Monday, November 30, 2009


It's 52 degrees and mostly cloudy. The wind picked up overnight. The rain is coming. By 2pm, we should be soaking in it. By sunset, it will have moved on ushering in cooler temperatures for the rest of the week. A fire will have to be built this evening in the basement heater.

I've got a few chores I'm working on today. I'm doing laundry. The dishes are done. I'm planning to sweep and maybe mop the hardwoods before heading to work. Since Thursday, I've had this odd pain in my lower back. I'm not even sure what I did to cause it. I just remember waking up on Thanksgiving Day with it. I'm trying to give it some healing time when I'm not at the store. The heaviest thing I've lifted all morning was the coffee pot.

The sun is a lot like me today. It wants to come out, but the clouds are keeping it inside.

Some things from around the yard:

Oakleaf Hydrangea

Snowball viburnum

Sedum. Just three feet away, the frost has killed another to the ground.

Under lights in the basement, the pineapple sage is trying to bloom.

I'm packaging two sets of cuttings from the brugmansias to mail out today. I've also got two seed trade packages to send out. I'm still waiting on one thing before mailing a large package to Austin, TX. I'm hoping it will be ready in another week.

I've got two more days of work before my two days off. I've got no plans for those days. Rain on Wednesday, sunny and cooler on Thursday, I'll probably spend most of my time sorting seeds and thinking about next year. I could work on the kitchen. Then again, I could just stay in bed and watch some movies.

4:37pm - The rain we were supposed to get broke up and gave us just a smattering of moisture. It's humid and sticky at 57 degrees. The clouds should clear out with the wind later tonight.

When I was leaving for work, I spotted something. I ran back inside to get the camera.

Last December, this camellia was blooming. I assumed then that it was a C. japonica. It was also much redder last year. Methinks it needs some acid. I'm not going to remove the oak leaves this year and I will fertilize next spring.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Lazy Sunday Morning.

I slept in this morning. I went to bed around 10pm. I woke up this morning about 7, like I normally do. I watched the clouds move across the sky. The colors were pink, orange, a little yellow, lots of blues and some gray. I closed my eyes and opened them again shortly after 8:45am. I'm having coffee. It's completely sunny now at 36 degrees.

The 10 day forecast. 70 is our high for the day.

After work, I moved the swing in the previous post and finished my Christmas decorations. Through the trees, I can see others in the neighborhood are decorating too.

I have to be at work in less than 2 hours. I'll finish my coffee, shower, and maybe pull a few frost killed annuals from the perennial bed. If not, there's plenty of time next week.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

New Furniture

I added something to the garden Thanksgiving Day. I'm not sure how my sister came to have this piece, but she was more than happy to let me have it. Her husband was tired of mowing around it. They had moved it to the backyard where no one ever went. It was destined to slowly rot into the ground.

It needs a little work. The chains are rusty. The wood needs a sealant. I'm considering colors. Like most things, I want to live with it a while before I paint it my first consideration, Haint Blue. I'm afraid it might be too much color. I wouldn't want to detract from the flowers that will surround it come next summer.

This is the rose that lived for about two months by the front door. I found it in the woods just behind the dead oak tree. I have no idea what it is. I'm hoping for more blooms next year. It's had a rough life with me so far.

I'd like to use plantings to enclose this area a bit. I've certainly got to find a new home for the pampas grass and pine currently sharing the same space. I'm determined to do something about that oak stump behind it. Even if it means covering it with an aggressive vine. I've already scattered morning glory and red cardinal climber seeds around it.

Sleep tight.

The garden is officially put to bed for the winter. In less than a month, new seeds will be sown in small containers and placed out in the driveway awaiting the return of warmer weather. Until then, there's not much gardening that will take place. I'll take comfort in the plants living and growing under lights in the basement. It's how I manage through these 4 months. By April, the trees will be renewed and growth will be evident every day.

This morning, the temperature at 5am was 29 degrees. It's currently 52 and sunny. The wind makes it feel cooler.

The fig tree is finally going to sleep. It will be moved in the spring before it awakens.

Melampodium seeds were collected and others scattered throughout the perennial bed.

Nasturtiums will be replanted next year to ward off squash bugs in the potager.

Vinca will return if it reseeds. If not, a single 6-pack will be purchased.

After work today, I've got two things on my list. One, finish hanging the Christmas lights around the two front windows. And two, move the new acquisition I picked up from my sister on Thanksgiving Day. It's huge. I'll post pictures later.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Time Marches On.

Thanksgiving Day is coming to a close. It's raining and 46 degrees. It was clear when I got home from the parents' house. Another spectacular sunset happened while I unloaded the truck. I brought back a lot of stuff. I'll discuss those things later.

Thanks to Trevor, again, for a new banner image. Spring and summer are gone. Fall is at its end. Winter is on the way. Friday night's forecast will bring a frost, finally.

Red, white, and green are my colors. More to come as it happens.

This year's Christmas tree is a Ficus benjamina.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving.

Just as I suspected, the sun appeared as it sank below the horizon.

Hope everyone has plenty to eat, good friends and family, and a nap. I know I will.

