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

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Love Grass

When I was looking to plant the Road-Side Garden,I knew I wanted Florida natives.

Something that could withstand the full sun of summer,

and have wet feet from the drenching summer rains.


Just like the side of a highway.


After researching,I found Elliott’s Love Grass, Eragrostis elliottii.

And I am so glad I did.


Typically,it is found in sandy soil,and tolerates both extremely dry and wet conditions.

Perfect for a road side garden!


Originally,I planted three,in the Road-Side Garden.



When I saw how well those three did,I planted three more,in the enlarged front garden.

Right next to the driveway,

and the road.

In full sun.

From sun-up to sun-down’s worth of sun…


Little did I know how much I would end up loving this Florida native.


Today,in the front garden,they look like this….


Mixed with Bulbine,Bulbine frutescens.


The Road-Side Garden,







In the early morning light,don’t the flower spikes look like clouds?

Almost as if they are floating above the other plants.


And in the late afternoon sun,

of early Autumn…


I love the way it mixes with the Purple Fountain Grass,Yellow Top,purple and white Agastache,Lemon Grass and Gaillardia Sunrita Yellow


If only it wasn’t 90+ degrees when I took his photo,I’d swear it was Fall…

…only in Florida,can you take a photo that looks Autumn, and sweat your arse off…


If you’re a betting person,you can place your money on,that come Spring,

the Love Grass is going to be divided up,

and spread around the new gardens of TheGreatWall .



Sunday, September 25, 2011

Emma’s Crinum~~~

A little over a year ago-August 31,in fact-Emma arrived into our family.I decided,then,there would a be an

Emma’s Garden


at TheGreatWall.

That’s me…


….You can read about it here….


So,Emma,this post is for you….




The garden started with this…


Oooooh…I like that. 

I didn’t expect the Queen Emma Crinum to bloom this year,but,in spite of an attack by lubbers,




imagine my surprise when I saw a flower scape.


Just as Emma was turning one year old!


I’m this many fingers! One!



We know,Emma.We know…


For the past week,camera in hand,I have been documenting its growth.




Notice the lubber damage….I’m still on the beheading warpath….

Go for it,Gramma!



Ooooo-that’s sooo pretty! And it’s mine?



And this morning…



Over coffee this morning,guess who was the center of the conversation?




When the lubbers started attacking the largest of the planting,I dug up and potted two pups,and moved them to a safe location.In the meantime,this planting has produced another pup.Eventually,when the new pool is put in,this garden will have to be moved.Where it will be moved to,is still up in the air.I have hopes that there will be room inside the pool cage.


On a side note,YardBoy is home from the hospital.On crutches,IV antibiotics,and home health coming everyday.He has already noticed that his roses were not attended to,the way they are used to….ooops….


Now,if only the humidity would drop,the rains slow down,and the temperature cool off a bit…..

I’ve got a back garden to re-do!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Garden Bounces Back~~~

“I don't think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains.” 

…Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl


Lately,life around TheGreatWall has become a bit dreary.Besides TheTree coming down,and the yard being half burnt to a crisp,the insurance company dragging their collective feet,Dad is rapidly failing – when he gives up watching football,unless I remind him the Bucs or the Bills are on TV,NASCAR even,it is cause for alarm –, YardBoy was admitted to the hospital and had to have surgery.Hopefully,he will be released this week.

Today,I took some time for me in the back garden,not knowing what I would find….

I soon came to realize that…


but nothing

can hold TheGreatWall down…


Flax Lily coming up thru the debris left behind by the stump grinder


An orchid,totally smashed by TheTree,putting out a flower scape,and new growth….


"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,Nothing is going to get better. It's not."

… Dr. Seuss, from The Lorax



In spite of being smashed to smithereens by TheTree and the tree removal people,a Pagoda Flower,Clerodendrum paniculatum, has come back…

In spite of my absence,lately,the veggie garden is growing.

The tomatoes have their first set of blossoms…


The cabbage and broccoli are growing…


As if to keep the home fires burning in spite of all the turbulence surrounding TheGreatWall,the collards and turnips,lettuce and radishes,beans and peas,have all sprouted,too.


“I am an optimist.  It does not seem too much use being anything else. “

…Winston Churchill


And as a true sign TheGreatWall will return better than ever,in spite of being attacked by lubbers earlier,

and most of all…

in honor of Miss Emma turning the big

1 !


the Queen Emma Crinum has put out a flower scape!


Thank you Gramma,for taking care of MY Crinum….

You are most welcome,Emma…

But,Emma,I think we’re digressing….


Emma,I think it’s ok.They’ll forgive us…




And,so,I leave you with some smiles…


Every girl should have a birthday pickle!


I love pickles!Really.I do .


“We cannot direct the wind but we can adjust the sails.” 

…Author Unknown

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hurricane Lily

In Florida,we are in the midst of hurricane season.

What should be more apt to be blooming than Hurricane Lily?

A year ago,I bought the bulbs,here,not knowing how they would do.

This year,they have more than met my expectations.


Oh,how well they have done…


….with the exception of the one that the lubbers found….that lubber died,a tragic death!…


The first signs of life…






In an otherwise drab,barren garden,what a joy to see,at this time of year.

