January 1, 2001
Although I didn’t see any according to the weather service we had a light snow last night at 4:00AM. Yes, this is quite an unusual winter. I have seen snow here only 4 times in my 45 years. Our last killer freeze was over 10 years ago, so we are due for another one. This summer I hope to fine tune my freeze protection measures so that it’s easy next year and not the huge chore it is now. We made another road trip yesterday. Found two clumps of naturalized daffodils along roadsides in old pastures and hope to take a small sampling of each to establish in our yard. I also picked up a 5 inch pot of bloomed out paperwhites (nine bulbs) at Canatta’s Grocery store in Bayou Vista for the same purpose.
Almost forgot to mention the birds. We put up our bird feeders when we got here. For some reason in Gonzales we never had the quantities of birds we expected, but here, wow. Red wing black birds some in so thick, there are over 50 in the back yard at one time. A flock of 8 ring neck doves were in last week. Had a smaller dove today. Black capped chickadees found the feeder in the first week. Some neat sparrow like birds with olive chest and two white stripes on the wings were here this week. I haven’t taken any time to really observe, but maybe this week!!
Had dinner with mom tonight and noticed a potted plant just about dead under a tree. From what was left it looked like some type of begonia and was still hanging on by a thread. I’m a sucker so home it goes. Want to get a few last minute pickups from the old house before the sale that I am sure will never happen again. Anyway, this time I want to get the old raspberry that’s been hanging on, maybe the Ebony King blackberry bush, and for sure the bignonia (cross vine) that I dug up from the lot next to us. I may scoop some of that wonderful garden soil that I had been developing for the last two years. Might as well pick up all of the cannas corms, check again for missed Iris and bulbs. And my Citrus trees if they haven’t been killed by the heavy freezes. That grapefruit and Lime looked so good.
Heirloom pear tree, the other tree unknown but called a tea tree.
Spending the night at my sister-in-law and brother-in-laws house. I enjoy their company, and there is one other neat thing here plant wise. They live on the edge of the neighborhood and behind that edge is a gravel road with cow pastures on the other side. Most folks have a high wood fence so behind the fence next to the road is kind of a plant pitchout place for everyone. Pitched up a nice Iris and a cool Kalanchoe out there last year. The cow pasture had hundreds of naturalized Gladiolus, so I couldn’t help but to dig a handful of those bulbs. There was another bulb naturalized in even greater quantities that I suspect was either paperwhites or lycoris. Hoping for Lycoris, but I am expecting to see blooming paperwhites in the morning. Either way it’s probably another handful of bulbs for me. It’s 12:22 in the AM while I’m typing this. Wonder is brother-in-law has any beer. The last time I visited there was beer in the fridge that I had left over a year earlier. He’s not much of a beer drinker, but I am. Be right back. Yep one last beer, and my money says its one from that same old bunch. Taste good and stale, but many Cajuns, presently company included aren’t too particular as long as it has those four key letters on the can, B-E-E-R.
January 2, 2001
The Bougainvillea. Celeste’s grandfather had two large containers grown Bougainvillea. We were delighted when Celeste’s mother offers to give us one since her grandfather had always had them on his patio. We got the larger red one.
When I decided a couple of years ago that I wanted to be a serious gardener I began talking to everyone and researching all of the material I could find. I identified some universal truths.
Good soil is made not found
Soil life is critical to plant life
Feed the soil first then the plants
Mulch and compost are the secrets to feeding the soil
Testing and two things that I truly believe to be the core of any above average gardening effort. The first being that good soil is made not found with the
January 3, 2001
Tonight will be the third night this week in the low 20’s. Last night was 23. This is 18 degrees warmer that our normal low for this time of year. Cutting off and draining the water every night is beginning to be a real pain in the rear. This is the third week of this poop. We were out of down for two of the nights in the 20s and upon returning home this evening the breaker feeding the heaters in the greenhouses had tripped make bad matters worse. I haven’t assessed the damage yet, but some of our more tender plants looked plenty unhappy. Inside the house apparently things got colder than anticipated. The smaller 30-gallon aquarium suffered heavy deaths. Of over 20 fish only 3 or 4 remain alive. Thank god the two Arowana in the big tanks did fine. Things are looking up though; starting tomorrow the weather service has projected 10 days of mild temps with highs in the upper 60s and lows in the low 40s. Time to work on my freeze protection techniques before winter comes back.
Finally got my 4 citrus trees dug up in Gonzales, although they did endure one night at 21 degrees. Two had makeshift covers, the Owari Satsuma and the Meyer Lemon. They were small and not very healthy. But a cat food bag over the Owari and a garbage can over the Meyer. The Ruby Red and Lime were much larger, almost 7 feet so they had to endure. All were dug today and put in the greenhouse. The root ball is bagged in a sheet. I watered them down and will plant in a couple of days. We’ll just have to pray for a light remaining winter and work of freeze techniques. I also dug up the one pitiful raspberry along with my crossvine (bignonia). Also dug a lost bulb we missed in a front bed even though we don’t remember planting any bulbs in that spot and I grabbed a Canna corm too. They are still in the truck. We got back after dark and bagging the citrus worked me enough that I forgot about them. I dug up about 10 cubic feet of my great garden soil that I have been conditioning for 2 years and hopefully they’re buried under that and so will be protected. While getting our hair cut, we found a garbage dumpster full of beautiful small Poinsettias in perfect health, but they suffered major damage in the back of the truck overnight. The last two freezes have really put the hurt on anything resembling tropical. The elephant ear that I found looks for all practical purposes dead, maybe roots and all. Probably the same for our split leaf Philodendrons. All of the uppies on the proper look the same, but I suspect they will come back from the roots. Ditto on the ferns. I didn’t check on the big Bougainvillea, but it is tucked away in the garage so it should make it.
This is one of my favorite websites and the inspiration for this one, http://www.wso.net/mchristi/new_garden.html , check it out.
Our second Amaryllis had opened up when we got home. Its red and white pedals with the lime green throat are the prettiest of all the ones we’ve grown to date. The Calla lilies are growing so fast you go see it if you stood there long enough. We also still have 3 more Amaryllis growing.
January 5, 2001 (Friday)
Great warm day, high of 66 in full sun. Planted all 8 citrus trees today. In the left front of the back yard are two Meyer Lemons. In the rear left are the two Owari Satsumas, the one from Gonzales that was never healthy revealed it’s problem to me today, rotten roots. It may not make it. One the rear right are the two Ruby Red Grapefruit. In the middle left are the Persian Lime and Tangerine. I moved the peach tree that I had just replanted when I got here to the left rear of the property to balance out the trees back there. I sprayed all of the fruit trees with Wilt-Proof and watered in. The Lime and Grapefruit, the large healthy trees from Gonzales showed some leaf wilting, not sure if it’s freeze damage or transplant shock. I trimmed about 25% of the foliage from the trees. Next week, I’ll apply some root booster to all to stimulate the root systems. I applied the Spray-n-Grow perfect combination to the entire Iris bed, including a new batch from the woods on the side graveyard in Jeanerette, the bunching onions, the cabbage (which are looking good) and the paperwhites everywhere. Celeste potted up some of the Daylilies I gave her for Christmas.
January 6, 2001 (Saturday)
The Saints are in the middle of their second playoff game so Hell must have frozen over. No wonder we’re having such a cold winter. But it looks like they’re going to lose this one; that explains the sudden warm up. Highs today are in the upper 60s again. Planted the three rose bushes. In the right rear section I planted the New Dawn and a rose that was salvaged from Celeste’s grandma LeJeune’s home. They are 5 feet apart anticipating the rose arch that will be arriving later in the spring. We had a small mounds bed in the front left where I made room to accommodate Don Juan. I haven’t decided whether to let it ramble of maybe add an obelisk later. Also I planted my crossvine (bignonia) again the trunk of the pecan tree on the left middle of the property. I may have partially identified the neat succulent that we found alongside the gravel road behind Cel’s sister’s house. It is on a the www.angelfire.com/la2/thecheds/ website labeled as a “Mother of Thousand.”
Afternoon session was another cleanout the greenhouse. Cel planted the Catherine Woodbury and Balie Hai daylilies into her four existing daylily beds. They were bought around Christmas at Lowes. Each pack of 12 cost $7.96. I finally figured out how I wanted to plant the new 3 x 7 raised bed next to the driveway. The center is a cross pattern of 4 Hollyhocks that were dug from Gonzales and brought with us. All around the Hollyhocks to with 18 inches of both sides are Asiatic Lillies. On the right side about half are Asiatic Lilies bought around last year and then planted in the Gonzales garden. The rest on that side and all on the left side are from a bulb pack purchase before Christmas at Lowe’s. It is labeled Amsterdam Bulb Company, Lilium Asiatic Hybrid, Mixed Colors and contained 15 bulbs sized 14-16 cm costing $5.96. The last 18 inches on each end of the bed are Gladiolus. The right side were collected locally from naturalized stands of Byzantine,Gladiolus, and on the left side are bulbs purchased from Lowe’s around Christmas. They were labeled Amsterdam Bulb Company, Mixed Colors. It contained 72 bulbs, size 10-12 cm. Cost was $5.96. I still had a few Glads left over so I planted them around the base of the pecan tree all around the Bignonia. I will not lift these, with a little luck maybe they’ll naturalize. Found a bunch more Iris in the greenhouse. Hope to plant them in the morning. The Gilology Avocado was officially pronounced dead and sent to the compost bin.
I have almost finished removing the berm that ran down the right side of the rear yard. While tilling the soil today I found a buried Azalea plant tag. I assume this was the tag for the Azalea, which is planted in that area. The label red, Better Homes and Gardens, Fashion Azalea, Glenn Dale Hybrid and was purchased in a 1 gallon pot.
January 7, 2001
Light day today. Rain predicted with the arrival of a cold front. Lows tonight will be in the lower 40 but temps only reaching the lower 50s tomorrow during the day. Finally got the entire Iris collection in the ground. Rough count put us at 105 rhizomes, of which 100 are in the Iris bed and 5 the mound. Next week I’m going to name the beds so I will have a point of reference. This does not count my six Siberian Iris, which may still be alive. They did poorly last summer and the hard freeze last week brought them either 90% dormant or dead. Spring will tell. Just for grins I sprayed the Amaryllis in the house with Spray-N-Grow perfect mixture. The ones with foliage almost had the leaves outgrowing the flower stem. The ones with just stems showed a change of color in the stem with a rich red hue becoming visible. If I can afford it, I will try the Spray-N-Grow over the entire yard of perennials this summer.