I miss my shadow

It's another dreary, cloudy day here in NC. Overnight, it rained again. It wasn't much, but the ground that was soggy is now fully wet. Walking across the lawn leaves depressions. On the other hand, we're less than a month away from reversing the tilt into winter. Solstice will be here before we know it. The last of the fall color in the backyard is gone. The only remnants are the leaves covering everything that stands still.

Not everything is so bleak. Morning glories in the wild are still blooming. This one has entangled itself with the elaeagnus.

The orange rose is still blooming too.

These buds probably won't open with frost in the forecast for Friday night.

Up the street, Calycanthus floridus is still green and golden. I have several of these planted in the shrub island that I wintersowed last year. The largest one is about a foot tall.

Sweet gums are still dark red. I should try to locate some seed pods for the gully when I go home tomorrow for Thanksgiving. They grow all over the place at my parents' house.

Speaking of the parents', my mom wants two Leyland Cypresses for her yard. I planted these along the fence earlier in the spring. They need to be moved, so I'm taking them to her. Tomorrow is also her birthday. I bet she thinks I forgot.

Miss Huff (probably not) is lonely without Yvonne's salvia. With so many unripened seeds on the Salvia, I cut it down this morning and brought the flowers into the basement to dry. I won't trade seeds from this batch, in case they aren't viable.

Cold weather is on the way. I need to find a day to get out back and collect more firewood. There's plenty to be had. I just need to split it with the gas powered log splitter. Waiting for a cold day. Things that slither could still be moving under all that greenery.

For all of 5 seconds, the sun tried to peek through the heavy clouds. Then it disappeared. If the forecast is right, we should see some sunlight before it sets tonight.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Butterfly bushes, cotoneaster, and lantana

Now that I think about it, that would make a nice combination on the slope next to the front walkway. I potted 10 plants from the cloner this morning.

Not all of them had nice long roots, but they'll be fine. The butterfly bushes have surprised me. The new green growth, sure to be damaged by the coming frost (Friday?), roots quickly. I'll be taking more cuttings on Wednesday before I head to work.

Speaking of work, I've got to be in at 12 today. Before that, I plan to test the new vac/mulch blade I installed on the leaf blower last night. Since I had it apart, I tightened the bolts holding the motor together. They wriggle loose too often.

It's cloudy, dreary, and still soggy at 50 degrees. The high today should be in the 60s with a chance of sun around 3pm for about 2 hours. The clouds will finally move out on Thursday ushering in cooler nighttime temperatures. forecasts a low Friday night of 33.

Monday, November 23, 2009


It's still raining. Overnight, the rain gauge collected 1.25". The ground, already squishy from Ida's 7 inches, is now soggy. The thermometer stands at 48 degrees.

Some plants just don't know when to quit.

In the cloner, the best rooters this round are butterfly bush and cotoneaster.

The high today should be in the 50s. Rain clearing out overnight but clouds remain through Tuesday night. It's warm and dry inside with a fire roaring in the basement.

3:56pm - I started working on the kitchen after running a couple errands. While out, I picked up two large pieces of Confederate rose from Carla's neighbor. She has several that start out white and turn pink. I chopped them to a foot each and put them in water to root. There's more than a dozen cuttings from those two branches. The purple queen was stuck yesterday. It'll root quickly in water.

In the kitchen, I used the heat gun to remove the paint from the window and I started on the door into the mudroom. I made a new windowsill from leftover pine boards. When I went to the router to ease the bottom edge, I rounded over the wrong edge on about 6" of it. I chopped that off and replaced it with a new piece. It's glued and clamped. In the morning I'll finish it once the glue is dry and I can sand it smooth.

Lovely view, eh? Hanging on that old clothesline is a rug that I assume is from the apartment on the left. Its been hanging there since the spring. I'm thinking it might just get gone one late night this week. Obviously, I would never do such a thing, but I know people.

I got the last three pieces of beadboard installed as well. The outlet that was giving me trouble fit once the 3/8" plywood was added to the wall. The box is attached to the concrete block behind the plaster.

It's still moist out. The temperature is 50 degrees and holding. The basement is 79 degrees. Upstairs, it's 64. I wonder if heavy drapes would help with the heat loss? This evening, I'll sort more seeds. Back to work tomorrow.

7:47pm - I finished the windowsill. The scraped frame needs sanding. Bondo was used on some really bad spots.

Ya'll are funny. I don't take any vitamins. I drink about 4 cups of coffee and put on some music.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sorting Seeds

It's Sunday. I'm still in my pajamas. I'm cooking a big pot of chicken and rice. It's a cloudy, dreary 52 degree day outside with rain likely this evening and tomorrow.

So inside, I'm sorting seeds, packaging them for trades and the winterswap I'm hosting at the GardenWeb.

I've still got a lot to repackage.

59 packages have arrived for the swap. They all have at least 20 packs of seeds. Some have double that.

I'm planning to do something in the kitchen besides eat today. Maybe.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I'm not dead yet.

Two posts in one day. I just wanted to make note of these things in the yard.

Redtwig dogwood.


Oakleaf hydrangea. This plant is finally shaping up. I hope it really takes off next year. I moved it again this spring.

Cotoneaster in the orchard waiting for spring. It'll be planted on the former snake pit.

Still not ripe.


White hyacinth bean and moonvine.

Korean lilac and alternanthera.

Crape myrtle.

Burford holly.

Purple queen.

Rudbeckia fulgida and purple lantana.