"I'm not really a career person.I'm a gardener,basically.".....George Harrison

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas from TheGreatWall!!!!

Even the yard art gets into the fun!




Merry Christmas!!!!

Note:Fingers and toes crossed,hoping Dad will be home on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.He has a date with a certain Christmas Angel,which he has every intention of making.

Here she is in all her Christmas bling……

 (check out those shoes!)….


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Angels We Have Heard On High…..

Continuing on with the Christmas theme…..

The poor,poor,poor Angel’s Trumpets…..

They were so effected by this past week’s colder weather.IMG_1085

Poor thing…..most of it’s leaves are gone,but still it is trying to ring in the season.How could one not love this plant?

Thankfully,one of the plantings survived enough to put on a show.angels

Even though,every spring,they return from the ground,I still take cuttings,Just in case…..But,I truly believe,they are aptly named,for they do not give up easily and give a great shout when they bloom.


More signs of the season from TheGreatWall……







Merry Christmas!!!!!

On another note:Dad fell and broke his hip this past weekend.But not to worry.He did not need surgery,and is now in the ReHab Center at Tampa General Hospital.And complaining…..As only he can…..

The Divine Miss Emma is coming to visit,for Christmas,and he is bound and determined to see her outside of the hospital.”Oh no.She can NOT see me here.”

One 91 year old man working hard!

You go,Dad!!! Rock on!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Oh The Weather Outside Is Frightful…..

Here we go again…….

A front passed through TheGreatWall around noon,today.The temperatures have started dropping.And tomorrow and the next night we are due for freezes!

Time to get out the freeze blankets and strip the sheets off the beds!

Isn’t this supposed to be a La Nina’ winter? Guess Mother Nature didn’t get the memo…..

Cuttings have been taken.

And I think they make for very pretty,Christmas-y floral arrangements.

IMG_1058 IMG_1057

Tomorrow,we’ll be putting the hoop house back up over the veggie garden.


It may be frightful outside but inside TheGreatWall headquarters it is beginning to look like Christmas!

The tree is up!

Picnik collage1

l-r:a blown glass palm tree,me!,and of course,a flip-flop!

And you had to know we’d have a pink flamingo on the tree……..


Merry Christmas!

On a sad note:This past week we lost YardBoy’s 88 year old mother.The woman who taught him everything he knows about growing roses(and that’s a lot!).And who made the best macaroni salad you have EVER tasted!Seriously!I’m not kidding. It is the BEST!

But after years of poor health,her body finally gave out.We are thankful she is with the Lord,and is tending to His rose garden.

Mama Pat,you will be missed dearly

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Will I Ever Learn?

After last winter’s freezes,one would think this gardener learned their lesson…..

Not a chance!

Shouldn’t I have learned from the damage to those tropicals,the spring cleaning,the sleepless nights,covering plantings,and all of the worry,etc?

Nope,not me!


I dove right in and planted more tropicals.

Just not as many.

Yep,I went to the other side and planted more Zone 9 natives.

However,some tropicals remained.

And that’s why TheGreatWall looks like this right now…..


Love you Angel’s Trumpets.

You came back from last year’s freezes so well,how could I not love you?Cuttings have been taken from you,in hopes you shall live on.And you were just going to bloom again(for the 5th time!-you rock!),too.So sad…….

The veggie garden……IMG_1033

YardBoy came up with this idea of a sort of hot-house for the veggies.He bought up the last of the freeze fabric he could find,and made a sort of hoop house with the fabric and PVC pipe.We have so many tomatoes,peppers,lettuce,Swiss Chard,green beans,etc. close to ripening,it was more than worth the effort.We picked the last of the broccoli and shall be enjoying that,tonite,for dinner. The cabbage,turnips and collards will be on their own.


Most of the tropicals look like this.Yep,I used all of our sheets,etc.(sorry visitors to our guest rooms.),and the Christmas lights I bought after Christmas,last year.

(only a gardener would buy Christmas lights,at 50% off,for their garden)

The orchids have all been brought up to the protection of the house.

All are in bud.orchids

Even my Dad went along with that…..


Here’s hoping for another mild night…

May the weatherman be wrong!

These photos have been edited in PicNik,which I am madly in love with.I even upgraded to the professional.Check it out.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

‘Twas A Sunday In December

The first Sunday,in December,in fact……

YardBoy in his robe,

And I in my pj’s,

Had just settled in,by the pool, for our first cup of coffee.

When what to our wondering eyes should appear….

But a Red Shouldered Hawk!




and I heard him scream as he flew outta sight……..


Merry Christmas,humans!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Colors of the Season…..

As if TheGreatWall knows the holiday season is fast approaching,the garden has become decked out in the colors of the season.

Reds,pinks,greens and whites.

IMG_0955The last of the Caladiums hung on to participate in the d├ęcor.


Salvia against a backdrop of Dusty Miller.


Could anything be more appropriate to the season than Pinecone Ginger?


Red Pentas with white Agastache.


Self seeded pink and red Impatiens,amongst Giant Split-leaf Philodendron and Spathiphyllum.


A candy cane striped Petunia.


A pink and red Geranium.


Chenille plant in a container almost seems like ribbon on a Christmas package.


As if to welcome the start of the holiday season,the orchids have started to bud.


African Iris.


The Kalanchoes have started blooming.


A birdhouse hangs amongst the Norfolk Island Pines,almost like an ornament from a Christmas Tree.


