Friday, December 30, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


It's 61 degrees at just after 11pm.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Toeing the line.

He dares not cross it. Koda is nearly six months old.

Friday, December 2, 2011


It was an SOS return. Originally, it would have cost $154.00. The cap and base are $48 as a set. I paid just $13.50. I watched this column for weeks as the markdown process worked its charm. Next week, it would have been trashed. It'll form the support for the front porch I plan to rebuild soon.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


In November. The camellias are confused too.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


He brings me flowers. I give him cuttings.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011


All the leaves are brown. But the sky is blue.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Nice work if you can get it.

I've been working in a gorgeous neighborhood this week.

Monday, November 7, 2011

A dead vole.

Apparently they make better chew toys than I would have expected.

Monday, October 31, 2011


I don't know exactly what it is. This year it has thrilled me. I love the "blooms".

Friday, October 28, 2011

I hadn't planned...

To take cuttings this year. Several friends need Brugmansia and Confederate Rose. 32°F is the forecast for Saturday night.

Monday, October 24, 2011


Brugmansia. It's 68° and cooling down fast. I'm going to accidentally take cuttings soon.

Monday, October 17, 2011


I used stone from the yard. I moved the large ones with a wheelbarrow and some leverage.  I'll spend the next few days laying the pavers where the chairs are sitting. I want to raise this bed another couple inches and that means moving soil. We'll see what I actually do when the time comes.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

What a gorgeous day.

I took a nice long walk with Koda.


It would be a good day to work in the yard. I have other plans.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

It was an accident.

In early March, I got a call from my sister in SC asking me what those yellow blooming shrubs all over town might be. She wants some for her yard. She's a solid zone 8a. I told her Forsythia and proceeded to quote a price for a three gallon shrub from Lowe's.  She was dissuaded. 

Her birthday is Friday. I've rooted nine pots with two cuttings a piece. After work, I'll drive down and deliver the to her. It's what brothers do.

I accidentally grew a few too many Hosta this year from seed. I've planted two seedlings in each of the cells of two recycled 18 pack containers. Next spring, the survivors will find a home on the shady end of the slope in front of my house. Some are large leaf varieties.  Others were collected from various plants at the store last fall. I won't know for a while what I got. Patience strikes again.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Rainy day

It's 61°. Rain has been falling all morning. Seemed like the right thing to do today.

Monday, October 10, 2011


It's something I struggle with everyday.  Gardening teaches patience. Life rewards those who wait. Sometimes.

Seed grown lantana only took the whole season to finally bloom. I hope it returns next year.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


It's becoming more apparent everyday that fall is here. The temperatures are in the 50s most nights with days in the 60s. The perennial sunflowers are blooming. The sedums have taken on their dark red hues. Pineapple salvia is blooming. The last of the hummingbirds zoom past as I wait for Koda to do his business. 

It won't be long now before the backyard is full of orange, red, and yellow foliage. Winter isn't that far away. Time to pull out the heavy comforter and put away the summer blanket for the bed. The tropicals are slowly making their way indoors.  I've got a meeting tonight with another client. Pansies are on her mind.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Pisgah Inn

Off the side of the parkway somewhere near Asheville, my friend Tom took me to the restaurant of this seasonal hotel. The rooms all overlook this view. The restaurant where we ate did too. The solidago is stunning. In person, small dots of light purple from the natvie asters are scattered about. The leaves will not be at their peak for about another two weeks, but the Flora is fantastic.

It was 46 degrees here when I finally got out of bed. The wind chill has put a damper on the Blue Ridge Pride festivities in downtown Asheville.  Looking forward to a most interesting afternoon.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


If you've never had should. A customer brought me two. I plan to wintersow the seeds as soon as the flesh has been devoured. So good.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Confederate Rose

Wintersown in 2009, this plant is huge and about to bloom. A coworker asked if I had one. What Southern garden doesn't?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The last figs.

About a dozen remain. I've been eating a handful almost daily for a few months. Next year I hope the Black Mission and Texas Everbearing produce.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


And it's coming quickly.
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Thursday, September 22, 2011

To dine.

Clearance deals are the best. A little help from a friend makes it all better. I need to cook a nice dinner for her soon. Thanks Carla.
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It refreshes not just the soil, but the soul.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Good Sunday.

