can't you see the sunshine….

How does the deck look?

Oh, thanks for asking. It looks so good, I think. I am so glad it does since we are using more than before.

This is how it looked in early June.

Taken 7/20. Look how the elephant ears have taken off.

Doing the jungle thing….

Starting this week, our building is going to be pressured washed. Hopefully, I will be able to cover the plants that can’t be moved and they won’t be sprayed with some toxic wash.

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Summer Scents in the South

Gardenias. A very sweet scent that filled our back courtyard.

Magnolias in the nearby courtyard. Before the heat of the day took over that courtyard was scented too. Something to look forward to in the early summer.

We were getting rain every few days with moderate temperatures until mid-July. A week later, still in the high 90s every day with high humidity. Hit or miss thunderstorms mean I have been watering. Even Guppy thinks it is too hot to sit outside. This too will change.

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Garden Visitor

I was moving things on the deck and disturbed him.

Not much bigger than my thumb. I am pleased that I have created an environment that will support him. When I was setting up the big planter box I contacted a local supplier of worms. I wanted to start with some in the box. I had to answer a series of questions about where the worms would live and what type of fertizlier I would be using. Apparently, I answered all the wrong way and the woman refused to sell me any worms. Since then, I have been relocating worms from the yard into the big planter box. And with the appearance of this bitty thing I guess it must be an okay place to live. Eat all the bugs you want!

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Thinking about birthdays

My birthday happened in May. I was very happy that Ben remembered it. There was the time, 15…18 years ago, when we were traveling in Italy with others. My birthday happened. The only person who noticed was the hotel clerk who handed me my passport and said ‘Oh, Happy Birthday!’ After that I more or less decided that if I wanted my birthday to be a big deal I needed to make it one. Nothing wrong with that.

This year, as my birthday approached I reflected back to one very special birthday in Italy.

This is a picture of one that hangs on our wall. This doesn’t do it justice. It is a beautifully composed and magically lit picture. The picture captures what happens in Italy. Somehow, the light is just perfect under an olive tree. Somehow, you are surrounded by friends, lifting a glass, offering a toast and good wishes. Somehow, it is a special, magical moment, still remembered as a special birthday. Maybe because there is a picture that I see every day.

This year was very low key. We had ham biscuits from BoJangles for breakfast. Ham gumbo from the freezer for dinner. I guess it was a ‘hammy birthday’. The Sunday before, we had our friends, Roy and Marcia over on Sunday night for ‘socially distance’ drinks. They sat in the courtyard and Ben and I sat on the deck.

So I guess there are lots of ways to make a birthday special. I had many greetings on Facebook and some cards. That really is enough. Now, next year…… the big 70!!!!!!. Oh, I better start planning.

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Spring Planting 2020, Part 2

I feel like planting has taken me longer this year than in years past. Partly because we are still, even in the second week of May, having some chilly night temps. Had those in April too, so the plant nursery that I go to didn’t have everything I wanted to buy. Took two trips. And then there were all those elephant ears to be planted. Finally, this week everything is planted. The big deck planter would look a little sparse if the holly fern hadn’t decided to take over.

There are elephant ears planted in there also. I am hoping that this weekend’s warm weather will push them along so they will be peeking over the planter edge soon.

I am excited about the new plant that I am trying this year, cosmos. The little yellow/gold flowers. I am trying them in several places. The plants get tall so they just might not work in my tiny boxes. We’ll see….

Guppy’s winter bird restaurant closed at Easter. Much to the display of many! And has become tropical. Invaded by flamingos! Those elephant ears will eventually grow up and cover the ugly communications pole. And this is the location of one of the hummingbird feeders. Saw our first hummingbird on May 14. My friend near Jordan Lake has been seeing them much longer.

Planting, having flowers, a few tomatoes and feeding birds gives me a huge amount of joy. It is one of the things I really look forward to every year. I will enjoy these flowers until October. I am very aware that this is a position of privilege. This year, I made sure that the plants and soil I needed for gardening came from local businesses. I admit that I bought a new hose online from Target. Ohhh, it is so light weight….

I will further justify myself by pointing out that all my plantings are in common areas where many folks walk by and enjoy them too. So, while I do this selfishly for myself, the byproduct is that others enjoy it too. Happy Spring while it lasts.

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Spring Planting 2020 (Part 1)

Warmer temperatures in April had me pushing the planting season. I set up the pop-up dirt bar in the back of our vehicle in the parking lot.