Although we brought a ton of plants with us to our new home, I hope whoever buys the Gonzales property appreciates all of the surprises that are going to come up this spring. Cannas, callas, St. Joseph’s lilies, Daylilies, Potato Vine, Astilbe, Oyster Plant, Lily of the Nile, Giant Upright Elephant Ears, Gladiolus, etc. are all there in bits and pieces. Gosh only knows what else will appear this spring, if it survived the hard freezes that is. We are not shy about putting things in the ground.
This winter night while fantasying about the front bed my mind is going back to last years Key West vacation. Although I confess as to being disappointed with the variety of tropical plants, what I did see was astounding. To be fair, I guess I had hoped to see every tropical plant in every book published growing on street corners. The Royal Poincianas were in incredible bloom everywhere. It seems like every other yard had one. Several varieties of palms, but my favorite was the >>>>. The little tropical house plants that you find in the grocery selling in 4 inch pots were growing here and there except they were 6 feet tall. The biggest surprise was a strange tropical looking tree we saw down a road in the keys. It was maybe 40 feet tall. A short trip down the road revealed a Rubber Tree. We feel lucky to get one 6 feet tall indoors here. An interesting side note is that I did see one growing outside in New Iberia last week. It was about 8 feet tall and 6 feet around. Covered for the freeze I could still see parts sticking out revealing what it was and also revealing heavy freeze damage on those parts. Later this spring I’ll take a look to see how well the parts under the cover did. Maybe I’ll try one outside if it made it OK.
The only bad thing about tropical is the dead wasteland after a hard freeze. Maybe I’ll check into an evergreen or two. Did I mention I hate winter yet?
January 10, 2001
Can you believe it? I didn’t do anything in the garden for the last two days. Today I expanded the mound with some miscellaneous. Two daisies rescued from Gonzales got planted in the mound along with two pots of paperwhites. One group were the ones from Cannata’s bought a week or two ago for $1.25 after they had bloomed out. The other pot were dug from along the fence at my brother in law Denny’s house. Front to rear are Jasmine’s daisy, Cannata’s paperwhite, Shrimp box daisy, Denny’s paperwhites. I put the last of the Asiatic lilies from Gonzales on the left side of the mound towards the rear.
January 13, 2001
Things are finally slowing down gardening wise. I planted some red onion sets that were purchased from Lowes earlier this year. A couple had already started to grow. I am putting them in late for the area, but we should still get a decent crop. We have had a least a ½ inch or rain or more each week for the last 12 weeks. This and the cool weather has caused cabin fever to set in. At least the freezing temperatures have subsided. This has been the time to read. Lowes is now getting in the first spring plants. The Dahlias showed up this week. Live plants being offered at local nurseries include Firespike, Daisy, and Delphinium.
Dinner and a plant(s) purchase at Lowes, perfect Saturday night date with my wife. Let’s see what we bought. 1 pack of 10 Dahlia, size 1, Unwin Mixture, $5.96. 3 packs of 1 Hymenocallis, Peruvian Daffodil, $1.77. 3 packs of 1 Dahlia, size 1, Requiem, a fushia pink for $1.77. 3 packs of 1 Dahlia, size 1, Lucky Number, a magenta for $1.77. 2 packs of 1 Dahlia, size 1, Duet, a red with white tips for $1.77. Last 1 pack of 12 Montbretia bulbs, size 6 cm, Crocosmia mixed. I tried Montbretia last year, but probably planted too late. Only a few came up and never flowered. I dug 3 or 4 of the bulbs, all I could find of the original 12 but subsequently lost them in the move.
Went out to the greenhouse to see if I could find the Montbretia bulbs, no luck, but I did find the two bags of Amaryllis Belladonna I bought earlier this year. They are labeled Giant Bulbs for Giant Blooms, Amaryllis Belladona, 4 bulbs from VanZyverden.
January 18, 2001
After a couple of weeks of good weather, our unusually cold winter is back again with a projected low of 23 on Saturday night. Unfortunately the roses planted last week are already budding out. The tomato seedlings moved from the kitchen to the greenhouse today and are looking good. After four days in a row of rain they were getting leggy. They will get more light out there. A third Red Datua (brugmansia) seedling popped up today. I seeded the 5 seeds from the small red tomato my mother-in-law gave me. The white Amaryllis is spectacular. I doubt I can capture it in a picture but here is an attempt.
January 20, 2001
Temps dropped to the 30s last night with 28 predicted tonight. Not as cold as predicted. Everything overnighted well. The tomato seeds in the jar experiment worked extremely well. From ripe fruit to emerging seedling took 8 days. I am trying the same thing with Kiwi seeds, which I put in the jar this afternoon. The white amaryllis is absolutely spectacular.
January 24, 2001
Made a trip to BR yesterday. Found another Iris volunteering in the lawn and brought it home along with about 15 gladioli that had grown to about 6 inches. I dug one of the heirloom glads and it had grown about an inch out of the bulb but was about 1 to 2 inches below the surface still. There was growth under the soil on the Asiatic Lilies. I could find no trace of the glad bulbs from Lowe’s that I planted. I moved several heirloom paperwhite bulbs that were still in pots and temporarily planted under the pecan tree. Today I moved the two split leaf philodendrum to their final resting place under the kitchen window. I brought home the rose arch and assembled it with the New Dawn rose on the right and the rose from Grandma LeJeune’s on the left. Brought home the Cornelia rose and planted it on the front fence to the left of the front sidewalk. Made a tee off the Iris bed and planted the six Siberian Iris which may or may not still be alive. Ninety percent of the Daylilies are showing active growth and many are still in their temporary holding spots. Tons of stuff yet to plant, panic time!!!!!
January 26, 2001
Finished the Daylilies lining the front walk today. Warm weather continues and some plants are convinced it is spring. The roses are budding out heavily.
January 27, 2001
My neighbor gave me two Mirliton vines. He also gave me a 15-foot row of Naked Ladies and a three-foot diameter circle of Lirope. I’ll dig them up later. We shared a desire to grow Kiwi this year so I’ll try to find some first to pay him back and also give him some tomato seedlings.
My new light (old kitchen light) is growing much better seedling. I trimmed the Sweet Olive to get rid of some diseases limbs and to give the Loquat move room. While at it I completely removed the tree near the old green house to let some additional light into that corner.
January 28, 2001
Bulbing day, and it was a good day. Today, we first ran to New Iberia for a group of 25 of the ditch Iris. These were growing in about 1 inch of water so it will be interesting to see how they adapt to normal garden conditions. I move the Canna to form a backdrop for the Iris and continued the Iris bed towards the pecan tree. We picked up a couple of mums from a old cemetery in New Iberia. We stopped at an old abandoned home site north of New Iberia. We found what appears to be a Crinum and picked a half dozen bulb and planted them near the right side of the Pecan tree. I also got a few bulbs from under the window that were long and thin. There were two wonderfully tasting tangerines about 15 tall growing on their natural roots. Cel found a mum.
We returned home to plant those items. While we were at it I moved the rest of the Paperwhites from their temporary holding spot in the old vegetable garden to their permanent spot under the Pecan tree. Then to check out the Causey place again. It is so full of old plants that one doesn’t even notice anything missing. I would love to have seen it’s many well-kept beds in its prime. We picked up a Nandina (24”), which now site near the tool room door on the garage. We got four small holly trees about 24”, two of which we will keep and two for Cel’s mom. Celeste got some more Jasmine which grows there as a lawn. I took one paperwhite type bulb that was off by itself. Cel found an old Iron Gate. The back yard was full of Iris that had come up since we last visited and I picked up around 25 of those. Between yesterday and today the Iris bed grew almost 6 feet towards the Pecan tree.
I continued work on the front beds making circle beds where the house meets the front walk. In each of these beds, one on each side of the walk, I put 4 Amaryllis Belladona and one Spider Lily in the center of the right one and two Spider Lillies in the center of the left one.
I started drying my Kiwi seeds this afternoon.
February 10, 2001
Wow. Went back to work on the 1st so update have fallen way behind but there has been a ton of activity. Everything is now convinced it’s spring. Virtually every plant has lots of tender new growth. We can only pray there won’t be a late freeze. Let’s try to catch up.
Lowes. Went to Lowe’s last week. We got six Azalea (3 gl), four are Pink Ruffle, which are pink with darker pink speckles and are planted two in each back corner. Two are white and planted in the center, one on each side of the apple. All of the Azaleas we bought are developing flower buds. Moderate temps and rain are helping all transplants. We bought a Lady Bank rose which was planted on the fence on the right front corner of the house. We got a dark pink Gerbera daisy and planted in the mound with our two other daisies.
Iris Trip Weeks Island – We dug about 15 Iris from two wild stands along ditch side on Weeks Island Road.
Neighbors – We dug a 3-foot diameter patch of Liriope from our neighbor and used it to line the bed on the left front corner of the house. We also thinned out their row of Naked Ladies removing about 50 bulbs, which we planted at the base of the Crape Myrtle in the front after we cleaned it out with the chain saw.
Lowes again – With all of our Iris, we still had no yellows (that we knew of), so I bought two Sun Fury Iris in one gallon pots. The description was Iris x ‘Sun Fury’. Price was $4.96 each. I planted them this morning.
Back bed near the greenhouse. I tilled this bed up and added and entire bale of peat moss due to its tendency to hold water. We sprinkled several packets of flower seeds from last year and some old pepper seeds in a throw it and see what grows fashion. We’ll figure out what are weeds later.
The Butterfly bush is still alive and we made a circular bed around it with the Dahlia Unwin mix.
We made small bed around the entrance to the garage tool room. One the left around the base of the Nandina we planted Astillbe. On the left in the center I planted what was left of my pot of wandering jew from Gonzales and around that 4 of the Hydrangea we dug up from Ms Grace house. I planted the four Holly trees from Causey House.
Planted two of my tomato seedlings into the earth box for an early start and repotted the lone surviving volunteer from Gonzales, which is now about 15 inches tall. Put them all outside along with some other repotted tomato seedlings.