I got a lot accomplished. I'm feeling better. At 3:45am we will see how this all holds up. Work at 5am.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Big Changes

Moved or removed a few plants over the past two weeks. Only the cannas remain. I'm being ruthless.
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Boiled Peanuts.

Fall crashed into us on Friday. The high of 59 occurred just after midnight. It's drizzly and damp this morning. The house is clean. The parents have come and gone. Summer is officially over with the passing of the boat.

Like some redneck voyage to Valhalla, my dad came with the van (customized, of course) and took the boat back. I will get it again in the spring when their sights turn towards the massive vegetable garden they plant each year. 12 bags of frozen tomatoes were all she claimed to have put away. I'm on number 16 now. <3

My tiller was returned and will be put to use shortly as I want to move more plants this weekend. I need larger beds to accommodate the migration.

I accidentally took sedum cuttings Thursday. They are in bloom now reminding me why I need more.

I've got cabbage seedlings and clearance Hosta that need homes. Koda hates rain. I'll leave him inside.

It's 55°. I'm gonna have some hot peanuts before I do anything else.
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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Like a squirrel.

I've started preparing for winter. Cooler temperatures are in the forecast. I long for a hammock and a firepit. These are important to my plans. The tea olives are blooming. I must hurry.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011

Great night for sitting.

Got another day off tomorrow. Got plans to do nothing. Gonna do it well.
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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hard Candy Christmas

I put Christmas on the shelves today. It's really discouraging. I've had to listen to that witch and ghost reaper for more than a month. The same song. The same remarks. The same joke from a walker who is probably a little off her rocker.

The witch is motion activated. Her hoot sets the reaper into motion. Together it sounds more like catcalling than horror. The woman wearing too much makeup in all the wrong places, says to me as she grabs my arm, "I haven't had that much attention since my husband passed away." And she walks on.

It was a beautiful day to be inside. It's cooled off a bit with some clouds. The mosquitoes are out in force. I'll take Koda for a walk after dark.
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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Serenity Now.

It's 66 degrees. I'm having a cold glass of the house wine of the South in a chair made of cheap Chinese plastic. The firepit is a $1.00 citronella bucket candle clearanced just in time. There's a moon that's almost full illuminating the back yard. The pup is off chewing something. By the sound of things the neighbors are restless tonight. I'm heading to bed. Eventually.
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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Big changes are coming.

There was a period in my life when I had more plans than time. I was on my game both in the house and the yard. I worked on projects because I wanted to, not because there was an arbitrary deadline chosen by someone who spent all their working hours thinking of ways to interfere with my life.

Eventually working eight hours a day outside took precedent over the things I wanted to accomplish from day to day. I fell into a rut. I came very close to mowing down the perennial bed by the driveway one afternoon in early summer. I didn't want to be reminded of what I left at work when I arrived home. If it weren't for sheer exhaustion and the very real possibility of a heat stroke, I probably would have done it. I got lazy.

Eight weeks ago that all came to a screeching halt when our store manager announced his decision to relocate seven of the twelve department managers in the store. When the final announcement was made, I have to say I was honestly excited to hear that I would be one of the ones being shifted to another part of the store. No longer in OSLG, there would be no ethical issue arising from the plans I had discussed with Todd on the front steps more than a year earlier.

For the past six weeks, I've spent my days inside where its 74 degrees year round selling lawnmowers, patio furniture, and garden trinkets made in China and Mexico. I've learned to slow down and I'm actually enjoying the change of pace.

I took over the Seasonal and Outdoor Power Equipment departments as the Garden Center became quieter each day from lack of foot traffic. Our mature clientel do not function well when the heat index reaches 105F for what seemed like weeks at a time. The younger folks spend the summer trying to toss each other from their waverunners on the two lakes nearby.

Ive stepped out of the proverbial frying pan and into a whole mess of firepits and kerosene heaters. We're in the middle of our fall resets. This morning, my manager, who used to work at the other end of the store in lumber, had plans to install the 16 beams and 32 pieces of decking for the Christmas lights already arriving a few boxes at a time every other day. I will find out Monday if he accomplished his self-prescribed task.

I've been working in retail for over three years now since the economy was wrecked by people whose sole existence is based on greed. Every week I print a schedule decided on by a person I've never met. I imagine he or she works in a cubicle a long way from any operating windows or doors. This person does not know that I function best when I follow the cyclical rhythms designed by Mother Nature.

