Category: Gardening (page 1 of 3)

Spring Report

It’s April now. Spring is moving on. The Apple trees have already finished blooming mostly. They are our last spring blooming trees every year. Both the Yoshino’s and the Apple trees were very early this year. Usually the Apple trees don’t START to bloom until sometime in April.

The Yoshino’s usually last until nearly April, so they were very, very early since that was so long ago now that they had blooms. πŸ™

My Peonies are setting buds and getting bigger (peonies regrow the bush every spring, btw)

First Peony Bud

My Knockout Roses are really getting full, setting a ton of buds, with many opening and already open and already spent already.

Here’s one photo I have on Flickr of one particular … with many more photos there … go ahead and click through them all by clicking on the photo which will take you to Flickr, find the Set and comment on any you wish to there.

Shy Beauty

1st Yoshino Blossoms – March 10, 2012

The Yoshino Cherry Trees have opened their first blossoms of 2012 today! They are early, as they were last year.

Yoshino Blossoms Opening! a photo by Maisy.

 

Spring is really blooming

Spring is here. Our big white blooming tree (crab apple or cherry something or other) is past peak bloom already. It still is very beautiful, just not “as much” as earlier in the week. The blossoms are dropping slowly, and the leaves are getting greener and larger day by day.

I posted pictures of my Whiskey Barrel plants earlier today (all separate postings, unfortunately, not something I’ll be editing into one post anytime soon, or ever.) My Chives are making me want to make french bread and spaghetti on purpose (Chive Butter!) and the unnamed Thyme is good and fragrant already, I put some into the stew I’m making for dinner today. The Greek Oregano is simply fragrant and bushy, threatening to take over the barrel, already claiming about half the space or making moves for it, I’m going to pare it back some soon. It stayed active all winter, but has a new spring springiness, freshened and Super Hyper active. The Chives were also active over winter, but Super Hyper active now too.

The Eastern Redbud tree has been ready to bloom anytime and has opened several blossoms today. It’ll be a glorious purple blaze soon. The maple trees all have done their red blossom thing already. The Yoshino Cherry trees are ready-ing their blossoms, not yet there.

Let’s see then, there are a few other trees, starting their looking alive thing. The Weeping Willow (tree) and the Pussy Willow (bush) both appear to be dead. That’s not good. Actually I am not shocked about the bush, it was nasty, we moved it, it seemed to regroup, now looks petered ugly old knarly totally dead. No pussie willows this spring. Or next, unless …

So the Weeping Willow is another matter. It is usually greening up by now. It LOOKS dead and symptoms are every branch or strand I can touch is brittle, dry, snaps and is totally dead. Bark is pulled away from the trunk in many areas and every thing looks dead. There was a dead branch on it last year, it wasn’t dead early on, but at some point, and whatever it is, it’s the whole tree.

So, is it something Willow oriented? I don’t know, I’ve not gotten myself to do any research. I’m overwhelmed with the thought of taking the tree down. So it goes.

Anyhow, weeds are in their glorious phase. I have learned to forget about new gardening until later. Let the horrid weeds do their thing, pull out of this or that area for perennials and in the barrel, but don’t worry much about planting anything into a “garden” until later, weeds and disease, it’s too fresh and lovely for those things, but they rear their heads and what I do about things is so “natural” I just have more success starting later, if at all. I would like tomatoes and red peppers this year. Tomatoes I know I can do, red peppers I want to do, but never have successfully gotten even one pepper to eat from them.

Crepe Myrtles in 2011

Our Crepe Myrtle didn’t start blooming until just this week, well, noticeable blooms forming the other week (finally!) and opening this week. It’s still a young tree, but had bloomed last year, the year before, and the year before that, and we expected it to bloom nicely this year.

In Georgia it’s notable how many Crepe Myrtles there are, looking at them you just can’t help but notice their showy full bloom splendor in the hot June, July, August months.

This year, I noticed other Crepe Myrtles not flowering, or flowering in a spotty, nastily skimpy way. I haven’t seen more than a handful of fully in bloom Crepe Myrtles (not that I’m a big traveler.)Crepe Myrtle Finally Beginning to Bloom

Our Crepe Myrtle is a Muskogee and is supposed to have a very long blooming period. Not starting until August (and not very much at that) isn’t even a short blooming period. 2011 = Very Bad Year for Crepe Myrtles

Gorgeous Pink Peonies: Eleven

Peony 2010 - photo taken May 14, 2010

Spring came early this year. It was absolute that many of my plants & trees did their Spring Thing weeks earlier than normal.

Gorgeous Pink Peony 1
Peony 2011 – photo taken May 1, 2011

With that impact noticeable it must have some sort of impact on Crepe Myrtles, I guess. Not enough “down time”? Not exactly, the Crepe Myrtle had no leaves for a long time, not too early at all, in other words. Pretty much when they usually do, I think. FWIW it’s just annoying, the one grace to a hot summer day is looking at lush, vibrant Crepe Myrtles blooming splendidly against a brilliantly blue sky.