The walk this morning revealed that the Naked Ladies under the crape myrtle had all laid flat and were looking pretty sad since they were literally bare rooted, but after the rains yesterday about half of them had perked up. The Lady Banks showed tons of new growth everywhere as did the Cornelia rose on the front fence. The daylilies along the front walk are all actively growing and the Amaryllis Belladonna bulbs planted two week ago are already 3 inches tall. The Hymenocallis are not yet showing though. The one existing St. Joseph’s lily under the front window never went dormant. It and a tiny piece of wandering jew were the only plants alive in that old bed.
Cel planted the Oyster Plants and Aspidistra under the Sweet Olive. We put in a large patch of Naked Ladies there as well.
We made an afternoon run to the abandoned houses and other. We found a patch of Iris on the road from Lake Fause Point to St. Martinville. We got a sampling of those, which are planted right behind the Egret. We also got a small patch of bulbs there as well which I assume were some type of white spider lily or swamp lily. Got a whole truckload of paperwhites, naked ladies, a daylily, and some large (6 inche diameter) unknown bulbs, probably crinums. These came from an old abandoned house in the middle of a sugarcane field in Charenton. There were about 8 bulbs in all. Someone had already dug up a large area.
February 11, 2001
Sunday was another very busy day in the garden. First, I mowed and bagged the lawn. Dug out grass from beds, plant clippings and 12 inch high clover made mulch mowing impossible.
Plant from the greenhouse that went into the ground includes the Bird of Paradise. The root system was pretty rotten, literally. When I dug it from Gonzales I cut over half of the root nodules with the shovel. Since being in the pot in the greenhouse over the winter there was literally no root growth and the soil was too wet, more than I realized. I put the white calla in the ground in the front bed with the Bird of Paradise.
Cel bought a 9-pack of spinach at Lowes and planted into the veggie garden.
We got 2 each of some mini plants at Walmart and plant them into the bed next to the Delphinium. They were Iris, Daffodil, and ???.
Cel’s mom gave us a large 3x3 Lacecap Hydrangea. I put the large plant under the Living Room window and a smaller offshout in the bed across under the kitchen windows. She also gave us a semi-dwarf white flowering Crape Myrtle that was placed into a pot.
More excitement. My brother in law came in from riding the four-wheeler and told of a collapsed house next to a dump with blooming narcissus. We dropped by to find a variety we don’t have and have never seen. There were also some bulbs growing in the side of a ditch. They looked to be some type of crinum or spider lily. We’ll be back for those tomorrow.
Cel transplanted the tomatoes and the angel’s trumpets, red datura, into 4-inch pots. I transplanted the large white angel’s trumpet into the front bed next to the front porch.
February 17, 2001
Friday – Went to check the Narcissus next to the dump, abandoned house, near Tech Farm. The headland had been completely cut up. I was able to find two clumps of the spider looking flower narcissus and a few errant bulbs. They were plants near the pecan tree in the naturalization area. The bulbs, probably spider lilies in the ditch were still intact. I planted on in the bed under the fountain and one in the bed to the right. The clump of smaller bulbs was planted under the pecan tree.
I went through the yard and trimmed everything with the pruners. To my delight all of the plants I was worried about, butterfly bush, trumpet vine, and bignonia were still alive. The only casualty appears to be the old Kalanchoe that was originally found on the gravel road behind Michelle and Tom’s. It might be history.
Saturday morning - Back to Gonzales for the last remaining plants. The lantana that used to be on the right side of the greenhouse. The large uppie elephant ears that originated here and the canna from Cajun corner. A few Iris and hardy Gladiolas that were missed. The cannas and elephant ears were placed along the back of the Iris bed. A few Iris were found, primarily in the front bed and one in the back. They are probably the brown Iris from the front and the one from the rear was probably a purple from Jim Wilde. I placed the entire Elephant ears along the back of the Iris interspersed with the canna with exception of one, which was broken off. It was placed next to the conventional elephant ear from the Causey place. We found an abandoned old homestead near the vets office. From there we got a few hardy glads, and our best find, the snowdrops. A large commercial field was dotted with paperwhites (narcissus) and from there we got two varieties, one that was a normal and another, which had a more spider looking flower. We found one missed daylily at Gonzales in Cajun corner which means it was either from Grandma LeJeune’s or from the front of Cel’s moms. Moved greenhouse all the way to the left side of the garage. Put the rest of the ginger next to the existing clump. Also brought home a bit of the Umbrella Plant/Raintree and planted near the fence in the back yard near the left fence. Brought home the Bougainvillea that was planted next to the pond. It might be alive but it is hard to tell at this point. Went ahead and potted it up so we’ll see in the next few weeks.
Jasmine Wabohh went home to the garden on the right side of the yard in front of the miniature rose.
I counted the large bulbs, either Amaryllis or St. Joseph’s lily in the daylily beds and came up with 22. Found an old picture of Cajun corner and counted 16 Amaryllis and St. Joseph’s lily. The made me feel better about getting all of the bulbs. They grew outside all year and went dormant in mid summer, so maybe we’ll see Amaryllis blooming in the daylily beds this spring.
I put one of the Amaryllis that was force bloomed in the house over Christmas, WalMart purchase, in the one spot where the Amaryllis Belladona bulb failed and it has produced a second flower stalk. Isn’t that cool.
Observations in the yard today revealed the new Lady Banks had flower buds. All of the roses as fully leaved out. The Armaryllis Belladona foliage is a full 6 inches tall. One of the split leaf philodendron has a new leaf. The liriope is showing new growth all over. The lace cap we just transplanted in stable. The Causey elephant ear is opening a new leaf. The uppies in front of the kitchen window have two new leaves. The uppies at the rear kitchen window show no new leaves yet. The Louisiana style Iris are outstanding except for the ones from the Causey place. They are still struggling. The wide leaf Iris are just starting to come into their own. The growth on the Siberian Iris is accelerating and all six clumps show more than one blade. The search for additional survivors in Gonzales turned up nothing, but their spring would be a few weeks behind us so there is still a very slim chance. The green buds on the end of the Celeste Fig branches are starting to open up. The Texas Everbearing still shows no growth.
February 18, 2001
Bought my Australian Tree Fern from Lowes today. Finally, I have wanted one for two years. My Tasmanian Tree Fern is alive but struggling. I did poorly in Gonzales and had only one living frond when moved here. It died in the big freeze and I thought it was dead. A little probing this morning revealed a green frond tip waiting to come out so maybe there is hope yet. Cel bought a yellow and orange Gerbera Daisy along with some orange impatiens. Also got 10 bags of Cypress Mulch and 10 bags of Landscape mix. All 2 cu.ft. I mulched down the new Canna bed. Also retapered the soil and mulched the base of the azaleas. Planted the five Lantana along the fence behind the apple. The bubblegum Lantana was planted in the left corner. Its been over a week without real rain. I watered most of the plants.
Planted two of the small Acanthus behind Jasmine Wabohh. Planted a couple of loose Canna in the corner with the two Elephant Ears. The idea for the patio mound is shaping up. We got the fireplace from the old Borel cypress cabin and placed it between the two Camellia. Just need some English ivy growing on it now.
February 22, 2001
Yesterday, I finally built the patio mound. The center is the kinda still alive bleeding heart. Around that are my three Ellen Bonsequet crinum and the Amaryllis from this winter and some stragglers from last year. Around that are the six Mexican Heather rescued from the side of the house when we moved here.
Today, Cel bought me a pack of 5 Nerine Bowdenii bulbs at Wal-Mart. We met there after work. I bought my Bougainvillea for the front fence I have been envisioning ever since the trip to Key West last year. I got two red and two orange. Also, got my pepper plants for the season and some sweet 100 tomatoes. Its decided summer is here. Actually too fast, many plants that are nowhere near established are suffering with the heat and two weeks without rain, but a slight cool down today will help with rain due on Saturday.
Since I have proclaimed summer and am off for Mardi Gras, everything left in the greenhouse will be planted that day.
February 25, 2001
We spent Saturday night in Cook’s Cottage on Jefferson Island. I had heard before hand that the gardens were in financial trouble and unfortunately what I say there, although beautiful was showing a lack of attention. The Tulips only bloomed at about 50%. Several items like a small deer statue and gazing ball were broken from apparent vandalism. Topiary had never been planted. The garden was messy with winterkill cut down and left in place. Planted labels were missing or damaged. The restaurant was permanently closed. It was very sad to see this once magnificent garden falling into disrepair.
We had boiled crawfish and raw oysters at Black’s Saturday evening and we couldn’t help but stop at Walmart in Abbeville. Sure enough, more plants came home. I got a pack of two Tiger Lillies which I planted with the the other Asiatic Lilies. I got two bulbs labeled Garden Amaryllis, a red variety and a pack of 15 Acidanthera.
Planted the Hydrangea we dug up at Ms. Grace home around the LaceCap Hydrangea. Planted the Walking Iris in the front bed under the kitchen window. Found two Hosta we brought from Gonzales in the greenhouse and planted both beneath the Sweet Olive interplanted with the Aspidistra. Planted a Pepper plant brought from Gonzales next to the Raspberry. Planted the Nerine in the Patio Mound.
The blooms on the Bridal Wreath began to open today. The first bloom scape on an Iris appeared on one of the German Iris. It looks to be white. The thornless blackberry is sending out green leaves and so is the Trumpet vine on the front fence. Some blooms are opening on Lady Banks. I mulched down the front beds today.
February 27, 2001
Mardi Gras day brings more rain. After over two weeks without rain plants were suffering. A few days ago, we got a pittance, just .25 inches, but be careful what you wish for. Last night brought 1.5 inches and there is more rain in forecast for the next five days in a row. I smell rotting roots. Water collected over 1 inch deep under the living room window but drained within an hour or so.
We did get a lot of planting done. The ground was supprisingly workable for just getting so much rain last night. This is a testament to this great soil and the still lingering effects of two years of drought. The mums are finally in the ground as planned behind the apple tree. There is no method with the 16 plants mostly unidentified and planted in no order. We’ll see what they are as they bloom. They are all rescues from the garbage at the Franklin graveyard and are florist mums, not garden mums. The two Hosta we brought from Gonzales are planted among the Oyster Plants under the Sweet Olive. I might mention again that neither the Oyster Plants nor the Sweet Olive are likely identified correctly, but the names work for us. Kind of like our name of the Tucker Tree for what is actually the Jacob’s Ladder. We found a couple of flower buds on Mrs. LeJeune’s rose, which is another misnomer.
