Sunday, July 28, 2013

Finding the Perfect Spot

One thing I struggle with sometimes is finding the perfect spot for a plant.  Here are two good examples:

This mandevilla died back almost to the ground this winter but it is thriving now.  Somehow, I lucked into a very happy spot for this plant.  I don't have to do a thing and it bursts withi blooms.
 However, I have had this knockout rose bush for several years and it doesn't grow or produce many fowers.  I planted it by the house to give it a bit of shade during the heat of the day, but maybe it doesn't get enough sun.  The Don Juan to the left of it, though (not in the photo) is doing great.  Are knockouts more heat tolerant?  Should I move it to a sunnier locale?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Summer goings on

We are getting into the thick of summer here.  I of course mean thick humidity.  Not much in the way of edibles will grow at this point.  The tomatoes and beans are finished.  The herbs are trudgeing alone nicely, though.  Last week, I did plant some small watermelons and hearty peas that may have a chance, according to what I've read.  The watermelon vines are coming up nicely and the peas have just started sprouting.
 I have some late-bloomer gladiolas.  :-)  Nearby, my gladiolas have all bloomed and are finished, but I have about four along the fenceline that I planted several years ago and are starting to bloom now.  I love my fenceline.  :-) 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Butterfly Garden Progress

Here is a view of my butterfly garden this spring.  The coral honeysuckle continues to take over the world, and I'm please how my firecracker plant has sprung up.  I recently bought a hummingbird feeder (on the hibiscus), so we'll see what happens with that.  The regular bird feeder has become quite the place to see and be seen by the local fowl about town.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Orchid Regrowth!

I never mentioned my orchid-fail due to extreme embarassment.  :-(  I last posted about my orchid here, proud of its new growth and promise of fresh flowers.  As the buds swelled and prepared to bloom, I brought the orchid indoors and put it in a spot of honor.  Not able to leave well enough alone, though, I tried to stand the stalk a little more upright and, sadly, it snapped like a twig!  I brought it back outside to wait another 4 months for a new stalk, but nature is amazing!  The pent up growing energy in the orchid immediately burst out throught the stalk to form this shoot.  :-)  You'd best believe I'm leaving that thing alone.
...And here is a spot that makes me smile.  I've been trying to work a green and coral color scheme on the lanai, and I found this pot at Target recently.  I filled it with two low maintenance flowering succulents (I think they're succulents anyway, but I may be wrong), and I can't walk by without smiling. 

Friday, May 3, 2013


I have quite a few gladiola bulbs growing right outside my lanai. 

I couldn't decide whether to cut some for inside or just enjoy them growing outside.  Mother nature made my decision for me, though.  We've had some torrential rains the past few days, and some were blown over.  Now I get to enjoy them inside and outside.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Yellow Aphids

I had quite the yellow aphid infestation on my mandevillas.  They were also on my milkweed, but I just photographed these two plants a couple of weeks ago.  If you look close, you can see them on the newest growth, near the flowers and buds.  They just look like a yellow slime.

I was  concerned when I did a little online research since it said they can hurt the plant.  I started with a hose blast which did get a lot of aphids off, but there were still quite a few on the plants, and the flowers look like they had taken a beating from the hose.  I considered the Dawn/water spray approach, but I didn't want to risk hurting the caterpillars and good insects that are hanging around.  I decided to wait a bit before taking drastic measures and I'm glad I did.  The ladybugs managed to find my aphid smorgasbord and have been gorging themselves.  :-)

Friday, March 15, 2013


This is not garden-related, but I've noticed many gardeners also love their dogs.  :-)  This is our princess, River, and I finally finished sewing a personalized cover for her bed. 
 She likes it as long as it is right beside our bed.  We're still trying to get her to sleep in the boys' room. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Birdfeeder Guests

I was at Ace about a month ago with my big boy (5 years old), and he declared that I need a bird feeder.  Can't argue with that.  We got a long plastic tube design (cheap) and I giant back of seed that claimed to attract all types of desirable birds.  
My son wanted to hang it on a tree, but I wanted to be able to see it from the house, so we duct taped it on top of a fence post (so classy).  Sadly, we waited over a week for a bird to find it but nothing came.  I had a theory that it was just too exposed for them to feel comfortable, so I bought a hanging plant stand and hung it from that in the middle of my butterfly garden.  SUCCESS!!
Here is my buddy, who I have named Cardinal Ratzinger.  He visits me daily and calls out so I can come on the lanai and say "hello".  All of these photos are taken through the lanai screen, so some are fuzzier than others.

 I've also had red-winged blackbirds (no good photos of them) and I am quite sure I saw an oriole, but no photo evidence of that either.  There's also this gray guy.  Some type of finch?  Too small to be a sparrow, I think.

 I find it funny that I started my garden primarily to have cut flowers, since I LOVE having them inside.  I've gotten quite into the gardening process, though, and I definitely grow varieties now that I couln't cut.  I still do enjoy bringing them inside, though.  I like unorthodox mixes of whatever is blooming.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Oh how I love those first little specks of green in the seed pots that means I haven't killed them yet!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Seeds started

I started some seeds this week - only flowers this time since my veggies are still producing from the fall.  :-)  I made this little plant stand a couple months ago from all the scraps that accumulated from other woodworking activities.  It works great on this little wall on the lanai (screen room).  Can you see the seed starter pots behind the white pot on the left?
I don't often take bird photos, but I saw this guy standing on the other side of the pond behind our yard and snapped this from my yard.  Pretty cool what I can see from my garden!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Orchid Regrowth!

Unexciting though this may look, this is a major achievement for me!  I've had this orchid for about 2 years.  It bloomed beautifully for awhile, and then the flowers were spent, as happens with orchids.  Instead of throwing the plant away (yes, I've done that before), I saved it and sat it in the bedroom (no non-flowering orchids in the public rooms, thank you very much) and later on our new lanai.  A little water once a week and lots of just leaving it alone, and now look!  A stem is coming up which will soon display more beautiful blooms for the house.  :-)  So, so happy!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Is it spring already?

Parts of my garden are flourishing.  I think they are confused and think it is March.  You can't blame then since it's 80 degrees outside.

Here, one of my kitties chills by some roses, which seem to never stop blooming (oh poor me).
Tomatoes continue to appear and ripen.
Carrots awaiting harvest and green onions that have been there for over a year.  I just snip as needed for cooking.
Even my butterfly garden still looks pretty nice.