting old just like me. I need to be flopped up side the head I think, for starting all these yard projects this year.
It is really my neighbor and friend, Judy's, fault. She started that new project of cleaning the honeysuckle off the fence between our yards after she had an old piece of fence taken down in her yard. Our gardens will look really nice when we finish. She has had a man do a lot of digging and heavy stuff for her though. That got her way ahead of me in that department.
She and I fixed the gate between our yards today. The gate had been chained up for years and after we took the lock off, the gate would not swing well. We did the W-D oil thing and then loosened the bolts and - WaLa - it swings just fine now.
After the mulch is down in an area at the front corner of the house, I will have plants to move. Since they were growing in front of the fence and are in a striaght line, I will move several of them into a semi-circle area so they will shield the H/A unit. I have two butterfly plants that were started from others in my yard. One will go on the outside of the fence on Judy's side. The other will go on the inside of the fence in my yard.
The section of fence being moved created another square box to push the mower in and out and up and down and that is just too much like work. SOOOOO- here comes more mulch. It will make a soft edge in the back yard at the fence line to mow around. The second butterfly bush will go in that spot.
Since I am a visual person, I will be taking pictures of the before and after of this project. And then you will be thrilled to know you can look at them in my photo albums in the next couple of months.
My butterflies are still eating and making Chrysalis'. Don't know now whether they will develop and hatch or just hang around until spring returns. Either way it is a wonderful thing to observe.
My friends the Rogers that love butterflies even more than I do, let go about 40 Monarchs this past week and have many more left to hatch. Can't you just see them flying up, up and away? I always thought to have butterflies loose at your wedding would be a great spectacle. They gave me a pod from the old common Milkweed plant. It can be invasive so I may be chewing off more than I can handle, but I will give it a try. I am planting these seeds and planting other milkweeds next year as well. Then there will be parsley and dill to go with the fennel for the Swallowtails. I must remember to look for nectar plants too. I keep forgetting they do come to the yard to feast before laying their eggs.
There are iris in the area I am giving up to the butterfly garden. They will get moved soon as I can get the mulch laid down in their new bed.
I still have thoughts of a small greenhouse (8X10 maybe) in order to propagate some of the plants from my yard that I really like. I have a Plumbago that is maybe 4 years old now and this time of year it is so pretty. I envision it growing in front of Hollyhocks. It would grow and then bloom after the hollyhock is gone for the year.
Well I have done enough daydreaming for one afternoon. Have a litte newsletter to get out for my Bible Study class plus some other computer duties.
More to Come Later
Boy, the coming of September seems to have everyone in the mood to get out and garden again. I love reading all your blogs about what you are doing now in the garden. So many things to move, thin, get-rid-of and lots of plans for the coming seasons. Keep it up, keep posting, especially photos.
I have inherited a Night Bloom Cereus from friends that do not want to baby it any longer. I am learning a lot on the web about the needs of this plant and the concensus seems to be they don't need a lot except to be appreciated. And not for their out of hand growth pattern. Now that it is in my possession, and I know the Cereus growth pattern, I can see it blooming up in trees in lower Florida with dozens of blooms at a time. Now if a plant can survive growing in a tree with no one climbing up there to tend to it, you would think it really does not need a lot of care. Good thing because it does have to come inside for us here in SC and I am not the most dedicated in-house gardener.
Here is a webpage with good photos, I hope it comes up. http://www.flickr.com/photos/
My plant is about 3 feet tall, likes to be root bound, a little water and there is a bit of contradiction about fertilizer. Plus if you prune it at the wrong times or take off the ungliest leaves/branches it won't bloom at all or not much anyway. Seems it likes to bloom on those older leaf/branches. It likes shade during the warm months and I have a good place for it to live in my backyard next season.
My Cereus has a history and after reading some of the comments on Dave's Garden site most of these long living plants do have interesting stories. This particular Cereus has been in my friends life since 1989. It came from a plant that was already many years old. She has shared it with friends over the years which means it will live on for many lifetimes all over the US. The Cereus will bloom several times over the season with as few as 3 or 4 and sometimes dozens of blooms. Right now my plant 4 or 5 buds. I say 4 or 5 because those little buds like to hide and with the growth pattern, you may count the same hidden bud twice. I did see 4 for sure today. But yesterday when I picked it up I could have sworn it had 5 buds.
It is such a startling plant in that it only blooms at night and after it blooms the blossoms fall off. If you want to save the blossom to show a friend you can cut it off, incase it in a plastic bag, tie it closed and place it in the refrigerator. It will stay pretty for a few days this way. When the bud on the plant begins to show some white, it is time to start watching it unfold. I am told it takes several hours for this to occur and that the scent is heady and not like any other floral fragrance you may have experienced.
Many people have Cerues parties when the blossoms begin to open. I hope to be able to witness this occurance in the next few weeks and invite friends and especially my grandchildren over for the evening. Just hoping it starts opening early enough that I don't have to stay up til 3am. Though I am willing to do just that.
What a wonderful year this has been for me!! First the spring and early summer months were glorious weather wise and I was able to get some much needed garden projects started. Notice I said started because I got waylaid by a new project - cleaning off the fence line with my neighbor. That was a good thing but did put me behind on the project at hand which was clearing out the other side of the fence line. It is supposed to be better weather this week with perhaps a little moisture falling from the sky to boot. So I am looking forward to getting a lot done over the next few weeks.
