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

Friday, February 26, 2010

Here We Go Again……


This past weekend was one of beautiful spring-like weather,and temperatures in the high  70’s.Much was accomplished here at TheGreatWall.

The butterfly garden was finished;onions and carrots were planted as edging in the flower beds,mulch spread around.

And,lo and behold,winter returned!A cool cold front came through yesterday,and this morning the temperature was 28 degrees!


Only the most delicate of plants were brought up to the patio(YardBoy wasn’t too happy about having to help,but he begrudgingly came to the rescue).The rest were left to fend for themselves.

Early this AM,I was out(in my pj’s,no less),checking on everything.Thankfully,there was no freeze or frost,sooo,it looks like we made it through ok.

But hasn’t this weather gone on long enough?Now,I’m not saying I’m ready for the heat and humidity of summer.By no means am I ready for that!But it would be nice if spring would hang around for awhile.

The poor plants are so confused.Should I grow or shouldn’t I?

A bonus from this weird weather is we have robins in our yard.I haven’t seen so many,here,in quite a long time.


Guess they’re confused too.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Yard-Art Lovers Of The World Unite!


Frequent readers of this blog will be aware of how much I love yard art.

Not the tacky kind of yard art…..

But the artistic expression type of yard art.

Tastefully done…..

I ab-so-toot-ly love it!

So,when I saw this on the evening news,I was quite appalled.


I was p-o’d.

How dare they?

Read on…..

$1,600 fine for yard art

Monday, February 22, 2010

Joani Ellis is fighting a $1,600 fine from her homeowner's association.

MANATEE COUNTY (Bay News 9) -- A Lakewood Ranch woman says her homeowner's association has gone too far: four yard decorations are costing her a $1,600 fine.

Although her yard is well kept, she is still getting fined.

"They're citing me for too many decorative items in my yard," said Joani Ellis.

Ellis says the poodles, shells and fish decorations in her yard have been there since 1999, but she hasn't ever been cited for them until just recently.

The HOA says that decorative items are limited to a quantity of three.

Ellis says she has four. Some are linked together by wire. But the HOA is citing her for more than 20.

More Information

In addition to the $1,600 fine, the HOA is also charging Ellis $50 a day until she removes the decorations.

Ellis refuses to remove them and she is now fighting the fine and the rule. She says she believes she's the victim of selective enforcement.

Some of Ellis' neighbors refused to comment to Bay News 9, saying they fear they'll be retaliated against by the HOA.

The HOA did not respond to Bay News 9's phone calls.


It’s not like it’s a beat up old car up on cement blocks,fer cryin’ out loud.

It’s seashells and a fish sculpture!

Is it me,or is there a lack of common sense going on here?

Have HOA’s gone just a tad too far?

What do the rest of you think?

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

“Do You Believe In Magic”….. In The Garden….


Dave,at The  Home  Garden,has given us gardeners another assignment for the week(I’m starting to like this homework thingy.It’s making me think of gardening in a whole new way.),Magic In The Garden.

Can the queen of recycling and reusing handle it?

You betcha!!!!

Let’s give it a try….

We try to put interesting things in our garden containers.

What better than empty wine bottles and old Christmas ornaments?IMG_4370

At TheGreatWall,we are firm believers in curved beds in the gardens.IMG_4366

One should always wonder what lies ahead,around the next curve…….

Like a mermaid resting in a container…….


Or a frog sitting on the toilet,contemplating whatever it is frogs contemplate……. IMG_4372

or a Buddha ……

(we are Equal Opportunity Offenders on TheGreatWall,after all)



I have saved the best ‘til last…..

our flamingo collection!2009_06_16

What’s a Florida garden without a flamingo,or two…..or three?

How do you add Magic to your garden?


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

5 New Things In The Garden


TheHomeGarden posted an assignment for all of us gardeners. 5 new things to accomplish for the garden this growing season.

So,here for Mr.Kotter,ooops-the teacher,is my completed assignment.

Two of which are already completed!

1.Finish off the enlarging of the shade garden.


Check ,done,finito…I planted an Austrailian Tree Fern(on the left ),and added more Flax Lilies to the border.I,also,moved some Peace Lilies into this garden.They were struggling where they were(and were untouched by the freezes!),so,I moved them to better show them off.

2.Add more butterfly plantings.


Check,done,finito……I added more Milkweed,some Pentas, Verbena(Tampa Vervain), and Mystic Spires Blue Salvia.I just need to get in some mulch,but the weather,today,was on the cool side and I just didn’t want to wait to get planting.(do I lose points for this being only semi-completed?I hope not…),so in they went.

3.TheGreatWall is going to rise another two rows.(will this make it TheGreaterWall? Hmmmm….). YardBoy says it must be done while the weather is this cool(not like the middle of July,like I usually do…),so it is next on the list.

4.A veggie garden.A proper one.With raised beds.To go here….


Surrounded by a wrought iron fence,to keep critters out.