I filled in the valley between the Cornelia Rose and the sidewalk daylily bed. I planted on large Amaryllis bulbs that had bloomed out this year, the two bulbs labeled Garden Amaryllis, and the pack of 15 Acidanthera in that area along with two bulbs that were brought from Gonzales. They are either St. Joseph’s Lilies or white spider lilies. We’ll know when they bloom.
March 1, 2001
One thing about Louisiana, when it rains, it rains. Another 1.75 inches of rain yesterday, 28th puts us over 3.25 inches of rain in the last two days. That is a heavy burden on some of the flat beds and s why raised beds are preached so much here and more of my beds are raised. Some exceptions are the front beds which while not impossible to raised would have been difficult and required the destruction of the giant heirloom elephant ear in the front near the kitchen. Also, I noted that all of the heirloom gardens that I have admired do not have raised beds so I compromised. The other exceptions to raised beds are the fruit trees and beds at the rear of the home along with those on the rear of the property all of which are well drained and the bed in the rear on the right which was already planted with many plants. Besides while I like raised beds for the most part, they don’t look natural in many settings. All area here are still draining well and not holding water for more than a couple of hours even with that much rainfall. We’ll see how it goes if we get four more days of rain as predicted.
Cel was reading Louisiana Gardner this month and showed me a picture of some great bulbs, which to my surprise were the Acidanthera that I had just bought over the week and planted in the front. The Iris Meticulata were also mentioned which we tried this year and are not supposed to do well in this area.
Everything is now in active growth with only three exceptions being the Butterfly Bush, a misnomer. It was planted in the daylily bed in Gonzales. I trimmed a water sprout, which was alive in the stem when I transplanted it here. I hope that wasn’t the only living part and am a little scared at this point that it was exactly that. The Bougainvillea, formerly planted outside next to the pond in Gonzales and in all likely hood quite dead. I give it a while to come back from the roots before the official pronouncement of death. Last, the Bleeding Heart, which was brought from Gonzales with a few leaves, which were subsequently lost over the winter in the greenhouse. It is still quite green at the stem level. Although it has only been in the ground a week, each day I check it for the explosion of life that I just know is coming.
The spider lily bulbs planted in the front with the Amaryllis Belladona are yet to break ground, as are the last Dahlias that I bought Cel, but this rain should spur both on. Tilling the organic matter into the tomato/pepper beds will either have to be abandoned or I will have to delay planting for at least another week. Neither prospect is appealing, but I will decide by the weekend.
The Raspberry now has more life to it than it did all of last year and as the thorn less blackberry’s leaves breakout I am sure I will be able to say the same about it in a couple of weeks.
The Iris in front of LEDA began to bloom this week and so did the Picard’s purple Iris. The white large bladed Iris planted locally in many yards also bloomed last week. I have not visible scapes with one exception, which is a large bladed Iris, which came from the woods near a graveyard on Old Jeanerette road. I have seen many other Iris which are not yet blooming and am still holding out hope for all to bloom exception for the ones from the old Causey place which are doing very poorly for reasons unknown. The rainy, cloudy weather should be a boon to the Iris though so there is a silver lining to this cloud. Now, if we just don’t lose any plants to rot. I especially worry about some of the Amaryllis bulbs from last year, but it is all in God’s hand at this point.
March 3, 2001
Rain again. This is the old soggy Louisiana that I remember as a child and quite a contrast to the last two drought stricken years. In addition to the 3.25 inches in the last three days we got another inch last night and it is raining again this morning. Now the threat switches from keeping soil designed to drain well from drying up to root rot. The rains should end tonight and the drying process can begin. We can then assess the damage. This soil is truly miraculous though; with all this rain it still does not puddle water for more than an hour or two.
Well, the rain is over for now. A cold front has moved in with projected lows of 45 tonight, then 35, and 38 for the next nights. The final total was a whopping 6.25 inches of rain in three days.
The bleeding heart has ¼ inch leaflets on many branches. The apple still shows bud swelling but no leaflets and the butterfly bush looks dead, but may be coming back from the roots. Everything else is now in active growth. Took some pictures of the spirea today. They are beautiful and still not fully in bloom. The new azaleas are in the same state. Our one existing azalea is running a little behind but will be in full bloom next week. It also appears that it is actually two azaleas instead of one with two distinctly different bloom colors, one red and one purple.
Bought a two-gallon sprayer for the Spray-N-Grow today. Starting tomorrow everything is going on a two-week spray schedule. The sickly Meyer Lemon and sickly Owari Satsuma from Gonzales got a little Ammonium Nitrate today in addition to their 8-8-8 a few days ago as an added boost. I also spread a light dose of Epson Salts over most of the plants in the backyard today. Ran out before reaching the front.
This is a late entry, but it should be noted that I moved 4 citrus trees in January, two healthy, and two sickly. I did minimal pruning and the trees are now as healthy only 3 months later as they were prior to the move. No transplant shock. I took only two precautions that might have made the difference. One was that I treated the leaves with Wilt-Pruf on the day they were transplanted and two was that I treated the plants with Spray-N-Grow a couple weeks after the transplant and again a month later. Can’t say for sure if that was the difference, but I have never seen transplanted trees act as if they were never even moved before.
March 4, 2001
Planted tomato and pepper plants today and applied the Schultz Root Booster on all. Sprayed the Angel’s Trumpet in the front with the Ultrafine/Malathion combination. Moved the mini rose to the front of the Egret.
March 5, 2001
Gardening advice. Never underestimate what a weeding, pruning, a dose of fertilizer, and a good layer of mulch will do for a garden.
March 23, 2001
You can tell I am back at work due to the longer times between entries. Summer had set early again this year. Many new plants are struggling as temp rise during the day and despite the abundant rain earlier we are now a week and a half without rain and the ground again has ¼ inch cracks. Raised beds, once an absolute requirement in Louisiana, are today a curse. Now on to the good stuff, the new Lady Banks is sporting new growth all over. The Cornelia looks wonderful and roses are just beginning to open. The lavender Calla Lilly unexpectedly opened a new flower, still nothing from the white one. While visiting the house next to Cel’s mom we noticed a small Calla Lilly had naturalized under the eave on the east side. This is something I had never seen before down here. Back to our house the Trumpet Vine and Crape Myrtle in the front look awesome. The Amaryllis planted with the Belladonna Lillies will bloom in the next few days on an extremely short stalk, the flowers will barely clear the ground. Another Amaryllis from last year planted under the Cornelia has revealed a flower stalk. No sign of the other bulbs planted there. The Lace Cap Hydrangea looks good as well as the heirlooms we got from Ms Grace’s house. The Acanthus’ are struggling with the one on the left looking better. Split leaf philodendrons are sending out their second leaves of the season and the walking Iris has many blooms forming. The Angel’s Trumpet looks OK, but is being eaten by something.
Side bed has new leaves on each Uppie with most plants becoming established. The mints are doing quite well. Still just one frond on the Tasmanian Tree Fern and the Australian seems to be stabilizing. Impatiens are flowering, but not growing. Firespike is alive but with no new growth yet and not looking very enthusiastic about life.
Veggie bed is looking good. Spinach has taken hold and actively growing. The cabbage is heading well. I will harvest onion tops tomorrow morning, the ones harvested two weeks ago have almost reached the level of the non-harvested ones. My one remaining Merliton is still about a foot long. The other shows a small bud, which may grow in the future. Tomato plants are still establishing. The plant in the container needs to be planted. Earthbox plants look awesome and are very healthy. Peppers are still establishing as well. All Dahlias in the corner are up and growing well. The raspberry has 3 or 4 flowers and may make a few small fruits. The patio mound is sitting still due to lack of moisture with the exception of the Bleeding Heart, which is forming small leaves along many of the vines. The Elephant Ear from the Causey place planted next to garage is sending out its second leaf. Other stuff in that area is still mostly dormant.
The Astillbe flowers are starting to open on one plant. Other need water. The incredibly abused Wandering Jew is growing well. The two Camellia by the fireplace have abundant new growth as does the Nandina. The ginger has several stalks nearing a foot in height. Thornless blackberry looks good but I am disappointed by its vigor. All azaleas blooms are now fading or faded. The Bridal Wreaths are in the same state. Iris started blooming last week with regular purples going first followed by a beautiful deep purple velvet textured Iris. Don’t remember it from last year. Many other flower stalks are showing. The Uppies behind the bed don’t look well at all. The new leaves have yellowed and the top of one along with a new leaf fell off victim to rot in the stem section. The Siberian Iris growth has slowed. WE NEED RAIN. Citrus trees are flowering. The bad Lemon from Gnlz has lots of new growth along with some flowers. The sickly Owari Satsuma has semi healthy leaves but no flowers or new growth. Fig trees look good. Peaches and Nectarines look good. The apple has opened some new leaves near the bottom but the top is still dormant. Fingernail test shows all branches even at the top bright green. Mums are well established. Lantanas are establishing well, but need water too. Shade plants all look good. I have identified the disease ravaging the tall Loquat as Fire Blight and found a treatment on the Spray-N-Grow website but need to order now.
I bought a Passion Vine with red flowers last weekend, which is still in the pot but full of flowers and growing in every direction. On an abandoned house visit we found some large Crinum looking bulbs that had been dug by someone else partially exposed. I took them and a few remaining in the ground and potted them all up. They all look great.
Can’t believe I am dragging around the soaker hose already. The ground is damp and established plants have no problems so I am enthusiastic for next year. Tomorrow, Saturday, its mowing, watering, and everything gets planted.
