Friday, April 29, 2011


April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
                        T.S. Eliot, “The Waste Land”

            April has certainly been cruel to Arkansas and Alabama this year. Our thoughts, sympathy and best wishes for a speedy recovery from the unrecoverable go out to all the latest victims of climate change. Why is it that tornados so seldom flatten the neighborhoods of those better able to absorb the losses? Almost gives credence to conspiracy theorists’ claims that weather is controlled by the government at the behest of its handlers, Wall Street and the military.

The freely seeding
Carolina petunia
(Ruellia carolina)
            From without and from within, the lucky Fitzes dodged devastation. I took advantage of some mandated down-time to engage in my favorite form of therapy, weeding. I cleared three-quarters of the back garden and down the south-side path, pulling out over 1300 self-seeded Carolina petunias (Ruellia carolina). The rogue passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) count is only up to 32, but the season’s just getting started. Two others appeared in places I actually want them to be, on the outdoor shower’s wall and at the base of our ‘Muskogee’ crape myrtle. These are the ones I monitor for the National Phenology Network. (See the February 2nd post, “For the Birds,” for more information.)

            Beltane falls on Sunday this year. The forecast calls for perfect spring weather, so Tim and I plan to celebrate with the other local druids. Oh, wait—we’re the only ones. So I guess he’ll paint while I putter in the yard.

            “Beltane” not ringing any bells? Sky-Guy, our friend from the U.S. Naval Observatory, says the ancient Celtic cross-quarter holiday (don’t forget to pay your rents, all you serfs) marks the end of boreal winter and the commencement of the growing season with bonfires, fertility rites and festivities that gave rise to the word “mayhem.” Christianity usurped and sanitized it into tamer “May Day.” Americans gave the druids some of their own back by designating the last Friday in April as Arbor Day.

            Here in southeastern North Carolina, milestones of spring come and go with unbecoming haste. Mid-February to mid-March—daffs bloom: check. February 20—sweet Williams and snaps rebloom: check. March 5—first biting sand gnats attack: check. March 28—windows open all night: check. April 8—first outdoor shower: check. April 21—first local strawberries for sale: check. April 25—air-conditioner turned on for the first time in 2011: check. April 27—cloyingly sweet-scented wild privet in full bloom: check. April 29—first batch of South Carolina peaches: whoa! First peaches? In April?

            The kid at Port City Produce reports the supplier said this crop is the earliest he’s ever harvested by two weeks. Sure, the fruits are small and hard as bricks, but their color is good and they smell peachy. Once they ripen, I’ll let you know how they taste.

Now that I’m making a conscious effort to eat locally and in season, it’s winter’s dearth of fruit I feel most keenly. Once my small cache of frozen berries was gone, the fruit famine set in. But now the local you-pick strawberry places are opening up, which will be followed by the you-pick blueberry places, which will be followed by the wild blackberries ripening at a place I’m won’t disclose. The peaches will get bigger and better throughout the summer. The melons reach perfection in July. I am so ready to be in fruit-hog heaven.

The (nearly) weed-free path
on the south side of our house
(photographed at dusk)
            On the home front, the serviceberries grow a little larger every day. Soon the bird netting will be out to give me a fighting chance at part of the harvest. I noticed there are four new baby serviceberry (Amelanchier x grandiflora) bushes near the mother plant. I’ll dig them up and spread them out into a serviceberry grove.

            Both the ‘Chandler’ and groundcover strawberries are flowering and setting fruit. The seven new blueberry bushes produced about 20 flowers so far, but I wasn’t expecting much in the way of a crop this year. Ditto for the ‘Ouachita’ blackberry whips.

            The scuppernong grape vine I transplanted from the lot next door two years ago looks like it may do something this year too. That would be an unexpected bonus.

The pea patch

            As for vegetables, the peas have pods and the potato plants look great: should we harvest any actual potatoes, however, remains to be seen. I thinned and rearranged the carrot, beet and onion shoots into neat rows a few weeks ago… just before Roger the three-pawed raccoon moved in nearby and went on a digging spree. Fortunately, I’d had the foresight to pot up many of the thinnings (I’ve mentioned I have an awful time killing off vegetable seedlings, haven’t I?), so there are extras to fill the gaps.

