Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Next year...

New life has already begun in the garden. Seedlings are popping up all over as the temperatures fall. It's 48 degrees this morning. A heavy dew covers everything. It's sunny and should remain that way all day.

Mountain Bluet, the first wintersown plant to bloom, has reseeded all over the garden. It's true, I tossed out seeds haphazardly when I collected them earlier in the year. Seems they germinated best near the stone borders.

Cosmos have germinated all over too. The mountain bluet will withstand the winter. The cosmos don't stand a chance against even a light frost.

Another annual, Salvia subrotunda, has lots of babies.

I tossed out echinacea, rudbeckia, and other seeds in this area all summer. I wonder what I'll get next year. It's part of the fun, I think.

Echinacea seedlings in the crape myrtle bed out back from seeds sown almost a month ago. I scattered more seeds last week and yesterday. Some were white swan, some were plain purple.

Unknown seedling. It's popped up in clumps near the spring poppies. I don't think it's a poppy plant. Is it?

In the rose garden, a tomato was recently discovered. No fruits or blooms yet, it'll be cut down by the frost that will surely come in less than a month.

I hope my snow peas have a chance to bloom and fruit. I'll use a row cover if I have to. I love snow peas.

My hairy ball has gotten larger.

This winter will certainly see some differences in the garden. Where the old oak tree stood, sunlight now pours into the back yard and the perennial bed. Last year, the yard was still shaded this time of day. I may have to rethink some of the shade loving plants I had planned to fill a certain corner with.

More sanding in the kitchen today. I hope to get the final coat of mud on the walls and begin installing cabinets on Friday. I can't promise anything though.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


It was an almost perfect day. There was a bit of wind that kept you cool in the sun. If you could escape it in the shade, it was comfortable. It's clear and 61 degrees. Trevor made me a new banner. I like it.

Closed the windows in the house for the first time in 6 months. My hands are cold.


While I was busy working in the kitchen yesterday afternoon, a strong wind kicked up and lasted well into the night. Around 9pm, a very short but potent rain shower came through. The wind died down overnight. Of course it claimed a victim.

I guess it's only natural. I collected my first pineapple salvia seeds from that plant not more than a week ago. I put all 4 in good soil, afternoon sun, and let mother nature do the rest. At least one germinated. Seed to seed.

The brugs in the perennial bed are blooming. Standing in the driveway, being mindful of hummingbirds doing their morning fly-by, it's all you can smell. Even the tea olives are overwhelmed.

While waiting for drywall compound in the kitchen, I outlined the meadow garden. I hope the rain didn't wash away the glysophate I sprayed.

It's 43 degrees this morning. The cat is still on the end of the bed refusing to put her feet on the cold wood floors. She's such a diva.

9:26am - 56 degrees. Scattered seeds in the crape myrtle bed, verbena bonariensis, purple foxglove. Nigella and larkspur was scattered in the perennial bed. I want to scatter poppy seeds, but the package says to sow in late winter in zone 7, Flander's poppies.

Made a new list of items for the meadow bed. Salvia subrotunda, cosmos, agastache, poppies, tickseed.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Camellias, seeds, and cutting back.

It's a beautiful day. At 81 degrees, there's a nice breeze that keeps it from being too hot. The humidity has dropped significantly too. This morning, it was 58 when I left for work at 5:45am. I was actually chilly for a brief moment.

In the garden, I chopped back some of the coreopsis Full Moon. I hope to divide them again next spring. I turned one plant into 12 this past year. I now know they need full sun to remain upright and not flop. Lots of new growth around the base.

When I bought the house, this camellia was over 20' tall. You can see the big mass of green in this photo on the left. Yes, that was the backyard when I first saw the house.

Last year I tried to kill it completely. This year, I've let it regrow. Here it is today. It has pink single blooms all winter. I should have been more kind in my pruning.

Another butchered camellia is beneath the oak tree near the perennial bed. I first noticed this variation on one stem a few weeks ago. It's grown a little since then, and now I'm sure it's a variegation and not just from lack of water or disease. I'm hoping it blooms this winter. I'll be setting my sights on propagating this sport sometime in the near future. Imagine, a variegated camellia. In my yard. Heaven.

One of the three clumps of orange cosmos I've collected so far. Every day for the past week I've been gathering seeds from the rose garden plants. I'll be using these in my "meadow" garden next spring.

Another meadow candidate, salvia subrotunda. There are lots of tiny seeds still inside their shells. If I knew the proper terminology, I still wouldn't remember it.

Mauney's, a feed mill across from the high school on 52N, sold me 5lbs of crimson clover seeds. They've been inoculated against something so they're bright pink. That pen sticking out of them is used for scale. It's a hefty bag. Once the tree is removed from the back yard, I'll break up what soil I can and toss these out. They should put down some nice roots this winter and give me some organic matter to sow my seeds on in the spring.

Time to spend a few more hours in the kitchen. I hope to get the sanding done and install some beadboard. I hate plaster.