Not in 2011.

Spring, Spring, Doing Your Thing

Spring is fully underway. A lot of the Daffodils in our yard are blooming or past blooming, there are still some coming up though. My Peonies are readying their blossoms more and more each day. Looks like they’ll be early this year (like many of the flowering trees were.) I have also gotten my Hosta plants out of the overly weedy bed they were in. They now reside in two large pots temporarily. I’m trying to un-weed another area for them.

Varigated Hosta Potted .:. Solid Hosta Potted

We have an October Glory Maple Tree in the front yard. My Peonies are planted beside it. This area we call “the berm” … it’s raised up, I want to beef it up quite a bit, restore it to the semi-glory it once had, and make it better than ever. I’m hoping to get the hosta tucked into it somewhere nice and shady for the most part.

I have some other bulbs to plant, summer blooming things. I want, have always wanted, a really good perennial 4-season set-up … I struggle getting it to come to fruition. So I’m mostly right now hoping to really work on the berm for the first major time since the early 2000’s. My Peonies will be here for the last time this year. I want to move them to a different spot. That will be later though. So now it’s:

  • Get the weeds out (grassy horrid things for the most part, runners … ugh.)
  • Add organic material
  • Add soil
  • Add bulbs
  • Plant Hosta
  • Plant sunflower seeds
  • Plant some other seeds
  • Get more bulbs (especially Fall, an d also Winter [if there are any for this area]

We got my Knock Out Rose bushes planted last weekend, finally. They were bought in 2010 and never put into the ground. Thankfully they lived alright over the course of the year until now. They are now happy coffee drinkers (coffee grounds buried with them) and are really starting to get where they are suppose to. Many blooms will be opening in the next few days.

Knock Out Roses Recently PlantedI have another Knock Out Rose bush that is in a planter we bought last year, full of plants already. Only it lasted, and something else growing under it, some kind of snapdragon sort of looking thing. That rose bush is flourishing. It looked pretty good already, but I gave it some coffee as well, and it visible got nicer the few days afterward. It’s got a ton of bloom blooming, and setting more.

Knock Out Roses 2011I’ve got lots of pictures on Flickr of the roses from this year. I also planted a few garlic cloves in the planter, they are sending up shoots and sending down roots. I’ll put some out by my other roses too I think. Aphids are not nice, we had some earlier, they seem to have gone away with my vinegar treatment and the rain we have had. I keep my eyes on them. Last year was my first with any roses that grow. No aphids then. Early spring, that’s when they appeared, I didn’t have these plants in early Spring last year, so I will look for a patter in coming times. Also of note is this year’s earliest  spring we have had since living here, most notably in how all the plants have responded.

Daffodils are now Thriving

Our daffodil population is exploding. Every day more and more are popping up. Today our first white & yellow daffodils opened. They are lovely.

Gorgeous Daffodil

It’s very hot again, and this week the humidity went to Southern Summer types. Bad enough outside, but inside it is worse right now, our A/C is totally not working (only the fan will come on, or the Heat Pump [like we want that right now :roll-eyes] – it’s too old and needs overhauled — really needs to be hauled OUT. We need new, better, the one we have NEVER worked awesomely, never was up to snuff most of the summer. Too small and wrong for the space we have.

Spring and Daffodils

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Yoshino's Blooming

A view of our Yoshino's in full bloom

March is nearly over already. Wow! Time is moving fast. Partially that is because Spring started so very early for us this year. Our Yoshino cherry trees are usually in Peak blossoming right now. They are done blossoming, have been for awhile. Our largest of the 3 we have still has many blossoms at the top half of the tree, but all the trees are leafing out and the blossoms that are still there are mostly hidden. Overall, the two smaller trees are done with blossoms, and the larger tree has many, but not even a 1/8 to a 1/4 of what it had in full bloom.

We got some daffodils planted this year in the front yard. They were supposed to be planted in November, but got lost in the garage and it wouldn’t have worked out in any case. I found them in the shed a few weeks ago and was surprised to find them there, buried in a corner. They were nice bags that we got at Costco, 80 bulbs in each. I opened one up and the bulbs were sprouting roots a little and growing upwards. The other bag was the same. A few bulbs seemed no good (that would be the case whenever we would have opened it in the Autumn.) Since they probably spent most of the Winter in the shed, I guess they were treated to enough cold to grow and do their thing.

We have a Mantis, but it was out of service in the Autumn, so we hadn’t done any prep for new flower beds or anything at all. My daffodil bulbs were a great buy, but bad timing. Anyhow, we got the Mantis in for service late February, but couldn’t pick it up until just a week ago. I found the bulbs and with that status find and the early spring we were having I was anxious to get them planted immediately.

