Tuesday, August 31, 2010

For Sale.

It's not for sale yet, but I did meet with a Realtor this morning. She took measurements and asked about appliances, HVAC, who did the countertops, loved the colors and the yard, and told me she would be in touch either this evening or tomorrow. Once she pulls some comps, it will be put on the market if I feel the money is right.

I'm impressed with her so far. I called her this morning about 9:30. She's already gotten information from the county GIS website and had more information than the Realtor I used when I bought this house in 2007.

Because I know some will ask, probably Charleston, maybe Savannah. But none of that is set in stone right now. Anywhere that the winter temperatures rarely dip below freezing for more than a few nights at a time will suit me. I've been planning it for a couple months. I've got some minor things to finish inside and out. I've been working on making the yard more appealing to people who don't garden. I'm no longer doing this for me, but for the next homeowner.

With sales in town the way they are, and a weakening economy, it could take a while to unload the house. I'm hoping within a year. Six months would be even better. I have options in case a transfer at work isn't possible when I do sell. Carla says I can stay with her. Or I can rent a place for less than I'm paying here. Both would be temporary.

It's 90 degrees and sunny. Not a cloud in the sky again today. Tomorrow will be even warmer. In a couple weeks, it will be back in the 80s/60s.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Good to be back.

Back in the gardens. This afternoon, I simply enjoyed what I've put together here. I watered a few things. Then I took a seat. It was nice.

The sun is different.

The sky is bluer.

A hibiscus protecting future seeds.

The birds have found the largest pokeweed reserve in town. I'm sure I will regret this next spring.

Virginia creeper has latched onto the dead oak tree.

Round Two.

I accomplished much.

Destroying in order to create.

I was never really happy with the front bed. That's the one by the front door where I have tea olives, a few rooted gardenias that are over 2' tall on one stem, and a few nandinas. I edged the bed with Liriope spicata. Soon, the struggling coneflowers will be removed. The shastas will be relocated. The gardenias will be pruned in the spring to encourage some thickening in the middle. Pine straw will be the mulch of choice. The entire slope will also get that treatment. I think it'll dress up the front of the house. Right now, the broken steps draw the most attention. I've got to do something about that.

There were also heucheras. I planted them last fall with dusty miller and pansies. I got them cheap. I thought it would be nice. The dusty miller had another plan. I pulled that out weeks ago. So what to do with the heucheras? Well, I do have a sad little blank spot that the boat used to hide. It went home yesterday. I decided to turn this space into a shady bed along the edge of the driveway.

Just beyond, I already have azaleas, hosta, and lots of unwanted groundcover.

Most of the heucheras were purple. A few have some really nice coloring.

There's a rescued tea olive that will someday fill this corner.

I tossed in a few hosta from the north side of the house. Four small ones that were wintersown two years ago were also moved here.

I added the grass and a couple plugs of liriope. I need more, and I know just where to get it. Gonna have to wait a bit on the weather to cooperate.

And I did it all by hand, turning the soil and mixing years of matter and debris. Shattered glass provides the drainage. Rotting oak leaves are the humus. There's even pea gravel under this bed. Leftovers from construction, maybe. I like my tools.

It's 88 degrees and sunny. There's not a cloud in the sky. I'm waiting on the shade to move to the backyard. I've got some plants that need my attention.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


These things I appreciate.

The long view down the driveway. Still no zucchini.


On a 7' tall Miscanthus.

Coreopsis Full Moon. Been blooming constantly since June.

The Amaranthus that echoes the color of my shutters and doors.

A pink pampas grass that I planted in early spring. I hadn't paid it much attention until now.

More butterflies on the Tithonia.

Hummingbirds are half a dozen strong in the mornings near the street. It's 82 degrees. I'm ready for fall. Mother Nature is not. Another week in the mid 90s in store. No rain.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Another one bites the dust.

The bed on the front slope, where I had envisioned butterfly nectar and host plants has been removed. Nothing performed well except the usual suspects, sedums, coneflowers, and lavender. Sharp drainage and a large oak tree are the culprits. Grass seed will be sown in a few weeks when the temperatures fall a bit more. The surviving perennials were moved to better locations. I'll have to keep them watered for the next week.

