Friday, December 30, 2005

December 11, 2005 - Not a lot of action today, but I did move 20 to 30 Alstromeria and assorted bulbs into the Escape Under the Oaks West Bed. I did a little marking for some new plants that need to be transplanted which are Rain Trees, Mimosa, and Loquats. It seems that the local Rain Tree is actually a Chinese Rain Tree or Formosan Rain Tree. They are fast growers here and the climate seems to suit them perfectly. As far as I can tell their only natural enemy locally is the hurricane.


December 12, 2005 - Holiday, shopping, warm feelings. That about sums it up. Little things here and there in the garden getting done. Yesterday, I forgot to mention that I did rescue about 10 to 20 Iris' which were moved to the land. Last year, Cel mowed down the Iris beds and let the Saint Augustine grass have its way. Throughout the summer the beds were mown. The grass looks wonderful and I feared that all Iris had been lost. There were many special Iris there. Some real beauties purchased from a nursery near Gonzales years ago. Many that were dug from ditches across South Louisiana including a small native Louisiana Red Iris. Actually it is more like brown. I am carefully watching as the grass has stopped growing and fall rains have brought the Iris that survived back to life. The corms I am finding are small but healthy. I spotted a few more today to get tomorrow. Today, I made two small additions to the flock. One was the second purple flowering Firespike (Odontonema strictum) and the other was is known locally as a Mamou Tree (Erythrina herbacea). Actually my new Mamou Tree, is a one foot tall cutting. Such small tender plants usually meet a bad fate with me, but I will keep trying. It seems Cajun Louisiana always has some interesting stories. Here is one about the Mamou Plant.

"The Mamou Tree - What we Cajuns call la plante Mamou (rarely called un arbe Mamou) is the Coral Tree of the genus Leguminosae which comprises about 100 species. It is native to the tropical regions of the world. The coral tree was probably first called la plante Mamou because they grew abundantly on La Grande Prairie Mamou. Although found throughout Louisiana, and other parts of the southeast United States, early settlers of southwestern Louisiana probably learned of the medicinal properties of the plant from Indian tribes - the Chitamacha, Coushatta, Choctaw, Houma and the supposedly canabalistic Attakapa tribe. I was told years ago that two species of the coral tree grows on the Mamou Prairie. The first specie, Leguminosae of the genus Erythina, grows from six and a half feet to eight and a half feet. The second is the E.herbaacca of the same genus, and grows four to five feet tall, with large clusters of scarlet flowers. Both species are bushy plants, with a strong woody rootstock. Branches are spiny and the leaves are composed of three leathery green leaflets. The large Vermillion flowers (bright red) grow in spikes from mid-summer to mid-fall. The spikes later form pods where the beautiful scarlet seeds are. After the flowers become pods of seed, the branches die after this. The Indians taught the French-speaking people how to boil the red seeds and the roots of the plant to make un the d'Mamou, or sometimes called un sirop d'Mamou. The seeds and roots had to be boiled with water over a hot fire on a wood stove or open fireplace for a long time, stirring it and adding sugar to make the syrupy brew. The finished product was good pour ouvert les narines (to open the nostrils), la congestion de la poitrine (chest congestion), le rhume et la fievre (cold & fever) and other health problems. It worked, and doctors today agree that many of the old herbal remedies were really good. The Indians had also shown the Cajuns and Creoles how to pierce the hard seeds to use as grains a colliers (NECKLACES), bracelets and even chapelets (rosaries). There was a strong superstition among Cajuns that when boiling les grains Mamou for du sirop Mamou an odd number should be used, never an even number. A few years ago, my late aunt, Enis Tate, had a Mamou plant in her back yard, and I gave many people some seeds. Remember reading about the fellow that was called Johnny Appleseed who went around the country planting and donating apple seeds. I WAS A SORT OF Pascal Mamouseed giving and sending des grains Mamou. I remember sending some to a lady in Texas and to Jacqui Michot (sister of Louis Michot) in New Orleans. My friend, Jude Feucht was sort of my adviser and distributor. To grow and cultivate the colorful plant you should choose open soil in a very sunny position and frequent watering is advised in summer. You can propogate by seed after soaking for 24 hours, and germinate using bottom heat. Or you can take cuttings of young shoots with a heel and plant in a sandbox or sandy soil in spring with some bottom heat. But, probably the easiest way to assure success is to take shavings of the roots and plant in sandy soil in late January or early February. Bonne chance! (Reprinted from the Bonnes Nouvelles)

December 17th, 2005 - Well, our traditional wet cool winter seems to have set in. Got a break yesterday, but it has rained constantly since last night. The lows have been manageable in the upper 30 and low 40s. I left the Sunroom plants out of doors. Cool and wet is still better than warm and dry for most of them. The other will just go dormant and need the rest anyway. With low projected near freezing in a few nights they will come in anyway soon enough. The picture on the left shows the rear acre of the gardens near the bayou. The big lump of clay in the foreground is the pad for the house. Since the picture most of the form board have been put into place. The whole area is rapidly becoming one big mud hole. Kind of distressing, but I keep visualizing what it will look like when done. In the rear on the right is the reassembled greenhouse doing its job one more time. One the left the little green lumps on the lawn are the Narcissus coming up where I have been naturalizing them. The first few blooms are beginning to open, but we are still way ahead of the peek bloom. Behind them is the Iron Sugar Kettle. To put things into scale it is actually 6 feet in diameter. The black pots behind the greenhouse are 20" nursery pots holding my poor climbing old garden roses. This is their third move in so many years. I have a new idea which would place them their with the Church idea. I even have a name, "St. Joseph's Church of The New Dawn." The idea might stick, might not.

Well, no gardening today, but is a good day to look at websites and seed catalogs. Was just going through my newly received Park Seed catalog. There a few little things in there I would like to get. Let me slip one more picture in. Here, next to the old garage our Rice Paper Plant bloomed with one of the prettiest blooms I have ever seen on one of these plants. This is right next to where Hurricane Lili destroyed the end of the garage and attached greenhouse.

December 15th, 2005 - Well not much for the log, mostly wet, cool, and my day job. I did get in a Paw Paw Tree that i bought off of ebay. Judging by the root structure of the bare root plant that arrived, I will be amazed if it survives. I essentially has most of one tap root, bent in half, with not a single small or hair root originating from the tap root. Perhaps that is normal for a Paw Paw Tree, but it is sure unusual. I have it heeled in right now and will plant this weekend. I'll say a prayer. I already have one Paw Paw, but read somewhere that is needs to be pollinated by different type. So I figured one from across the country might be dissimilar enough from one propagated locally. Scientific enough, right? Don't hold the laughter I am laughing too. I made a few more impulse plant buys on eBay, really small stuff like bulbs. More rain, and more cool on the way, but it is a great time to plant hardy plants here, much better than spring.

December 18th, 2005 - Well it was another "putter around" day. After a solid day of rain yesterday came a beautiful day today, but everything was far too soggy to get into anything big. I did get a few thing on the to-do list done. From the Twin Pins bed I dug up and potted a Variegated Hibiscus, a Jatropha, and Pride of Barbados. All were fairly small and now reside in the greenhouse. There are many other plants in that area to be dug and potted, but I have not pots big enough. Fortunately I passed a new commercial construction site and in the large trash pile were quite a few really large 20" nursery pots. Hopefully they will still be there tomorrow. Hey, I am not to proud to dig in the trash. I do live on a budget till I win the lottery. Speaking of scrounging, I finally went over to right of way on the side of Hwy 182 where some 24" inch native Magnolia seedlings were growing. I dug them up and potted them. They were just missed by the weed killer this year and surely would have been done in next summer. One came up with a nice root ball and should make it fine. The other came up a little rougher so we will see. There is a third one there and a small Eastern Red Cedar that I will dig up. The last plant item dealt with today was repotting the large Norfolk Pine I picked up from the road side dump.

December 26th, 2005 - As would be expected, didn't do much gardening over the Christmas. My friend did bring me back two Avocado plants "Wilma" variety from Fanick's Nursery in San Antonio. I have a nice protected spot scoped out for one, will have to decide on a spot for the second. I also have a Hass seedling in the greenhouse. Since it seems from reading that the hardy Avocado out there to date are just chance seedlings that demonstrated some cold hardiness I will continue to randomly plant Hass seedlings and hope to get that one in a thousand. Since I love to eat Avocado's the experiment is free anyway. Most plants in the greenhouse as doing OK, but we have had no major cold weather. My parents over in Baton Rouge have had several freezes and low down to 28 one night, while here we have had two light frost with a low of 34-35. All of my plant are back out of the sunroom and onto the patio for at least a week as this mild winter is projected to continue. My Pride of Barbados looks dead again. The one I tried to dig up last year died. This one was much, much smaller, but apparently they really, really don't like to be transplanted. Cel and I took a walk through the gardens today. The newly moved Alstromeria look good. The Schefflera is doing great. The newly planted purple flowered Fire Spikes are doing OK. The American Beauty Berry and the False Indigo need to be moved and the bed reshaped. The Cross Bed needs some slight reshaping to align it with the house.