Our yard is the typical Georgia one, clay and weedy grasses. Hard, awful. It had rained previous to start digging the grassy surface off of the dirt, so that job was a bit easier. It would have be heaven to have the Mantis at this point, loosening the earth to get it amended and moved to get the bed of bulbs in place. It was a messy thankless job without the Mantis. My husband did most of that work in the end. I didn’t do the digging, I’m not capable of it. I started laying the bulbs in, but grew sick of it with the condition of everything and left it for my husband to finish. I hope all the bulbs ended up pointing up properly.

Close-up of Daffodil emerging from the Earth

It seemed forever until one green pointy thing poked through the dirt. It was forever. It was the only one for a long time, then another and another. A few days later a couple more, then it rained and I didn’t look yesterday, chilly day that it was, and very wet. Today I went out in early morning and sure enough, more and more and more are coming out. Still nothing like should come up, but it’s a start. Other peoples daffodils are up and blossoming already (for some weeks!) Ours say on the bag “bloom mid-spring” so what does that mean exactly in our case? If they were in the ground since November, they’d be further along now? Probably, I guess. I’m hoping these daffodils will naturalize. I did have some before that never came back. It was several years ago, but not as many or even as nice bulbs as the ones we just planted. Mid-Spring is what though? I guess we’ll see in coming years.

There are at least 4 or 5 stalks from these bulbs which are forming blossoms in their tops. Some are supposedly full yellow, others yellow centers with white petals. I’m hoping to get the area fully finished (dirt moved, mulch applied, etc.) so that when the flowers bloom I’ll have some good photos to get.

2011 Spring – Chives from my Barrel Garden

Chives from my Barrel Garden

Originally uploaded by CrazyMaisy.

My Chives (Onion Chives acutally) are from a long time ago, I am not exactly sure, 2004 or 2005. I had them in a ground garden first year or two, then moved them to the barrel when I got that a few years ago. They are perennial, faithful lovely chives.

They are looking sprite and growing a lot this past week.

I need to get a few more herbs for the barrel, I have some Greek Oregano that stayed the winter, and some kind of leggy weird Thyme that also did (but I don’t like.) I need some nice thyme varieties and a good basic Basil and some thing else like it in another variety or something or other. Sounds vague, yup, that’s how it is until I find what I want at Home Depot or Whole Foods Market.

Out & Gardening & Putting Together

My hubby and I went out on Saturday together, with the eldest son, being 14 now, the one in charge at home.

We went to Ikea and that is a one-thing for me. I mean, it’s like walking a million miles for me, so a one-thing-trip, nothing else should be done. That was not all we did though. Walking, walking, going more. [I’m still an introvert, of course. Like that would ever change πŸ˜‰ ]

We ate at Fox Sports Grill in Atlantic Station (Atlanta, GA) which was nice. I had a Blue Cheese Burger, very messy, but very, very good. I also had a “Grand Stand Lemonade” which is a drink with Amaretto, Jack Daniels, Pineapple Juice, and Sweet & Sour in a tall glass over ice. The drink was nice, not heavy, but got more “thick” nearer to the bottom and was over tangy, not as nice as the rest of it. I was done eating, and hubby ready to go anyhow, so I didn’t finish the last inch or two of the drink.

We also went to Whole Foods Market (we try to get there at least 1 time a month, it’s an adventure in it’s own right) which was more than I could muster up energy to think about what to get by the time we were there for very long. I did see the plants outside before we went in, and I took the time to look at the herbs and tomatoes and choose a few to get. Nice organic plants, good prices.

I had finally gotten a hanging tomato thing, the topsy tuvy that does tomatoes & herbs. I’d never had one before. I didn’t thing well of it when I saw the first commercials for it sometime ago. But last year I saw more value in it, and this year I decided to go with it since I now have a cottage shed in the backyard which I’m building my gardening things around. I’m hanging it off the side of the cottage. I previously had several plants to put into it, but wanted more and the Whole Foods plants help a lot to get me nearer to having enough to fill the topsy turvy with. Looking at the instructions for it I noted that I could get more than 9 plants into it since it says you can get two plant into every port …

Hubby helped me set it up this afternoon. I thought I might need to get a few more things for it, I don’t have quite all the herbs I want. Home Depot had some that I got earlier, so to get something else it probably won’t be “Organic” since I picked through stuff like that there already last couple of weeks.

At Ikea we got a bunch of little things: Magazine holders (now I need more for the Magazine that will be coming from Maghound in the next months [just for the ones I keep, Organic Gardening, Hobby Farms, Hobby Farms Home, Martha Stewart, Southern Living, Mary Janes Farm, Scrapbooks Etc., as well as my subscription to Creating Keepsakes mag.] hooks, little kitchen things, of course more wooden hangers too.

