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

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Gaillardia Mystery…

I could have sworn I ordered Gaillardia Burgundy,from Burpee.

In fact,I have the seed packet to prove it…..


But when they bloomed I got Gaillardia Punch Bowl…..


Not that I’m complaining,mind you.

Don’t get me wrong.I love this flower!


I love the play of the burgundy/lavender against the white frilly edges.And it performs just like the old-fashioned Blanket Flower.

”Nope,I don’t need any water.I’m fine…”

“Go ahead-step on me.I don’t care.”

“I am Gaillardia,hear me roar.”

…I’m considering this a happy accident….

Not that I don’t love old fashioned Gaillardia.


I do.

It grows without asking anything from me…

...dontcha just love a not-so-needy plant….?

But I wanted Gaillardia Burgundy.

Back to the catalogue……

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Road-side Garden….

But without all the traffic,fumes,and noise…

After the County was done with their work,you will remember,I was left with this…..


The dirt was compacted clay/sand mix.The area receives sun from sun up until very late afternoon,when the shade from the large oak reaches that area.Now that summer is here…at least,in Florida,it is…It looked like the side of a highway.So,I decided to treat it as such.Bring in Florida natives and wildflowers.After much digging and a little soil amending,today,it looks like this….


This photo was taken from the opposite angle as the previous.It gets hot out there!…And,yes,that’s a plumeria growing in the big ugly pot...I planted a Clerodendrum,also.I saw them growing in full sun at The Naples Botanical Garden,and figured if they can grow in Zone 10 full sun…and bloom profusely…it will grow in my Zone 9 full sun.And it is.

The idea really took hold when I purchased the Yellowtop,Flaveria linearis,and saw how it took to the area.


The planting I bought was small …I had to get it home in the packed Tacoma…and I’ve been pinching it back to make it branch out more.

Going with the idea of a roadside garden,along with the previously planted Love Grass,African Iris and Giant Liriope divisions,Blanket Flower was moved from the other side of the yard,and Gaillardia Burgundy seeds,from Burpee,were planted…


This is the first to set buds and I couldn’t wait for it to open all the way,before I took a photo.

Rudbeckia was tossed in….


Looks like lips!

Purple Coneflower…..


I love how it mixes with the Gaura…


and how the Gaura looks against a back drop of Love Grass….




Knock-Out roses were also added…Planted following YardBoy’s directions,but these are my responsibility.

A double pink…


And a yellow…


Because the ground tends to stay moist,very little watering is needed.So far,everything has settled in quite nicely,and are making nice with each other.

I just need a Burma Shave sign to complete my own little roadside garden,dontcha think?

Now,it’s time to enjoy a tall,cold glass of iced tea and some chilled watermelon,along with some reading material….


and maybe take a dip in the pool….


Have a great week in the garden……

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Veggie Garden….

this year,has out performed all previous years.

Yessiree, Bob!

Back in January,after the County was done with their drainage project and had brought in new clean fill(very clay-ee),three new raised beds were added to the vegetable garden.

Those three have out shone the previous two.

All five received new soil,cow manure and compost.

All five have been watered the same,

and fertilized every three weeks with fish emulsion.

This is how I do it…


Each plant gets a bottle and I pour the fish emulsion solution into it.This way it gets right down to the roots.Plus,I’m recycling.

Every month,I top dressed all five beds with compost.The only difference is the three new beds are on top of the clay soil and the other two are on regular Florida soil.Sand!

I can only conclude that the plants in the three new beds were able to sink their roots into the clay soil(which tends to hold moisture better)and grew like Topsy.

With that being said,it is time to give out my awards for winners and losers….

The award for being my faves,this year,go to….

Brandywine Tomatoes,heirloom

Galinas tomatoes,heirloom

Cherokee Purple tomatoes,heirloom

The last two are from seed I saved from the Fall garden.I am starting to prefer the heirlooms over anything else.They seem relatively pest free and are not very needy,which suits this gardener just fine.

The Brandywine have outgrown their support system(which is six feet tall).And are great producers….


This is just one plant!


The Galinas are just now starting to produce…


They are so sweet,you can eat them off the vine,like candy.Which we do!

Though they are growing,the Cherokee Purple have yet to produce.I’m starting to think they may be more of a cool weather tomato.

For beans,I planted three trellises,plus one bamboo fence,of Kentucky Blue pole beans.