5.A greenhouse/potting shed will also be included in this project.I just haven’t shared that with YardBoy,yet……

6.Yep-I have more than five.

Does that get me extra credit on my assignment?

I need(read that as want) a new Mandivillea Vine(preferably red,as before)to replace the one lost in this winter’s freezes.And a Passion Vine!I have always lusted after those!

7.The list goes on…..The front entryway will be tweaked.Made just a tad larger.And I’m leaning toward a water feature of some sort.A bubbly fountain,I think.

8.I could go on and on,but I won’t.These are the projects I really,really,really plan on accomplishing this year.

What’s on your agenda?

Go to TheHomeGarden and share your’s……………


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Autumn In Florida?


Is it Autumn?

Are we in New England?

Nope---it’s  spring time in Florida, and the  Florida Red Maples are putting on their show…………

IMG_4353 Against the back drop of the other bare trees and the spring time Florida blue sky,one could almost believe they’re in New England.

IMG_4352 It would be easy to be confused,but it IS Florida.

At first glance,they look just like northern maples………IMG_4355

But this is Florida,after all,and they are Florida natives.

They bloom in the spring,not the fall.

They prefer wetlands.In Hillsborough County they are  a protected species,just as the Florida Oak is protected.

They are shallow rooted.

Word to the wise: Do NOT plant them near a septic drain field,or sewer lines.Nor near a sidewalk.

Total disruption will occur,I promise you.We learned the hard way.

But they are a fast growing shade tree,and with good care and proper pruning,they are an asset to your landscape.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Feelin’ Pink…………..


No-not her!


(But I wish I could sing like her,though!)

Pink in the garden!

Yesterday,I realized that there is quite a lot of pink,blooming,in our garden.

And it’s not my favorite color,either.

IMG_4330 Pink Polka-dot


Lotus Begonia





(which came through the freezes beautifully)


Pink Philodendron



(one of Dad’s,which has been blooming since before Christmas)


Reiger Begonia

(a Valentine’s Day present from the Yard Boy,AKA Jon.Perfect gift for a gardener,don’t ya think?)

and speaking of the Yard Boy,here he is pruning and fertilizing his roses…………..


and while I’m on the subject of pink,I could never leave out……..


one of the many Pink Flamingos that live at TheGreatWall!

Rumor has it that by the end of this week,we should be returning to more February-like temperatures.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Isn’t This Is S’posed To Be Sunny Florida?

From the NOAA website….

Detailed text forecast
Hazardous weather condition(s):

Freeze Warning
Red Flag Warning

Tonight: Mostly clear, with a low around 32. North northwest wind between 5 and 10 mph.
Thursday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 58. Wind chill values as low as 27 early. North northwest wind between 5 and 8 mph.

The thermometer on our dining room patio,at 6PM,this evening….


I guess Mother Nature doesn’t pay attention to the general rule-of-thumb…….That Florida gardeners can usually count on the second week in February as the safe point of being frost/freeze free.…..

Soooo,the container plantings have been moved back up,or covered.

The rest of the garden is on it’s own!

But,all in all,it’s better than being in the Northeast.

At least,I’m don’t have to shovel the driveway out tomorrow morning.

and we didn’t have an earthquake, as Missouri had, today.

All things considered,I’m glad I’m in Florida!

and I will gladly move the plants back  out when it is safe………

Monday, February 8, 2010

TheGreatWall Throws A Super Bowl Party

Even though it was a beautiful day,weather wise,TheGreatWall decided to celebrate our newest national holiday, Super Bowl Sunday,and throw a Super Bowl  party.

Saturday was spent readying TheGreatWall.

Cleaning,sprucing up the place…..

The decor included……




and the newest planter

 (left over from the master bath renovation)


planted with Silver Thyme

Had to have new shoes and gloves to wear…….


I am sooo not a crocs person,but these are great for the garden.I bought them at Home Goods,for $9.99.The gloves are from Home Depot,and  have neoprene on the palms.Very light weight and very comfortable.

Some of the attendees at the party included………




We’re really hoping this pair of mating Mallards hang around awhile.


and all these guys and gals,too……….




Next year,we’re hoping for a bigger crowd

and lots more decor……..

Thursday, February 4, 2010


I went for this………….


One lousy bag of potting soil……………….

Just so I could top dress the container gardens,this week-end.

But then ,my eyes cast upon this……………..


A BLACK Viola!!

Not purple……

Not dark blue…..

But BLACK!!!!


Have you ever seen such a thing?

I had to have it!

So bought it I did!

Well,if you buy that,you,obviously have to buy something to go with it.


How ‘bout this?


Oh! I should probably get a new pot,too.

And,probably,another bag of potting soil,while I’m here.

It’ll save a trip and all.

Oh!I have always wanted an Australian Tree Fern

(since I saw one in Meem’s garden).


Plus,since I expanded the shade garden,I have the perfect spot for one…..


And don’t forget the Flowering Kale…….


this is what I came home with…….



I only went for one bag of potting soil.



I mean it,

with all sincerity………


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