It's 84 degrees. The humidity stands at 63%. It's about as hot as it's going to get today.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I sowed seeds.

Spinach, Swiss Chard, Copenhagen Early Market Cabbage, Orient Express Cabbage, Dill, Collards, Broccoli, Dixie Hybrid Early Squash, Blue Lake Bush and Pole Beans. I also spread 10-10-10 and pelleted lime.

The humidity has returned with a vengeance. It's 81 degrees, feels like 88. Afternoon storms are a possibility. Something new to surprise me is becoming more common. A yellow hardy hibiscus (or so I'm told).

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I had just gotten used to the idea.

Sedums, drought tolerant plants, and succulents. A little rain improved them too.

The cycad is putting out new growth, again.

Blue Spruce sedum is one of my favorites.

It's threatening to be another dreary day. The humidity has risen a bit, but the temperatures are lower than normal. They called it "seasonal weather" this morning. It's 77 degrees and mostly cloudy.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Time to sow seeds.

Summer melted away. It happened overnight, I guess. The daily temperatures have been moved down considerably for the next 10 days. Yesterday, we were still flirting with 90 all week. Today, it rained. About 2pm, the bottom fell out. It came a good soaking rain for over an hour. It's been raining on and off since. More in the forecast tonight means that the soil will be damp enough, deep enough for my fall crops. We've got a monthly accumulation now of nearly 8 inches of rain. Most of that has come in the past week. I'm a very happy camper. I might even sow some cilantro seeds. How optimistic is that?

So that's where we stand. With nighttime temperatures in the 60s, seeds that like those cooler conditions will germinate. Tomorrow, I need to prepare a couple pots for my cabbage, brussel sprouts, and broccoli. I'll probably direct sow my spinach. The last of the tomatoes may be pulled too. I've already got 15 quarts in the freezer from my mom & dad. There's another 15 waiting for me when I go home again. I'm set for the winter.

It's 73 degrees and spitting rain. Maybe I should sow some coneflowers too.

I've been waiting...

patiently. No, for real. I don't do patient very well. I want it now, exactly the way I want it. And there's no time for dillydally. But...there have been instances of patience in the garden. Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished is not just a phrase I include on my header images. It's what I needed to learn through gardening. On rare occasions, it's possible to see results.

A fig tree. My first ever grown from cuttings taken late one night just after Halloween. I call it the 6th St Fig. Beside it is a one year old hibiscus that's trying to over take it.

The figs have begun to ripen. I've eaten over a dozen so far, picked from the bush and barely chewed.

They really are delicious.

The story of this fig tree is not one of daily checking for roots. This one, I stuck in a wooden frame filled with sand. I put a few other things in there like honeysuckle, grapes, redtwig dogwoods, and a few other things I can't recall. The forsythia rooted. And so did this fig. I ignored it for a few months. I would water them if I remembered once every few weeks. I just didn't pay any attention to them. I was busy wintersowing and planting out that first year. I didn't have time to think about a few sticks. I kept myself and my mind busy, and nature was accomplished. Eventually I potted it up into a one gallon container. Last spring, when I created the Shrub Island, I planted it there. It's going to stay in that spot, even when the bed around it disappears. This winter, I'll take new cuttings to take with me.

Just across the path, I've got a Confederate Rose that has been in the same spot since the day it was planted. Yeah, amazing, I know. I wintersowed these fuzzy, ugly seeds one day in early 2008. I didn't think they were what I was looking for. But it is. Now if it will only bloom this year. It's over 7' tall already and still growing. I didn't water it this summer. I doubt the returning Camellia sasanqua next to it is doing it much good either. But there she is.

It all started by playing with plastic containers and dirt in the basement on cold winter nights. What I didn't know, I learned by doing, asking, and reading. At the store, my bevy of "old ladies" gave me some wonderful knowledge and plants from their gardens. Online, other gracious gardeners shared wisdom and inspired me. I've learned a lot here. I've learned a lot about me, too. I'm still learning patience. It ain't easy.