December 30, 2005 - Mostly work and not much gardening, but for lack of nothing I will put a few items in here. I replace the GardenWeb Message Board Link with the overall link http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/south/ which provides links to several message boards of interest to Gulf Coast Gardeners. I also picked up a new book which I haven't had time to read. I'll give a mini book review later. For now, I am just publishing its availability. I also picked up a new book by our local garden columnist Ann Justice entitled "Ornamental Gardening in Acadiana & the Gulf States: Questions and Answers." This book is simple compilation of the questions and answers from several years of her gardening column in the newspaper. I have read this book. There is quite a bit of unique and hard to find information in this book, particularly as it relates to heirlooms, localized common names, what might be doing well in particular micro climates, plants that should do well here but do, etc. It will certainly be a reference book that I pull off the shelf on a regular basis. Maybe I should get a second copy. Last item up for the night, this message board, http://www.homeandgardensite.com/, is not specific to the Gulf Coast, but it is fairly easy to pick out item relevant to our zone and of interest.

Friday, December 9, 2005

December 9th, 2005 - Nothing gardening related, although the forecast for a freeze tonight was adjusted upward to a low of 34. Should be able to get the plants back out tomorrow as the low of 39 will be tolerated by most, certainly a lot more tolerated that the warm dry conditions of the sunroom. In the greenhouse, just opening the door will do the trick. Here is a picture of the greenhouse after Hurricane Rita remodeled it. By the way, this is not the original greenhouse site. The wreckage is sitting about 50 feet to the north of where it originally resided. Amazingly, it is back together courtesy of oversized screws since the original screw holes were stripped out of the soft aluminum frame. I need to do some homemade bracing before next Hurricane Season.


On the positive side, presenting Farley, Francis, Priscilla, and appropriately, Katrina and Rita. They were born just after Hurricane Rita so the picture is a little aged. They are growing fast and a lot of fun. Most of the trees are OK, although we have lost a few smaller limbs due to their daylight to dark play shenanigans. Don't mind a bit either. They are a lot of fun.

Below are a few pictures of Hurricane Rita's visit to the gardens. All in all, not nearly as bad as Hurricane Lili just a few years ago, but destructive and disruptive non the less. One the left is the Morning glory tree and Rangoon creeper. Next is the fish kill in Bayou Teche. These fish kills alway follow hurricanes. As the organic matter, mostly masses of leaves begins to decompose, the oxygen levels in the bayous drop. Next picture is (was) by beautiful Hardy Orchid Tree. Although it was sold without ID, I believe it to be Bauhinia lunarioides, the white flowering variety. It seems to be OK, but in its weakened state I will worry if we have a hard winter. On the far left is my 4-wheeler, still chained to the Parkinsonia, which we had just pulled back into vertical status. It appears to be no worse for the wear. I remember a beautiful Parkinsonia planted on the front grounds of a Lafayette company that I visit frequently. It went down in Hurricane Lili. A shame as it was such a beautiful tree in bloom. I wonder if they could have saved it. It was fairly large, but they are very drought tolerant which may lead to their ability to bounce back after extensive root damage. Back in Hurricane Andrew my in-laws saved a large raintree (Koelreuteria elegans) in the same way, which is now doing great and quite beautiful today.




Thursday, December 8, 2005

November 19th, 2005 - Slowly started to get this site back into my routine. Have some pictures to put up next week. Damage from the hurricane is slowly coming along. The greenhouse is completely repaired and reassembled, save for one roof panel which is missing. Originally I thought I had found all of the parts, but final reassembly revealed my miscalculation. This panel probably wound up in Bayou Teche so could be anywhere between New Iberia and the Gulf of Mexico by now. I inquired about a replacement from Gardener's Supply Company by email, but have received no response after 2 weeks. Normally their service is good, but this one found the proverbial crack and fell through it, I suppose. I might just replace that panel with an opaque panel (read 1/4" plywood) anyway. The panel faces southwest and heat is always an issue in the summer. Winter is finally peaking around the corner here with a couple of nights recently in the mid 40s. As this is the greenhouse where I over-winter my tropical plants I will have to make a decision soon. I will also take the opportunity to move the little greenhouse.


Still no bull dozer or dirt, but the surveyor came by and put in the stakes to mark the location for the dirt work to begin. It is unlikely I will see any work next week due to Thanksgiving, but hopefully the week after that we will be in business.

Fall, along with the move has also triggered a lot of projects. Back at the old house I have begun digging and potting the last of the plants I want to take with us. I think I finally have all of the crinums, elephant ears, narcissus, and lycoris. Or at least I did think that. Seems like every few days something else starts to come up. Just found a new batch of narcissus and a few more lycoris just came up around the crape myrtle. I also have the ginger up with the exception of the large patch of shampoo ginger by the Grapefruit tree. Shame I have to leave that Grapefruit. Beautiful, but way to large to move. I did buy a new one for New Dawn which will be planted after the house is framed and the exterior work completed.

November 23rd, 2005 - Hurricane Rita tore up the Citrus trees along with a semi-drought. THat stress on my still young trees caused most of the crop to drop last month before the fruit were ripe. Although badly bent the Tangerine Tree held onto its fruit. They are small and definitely tart. Not up to peel by hand and eat, but the do fine being juiced. I had my first fresh glass today. The Moro Blood Orange is exceptionally healthy but produced only two fruit. My Louisiana Sweet Orange has a dozen or so oranges that are still far from ripe. The Variegated Orange, which is really strange hybrid did poorly this year even before the weather, but still holds close to a dozen fruit. All Satsuma fruit dropped, every last one. All of these trees are either young or transplants so next year, barring we don't have a harsh winter, they will begin to come into their own.

After a dry spell, idea and renewed energy for New Dawn's gardens are again flowing. Most of the bulbs have been planted into 4 major areas. Three are bed and the forth is a naturalization effort begun last year. It is getting really hard to describe the different spots over the 3 acres so I have to come up with a naming scheme to describe the various beds and areas. Loquat Ally may be one, which is two large beds with a walk way cutting right through the middle. Each bed today has two Loquat Trees and one fig tree. I have been searching my mind for a plant that was cheap enough for me to afford en masse and also tough enough to out compete the weeds and grasses that I battle all year in those beds. Today, the idea of 4O'Clocks came to mind. I have quite a few and tons of seeds. Once established keeping them in bounds will likely be the issue. Another plus is the smell which, in that quantity, should fill the entire middle gardens from mid summer till frost.

November 25th, 2005 - Lots of work today, mostly in the layout and planning stage. Today, I finally put all of the bulbs in place in The Grate West Bed. Although I did not count them, at least 50 and probably closer to 100 crinum were planted. Odd and ends including some Lycoris Radiate and Daylilies. I usually refer to the Lycoris Radiata as Naked Ladies, but from here on will refer to Lycoris Radiata (lower right) as "Hurricane Lilies and to the Amaryllis Belladona as "Naked Ladies." I have both in the garden, but most are Hurricane Lilies and only a few are Naked Ladies. I have had a time with the later finding them a home which they enjoy. The west bed is now finished. The arbor crosses the walkway between the The Grate East Bed and The Grate West Bed. In the West Bed are basically two Crinum species, one being Milk and Wine (upper left) and the other being Crinum x Ellen Bosanquet (upper right). This pretty much concludes the bulb move for now, although there bulbs seems to constantly be popping up at the old place. A very large patch of Narcissus just popped up and several small patches. I think that I may never get them all, but I guess that is kind of a good thing really. There is so much still to do.

November 26th, 2005 - Finally got a really good slow rain this evening. I don't remember a good rain like this since before Hurricane Katrina. I got very little done today garden wise although I did pop up the bulbs that had newly surface under the pecan tree. I don't think I will ever get them all. Probably found another 50 or so Narcissus bulbs and about the same number of Lycoris Radiata. It will be too wet to get anything done tomorrow so I get to relax, yahoo.

Over the last couple of weeks I have really enjoyed the bird life. The huge flocks of little swallow like birds that swoop in to eat the insects, were around for a couple of weeks on their way to somewhere, but have now continued on their journey. The way they would fly over the bayou less than an inch for the water was awesome. The raptors have been in for a while now. The come in each fall and can be seen on the powerlines lines that border the cane fields. The cane cutting runs the rodents from the field into the ditches between the powerlines and fields making for easy pickings for the raptors, but also means quite a few raptors will fall victim the fronts of cars as the rodents with bird in chase attempt to make it across the road. On the more pleasant side, the high pitch sound of the Mississippi Kite, one of our largest raptors, is very distinct and be heard from a great distance. Sometimes I never do see this very large bird, but I always here them when they are around. Blue Jays and Cardinals popped in and out today. Late in the afternoon a couple of Blue Herons came flying up the bayou and landed on the bank across. A white heron was in the same area early in the days. The north wind tends to drive water towards the Gulf and the resulting low water exposed large mud flats on each side of the bayou which I guess makes for easy pickens for the herons. I could also heard geese somewhere on the bayou, but I never did see them. One of our old neighbors two houses over to the north had geese. He now lives about a half mile to the south on the opposite side of the bayou. I think his geese like to visit their old stomping grounds sometimes. I see them and the Mallard Ducks occasionally, but I hear the geese frequently. I plan to have some of each myself in time and also plan to put in some Wood Duck houses in hopes of attracting them. One bird I have rarely seen are woodpeckers, but since we still don't live at New Dawn perhaps I am just missing them.

November 27th, 2005 - Great rain for about 6 hours yesterday. Nice and slow so it soaked in rather than just running off as harder rains do. Today, as expected is too wet to do much and the winds blowing at 30mph from the south are reeking havoc on a few trees. By tomorrow they will be blowing with the same ferocity from the North as our next cold front arrives. Makes it really tough to get trees and shrubs established due to the stress on the roots. I had just removed the stakes, after two years, from several fruits trees. The came Hurricane Rita and not they are bent over at a 60 degree angle. Now I will have to pull them back straight and re-stake.

