Friday, October 26, 2012

Reblooming Begonias

You may wonder why this photo represents an achievement.  Well, let me tell you...
I love begonias.  I buy the little pots of them at grocery stores and garden centers on impulse.  They bring my joy and happinesson my kitchen counter for a couple of weeks, and then the blooms fade and previously, I'd throw them out.  Not now!  With some water, love, and patience, I coaxed this one back into bloom.  It's not as vivacious and full as the first time around, but it's coming back around.  I think I need to look into fertilizer options to boost the blooming.  Any ideas? 

I love having plants indoors.  So glad my cats stopped chewing on them and throwing them up so that I can have them. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


I am seeing the success of my butterfly-attracting gardening this fall.  Often, I look out my window and see a pretty orange or white blur fluttering by.  I can see how the caterpillars are loving my milkweed and passion vines (although not the vine that bears fruit for some reason).  I don't know if you can see the little orange lines allover this passion vine:
Another effect of all the caterpillars is the smattering of cocoons around my yard.  Here is one that took up residence on a fence rail.
The oddest place I find them, though, i son my new lanai screen!  Does anyone know if this will damage my screen?  I have three right now.



And with number three, my boys and I got to watch the caterpillar form its cocoon.  There was a lot of wiggling...
and flailing...
like trying to put on a too-small turtleneck...
which is a lot like what this cocoon-creation looks like.
*** Ok, I just have to update a few hours later.  I juar did a google search about this to see if it will hurt the screen, and the first search result was...  my blog post!!  Am I seriously the only person who has had butterfly cocoons on her screen room?  I'll definitely update after they open up and let everyone know if there are giant holes in my screen or anything. :-)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Veggies growing

Hello hello!  I'm back.  Sorry for the unintended break there.  So much excitement with
summer and the beginning of school.  Let's get right back into it:

This is the first growing season I've filled up all three 4x8 edibles beds.

I think I got started with them a bit late, but it just seemed way to hot to plant earlier.

First, we have carrots on the left (barely sprouted), peas climbing their fences, and soon-to-be planted more green onions.

Next we have the herb garden in front, and towards the back, two tomato plants (one big tomatoes, one cherry tomatoes), blueberry bushes, and some cantaloupe vines starting up.

Last, we have potatoes in the front have and lettuce in the back (with a bit I still need to de-grass to plant some more lettuce).  Not too shabby for only year two.

This isn't a veggie but I'm happy to see this little passionfruit growing steadily on the vine that was nearly dead 6 months ago.

Friday, July 13, 2012

I'm still here.

I have this habit of going on vacations and, with all the craziness of packing and preparing, forgetting to mention it.  I did it again, but I'm back after 3 1/2 glorious weeks with my parents and sisters and their families.  This is when being a stay-at-home-mom is so fantastic!

I came back to an overgrown jungle out back, thanks to a tropical storm and regular summer rains.  It's been exciting to dig out the weeds and overgrown grass and get to the good stuff.

Here are the fruits of my labor yesterday, some lovelies for my dining room table.  My boys (5 and 3 - hubs is away) and I totally lit those candles for a candlelit dinner last night.  :-)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Perked up porch

This pink beauty caught my eye at WalMart.  It came in a hanging basket, but I just popped it inside this big pot and removed the hanger part.  Easy peasy, and it makes my front porch much more inviting. 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A few new photos

I need to get some metal tomato cages.  My plants are breaking the little plastic ones they came with. 
 The Don Juan roses continue to grow quite strangely.
 I'm excited to see some new blooms coming out of this beauty.
 This passion fruit vine was half dead for a while, but now it has a few fruits growing on it.  Exciting!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

4 Things about Growing Corn... not good

4 things I've learned about corn this spring:

1.  Corn needs a LOT of water to stay healthy.
2.  Corn is very vulnerable to pests.
3.  Puppies love to dig up cornstalks.
4.  Corn is so cheap in season that I can buy a bunch that was locally grown and prepare and freeze it just as I would the corn I harvested here.

I've given up on the corn. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Buttery Garden

I planted my little butterfly (and, dare I hope, hummingbird) garden on Tuesday.  I still need to clear out some grass and re-bury the edging, but so far, so good.
 The half-dead hibiscus (still not fully recovered from a frost) and Coarl Honeysuckle along the fence were already there). 

Let's see if I can remember the names of the others without checking my notes...
The tall one on the left is "Lady Di" Heliconia (Parrot Flower)
The big bushy ones in red and yellow-orange are Ixora.
The little yellow ones are Golden Shrimp Plant (had to look that one up).
 My Heliconia had a bit offshoot which I potted for future planting or gift-giving.
 One of my new bulbs I planted in the early spring has a bud.  So exciting!!!  Lots more have popped up, but this is the first flower.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Roses and Hummingbird/Butterfly Garden Plans

Here is part of my "rose garden" if you can call 4 rose bushes a garden.  I'm really excited because those two big stalks on the red Don Juan are reaching for my bedroom window and I can see a lovely bud first thing in the morning.  :-)

I recently read that coral honeysuckle and hibiscus are great for attracting caterpillars/butterflies and, dare I hope?, hummingbirds.  I have four little Ixoras waiting to be planted, and I'm thinking of expanding this little area to make a hummingbird/butterfly garden. It will be right outside of our soon-to-be-built lanai.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hand Appliqué

Yesterday, I tried my hand at appliqué (without the aid of my embroidery machine). This is for a specific project that should come together pretty quickly once I stitch on the little birdie details and a few more leaves.