5:51pm - I was wrong about the variegation. Thanks Nell.

The most common fungal disease of camellia is known as virus variegation. The leaves have yellow or light green streaks. There is no cure, and the plant can live with the virus.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


It's Sunday and I have the day off. All week I had planned to work on the kitchen today, hopefully getting the beadboard installed on the wall behind the kitchen sink and around the window. But the sun is peeking out every now and again making it very difficult to think about staying inside. So much to do in the perennial bed. I'm ready to cut back lots of plants and move some things around. The ground is a bit too wet. Maybe tomorrow evening.

It doesn't help that the tea olives are in bloom filling the yard with their fragrance.

Good thing I've already started scraping paint and caulk from where the old cabinets were.

12:00pm - all the large holes are patched with drywall compound. All the caulk has been scraped free. Waiting for this coat to dry. Will being sanding this afternoon. Expecting to take days to get the walls smooth enough to paint. It will not be perfect, but it will be close.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


When I woke up, it was cloudy and misting rain. When I went to work, it was cloudy and misting rain. When I left for lunch, it was cloudy and misting rain. When I left work, it was pouring rain. I don't know if it was cloudy, but it was dark at 7:15pm. I'm assuming there are clouds.

I got 9 16" pavers for $2.25 today. They were part of a display. We could have thrown them away. HA! I also got the two pallets I need for my compost bin.

In the garden, the tomatoes I planted out the day the lawnmower tried to take my leg off are growing nicely. We're going to be in the low 50s/upper 40s at night next week. Fine time for them to decide they want to live. I've already planted snow peas where some of them were. I'll let the peas climb the cages. I love snow peas.

Coming soon, another flush from the perennial bed brugmansias. This one is the only one that hasn't bloomed all summer in that bed. Another in the hydrangea bed has its first buds.

High today was 65. It's 64 and raining. Mid 80s tomorrow, more rain likely. I'm not complaining. Not at all, we need a lot of slow rain.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Snake Pit

I'll get to the snakes later, but first a list of what I did this morning.

I built a compost bin. Sort of.

I put it in an out of the way place. I need two more regular sized pallets instead of those small 3/4 pallets.

I moved the crape myrtle. I know, I just couldn't stand it any longer.

I laid out a rough area for the recycled brick and concrete patio I plan to build this winter. I'm doing it now because I know I'll change my mind a few times during the process. It's inevitable. I can't wait to get rid of that dead oak tree. Three more weeks, we should be chopping it up.

I moved the pink brugmansia to the hydrangea bed. There are more brugs here now than hydrangeas, but that could change any day. They're rooted and ready to plant. Kongmansia has lost all its leaves again. If it survives the winter, good for it.

I planted a couple more white crape myrtles and mowed the front yard. That's where the snakes come in.

The snake pit. It's periwinkle and weeds. I thought I would like it, but this stuff is a thug. It's already 4' into the lawn and is just over a year old. I've got to get rid of it. I mowed it all down today.

The lawnmower claimed another victim. Don't ask me what kind of snake it was. I don't know. I don't care. It was a snake.

I'm looking for suggestions of what to do on this sloped bank. It's shady, gets about 2 hours of summer sun along the driveway and none along the street. It's dry, heavy clay and stone. Against the house, I have hucheras, gardenias, tea olives, knockout roses, lavender, artemesia, some grasses, and bluish salvias. I'm thinking shrubs would work well on this slope, but the mulching...oh the mulching.

Other items worth mentioning today:

Spider lily.

Miss Huff and Yvonne.

Just waiting for the seeds to ripen. It went quick this year.

81, mostly cloudy. A good chance of rain this evening and overnight. Muggy, again.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Musical Plants

Nope. This isn't about the way the wind rustles through grasses or the sound two trees make rubbing against each other in the gully. This is about moving plants. This morning, the pampas grass found a new home.

I moved the stone edging too and sprayed the grass.

In a couple more weeks, this crape myrtle will be moved into that corner.

Russian sage, not doing well where I planted them near the house, have been moved to the crape myrtle bed currently occupied by coneflowers (new seedlings are up) and Icicle speedwell.

I also planted a rooted cutting of winter jasmine that a Gardenwebber was nice enough to send me this spring. She got peonies from me (and Trevor).

The pile at the end of the driveway gets smaller, then larger. I've got a month to get all this in the ground. I'm going to plant a lot of it tomorrow.

Three white crape myrtles were planted out. They were wintersown and potted up months ago.

I planted out the two blueberry bushes too. The closest one is Blueray. The furthest is Elliot. They should both reach about 6' tall and wide.

I've got tiny hairy balls.

Just because I want to remind myself this winter why I've got so many pineapple salvia cuttings in the basement under lights...

It's 72 degrees and cloudy.

No, it's 72 degrees and sunny.

In either case, it's muggy. More rain is expected the next few days. We got another 1/2" over night. Off to shower, then work. I noticed this morning that the slight limp from yesterday is gone. Let's hope it stays that way at the store.