Back on the pleasant side, it seems that two of my climbing roses are finally recovering from the Image Herbicide that I applied without reading the label. Cornelia looks good and the little Miniature Red look as good as it has ever looked with a tremendous fall bloom. One nice surprise today came when I was looking over some small pots where I have placed some small Crepe Myrtle seedling. In one pots a foot tall plant had come up, but I didn't know what it was. Cel said it looked like an Avocado. Pushing my finger into the soil revealed that is exactly what it is, but I have no recollection at all of planting the seed in the pot.

Got a little second wind this afternoon. I stood up the Vitex which has been down since Hurricane Rita. Not that it hurt it much as it continued to bloom and didn't lose a hardly a leaf. I think it will do fine. I planted all of those new bulbs I found with exception of one large bunch of Narcissus. I will leave them to bloom in Jeanerette and move later in the spring. I put the racks back into the greenhouse and began moving in plants for the winter. Still have to replace that roof panel, but that operation is done from the outside. I also straightened up one of the sweet olives at the barn. Pruned the Sour Orange tree into a nice form and straitened it up also. Other than a couple of Citrus, the straightening from jobs created Ms. Rita are complete. Now that the house is sited, I am afraid that most all of the Twin Pines plantings must move, again, with exception of the Azalea which leave, and the Poinsettia which will be taken by the first hard freeze. The others will be placed into pots until the home is complete. I sure am glad that plants are fairly tolerant of transplanting. More bulbs are popping up every day both in the naturalization area and under the Mimosa. The rains, and the bulb fertilizer I put down a couple weeks ago should stimulate things quite nicely. Can't wait for the smell of the Narcissus.

November 29th, 2005 - A late appointment in the right direction meant actually seeing New Dawn in the daylight on a weekday. A rare treat. And one that I took advantage of. Stopped by Hebert's Nursery and picked up a FloridaKing Peach to replace the one from Lowe's that didn't make it. I suspect it might not have been suited to this climate. Due to our low chilling hours care must be taken in choosing fruit trees. I also stopped by Iberia Gardens for a load of what they call potting soil, but it is sold by the cubic yard. I also picked up a Fire Spike that makes a purple flower instead of the usual red, which now means that I have one of each. With a new supply of potting soil I dug and potted the last of the Angle's Trumpets in the back. They are primarily whites and pinks, but I don't remember which is which. That one leaves the very large yellow one to be moved, but it is too large to go into a pot and will have to be moved directly along with the large Duranta Repens which sits to its left. Straightened up the last two Citrus trees. I am enjoying the fresh fruit again. The Tangerines are hard to peel and full of seeds so I just juice them in my hand squeeze. Four tangerines, a couple of lemons, and a grapefruit. Don't know what you call that drink, really tangy, but I like that. I don't have near the grapefruit crop that I had last year, but it will still be more than Cel and I can eat in a season. They really need another month to ripen. The only thing remaining that needs a pull back to straight is the Eastern Red Cedar in the front. With the rains, it seems that more Narcissus are popping up every day. It seems that performance in my naturalization area is a bit disappointing, but I really have been able to check on more established groupings to compare. It will be interesting to see how the hardy glads come back as well. I have high hopes for them and will add many more if they do well. With the Aprium coming in January, the only fruit tree left to add with me another Mulberry species. I have one picked out from TyTy Nursery in Georgia, but have yet to order it. That is, if I keep the two pathetic looking apples.

December 4th, 2005 - Now, on the weather side, it appears winter is arriving tonight. Low tomorrow night will be around 35 and predicted low of 33 for Thursday night. The first hard frost will take down most of the great view on the photo to the left. The pair of Cassias in the photo is about 10 feet tall by 20 feet wide. Next to it is a 12 foot tall Ruby Red Grapefruit. The two blend into each other and are quite a site when the Grapefruit begin to turn yellow and the Cassia go into full bloom with their see of yellow. This site goes on for a couple of months. Actually this is early for us to get down this low, but I am certainly ready for the summer weeds to depart. I loaded most of the greenhouse plants today. It will be easy to finish from here. Biggest problem I have is that there is still a roof panel missing which must be corrected tomorrow. I think I have found a source for the corrugated polycarbonate panel in Lafayette. Got to get there tomorrow. Otherwise it will be something like poly sheeting and duct tape. Either way, got to get it done tomorrow.

At right is my new Blue Butterfly Plant. Big changes at New Dawn this week. First, the pad (dirt) has put in for the foundation of the home. Height was added to the natural slope ranging from 20 inches in the front to nearly 3 ft in the back. Standing in the living room to be has a completely changed perspective looking at the bayou from nearly 2 feet higher. It is a change for the better too. The landscape challenges due to this seem a bit overwhelming right now, but I know it will fall into place one the house is closed in and I can see it. I am a bit visualization challenged so I will not see what I need to do until that happens.

This little bed has taken on a great look. Boston Fern surrounding a central mound of Acanthus, with a small Variegated Gardenia in the front. It is delightful combination of shapes and colors. I moved the climbing roses to the proposed spot for the Rose Church. I picked up some wrought iron columns on the side of the road that were being thown away after a remodel. They sat around for a year before I figured out that I could create a structure for the climbing roses. Essentially it will be a 12 foot by 8 foot frame. Later I will put a pitched open roof from the same material in a gable end formation so that is will look like a Church. The old iron cross I found in Pa Joe's garage can be welded on the front peak. Should be pretty cool and finally a place for these poor roses to grow. I am amazed they are still alive after having been moved twice before and never being given something decent to grow on.

December 5th, 2005 - Low's tonight were reforecast down to the lower 30's so I had to get off of it on the greenhouse. Luckily, a local greenhouse manufacturer has some corrugated Lexan sheets in stock. It is a little clearer than the polycarbonate, but not a big deal. It is also slightly thicker, like maybe 5/16ths inch instead of 1/4 inch. That was a problem. I had to beat the edges with a hammer to compress then enough to get it into the grooves. Yes, with a hammer. That stuff is tough. By the end of the day, the panel was replaced, the heater installed, and all plants loaded. Only problem is I can fit into the greenhouse once it was loaded up. The plants back in Jeanerette were also placed into the sunroom there. At this point most things are at an OK spot. Still many things to be moved.

December 8th, 2005 - Finally got over the The Rose Garden Center on the West Bank from New Orleans. They made it through Hurricane Katrina just fine. As a matter of fact, there selection was better than ever. I picked up a few plants of course. In the truck went (3) Strawberry Guava, (2) Pineapple Guava, (1) Cape Honey Suckle, (1) Orange Justica "Justicia spicigera", (1) Cinnamon Ginger "Alpinia Nutans Narrow Leaf", (1) Olive Tree

Other unique items came into possession today. A friend of Cel's just coming back from a visit to Tampa brought her a Reed's Patio Citrus "Orange." This plant was just a few inches tall. Upon closer inspection is was actually two small citrus trees. I separated them and repotted each. Pretty cool. Also, Cel got a small, 1 foot tall living Christmas Tree. Not sure what it is, but we will grow it. Hopefully it will thrive in the gardens someday. And last, one the way home taking the scenic route up Hwy 182 I passed an abandoned homesite. A neat swing caught my eye which I hope to find out how to get ahold of some day. While going to look at it, I spotted a discarded 6 foot tall Norfolk Island Pine laying on its side in the weeds. Certainly not the first plant I have picked up on the side of the road, but probably the largest and best condition. It was doing fine, so probably had not been there too long. Through it in the truck. Can't wait to pamper it a little.

What's up with the weather. Guess this is going to be a cold winter, at least it is starting that way. Some of the plants I bought today are on the tender side, so I decided to look at the weather to plan for the week. It is going to be 34 tonight and 32 tomorrow night. Guess I will have to redress in a few minutes then go out to put the new plants in the sun room. At least the greenhouse is doing fine. I checked on it again today. Looks good. I'll get the batteries back into the temp monitor this weekend so I can keep closer tabs on it, but looks like it will do the job once again after having been resurrected from the pile of debris that Hurricane Rita left.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

October 30st, 2005 - Wow, how do I get back into this after all this time. So much has happened. First came the dog days of summer.


Hurricanes Katrina and Rita - Hurricane Katrina stuck to our east and devastated New Orleans. Then came Hurricane Rita, which stuck to our west. It seemed that Lafayette/New Iberia were the only communities left whole on the Louisiana Gulf Coast. Not that we were left our, as you remember Hurricane Lili took its toll on us just 3 years ago. And Rita gave us a bit of damage as well. It claimed some of my younger trees and my small greenhouse in its wake. I dissembled the greenhouse, or its remaining pieces today, it is probably salvageable, but will take quite a bit of work to repair. A good winter project, but I am worried over what I will do with the plants that traditionally wintered over there. Maybe the back porch in Jeanerette but I do not relish moving them back there again.

New Dawn Gets a Home - Finally, after all these years we are building our permanent home at New Dawn. Hopefully, the bull dozer will arrive in the first week of November. Now finally seeing the home plans I have some idea as to how the beds will layout. I have had 3 years to plant, move, replant, and watch nature demonstrate its will on the property. Still, the house will reveal the final plan in my mind, but things are a bit clearer at this time. I moved a few plants and beds around to prepare. I also began digging the final plants to be moved in Jeanerette this evening.

I moved a few plants in the twin pines bed to clear the eventual path of the front door. I have no idea how this bed will finally end up, but I am sure there are still substantial changes to remain. I eliminated both climbing rose beds and again potted the roses. I am very satisfied with the removal of the beds. It was the right thing to do. But what to do with the roses. OK, I have a new plan, the Rose Church. Using materials I already have, this should be workable. We will see as time goes. For this winter the roses will spend the winter in their pots. The wrought iron will wait as well. This plan looks good, though. Let's sit on it for a few months as we watch the house take shape. Only then will we decide.

