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

Sunday, January 31, 2010


and not  the flower…

I’m tired of seeing green and brown(mostly brown)….

When you can’t do anything  in the garden and you really,really want to,what’s a gardener to do?

Did all that  I’m s’posed to do.

Went to the beach for the day….(read about that here….)


I have washed all the flower pots with Clorox.
Cleaned the garden tools with Clorox
and had JonJ sharpen them.

The only color in the garden is a Kalanchoe….


and a lone Begonia……


Now what?

How about buy a new bird feeder……

or two……


Wild Birds Unlimited has a hook that hangs from a tree limb.

Hopefully,to keep the squirrels at bay.

IMG_4237 How cool is that?

I was almost tempted into spending $189.00 for the one that flings the squirrels off,

but common sense prevailed.

But it would be kinda/sorta fun to watch………..you gotta admit….

I always wanted one like this……..



I got one!

What else can you do when the temperature is in the 50’s;

it’s grey and windy outside;

and you have nothing else to do?

The birds haven’t recognized that their new cafe’s open quite yet…….


They’re still using their old hang-outs…….


Technorati Tags:

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Somebody’s Gotta Do It…….

Well…..after the freezes,the flu,Dad being in and out of the hospital(more of that in the days to come,too),get-a-ways to Sanibel Island,not to mention computer problems,I guess it’s time to get to work on the mess in the gardens…..

Just a taste of the destruction on TheGreatWall

palms by the pool…..IMG_4197the mandivillea vine…IMG_4199After a day and a half of pruning,pulling,digging,and raking,only 1/4 of the back yard…..

My butt hurts……my legs hurt…..not to mention my lower back….

However,let us plow on,shall we?…..

The sadness….

the Ground Orchids…

IMG_4208hopefully they will rebound.Do they?Anyone know?

The losses to date…

2 plumeria(great sadness on this).this has never happened before,but they were toast all the way to the ground.Not a good sign.

Too many to mention annuals.

One of my Dad’s orchids.It was brought up to the covered patio,and covered with Christmas lights.An orchid right next to it made it just fine.

What went wrong?

Yes,he knows.His response,”Give it time.See if it comes back.No great loss.”

I wish I could feel that way….

But there were also surprises…..IMG_4209 the ajuga was just fine……


a begonia is blooming!IMG_4206_2and one of Dad’s precious Cattleyas is blooming…..IMG_4205_2

The To-Do List:

the front yard(a start was made on that today---why the back hurts…)

the side gardens

replanting last year’s failures,with more of Florida natives.


cleaning out the palms by the pool(this is the third year in a row they have been frozen.I think it’s time they were replaced with something more hardy.)


you get the drift?

and now,with a chicken(stuffed with fresh Ponderosa lemons and fresh Rosemary)in the oven,it’s time to soak the back,in a hot bath,have an adult beverage and enjoy the evening……

and maybe a beach day,this week!

Enjoy the gardening week,everyone!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

In an effort to get away from the death and destruction on TheGreatWall,this past weekend a little get-away was taken to Sanibel Island.

Strolling the beach,picking up shells,visiting with good friends……..

While walking the light house beach,I looked down and found this beaten up Horse Conch.IMG_4180

Everyone had passed it by,but thinking I could use it as yard-art,I picked it up.

The more I looked at it,I started to see the beauty in it’s imperfection.

After a little soak in bleach,and a good rinsing……


I added some oak bark and sheet moss to a Tillandsia,and voila ‘……….

What everyone had passed by because it wasn’t perfect,ended up making the perfect planter.

I look at it as God giving me a special gift.Not only did God give me a new planter,but I learned to look at nature in an all new way.

So,when I look at my garden and see this freeze damaged Hibiscus….


I try to see the Rosemary behind it,untouched by the freezes.

And know that after the weather warms,the Hibiscus will grow again.

When I see a yard full of leaves


that need to be raked,

I try to think what great mulch I will have for the garden.

And what a wonderful addition they will make to the compost pile.

(But I also,remember what a chore it is going to be!)

Which brings me back to re-reading a wonderful book……


A great read,with great wisdom,

about appreciating what God gives us.

The garden doesn’t have to be picture perfect.

The perfection lies in the appreciation of the beauty of God’s gift.

Sunday, January 10, 2010



 After a week of cold weather,this past weekend it turned downright freezing!

Last night brought a hard freeze to TheGreatWall,and tonight is to be a repeat of the same.

This morning,I bundled up and ventured out to survey the damage.Depending on the thermometer,the temperature was either 16 degrees or 28 degrees.Either one reads COLD! to me.

Some of the damaged plantings………2010_01_091

reading clockwise,starting with the lower left: hibiscus,frozen and fallen banana tree, porterweed,plumeria that had started to bloom,a birdbath frozen solid,and in the center,the Angel’s Trumpet.)