We saw a cabinet there that I immediately thought of as perfect for my scrapbooking space. I then went online once home and found a few pictures of it on Flickr, in a MA Ikea store setup as a ‘craft room’ … there sat my desired red cabinet filled with craft stuff.

For “Mother’s Day” my hubby took me back to Ikea yesterday and we bought the cabinet and a few other things.

I put half of the cabinet together yesterday in the basement before giving up feeling overworked/overheated … which makes me quite ill and only rest and hours of sleep every restores me from that state.

This morning I was able to get more of it done. It’s in place, just the hardware for door hinges needs to be finished, and get the doors on. I have the shelves in, and some things inside already. I bought a package of light that will go into the top of the cabinet, but I’ll need to work on that to get them installed, not a “plug ‘n’ play” thing at all.

I need to make sure my Topsy-Turvy planter is still hanging well. It rained the past couple of days, very hard yesterday, so it’ll be very heavy. FWIW

My Garden 2009

I have a garden started, not much yet. It’s a raised bed made with retaining wall paver sort of stuff. I’m supposed to have 4 of them eventually, just 1 for now. Tomatoes, green onions, and pole beans are what I have in it thus far. They are all growing and I got some structure up for the beans yesterday and they should start their winding/climbing action fairly soon. I have to thin the onions and just haven’t really grown these before by myself so I have to look up what exactly to do with them. The tomato plants are mostly all flowering and some have set baby tomatoes.

I also have more in my barrel planter now. The old perennial onion chives I planted some years ago is thriving, I have a few other tomato plants in there, as well as oregano, parsley and thyme. My old thyme died back and only a teeny-tiny bit is now starting to come back.

I have ants in my barrel since one big rain in the last week or two. I have to find my de-whatever-earth stuff that I have to deal with those critters. I was trying to find something to get rid of them with that’s safe and organic and totally forgot about de-whatever-earth, which I do have in the garage somewhere.

I want to grow more, but don’t either have the space set up, or don’t have the plants, have seeds but don’t want to grow everything else I want from seed, and want to have Red Peppers mostly, but never have had success in growing (red peppers) to eat any of them.

I can hardly wait to get some fresh beans on the dinner table though. It’s been a long time since I had a real garden, and that is because of needing to amend places for one in our backyard (it’s horrible georgia clay which isn’t good for growing most veggies.) My first garden spot in this yard I abandoned, and the seconded as well. The third I didn’t abandon really, but it just faded away sort of. I was to have a grand garden in 2007 but it never got going though I had things for it. I wanted to also do it last year and never got to do it. So I made it happen this year. πŸ™‚

Crepe Myrtle killed back, waiting for re-growth

Crepe Mytle I’m awaiting my Crepe Myrtle to re-grow. In 2007 the April 17th-ish freeze killed back all the then Crepe Myrtle spring growth. It was rather far along with nice little leaves showing … then black goo from the two days of freezing temps. It did put out some puny leaves after that, eventually, that’s all.

Next year it had nice leaves, that’s all.

This year (2009) it was putting out little buds to open into leaves and then blam, an early April freeze, just barely, again. But this year the freeze was lesser than the 2007 April freeze by far and wide with the Crepe Myrtle very early into it’s growth for 2009, and noticeably affected just barely, but within a few days it was just brown dried up stuff where the leaf buds were. That nice new growth starting cut off. πŸ™

I’ve looked online and found info from 2007 about freeze damage, and the basic consensus is to leave the poor trees alone, and when another warm spell of a few days lasts it’ll put out new growth again.

Thing is I’m hoping for more than growth, but nice leaves and actual blooms for once. I supposed it’s a young Crepe Myrtle and perhaps hasn’t liked where it is, in the South with the drought, and in the front with not full sunlight all day. It’s where the landscaper we hired years ago had put a Crepe Myrtle on our landscape plans, and we put it in finally a few years ago. It’s supposed to get lilac color blooms. We’ve had plenty of water the last few weeks, and that’s a plus, hope the Crepe Myrtle see it that way.

There are a few suckers coming up that I need to get rid of, and perhaps I could do a little tiny shape pruning, other than that, there’s not much I can do. I sure won’t top it off, no way. That’s a very mean thing to do to a Crepe Myrtle and I bet 75% of the Crepe Myrtles I see around the NE GA area are topped off every year. Horrid.

Garden 2008

There is no garden in our backyard this year, again. There is supposed to be, but it just hasn’t occurred.

Our backyard is overgrown right now, and we’ve had trouble with the mowers, so it’s kind of “status quo” dormant.

Last year I was supposed to have a good garden. It didn’t happen. I was pregnant and Frank was going to help me but getting the ground ready, and then also help me planting and caring for things. Well, that’s the past. This year I wanted to use what I had left, any of the seeds I’d purchased for 2007.

