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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Summer "Six Pack"

Wanted to say hello with some quick 'pix' at 102 degrees in Fort Worth, TX this afternoon!

Under our Mulberry tree in the shade...Whew!
photo by Suzanne * July 23, 2011

Impatiens * May 2008 * photo by Suzanne

I like to plant the Impatiens early while it is still cool, because, by early July they are burning up if they don't have some shade and I often lose them.  This spot faces East, yet, it is still hard to keep them fresh and alive.  In the lower right hand corner is a 'Gardenia' bush.  I have another one on the other side of the porch.  They took a ghastly 'bite' this winter, but are trying to come back now-we'll see! The large clay pot houses a small boxwood shrub and there is another on the other side of the porch also.  They did well in these pots up until this past winter, and, they perished.  We will have to replace them, but it is so hot, now, I can't make myself do it yet.  And then, we have 'Elephant Ears' in the corner.  In May they are just starting to come up and thrive pretty well in this corner.  We have more of them this year.

photo by Suzanne

A trusty Gnome watches over the 'Japanese Fern' with 'airplane plant' in the lower right hand corner and some 'purple' plant that was given to me in the lower left corner.  This purple foliage is really hearty, still comes back after 11 years, and puts on small pink blooms in the late summer.

'Portulaca" * photo by Karo * July 23, 2011

Well, one, lone, 'Portulaca" aka 'Moss Rose'.  I feel so guilty-forgot we even had this in a pot out back.  But we noticed some growth and Karo started caring for it.  It has bloomed a little, so he journeyed out and took a quick pic.  It is very pretty.  So I have gone out, moved the pot out and freshened up the soil in it.  These are a drought-tolerant plant, NO DOUBT!  And I saw new buds on the plant. I promise to do better by this soldier.

Suzanne * Weatherford, TX * July 1992
photo taken by my Mom

Now here I am in the summer of 1992.  My son and I lived in Weatherford, TX about 45 miles west of Fort Worth.  Along my driveway I dug a large kidney shaped bed for -YES, of course, some excess plantings I had.   Can you see the large 'Yucca' towering to your left?  That's the one Rusty brought back from a trip to Arkansas-it was only 1 foot tall then.  Boy!  These things really take off!  I had to find another spot for it besides being in front of a bedroom window (it was tearing up my window screen).  What a job getting it down the driveway!  In the right hand corner rests a 'pencil cactus' that was given to me by some friends from their trip to Mexcio.  And it was a fast grower too!  Everywhere a piece drops, another one grows.  This plant, too, had to be moved.  I did find the perfect spot, didn't I?  A pretty wide open space coming up the drive toward the house...and, out of the way of small children, and clumsy women, like me!  I had placed a couple of barrel cactus, and some kind of 'fishhook cactus' that were low to the ground.  And, then, there was the 'pear cactus'.  You can see one in front of my leg.  They're quite abundant in Texas, in, and out of the city limits.  This one would bloom in bright yellow in the spring.  Then I dotted the ground area with white and pink 'perriwinkles' for brighter color.  I knew these plants could withstand the Texas heat and a cactus surrounding.  My mother and sister came to visit that month and brought me the wooden garden sign with the blackbird on top.  It was like icing on the cake, or something on the pin cushion maybe?  The garden was a real nice welcome to the property.

And as for #6 in the pack, you ask?
Blue Moon Belgian White Beer! (Whitbier)
from Coors Brewing Company in Golden, Colorado USA

Well, I don't drink beer anymore, but cold beer always looks good!  Thanks so much for stopping by...stay cool, and for those of you having fall and winter weather, stay warm...but, I ENVY YOU!  Come by anytime and say hello.  You are always welcome!

And Remember!
"Consumption of alcohol is a major factor in dancing like an idiot!"

Thanks to:
Yahoo Images

Saturday, July 16, 2011

"OOPS! I Messed Up!!!" How Many Demerits Should I Get?

I am embarrassed to announce that I've screwed up the poll on my sidebar...AAGGHHEE!!!  Recently, I labored and put a survey on my sidebar asking if  you could name the 4 plants in the photo.  It took me three tries to get it on there, and I'll be...I left off the name of one of the plants that is actually in the photo!  So I have given myself a "DEMERIT", or 'boobie' prize, so to speak!  A dead sunflower!  Now a dead sunflower can't be all that bad, I say...I've had them before.

  Oh, I feel another story coming on! 