Edit: I did it again! (posted on the wrong blog due to my iPad ignorance!). But look- flower, bird... Very garden-y.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Bean Problem

Anyone know what my bean problem is? There are fresh blooms, so I don't think the season is over. It's been warm, but the plants look healthy, so I don't think they are too dry.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Baby Tomatoes

I have two tomato plants and was starting to freak out because there were no new ones after the ones that were already on the one plant. I was heartened today, though, when I found a few babies on each plant.

As a side note, I am totally addicted to posting from my iPad. It's so fast and easy. The only downside is the inability to control photo focus.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Easy Arrangement

I get to be pretty creative with my flower arrangements since all of my planted flowers are still pretty small in their second year. Here is what I came up with today with lavender and gardenias.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

My beautiful tomato

I went to check on my one beautiful red, ripe tomato this morning, 'cause I totally check on my produce first thing in the morning. Look!! Something took a bite and the ants moved in. I guess I won't let the next one stay on the vine a day past ripeness.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Monday, April 9, 2012


We couldn't wait any longer to have some carrots. I think I didn't thin these out well enough last month as they are still pretty scrawny and some are kind of intertwined. We will have have these with dinner, though, and the rest are thinned out now.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Corn Progress

I ended up doing nothing to control the suspected Armyworm infestation of my corn. I read that the life cycle for them is only about a month and if you can wait it out, the corn will be fine. I was skeptical but I waited it out and left them alone.

As you can see, the cornstalks are doing fine, the tassels are doing well, and the ears are growing. I'm as giddy as my 5-year-old. There are no holes on the higher-up leaves, so I guess the adult Armyworms have either died or moved on.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Do you like my dress?

I'm learning how to post from my new iPad and accidentally posted a sewing post over here. :-). I could just delete it but I think it would show up on Reader anyway... So I hope you didn't mind viewing my Easter-dress-in-progress for a moment.

Easter Dress

Here is a little peek at my Easter dress. As usual, I still have quite a bit to do in a few days. I'm super excited to use this lace I bought a few years ago in Italy!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


So many beautiful buds are popping up in the yard. Here are a few favorites.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Fall Armyworm?

Something is dining on my beautiful corn stalks! 
The picture above is just what my corn plants look like. :-(  From my little research, I think I have Fall Armyworms.  Should I use an insecticide?  I can't find any other ideas of how to control them.

Friday, March 16, 2012

I've been shopping!

I've been dragging the boys around this week during spring break, getting some new pretties for the garden.  I wanted to go to USF's Botanical Gardens, but we didn't get there yet, and tomorrow's a beach day! There's always summer break.

I bought plants at two places this week - Keep It Green and Elsberry Nursery Farm, both in Apollo Beach at the same intersection. 

Elsberry doesn't have a website, just a facebook page.  They are small but so awesome.  They have really cool plants and remember me every time I go back (once every few months).  They even ask how specific plants I've bought are doing and offer lots of advice and tips. 

Keep It Green is much larger and has pretty much anything I could be looking for.  This was my first time going there, and I was very happy with the service.  They even threw in a free tub of ladybugs since my boys found them so interesting. :-)

 My flower beds along the fenceline at the back of our property are very narrow - I know this.  I wanted to leave as much of the long part of the yard free for soccer games.  :-)  My goal here is to just fill it up with beautiful flowering plants that make me happy.  I planted a bunch of bulbs in the stretch above.  Many are doing well, but there was a big patch where nothing came up, and that's where I planted the lavender Foxglove above.  I see now that this plant is actually quite toxic. Oops.  My boys have zero interest in chewing on flowers, though, so I'm not worried. They're much more interested in checking out the edible things we've planted.

 My boys are always very excited to break out the big shovels for the big plants.  They got hot very quickly, though, and mom was left to dig the hole for this bush.  I'm not sure what it's called.  The Lady at Elsberry told me what it is, but I forget and now see that the tag with the name is faded.

This is a passion vine with fruit.  I have a red passion vine, but this is my first with frut, and the flowers are purple, I'm told.  I still haven't planted this.

This is my little avacado tree I couldnt resist!  Hubs LOVES his guacamole, and I'm planning to make lots this summer with fresh tomatoes and avacados.  If only I'd planted red onions!
 Look at the sweet little baby avacado.  My boys are loving watching the food grow.  We have some little oranges about this size also.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Springtime Snippets

Just some snippets of springtime in my garden.
 My favorite Coral Honeysuckle.
 Veggies growing - carrots and beans.  If only the grass on my lawn would grow as well as the grass in my veggies!  I have since weeded this bed.
 Onions and little cornstalks - I can't believe I grew those from seeds!
 Beautiful pink roses.