March 25, 2001
Two full days of gardening where do I start? I went down Week’s Island Road to check on some wild patches of Iris from which I have a fan, they are medium blue and only one single Iris is blooming yet. Down Main Street north of New Iberia I checked on another wild patch of Iris, none are blooming yet. Meanwhile my Iris beds are starting to bloom very erratically. Three dark blue native Iris are blooming. A beautiful Midnight Blue velvet Iris is opening it’s third flower and it the best thus far. I planted the Passion Vine along the fence between the Pecan tree and the Iris bed. This week I was determined to get the rest of the plants in the ground even if not in the optimum spots and succeeded. Behind the Gladiolus bed I planted the Xanadu, Avocado tree, Foxtail Fern, Asparagus Fern and baby Sago Palm. The bed is a real conglomeration and if the plants grow optimally this year it’s going to be really crowded come August.
Today, while searching for the Weeks Island Iris I ran across a small backyard nursery on 85 just off of 90. I got three large Yellow Flag Iris, and two Peruvian Lilies to finish out the bed under the den windows. I bordered it with some Liriope that Cel’s mom dug up this weekend. The Lace Cap Hydrangea has small flower heads on each stem.
I also got a small Kalanchoe like the one that we dug from the woods behind Michelle’s house. It is quite dead, froze to death I suppose.
I planted the rest of the shade plants under the Sweet Olive. The Poinsettia from last year and the small Ruffled Leaf Poinsettia finally found ground on between the Greenhouse and the Sweet Olive. We got a ¼ inch of rain last night, but it still didn’t close the cracks in the soil. More rain is forecast for Wednesday, but I will still have to water early in the week. The soil is very moist and established plants have no problems it just all of my newly planted ones that are suffering.
I was surprised to see Amaryllis and St. Joseph’s Lilies blooming all over town today. Mine are nowhere close so now I am worried. I do have one small Flower Head showing about 2 inches high under the Cornelia. One full flower is open on the Amaryllis at the foot of the front porch. The Mock Oranges are blooming and the Azalea are fading in most places. Roses all over town are in bloom.
Mystery Plants are finding identities. The cutting that Gil Guidry gave me as a Mock Orange actually turned out to be an Althea. As I planted on of the plants from the greenhouse I found the tag PeeGee Hydrangea inside.
March 28, 2001
Last night and today netted 4.25 inches of rain on the gauge with more expected tonight, tomorrow and for the next few days. My new establishing plants needed rain and it came. Just hope we don’t get too much. The story of this spring has been heavy rains, but not evenly dispersed rains.
April 1, 2001
Daylight Savings Time at last. Finally I can come home to see my garden in the daylight after work. Boy have I been missing that. No planting recently. Today was the LeJeune family reunion at the family farm, Capete. It was a truly beautiful day here in God’s Country. In the afternoon, I just layed out on a bench and watched the wispy spring clouds and imaging the angels were playing tug of war. The blue sky, while clouds, and the beautiful green of the newly leafed out tree next to me was a wonderful collection of colors. Tomorrow, yes it’s a little late, maybe I’ll plant those potatoes. My newest bulbs shipped yesterday, or so the email said so I am looking forward to them. Also, this week, towards the end, I will got to Stokes to finally cash in my gift certificate.
The preceding entry was from 12:30AM. It was a full day in the garden today. I transformed the patio mound into a raised bed using the frame from the glad bed, which has now been transformed into a full tee bed. One the right side Betty Boop Rose has been planted and the bed brought around to encompass the Meyer Lemon. Still remaining to be planted on that side is the Asparagus Fern to match the fern on the right side. We are finally finding direction for the right side bed. The spaces between the Bridal Wreaths and Azalea will be filled in with Caladium, the first area with bulbs taken from Gonzales, the remainder will be done with white. I have framed the bed with 4x4s until the shape is established. A walkway will be left between this bed and the shade bed, which is suffering from abundance of light until the Pecan Tree finally, leafs out. I am anxious to see how the summer light patterns evolve in this yard. Cel weeded all day and barely made a dent. We both had a wonderful spring day in the yard. The Bleeding Heart continues to slowly gain new leaves. My variegate Bougainvillea still looks really bad. I am sure that all existing leaves will drop. A scratch test of the twigs still reveals bright green flesh underneath. All trees have fully leafed out with the exception of the apple, which is slowly gathering steam. My grapefruit looks terrible; don’t know what to do with it. Cel’s butterfly bush is coming back from the roots. The firespike is alive but shows no sign of active growth. The new frond on the Tasmanian Tree Fern is about 6 inches long and 4 inches high. No sign of a second frond, but I am now hopeful of a full, but slow recovery. The Australian Tree Fern seems to have now stabilized after loosing about 10 percent of its mass. It looks like the only casualty of last years hard winter and move to Jeanerette will be the one Bougainvillea near the pond which enduring the 20 degree low in Gonzales. The Lantanas, which returned from the roots, are now about 8 inches high and the one that overwintered in the greenhouse is over 18 inches tall.
I placed the old refrigerator in the garage. It will handle cold beer all summer long and our Tulips next fall as well.
April 2, 2001
My second Asiatic Lily opened today. The orange lilies were in the group bought from Lowes this year. Last year’s retentions have many buds, but none have opened. White Calla has finally sent forth a flower but it has yet to open. We are back on the watering schedule this week with temps Tuesday and Wednesday predicted to reach the low 80s. I repotted the three Angel’s Trumpets from Gregg after work today. The soil was a combination of potting soil and soil from the bed behind the sunroom. This bed is now almost completely empty having been used in the new square version of the patio mound, the right side of the T bed and in the new rendition of the right side bed. The cabbages are going to make an incredible bountiful harvest contrary to earlier thoughts. I will harvest in mid to late April to make room for the Edamame. I counted 13 Iris blooms today consisting of dark purple, medium blue, and rich purple velvet. We still have many Daffodils in bloom from the Lowe’s variety pack, which had a very rich collection and will be purchased again next year. The Cornelia is full of roses with probably 20 blooms, more than the entire season last year. The Walking Iris in the front are full of blooms but showing signs of too much sun, this may be a problem later on, or maybe its just lack of water. These were some of the last plants added to that bed. The Acanthus, unfortunately, were one of the first and look even worse.
The large flowered Hibiscus bloomed last week but the bloom was half the size of the original when I bought it, but even that was over 6 inches in diameter. The other Hibiscus has two more buds, which will open soon. The large flowered Hibiscus has shown over 2 inches of new growth and the small flowered over 3 inches. The Gardenia is still full of buds but none look near opening.
Michelle called today, she went to the Gonzales home and mowed the lawn, boy do we owe her a big one.
I continue to harvest the fantasy of buying this entire block on the west end of Jeanerette and developing it into a public garden which would be given to the city in the form of a foundation upon my death. It would be a neat thing to leave behind. Cel was receptive to the idea, but I am sure also thinking I was a bit nuts considering all of the work currently needed on our home.
April 3, 2001
The first peach colored Hollyhock Flower opened today, maybe a result of Cel pruning out some of the vegetative growth to allow the Asiatic Lilies as shot at some light. Our first brown Iris opened today and is surprisingly just as large as the blues and purples, not the dwarfs that they were last year. Small yellow bugs are devouring the New Dawn Rose. Black spot is causing problems on all roses. We have nats in the house. Blackberry and Raspberry are showing multiple blooms. Lady Banks has sent out a major new shoots. The Angel’s Trumpet in the front has a large bloom still in the green stage. Cel planted purple Zinnia in the nearest Daylily bed and under the bird feeder. She also planted Blue Darts under the birdbath. I watered the entire front, side, some of the vegetable bed, and the patio square. The Lace Cap Hydrangea was drooping badly today. The White Amaryllis in the front has opened two new blooms on a very short stalk. One of the transplanted St. Joseph’s Lilies in the front under Cornelia has a bloom stalk about 12 inches tall. Two flowers on the Mandevilla are still threatening to bloom as they have been for almost a month. The Passion Vine is still opening flowers and they are gorgeous. Last note for the night – The Earthbox Tomatos are so lush and healthy they truly don’t resemble any Tomatos I have ever seen growing in our South Louisiana heat.
April 8, 2001
This is my first log entry actually written in the garden. It is a beautiful Sunday afternoon, the heat of the day, reaching 85 at its peak, has given way to the evening, which along with some cloud cover, has presented a delightfully cool atmosphere. I can hear the wood boring bees overhead working on the carport beams and feel a bit of sawdust hitting me every now and then. From where I sit I will just panorama the beds. Even though our yard is full of blooms more plants are nowhere near their potential all most all being either transplants this year.
We will start with the patio mound, now patio framed bed. The bleeding heart is coming along nicely. We have an Amaryllis coming into bloom. The Mexican Heather are blooming and growing and the Kalanchoe is acclimating to its new home there, planted yesterday. The Crinum are established and I expect good flowering. I put some Tuberose and a yet more type of Asiatic Lily in bed.
The Onion Tops are fading in the heat and will need to be pulled this week. I harvested a cabbage yesterday that we ate for lunch today. My Pepper plants are still under a foot but healthy. The tomato plants are all nearing two feet and my nurtured volunteer from last year will produce its first edible tomato this week. The Dahlia are over 2 feet and full of flower buds. The inherited Bougainvillea is flowering. Assorted pots with other plants all look good.
T-bed Dahlias are blooming in yellow and red. The Asiatic Lilies are blooming in orange and white. The Delphinium in white, lavender, and purple are fading with some purple Snapdragons putting on a late show. The Orange ??? are spreading and full of flowers. The hardy Glads are starting to open magenta blooms while the new Glads still show not flower stalks. The last minute plantings are struggling with the mid 80 temps and a least two weeks without rain.. The Mound has Gerbera Daisies blooming in orange and pink along with the Don Juan rose blooming in pink. The white spider lilies are fading.
The Iris bed shows many blooms in purple, blue, and rust. The top of another Elephant Ear fell off from rot but with several babies coming up around the trunk. The Siberian Iris’ have stopped growing waiting on the rain, I am sure. The small rose at the base of the egret is growing slowing. One of the Indian Shot Cannas is opening blooms. New Dawn is opening some roses, which are twice the size of those blooms last year.
Bridal Wreath bed got the addition of Coleus Tabasco and Defiance on the left end when I added the Garden Soil. Caladium are planted in the middle sections white on the left and and whatever we saved from Gonzales on the right side. The Hostas look good and the Oyster Plants are taking over the world.