All should rebound with the return of warm weather.

But all is not lost.Some of the plantings look as if the cold never bothered them.2010_01_09-1

l-r: spathyphyllum(protected by the large Norfolk Island pines),rose,Staghorn ferns(protected by the large oaks),The Chief of Security enjoying the warmth of the sun,while protecting a Croton,Bulbine,Angel’s Tears(which actually seem to flourish in the cooler temps)

And some seemed to have not been touched at all……IMG_4125

As this Bird-Of-Paradise was sitting out in the open with no protective cover,I was surprised that it seemed to show no damage.But tonight may prove to be another matter…..

Any orchid that was in bloom was relocated to the laundry room.The rest were moved up to the covered patio.There was no way I was going to have to explain to my Dad that his orchids froze to death!Better to be on the safe side.

Trying to look on the bright side,I am looking forward to ripping out all the dead plantings,and replanting with more Florida natives.Of course,some tropicals will be returned to TheGreatWall.I just cannot bring myself to give those up,entirely.

And it will be the ideal opportunity to rearrange/relocate the gardens.

But we still have one more night of hard freeze to get through,before the temperature returns to being more seasonable.

Fingers and toes crossed……..

Thankfully,this past week,I took cuttings of the most cold-sensitve plants.And they now are growing quite happily in the laundry room.

Now,I am looking forward to the return of more normal temperatures.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Greatest Gardener I Will Ever Know

Preface:It has been a while since I have posted,but much has been happening here on TheGreatWall.After two bouts with the flu,sinus infections,and my Dad being in and out of the hospital,hopefully,you will understand the absence.

is my 91 year old Dad.......

In his beloved Tampa Bay Buccaneers Super Bowl t-shirt.

These days find him quite frail.In and out of the hospital with heart failure and chronic atrial fibrillation that a pacemaker cannot quite keep up with.

But he wasn't always quite so.......Here,digging his garden,in spring time,in Niagara Falls,NY.
Yep,that's me.Trying my bestest to keep up with him.

Until he retired at the age of 53,he was an engineer with GTE Sylvania for as long as I can remember.
And he gardened like an engineer.Everything neat and orderly.Nothing out of place.Neat rows.A weed was NOT allowed.But also allowing for my mother's precious flowers and roses(sorry Mom,but I never got the rose growing thing).
He had a huge compost pile,before I knew what a compost pile was.I just remember that with all the snow we would have in Western New York,there was never any snow on the top of that pile!That's how much heat that thing put out!
He even dug our swimming pool! With an engineers eye,he dug it all by hand and laid the concrete block by his own hand.
Filling the concrete block with Utica Club beer bottles(the stubbies-remember those?),that he drank.He may have been an engineer,but he still liked his cold beers!Only an engineer would figure out that the round shape of a stubbie beer bottle is good fill for concrete block.
Took him one whole summer,but he did it all by himself.Including the drinking of the beers.
From the 1960's until 2005,he kept a diary of the high and low temperatures,rainfall amounts,what he planted,etc.I am lucky enough to have it,today.It is a treasure to have,and it is in my bedside table.
After retiring in 1973,to St.Petersburg,Florida,much to my mother's consternation,he started gardening,again.At the time,he said,gardening in Florida was like learning to garden all over again. He gardened up until the day he realized he just couldn't do it any more,and came to live in an assisted living facility closer to us.
But don't think he was the typical serious engineer.
No Way!
Much to my mother's embarrassment,one day,he and my and older brother,Ross,built the ultimate snow woman.
When she found out what their plans were,she made them move to the backyard!
No way was that thing going in her front yard!
And the food coloring was all his idea!
Quite a looker,isn't she?
But even though these days,find him quite frail,he still has the gardening bug.
He loves looking thru gardening catalogues.
Giving me advice.
Admonishing me.
"Quit fussing."
"Give it a try.What do you have to lose?A $1 seed packet?"
This Christmas season found him in the hospital,again.But home in time for Christmas,with all of the family.
And well enough to come over and see his beloved orchids.
and especially,his precious Cattelyas,which he has always been so proud of.
Just beginning to bud,as if welcoming him home.

His words,"You've finally learned to quit fussing and leave them alone.They're gonna be fine"

and to admonish me,"You have an awful lot of weeds here."

"Arrrrg,Dad,you've been keeping me quite busy."

Quizzical look from him,as if the garden is the most important thing......

Hopefully,I've done him proud.

But there is always one more question to ask..............

Hopefully,God will grant me some more time to ask those questions.
Addendum:The second best gardener I know is my father-in-law,Max.But that would have to be an X-rated post.In relation to gardening,he tends to preface every word with @#$%.As in,"get yourself some good chicken @#$%.That's all you need."
But he grows the biggest and best tomatoes and rutabagas of anyone I know.


Related Posts with Thumbnails