It's 72 degrees and cloudy. There is a certain chill in the air this morning. The still unmowed grass is wet with dew. The high today will only reach the low 80s. It's time to turn off the A/C and open the windows. Finally.

Monday, August 23, 2010

I chose chicken.

Linguini with sun-dried tomato pesto. Garlic and butter sauteed chicken was added. Brussel sprouts on the side.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Choices and Decisions.

It's not exactly garden related, but it might be.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

So pretty after a rain.

I like my garden again. We're refreshed. For now.

Sometimes, you gotta look closer.

It's 84 degrees. The yard sale was done this morning, due to circumstances beyond my control last weekend. Unsold items were donated. Nothing was kept. I feel good! WhowhHahh!

Big changes are a coming.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Almost 4 inches.

That's the total from the storms that moved through the past two days. Last night, flash flood warnings were going off all over the place. The rain was relentless. Even during the light spells, it was coming down sideways. The yard is refreshed. People are nicer. It's humid, muggy, and 81 degrees.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sweet Rain.

It started last night about 9pm. I was at work. A small shower passed over. During the last 12 hours, we've received about an inch and a half of rain. I think the Muskogee Crape Myrtle has put out new growth already. Plants that have been wilted for weeks are showing improvement. More storms likely this afternoon. It's 77 degrees.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Starting over.

Not completely, of course, but starting over is sometimes necessary in my garden. Plants don't always perform the way I read in books and online. My soil is not consistent. Rain doesn't always fall. I don't head outside to water things when the heat index is over 100. You've got to be tough to make it in my yard.

With that in mind, I've spent some time over the past couple of weeks moving and rearranging plants that were under threat of dying. I started concentrating on pulling things from the Crape Myrtle Bed and the Shrub Island. Coneflowers, salvias, and speedwell made their moves this morning. They're sad looking things right now. So close to the house, and in the shade during the hottest parts of the day, I'll be able to keep an eye on them and water, when absolutely necessary.

Coneflower and ox eye daisy.

Either a white, pink, or blue salvia. I don't really care what colors since this bed has always had a blue/pink scheme in the spring when the salvias bloom.

Last week, I divided and moved some columbines from the Circle Bed. They've put out new leaves. As long as I keep them watered, they should settle in just fine.

Along the street, the blooms are heaviest. In other parts of the Perennial Bed, this is the typical scene. One or two blooms with the promise of more as fall approaches.

I think I'll like what grows in this space next year. I'll be sowing Queen Anne's Lace seeds with the next rainfall. They combine nicely with the coneflowers. Foxgloves and salvias are still in this bed for spring blooms. Daffodil bulbs are scattered here and there.

In the Circle Bed, R. triloba, hibiscus, coneflowers, grasses, and a Crape Myrtle will take center stage. Cosmos from two years ago are still springing up every time I water. Such a pest in an unwanted area, they didn't germinate that well in the meadow this year.

Throughout the fall, I'll be moving everything from the Shrub Island. I might leave the fig tree. I ate three ripe ones this morning. They were the first from a tree I rooted myself. They were delicious. The other plants here, including the butterfly bushes, camellias, forsythia, and althea, will all be moved around the edges of the backyard. I'm hoping to finally enclose it with color that shifts depending on the season. Once the shrubs are gone, the rocks will come up, and the area will be returned to service as grass. I'll be sowing Annual Rye for sure this fall.

It's 84 degrees. 60% chance of no rain today. The heat index is already at 97.

Monday, August 16, 2010

In spite of the heat.

Some things are blooming and doing it very well.

The canna I dug from the yard and planted in the perennial bed last year has finally bloomed. I like it.

Fall scattered Verbena on a stick is blooming sparsely. It reseeds. Right?

Red four o'clocks and Coreopsis "Full Moon" with Miscanthus "Cosmopolitan".

Knockouts with Morning Glory.

Full Moon, E. "Magnus", Blackberry Lily, R. triloba, and perilla combine well together.

Melampodium edges the other side of the same space.

The monstrous tithonia is a favorite of butterflies.

It's 81 degrees and overcast. Another 70% chance of no rain in the forecast today and tonight.