It’s now July.

I have time, really, since this is The South. But it’s imperative to me that it happens NOW, so I can get tomatoes going, for one. And green beans, and be ready for later when I can plant the end of the season cool vegetables.

This then is what I need to convince Frank of: to get something cut short and de-nuded of grass so that I can plant something somewhere out there. Please, dear? πŸ™‚

36 Weeks today

I’m 36 wks + 0 days today …

I’m getting much closer, and time seems to be going faster and faster …

We ordered our Birth Kit yesterday, and hopefully it will arrive before our Home Visit on June 4th (when I’ll be 38 wks 0 days.) We also need to get some other supplies for the birth together still (and have them ready for the HV also.)

My midwife gave me a nice chart listing all the days of my pregnancy and the week+day information for each day.

Here are two links to the same OB Calculator which will list your weeks+days of pregnancy in a chart, according to the information you provide:

Last Menses + day cycle, or
Date of Conception, or
Due Date

http://www.floridamidwife.com/calculator.html

http://www.vgio.com/midwife/obcalc.php

Both calculators are the same, but the first link is to one that is customized for a midwife (so has some text added, but just an extra title on the chart produced) and the second link is a plain calculator (and no extra title on the chart produced.)

Hubby is out again this week, and has promised to take off Friday and start getting the flooring installed and finish it that weekend. It’s a holiday weekend, so we’ll see what can be done. It’s just our master bedroom and the hallway we are going to do the flooring on, and plan on doing the other two bedrooms on the same floor of the house later.

Also my garden has never been dug out, hubby wanted our eldest to aide us and get the grass layer off of part of the area so that I could get a few of my plants in (the ones that are still alive, I’ve lost several that we bought, urg!) but DS balked and wouldn’t do it, and hubby didn’t do it, so now I have another week to see if I can keep the few remaining plants alive until planting (which will be when?)

I do have space in my whiskey barrel, to put a few things, but I wanted to get that moved to another spot before playing with it, and the plants that have died are mostly herbs that I bought for the barrel, not all though, and the only ones alive are a couple of bell peppers, and one herb or two, and a tomato plant which wasn’t happy but is re-growing where it did seem to be dying before.

Most of my intended plants are still seeds, and I still am glad I’ve never gotten them started in their little peet pot tray thingies … since I have no way to transplant the many things I would have started. I also have beans and a few other things that are best planted straight into the ground. I was going to get at least two teepee hills of beans planted yesterday, but alas that didn’t work out because of the lack of garden dug out-ness. πŸ™

I really want that garden fully planted soon though, and need for that to be completed before long, before the baby arrives for sure!

April Freeze Damage

I posted the other day about the “freezing weather” and wanted to post an update on the situation.

When I looked at the back yard after the sun came up Sunday mornig it was obviously “frosty” out — the grass was not the bright verdant color that is usual of late. I waited awhile for things to warm up, then waited longer … and finally set out to spy the damage or not.

The apple trees are in a sad state of affairs. They did not have that blooming pink look from afar, and getting closer it was obviously brown droopy looking, the blossoms that had opened mostly all were affected from what I could see. There are many blossom that aren’t opened yet, and I don’t want to disturb any of them yet to check for damage.

The white dogwood (in the back yard too) looked sad, the blossoms just hanging there, the leaves mostly looked alright.

The Eastern Redbud tree is close-by the dogwood, and it was totally drippy looking, the blooms had already faded before the freeze, and it was leafing out so nicely, but the leaves were so delicate, they were black and drippy looking, gooey, icky. The whole tree is full of that black sludge which used to be sweet spring leaves.

We have 3 Autumn Flame Maples in the back yard, and they are done with their bloom and have been leafing out. They are not fully leafed out yet, and the leaves are fairly small. From what I saw they look a bit droopey, but not totally affected –maybe.

We have 2 Paperbark Maples as well back there, and their little fresh leaves that have been coming out lately are super-droopey.

We have other trees that are fully leafed out already and they faired fine.

Out in our front yard the 2 Cherokee Chief Dogwoods we have faire alright, their only blooms are high up and seem pretty much unaffected.

We had planted a new tree a few weeks ago, and it began leafing out just in the last week or so. It’s leaves are pretty much like the Eastern Redbud that I described above, drippy and black-ish. πŸ™

My Hostas were coming up, quite large and lovely, and they are brown sludge now. πŸ™

The peonies have been putting out growth and they seem alright, we’ll see later. There are a few buds starting and time will tell.

The little irises I have have been growing up, but they look a bit dippy, it’s just the “leaf” part, no buds or blooms started yet.

The Japanese ‘Bloodgood’ Maple is fully leafed out, but the leaves aren’t as big as they’ll eventually get, and they look a tad relaxed. Time will tell whether or not they rebound with strength this week.

