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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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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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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Our Early Spring

The tulip magnolias in full bloom accross the street from us. Taken 2/13/20. A drop in temperatures a few days later turned them brown while flowers closer to the ground were not effected. We live in a densely populated area. What is considered a ‘heat island.’

Fully open iris around the corner from us taken 2/18/20.

My older bed of daffodils. The newer bed is about 2 weeks behind this.

I think this might be the earliest that I have taken a ‘daffodil portrait’. Everything seems to be about 2 weeks ahead of schedule. Today, 2/18 it was 60 degrees again. In two days time overnight temps will be dropping below freezing and there is some chat about the white stuff falling from the sky. I have chosen to ignore that. We’ll see….


How’s the garden looking?

Well, thanks for asking. It still looks pretty good. Here, Hurricane Dorian was no worse than a thunder storm. We have had some thunderstorms this summer that caused some damage to the garden but nothing awful. And we have had some well spaced rain, but still I felt like I had to do way too much watering.

The tomatoes are still producing although the plants look rather sad.

I did finally get some green beans

The front needs some work. When the weather finally changes I will be moving some things around. I hope to plant daffodils in the new bed where the crepe myrtle is. It has done well and even managed a bloom. Next year should be a good year for it.

That’s how the front looks. Look for a later post about the deck.

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How’s the yard looking?

Very well, that is so nice of you to ask… Except for a difficult 10 days of 90 degrees plus dry weather in MAY, it is been a fairly decent Spring. A good bit of rain. Sometimes too much. But more or less spread out.

The bee balm is being a little pushy, but the day lillies held their own. I’m real pleased with them and the blue salvias.

The butterfly bush has finally gotten settled in (only took two years!). It is doing well this year.

This is where the ramp from the deck ends, at the back of our condo. The hydragenas in the pots were $5 half dead ones from Lowes. They have perked up and are about to bloom again. My friend, Jim, gave me the vinca in the two pots in back.

Here’s the deck. Doesn’t it look great! It is so nice to sit out there. Guppy now sits beside me in the blue chair. I’m waiting until she starts expecting her own glass of wine….

I finally figured out something to do about the ugly telecommunications post.

I relocated some of the elephant ear forest and the flamingos… much nicer looking than the ugly box.

I am aware that we are fortunate to have this space, the time and the means to be able to indulge in something that is just pretty. It does provide me with a huge amount of enjoyment and the activity that I look forward to every year.


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.

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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!

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