Easier to scrape from each bag into my tote, then mix and fill pots than picking up the heavy bags and hauling them around.

The front looked really good. The iris were outsatnding.

Now the summer spirea are showing off.

The darker color is almost scarlet. Camera dosen’t do it justice
The crepe myrtle, in the back is doing well too.

I was worried about the black and blue salvia for a while. The flowers were not opening and were very droopy. I guess we just needed some warmer weather to make them snap to attention.

A different variety of salvia in the front is pretty showy too.

Tomatoes on the front porch are doing well too.

This plant has 4 tomatoes.

This year I am trying these cool blue spirals instead of bamboo supports. They are not really designed to be used in pots. I sunk them in beer cans weighted with rocks to help them be more stable.

You can just see the beer can in the pot on the far right.

And the pots in the front are mix of color this year.

The little gold/yellow flowers are cosmos. I am trying these in several places this year. We’ll see how they do. Look for another post about the back.

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You might remember this first iris I saw in February. It is around the corner from us.

And at the corner of our courtyard are these Dutch iris. They always bloom early.

I have some bearded iris in the front that I have seperated and expanded in to the canna area. They have done very well.

They are HUGE! The stalks are at least 3′ and full of buds.

There are lots of buds. So unless hail or wind damages them they should look nice for another week or so. Duke Energy has already called to chit chat about the storm expected here late Sunday or early Monday. (You know, in case I don’t have enough to worry about….) We’ll see what happens.

Ben and I will be celebrating quietly on Sunday. Guppy was overjoyed when I brought in a ham on Thursday. She doesn’t think she’ll want a sweet potato though. Tonight I am having a some fizzy pink wine to celebrate my Father’s birthday and the end of LENT. Not that I observe it but Ben does. You know how he makes the big sacrifice of not eating meat on Fridays during Lent, so that he can eat $20 a pound seafood instead. I eat very little seafood so some Fridays I end up making two different meals. Some Fridays he gets to have just vegetables. HA! Anyway, have a safe and Happy Easter/Passover. Wear your mask and wash your hands.

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How is the garden doing?

Well, it is coming right along. The daffodils are finished and I have tied them up. The day lillies that are planted right next to them are poking up. The iris will be blooming any day now.

The hydrageas look great. If we can get through the next few weeks with out a frost there should be a number of blooms.

Recent rains have had a good effect onthe banana plants. Elephant ears will go in the pots that protect them from the yard crew and their weed eater. Elephant ears will add to the ‘jungle look’. Guppy is suggesting a Tiki bar. She’s such a party dog.

Using our upstairs bedroom as a ‘green house’ I have started over 50 elephant ear bulbs. I was stumped because I didn’t have enough pots. Finally, I realized that I could start the smaller bulbs, (golf ball size or smaller) in foil roasting pans. There are also 3 trays of pots full of bulbs too.

The smaller bulbs have started sprouting. Another week or so and these will be able to move outside and then move to larger pots. I like for them to be a little larger before they are exposed to the squirrel population.

I have the flower pots that hang off the deck rail out and in place. Empty. I did make one trip earlier this week to the nursery. (North Carolina is an agircultural state so plant nurseries are exempt. And they are offering curbside pick up) Too soon for begonias. I’ll go back in a few weeks.

Stay safe and as Guppy suggests, “Keep your paws clean.”

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My Budle of Joy

Most women my age talk about bundles of joy, meaning their grand child or great grand child. Want to see my bundle of joy?

We cut through a neighborhood that I used to live in because I like to see what’s going on there. In the summer we pass a house that has a very nice stand of tropical banana plants. A few weeks ago I slipped them a note asking if they intended to thin the plants this spring. I got a response back ‘sure, come dig up what ever you want.’ So on Friday the 13th I dug up six shoots.

A few days later I got them in the ground.

I picked this spot in between the tan and black pots. Once grown they will help to cover the ugly bus that lives just on the other side of the fence.

So here they are in the ground

We’ll have to wait until summer to see how they do. I am very hopeful.

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Spring Flowers

My daffodils started blooming in January and are still going strong. That might change if the temps stay this warm. It is in the upper 70s today.

This the established bed that has some good variety to it. The pink centered ones have been replaced this week by these white ones.

The bed I started last fall, the bed where the tree I had to buy is planted, has done very well. Lots of variety.

Just a bright note of cheer.

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