One year, I decided I wanted to raise sunflowers for cutting, and enjoying inside.  And I wanted to be sure they would have stems at least 10" long in order to work in a vase.  I had a tall, slendor, black ceramic vase that would be perfect for bright, yellow sunflowers.  To the store I went, looking for seeds-sheesh!  There are so many kinds and sizes of sunflowers.  I found a package that said 'up to 12 inches', and grabbed it!  Well, got the seeds planted along the fence row, watched and waited.  Of course, they did come up, but they looked kind of funny-took their time about growing tall.  And the stems were kind of thick.  Oh no, will they be stunted?  NOT ON YOUR LIFE!  The stems became 4 foot stalks, then came the buds-WOW!  And they grew in size too.  I didn't plant the seeds in a large area, but they didn't know it.  Gradually the buds started to open, but kept growing-LO & BEHOLD!  These blooms were mammoth!  I got the package out and read it again...'up to 12 inches' really meant the circumference of the blooms!  What a fluke!  I didn't read beyond the 12 inches...they meant the blooms themselves.  Well, no cut flowers here!  They were lovely, but overpowered some of the other plantings-yet, I couldn't let them go.  And, of course, they had to die out.  Karo to the rescue!  Since the dead blooms didn't fall off on their own, he cut them off-like, with a sword!  Then he dug the seeds from the centers.  This was kind of hard-they will poke you.  Then he spread the seeds out in some old pans we had and set them out in the back yard in various areas.  As more blooms dried out, he did the same.  It was great!  The birds came and feasted for several weeks on all the seeds Karo harvested.  So, in the end, I feel like I made a good choice.  But I DO read the seed packets more carefully now!

Anyway, back to my survey.  I know there were some votes on the survey, mostly correct votes.  And I thank you so much for your votes, but I took the survey off, when no one was looking.  Below is the photo.  CAN you name the plant I left out of the choices?  If so, let me know.

Here are the choices I gave (minus the key plant)
Lilac Bush
Apple Blossoms
Wood Fern
Umbrella Plant

And as a peace offering, here is a short video I shot on July 3rd thru our living room window.  I happened to see a mother cat tending to her kitten between our house and the neighbor's house.  This mama cat is a stray who we've seen in the neighborhood for the past 7 or 8 months.  She appears to be young herself.  And there is only one kitten.  We have since been providing food and water to them in hopes it will keep them healthy and well.  They are leary of us, but have gratefully accepted the food and water.  The other night Karo gave them boiled chicken!  My video isn't the greatest, you can hear our TV and other background noise, including my babbling at times, AND I had to cough in there, so the camera jumps around some.  Please enjoy!

I guess you've noticed the temperature gauge on my sidebar for my side of town.  On Friday, we reached a record temperature in the Fort Worth area for this summer so far of 107 degrees!  And this morning we had a rolling blackout in our neighborhood to conserve on energy-well, all that did was send all of our electronics 'haywire'!  We're really worried about these animals and our beloved husky "Whitey".  Even with large trees in the yard, she can't find a cool spot.  Karo waters down her favorite areas throughout the day, and we have put the sprinkler out in the evenings in an attempt to cool down the back yard.  She won't come inside, so we're doing the best we can.  Whitey is getting on in years, so this heat is a concern, as she clearly is NOT in her element.  She is a rescue dog, that, we believe just got lost from her previous owners.  We've had her for about 9 years-we think.  Below is a photo of Whitey taken December 24, 2009 when we experienced a great snow storm. 

NOW, THIS IS HER ELEMENT!  Trust me, she is smiling!

photo by Karo * Christmas Eve 2009
Merry Christmas Whitey!

So, I just want to ask you all to help out where you can in regards to any animals that may be in dire straits during this horrible heat wave!  Even tho we can't save them all, maybe a drink of cool, clean water and anything that can be spared for nourishment will make a difference. 


Thank you my 'cool' readers for stopping by...I don't know about you-but MY TEXAS GARDENS are burning up!  My white oleander, however, is starting to bloom now.  Some things just love the scorching heat.   Last nite, I went to pick up dinner from 'Taco Cabana' and they had a lovely display of white periwinkles on the patio, that are some other heat-loving plants!  I marveled at them, since I don't have any this year.  Well, maybe next time!  And, my 'gardenia' plants are trying to come back-in this heat!  Maybe by fall they will be healthy enough for a few blooms!

Please come by anytime and say hello!  I always enjoy hearing from you. 

Thank You:  Google, YouTube, Yahoo Images AND a cool thanks to Whitey!

"Bring me the Sunflower CRAZED with the love of light."
~Eugenio Montale

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Swan Patrol!

photo by suzanne * spring 1999

When I bought this house, there was such a large back yard, with absolutely nothing around, save some trees.  I had to take a few of them out, because they were dead. Well, some of my friends would donate bulbs and cuttings to my cause.  I couldn't afford professional landscaping, and, even if I didn't always know what I was getting, I took it gladly!    But, as time goes on, and flowers flourish, one needs to expand to keep things alive.  Thus, the 'Swan' garden.  It's primary digs are white and yellow iris, Shasta daisies, a few viola plants, and some monkey grass.

