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

Sunday, February 27, 2011


It is important to me that visitors to TheGreatWall  experience the senses.

“Oh,look at that!”

“That is sooo cute!”

“Isn’t that an interesting plant?

You get my drift?

So,as I rework the back garden,it became important to me to fulfill all the senses.

Especially fragrance.

There is already family….IMG_1425

IMG_1427a gift from Maggie and Erich….

and serenity…..


Yard Art? You have already seen how much we love Yard Art here at TheGreatWall.

The birds and the wind chimes provide the sound.Not counting the sound from the pool…


And color.That we have lots of.We’re almost technicolor….




Nope,we ARE technicolor!


But most of all,I wanted fragrance.

We are blessed to have an old Bay Oak tree,down by the water.


It has seen better times,but with lots of TLC,and a visit from an arborist,it is slowly coming back.When you crush the leaves,it is just like smelling a bay leaf.It has been said one could substitute the leaves,from a Bay Oak,for bay leaves,but I have never tried it.

So,with that old tree as my inspiration,I have set out on a quest to add more fragrance to TheGreatWall.

I have always used parsley as a border plant.


It makes a great accent plant,not to mention the butterflies love it.If it is used as a border,you save space in the veggie garden.It just makes sense….

Oregano?Basil and thyme?IMG_1402


Aren’t those the most delish smelling herbs?

Brush against Rosemary…..




Sweet Alyssum?


The scent is almost overwhelming,isn’t it?

There was already one Tea Olive shrub-who doesn’t adore those?-,here,but I wanted another one.


I needed and HAD to have another.

To be placed by the steps that lead down from the pool area to the garden.Right where someone walking down the steps would brush against it….


That such a small flower can produce such an amazing aroma is incredible,isn’t it?


Now,that we smell good,it’s time to pop the popcorn and get ready for the Academy Awards.

Not that we’ve seen any of the movies that are nominated,but it is sooo much fun to judge others,isn’t it?





Sunday, February 20, 2011


or Go Junior!!!!

Early this morning,I was up and at it.Camera in hand,it was time to document what I have accomplished,so far.Let’s take a stroll,shall we?

The start of the new new garden and pathway…..IMG_1362Much remains to be done.The clean fill that was brought in has a lot of clay in it,so it takes a good while to dig a hole.Then lots of peat moss,manure,and compost must be worked in.I’m gonna have great shoulders and upper arms,when this is all done!Next weekend I hope to finish the pathway to the back.

Moving on to what’s left of the veggie garden.It is in the process of being moved over about four feet.And will be replanted,next weekend.



IMG_1369Blanket flower


Whoa! Who’s this?

Why it’s the Marsh Bunny! A frequent visitor to TheGreatWall,these days.IMG_1353

Carry on…..you eat those weeds,while I continue on with my stroll….



IMG_1386Cinnamon Fern fiddle head.



IMG_1376Moth Orchid,Phalaenopsis Nivacolor,I believe.Am I right?

I’m taking a day off from the garden,today.It’s the Daytona 500,and the start of NASCAR season!!!!It’s a Southern thing…..My Dad will be over to watch the race on the big screen! Yep-he loves his NASCAR! And to check the progress on the garden.We’ll be dining on ‘burgers on the grill,potato salad,baked beans,chips and BEER!

Go Junior!!!!!



Wednesday, February 16, 2011

She Shops.She Scores!


When you have eight feet by forty eight feet of garden to replant,you look for bargains anywhere, and everywhere.

So,on a recent trip to Lowe’s,I swung my cart by the half-priced/dead and dying rack.

Be still my heart….

the bargains were there to be had!


After finding two bags of melaluca mulch for half price(the bags were ripped),I found these deals….

IMG_1351Purple Fountain Grass – $2

IMG_1344Variegated Ginger – $2 (3 plants in that pot)IMG_1349Bromeliad – $2 (4 pups in that pot!)


A half dead orchid for $4.If it doesn’t make it,at least,I have a new clay pot.But the roots look healthy.Nothing that some fresh orchid mix,a dose of benign neglect,and a new home under the oak trees can’t correct.

I Red heart the half-price rack at Lowe’s!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Emma’s Garden……

There are two lasting bequests we can give our children:
one is roots.  The other is wings.
-  Hodding Carter, Jr.

In my last post,I mentioned that I wanted to start on Emma’s Garden.


It was to go here…..IMG_1330Yuck! Freeze dried plants….

Right by the pool.Our family is all about the water.Swimming,body surfing,boogie boarding (love ya-Kyle), fishing,boating,shelling….anything to do with the water…..Where else could her garden go?

