Those Who Can Do etc.,

So of late I have not been blogging about gardening I have actually been outside, you know, gardening.  Once the veggie garden was finished then it was on to flats and flats of flowers which I purchased from the FFA chapter at my husband’s school.  My initial purchase was soon followed by another as the sale began to wind down and they reduced their 36 plant flats to $5.00 each, a bargain that I simply could not resist.

This year I have decided it is all about the pollinators, and therefore chose plants that I knew would keep the bees and butterflies happy.  So I got the following: 1 Flat each Zinnia, Cosmos, Gazania, Angelonia, Purslane, Impatiens, Begonia, Ageratum,  2 Flats each Marigold, Rudbekia,  Dianthus, totaling a mind-boggling 504 plants which had to go somewhere (come to think of it it is no wonder my back hurts.)  In addition to those I stopped by Roses and picked up two six packs each of Tourenia and another plant that I use every year and cannot for the life of me remember the name of.(ETA Portulaca).

So to begin with some went in the bed by either side of the patio, others went in the front bird bath bed


Impatiens and begonia went into the shade bed under the treesSONY DSCThen I set about planting my containers.  I have two color schemes this year, Purple and Gold (for East Carolina University my husband’s Alma Mata) and Red, White, and Blue (patriotic colors for both myself and my husband). Here is one of the Purple and Gold containers


and here is one of the Red, White and Blue ones


I have the pots arranged along either edge of my driveway and once they come into full bloom they should look spectacular.  The remainder of the plants went into hanging baskets, planters on the shutters and the vegetable basket planters that I created last year.  More went into containers on the front patio and the remainder were tucked into spots that were available in the front flower bed (more of those later).  I now just have one flat left, mostly the remaining Rudbekia and a couple of white Dianthus that are in need of a home but I am sure I will come up with something to do with them.  Now I really do get to sit back and watch it all grow.


The Toots Bells are Blooming!

Okay technically they are Bluebells but they were a gift to me from my dear friend Toots from the HGTV gardening boards.  Several years ago I expressed how much I loved them and she graciously dug some up from her garden and sent them to me.  They always make me smile and think of her whenever they are in bloom.  SONY DSC

The Veggie Garden is Done Man!

(With apologies to “Don’t tell Mom the babysitter’s dead).  Here are all four raised beds now fully planted.  First bed.  From back to front: Raspberries, Bell peppers, Heirloom tomatoes (Mr. Stripey, German Queen) Roma tomatoes, Bell peppers, Better Boy tomatoes, Sweet peppers,  Better Boy tomatoes, (the peppers and Better Boy tomatoes are from my husband’s school FFA program). Outside the bed planted along the chain link fence – green beans and Birdhouse gourds.


Second bed from back to front: Broccoli, (from husband’s school FFA program) Oak leaf lettuce, Romaine lettuce, Arugula,  Spinach, (all raised from seed in my greenhouse over the Winter) Tomatoes, Bell peppers, radish over seeded in the area.


Third bed Right to left: Garden peas, carrots, green onions (front) leeks (back)SONY DSC

Fourth bed right to left: Red cabbage, Spinach, Shallots, Garlic, Arugula, Brussels sprouts.


So the real hard work is over. Luckily the beds are placed so that once positioned correctly the sprinkler waters them all at once. Now all I have to do is keep on top of the weeds, make sure I water if there is a dry spell, and, as my dear departed Daddy used to say, “sit back and watch it grow”. Fortunately that is one thing I am very good at.

After the Rain

Most of the time rain is not welcome simply because of the inconvenience.  Personally I wish it was like Camelot around here and it would only rain at night (although to be honest that happens a great deal in the summer).  Still there are days when I truly welcome the rain and this is the reason


As I mentioned earlier, it is Pine Pollen time, and a thick cloud of it hangs in the air and covers everything with a thick film of yellow dust.  A good rain storm like we had today literally cleans it from the air and sends it down the drain, much to the relief of allergy sufferers everywhere.  The photo above was taken right outside my office today and you can see just how much of the pollen was washed away.

So my humble request is for a good overnight rain storm every couple of days or so to keep the air squeaky clean and pollen free.  It can’t help to ask.


Hiding in Plain Sight

In winter, when the majority of the hardwood trees have lost their leaves, I am always fascinated to discover just how much Mistletoe there is hiding in those trees.   During the summer the Mistletoe can hunker behind the blanket of leaves that cover the trees and pretend that it doesn’t exist,  but once those leaves have fallen, suddenly it is exposed, and stands out a little like a pimple on a prom queen’s forehead after the sweat of a couple of “Electric Slides” has melted off the three inches of concealer.


The same phenomena happens in the Spring with the Carolina Jessamine and Wisteria vines.  For the most part they are invisible,  clambering up trees all over Eastern North Carolina minding their own business and keeping themselves to themselves.  Then along comes Spring and first the Carolina Jessamine blooms, cloaking trees and shrubs with blankets of sweet smelling yellow blossoms screaming their presence to the world before falling off the radar after a few weeks like a Twitter hashtag.

Carolina Jessamine

Shortly thereafter the Wisteria does the same thing, suddenly dragging the over-the-top Mardi Gras costume out of the closet and bounding into the limelight,  commanding the stage with drifts of purple blooms that fill the very air with their heady scent for a few weeks until the vines stuff the dress back into the closet to once again blend back into their surroundings.


Come Autumn it is the turn of the Sweet Autumn Clematis to perform the same appearing and disappearing act.  All summer long the vines have been stealthily climbing trees without so much as a second look from gardeners such as myself until suddenly there are white fragrant blooms everywhere and the Sweet Autumn Clematis gives away it’s location.


I am sure there are many other examples of this,  although some, like Trumpet Vine for instance, are not quite so clever at hiding their location,  and therefore it is not quite such a surprise when they bloom.  I am delighted with them all of course because they provide much needed nectar for the pollinators of the world, who, as we are all learning, need as much help as they can get.