            My surviving seed-starts continue to survive, if not thrive. Five cultivars of tomatoes, four of them heirloom; six of two cucumber varieties; and three of two different melons sprouted out on the potting table, plus all six ‘Snack Seed’ sunflowers. I broke down and bought three ‘Better Boy’ tomato and three sweet-pepper plants. The plan (haha) is to get them all in the ground this weekend. Well, we’ll see. It’s also time to get the beans in, now the nighttime temperatures stay between 55° and 65°.

            The hyacinth bean, moonflower and black-eyed susan vine starts are coming along, as are the ‘Spitfire’ nasturtiums. The outside hollyhock seeds did better than the inside ones, a lesson for next year. Two of the six pots of alyssum actually have tiny flowers—what a rush!


The miracle poinsettia
(Who said miracles have to be pretty?)

            The houseplants that survived several months of my indoor tender mercies have moved outside now, to the great relief of everyone concerned. Even the ratty-looking poinsettia clings to life five months on, truly a Christmas miracle. The dahlia I brought in—the one that immediately shriveled up—surprised us all by producing a new green leaf this week: it’s what I consider the greatest triumph of the annual overwintering crapshoot. Thank goodness that’s over with until next November.

            No progress to report on any of the new beds. But it is Beltane weekend: maybe something magic will happen. Keep a good thought for me.

            Thanks for dropping by, y’all.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I know lots about biting off more than I can chew (BOMTICC). My nearest and dearest will tell you I’ve raised the practice to an art-form. Coupled with a compulsive tendency that tolerates no unfinished enterprise, it’s a great recipe for frustration and, once in a while, disaster.

Rosa 'New Dawn,'
the "Mother's Day" rose,
 getting an early start
Take, for example, all the current garden projects in various stages of (un)completion chez Fitz. A domestic hiccup occurring last week and overflowing into this one put the kibosh on making progress on any of them. (Not to worry, we came out the other side of the hiccup hale and hearty. I will say this, though: this getting-old crap is not for sissies.) As the season moves along, the temperatures eke up a little every day. We’ve been taking outdoor showers since April 8th. After a restless, sweaty night, today we broke down and turned on the air-conditioner. I’m beginning to wonder if I have, once again, BOMTICC.

It all looked so simple on paper back in February, and there was just so much time before the energy-sapping heat set in. But, as usual where I’m concerned, way leads on to way. They loop back eventually, but critical momentum gets lost. Quick as you can say “Bob’s your uncle,” it’s July and I refuse to go out in that voluntarily. Even OCD has its limits.

A blue vignette:
Iris 'Contraband Girl,'
Baptisia minor &
Baptisia australis 

I find a backhanded sort of comfort, however, in the knowledge I am not alone.

On Good Friday, Tim and I met with one of the hardest-working people on the planet. Over the past several seasons, Barb’s been building an ambitious garden on the vacant lot next door (it’s okay—she owns it). She’s brought in and wheelbarrowed around three or more truckloads of dirt.  She’s dug about a mile of trenches to direct water to the drainage ditch she cleared and deepened across the back of the lot. With concrete she mixed, formed and poured herself, she engineered a sluice from the high ground to an underground drainpipe she installed herself. She’s built a low wall around what will be the centerpiece of the space, and hauled in the pieces of a ginormous fountain she plans to erect as its focal point. She’s also relocated full-grown crape myrtles and Burford hollies, built a decorative little coffer dam around a native tree with bricks left over from the construction of her house, and planted or moved about a hundred shrubs and perennials as screening and to rough out several garden rooms. Lacking an irrigation system, she waters by hand. I got worn to a frazzle just listening.

A close-up of California firecracker,
Dichelostemma ida-maia

So what does she need Fitzgeralds Gardening for?

Because she started out flying by the seat of her pants, without a plan. And now she has no idea exactly where she is or how to get to where she wants to go. She thinks she may have BOMTSheCC.