In summer, I wake as soon as the sky is light. I go to bed not long after the Datura are fully open. During the cold dark winter, I prefer to sleep as much as possible. That's just a dream when you have to be at work at 5am on Tuesday, leave at 2pm, and return the following day for a 3 to 11pm shift. The body doesn't get used to a schedule like that.

For at least a year and a half, I've been dreaming of the day when I once again control my own schedule. I've logged hundreds of miles across the rough concrete in the Garden Center hauling and lifting tons of soil, mulch, and living materials.  It will become a reality sooner rather than later. At first it will supplement my meager wages with plans to transition to a career as my business grows.

At the end of July, I installed a small pond complete with stone and some plants purchased or dug from my own yard for Carla's neighbor. She's got friends that have inquired about my time and availability. I spent a lot of hot and cold days making a name for myself in this town. I sowed and planted. I read blogs and participated in online communities. I got sweaty and passed that information along to customers for less money than I made in a textile mill between high school and college in the early 90s.  It's almost time for me to claim what is rightfully mine. I've worked hard to learn what I now know.

To all those that have helped me over the four years that I have spent here transforming not just a yard and house, but myself as well, I can never thank you all enough for the knowledge I've acquired. Little snippets of plants and pounds of seed were shared and passed on to others with the same information given to me. I honestly cannot thank you enough fully aware that in doing so, I threaten the existence of the plants that were shared. There comes a time when knowledge must be separated from superstition.  That time is fast approaching.

I look forward to the next several years working to build yet another business from scratch. I wish you could all follow along but I've got to do this one alone. Good health, best wishes, and may all your dreams be realized whether in the garden or not.


Tom Gainey,  gardener

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A good day.

I had plans to hit the lake today, but with the temperatures being so nice Carla and I decided to spend the day working in our yards. I piddled mostly. I planted out all the things that had been accumulating over the past weeks. For instance, this Jane Magnolia. Some call it a tulip tree. It's the 12' variety.


Since I had to move a variegated holly like Osmanthus, I planted and moved a few other things as well. The ground is still moist from all the rain we've had. The cooler temperatures will help. I planted the rescued Texas Everbearing Fig. It was just a stick with a tiny leaf when I got it.


I installed lighting taken from the front of the house along the back side. I walk Koda out here and night.


It's nice to see he thinks he's helping by digging too.


He hauls sticks out of the wild.


Pays no attention at all to the fragrance of the hostas.


Won't let you take a picture of him for nothing.


And can be so freaking adorable at the same time.


Before heading in for the day, I took some cuttings of things that have a good chance of rooting in water. A friend has a birthday coming up and I think he would get a kick out of it.


It's only 84 degrees. Back down into the 60s tonight. The tomatoes are blooming again.

Monday, August 15, 2011

What is it?

I should know what this plant is. I put it in this spot. Now I can't remember for the life of me what it is. Anyone have a clue?

Today I am cleaning house from bottom to middle. No reason to touch the attic. The kittens left fleas on the basement. I've treated the space a few times now. I hope they're gone. It usually takes many weeks to break the life cycle. I need to do laundry. The machines are down there.

It's 68 degrees at 10 am. It feels awesome. Storms overnight sucked out most of the humidity in the air.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sometimes, you have to do what works.

I've tried the newest technology and it really seems to be lacking something. So I'm back to my standard method of posting. I might use the technology from time to time, but it's not something I want to do every day.

The yard is doing its own thing this year. It's been too hot to worry about much. I cut the grass every two weeks. I could probably mow once a week. In one part of the perennial bed, the path has disappeared.


Little snippets of variety are what I love.


I didn't realize I had purchased a 6' tall variety of agastache. If anyone would like a start of this, please let me know. I've got to move it next spring. It's HUGE! There are butterfly bushes in there somewhere.


Lots of hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies.


The hosta are blooming in the shade on the north side.


Yep. He's a happy mutt.


In late spring, I took my ficus tree outside to the side porch. I did some major pruning taking it down to about 6 main branches. It's forgiven me with a vengeance.


It's 84 degrees and humid. Mid 90s with 100s heat index again. I've taken Koda out three times this morning. The figs are ripening one mouthful at a time.