Did put a second coat of paint on the shed last week, painted a piece of lattice which will be home to my new Clematis and the two older ones I dug and repotted. This has got to be completed in the next week, these plants need to set root before it begins to get 'chilly'. Wonder what that feels like? It will be nice to need to wear the old faded jeans and comfy flannel shirt in order to work in the gardens.
More to Come Later
This is a fairly good chart that will give you an idea of when to expect FROST. And yes it will come, most likely sooner than later. So fair warning, be prepared.
I know the difference in this information but have posted incorrectly, perhaps on this site, but certainly on another. Some good soul let me know I had made the mistake. For your informaiton and mine, here tis.
"Cocoon vs. Chrysalis" – Both of these describe the pupa stage of complete metamorphosis. Metamorphosis is another of the incredible adaptations of insects. While it has many advantages, including giving the animal a way to get through winter, metamorphosis is probably very difficult! And painful!!
"Well, both butterflies and moths have a pupa – and a caterpillar. And it is difficult to tell the difference between a butterfly and a moth by just looking at a caterpillar. They can look almost the same. Caterpillars of butterflies or moths can be fuzzy, spiny, smooth, fat, thin, colorful, drab, or anything else you can imagine!
The difference is in the way they use their silk. They all make it (except some that probably don’t just so we can never be right all the time!). Some moth caterpillars wrap themselves up in silk before they make their pupa. That silk they wrap themselves up in, is the cocoon! And butterflies don’t do it.
Butterflies use their silk to attach their pupa to a branch or structure. They do not wrap it up. Instead, it is often an ornamental, yet cryptic, casing called a chrysalis. Technically, moths also makes chrysalides, they just usually wrap them up in cocoons"
And I can see that clearly now that my butterflies have made their CHRYSALIS. Going to a friends now to pick up some white breaded iris. Will share them with the Master Gardeners. More to Come Later
It was a beautiful day! Only got to about 90 degrees and did I enjoy being outside.
Put a second coat of paint on the shed today and put a first coat on the trellis that is going to be put up at the chain link fence soon. There will be Clematis growing there. Spring will be looking pretty good I am thinking.
Some of you already know that I found some good buys at Lowe's yesterday. $1 clematis and another for $4 bucks. Also picked up a bale of peat moss to add to the new iris bed. We will get compost next week and maybe some mulch too.
Next week will be a busy time and the weather should hold to be quite nice. We are not getting any rain from the tropical storm going up the coast. Upper North Carolina and Virginia will benefit from this storm. Most of the time what we get from any storms coming in on the South Carolina coast is wind and rain. As long as it doesn't blow hard enough to rip the shingles off the roof we are usually OK in my town. We need rain just like so many of your areas.
I have 6 coccoons in the butterfly cage now and one in a jar so I can watch it up close. There are more cats in the big cage also. Such fun to watch them do their mother nature thing. Will take pictures as we go along.
Taking a time out now. More to Come Later
You know how we fuss when we get a blog going and it times us out? Well I just wrote a great note on my trip to WV and our power flipped and out went the computer. RATS!
So here goes the tale again and most certainly in a different manner of speaking.
The trip was not too long, about 7 hours. My son did the driving and it was his first time since he was a very small child that he was in my hometown. His wife was with us and we all had a good time. My sister and her husband drove us on the tour around the area that we grew up, went to school and church. We visited one small town that has had a hard time over the years. The house we lived in when I was in grade school is in disrepair now and a couple of houses that friends lived in are gone. Sad to see as those were wonderful years for me.
Another home in another town where my brother and 2 sisters remember the most is still looking good. The thing that always impresses us the most is how very small that house is. There were four kids and mom and dad growing up in that house. Don't know how our mother kept her sanity. And the street we felt we had to run across in order not to be in danger is just barely wide enough for two cars. They can only park on one side of the street unless there is a driveway with the home.
The Catholic church is still in operation and has expanded over the years along with their school. The building that was my grade school is now serving the seniors in the area. When I entered the 10th grade, we went into a brand new building and my class was the first graduating class from the school. It has undergone a huge renovation and additions over the last few years and is a very nice building.
One of the greatest things in the area we grew up was the river. It hauled coal, logs, and supported chemical plants up and down its banks. It is still a beautiful body of water. Over the Labor Day weekend there is a Riverfest which includes family fun, music and boat races. It is known for the SternWheel boats that do a parade and a race over the weekend. This year not too many Sternwheelers were present as there were two other festivals going on further up the river and in other states. But the boaters were still present and having a grand time.
We did take the younguns to the 'Mayberry' for lunch, of course boring them with talk of our growing up and when the resturant was our dad's car dealership. In all we had a good visit and good driving on the interstates. Now we can look forward to the next trip down memory lane on another occasion.
Back to the garden. There are now 6 coccoons in the butterfly cage. I will be watching them closely this week and next as I have never seen a butterfly emerge. That will be the highlight of my summer. It was exciting to come home and find so many had pupated. There are a couple more cats still eating but they will be looking for a place to 'hand their hats' so to speak in a few more days.
Best stop now and get this posted before something else locks me out. More to Come Later
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