After trips to three different native plant nurseries,Home Depot,and Lowe’s,I was ready to start.First,I removed all of the old freeze-killed plants.Then,in equal parts,I added new soil,compost,cow manure,and peat moss.Because this area gets full sun all day,and gets quite hot,I felt I should add the peat moss to help the soil retain moisture.In the summer,this area bakes….

The cherub was bought here,when Emma arrived.IMG_1334

For plantings,I knew where I wanted to go.The Queen Emma Crinum was a no-brainer…..IMG_1336I lucked out.This one came with three pups!

The rest had to be easy to care for,Florida friendly,Zone 9 friendly,and could withstand the abuse of being next to a swimming pool.

It would have to withstand this…IMG_0439

After much research,this is what I came up with….page

Clockwise,l-r:Caliente’ Geranium(in a container),Coontie Palm,Calibrachoa,variegated Asiatic Jasmine.

The Caliente’ Geranium is for a touch of contrast.And the Caliente’ part brings just a touch of sauciness,don’t you think?

The Calibrachoa is a perennial that blooms from fall through spring,plus I love the dark pink color. Hopefully,it will bring Fall and Winter color to the garden.

The variegated Asiatic Jasmine is for variety,from all the dark green.

The Coontie Palm needs no explanation,does it?

I,also,used Giant Liriope,Mondo Grass,Euphorbia,and Variegated Flax Lily for fillers.Below this garden,are the Angel’s Trumpets (which are returning from the December freezes),which will grow,to overhang this garden.


It is my hope that this little garden shall grow,just as Emma will.

Happy Valentine’s Day!IMG_1334

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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Hiding That Dirty Little Secret….

……..called garbage.

We all have it.Those ugly,dirty cans.The recycling bins.AKA crap!How do you deal with it?Because I was left with a blank canvas,it was kinda/sorta easy.I wanted the cans,bins,etc. off the driveway,and behind the fence.They,also,had to be accessible to the kitchen,and easy to take out on garbage day.

But I didn’t want an eyesore when viewed from the kitchen patio.I didn’t want to have to look at YardBoy’s smoker and turkey fryer,which I call crap-he calls them valuable treasures.Not the pool chlorine jugs.Nor the ever present generator.I know this is Florida,after all,and a generator is a must-have,but I didn’t want to have to see it everyday.

Another issue was I was not allowed to change the grade that the county left.Four feet in from the fence is a slight depression,approximately four feet wide,which runs all the way down to the waters edge,in the back.

Between the raindrops this weekend,this is what I came up with…..IMG_1322

See YardBoy’s crap treasures in the back? and the outdoor shower,which is perfect for washing off your feet,  after gardening.

The two trellis’ on the left have been planted with Dwarf Asian Jasmine.The two on the right will be planted with something.I’m just not sure what,yet.---ideas?---maybe more Dwarf Asian Jasmine?Or maybe a dwarf climbing rose?Whatever it is,it must grow up to hide the crap treasures.


Gravel was used to fill in the low area.Hopefully,the water will drain through the gravel.The pavers used to reside in this area,but were moved,about five years ago,in anticipation of the drainage project. Now,they are back,but with,hopefully,a better installation.They just need some bleach,and a good power washing.

To light the walkway to that area,more low-voltage lighting was installed…IMG_1324

Also,the walkway to the back was extended a few more feet…..IMG_1325

Small gardens have started to be installed.Eventually,they will all run together.But for right now,I can only remove so much of that ugly commercial Bahia grass at a time.Don’t want no trouble from the powers that be,after all….IMG_1326

The white boulders are to remind me--NO DIGGING HERE—that is where the power line runs under ground to the well.After the County cut it twice,they,finally,had an electrician come out and run the new line,in pipe,but I am afraid I might get carried away and cut through it,anyways.Confused smileI encountered a problem with digging in the new soil.The County compacted the new fill so much,at times,it seems as if I’m digging through cement.I know I won’t need a gym membership after this. A good work out,that’s for sure.

Taking a break from all the gravel,digging,etc.,

next up will be….

Miss Emma’s Garden.

Which will go here….IMG_1330

It will be next to the swimming pool.In this family,you had best be a water baby!Gulf of Mexico,ocean,pool,lake,wherever there’s water,we’re definitely water people…Most assuredly,it will be easier,and a lot more fun!

But,now that the shower has been taken,feet pumiced,nails cleaned,hair blown dry,it is time to throw some chicken on the grill(which has been marinating all day in in Key Lime Barbeque sauce), a nice glass of Malbec,and settle in to watch the Super Bowl commercials….IMG_1329

Have a great gardening week!


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