Let’s start with those hundred shrubs and perennials. A local garden center went out of business last fall (we miss you, Kelly): Barb took advantage of the bargain-basement prices and loaded up the SUV, several times. To her credit, she got every plant in the ground, in a kind-of pleasing arrangement. But when they grow up—and they will grow up, given enough water to establish—they’re going to be one ugly, tangled maintenance nightmare.

Clematis 'Bonanza,'
one of the Evipo hybrids

To her credit as a gardener, she already suspected that was the case. We urged her to simplify, and gave her some ideas with that end in view. The first and most importantly, she needs to trust her instincts and her eye, because both are primo. Second: install drip irrigation, preferably before summer really roars in. Once a professional installs a valve and a pigtail-pipe, it’s easy to stake out the dripline and emit it herself. Third, attend to the hardscape she has in mind—an elegantly curved paver-path connecting the driveway to the centerpiece garden’s entrance, clearly demarcated by a gate and a few fence sections. The pavers will also sweep along the side of the garage in to the side door and out again to meet an existing path exiting the backyard. A mulch walkway incorporating a few long slope-negotiating steps will wend through the other garden rooms in a roundabout fashion to hook up with the pavers again. Barb and I both could see it complete in our minds’ eyes, and it is beautiful.

With the hardscape in place, it will be easier to see which of the too-many plants can stay, and which should head to the Great Compost-Heap in the Sky. Definition shapes a space: without it, all you’ve got is a mess of plants.

The pea patch in flower
(Pisum 'Wando')

The most important thing we said, though, is Tim’s famous dictum—be an ant. Move one grain of sand/thing at a time instead hurting yourself trying to juggle an impossible number of them (a.k.a. BOMTYouCC). Your anthill/garden will get built. Barb already knows this, of course. It’s a truth I too-often fail to take to heart myself when bubbling over with ideas, visions and enthusiasm. (As my former husband the lawyer used to say, “People never take advice they don’t pay for.” That’s why Tim and I charge for giving consultations. Thanks, R.)

Here’s an example of incipient BOMTYCC. Two of our once-upon-a-time clients, whose original new-construction landscaping Tim and I designed and installed a decade ago, labor long hours enhancing and maintaining their lovely property. Like us, they’re not getting any younger; some tasks just aren’t as easily accomplished as they used to be. Tim’s always saying condo-living looks more and more attractive as the years flit by. Bill’s starting to agree. I know that if you argue for your limits, you get to keep them, but seems like wisdom to not work yourself to death either.

Shelling-pea pods
filling out
(Pisum 'Alaska')

Two other stories involve near-occasions of BOMTYCC. (I wasn’t raised Catholic, but between my college roommate Tina, my friend Eydie, and Tim, I’ve absorbed a lot of the jargon. What a way with words! While at university, I briefly entertained the notion of conversion: Tina taught me that the Church has an answer to every question. Maybe not a good answer, but an answer nonetheless. At that point in my life, that certainty intrigued the hell out of me. Not to worry—now I’m totally content to not know the answer to anything.)

Back to the topic. The first near-occasion occurred when we got a call from a courtly old retired doctor from Southport. His wife had had a potentially award-winning garden drawn by a designer she’d met on a plane (go figure), and wanted someone to put it in for them. Installed as drawn, the garden would have been drop-dead gorgeous on the lot backing up to the Intracoastal Waterway, except…

a) there was no way to maneuver even a small Bobcat into the backyard site for clearing, spreading dirt, or transporting the several requisite tons of stone and mulch, not to mention all the plants: all such labor would have to be done by hand and wheelbarrow—ka-ching! and

b)  the level of maintenance necessary to keep the garden looking good was problematic. When Tim enquired who would be in charge of that aspect, the good doctor (pushing 80 at the time) said he couldn’t do it physically, and Mrs. Doctor said she never goes outside in summer because it’s too hot and there are too many mosquitoes. (No lie about that last. T and I dubbed the area The Biting-Insect Capital of North Carolina: believe me, state-wide competition for that title is intense.)