The daisies were given to me by a friend from work.  She just brought me a couple of clumps...I'm like, 'what the'...?  They looked liked nothing!  Well, I got them home, found an off-the-wall spot, and just stirred up the dirt enough to 'plunk' the clumps in it.  It was a slightly shady spot, but the clumps didn't care.  They started getting greener in a few days, the leaves perked up, and then, within a couple of weeks, I could see some actual growth, and runners coming from underneath!  "Man!"  These dudes are gonna make it!  And they did!  I couldn't believe it, but here came more-it was getting cold, and I wondered how they would fare throughout the winter. I covered them lightly with our 'Texas fallen leaves', and sat back.  They did survive and I was able to transplant them.  The one thing I found tho, is not to drown them with water, or they will wilt and die.  The following photo shows how they began to flourish in the first year.

photo by suzanne
They grew tall and plentiful.  This spot is shady most of the day...there is a large tree nearby.  So, I think 'shasta daisies' are pretty hardy almost anywhere.  I did, later purchase some other types of daisies, 'margerita daisies', and 'dahlberg daisies', but didn't have the same results.

photo by suzanne * spring 2000

This photo gives a better view of the border.  We dug the bed into a semi-circle shape, and bordered it with sprigs of 'monkey grass', which did grow in nicely, and it did make mowing easy.  In the lower left is a clump of 'violas' donated by my next door neighbor Lee.  She had them everywhere, and they were easy to start.  Now they LOVE all the water you're willing to part with.  They can be lying flat down from the heat, and perk up within just a few minutes.  In early spring, and again in the fall, they will bloom with small deep violet flowers.  I have given clumps of this to other friends myself.  Violas are so easy and make good bordering plants. 

I was very picky about coordinating depth of color and foliage...after all, I was accumulating so much, I could draw out plans and I used old, gardening books to help with arrangement of plants.  You can see how large the 'iris' plants are...does this REALLY mean "everything grows big in Texas"?  I think not!   A little old man in the neighborhood had a cardboard sign out front of his house "Iris for Sale-$1.00 a Clump".  So, I stopped by...this was in 1994.  He had rows and rows of all kinds of iris of many colors!  But, he said I couldn't have any of the snow white iris...they had been cared for by his late wife, and he wasn't giving any up...he said he didn't have enough.  Well, I hounded him and begged, and he finally gave in and gave me a few roots, or a 'clump' as he described it.   There are white iris in this bed-they grew so tall, you couldn't cut them to bring in.  I did find a tall bottle that I could put some in to enjoy indoors.  You can see how tall the iris foliage is.  These were large plants and the blooms were also very large...mmmm, smelled like grapes!  Some of the white ones get very tall, they lean over, so I try to cut them and bring them in to keep them off the ground.

Well, I needed an anchor, or focal point for this garden-it makes me think of a pond, with it's tall foliage and the daisies swaying in the front.  So much green, glistening with sparks of yellow and white.  Now, I was never a fan of swan planters...but, for some reason, it seemed as tho nothing else would fit!  And, probably, I found a good price on this molded plastic know, $2.00 or $3.00, and decided to take a chance.  We turned a black pot upside down to prop the swan up above the ground because he couldn't be seen admist the plants.  And the foliage covered up the pot nicely.  I planted white periwinkle in the swan, but, you know, I had a lot of trouble keeping anything alive in that planter, so I gave up.  Even so, it all came together pretty nicely, and later, I planted some umbrella plants at the back of this bed.
And the Swan continues to patrol and watch over!

Some tips for 'Iris' from MY diary

* Iris love a lot of sun.  If planting in a cluster, they should be placed where each plant draws the attention of the same amount of sun in order to bloom concurrently.

* And it's true!  You can  just drop a root or two here and there, and they will take.  But I would rather place them to be standing up when they start rooting.  And I point the roots in certain directions so they will not grow up 'willy nilly'.  I want all of the foliage facing in the same direction. 

* When it's time to transplant, you MUST have this done by early fall-September at best.   This will insure more successful blooming in the spring.  I thought you could just move them on a whim and get instant blooms...not on your life!  You will have to wait almost a year for them.  Once the blooming season is over, you can go ahead and transplant for the following spring-it's okay.  Just don't go beyond the deadline.  I have a few purple iris that bloom in February-don't know why, but I run out and get them to enjoy inside, and they really smell like grapes!

* As the summer progresses, and starts burning green stuff, I go along with a pair of scissors and trim the foliage of my iris.  Each plant gets cut into a fan shape to about 6 inches high...hehe!  I know-it's crazy, and I wish I had a photo to show you.  But some of the leaves will die or fall over and you have to go along and pick them up.  Cutting them back makes the plant look cleaner, and they withstand the heat better.