Pecan tree paper white have faded about halfway. The new Glads planted there have no flower stalks either, but are taller and healthier looking than those in the T bed. Daylilies began blooming this week with the Aztec Golds leading off the show. A Catherine Woodbury opened this morning. The last of the Daffodils are finally fading. The first Zinnia in the daylily beds are opening.
Bird feeder bed variegated Bougainvillea is showing new leaves finally. The Althea is still sitting still.
The white Angel’s Trumpet in the front has opened a bloom. In the same bed the Hibiscus are blooming along with the Calla Lillies.
So many things are happening that it is hard to keep up much less write it down but I will try.
All over town the Roses are shining. Amaryllis and St. Joseph’s Lilies, except mine, are blooming everywhere. Ours seem to be the first Daylilies coming into bloom. We have seen so many Hollyhocks of every kind in bloom everywhere we can’t believe we haven’t noticed them before. They are obviously true perennials here.
April 13, 2001
Super day today, mowed after two weeks, weed growth was phenomenal. The grass is waking up, but still no rain. In areas near beds where we water regularly the grass is thick and green so I know it is water. I generally don’t like to water the lawn, but I guess I’ll have to break with tradition. My Gardenguides.com bulbs finally showed up yesterday. Planted them today, all in the patio bed except the climbing lilies, which were planted around the fireplace, and the Variegated Iris witch went in the Iris bed.
In the patio bed went the Lily of the Valley, Magic Lilies, Egret Flower Radiata, Peruvian Daffodil Festalis, Peruvian Daffodil Sulphur Queen, and Blood Lily.
A brilliant solid red Amaryllis opened up under the Cornelia yesterday. The Hibiscus in the front are fixing to bloom again.
Pecan tree bed is showing the first bloom spike on the regular glads under the palm tree. The Passion Vine is still blooming casually, one or two flowers at a time, each lasting a couple of days. It is growing slowly due to dry conditions and transplant shock. All of the Narcissus have gone into dormancy and I mowed the area clean today.
The Mound has spider lilies sending up another round of bloom shoots on one Lily and the first round on another.
Patio bed has another Amaryllis will soon be coming into bloom in the patio bed.
Vegetable bed gave up its first tomato today, this one coming from the volunteer last fall in the Gonzales garden. Man did it taste good. Nursing it along in the greenhouse over the winter paid off. It has many tomatoes but is not handling the transplant shock well. The other plants look much healthier and are have surpassed it in size, but not fruit. The most incredible tomato plants of all are those in the Earthbox. The size, color, and vigor easily surpass those in the garden despite being planted at the same time from the same seedling group. I have to add water to the box daily though with the hot, dry weather. We’ll see how they compare as time goes on and the heat kicks in. One advantage to the box is the ability to move it into partial shade later on.
The kitchen window bed is coming on. The Tasmanian Tree Fern has five new fronds showing green nobs at the soil level. The Australian Tree Fern has stabilized and is looking good. Grandma Gladys Firespike is showing much active growth over 6 inches. The Spearmint and Chocolate Mint are going strong. Uppie Elephant Ears have multiple leaves. The Airplane Plants and variegated something of another looks well also. The pink Impatiens don’t look too good, but are in too much light.
The rescued Elephant Ear in the Utility Room beds looks awesome to think I was sure it was dead earlier in the spring. The cannas on both sides look superb. The Rice Paper Plant doesn’t seem to be actively growing, but looks healthy.
The T bed’s Delphiniums are done. Cel cut the last healthy blooms for a vase in the kitchen window today. The Snapdragons are coming into full bloom. Foxgloves are beautiful and healthy yet show no sign of bloom shoots. The initial planting of Easter Lilies is in peak bloom. Hardy glads are having rough time, but coming into full bloom. Hollyhocks are still growing, full of buds, but only flowering about 10 percent. New buds are appearing on the Mandevilla. The potato vine is up and climbing the old gate behind the T bed. My Avocado Tree is looking terrible, suffering from rust I think. I doubt it will make it. The Foxtail Fern has a pretty new limb. The Asparagus Fern is in shock still but holding its own. The second planting of Asiatic Lilies are 6 to 12 inches high.
Shade Pot Area is a new section. A shady area behind the master bedroom window has very poor soil and is nearly full shade so we place all of our houseplants out there for the summer. They are loving the location.
April 18, 2001
Got in my Algoflash yesterday. I put it on the pot plants, outside row of tomatoes, dahlias, and a few of the potted plants. Still don’t have the new plants in the ground, but this weekend is garden weekend. Saturday morning we will go to Forest Hill, the nursery capital of Louisiana. The ads say over 50 million plants and 150 nurseries in the area. Forest Hill is about 120 miles north of us on I-49 and yet I had never heard of it till a few days ago. Talk about under marketed.
April 21, 2001
Finally made it to Stokes Tropicals yesterday to spend my gift certificate, which was over a year old. I got the Variegated Bougainvillea Collection, the Variegated Ginger Collection, the Supreme Canna Collection, the Hibiscus Collection, and one lone Variegated Spider Lily.
This morning I went to the small nursery here in Jeanerette to get some topsoil and couldn’t resist a 4” Fuschia (Dainty Angel’s Earrings). As I looked into the yard, I got completely overwhelmed for the first time. So many blooms that I can’t even think about photographing each. Other plants are suffering from my being to busy this week to water. Still no rain and it’s almost 4 weeks. Took a nap and finally built up the courage to go out an get started.
I planted the rest of the patio bed by adding the Variegated Spider Lily, the new Fuschia, and the Crinums that were dug a few weeks ago and have been resting in pots. I put the Bottlebrush in the ground on the corner of the lawn equipment area. I planted the Variegate Ginger Collection extending the shade bed from the Sweet Olive towards the greenhouse.
Cel planted the 4 small Bougainvillea we got on sale at Walmart in the pot along with Dwarf Crape Myrtle.
Many plants are showing signs of poor health, Amaryllis, Grapefruit, Daylilies, Gladiolas. I sprayed many plants with a triple action, pesticide, fungicide, ??icide to see if things would improve. The dry conditions seem to be encouraging a bad outbreak of rust and bugs are zapping the juices from the plants.
I harvested the cabbage, 6 heads, and onion tops. I dug the bulbs and will let them dry before storing.
April 22, 2001
Another 12 hour spring gardening day. Did the usual mowing, weedeating, etc. I tilled out most of the vegetable bed. The dry soils made it tough but I wanted to work in a batch of compost and some oak leaf mulch before the predicted rain on Monday and Tuesday. The Onion top bulbs were put away to dry for next fall. I will till again late in the week in preparation for Edamame planting next weekend.
The garage bed has turned into the Hibiscus bed with the 5 new plants from Stokes. Adding those to the two already, I said what the heck and dug up the two recently planted into the breakfast window bed and planted them in the same bed as well. Now it is officially labeled the Hibiscus bed. The second Hibiscus to the left of the fireplace made a sickening snap as I tried to straighten it. If it dies later, I know why and am making this note to remind myself
I took the six Canna from Stokes and place them on both edges of the Iris bed. The only thing left from Stokes to plant is the 5 variegated Bougainvillea. We will find them a spot this week.
I pruned out all of the diseased sections of the Loquat, but did not get around to spraying today. It must be done tomorrow evening, if it is not raining.
The T bed got new plants today. The Shrimp Plant was put in to replace the Delphiniums and the Brazilian Sky Flower was put into a hole that opened up naturally as the Hollyhock spread out.
April 27, 2001
Hit many nurseries on the way home today. Got two Japanese Iris, a white Clematis for Cel, and a purple Passion Vine. Found some more caladium bulbs
April 28, 2001
Cel and I planted this morning, hit nurseries at midday and planted again in the afternoon. What a day. This morning
The shopping trip brought home from Lowes a flat of purple petunias, fuschia Lantana (Irene), a flat of Mexican Heather, purple bushy thing, and a Tropicana Canna.
Kmart resulted in a Varigated Angel’s Trumpet, White Mandevilla, and two Dusty Miller.
Hebert’s gave up a two bulbs, one Pineapple Lily and an AmeraCrinum.
Saw the neatest house between New Iberia and St. Martinville. Took a few pictures
This afternoon Cel planted the Caladium and Petunias this afternoon. I planted the Lantana, Dusty Miller, and Angel’s Trumpets, the new variegated and the two from Gregg, the new Tropicana Canna, and the Clematis.
After seeing a Mimosa we liked, I went ahead and planted the our on the left end of the T bed. This one had volunteered under the house. With my true, can’t kill a tree attitude, I had it in a pot since last fall.
Got a good rain this afternoon, just under 1" so I hit the whole yard with Bill's Perfect Blend. It took the full two gallons making quick runs across the yard. Next time I'll make three. The only plant I might have missed is Mr. Joe's bougainvillea. Everything is in the ground with the exception of one passion plant. Before spraying that I hit the daylilies, amaryllis, roses, glads, and grass with a fungicide again. Many daylilies and most of the amaryllis were suffering from rust. The glads had both rust and a very heavy infestation of what I suspect is thrips. The roses were preventive.
The new bulbs in the patio bed are starting to come up. Sure wish I remembered what I planted where. Oh well, that is part of the fun. The lone St. Joseph's lily bloom for this year bloomed in the dining room window bed. It was an heirloom that came with the house. Three small ones came up under the pecan tree where my originals came from but the
May 16, 2001
Lots of activity, but I have not been diligent in the logging. Unfortunately we have had no rain since the very light rains in the beginning of May. It has been a real struggle with so many new non-established plants. Let me attempt to recall the events of the last two weeks.
I finally found my Key Lime tree. It is not yet planted. I finalized the design of the Cross Bed, now officially named Crucifix Bed due to its new and final design. If I say so myself it is a sight to see. The design is in the Beds section. Basically I connected all of the bed into a contiguous bed and put two conjoining circles on each of the four ends. The circles contain eight Loropetalum (Purple Fringe Flower). One end contains two new Daylilies that picked up a Cleggs for Celeste. All were planted this week.
I also picked up a Purple Passion Flower to compliment my red one and planted it on the left end of the Iris bed. The red on has slowed on the flowering. I was afraid it was getting insufficient sunlight but the new growth looks healthy and it is growing primarily towards the shade to we'll leave it for the summer. I have no idea if these plants will make the winter.