I tilled then entire cross bed. Still now planting plan there, but it will come to me. I also tilled the veggie beds where the soil is just becoming incredible after three years of composting. One bed is planted with with Shallots (from my dad), then Onions (left over from last year but too small to use), and then Spinach seeds from the seed stock. The second bed is planted with carrots and beets. The third is waiting for cabbage, but I need to get some seedlings from the local seed store. I have no idea how I will finally rid myself of the Coco Grass. I pulled endless nuts from the tilled soil, but I know there are 3 times as many undiscovered still.

Back in Jeanerette - Today, on this Sunday evening I dug many crinums and some elephant ears to go over to their next home. Still plenty of each to be dug as well, but things ended as I broke my old shovel, which had been creaking for a few months now. Only fiberglass handles from now on, as I am a bull on the end of a shovel.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Week 14 of 2005

Time flies in the spring. Everything save for the pecan trees is leafing out nicely and many trees are completely filled out. The Wegeila has already completed its flowing cycle. Many of the old garden roses are blooming profusely, even those that were moved this winter. The Lady Banks rose looks to be a mass of yellow, but has instead chosen to show its blooms over time instead of one big flush. The Redbud did not flower again with the exception of 4 or 5 flowers, so I guess I will have to wait yet another year. On the other hand the Banana Magnolia (michelia figo), even though still only 3 feet tall was totally covered in blooms. The scent was wonderful on the few windless days. Wind continues to be a huge problem. This year I put in some plantings designed as windbreaks for specific areas. This fall the first of the large wind break plantings will go in. So far, I seem to have the upper hand on the weeds with the exception of the coco grass (nutsedge) which is extremely difficult to eradicate. Image works well, but my failure to read the directions led to severe damage on some roses. This red flag has caused my to worry about other plants that could be harmed. More research is needed before I again try this chemical. .For the record, I don't like chemicals and hope on day not to have to use them, but there is no biological controls for wiregrass and coco grass. Enough for now. Pictures coming in the next couple of days.

Saturday: We ate our first Japanese Plums from the Loquat trees today. No fruiting on the New Dawn trees yet, but a couple should be nearing fruiting size, so I am hoping for next year.

Sunday: What a day today. Cel manned the mower while I did dirt prep, transplanting, and planting. Yes, I know, it is dangerously late to transplant. The first transplant of the day was the Gardenia from home to New Dawn. This started as a house plant. It was three plants in a small 6" pot. On plant died in the pot, so I planted them in the ground in Gonzales. The second stem died, but the third seemed OK and actually grew a bit. I bought it here to Jeanerette as a transplant where it flourish until the ginger overtook it which has caused it to suffer for the last couple of years. Now it has a new home, but I moved it at a dangerous time of year. . April can be viciously dry and by June the full heat of summer begins. I'll say a prayer for it. On the transplant side I moved the other Azalea, originally from next door, the one Mr. Jeffery dug up with the backhoe and left upside down in the July sun before I noticed it. It recovered fine, but was not getting enough sun in its old location to flourish. I put it beside the Azalea from Joe which is hanging in there. It is going to be a tough summer for these boys, but I'll keep them pampered to the best of my abilities. Today, I got the other 2 Japanese Maples planted so now all 3 are back in the ground. I also planted the 3 Camellias, the 2 Rangoon Creepers that over wintered in the greenhouse. The Morning Glory tree and the new Pride of Barbados went in the ground. I don't think the old one made it. It was quite large. I dug it up and over winters it in the greenhouse, but due to its size root loss was severe. You never know with tropicals though, when the heat of summer comes along it is quite possible it will pop back out of the soil. I had a Carnation of India that for all appearances was quite dead, but then came to life in July. . I don't need the pot, so we'll just let it sit and hope. I tried something different today. Knowing that I was pushing it big time on the late transplantings and plantings, I bought some Mycorrhizae Inoculant and put it down on all of the plantings including the Azaleas I moved a couple of weeks ago. I also hit them all root stimulator earlier in the day as well. I had to do some unique sol prep today which made those planting even more backbreaking. The good top soil that I was getting from Lowes has been replaced with something labeled top soil but that looks more like potting soil. Lots of organic matter, sand, carbon. Really decent stuff except for two properties that would work fine up north. On is its ability to hold water. I suspect I would have to water every day. Even more important to note is its lack of support due its lightness. On an open windy site like mine every little plant would have to be staked. I mixed it 50/50 with some really nasty clay that has been sitting in a pile for a couple of years It was tilled together really well to make a pretty good soil for down here. Good news it I found a source of good topsoil for $13 a yard. It too is light so for planting I will have to use the prep noted above, but the plus side of its lightness is that I will be able to use it like compost for filling in beds. Rains and earthworms will do the rest over the next few years.

s on the horizon the start Week 15 of the year which should help those planting and transplantings if the wind is not too bad. Today was bad with winds from the South blowing 20 to 30 mph all day. Well it is 70% chance of rain tonight and tomorrow. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Sunday, May 8, 2005

Week 18 of 2005

Rain today, after a few weeks of very dry weather. So dry in fact, that the weekend fun yesterday was helping my neighbor two lots over control a fire that got out of hand. I am afraid that a nice 30+ Palm may have been lost in the process. The yard, which is very tropical in nature had many bananas and when the sparks hits the dried banana foliage from the winter the light winds made a quick rapidly spreading fire. The Palm was probably the only permanent loss. Back at New Dawn I am afraid that late transplanting might have cost me an Azalea and a Gardenia, but nothing we won't survived. Just to put the stats down so far this evening on the 25th of April we have received .28 inches of rain with .37 inches thus far for the month of April. Bear in mind that we get 50+ inches of rain a year. April is always a very dry month here.

After a two year lapse, I may finally again taste fresh tomatoes with 6 plants in the ground. They went in late, but look fine and should result in a few tomatoes before the summer heat arrives. I have two more beds in the making for pepper plants that I will acquire next week. We even added a few new ornamentals this year too. The pictures attached are first a group of Asiatic Lilies that has now repeated for several years in a row. Next are a couple of Amaryllis that has also come back for several years. Last is our first Crinum bloom of the spring. This particular Crinum has a narrow silver/grey/green tint foliage. It was found in a ditch near an old long abandoned home site in the middle of a cane field.





Sunday, March 27, 2005

Week 12 of 2005

Thursday: Well, some weeks just disappeared in the spring rush. The planting for the spring is mostly done. I went by New Dawn to water on the way home today. It took 45 minutes to get everything watered well. The RoundUp I put down last weekend is just starting to show in a few places, but I fear the rain late on the same night diminished its effect. Tomorrow is Good Friday. Mowing, weed eating, and RoundUp'ing lie ahead tomorrow as the battle for control of the landscaping beds wages on.

Friday: Not sure if I noted it last week, but I moved the Azalea, originally from home, to its new home. One half was dead and the the root ball split neatly in two. I am really going to have to baby this one through the summer, but it has sentimental value so I will give it everything I have. As soon as the flowers start to stall on the other Azalea I will move it as well. Today was lots of mowing and not much else. I did empty out the greenhouse and got it moved to its new location. I harvested the beets and carrots today. A small crop but respectable in light of the fact that I planted the seeds and let them fend for themselves. Every single plant has awakened for spring with two exceptions. The big Mimosa is still dormant except for a couple of water sprouts from last year which has small bits of foliage emerging. The other dormant tree is the Peach Tree. I do not feel good about this tree at all. The other two died last year. A thumb nail test revealed it is alive. Tomorrow morning I have some small cleanup task to do then its off to an in-law family crawfish boil.

Friday, March 4, 2005

Week 9 of 2005

Out of nowhere Azaleas are blooming everywhere. Most plants are beginning to leaf out. Spring is here. Out at New Dawn the fountain is finally assembled. I planted the new Paw Paw Tree in its spot. Today was extremely windy so many items were tough to do. The fountain, even though over nearly 100 feet from the nearest tree was accumulating some Live Oak leaves. Too tired to type any more today and a big day planned tomorrow. Until then,,,

Well, it looks official, spring is here. Bloom buds appeared on the Wegeila this week. The Orchid Tree is showing its first new leaves, as are the figs. The Santa Rosa Plum is leafing out well. Many other things are breaking dormancy as well. Today was a very active planting day. Divisions of the my Umbrella Plants were planted in 4 spots and Upright Elephant Ears were also planted in 4 places. The Live Oak in the center was graced with Variegated Ginger, Upright and Regualar Elephant Ears, an Unknown Ginger, the Chinese Dwarf Banana (Musella lasiocarpa) and some of the bananas that Mr. Picard gave me. I moved the LSU Purple fig, again. I moved it this fall, but after looking at the new bed layout I realized that it was still not in the right place. It is quite small and will do fine even with this second move.

The fountain is finished and Monkey Grass started all around. It will be a year before it fills in for the look I am wanting, but New Dawn is long term venture. It will be about 5 years before things really begin to fill in and the vision of New Dawn begins to reveal itself.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Week 8 of 2005

Tuesday: So far no rain for two days and a full day of sun today. Things are starting to dry out. You know each year about this time I whine about too much rain, and then sometimes, like today, I look around and realize that if this is a typical spring in 6 weeks I will be begging for rain. April has been host to some nasty droughts in the past and is almost always a very dry month. I picked up eight Dwarf Burford Hollies today to finish the arch at the top of the cross bed. Other than the normal spur of the moment can't live without plants purchases, this is it for the spring. I quite a few plant moves left to do, but nothing serious except for the Azalea. I am in a quandary because it is very late to attempt the move, but they are doing so poorly where they are I fear they will not survive till next year.

