can't you see the sunshine….

I have tomatoes

This is an update to my tomato experiment. The expirmental plant that I am growing, a teensy yellow, has fruit. I think the fruit appeared on 5/20 but I could not see it for all the leaves. A few more have appeared since then.

I am a little concerned because this is supposed to be a drawf plant (I thought). So far it is the tallest plant of the group.

Twenty eight inches now (5/25) full of blooms.

The gardenia also burst forth this week. There are two in our courtyard.

This one gets much more sun and was just full of blooms. The summer like heat wave that we are having sort of did them in. They are fragile flowers.

Blooms are just now opening on the other side of the courtyard. Guppy stops each morning to give these a sniff.

My “imported from Oxford” vinca arrived this week. (Thanks Jim). Those were the last plants I needed. I am finished planting for the season. Unless of course a hydragena falls in my lap.

1 Comment »

Tomato Trials

This year I got my tomato plants from the NC Tomato Man. He is a very interesting individual. A lot can be learned from him.

I only have room for three plants in pots on the front porch. The best place for full sun and safe from lawn care folks and their weed eaters.

This is planting day, 05/05/19. The one of the far left is the experimental one. A freebie plant as long as I report back about it. The one on the right had just moved into that smaller pot so it needed to wait a week or so before planting in the big pot.

Again 05/05/19

Now 13 days later

A lot of growth! There are blooms. I don’t think the first one set fruit because we had some nights with temps in 40s and 50s. Too low to set fruit. But I am hoping for this week.

All three plants are doing well. As are my green beans which you can’t see yet.

Leave a comment »

All Stiched Up

We have a bed of cannas in the front. Most probably started by our former neighbor, Ott. The first year we were here, I thinned them out. Giving two large bags of them to our mailman. It didn’t even looked like I had thinned them.

Last Fall I got an ornamental grass on sale. I just stuck it in by the red fence. That was a fine place for it to winter but I realized there was not enough sun for it and the beautiful red plumes that it should produce in the Fall, would be lost against the red fence. So I moved it out to a pot in the front and surrounded it by cannas for summer interest. Of all the cannas, I picked the three plants that had bugs. Or maybe they got bugs after I moved them.

It is a very industrious bug.

Can you see the white ‘stiches’ that are sealing up the leaves? These are rather strong. I tried to run my thumb nail through them and got no where. The leaf is stiched up so that it won’t unfurl until the ‘eggs’ or whatever inside has hatched, eaten the tender part of the leaf and grown big enough to fend for itself.

This is the type of damage that is going on and what the leaves will look like when what ever it is emerges

I have found the whole thing kind of interesting to watch and since I have oodles of cannas I have let the bugs be to enjoy. Maybe I’ll see what comes out…

1 Comment »

Way too much time on my hands

This is the fence to the back courtyard of our condo.

Notice the attractive paint job. On the street side it is painted red. And on the right side (not pictured) it is also painted red. Either he ran out of paint or was interrupted and never came back to finish it. He being Ott. The man who lived to the right of us a number of years ago. He was Dutch. Loved to garden. Many of the plants and the good quality of our soil are thanks to him. This was most probably his paint job. The fence on the other side of the building is not painted.

This spring marks the second year of us living here. The second year of me having to look at this. I decided to do something about it. It took several weeks to complete the project. First the fence had to be washed since it had green something growing on it. I figured I would never match the red paint so I bought a nice charcoal grey. I only painted the back. And not the fence posts. (would have needed a ladder) Next year our building is scheduled to be power washed. I am thinking I will ask that the fence be power washed too and offer up the paint to have the whole thing painted. Until then this is how it turned out.

I added some shelves for plants. Because I never have enough plants.

It was time to replace the pansies. Red and white impatients were the choice.

The Amaryllis from winter 2018 (as an indoor plant) made its reappearance.

There were enough impatients to scatter a few in the Elephant Ear Forest and add some color there. In another week or so some of the hydrangeas will be blooming.

Overall, I think I have made the corner look better.