* And, it's okay to leave the top part of the root exposed, in fact, I've read that you should do that, even tho it sounds unhealthy for the plant. Plus, sometimes they will fall over, so I try to pack soil around to the back to help them stand up.

That's all I have today friends!  Thank you so much for visiting.  I hope you enjoyed and learned.  I couldn't find a Swan poem or quote that I wanted to share...they were all too sad.  So, I did find a quote from the internet (I'm embarrassed I can't remember which site) that I particularly liked.


"To pick a flower is so much more satisfying than just observing it, or photographing it ... 
So in later years, I have grown in my garden as many flowers as possible for children to pick." 
-  Anne Scott-James  

Happy Birthday MOM!!!
I Love You!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Hello July...from some Pretty Maids!

The following photos aren't from my yard, BUT, they are MY TEXAS GARDENS!  Please enjoy...

Whispering Wisteria
 photos taken by suzanne * March 26, 2011

These lilac beauties reside just a couple of blocks from my house in Fort Worth.  They bloom every spring, massively...and then after about 6 or 7 days, the blooms go away.  And every year I say I'm going to get a picture of this-finally, I bit the bullet and stopped by with my camera before the blooms would disappear.  They bloom all up and down the fence of this property, and the property across the street from this house has a large tree of Wisteria.  Once the blooms die away, green leaves appear on the bush/tree, and in the fall, the leaves drop off, and this is the 'UGLIEST' tree I've ever seen.  One downfall, in my opinion, is that this plant attracts the chunky bumble bees, and they don't like to be bothered!  I did get a photo of one, but he didn't show up in the photo.

Ok, are a cutie, you can stay!

A Crepe Canape!
Look at this HUGE 'Crepe Myrtle' * photo June 8, 2011

I get to marvel at this great tree every morning on my way to work.  It sits on the front corner of a city building and boasts a pastel pinkish lilac burst of blooms.   Karo took me by there one afternoon when no traffic was around so I could get a shot of it.  And, yes, I wish it was in MY yard!

photo by suzanne * June 11, 2011

These 'Crepes' are perched on a corner where the Tarrant County College is located downtown Fort Worth.  They were across the street from the Justice Center where I sweated out Jury Duty that week.  But on breaks, I had the pleasure of enjoying them.

photo by Suzanne * June 29, 2011 * Fort Worth, Texas

These are the red 'Crepe (or Crape) Myrtles'.  Actually, they're a dark pink, and they are the most common color seen around town.  I have two VERY OLD trees of this type, that are just now starting to bud out.  The one thing I don't like about them, is that they drip, drip, drip!  You can't stand under them, or you will get sprinkled on, and the droplets are a bit sticky.

kinda like this!
this photo from yahoo images is actually a redbud tree
but with the same drippage as the crepe myrtle.

When the blooms of a 'crepe/crape' myrtle die off, they leave some seed pods on the branches. You can get these off, let them dry out-then they will split open a bit...and you can plant them in early spring.  Or you can take wood cuttings of the branches of about 6 inches, and start propagation in pots.  I've never had to do that, because they sprout up all around the tree and even to about several feet away from the tree.  I have even read that you can bend a branch of the tree over and stick it into a pot on the ground next to the tree to propagate.  I have tried this, but don't have the patience to KEEP STICKING IT BACK INTO THE POT WHEN IT POPS OUT!!!

I also have a white 'crepe/crape' myrtle that is about to bud out.  And the blooms are gorgeous.  Later, I should be able to share photos of this tree.  I know-what's with me and the white blooms?  They are just so angelic, I think.  White roses, gardenias, iris, oleander, and crepe myrtle! 

I would like to take a moment to welcome my newest followers.  I'm sorry I don't know much about you yet, but I have browsed myself some, and hope to make better connections soon. 
Suzane Weck
Ellie Great
Ziggy Stardust

Thank you all, my regal readers for stopping by.  As you know, this is the weekend before our July 4th Independence Day celebrations on Monday.  I urge you to be cautious in all activities...not just of yourselves, but keep an eye out for those around you who may be a little...well, you know!
  Have a safe and happy holiday!

And, by the way, I do have a survey on my sidebar.  There are four plants in the photo. Can you name them?  The poll closes on July 9, 2011.  My only problem is, I can't see the results!  The print is so light, I need to have complete darkness to see it, and I'm not sure how to darken it without MESSING UP MY SIDEBAR LIKE I DID ON MY KARDKORNERKRIB BLOG!  So, I'll try to make do...gahh!

Thank you
yahoo images
the city of Fort Worth
and my neighborhood blooming trees!

"Where flowers bloom, so does hope."
~Lady Bird Johnson