Friday, August 28, 2009

A little tour around the yard

Poor Ed! He just doesn't get a break! The door opener on the ramp door has to be replaced.

Today, I felt better--so I took a little tour of the yard. Here are some pictures:

Curcuma, Japanese Fernleaf Maple.

Butterfly on phlox

Angel Trumpet, pink

Bromeliad Sanctuary

Click on the picture to see the little yellow flower.

Pinecone Gingers

By the front entrance, a lavender Crape Myrtle a dash of giant varigated Liriope.

I surely made a good move when I planted these caladiums-- They are beautiful every year!

Japanese Painted ferns- Birdsnest fern behind pottery


Come on by!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

How do you know when a friendly stranger will become your best friend? Who will share late night of laughter and help soothe our tears with ice cream and chocolate? What was that special moment when you knew you were best friends for life, when you found a soul mate you could trust with all your secrets?

The answer to these questions is open for debate: Friends come in all shapes and sizes, but they are all special. They are the people who have been with you during the fun times--and they understand why you hate disco music and are afraid of roller coasters. They love you through the adventures, and they help make the grueling times--like pulling all-nighters, moving furniture, painting your house, pulling weeds, and sharing flowers.

Your friends were by your side when you built your first treehouse and went on your first date, they were also there with a ready hug when you didn't land your "dream job." Friends are magical. The magic happens when two or more people become buddies, pals, amigos. It's a gift to treasure forever. Like a beautiful present, the layers of friendship are unwrapped as time goes by and the treasure grows, blooms and becomes more dear.

Share a plant with someone and you will be their friend. They will remember you each time they visit their garden.

Big disappointment

I have been rather "under the weather," literally and figuretively. It has rained a lot here and I haven't been in the garden very much and between Ed having cataract surgery, stress tests, and finally a heart cath and me having trouble with some affects of medicine the Dr. put me on--I've been a mess.

Then, Ed got out yesterday a.m. and found that my night blooming cereus had 2 spent blooms!! Didn't even know that one was about to bloom. It was out under the tall Sweetgum in a pot and seemed to like the amount of sun it received there.

The one I have on the deck just under the eave is a bigger plant and is showing 3 buds.

(These are last years buds)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Now is the time of year to start looking for blooms to start showing on your night blooming cereus.

Night Blooming Cereus
A midsummers night bloom could be a better common name for the night blooming cereus. Few people would ever buy this plant upon first inspection, because gangly and downright homely, come to mind, but let this plant bloom and everyone just has to have one. It is hard to imagine that such a common looking plant could have such a stunning blossom. Odder yet, it only opens in the late evening, but it is worth losing a little sleep over.
Two plants are given the common name night blooming cereus. They include Selenicereus and the Hylocereus genus. These plants are very similar in their growth habit and in their flowering. They are both members of the cactus family and are vigorous vining plants. The fast growth, coupled with the gangly stems, make them somewhat awkward in the interior landscape, but when they bloom -- it will take your breath away.
Hylocereus undatus is probably the most common plant we see. This plant originated in the tropics. It has slender, 3-ribbed light green to yellow green stems, that either climb or hang. They have short, sparse spines. The flowers open as funnel shaped blooms up to a foot or more in width. They only open at night, and the flowers form all along the stems.
Selenicereus is native to the Caribbean Islands and has slender cylindrical stems, green when young, and turning slightly purple as they mature. It also forms a quick growing slender stemmed plant. Another common name for this plant is "Queen of the Night".
Both of these plants are worthy of growing for the blooms alone, but don't hop in the car to go buy one -- they aren't commonly found gracing (or detracting) from the shelves in nurseries. These plants would truly be classified as ‘pass-along' plants -- those we get cuttings or starts from. If you can find someone who has one, they would be more than happy to share, because the plants are prolific growers, and easy to grow.
This plant is grown as a houseplant, but prefers a trip outdoors for the summer months. Place the container under a shade tree where it gets filtered light, but not direct sunlight in the afternoon. With a flower so showy, you may think it is difficult to grow, but the opposite is true. It basically takes care of itself. The only thing that would be a problem would be waterlogged soils. It prefers a well-drained soil with organic matter added -- a half-and-half mixture of sand and commercial potting soil should do. The sandy mix is preferred, since this is a cactus. Feed it monthly during spring and summer with any water soluble.
The plant usually begins to set flower buds in July through September in Arkansas. You will notice a bud appearing along the edge of a leaf. You need to watch it daily to gauge when it will bloom. The buds increase dramatically in size. The day of blooming, the bud will begin to open about 9 or 10 pm, and be wide open by midnight. When they're ready to open, they do so in dramatic fashion, literally before your eyes -- you can see the movement. We once did time lapse photography for a show, and it was amazing to all of us present. The size and shape of the blooms is outstanding enough on its own, but the fragrance can scent an entire room.
You don't want to miss the flowering display, because each bloom only lasts for that one night. By sunrise the flower is spent. I have cut a bloom and put it in a vase of water in the refrigerator where it did last for an extra day, minus the fragrance, but it made viewing somewhat constrictive -- you had to have your head in the icebox to see it!
To encourage annual blooming, don't keep it as actively growing during the fall and winter months. Reduce watering, and avoid fertilization. The soil should be allowed to dry between watering. This is the season where you want the plant in a spare bedroom -- getting needed sunlight, but out of sight! Rootbound plants tend to bloom better, so don't repot your plant very often. As the plant begins to grow in the spring, increase watering but only slightly. This is a cactus, and it doesn't need as much water as other houseplants. Too much water can cause rootrot and eventual death.
If you can find someone with a plant, ask for a cutting. They root extremely easily. Take a section of stem roughly two to four inches in length, put it a sandy potting soil, and moisten it. It should be rooted with three to six weeks. It will usually take two to three years before you have a plant that begins blooming, but then stand back and enjoy. Some people find that their plants bloom every year, once blooming begins, while others have an alternate blooming cycle.
If you can't find a plant locally, there are some mail order sources.
If you have a night blooming cereus, consider hosting a late night party for when it is in bloom -- you can amaze and astound your friends. Just don't tell them how easy it is to grow.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


I'm soooo glad to be home! We made a trip to northeast NC to see Ed's mother for her 87th birthday (1800+ miles rt). I was able to stop by my son's place outside of Charlotte for overnight and it was good to see him and my grandsons. I only have grandsons! Six. Finally, had a g-granddaughter, but I never get to see her---she's in NV.

My son and his "toy":

I surely wanted to ride it, but the last time he took me for a ride, years ago, my foot slipped onto the muffler and burned the bottom of my heel so bad---it took weeks for it to heal (no, I didn't feel a thing because I have no feeling from my bra line down).

Monday, August 10, 2009

Hummer time

Watermelon happiness

Little Hummer

Orchid by the pond

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Yesterday, I was determined to replant the daylilies that I had removed from the "daylily bed" (so that it could go back to grass to ease Ed's trimming work). They were beginning to get too dry. It was a big job! It was HOT and I sweated bullets! Dirt was all over my wheelchair and me from head to toe.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Another rainy day

I sneaked out at about noon, between rains, and got a few pictures:

Hosta Plantaginea
The only Hosta that tolerates this Gulf Coast weather
Hosta Paradigm
Example of what happens here with other Hosta species.
It is "frozen" - not putting on new leaves, just sitting there waiting to kick the bucket.


Red Hot

Brugmansia, Angel Trumpet


The actual flower is the little "orchid" in the side cup.