Wednesday, March 31, 2010

God in the Garden #2

I could hardly sleep last night, what with all the racket the Cayotes were making howling at the full Moon. So, I walked out to shoo them away, and yep, sure enough God was out there just a howling. God looked back at me and said, "what? I created the Cayotes so I could have a chorus."

This is the #2 post of God in the Garden, but many more preceded it as status updates on my Facebook account.  I just didn't save them.  Several folks said I should, so as part of my Garden Blog here goes.  Which is as it should be, as I re-discovered God, or maybe discovered him for the first time in my garden many years ago.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

We're Both Hurting, Big Time

Today was a massive spring cleaning on the property, and my wife, not me, pulled the biggest load.  I don't know how she kept going, but one thing I do know is that we is gonna regret it tomorrow.   First, the 40 foot Pine Tree that had split a couple of yearsa ago in the hurricanes and was cut down was hauled to burn pile.  The same for some massive trimmings from a hurricane damaged Oak as well.   Then came the Banana and Ginger remains.   And lots of freeze dead other things that were cut down as well had to be hauled off.   About 20 large bags of Oak leaves picked up here and there alongside the road were distributed out into the garden beds. 

The only planting today was the replacement GG Gerbing Azalea.  I hope the third time is a charm on this one.  Not sure what took the first one out, but last year it was early heat and drought that it in.   I was amazed to find the soil dry down 12 inches already in this spot.  I did use the 1-Step on this planting.   Since using this product I have not lost a single new planting and had outstanding growth in the first year and second year as well. 

We have 3 new Camellia to add to the Camellia room.  I would have planted them today, but I only had 1 pack of 1-Step left and it was used on the Azalea.   Getting those is first on the to-do list tomorrow.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Do, Do, Do, Lookin' Out My Back Door

Well, on this beautiful spring Saturday I was particularly useless.   Not sure why, but I just never got into anything.  Maybe tomorrow will bring more energy and enthusiasm.   We have some new Camellia's to plant, vegetables to water, bags upon bags of Oak Leaves to put out, and many palms and other plants to clean the winter dead from.  Oh, and about a thousand other things as well.   No problem, it'll still be waiting on us tomorrow.

So, I'll leave you with the landscape view from my back door.  God has blessed me.

Oh, I almost forgot.  I did get something done.  I woke up this morning, walked out and did not hear the familiar hum of my Soil Soup Compost Tea Maker.   The Bio-Blender was not turning and just about to burn up.   It failed last year, and when I had the motor rebuilt I got a spare as well.   Good thing as the old motor was fried this time.  I suspect it was a failed bearing.  Well, as I went to install the new motor, I discovered the old motor was reinstalled in a less than optimal manner.  It was over torgued and the plastic seat distorted.   Another screw was stripped too.  So, after a quick trip to Lowe's for a new screw and some high heat Silcon to create a new seat for the motor, I think I am back in the saddle.  We'll know on Monday morning, after the Silicon dries and I can crank it off.   Either way this is the last hayride for the current housing, so I need to start budgeting for a new Bio Blender.  Hopefully, this one will make the summer.  Now, please note that I am not complaining, but I am guessing the Bio Blenders has a 4 to 5 year life.  More to come.

Bamboozled by Bamboo

My Moso Bamboo seems to be a total loss.  The first broke in half last year in strong winds.  I duck taped it together with steel rods and it lived till this winter.   The other broke in half during stongs winds early in the spring.  Now it seems that I have nothing left of my investment.    As a last resort, I sprinkled the area around both with a high nitrogen grass fertilizer.  What could it hurt?   Now we wait.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Time to Prepare for the Hummers

I just filled up my Hummingbird feeder. If you have one, go ahead and fill'er up. If you don't, it's the cheapest, fun entertainment you can get for the price of a little sugar water. I took this picture on my feeder last year, which I titled "En Garde - I Challenge You to a Duel."

God in the Garden

God was in the garden last night. It has been a while. He was walking around lightly tapping one dormant plant after another. I had to ask what he was up to, to which he replied, "I'm just waking them up gently." Walking away, he also said, "and if that doesn't work, I'll be sending a big loud thunderstorm along the next few days. That's rattle their chains, lol."

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Laid to Waste, but It Will Be Back

This is what remains of my most luscious sub-tropical bed, the result of 3 nights in a row with lows of right at 20 degrees.   There were many more nights below freezing as well in this brutual winter, the coldest in 20 years.   But no fear, these plants will be back, although it will take till fall before they begin to approach their previous beauty.   Unfortunately, many of my marginal palms will not return, and are down for the count.  Such is the evolution of a garden.

Pretty Enough to be a Flower

I planted a few Purple Cabbage in one of the ornamental beds just for the fun of it.  I wish I had planted more as they are quite attractive.