Spring Farmers’ Market Visit

A few days ago I finally wandered out to the State Farmers’ Market, here in Raleigh. If you go on a weekday, the crowds are not too bad. Here is my haul for the trip

In Italy, I used to buy fresh, in-shell English peas at the regular grocery store. They were a little bit pricy, but in season they were so good. I would buy a big ole bag and shell them. There was a Julia Child and Jacques Pepin cooking show where they compared in their fresh pea cooking methods. I don’t remember Jacques’ method, only Julia’s. In a sauce pan, tiny amount of water, hunk of cold butter, kosher salt and a bit of sugar. Then get your hands in there and ‘bruise’ the peas. Cover and cook for a few minutes. Ben and I would squabble over these they were so good. Then the dog who moved with us to Italy, ‘the Sainted Siena’ discovered them and started demanding her share. Our grocery budget was shot.

These were sugar snaps so I just cleaned them up a bit and lightly steamed them. I also got some fresh, new crop red potatoes. Freshly dug potatoes are as good as freshly picked corn or properly ripened and stored summer tomatoes. Our friend BK, brought to Italy some of her Momma’s freshly dug potatoes. They were about the best I have ever had.

And I got some strawberries. They were certainly better than store bought but I thought they were a little watery.

I feel for the farmers. We have had wild Spring weather. A good bit of rain but it could have been spaced a little better. (Really! Seven weekends in a row, RAIN!) Monday, the 13th there were tornados close by. And hail. Then there was a cool spell when night temps dropped to the 40s. And now it is in the 90s during the day and will stay that way with small chances of rain for at least the next week. I’ll spare you whining about the hail damage to my Elephant Ear Forest.



They are in bloom here.

When Guppy and I turned the corner to walk into the courtyard where this tree is, I could smell it blooming. I think this is the preferred way to grow a magnolia. Never cutting the lower branches and allowing them to touch the ground.

At my parent’s home where I grew up there was a magnolia. And at my house in Wilmington there was one too. It is not my tree of choice since it is always dropping something.

After we finished our walk and Guppy was enjoying her deck time I just had to walk back to take a picture and sniff the flowers up close

Can you smell it? Now, that’s the South!

1 Comment »

Dressing the Deck

It is one of my favorite times of the year, Spring. We don’t have much outside space. I do my best to fill it all with plants and flowers. I am doing more foliage in the big planter this year.

The new whoop dee do elephant ear is hidden in there. It is a more upright variety. The one on the left side of the picture will eventually sort of droop over. The new one remains more vertical. It will be interesting to see how it does.

In March, inside, I started elephant ears bulbs that I wintered over. The pots are not real pretty but the price was right, free from the agricultural recylcing bins at the State Farmers’ Market. I have been using them as a protective border for the new hydrangea bed that I started. My friend Jim gave back to me the hydrangeas that he provided a home for when we moved to Italy. The one that was in a planter under the tree that was cut down needed a new home too. It made sense just to start a nice bed in the back shady area.

After they grow a bit and if I buy some more mulch I might regroup my elephant ear forest.

The elephant ear forest and hydrangena bed is that darkish area above the terra cotta pot on the deck. You can just see the begonias peaking over the deck railing. They are doing well and will be a nice display in another week or so.

Look for another post about the tomatoes. I do know how fortunate I am to have learned to love plants and to have the means and the ability to be able to do this.

I seem to have lost spell check again. Sorry.


Leave a comment »

Warm Weather

Guest Post by: Guppy, Luck Dog 3

So glad that it is here. I get to sit outside on the deck every morning. But I think the squirrels have multiplied! There seem to be a lot of them now.

April was real busy. I went to dog school and my extra walking classes. I graduated.

And I had to go to the vet. Then She got all busy cooking and cleaning because folks came for Easter Lunch. That was fun. Then She started moving everything around in my room and cleaning. I couldn’t drop hair for a whole week. And then we had a cousin visit! I like cousins. I think that She Who Must Be Obeyed has a few cousins but not all of them come to visit. This was a girl cousin on her Momma’s side who is 4 years younger. This cousin came to visit them when they lived in Italy. On Saturday, they all went running off to see things and were gone a long time. I didn’t like that but I sure did like visiting with them. The husband is real nice too.

I hope they come back again.

1 Comment »