Blueberry blooms
(Vaccinium 'Elizabeth,'
one of four cultivars
in my front-yard patch)

In the end, the vision of the enormous and eternal expense of installing the garden and then paying someone with leather-like skin to keep it in some semblance of order brought the whole project to a screeching halt. Going forward with it would definitely count as a case of BOMTTheyCouldC.

Today’s final case of BOMTYCC is also archetypal of how Tim regularly talks us out of income by telling the truth. Because we’re fastidious in our work habits and in love with the job (and also because we won’t work for people we don’t like), we  usually become friendly with our clients. If they can help it, friends don’t let friends BOMTTCC. When invited to have their yard showcased in a local Garden Tour, some client/friends in turn asked our thoughts on the matter. At first T and I were excited by the prospect: prepping for tours has been lucrative for us in the past. It is also damned hard work. After a brief, internal struggle between the businessman and the friend, Tim said to Mr. D, “My business side wants to encourage you to go for it. We’d make a good buck and you’d get the accolades. On the other hand, as your friend, I have to advise against getting involved. Getting ready for a tour is a lot of work inside the house as well as out. It’s expensive. It’s always too damn hot on the Tour days. And most importantly, you don’t actually have a garden. You have a very nice, healthy, pretty yard, but nothing as focused as a garden.”

First ripe strawberries!
(Fragaria 'Chandler')

“Good,” says Mr. D, obviously relieved. “We’ll write a nice check to the beneficiary instead.”

I guess the moral is, be careful about the size of what you bite off. And if you do BOMTYCC, think like an ant. It’s okay if you spit out some of that mouthful for now. If it’s important, it all gets masticated in the end.

More pix from around the yard here, four of flowers, four of edibles. Golly-gee, I love April in North Carolina!

Thanks for dropping by, and for hanging in with this looong post.


Monday, April 25, 2011


     Sorry, kids. A two-hour power failure at a critical juncture and nervous anticipation of a nail-biter of a day on tap tomorrow sapping the ol' creative energy put the kibosh on today's post. Will regroup and get it out tomorrow. Thanks for bearing with me.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


…Mousie, thou are no thy-lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men,
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us naught but grief an’ pain
For promis’d joy!
Robbie Burns, “To a Mouse”

            Well, triple piffle. Ms. Cockeyed Time Optimist with Knobs On has been proved wrong again. It happens so often, you’d think I’d be inured to it; but my gift for misreading situations never fails to come as a surprise.

Rosa 'Zephrine Drouhin,'
an heirloom Bourbon rose

            We finished our most recent paying job Wednesday afternoon, not Tuesday morning. That’s because neither Tim nor I know how to keep our mouths shut. We left the site at lunchtime on Tuesday to meet a lady and her husband who just wanted to discuss us undertaking to lay out drip irrigation in their garden—how long could that take? Huh. She’s a capital-G Gardener, like me. He’s ex-Navy, like Tim. Ever witness two ex-sailors, regardless of former rank, hook up? The sea-stories go on and on. And two capital-G Gardeners have volumes of information and experiences to share. So it was almost three o’clock before T and I got back. That’s too late in the day to start a mulching project, right?

            The mulch got spread on Wednesday, by which time T says he’s not feeling so great. He’s the kind of guy who, if he admits to operating at less than full capacity, you’d better listen to him. So today was visit-the-doc-in-Wilmington day. And because we’re in the Big City, we stop at Barnes and Noble, Target, Walgreens, the Hallmark store, Harris Teeter and our favorite Italian restaurant. By the time we get home, Jeopardy!’s only 45 minutes away, and there’s another day shot.