Mustn’t forget the Pink Flamingoes that populate TheGreatWall!

You had to know we’d be hanging lights…..


This one is hanging on one of our patios.

We will be hanging more lights and decor,though I think TheGreatWall has already started the decorating……

How will you be decorating your garden for the Holidays?

This Thanksgiving,the ever delightful Miss Emma came to visit TheGreatWall.


At least that’s what we thought……

But she really came to meet her Great Grandpa…..


Yep,cameras clicked and flashes flashed!And they got along famously!According to him,she chatted away to him.Could they have talked about gardening and orchids?

This week will be a busy one at TheGreatWall.A new septic drain field is being installed,and Hillsborough County is FINALLY going to start their drainage project,on Tuesday.Five years in the making,but,finally,I can plan new gardens for that side of the yard.Yes!!!!!

Have a great gardening week!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dear Santa,

I have been a




good girl gardener this year.

I have only used organic practices in my garden.No pesticides.No chemicals of any kind(does manure count as a chemical,Santa? ‘cause I did use plenty of that.I hope that’s okay with you?).And lots and lots of compost.And that’s a good thing,right?

I really tried to plant only Florida friendly plants(I might have planted a few tropicals( well,maybe more than a few.Okay,quite a bit.But that’s okay,too,isn’t it?You like tropicals,don’t you,Santa?).

Soooo,I’d like to submit my Christmas Wish List for your perusal.

and my family’s too,in case they decide to read this.


First up,I’d like a proper garden cart.

One like this…..garden cart

Santa,do you realize how easy this would make my gardening life?I could haul plenty of stuff in this.YardBoy wouldn’t complain anymore,about having to move heavy things.

(Santa,he tends to complain sometimes.I’m sure you understand that.Do the Elves complain when you ask them to move heavy things?)

Family Santa,you can find information about it here….

Second,I would




love a Rain Barrel.

Like this….

rain barrel

Isn’t that the ecological thing to do?You are into ecology,aren’t you?Isn’t it the wise thing to use rain water for watering,instead of letting it run off to no where?

Plus,I could paint it and decorate it.Like this…..


Family Santa,you can read more about that here…..

Wouldn’t that look really,really neat on TheGreatWall? Santa,you know how much we I love yard art,here at TheGreatWall.Right?

Soooo family,YardBoy,et all, Santa,

if you think I have been a good girl gardener,this year,could you




see fit to put those under my tree this year?

Santa,thank you very much for reading my letter….I hope you and Mrs.Claus have a very Happy Thanksgiving,and Merry Christmas.Please,rest up before your long sleigh ride.

Thank you,




Sunday, November 14, 2010

Things I Like In My Garden….

This past week not much has gone on around TheGreatWall.With the return of somewhat cooler weather,especially the night time temperatures,and the drop in humidity,the garden has done quite well on it’s own,thank you very much.There hasn’t been much to do,except for the occasional weeding,and maybe moving a plant or two around.Why can’t we have this during the summer months when it’s so hot and humid?

So,between football games(Bucs and Bulls won,Gators not so lucky),I took the camera out into the garden to document for future reference,some of the areas that I was happy with.

I enjoy standing by the pool area and looking down on this portion of the garden.IMG_0790

I should have taken this photo in the early morning.It is quite stunning in the early morning sun.We are quite pleased with the way this drainage area turned out.Not only has it taken care of the water problem,but it is quite pleasing to the eye.The path seems to lead to somewhere(it doesn’t).But I like that effect.One should always wonder what’s up ahead,shouldn’t they?

The Gerberas are quite happy…….


which makes me happy.

Daisies and Mums are my most favorite flowers.


Miss Emma’s statue…..


eventually she (the statue,not the REAL Miss Emma) will go in her own garden.The Miss Emma Garden.With a Queen Emma Crinum.The area is already plotted out.By the swimming pool.Stay tuned for that.

Speaking of Miss Emma…..Here she is at ten weeks.


They grow up so fast,don’t they?

How has your garden been growing?

Friday, November 5, 2010

We’ve Been Busy……..

Busy as bees.That’s what we’ve been.Between work,cell phone issues,my Dad,working on the inside of the house administration offices of TheGreatWall,and the garden we’ve been hard at it,I tell ya.Sweatin’ and toilin’….

First up…..The Administration Office of TheGreatWall….

One thing I have always,always wanted in the kitchen is a chalkboard wall.Finally,I convinced YardBoy it was a good great idea.


Notice he got to use a power tool…..

All taped off….



First coat……IMG_0761

It took two coats,some cutting and spackling of molding,and two days,but here it is all done….


My Dad’s confusion seems to be getting worse.The bad days are starting to outnumber the good days.He still remembers how to garden,and is quite alert when I go to him with questions about the garden and the orchids.He may not remember the answer right away,but,usually within thirty minutes he’s calling me with the answer.There is a strong possibility that he will be meeting a certain young lady at Thanksgiving,so he is really,really looking forward to that.

ooops….Emma Alert!!!!


While we were busy with that project,Dad,and all the other issues daily life brings,the gardens decided they liked the return of Autumn and grew and grew and grew!

The tomatoes have outgrown their stakes…..IMG_0776

We have broccoli!IMG_0777

And YardBoy has had one dinner of his collards,and he now has acorn squash.

IMG_0778Two of ‘em,in fact.He may become unbearable to live with now!

And an Iris decided to bloom!IMG_0768


has your life and garden been busy,too?



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