That’s most of the damage.

The weather was forecasted to be very much below freezing last night, but I didn’t check the forecast as nighttime drew closer. We did not have freezing temps, probably 39 in reality as a low, if not a bit higher. So there shouldn’t be any further damage to what’s left.

I haven’t seen a Spring Freeze like this since being in GA, and before that I was in S. FL for many years. So I don’t have any experience regarding what will occur. I have seen trees drop their leaves in Summer from drought, and re-grow some later on, FWIW. We had long drought conditions in past years on this property, but that’s not been the case for a little while now. I was looking forward to a vigorous growing season all around, trees, flowers, garden, and it’s the phrase of April now, “time will tell” — time being “the progressive movement of the season” –not the ‘clock’ sort of time. πŸ™‚

April Freeze and Gardening 2007

From Friday night to Saturday morning it was supposed to be really cold, just below freezing. I don’t think that actually happened on our property … yes it was cold, but not quite to freezing, from how the grass and blooms and herbs and such look in our yard(s) as of Saturday afternoon …

Now it’s the Saturday night to Sunday morning freeze warning time, and temperatures are supposed to be even lower, in the 20’s tonight/morning as well as tommorow night (Sunday to Monday AM.)

One clue for “how cold is it right now” that I employ to reason about what’s going on outside is the heat pump, which sits outside on the ground with pipes going into the house and up the wall into the attic space … and that’s right behind our master bedroom, right where the bed is situated, of course (the only “real placement” for the bed, unfortunately.) When it’s really cold the heat pump doesn’t do a good job, the closer it gets to freezing, there isn’t enough “warmth” in the air to pull it into the house for warmth inside via the houses air system. It makes a horrid racket when it’s actually freezing or lower and the heat pump is running.

Friday to Saturday it sounded similar to how it sounds right now. It’s the Saturday to Sunday time currently, 5:30am approx. and accuweather “says” right now it’s 28 degrees. Well that’s not exactly right, since our property doesn’t have a weather station nearby, and when I have had a decent temperature gauge for outdoors I was able to compare and know for sure that our temps here are not the same as what ‘they’ say (nor actual weather, like clouds, rain, snow, etc.)

So we are waiting for the daylight hours to see what it’s like outdoors, and I hope things will be alright. We have three dwarf apple trees that don’t always bloom so nice. Guess what? They sure are THIS year, ALL THREE of them at the same time. So it does figure that we have the first late cold snap ever since living here … this late, April.

Not only that, usually the two trees that are alike, Liberty variety, don’t actually “bloom” with their opened blossoms until later in April, and the third tree, MacFree variety, blooms after that (which isn’t really helpful since two varieties are needed to fertilize for apples.) There was definitely something funky going on with the MacFree and I was finally able to prune out major parts of it last year, when they suddenly got such long branches growing, it was obviously the root stock trying to take over. What’s is left untouched now is the real MacFree, as far as it seems, and this Spring 2007 is the first time it’s actually produced masses of buds.

We planted these trees in early Spring of 1998, and then did move them to another area a few years later. In any case, the Liberties have blossomed well in the past, but given us few apples. The MacFree never did blossom very well, though when it did better it was not of use to the Liberty trees. Last couple of years there were a few apples on the MacFree (so there is something else in the area that bees are using to fertilize my trees, obviously.)

Such promise I put in the apple trees this year, and then the Spring was so warm, and the trees started to form buds in March. That is not usual. We didn’t have a freeze in March really, it was regular last freeze around March 15, but nothing major, and temperatures were very warm most of the time, very warm indeed. Last (2005/2006) winter was a warm one, and things were so very mild, but the apple trees still didn’t set blooms until into April in 2006. This past winter (2006/2007) was fairly mild overall, and we didn’t have much “weather” in the way of ice or snow, no major storm at least. We did have rain more often than usual, though not so much overall. In any case, everything has been blooming so nicely this year, and that includes the apple trees, and unfortunately for them it’s not a good thing this year. πŸ™

Dogwoods are blooming right now too. The Cherokee Chief variety we have in the front don’t have a lot of blooms, but where they do is at the top and they are lovely (we need to do some work on those trees, pruning.) We have a white dogwood in the backyard and it’s in full glory of bloom. It’s gorgeous. Driving around the area, Dogwoods are bursting forth in massive color and bloom. It’s a grand year for Dogwoods. Or it was. We’ll see later on. πŸ™

So many other plants are past bloom already and in the process of leafing out, some leafed out in full already (like our Japanese ‘Bloodgood’ Maple tree, our Weeping Willow tree, and our wild Blackberries are in full leaf and actually setting blooms and some are opening already.)