Nectaroscordum siculum
ssp. bulgaricum
Bulgarian lily
            Needless to say, haven’t made an iota of progress in the garden. Oh, except for hooking up the hose to the hose-bib out front so I can hand-water the south side of the house. (It’s a more efficient use of water—if not time—than running that irrigation zone’s sprays.) We hope to stockpile supplies tomorrow and get a few projects done this weekend

            Fortunately, the plants progress on their own. New sprouts from old friends pop up; sprouts elongate and bloom. Surprises await every morning when I toddle out in my jammies to pick up the paper. (It’s okay, really. The neighbors are used to the unsettling sight. Most just avert their eyes.) Wednesday, I spent a half-hour taking pictures of the new stuff, paper inconveniently tucked under my arm and our outdoor cat, Grey-Boy, insinuating himself around my ankles, wondering when breakfast would be served. Those are the pictures scattered through this post.


Verbascum hybrid
(but I don't remember which one)

            Earth Day celebrates its 41st anniversary tomorrow. I was in tenth grade when Sen. Gaylord Nelson, a Wisconsin Democrat, launched the modern environmental awareness movement. Thirty months later, I signed up for a college course called Environmental Science, a new addition to UVa’s curriculum just the year before. (It was already famous as a gut science credit for us Liberal Arts types, along with the History of Math. I took both, and have rued my lack of hard scientific knowledge ever since.)

Sytrax obassia blooms
Large-leaf snowbell,
cousin to Japanese snowbell

            Be that as it may. The idea behind Earth Day was to encourage people to stage peaceful demonstrations in support of healthy, sustainable lifestyles for everyone on the planet, and to raise awareness of the notions of clean water, clean air, clean energy and recycling. Over time, Earth Day activities expanded to include protests against environmental deterioration caused by overuse of chemical fertilizers and pesticides; industrial pollution and toxic waste dumps; loss of wilderness and wildlife habitat; over-dependence on fossil fuels; the dangers of nuclear power plants (can you say “Fukushima Dai-ichi”?); climate change; and oil spills. (BP’s Deepwater Horizon catastrophe is high-profile this year: how heartwarming to learn recently that BP execs received bonuses for their excellent safety record despite those paltry eleven deaths, and our government has certified that all the spilled oil is out of the Gulf of Mexico… except for those millions of gallons on the bottom that will affect life in and around the Gulf for millennia.)

Amsonia tabernaemontana
Mountain blue star

            Earth Day’s April 22 date was chosen partly because of its proximity to Arbor Day, May 1, hence the tree-planting connection. It's one of the largest secular globally recognized “holidays” (for lack of a better term): last year 175 nations participated in some sort of observance.

            Before we get too cocky and self-congratulatory about how enlightened we all are and how far we’ve come, let me share some sobering statistics from the University of North Dakota’s Symposium on Sustainability. If we don’t change our behaviors, this is what will happen today and every day after:

·         97 billion emails will be sent, 40% of which will be spam.
·         4000 books will be published. (Why one of them isn’t mine is one of the sorrowful mysteries.)
·         $3 billion dollars will be dedicated to military expenditures.
Dichelostemma ida-maia
California firecracker

·         The Earth’s population will grow by 211,000 people. That’s like a new Akron, Ohio, springing up EVERY DAY.
·         An area the size of Boise, Idaho, will become desert.
·         200 million tons of cropland topsoil will be lost to erosion.
·         50,000 acres of forest will disappear.
·         Between 20 and 500 species will go extinct.
·         3 billion gallons of oil will be consumed.
·         800 million people will go to bed hungry.
·         18,000 children will die of malnutrition and related diseases.

Amelanchier x grandiflora 'Princess Diana'
Apple serviceberry

The cheerful folks at UND didn’t even mention fresh-water-table degradation and depletion, the trashing and pollution of the oceans, the burgeoning Frankenfood industry or the problems of storing spent nuclear fuel. (Fun facts from Bill Nye, the Science Guy: the half-life of plutonium is 240,000 years. That’s the half-life. For disposal purposes, our ostrich-like government requires dumpsites have to be rated “safe” for 10,000 years. The oldest surviving man-made structures, the pyramids, are less than 5000 years old. Are we insane? Or merely stupid?)

Horrendously out-of-control
eleagnus hedge

The gist is, many of our behaviors and life-style choices today are simply unsustainable for the long run. So while you’re out scheming to have fun planting trees, building birdhouses and attending street fairs tomorrow, maybe you can take just a moment to think seriously about what you’re gonna do when—not “if,” when—the Great Power Failure comes.