They are so prolific,in all the beds,Now,don’t get me wrong,I like fresh green beans.Next to broccoli,they are my favorite vegetable,but it has gotten to the point that I cannot give them away!And we just cannot eat them every night.People are starting to fear me.Neighbors won’t answer their doors….

But,how do you judge what is going to do well in the garden,from one year to the next?

A gardener’s dilemma…

For peppers—ALL are winners,in my book---,

I planted red,green,and yellow bell peppers.


Banana peppers(for grilling with steak).


For lettuce,I planted:

Mesclun,from Burpee,that I got as a bonus when I ordered seeds.

Black Seeded Simpson

Dark Green Cos

Though all three produced,my award goes to the Mesclun and the Black Seeded Simpson .The Dark Green Cos seemed to turn bitter if it wasn’t harvested right away,and it was a heavy producer,which made it difficult to keep up with.The Mesclun produces the tastiest baby greens,and the heat doesn’t seem to bother it.

Radishes and carrots,what can I say?All produced.

On a side note,when Kyle and Gina were here,on Mother’s Day,I let them pull carrots and pick green beans.After hosing them off,they ate them straight out of the garden,and looked at me in shock.All they said was,”These are so sweet.It’s like eating candy.Can we pick some more?”

Alas,the tomatoes weren’t ready quite yet,or they could have done something my mother taught us,when we were kids.Take a salt shaker out to the garden,sit down,and have a feast!But,don’t tell Dad!

For cucumbers,I planted Poinsett 76,and they are just starting to produce…


I,also,planted Swiss Chard Fordhook,in a shadier spot of the veggie garden,and it,too,produced.The last of which,I harvested,today.Makes for great stir fry.And the stems can be used in place of celery,in a salad.

Even though I knew it took two years,as a lark,last Fall I planted some Leeks.When my Dad was here,he looked at some and said,”Those two are ready.They’re gonna go to seed.Some do that.Grow faster than they’re s’posed to.” So,I pulled ‘em up.sure enough,he was right.



Stir fry with the Leeks and Swiss Chard,Sslad with baby greens,steamed carrots and green beans,and tomato salad(made with EVOO,garlic,and fresh basil,also from the garden).

and when I sit down to eat,poolside,I find my dining companion…..


Oh crap!

I scared him….

IMG_2241Well,ex-cuse me!

So how is your veggie garden growing,

this Spring?




Dining companions?

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Friday, May 13, 2011

World Naked Gardening Day……and Why I Won’t Be Participating…


Yep,tomorrow is World Naked Gardening Day.And this gardener just cannot join in.

Nope,can’t bring myself to do it.



Here are my reasons…

1.I do enjoy getting down and dirty---wink-wink---but gardening is really dirty,and there are certain body parts of mine I prefer to not have in the dirt.

2.What if I weed eat?

3.Or trim the hedges with the electric trimmer?

4.Fire ants-what if I sat on a fire ant mound by mistake?

5.Mosquitoes- I don’t want certain body parts bitten…..at least,by a mosquito….Johnny Depp is another story,but I digress…..Plus,I think Deep Woods Off would burn.

6.If I didn’t have a t-shirt on,where would I wipe the sweat?And with what?

7.Sunburn.I don’t think I want to spray sun block on certain areas.And some of those areas…well,you get my drift….

8.What if the balloon people,that like to come over our lake,float by?Now,that would give them a treat they hadn’t counted on,wouldn’t it?Or a police helicopter?

9.We have Water Moccasins and Pygmy Rattlers.What if I got bitten? I wouldn’t want my dead,naked,cellulite ridden body to be found by EMS.The paramedics would fall over laughing.And how would my family explain that? “Oh,that’s just Gramma.She was always kinda weird that way….” I don’t think I want to be remembered that way.

10.I really,really,really don’t think my neighbors would like to see this body…..see #9….and,though,I may not care for a few,I wouldn’t do that to anyone.


How are you celebrating World Naked Gardening Day?


By the way,I shall not be celebrating World Naked Biking Day---ewww---,

or World Naked Hiking Day----you could really hurt yourself on this one---,


But,then,I’m just not a joiner…..

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


After ten days off,eight of which were spent at the beach,it was time to return to reality.


…..A job…..

…I find working highly over rated,but that’s just me….

So,it was with pleasure I came home from work ,camera in hand,just to wander through garden.

And think of future projects.

Aren’t all gardeners thinking of the next project?