As I write this the heat pump is starting to struggle for the first time this night-time. It’s not super bad, but does sound bad enough, so it’s near 32 or below a tad … but doesn’t “sound” like it’s in the 20’s, while currently accuweather says right now it’s 28, oh I just loaded the page again and now they say “30” but that’s where anyhow? Miles away.

Hubby did put a blanket on my herb garden (which doesn’t have much in it, but does have a super-duper verdent perennial Chives that is just about ready for harvesting — already!) — it’s the whiskey barrel garden. I have lots of new herbs to plant in it, we got them last weekend, but I didn’t plant them due to the weather outlook. So they are in the garage awaiting their time to transplant.

I have lots of seeds to start and since it did snap so cold I’m fine with the fact that I haven’t even started my seeds yet –it is something I do need to do in the next couple of days, though.

Garden 2007 #1

We are planning our garden for this 2007 Growing Season. I have 4 Red Pepper (Sweet Bell) plants to install, but still need to get the actual garden space ready.

I have some peat starter kits to start the rest of my garden from seed. I hope to get those going today. I’ll make a list of what I’m doing and then also post updates as things progress.

We were planning on having 4 to 6 4×4 raised garden beds, and DH bought a bunch of landscape timbers from HomeDepot this morning to get started on the project this week … but when he got here, delighted with them I was, at first, but then saw they are pressure treated and that’s not the “old” way, but it’s still not “organic” so … back to HomeDepot they went.

We are now considering using Red Cedar posts that they have, pricer –but a better solution. πŸ™‚

Our process for the garden will be to take off the grassy layer, use the Mantis tiller we have to loosen our clay “soil” πŸ˜‰ and then put some organic garden soil on top with the posts two-high surrounding the raised-ish bed. The posts are 5 ft. high, so that will make the squares we have bigger than we originally had planned, but that’s all part of it, being flexible!

We’ll have about 2 ft. between each of the squares, making first one or two, then more as needed, preferably at least four, but maybe six eventually. We might put down a pea stone surface in the 2 ft. space, with landscape fabric beneath. We have the fabric, but not the pea stone, yet.

I will have green beans on corners climbing bamboo “teepees” … and then the other veggies will go in when they are ready to be transplanted. Some of the seeds I got are “organic” but not all of them are, the others being just plain conventional. I’ll try to recall what I picked out: snow peas, peas, carrots, lettuce, … I’m blanking out now. I had many things in mind and couldn’t find representitives for everything. I’ll see what Whole Foods Market has next time we go, they had a nice selection of Organic seeds last time we were there, but I didn’t get any, unfortunately.

Vanilla and Violets

Violets

We were at Harry’s the other day and I was looking through the plants outside the store, lingering and looking deeper than usual since Frankie was on the cellphone and I figured I’d just look for something to get, even though he doesn’t usually *let* me. I don’t usually press him to get a plant, you know how it is when you want something but are used to things being too tight to get frilly-froo-froo.

So it goes, I stumbled onto African Violets in the corner, and they were inexpensive. I grew up with them around me, my mother usually had a few, at least, on a windowsill in my childhood. They are so very Victorian too, so I bit the bullet, put three in the cart.

I haven’t had an interior plant for several years. I used to have household plants in Florida. I was good with them there. I like tropical greenage, and that hasn’t done so well for me in GA in the homes we’ve been in (all of two, mind you!)

The last inside plant I had was a hanging-something over the sink, a fern of some sort. It was lovely for a long while, over a year, then it went from green and healthy to whited out dried out in a zap-who-knows-how-long-a-time-zap, but it was zippety zap fast. So I left it there for longer than it was there green, in that dried dead state. It looked really cool, that’s why I left it there. A dead plant was my only household plant, the last one I had.

Because we have such a crazy household of people and are in the middle of re-doing everything for the last … bit of time, I haven’t had another plant. I do love plants and consider myself a plant person, gardener, and it’s discocerting everytime I realize that I haven’t really been a “good” version of what I consider myself to be, in fact find that I usually am a non-existant practitioner of said thing most every occasion that there is to discover these disconcerting sorts of things. Ah, the way of the life for the ever eratic eclectic one (me.)

I have my African Violets in the bathroom on the windowsill. That’s an East-SouthEast facing window, not the best for it, not the worst, alright considering the sun is not in Summer session now. It’s a transitional space for them, for now πŸ˜‰

I need to get some African Violet food since I have none, of course, seeing as I haven’t had any plants of any sort for so long, and no AV’s at all. I think I’ll devise a bottom watering system for the plants, and then also I need a delicate little watering can for top watering every once in awhile. (Never get water on African Violet leaves!)

I’m not sure where I can put these delicate little flowery plants, but I have to devise some good place for them. They need light, but it doesn’t have to be direct and shouldn’t be much direct in any case. They can also live under regular lamp light, so I’ve read, but I don’t want to do that. The problem with plants on windowsills is “cats”, as wells as window blinds.