The new bulbs added to the Patio bed are growing but performance is very disappointing, probably due to the lack of rain. One of the crinums added to the left side is blooming, so I will finally get to see what these rescued bulbs look like.
The Acidanthera under the Cornelia are looking good but show no signs of flowering. The hardy and new glads were a miserable failure this year falling victim to thrips. With one notable exception everyone else's looked the same.
While shopping for Mother's Day we picked up a Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow plant (Brunfelsia grandiflora). It is not yet planted pending some research from the local plant shop in Jeanerette.
Got some Mexican Heather at Walmart which we planted in the Living Room Window Bed and a Lavender Trailing Lantana which I planted in the left corner of the Back Bed along with some other Lantana.
We planted some Blue Angelonia and Blue Salvia in the Dining Room Window Bed along with four white Azalea.
May 19, 2001
For the first time ever, I went to Gnz yesterday and brought back no plants, but I still intend to grab the Mexican Heather from the front and level the beds.
Back at home, family sickness and dry uppers 80s heat kept this to a light day. I did add the Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow plant at the end of the front walk on the left side. At the base, I put in some Mexican Heather we had in surplus. I added some under the Cornelia across the walk as well. Also put in some Marigolds that Cel's mom had grown from seed. I counted 63 daylily blooms a few days ago, which was a new record for us. Today, it looked like a light bloom day with only 42. I remember just last year the first time we counted 42 and couldn;t believe all of those daylily. The glads are done just about everywhere and most folks have cut their hollyhocks down this week. My Acidanthera have yet to bloom and may not due to the drought. The crepe myrtle leaves began to yellow this week and the grass underneath was drying up. Water has become a major chore as almost all of our plants have yet to establish. Betty Boop just finished a minor flush of roses and has a lot of new growth.
The rose from Cel's grandma Lejeune is still blooming. New Dawn sent some new roses and has more buds fixing to bloom. I has already reached the top of the arch with two shoots. The Daylilies add at the base of New Dawn have yet to bloom. The White Clematis hasn't produced any new blooms but is actively growing so I have hopes for it. The White Mandevilla is beutiful and full of flowers. It has outgrown it's pot. All of the Hibiscus are not growing much, but they have begun to flower again so that is a good sign. The Gardenia looks happy as it can be. The mums are blooming like fools in the middle of May. Go figure.
Elsewhere in the garden it is just water, water, water, and pray for rain.
May 20, 2001
Watered and watered some more today. The moonflower seeds planted two days ago came up already. I placed them in a pot on the front porch to climb the wrought iron post. I put the potted white Mandevilla to climb the other post. I also sunk one of the 4x8 frames into the veggie area and tilled the it up. I planted one 4x4 area with Edamame seedlings. They were also coming up after 4 days and about 50% had germinated. Little else was accomplished gardening wise today due to the upper 80s full sun day. It was tough.
As summer heat takes over I have decided to turn my efforts from acquisition to propagation.
May 29, 2001
We need rain. We made a three day Memorial Day trip to Gulf Shores, Ala. and upon return many plants were near critical with just three days without irrigation. Temperatures here at home reached 97 today with still no rain in the forecast. Most plants are hanging in even though most were not ready for this kind of heat and no rain. Salt buildup from intense irrigation may become an issue very soon. Most affected are the Lace Cap Hydrangea, which was transplanted over the winter, and the back bed azaleas, which are in a very well drained section of yard. Good drainage, or raised beds in Louisiana, with its sometimes torrential rains, is an absolute necessity in most years, but in the last two years with the drought they have been a curse requiring extensive irrigation.
Now for the good news. During out trip to Ala. we found some great nurseries with selections not normally found locally and at great prices as well. We will return for the nurseries alone, the beach is a bonus. I picked up some Caster Plants which I had been looking for and a great yellow flowering variegated Lantana. At another nursery we picked up 3 more Agapanthus and the largest flowered Rudbeckia either of us had ever seen.
June 6, 2001
Finally rain and not a minute too soon. Heat damage and/or burns, probably from salt built up from excess irrigation, was taking its toll on many plants. Too make matters worse I was irrigating with water downstream from the softeners which means sodium. Thanks to Tropical Storm Allison we got nearly three inches over the last 24 hours, which is still only half of what Lafayette got right up the road, but more is forecast over the next few days. We need it because there are still some cracks showing in the soil.
Now on to the observations. The Purple Passion Flower seems to be settling in with two flowers showing and more buds. Hadn't seen the Climatis in a while. Since it isn't supposed to do well here, imaging my surprise to see it had grown from 8 inches to 3 feet in only a month or so with two flower buds about to open. The Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow has opened its first flower since being planted which is a good sign. The Hibiscus have began to actively bloom so I guess they have aclimated. All crinums now have bloom scapes. Tomatoes have split with the additional rain. Things are looking up.
Got a bid on some ebay plants too. More about them later.
June 9, 2001
Now this is the good old Louisiana we build those raised beds for. We are now at around 8 inches of rain over the last few days. It has rained for at least 6 hours each day for the last 5 days since tropical storm Allison was born with no sign of slowing in sight. It is a good time to update the website, look out of the window and plan.
14th - Boy the summer and the garden have gotten away from me. We have had some successes and some failures. I may have built my beds to be too well draining. Keeping things watered has been a real challenge but given that hardly anything is established I guess it's too be expected. We got around 2 inches this week which has kept things in check.
I am nearing 50% on the Southern Living garden. My goal is to build a garden beautiful enough to be included in the magazine. It will take years but we are on the way. The amount of progress in only a few months has been amazing. My neighbors are shaking their heads at the amount of work I am putting in. I brought in my second truck load of free Lafayette Parish compost this week. It will take at least 4 more truck loads just to fill in the side beds.
Gregg gave me some Coleus and Castor Bean plants that have been placed. Most of my Citrus plants have turned around and are doing well. They are winners. The azaleas in the back are big losers. Most look terrible, on will probably die, and all are full of black bugs on the undersides of the leaves. The roses are showing summer stress as well, but overall don't look too bad considering. This winter I will swap Ms. Lejeune's rose with Cornelia. Since pulling out the front fence it just doesn't go anymore. Really it was a bad choice from the start. Lady Banks is doing good.
August 20, 2001
Look out, the Naked Ladies are dancing on the lawn. A couple of early one have popped up, a pink under the front crepe myrtle and one under the pecan tree. The Image product when mixed with Roundup seems to be the ticket for controlling nut sedge, or coco grass as it is locally known. We have had rain nearly every day for the past 30 days. Not a single case of root rot which speaks well for the drainage, although I have had to stake a few plants to keep them from falling over.
We started getting ready for the fall season this weekend. Old plants were removed from the veggie area and planting areas were tilled. The raised frames were put into place and 4 better bush tomatoes were planted for a fall crop. Areas between the beds were mulched with grass clippings.
September 1, 2001
Labor Day weekend found us in Galveston visiting Moody Gardens. What a wonderful place, both Galveston, Moody Gardens Hotel, and the Rainforest Exhibit. There were many homes in Galveston with wonderful tropical landscaping. Even though it rained everyday and all day for the three days we were there we had a great time. Rain Lilies were popping up everywhere and many Spider Lilies were in bloom in the marsh visible from the highway. Hibiscus everywhere were blooming, both hardy and tropical.
There were several great plant shops, the best of which was The Plant House which had many different tropicals that I had not seen before. Below are the plants we brought home.
Sesbania, Scarlet Wisteria
American Beauty Berry
Cassia Alata, Candlestick
Quisqualis indica, Rangoon Creeper
Hibiscus Confederate Rose
Pachystachys Lutea, Yellow Shrimp Plant
Hibiscus Rosa-Sinsus Cooperii
Hibiscus Florida Sunset
Plumeria, Yellow Flower
Tecomaria capensis, Cape Honeysuckle
This week the first Narcissus broke ground in several clumps and the Naked Ladies began to appear. Light pink under the Crape Myrtle in the front and red under the pecan tree. The Iris are starting to come on with many in the 3 to 6 inch range, so I weeded their bed to reduce competition.
Sprayed the roses with fungicide and insecticide. Even the old roses are suffering with the daily rains for over 30 days running.
I am beginning to increase my logging again. Of course, this log entry would not be complete with mention of the horrible tragedy in New York and Washington. We are burning a candle on the front porch where our American flag is displayed in remembrance.
The incredible month of daily rain claimed a few victims in the garden. The German iris are goners as is my large Poinsettia. I have three Poinsettia's planted in a single clump. Why the largest died and the other do are fine escapes me.
Although I have wonderfully healthy bougainvillea's they just don't bloom much. I just read on the acadianagardening.com website about this formula which I will try this weekend. "I feed them every two weeks during the growing season with a mixture of the following in 1 gallon of water: 2 tablespoons Superbloom, 2 tablespoons Miracle Gro and 2 tablespoons Epsom salt.- Bessie LeBlanc. Well Bessie, we'll know in a couple of weeks if your formula works for me as well.
Changes in the garden. I moved the Tasmanian and Australian tree ferns to the shade bed. If they do as well as the Acanthus that I moved to that area they will be fabulous. So far I have seen no ill results of the move. The Australian tree fern had two emerging fronds that I am worried about. The Tasmanian has been hanging on to life for a while but my hopes are for the kind of comeback the Acanthus made. They look some much better you wouldn't even think they were the same plants.
The naked ladies look awesome with a least five groupings now showing near the Pecan tress. My Acidanthera are blooming along the front walk with a wonderful fragrance. The Firespike below the kitchen windows is blooming in the last week but I will sacrifice the blooms to get it moved to the shade bed tomorrow as I finish dismantling this bed for good.
October 2001 Garden Logs
First week of October. Fall planting season has begun and cooler weather has arrived. Haven't seen the nineties in nearly two weeks. It has been a dry month as well with only .06 inches so far this month and less than 2 inches in September. All plants are established well though and nothing is suffering. I thank Schult's Plant Starter with that. It is a truly wonderful product.
In the first day of the month I moved everything out of the kitchen windows bed. The Firespike which was in the middle of flowering never missed a beat. The Australian Tree Fern also never missed a beat opening the frond which was half way open at the move and another within a week. A new frond is now about 3 inches high. I credit this move's success to the product mentioned in the above paragraph and ample amounts of compost incorporating into and placed above the soil. In all garden beds where the grass was killed with Roundup and then 4 inches of Parish compost put on top a couple months ago one feels like a worm murderer just putting a shovel in the soil. Every single shovel full will net at least 4 worms or more.