Sneezing my way through the garden

----the ozone level is outta this world!----

I caught a few photos….

A Great Blue Heron,by the water’s edge…




Louis Philippe rose bloom….


Pink Knock-Out Rose…


Drift Rose….


…which isn’t drifting the right way…


…I guess Mother Nature is gonna do what she wants to do…

Double Knock-out Rose…


Bat Faced Cuphea…


love this flower!

Don’t know why,but I do…

…just can’t help loving it’s ugly face…


In the new side garden,growing in full sun from sun-up to sun-down,it hasn’t failed me.

…So far….




What is that?

He is soooo dead….


That’s better!

And what Florida gardener doesn’t love Gaillardia?


or Blanket Flower


…a true fail-safe plant,in Florida gardens…


I have them planted all around the veggie garden,so the bees can have a feast…

Liatris bulbs are finally blooming…


…growing between Chocolate Mint,the first year I have had success with them…

Years ago,we put in a trellis to hide the pool filter.And to drown out the noise.It was planted with Mandevilla and Creeping Fig.The Creeping Fig grew but between the winter freezes and the Lubbers,I thought  the Mandevilla was a gonner.I had totally forgotten about it.I figured it was long dead.Imagine my surprise,today,when I found



…and that is why gardeners never give up hoping…

To hide the view of the veggie garden,from the pool area,this past spring,one trellis---what was I thinking,when I put in only one?--- was put in with Confederate Jasmine.


It has performed beautifully,but the plan is to install a second trellis with more Jasmine.


Can we ever have enough Jasmine?

The scent from just one plant is still over powering….

Between the sneezing,the hazy sky,and the ozone in the air,it was time to retreat to the coolness of the pool.

Time to dunk the toes,enjoy a cool drink---yep,that’s a frozen Margarita---and read the newest gardening book…


It has ideas!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Back To The Garden…..

After eight glorious,restful days of this…


Not to forget visiting with dear,dear friends

(some people have all the luck---living there full time),

It was time to shake the sand out from between our toes,wash the flip flops,pressure wash the lovebugs off the Tacoma,

(am I the only one who thinks they are worse this year,than in years past?),

and get back to TheGreatWall.

But,who was there to greet me,after the loooonnnng,treacherous,trek back from Sanibel Island?


The ever delightful Miss Emma,Kyle and Gina!!!

Is that a great welcome home gift/Mother’s Day gift,or what?!

Sorry,no photos of Kyle and Gina,but those two move waaay too fast for this gardener…

Oh yeah-they brought along those adult people that travel with them.Somebody has to drive,I guess…

I must add that Gina is the bestest at hunting down Lubbers and killing them dead!

Girls rock!


On to the garden….

Erich,the Younger,did his best to take great care of TheGreatWall

he did name it,after all,so,he must feel some ownership---

but why do gardeners always think they are the only ones who can take care of their garden?

.And giving props to Erich,he did a pretty good job….

But the veggie garden was a little overgrown….

lots of tomatoes,green beans,and cucumbers.



and the lawn!

It sooo needed mowing!

and the gardens were a bit weedy…


but nothing a little time and effort couldn’t handle..


A perfect Mother’s Day,for this gardener.

Time spent getting things back in shape….


Sooo,what souvenirs did we bring back,you ask?

Outside of the usual t-shirts(yep- kiddoes got those…don’t all Grammas bring back t-shirts?),

this gardener visited native plant nurseries.

Even if it is a bit more pricey,I would much rather give my money to organizations and nurseries that support native plants,than to some big box store.

Tillsandias from Naples Botanical Garden….


l-Tillsandia “Blue Star”,r-Tillsandia “Sweet Isabel” (my mother’s middle name)-planted in yard-art whelks,found on the beach.

Rain Lilies from Edison Ford Museum nursery…


now,planted on the front entryway…

Simpson Stopper,”Myrcianthes Fragrans”,on the right…..


Yellowtop,or False Goldenrod,”Flaveria linearis”,on the left

each are small,but I had to get them home,in the Tacoma…



“Callicarpa americana”

the previous three were purchased from Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation plant nursery.

and a Banana Shrub…


“Michelia figo”

which my brother picked up for me,at Bok Tower Gardens ,while on his vacation.

Now,that vacation is over,it is time to start giving thought to the fall garden.A little early,perhaps,but I like to plan ahead.

Oh yeah….I have a job to return to….




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