Vanilla

I bought 2 vanilla beans that day at Harry’s as well. Frank got me some 108+ Proof straight barrel bourbon for them … I put it together today, homemade vanilla extract, it’s in a closet, dark, warm, not hot, not cold.

I looked all over the web for ideas of what to do. So many sites say you have to have such and such type of bean, or else it’s not good. I have no idea what kind mine are, Harry’s only sells it as “vanilla bean: 2” in a clear plastic box. The pictures I saw here and there online look like the ones I have, nice bourbon vanilla beans. Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t. They don’t have the “vanillin” white powdery look on them, but they were long, 8 inches, curved at the top, and plump and super fragrant.

I split the beans, but didn’t separate them. I stuffed them into the bottle of bourbon and capped it and put it in the closet after a good shaking.

I’ve read that you should have a bean per cup of alcohol. Or 2 per 3/4 cup. Or 12 per … on and on it goes.

I have a 750ml container of bourbon, with 2 vanilla beans installed. It’ll do. I’ve read that others say it’s alright to do that. But no one really gourmet-like seemed to like the idea of that. They mostly are in the “a few weeks in the mix” type to make vanilla. The longer steepers said it’s great vanilla, and they are the ones that use less bean to alcohol amount. We shall see what happens. I’m open to putting in some more vanilla beans later. But not 12!

The two v-beans I got were $3.99. Not a bad price for vanilla beans, but to get 10 more … uh, yeah. So this country girl will be pleased to see what a good 750ml of straight barrel Wild Turkey Rare Breed turns out to be like with 2 beans now, maybe adding 2 more in a few weeks, for good measure. December is the date I’m shooting for. I’ll take some off the top before that maybe. I’m not opposed to experimentation all along the way.

I’ve long wished to try making my own vanilla. It’s very expensive to buy good stuff, and expensive to make your own, so if I can make an expensive-ish bourbon into decent vanilla, I’m ahead of the game the rest of the game-length.

I’ve read people say that homemade is better than storebought. Others say homemade is nice and fun, but not the best by far.

It’s one of those objective subjects, isn’t it? No, I’d say it’s very subjective. And so I subject myself to experimentation for my own subjective view to be formed. πŸ™‚

My Iris Plants

I planted some variety of Iris a few years ago, a darkish colored bloom, but it hasn’t ever successfully bloomed. In the past years it has started to form blossom(s) in the Autumn and “first frost” kills it/them off before they open. From what I understood of my Iris plants they should have been “earlier” bloomers than that. Whatever the case, I finally dug them up today and will replant them elsewhere later, if I can get DH to dig out a spot for me in the backyard.

They could have used dividing, the old parts were bulky and new plants were grouped together tightly in a few bunches. I do hope I’ll be able to relocate them well, and that they will be happy and bloom when they should. Of course it’s possible that I got an odd lot of Irises, and they’ll never do what I thought they would do. In the backyard though they’ll get different light, so that’s something which is opposite of what they got in the front yard, where they had been all along.

This will mean that I have to get a decent area ready for landscaping, some place that is wild with weedy grasses right now. I’ll have to maintain it faithfully to keep new grasses from growing into it. We have nothing “landscaped” in the backyard currently. My old herb garden has one remaining German Thyme in it, and it’s surrounded by grass. The other things just caved in and then grass took over. I don’t know why they all caved, but my German Thyme didn’t. I’ll get her out later, and put her with the irises, I guess, to give her a better chance of growth. Grass can be nice, but it can also be a horrid enemy. :veryshocked:

I have another little iris variety in the front that I should relocate with the bigger variety I’m in the middle of doing such with. That means going back out where the sun is shining hotly. It’s middle-afternoon, so I’ll wait until later.

The day is actually quite nice. Rather mild air, just hot in the actual streaming sunlight if you stand or sit in it a few minutes or longer. The air is autumn dry, harkening our memories to such days in past years … a promise of milder days and nights to come.

Current temperature is supposedly 79 degrees F. with 44% Humidity, a feels-like temp of 81 F. I think it actually feels nicer than that personally, and it’s possible it is cooler than that in our front sunny yard. It seems so since I am particularly sensitive towards warmer scenarios … it feels more like 75 degrees F. to me πŸ™‚

Deep Pink Peony

This is one of two peony flowers to open up already. It’s early. The other peonies are still growing. This plant is producing dark pink flowers. My other peonies produce light pink flowers. This seems to be the first-time for this plant to blossom. There is at least one other that should be a first-time blossomer this year as well.

Spring Flowers

These photos were all taken on April 19, 2005

Dogwood – Cherokee Chief blossoms

Peony – Blossoms forming

Flower – reappearing after Winter’s sleep – forget what it is, obviously a perrennial!

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