I put out the 3rd batch of Compost Tea/Spray-n-Grow today.  That's 75 gallons and all.  I also pruned up the more heavily damaged Citrus.  One of the Variegated Lemons is toast, and the second probably is, but has a slight chance of survival.   The Ponderosa Lemon was heavily damaged as well, but should come back.   The Rio Red Grapefruit is not only undamaged, but already putting on a tremendous growth surge.  The Meyer Lemon is fine as well, but was full of suckers which I pruned off today.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Strange Things Plant People Do

For several years I attended a conference in Many, La.   Of course I took leasurely walks out in the woods of the area anytime I got the chance just to see what was growing.   A shrubby plant with great green leaves and fantastic little red flowers was everywhere.   I dug up a small seedling with a spoon the first year, but it did not make it.   The following year, 3 years ago, I refined my technique and used a butterknife to dig this seedling.  It was tiny.  I knew it was an understory plant, but I have no Piney woods in which to plant it, so I chose  2/3rds out, but still under the canopy, of a large Live Oak.  There was lots of drought that year, so when it was all but dead by mid summer, I dug it back up and potted it   It thrived, and I again planted it in the fall.   The next year it survived, but barely.   But this spring, it has sprung to life in a big way, and is going to flower.  I think this little Red Buckeye is gonna make it.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Texas Mountain Laurel, an Early Sign of Spring

After a brutal winter, things continue to wake up.  This Texas Mountain Laurel showed little to no damage.  Indeed a seedling I have that is less than a foot tall and planted out in the open showed little damage as well.  The flower pictured above is astounding as well.   I think I am seeing a few more of these in my future visions of this landscape.

There is the strangest very loud bug out there tonight.  Not sure I have ever heard it before, rhythm like a Cicadia, but much higher pitched coming from the Twin Oaks Bed.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Early Spring Veggie Classic Combo, Potatoes and Onions.

We're off to a good start on the new veggie gardens.   Here is a shot at a row of Potatoes and Onions.   This bed started off as a till bed, but after an hour with a hoe, I quickly mulched it down with about 6 inches of Oak Leaves for an early season conversion.   We'll see what happens, haha.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Things are Waking Up, Out Comes the Tung Oil Trees

Brave Young Plants open their sensitive growth to an unpredictable world. Spring has retreated again, allowing winter to return for a brief 3 day encore. Temps dropped suddenly to lows in the upper 30s and brutal westerly winds near 30 miles per hour. In the little time it took water the newly planted Golden Rain trees and Blueberries, my ears were stinging from the cold. Hard to believe in a couple of days will be back to sunny days and highs in the low 70s again. Which brings me back to the photo. This 1 year old Tung Oil tree seedling is particularly attractive at this stage with the two little red dots at the base of each leaf, and the center looking like a tiny cabbage. Click the photo for enlargement. 

The Tung Oil trees, which are incredibly beautiful when they flower, caught my eye a few years ago.  I was not sure what they were until last year.  I collected some seeds under one and found them quite easy to germinate and grow, reaching 5 to 7 feet tall in their first full year in the ground.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Lady Banks Always Arrives Early for the Party

One of the early signs of Spring here is the blooming of our Lady Banks Rose. It is just getting started, and another week or two will be a 15 foot wide by 10 foot tall sea of yellow roses.
It was windy out today, but partly cloudy with mild temperatures. I put the last Tomato down in the main no-till beds today, 15 in all. Unfortunately we have a little front coming through tonight and a chance of a mild frost on Monday morning. It'll be a hodge podge of things, but I'll get all of the tomatoes covered tomorrow. Other than the only a little watering will need to be done tomorrow as this front looks to be coming in with little or no rain.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Finally, its Time to Plant

Heading out to plant the new Blueberry bushes. This is my second attempt, having failed once, not realizing the unusual ph requirements for Blueberries. So, an adjustment here and an adjustment there, and down they went, all Rabbiteye, as suggested. I planted one Premier, one Climax, and one Tifblue. I used Black Cow as a supplement and also 1-Step as well. Just need some good mulch now and regular watering. That's allI can do. Oh, and I'll pray a bit too.

The Tomatoes are Down

This was the first spring cleanup weekend. I spent hours, literally, on the weedeater, while Cel did the mowing duties. Sounds like a chore, but really, it was quite enjoyable work.

The main tomato crop, 14 in all, is down into the new no-till beds. They all have a nice thick mulch of Oak Leaves Cow Manure or Compost for fertilizer. It'll be Spray-n-Grow and Bill's Perfect Fertilizer from here on their all organic diet. I finally got the two Rain Trees from Helen planted, which completes my Rain Tree Grove Project. I still have the new Blueberry bushes to plant, but with daylight savings time kicking in that should be easy to get done this week.

A Fabulous Garden is a Great Place to Try Out Your Photographic Skills

Today is a good day to blog, or at least to start a new blog. I have maintained a website for many years in a blog sort of fashion, but it is time to make the process a bit easier, so here goes with my first entry along with a nice little picture I took at Rip Van Winkle Gardens during a recent retreat.