Here is a new site, http://www.zydecoirises.com/ which comes to me by way of website feedback from Patrick over in New Orleans (Metairie). Check it out. It is a pretty neat site.

Saturday: Worked late every night this week. I am stuck with having to be satisfied with occasional peaks at the garden shows on HGTV while doing household chores this morning. Maybe I'll make it to the gardens later in the day, and it is a gorgeous one too. I did get the arch bed finished. The race is on with the Coco grass. It is sprouting everywhere and as near as I can tell growing about a half inch a day. Why do weeds do that and not ornamental plants. Oh well, if they did someone would label them as invasive and try to ban them. Although we do have a few invasive plants like the Chinese Tallow whose problem is quite obvious, many labeled as invasive seem to get getting an unearned reputation. OK, back to HGTV, first it should be called HHHHHHHGTV to reflect the pitiful ratio of gardening shows to other. And this year the lineup is as pitiful as I can ever recall. At least Paul James is still on. He is a good host, but even he needs to find some new material, not that I am complaining, due to the lack of other choices. I miss Gardener's Jounal, and Garden Diary. I found them both quite inspirational.

I also took advantage of this morning in to add some new features to the site. First is a new feedback form that does not require you to use email Hopefully this will inspire folks to give me more feedback. It does help with the motivation. I also added a this week in pictures section to the this week in the journal.

It is late afternoon on Saturday. Yes, I made it to New Dawn and the pond is in, yes that's right, the pond is in, all 900 gallons of it. I even got a few inches of water in it. Everything hurts, I had to dig the last few inches and another 2 inches all around while standing in several inches of thick clay mud. I shoveled as much water as clay. I broke off the water faucet, got the mower stuck, and did all kinds of fun things today, but the pond is in. Yahoo!

Sunday: I saw the first of the Redbuds starting to bloom today and the Flowering Quince is at its peak. This week will be fairly warm, but with another drop to near 40 during one of the week nights. Most plants are kind of just sitting there ready to bust out but waiting just a bit longer. We have another two weeks before we are pretty much completely safe from frost. Until then there is so much to do it is mind boggling. I need a month off every spring. It will get better each year. I built some new beds this year for the first time in 2 years. Last year I took some down and redesigned others for lower maintenance. Mowing the orchard area is much better. Now, if I could just get some Roundup down before we weeds get the upper hand. The battle will be won or lost in the next 2 weeks.

Almost forgot - The Banana Shrub (Michelia figo) started opening blooms with that wonderful smell. This is its first season to bloom

Mr. Calvin J. Picard, mentioned in the Journals many times, was my old neighbor who moved away last year. A gifted gardeners who was always a joy to talk with and a free giver of plants like my Mulberry, Celeste Fig, crinums, Champanelle grapes, bananas, and others, passed away this week. This unidentified heirloom rose came from his gardens and put on quite a show this week. I am sure it was in his honor. Calvin, we'll miss you.

The fruit crop is developing nicely on this large Loquat, known locally by the old timers as a Japan Plum.. I have 3 seedlings of this tree planted at New Dawn and 3 more in pots. This one is in the backyard. The largest planted seedling might be ready to start setting fruit as early as next year.

As you can see we still have many Grapefruit on the tree. I should probably pick them all as the citrus will begin to flower in the next 30 days. I would guess this tree will have a small crop in 2005 after the bumper crop of 2004.

The Amaryllis are starting to show well as are the Daylilies. I moved the winter before, so last year they did OK, but I have high hopes for this year.

Arising from the dead stalk of last year, the Angel's Trumpets are well on their way to recovery. Note the Gladiolus Byzantinus in the foreground as well. These old heirloom glads naturalize readily here in the Gulf South.

This thicket of branches going every direction is our Cassia. Brought here 3 years ago as two small twigs, it is now a thicket about 12x12x12 feet. It will be a sea of green very soon as you can see it has already begun its spring green up. That will be followed by a sea of yellow in the fall at bloom time. Birds love it all year long.

Here you go, 900 gallons of water on the way to delivery. Still kind of hard to see the final picture of what this will look like but the hard part is over, I guess. Lots of tilling, adding organic matter. planting. Oh, and I have to add stone around the pond edge to soften the edges you see here...Oh, and I have to assemble the fountain, drill the main base. What was that I was saying about the hard part being done?

Friday, February 18, 2005

Week 7 of 2005

Monday: Well, we have made average last frost date. Most everything has green buds opening. Real green everywhere is a couple of weeks away if temps remain warm. We have some lows in the low 40s projected late in the week, but with no real cold in the forecast for the next 10 days that's it, next opportunity, the tomatoes are going in. Yahoo, spring is here. Man, I hope I don't regret that statement. Our project cold wet winter was certainly wet, but no real cold. We did have a very odd snowfall, which is rare, but with a low temp for the winter of 28, it certainly was not a cold one.

Wednesday: How does that song go, "it's raining again, uh oh, it's raining again." Yep, they got the wet part of cold and wet winter right. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow, not the plant, the rain forecast.

Friday: Yep, it rained, and rained, and rained again. The hole I am trying to dig for the pond is again filled with water, right to ground level which is the current level of the water table, right about ground level, not even 1 inch deep. This is starting to cause problems, not just from not being able to dig the pond, but the weeds are on the rise, and getting RoundUp down is not possible. Other things are beginning to wake up as well. All rose have begun active growth, some had rose buds, and a few have even begun to open roses.

Saturday: It sure is hard to garden in a mudhole, particularly in clay soil. Nevertheless, a few things were accomplished today. Put another fruit tree in the orchard, a Blenheim apricot. I have always read the Apricots would not grow here, but then I saw a reference to this one doing well on the Gulf Coast, so I decided to give it a try. I would like to add a Plumcot and an Aprium. The Plumcot would have done OK, pollinating with one of my Japanese Plums, but the Aprium needs an Apricot for pollinations so until now I was not considering it. Guess I know which fruit trees will come to the orchard next. I also went over the Iberia Gardens to pick up the Natchez Crape Myrtles for the arch at the top of the cross bed. The four Crape Myrtles were planted in the berm. Most the Citrus trees had a nice flush of new leaves. The Weigela is leaving out nicely, as is the Acacia. The fruit trees are all still dormant with the roses starting to kick into high gear and the Yellow Lady Bank began opening a few early roses.

Other than riding the 4-wheeler around the walking path a few times just to mark it out, that was about it today. Way too wet to do much of anything else. Rain projected tonight again. If we get lucky and miss it, I might be able to get a few things done tomorrow. Otherwise, I'll be sitting the rest of this weekend out. Well, I might try moving those Azaleas. Maybe.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Thurday: I took a quick stop at New Dawn on Monday afternoon. I had dug about a third of the 1000 gallon hole for the new pond. After all of this rain the hole was totally full even though it had stopped raining over 12 hours earlier, which was a testament not only to how much it had rained, but also to the height of the water table from a very wet winter. By today almost all of the water was gone leaving a nice thick layer of goo. A testament to our silty clay loam soils.


A lot of work at work going on this week. Man, I sure could use some daylight savings time about now. The week started off warmer with heavy fogs until last night when a cool front (can't really call it a cold front even though the weatherman did) and cleared out the fog. Highs are still in the 60s. I think one night might make it down to the low 40s. The warm moist air again has plants bursting out in fresh tender new green spring growth. Even I am beginning to think winter is over. Hope the plants and I don't get fooled, again. The CoCo grass is already sprouting as well, which is also known as Nutsedge. Where established, which is pretty much all 3 acres of New Dawn, it is a scourge. I must do some serious work with RoundUp this weekend to get control of it before it gets control of the gardens. Yes, I know it isn't organic, but no one has yet given me an organic control for Nutsedge. When they do, I will try it, but please no one say get on your knees and pull it. Might work in a few beds in a backyard, but on a 3 acre project it just ain't gonna happen. I think I said in an earlier log that if you want to be humbled as a gardener go from a backyard to 3 acres. I quickly found out that the gardening practices I had used were useless. I have a new start on the gardens, and for at least the next 3 years RoundUp is my new best friend. I am much happier with the new layouts at New Dawn, most of which are designed around easier maintenance, but there are some new bed also. A few of the plants should put on a great spring show like the Yellow Lady Banks Rose which is now fully established and quite large, but over half of the plants were transplanted this winter which means another year or probably 2 until the start to come into their own. Down here, I like to say that the 1st all a plant does is survive, the 2nd year it established, and the 3rd year its beauty starts to shine. It will be mid to late summer before the hardscape and arbors are done anyway. For spring and summer the roses will have to climb the temporary poles they are tied to today. Well, hopefully I can get out a few minutes early tomorrow to pick up the mower and get a cut on the land on Saturday. It is still a bit wet, but the winter weeds are high and rain is on the forecast again for Saturday night. Spring in South Louisiana. Hey, the Acanthus looks awesome. Check out that foliage color. Can't wait to see the 7 foot bloom stalks again this summer.

Sunday: Week 6 comes to an end. Yep, I am still digging on the fountain. It is 95% dug at this point. By my calculations I will have shoveled and moved by wheelbarrow nearly 10,000 pounds of dirt by the the time I am done, which should be next weekend. I have even given the fountain a name, The Fountain of Sanity. The old fountain itself has been disassembled and is at New Dawn awaiting the pond installation. I transplanted the Mock Orange and Dwarf Pomegrante yesterday. The completes the spring moves with the exception of the two Azaleas. I got the back two acres mowed before the blade drive belt broke on the mower. Maybe I can change this myself, otherwise it is back to the shop again. Sigh. All this warm wet weather has the weed in overdrive. Summer weeds are starting to go. Coco grass is already about an inch or two and the wire grass has greened up. Ahh, the fight begins.