Hopefully,next spring,I can divide the bulbs and have even more…


….I think I heart Hurricane Lilies….

nope---I love them!

find some…

plant some…

Saturday, September 10, 2011


noun -steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.

1. doggedness, steadfastness. Perseverance, persistence, tenacity, pertinacity imply resolute and unyielding holding on in following a course of action. Perseverance commonly suggests activity maintained in spite of difficulties or steadfast and long-continued application: Endurance and perseverance combined to win in the end. It is regularly used in a favorable sense.

In spite of the recent onslaught on TheGreatWall,the garden is persevering.

I may have to look at this,everyday….


Clockwise-where the root ball was,the cracked pool,plants dying from too much sun


….but,in the midst of the mess,I found signs that Mother Nature has a plan ….

An orchid that was sashed to smithereens,

but one lone bud survived to bloom…


A little worse for the wear,but it did survive to bloom…

A Caladium,that I must have missed,when I was digging them up…


…must like sun…

The Yellow Top is blooming…


Mixed with the Lemon Grass and Agastache,it makes for a pretty Fall-like sight …


and the first of the Hurricane Lilies,that I bought here,last Fall,has sprung up….


…it is hurricane season,after all…

The Plumeria never fail to let me down…


The Punch Bowl Gaillardia…that I,originally,wasn’t happy with…have been a delight…


A happy face in the midst of all the mud and mess…

Buddha may be resting on the sunny side,but he’s looking pretty happy…



And the veggie garden has been started.

Peas,beans,lettuce,and radishes are up and growing.


Broccoli,cabbage,tomatoes,and peppers have been planted.

Tomorrow,Collards and Turnips will go in.

So,in the midst of all the mess and mud,the gardens have survived.Somewhat different than the original plan.

But gardens should evolve and change with what Mother Nature throws at them.

We,gardeners,can’t control everything.We can try,but Mother Nature will win out in the end.

So,it’s best to learn to bend with the wind,and adapt to what Mother Nature gives us.

And so…

TheGreatWall will survive and change.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

It’s all just a test……

…from God,I have come to believe.

To see just how much this gardener can withstand.But,I figure that if I could wait five years for Hillsborough County to complete the drainage project,what’s a few months?

When they were taking the tree down,the first branch they were being oh so careful to remove,came down and broke the spigot on the well.Got that fixed,pronto.But then I had no outdoor water spigot.YardBoy was gracious enough to spend yesterday,in the blazing hot sun,to install a new one.

While they were grinding the root ball out,something was thrown up and left this…


Got that fixed pronto,too.They paid for a glass installer to come right out,and fix it.

I took the broken glass and made this….


I have enough of the tempered glass to make quite a few more.To be used on the new patio.


The mourning period for The Oakin the future,it shall always be referred to as The Oak – is over.

Time to move on…


Yard pretty well cleaned up.



Plants moved to a shadier location, or potted up,to be used later on.

And the inspiration piece for the new yard is




This is from the Naples Botanical Garden,and is situated in full sun.I really love the look of the full sun bromeliads.Back when we visited,in May,I had wished I had a place for those.Now,I do.


A new tree will be bought and installed further – much,much further – towards the back.Either another Live Oak,or a Sweetgum.I’m leaning towards the Sweetgum.If anyone has thoughts,I would love to hear – or read -  them.

The hardest part of all this,has been going to Home Depot,and seeing all the fall foliage,and not being able to come with some.

I just keep telling myself,

“This,too,shall pass.”


Thankfully,football season has started.To keep this gardener occupied.

Go Bulls!

Go Bucs!

Go Gators!


Edited to add: RIP Leroy Selmon…..The world is better is a better place for such a good,kind gentleman as you.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

What Used To Be…..



is now is……


A magnificent Florida Oak,that was this close to qualifying for Grand Status,according to the tree company, is now this…


and this…


But on an up note,the Oak Leaf Hydrangea seems to have weathered the storm…


A little battered,but none the less,still alive.

The Alabama Azalea,Rhododendrum alabamensis,I bought in Tallahassee,may not be so fortunate.I cannot find it in all the mess.

But,all the orchids made it!

I think…one I haven’t found yet….


Including all of  my Dad’s!


The tree people were wonderful in helping me find them,under this massive tree,and move them to safety.

Not only did they dig up plants and put them in pots,for me,they also moved all my rooted cuttings!


The Banana Shrub…

They moved the Tea Olives,the Stokes Asters,and the Blackberry Lilies,and numerous other plants.

I heart those guys!

Not only were they young,in great shape,and sweaty……but they moved my plants,for me!

Please don’t tell me they probably thought they were helping an old lady out!

Tomorrow,they return to remove the rest of the tree and the root ball.The pool is slowly collapsing,but the pool contractor has been here and is in the process of drawing up plans.

Which,hopefully,will include a waterfall with a raised garden bed,for Miss Emma’s Garden.

At least,the lubbers won’t be able to get to the Queen Emma Crinum inside of a pool cage!

The plans include the pool to be screened in,with pocket gardens,so that some of the shade loving plantings can be moved there.

On a side note,when I inquired about planting a new tree,I was told that if I want to plant a protected species-I would really like another Florida Oak-,according to code(at least,in Hillsborough County),it has to be a minimum of 20 feet from a swimming pool.

If you wanna find me,I’ll be hanging out in our local nurseries.

…For quite a long while….


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