I picked up a plant called an India Carnation at a small backyard nursery near Parks, La and planted it. It has dark glossy green leaves and supposedly makes a small white carnation looking flower. I have been able to find no references under that name. If anyone has a clue as to what this plant might be please drop me an email. I'll post some pictures in the spring when it flowers. At Iberia Gardens I picked up a Variegated Gardenia and planted it as well. At Backyard Plants and things in Patoutville, LA I got a Hidden Lily Ginger and in the ground it went.
A trip to Forest Hill, La sent us home with two new Azaleas called Pink Ruffle, a Banana Shrub which has been on my wanted list for a long time, a Buddleia, and two Senna. All but the Senna are planted.
On the way to Forest Hill we stopped by the Plant Sale at the Ira Nelson Horticultural Center on the University of Louisiana Lafayette Campus. We had a great conversation with the butterfly lady. We got two Milkweed for the Monarch Butterflies and I got my native Passionflower, the Maypop which was another plant on my wanted list. It is also the host plant for the Gulf Fritillary Butterfly. They were already enjoying my tropical PassionFlower, but the damage was negligible. We built a new horseshoe shaped Butterfly Bed for Cel.
I have decided to completely rework the front beds. The Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow and Peruvian Lilies, and Angel's Trumpet were all moved to back beds. The Angel's Trumpet took it the worst and might lose all of its leaves. More front plants will be moved soon.
I planted the cabbage in the 2nd week of October. The fall bush tomatoes are almost 3 feet tall but did not start flowering until this week after I socked them with Shultze liquid tomato food. The tomato volunteer that came up in July in the shell drive way is now 3 feet tall in its 14 inch pot with a dozen flowers. It is indeterminate. Several more volunteers have popped up in the garden mulch between the beds. I put fertilizer on them as well, but they better grow fast. Might try moving a couple into pops in the greenhouse.
Got the green houses cleaned out for winter this weekend also.
I have used combinations of natural and artificial fertilizers and experiment with just about anything. I think when these inventories are gone by early spring I will go strictly to compost and manure tea. In other words totally organic, but more importantly free.
Got a four day weekend coming up and hope to finish my fall chores and coast into winter from here.
Well, October flew by and daylight savings time is gone. While the backyard is beautiful, the front yard looks to be planning disaster. All plants will be moved to the back beds and I will start over with a professional designer for the front beds.
With November a few days away, the unseasonable cool weather (low 40s) has some things perking up, but many things showing signs of fading into dormancy. The fall tomatoes have a small crop but had better step it up if I am going to get a harvest before first frost which is probably about 30 days away. Put in yellow Pansies for Cel this week. Veggie gardens have fall tomatoes, bunching onions planted only two weeks ago are already yielding a steady harvest. The cabbage are growing well despite the lack of rain. Collard greens are OK. Sweet onions, garlic are doing well. I put in a late crop of small red potatoes just for the fun of it. I still have some bed space left and found several packs of seeds from last year. If they are still viable, I'll put in some cabbage and beets.
Took Coleus cuttings for the spring crop. This weekend I'll do the same with the Angel's Trumpets and Hibiscus. In mid to late November we will dig the Hibiscus from the beds and store in the greenhouse till spring. At that point we'll till in lots of that free compost.
The Confederate Rose is opening it's second bloom this first week of November. Our new Plumbago has made a small second bloom. The Cape Honeysuckle has doubled in size and has lots of new growth. Today the butterfly bed was planted out and the Buddleia was deadheaded.
Picked up a Hummingbird Bush, a beautiful Phoenix Robellini, a Jatropha, and a small Duranta on Alternate Friday. The Hummingbird went next to the Buddleia in the Butterfly Bed. The Phoenix into the round bed in front of the Butterfly Bed, and the Duranta into a pot to be greenhoused over this winter. The Jatropha went into the left edge bed between the Grapefruit trees. The Confederate Rose that was rescued from the New Iberia Split house, now well rooted, was moved from the greenhouse to the rear edge bed behind the Dwarf Nectarines. It will balance the Confederate Rose on the other side of the bed. I also found an empty spot for that variegate Louisiana Sweet Orange tree I have had my eye on.
I moved the four Cannas that had formed the of the Iris bed to conform to its new shape.
Thanksgiving Week - Finally some rain. Only ¾ inches, but the plants sure appreciated it. This was polish up week getting ready to move into the winter season. I finished removing the Patio Bed. It is no more. The Bleeding Heart went into the greenhouse as did most of the small bulbs. I recovered 4 of last year's Amaryllis bulbs in good shape. The 4 large Crinums were moved under the Pecan tree, which is ironically, where they originated from almost 3 years prior. The largest was about double the size of a softball. I also finished removing the old concrete bed frame behind the sunroom which has really opened up this area nicely. Even moved the Cannas that were next to the garage door. Still remaining in the Giant Elephant Ear, Rice Plant, and other goodies in the corner. I will decide their fate after the first frost takes them down. Now to the front yard. A complete start over was in order and that is what I did, or at least started. I first picked up the Acidanthera corms which did so well this year. They are drying in the greenhouse. Next the Cornelia Rose was moved across the arbor from New Dawn. I moved MaJeurne's rose bush to the center of the arbor. The rose abor has a white antique rose on one side, pink antique rose on the other and a red hybrid tea in the center. Should be stunning when in bloom. I then picked up an Amarylllis bulb from last year, and what I think I remember as a Spider Lily. Last in the end beds were six large Mexican Heather, which was potted along with the bulbs. I then moved all of the small Daylilies that lined the front walk to the circles around the Lorepetalum in the main Daylily bed. Now, with my attention turned into the old beds, both Variegated LaceCap Hydrangea were moved into back beds, along with the small Split Leaf Philodendrum.
December arrives with little fanfare and even less rain. Since the beginning of September we have had less than 1 inch of rain cumulative. Today, the 12th we have rain in the forecast but nothing but a trace thus far. I have redone the front beds. It is a drastic improvement and no plants were purchased. Actually I moved several plants to back beds. Truck load 18 of compost came in to complete these beds.
December 14th brought us a beautiful warm Saturday. I spent the whole day taking care of misc. garden chores. Today, I planted my newly obtained Blue Ribbon Sugar Cane in four small stands along the back of the garden near the fences. Also into the ground went 4 packs of Blue Musseli in the front of various beds. Some Winter Hardy Glads went into the beds near the Pecan Tree to balance the ones that are in front of the Rose Arbor Bed. Two packs of Narcissus went in the ground today under the Pecan Tree. I moved the Xanadu and ?? from towards the front on the beds today. The small Azalea near Jasmine Wabohh was moved near the other Azalea in the bed. The White Azalea on the left of the Apple that was a lone survivor was moved near the Azalea in the center of the Bridal Wreath Bed. The lone surviving Purple Fringe Flower was moved to the center of the bed in front of the Apple.
We havested some Collard Greens today. I also placed the old fence gate as an arbor for the Raspberries to grow on. While doing that I moved another Raspberry that was planted near Jasmine Wabohh to make sure that 2 raspberries were on the gate arbor.
Winter Arrives for Christmas
It is site upgrade time so I am starting here. Christmas 2001 is a couple days away and hopes for this zone cheaters mild winter will soon be dashed. My zone 10 plants are certain not to like the Christmas night low of 25 with another night of the same to follow. Lows the entire week are forecast for 35 and under. Goodbye Jatropha, Carnation of India, Bougainvillea, Duranta, Avocade, Jacaranda, and others. I'll be covering but prayers may be needed as well. Hopefully the forecasters are wrong.
Well, our local weather played a nasty trick. Predictions for those two days on the day of were 31 and 30. Actuals came in at 30 and a deadly 27. Three degress may not sound like much but to a zone cheater it can be, and was, deadly. My coverings woefully inadequate. My zone 10 plants like Carnation of India, look just plain dead. Also on the doubtful list is my Jacaranda, and both of my "in the ground" bougainvilleas and Angel's Trumpets. I'll get a better look today in between the predicted hail. Even worst is more upper 20s predictions a few days ahead of us. Hopes for a mild winter are dashed "big time."
Garden are full of surprises. Results of the first hard freeze of the season are in. Expected to be devastated, but amazingly almost totally unaffected were the Avocado, Schefflera, and Duranta all of which were not even covered. Affected, but still alive are the Castor Beans, Bougainvillea (rear of pond), and Jatropha. Even though well covered the Key Lime has some moderate foliage damage. My Carnation of India even has a few leaves still healthy near the bottom. Now, I read something very interesting and totally contradictory to all of my previous readings and very interesting for zone cheaters. The theory is to fertilize tropical and subtropical plants during the winter with the idea that the increased salts in the leaves would afford 3 to 5 additional degrees of freeze protection minimizing or eliminating damage to the tree as a whole with the small price to pay of loss of a little tender new growth. So, starting tomorrow, on goes the fertilizer.
Veggie beds were cleaned up today. The fall tomatoes bit the dust with the freeze but not before yielding a couple dozen beautiful tomatoes. That handful of mushy potatoes that I planted way too late were dug up today and provided about 10 pounds of really good looking red potatoes. I pulled up a couple of Dahlia tubers that had sprung up and one is the biggest I have ever seen.
Well, this is my last entry for the year and a goodbye to 2001. Today, I applied the fertilizer spikes to all of the Citrus trees at 3 for each. Eight went to the big Loquat and six to the smaller one. Four were applied to the apple tree and three each to the Nectarines. I move the Texas Everbearing Fig back in the bed to center it better between the two Cassias. In the other corner I moved the Golden Raintree further forward in the bed and the fig in that corner will be removed. At first glance I do not have a place to move the fig so I am looking for a new home for it at my brother-in-laws house.
A couple of my Asiatic Lilies took some freeze damage but most are fine. About half of the Muscari have broken ground and the new Winter Hardy Glads are coming on fast. Hopefully the Thrips will leave me a few flowers this year. No flowers spikes on any of the Narcissus yet, but I am hoping. Most were established naturalized clumps that were moved last year so they may not flower at all this year.
So long 2001.