Friday, February 4, 2005

Week 5 of 2005

Tuesday: I just found a new gulf coast site for native plants for the MISSISSIPPI NATIVE PLANT SOCIETY - COASTAL PLAINS CHAPTER and added it to the Native Plants section on the left.

I also added a couple of other message boards, one not totally gulf coast specific the Garden Web Louisiana and Mississippi Message Board, but close enough and the other being oriented a bit for further south, the Garden Web Tropical Message Board, which is close enough in the other direction.

Wednesday: I noticed the first Japanese Magnolia in full bloom. They are one of our earlier big full color shows in spring. I'll try to grab a pic of it as it was just around the corner from where I work in Lafayette. There is a Carolina Jessamine just down the road on the way to work that has been trying to fire off for a couple of week open a few yellow flowers here and there. Soon enough it will be covered. Keeping track of plants and changes here and there keeps my 22 mile commute into work interesting. We are just ending several days of non-stop rain on soils that were already waterlogged. The early predictions were for a cold and wet winter. It hasn't really been that cold, yet, but they certainly got the wet part right. This is certainly setting me behind schedule in my spring bed preparation.

Friday: I was on the way to meet Cel for lunch yesterday, when this horrible pain hit my eyes. I was squinting and couldn't figure out what was happening for a few minutes. Then I realized the culprit, bright light, extremely bright light. Heck, it was glare. At first I couldn't figure it out, some strange bright light in the sky. From the sun. I didn't realize how long it has been, probably two weeks since we had a bright sunny day. And I think we have another one coming tomorrow. Can't wait. The only thing that would make it better would be a nice warm day, but we will have to wait a bit longer for the that. We are only little over two weeks away from average last frost date, but predictions are for a cold and wet spring. Hey, weather men have enough trouble predicting tomorrow, but less months away. They are probably wrong. Right? Both Cel and I get the winter blues, so come on spring.

Saturday: - Another day of preparing for spring and the coming house at New Dawn. I dug from the gardens and potted the two Japanese Maples, one red and one a variegated green with white edges, and the Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. The two Japanese Maples were not thriving and need new locations. The Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, as well as one of the Japanese Maples, was in the move path for the Outdoor Room. I did one more pruning pass on the fruit trees. They are now done. I also pruned the lower branches from the Dawn Redwood. I had to back the truck up the barn to drag out the mower which would not start, again. Can't say that I am real impressed with my Toro 16-42Z zero turn radius mower. Seems it has spent more hours in the shop than it has cutting grass. I think the starter is gone, which if so, will be the 2nd time it has been replaced.

Sunday: - No gardening today. I moved some volunteers, in pots, over the New Dawn. Went to town (Lafayette) to get some potting soil, a new battery for the mower, and other odds and ends. I scouted plan prices at a few places, although most gardens centers have not yet stocked up for spring. Found a great deal on a book "The Southern Garden" which Books-a-Million has on sale for $10.00, which was quite a deal considering the original price of $45.00. Lots of pictures which will make a great inspiration and idea book. Today, was a lot of fun, but I may regret it as the next two days call for rain, so I will regret not getting my garden work done today and reserving the play for tomorrow. I still have to get that Pear moved before it is too late. Actually, it is too late, but this Pear has suffered in its current location and this is its last shot. If it doesn't respond to this new location, its next move is to the burn pile. Sounds harsh I know, but probably my main fault is that I am too slow to give up on plants and spend too much time, money, and energy on hopeless cases.

Monday: - I AM SICK OF RAIN!. Walking on the ground is like walking on a thoroughly wet sponge. I did manage to get a few things done and some things about winter have beauty, like the low sun angles and there effect like the picture at left.

By the way, the Foxtail fern at the Jasmine's base was surprisingly unaffected by the snow. . I put Osmocote on all of the fruit trees in the orchard and only all of the roses as well. Most of the volunteers from home like the Acanthus and Loquats, and the plants I dug up to move like the Shrimp Plants, Camellias, etc. were transported to New Dawn. A few others remain to be moved. Before the rain started today, I did finally get that last Pear moved. Poor thing, I have either finished killing it, or rescued it. Time will tell. Oh, and I bought a new shovel from Lowes, the fiberglass handle contractor grade model. My old wood handle is ready to snap from digging up plants and prying large root balls out of holes. I ogled over some new large bypass pruners as well, but decided to nurse mine for another year. The wood connections are weak on those as well, but when cleaning up the other day I found some old fiberglass materials. Maybe I'll rig them on day when I have some time to kill. Got the the 4-wheeler out of the shop today, just in time to use it to push the mower onto the trailer to go right back to the same shop to get the starter replaced. If you need to ask why I need a 4-wheeler by the way, you probably haven't tried building a 4 acres garden. Although I enjoy the walking around, moving anything heavy those distances is out of the question. Not quite like dragging something across the back yard. It is also great for pulling the mower out of the mud when it gets stuck. Yes, we do that every now and then. Now, if I could just talk Cel into letting me get one of those large dump carts from Home Depot. Well, I do have a birthday coming up. I need some pictures up here don't I? Maybe tomorrow. I'll need something to do while I am watching it rain. Speaking of deals, I was killing a few minutes the other day and wandered into a local Harbor Freight store and found the leather belt scabbards for Felco pruners for $1.99. Got so excited about the price that I bought 3 of them. Well, the forecast tomorrow calls for rain all day, so maybe I'll pot something.

Fat Tuesday (Happy Mardi Gras): No celebrations this year, although we should have. Both Cel and I have the winter blues, big time. Happens every year in February. It was another gloomy day cloudy and humid in the morning, just enough brightness to tease in the early afternoon, then finishing with more rain. New Dawn seems like a big mud puddle.

Since Bayou Teche is a navigable waterway, we do have some barge traffic every now and then. Here a tug is passing by with an empty barge heading upstream. That row of sprigs running across the lawn are the Gladiolus Byzantinus that I just planted for naturalization. They will be blooming in a few weeks and then go dormant through the summer, just in time for the mower to begin making it ritual passes for the summer.

The low spot in the driveway is really rutted bad and it may be another month before it get dry enough to fix. We might even have to wait for April, which is always a dry month. Hard to imagine we will go from this slop to needing supplemental watering in 60 days, but it is almost guaranteed. Anyway, I puttered a bit in the afternoon. New Dawn has a mailbox now. Maybe I'll send a test letter to see if the Post Office can find it. I dug up the variegated Century Plant which was right in the new walkway path. Don't know what kind of brain f#$t possessed me to put it there in the first place. When it was planted the path was not yet envisioned, but still the location made no sense. Good news it that there were five babies, so now I have several century plants. They are potted up with lots of Osmocote for fast track growth. I will be doing this with many plants this year. I made a couple of passes with the 4-wheeler over the new walking path, which was too wet to walk. It is just over one third mile. This path, now clearly envisioned in my mind, along with the house layout has now set the scene for the rest of the bed layouts. I believe things will begin to fall into place this summer and by next year the grand plan for New Dawn's 3 acres will begin to be visible to the naked eye. I have a new tablet PC which let's me freehand sketch with a pen, so maybe I can start to put some sketches on the site. Also got a few pictures today, but left the cable at work so I'll post them tomorrow. For some reason it is easier to keep up the journals this year. I bought a new book, "Thomas Jefferson's Garden Book" edited by Edwin Morris Betts which includes his journals. After seeing the big gaps in his journals year to year I didn't feel so bad about my lapses over the last 4 years. Thinking back over the gardens, the Paperwhites under the Mimosa are blooming wonderfully and look super healthy. They were fertilized with 8-8-8 early in their growth and again with Holland's Bulb Food in January. Worked well as they have never looked so good. Fertilizing this year includes obscene amounts of Osmocote around all trees, shrubs, roses, etc. this week. With our long growing season and heavy rains copious amounts of fertilizer are needed to insure optimal plant health. Next round of fertilizer will be put out when the summer rains come in the May to June timeframe and maybe a late fertilizing in late August. Well, lets put this evening away with a little reading from the Thomas Jefferson book.

Saturday: Well, I don't know what you call it when you are beyond worn-out and exhausted, but I do know what it feels like because I am there. This has to be one of the single biggest days at New Dawn to date. If I had a harder one, I certainly don't remember it. Cel went off to visit her sister in Baton Rouge today, so for me that meant daylight to dark in the garden. For once the weather cooperated as well with no rain. It was in the mid 60s, overcast for most of the day, which meant ideal working conditions. I started off the morning at J&S Feed Store to get the 9 foot poly pond which is to be my fountain pond. It is 9 feet in diameter and 28 inches deep. Picking it up should have been the easy part, but it turned out to be quite a chore with me lending a hand, a too the point of exhaustion hand, to get them bailed and separated. It took three grown men and a fork lift to get the job done. Geez, I was worn out before I even got started. Actually, I guess the day started before that when I went to Lowes to get 10 bags of Top Soil. I knew once we got the pond in the back of the truck, something would be needed to hold it down, so for once I was thinking ahead. By 10:30 I was on the way to New Dawn with the pond in the back. Well, I got to New Dawn, unloaded the pond, the 10 bags of Top Soil and started digging. An hour later I was calling my brother-in-law, with an offer to pay him to finished digging the hole. Unfortunately he was busy, so after staring at the hole, and digging 4 more large wheelbarrows full of dirt, I elected to move to another task with the hole dug to about 30%. So now, it was back to Lowes to get another 30 bags of Top Soil and 10 Indian Hawthorne in the 1 gallon size. I got a dark leaf variety call Sea Breeze. Then it was back to New Dawn. Carted the edge blocks to frame the bed, unloaded the Top Soil, made the beds, planted the Indian Hawthorne. Looked great. Then I put in the lag bolts to fix the porch, spread some Epson Salts on about half of the plants and took care of little chores like watering in the new plants with root stimulator. I continue to do a few chores and looking back at those new beds when it hit me that I need to go further. I needed another 30 bags of Top Soil and another 10 Indian Hawthorne to continue the beds around this side of the foot of the cross beds. So it was back to Lowes. Note on the picture above, This houseplant which was stored in a pot in the garden was knocked over by a pet and broken in half. Before I noticed it the both parts had multiplied and over wintered quite well. Here they will stay in the bed under the Live Oak.

