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.