By the end of the day I had put down 70 bags of Top Soil at 40 pounds each, planted 20 Indian Hawthorns. dug about 10 wheelbarrows full of dirt and gotten into a full scale wrestling match with a 900 gallon garden pond. Gee, doesn't sound like much when you write it in a paragraph.

Man, am I hurting. Paco (top) came to New Dawn today and visited with our neighbor's dog (bottom) whose name I don't know but he certainly is friendly and loving.   I think we'll nickname him Motley Crew.

Sunday: I awoke today to rain, again. No surprise as the weather service has been quite accurate with rain this year. Actually, this has been a good spring for transplanting with cool weather, very regular light rains, and overcast skies. I am plenty sore this morning. As the old saying goes, I have muscles aching I didn't know I had. OK, maybe that is an exaggeration, but I am quite sore, particularly from yanking the ponds apart, which used muscles I don't use very often. Over the next week, I hope to get that pond finished, complete my transplants and new planting for the year. Everything in the greenhouse are also quite happy. The heavy spring activity for 2005 is just about done. Maybe, I add one more fruit tree this year,,,,

One last entry for Week 5. It is 9:15 on Sunday evening and it has rained all day. There has even been a bit of thunder, which I love because it means nitrogen rich rainfall and spring growth. Temps will be in the 70s for 3 or 4 days this week coming. Hard to believe we are still 3 to 4 weeks away from our average last frost date. I have to be careful with the tender stuff because I am itching to plant. All of the local stores are getting in the spring plants now. There are some beautiful tomatoes available. I got a six pack of Creole tomatoes. I have seeds for several varieties ready to plant as well. Maybe I'll try direct seeding this year since I am off to a late start. No one around here really does that, so that is tempting enough. I do have this tendency to "try" stuff just because. Weather service says no rain for the week after this. Yahoo.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Monday: Well, another weekend is over and another week begins in my garden journey of 2005. Last night made it to 28. I hope that is it for the really cold weather this winter. I am getting tired of going over to New Dawn, shutting off water and draining lines, usually while freezing my b*## off. :-)

Finally finished eating the Oranges from the garden this year. I used the juicer and had fresh squeezed juice from the last six oranges. As for Grapefruit, lets just say I will be sick of them before they are all gone. I estimate we had 200-300 on the tree. There are still about 75 hanging. I am eating them and juicing them. Now that the Ruby Red is mature, temps of 28 degrees doesn't seem to faze it. I remember when it was young, I thought I had lost it to the same temp. Bark splitting everywhere. Let's just say you should see it now. I have been waiting for years to get good healthy Citrus trees. The Grapefruit is the oldest at 5 years old, having spent is first year in Gonzales before we moved here. All of the other Citrus were moved to New Dawn year before last so this will be their third full summer. They should take off. I have a theory about gardening the humid subtropical south with it stifling summer heat. The first year plants just survive, maybe. The second year they establish. The third year they begin to thrive. We will see if that hold true for the Citrus.

Thursday: Back to spring weather again. High in the low 60's today and tomorrow, then up to 68-70 for the weekend and early next week. We do have some touches of color outside as seen at left and inside the greenhouse as seen to the right. All of the tender green foliage is dead back to the stem after that hard freeze. Some of the roses are unbothered and will soon be opening a few roses. Rain is in the forecast for the next few days along with those higher temps. Maybe I'll get to squeeze in a little gardening, I hope. Until then I can read. A website visitor from Canada couldn't believe I am planting while they are enduring -4 degree temps. Here in the deep humid subtropical south, fall is optimum planting time as compared to spring in the rest of the country. Everywhere else the concern is the plant getting well established for next year's cold. Here we are concerned with the plant being established to survive next year's heat. A plant put into the ground here in April, particularly a bare root plant, will have one heck of a struggle to survive the heat of July and August. November would be the optimum time to get it in the ground down here. As a matter of fact while northern gardeners take the winter off, many times southern gardeners take the dog days of summer off. As you can see by the picture of Bayou Teche framing the back of New Dawn, many things go dormant here in the winter, but there is still a good bit of green left as well.

Saturday: On this 29th day of January, spring marches closer by the day. One year out of 10 next week would be our last frost date. 50% chance of last frost date comes at the end of the month. Regardless, all hardy plant transplanting needs to be completed this week to allow the plants to become established before the heat arrives. There are still quite a few transplanted to get done.

I finally picked up some Landscape Marking Paint at Lowes and laid out the carport, driveway, and turnarounds. In addition to the Bay Tree, Ginger, and Queen Palm which were obviously needing to be moved, it was revealed that the Mock Orange and a patch of Rain Lilies must move also. I moved the Bay Tree to its new spot, and will get to the Mock Orange tomorrow. The Gingers and Queen Palm need to wait for warmer soils before moving them as the heat will not be an issue for these tropically oriented plants. I also laid out the locations at the top of the cross bed for the arbor and dug out the locations for the last two driveway roses. Well, one rose will be left to move, the Seven Sisters, but I don't know where it is going yet, so it might go into a pot in the interim just to see the driveway clean again. In the Cross Bed I got a clean mark out on the pond, so tomorrow I will lay out the edging blocks to frame it. While I was busy marking with the paint, I also marked out the arch at the top of the Cross Bed. With the soil being so wet, today was mostly a prep day. Tomorrow we do more plant moves. It is so nice the have the layout done for the house, carport and drive so that I can now visualize the beds. I am truly excited about the final vision and can finally see it in my head. I also did some work on the raised veggie beds getting them ready for spring. Can't wait for fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. I'll start the seeds in the greenhouse this week.

Sunday: It was another cool damp day. Highs in the mid 50s and damp. I could feel the droplets of water in the air hitting my skin, until noon when it finally brightened up a bit, but the sun never shone. Today, I moved the last of the driveway roses and that failed project is now officially no more. I did find the label on both Climbing White Dawn and Climbing Old Blush so those two are now positively identified. It is a wonder the Climbing Old Blush was still alive. The Wiregrass (wild bermuda) was so thick around and through the roots I had to essentially bare root it just to get it moved. I fear for it this summer. The same was true of the Seven Sisters rose which I moved to the front of the old horse trailer. As a surprise a limb of the Seven Sisters had rooted. I now have a baby planted. Another surprise was the Climbing Peace Rose which was mowed over when young. It came back this fall. When I dug it up to pot it, I discovered they were actually two plants so both of them are potted as well. So in the midst of destruction, New Dawn gave birth to three new rose plants. I spread a cubic yard of dirt today, in planting holes around recently planted plants and in the rose beds. By best estimates I will need at least 10 cubic yards of dirt to complete this springs work. I have at least 5 cubic yards of dirt on site, but rains are preventing my turning it from dirt into top soil. That means tilling in compost, manure, and peat moss. Almost forgot, I moved the Wisteria today to St. Joseph's Tower. I also came up essentially bare root. Never realize what a substantial root structure Wisteria develop. This was a real wrestling match. I removed over half of the vine and will say a prayer for it.

I also spread some SuperBloom fertilizer around the Redbud, the Mimosa., the recently moved Hardy Glads, the smaller of the two Acanthus, the roses on the barn arbor, and the Cherry Parfait rose, next to the arbor. I also top dress the soil on the last three roses mentioned. I finished out the day by putting the garden edge block that will outline the pond within the cross bed and marked out locations for 4 new fruit trees. Well, that is a wrap for this weekend and for Week 4 of 2005. February is a day away. There is still a lot to do, I feel the pressure of spring approaching.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Monday: Had the day off for Martin Luther King Day, but no gardening today. A leisurely morning, followed by a drive and afternoon visit to see Mom. Got in just before dark. This evening I did some reading, mostly picture gazing in a few gardening books looking for inspiration. My minds eye continues to focus along a path for the gardens now that I have a good feel for what the eventual house and garage will look like and where the will be sited. I also have a single Crape Myrtle that has been dogging me on what I should do with it. It is the old purple style. I am thinking of putting it as the center plant in an arch at the head of the crucifix bed with two white Crape Myrtles on each side. It would look to be a halo at the top of the crucifix bed. That bed, approx. 6 feet wide, 45 feet long, and and 30 feet wide will have a fountain at the intersection. The new bed seen above will be a sitting area at the base. This crucifix bed will have low growing annuals this year. Sitting at the base looking over the annuals with the fountain running and the Crape Myrtle arch at the top should make a great vista. Due to the sloping land these plants will need to be placed on a berm. There should be a base planting as well. Might be a bit too hot for Azaleas which would look great. Maybe Indian Hawthorn, but surely I can get something a little less ordinary. Two to three feet tall, evergreen, spring/early summer bloom cycle to complement the late summer/fall bloom cycle of the Crape Myrtles. Come on, think! Just went to the Recommended Plants List at www.houstongardening.info for some ideas. A few things stood out, but nothing that quite hit my fancy. Loropetalum would be great, but the purple might make me want to limit my color choices in the large foreground crucifix bed. My mind keeps wanted to think of something with a sword type of leaf. Agapanthus look a bit too ugly in winter when a hard freeze burns them down. Most trouble free would likely be a Dwarf Chinese Holly or Japanese Holly. I'll figure it out eventually. Lets close this out with a shot of some of those bulbs going to New Dawn for naturalization. I have at least two more truck loads to dig, carry over in the truck, and plant. Yep, it is back breaking work. It is a lot harder to re-plant them properly than it is to dig them up.

Thursday: Back at home, I dug up 3 Camellias, 3 Loquats, and a small patch of Alstromeria and potted them up for eventual transplanting at New Dawn. The amount of plants to go is mind boggling. Unfortunately, it looks like the digging and potting killed the Bottlebrush. If I had read how poorly these things transplant and the high failure rate I would have just left it in place.

Saturday: Hey, its only Friday night, but I am already thinking about the busy day planned for tomorrow. The cold front is coming in on Saturday night this week.

Ok, now it is Saturday. Cold front coming through as I write. Today peaked out around 70, by 7:00AM the projected low is 29. There is tender new growth on many plants that will be zapped tonight. Tomorrow's project low is 28 and by Wednesday we will be back to highs in the 70s. Oh well, the plants will suffer, but we can't let that stop us, now can we. I moved the New Dawn rose from the failed driveway project to the new rose pavilion. Another New Dawn which was in a pot was planted on the other corner. The plantings are now complete. I pruned the remaining roses today and the fruit trees. I went ahead and watered everything in anticipation of the freeze, both outside and in the greenhouse. The new temperature monitor is giving me a much better feel for temps in the greenhouse with the new heater. This will be the first hard freeze where I get to monitor the temps. It sure is nice not to guess how the heater is performing

I moved the Crape Myrtle today to the top of the cross bed as I had envisioned last week. Now I just need to find 4 Natchez Crape Myrtles and move the two remaining driveway roses to complete the scene. In the picture on the right is sits, all alone. The bed that it will be a part exist only in my head. Just in front of that bed will be a pair o columns to match the 4 columns at the bed of the cross bed. Rose 1 will be Old Blush and rose 2 will be Seven Sisters. I will still have one last rose, White Dawn, which needs a home. This two only exist in my head as this spring I focus on the base plantings. By fall these beds and the accompanying hardscape will be finished. Can't wait to get them out of my head and onto the grounds. With each of these planting I am digging out the location for the new fountain pond, which will form the center intersection of the cross bed. This soil is amended to provide the soil for the new plantings. The liner for the fountain pond is my Christmas present, but I vowed not to order it until the hole was completely prepared.

Walmart got in the first shipment of plants this week. Lots of citrus, fruit trees, and some ornamentals. No annuals or bedding plants yet. The first ants are already in high gear for the spring so I picked up some. We got back from Walmart about 8PM and it was still nice and balmy around 66 degrees. Just now, 10PM, I let the dogs out for their evening ritual and the cold front had arrived with brisk winds and the low already down to 56. I don't think we will see the projected low of 29, but I do think it will drop below 32.

Last, but not least we have a new gardener in the house. TaiTai even promised to help with the website, but fell asleep on the job.

Sunday: This is such a contradictory time of year. A great time to take a look at the bones of the garden with most trees being leafless, to move things around with a little transplanting, look at catalogs with cool things that could be planted, do a little pruning, all on mostly sunny and mild days. At the same time, those artic blasts come rolling through every couple of weeks with gloomy weather, the threat of killing cold, and a worry of death for plants held dear if it dips just a few more degrees. And while worrying over those marginal plants, here come the winter weeds that keep everything green. While some folks say we have a 12 month gardening season here, one thing I can assure you is that we have a 12 month weed season. The only good thing about winter weeds is that they tend to be low growing and won't swallow your entire garden in 2 or 3 weeks as will our summer weeds. If you are reading this from afar I am not kidding nor exaggerating. Three weeks of continuous rain, which is not unusual, in mid to late summer brings on a little plant (grass) we have here called Johnson Grass. From nowhere to 3 feet before you know it. Gardening here is a constant vigil. Add a couple of things called Coco Grass and Wiregrass. Whoa, stop, where am I going with this? Those problems will be here soon enough. Tonight I have to worry about the cold. As I thought, it did not get to 29 last night, 31 maybe, but tonight looks more like 27. Looks like I need to water everything again today just to be safe.



Well, it is 7:15PM and already 35. Tonight will definitely be a hard freeze with a least 8 hours below freezing. Today, I tended to minor things at New Dawn, watered a few things then shut down the water, picked up hoses and mostly clean up. Found another tropical in a pot in a flower bed that we still alive, barely. Back at home, I dug and potted more plants. Today I potted up 4 Acanthus, 2 regular Shrimp Plants and 2 Variegated Shrimp Plants, 3 Hollyhocks (volunteers), 1 Jatropha and 1 Rangoon Creeper which were frozen back to the roots, although there was already a green tip emerging from the Rangoon Creeper, 1 English Ivy split into two plants, 1 Tai Plant which had died and was sending a shoot from the root whose tip had frozen back last night, and 1 Japanese Maple. I laughed with Cel telling her it was like I had just gotten back from a shopping trip at the nursery. Still lots to dig and replant though. At least a truck bed full of paperwhites and naked ladies. Several truck beds full of gingers. Hundreds of other bulbs, Crinums, Amaryllis, etc. Man, I get tired just thinking about it. It is gonna be a busy spring and summer.

Just checked the Chill Hours for the year. We have accumulated 311 chill hours to date, which means we should top out at over 400 for the year.

Getting an Early Start on Spring

Monday: No stress on the new fruit trees today. Today started out with a heavy fog. The roofs dripped as if there were a light rain falling. This is not uncommon here in the spring and fall. The picture at right was taken this morning. It looks a little eerie, but when you are there it is actually very peaceful, even a bit surreal. It was the same on Saturday and Sunday while I was planting and transplanting. Moist cool evenings and mornings. It actually makes for ideal great planting and transplanting weather. Temperatures have been running in the mid to upper 70s. However, winter is due to return in the next 4 or 5 days with lows in the mid 30s and high in the 50s. We need a few chilling hours you know even those super low chilling hour varieties like I just planted, otherwise we won't have any fruit. I passed by Walmart today to see if any spring plants were coming in yet. They were busy getting ready in the garden center but no plants quite yet. I did pick up some Jiffy 7s and a bag of seed starting mix. It is time to start some tomatoes and a few other early things. Grabbed some good looking Dahlias as a surprise for Cel. They are not good as perennials here because of the intense heat of summer, but they make dandy annuals. Maybe we will try these in a container to see what happens. As I was driving today I started making list of some border plants that I could use, both heirloom and modern. I need to id some natives as well. Now that I have a good idea in my head as to where the paths should go I am increasingly thinking of the 1000' of border and the money I don't have to plant it, or the time to keep it up till it gets going. Oh, well I can dream for free. I have tons of new great links to add to the website, but I am just not motivated. Winter doldrums I guess.

I did find the neatest old greenhouse pictured above in North Lafayette. There is some evidence that the 2nd floor has something going on. There is a modern looking window air conditioning unit and a table visible through the window, but for the most part it looks disserted. What a wonderful structure. It is obviously going into disrepair and should be saved.

Saturday: It was a busy week at work, not much time to even think about gardening. At this time of year, due to daylight savings time and my commute, I leave just after sunrise and get home after dark, so there is not much time to garden even when I wanted to. Today, would be a different matter, but like last week, cooler weather with its fronting rain came late in the week. It is a beautiful sunshiny day, but with fully waterlogged soils so it is a day for piddling at best. I'll head to New Dawn in a few minutes to check out the fruit trees after the winds of the arriving cold front. We'll see how the new staking system performed. Poor staking was a primary reason for my dismal tree performance first go around. Hey, its time to plant some tomato seeds in flats in the greenhouse. That is something fun I can do today.

Sure enough, didn't do squat today. Walked around the gardens envisioning things to come. Took a look at plants here and there. Watered plants in the greenhouse. Picked out some tomato seeds to plant, gathered up the pots, and seed starting mix. And there it still sits. Read a couple of seed catalogs. The fruit trees seems to be doing well in their new locations with their new stakes. Maybe this will be a good year for them. I did notice that the Flowering Quince started to bloom this week.

Sunday: Moved 3 big climbing old garden roses. The largest went into the middle of the old horse trailer as planned. I have been trying to dream up a structure for the other old roses. I think I have it. Last year someone removed the old wrought iron, or faux wrought iron porch post popular in the 40s and tossed them to the road. Being the unashamed scrounge that I am, I threw them in the back of the truck. What my friends must really think, but keep unsaid. I get a big grin when I think about it. I knew I would eventually think of something to do with them. Now I have it. Here it is, under construction, ugly would be a good way to describe it at this point. But this will be a good picture to do a before and after later this summer. I think the roses I moved today were climbing Souvenir de la Malmaison which went to the horse trailer with Climbing Cecile Bruner and Tausendschon going to the new arbor complex. I went though the old jounals and am pretty sure, but spring blooms, which will be sub-optimal with the transplanting, should still be enough for a positive ID.