On that sober note, I’m outta here. I want to go outside and breathe some clean, earth-scented air while I still can. (Gee, I make the guys at UND look like an SNL sketch, don’t I?)

Have a happy, sustainable Earth Day. And thanks for dropping by.


Sunday, April 17, 2011


Am I blue? Am I bah-lue-ooh?
Ain’t these tears in my eyes tellin’ you?
Was I gay? ’Till to-day-ay?
When each plan with my gar-dan
Done fell through.
(With apologies to Harry Akst, Grant Clarke, Billie Holliday, Ethel Waters, Diane Schuur and the Spelling Police)

            Damn springtime thunderstorms. Not only do they destroy property, devastate vegetation and kill the unwary, unprepared and/or unlucky: they prevent me from working in the garden, which in turn plays havoc with the neat schedule of future posts outlined in my blog-notebook.

            It’s all about me, isn’t it?

            Actually, we got off easy. Storms blowing in from the west lose a lot of their oomph before hitting the coast. We suffer more damage when they come from the south or east. After three days of advance billing for severe weather (50% on Wednesday to 70% on Thursday to 90% chance by Friday evening), Tim and I decided the better part of valor would be to plan on indoor activities for the weekend.

Saturday morning dawned overcast and breezy (a “fresh breeze” according to the Beaufort Scale), but patchily sunny and mild. Underneath the calm, that waiting-sensation lump roiled in my stomach. Something’s going to happen, I thought. The newspaper’s front-page headline attributed nine deaths in Arkansas to the storm system heading our way.

            The day wore on, warm, humid, and with long periods of brilliant sunshine. I resisted temptation and continued cleaning the house, certain the apocalypse—first forecast to arrive in the wee hours of Saturday morning, then early Saturday afternoon, then around dinnertime—was imminent. By 4:30 p.m., the gavel-to-gavel television coverage started. Lots of tornadic activity reported in the counties to our immediate west and north, the first storm-related death in Bladen County, footage of a twister-devastated trailer park. We hit the mute button, and monitored the front’s progress and watch-boxes without the constant commentary.

            Around 7:30 p.m., there was one resonating clap of thunder that sent the cats scurrying to safety under the bed. The rain started, and pelted down for a half-hour or so, only amounting to .09 inches in the end. Locally, an anticlimax. On a wider scale, a disaster for many. If I ever write my autobiography, I shall title it Lucky.

            Didn’t weather used to be more local? Didn’t everything used to be more local? I’m not positive it’s a good thing that we all can learn about everybody’s business practically as soon as it happens. Our tabloid-ruled culture, tending as it does to extremes of shallowness, overloads our brains with too much unimportant information. “Where is the wisdom in information?” T.S. Eliot asks.

            Anyway, I started out griping about not getting out in the yard Saturday because of the Great Storm. Gardening doesn’t count as one of the best activities for those who are addicted to instant gratification. Frequent disruptions, detours and distractions make it an ambling sort of process, despite our best intentions.

Sweet-scented Styrax blossoms

            Take today, for instance. Read the paper (Sunday is the only day I get to peruse the entire newspaper before getting dressed); did the crossword with Tim (between us, we have one really awesome brain); had lunch; then headed out into the beautiful afternoon that often follows a big storm. Had made a list of what I wanted to accomplish—feed the birds, take the recyclables and garbage to the curb, run the south-side and drip irrigation zones, deadhead the pansies, clear out the Styrax seedlings from around the tree, start whacking away at the eleagnus hedge, deadhead daffs, and shuffle my seedlings around and plant some new ones. Hey, I had about three hours to play with.

            Apparently that wasn’t enough. I only made it to the Styrax interlopers. The first three items I ran through in about 15 minutes. Removing the dead and dying flowers from all the potted pansies across the front of the house took longer than I’d thought it would, reminding me why I like violas better: no deadheading required. Then I approached the Styrax.

Styrax japonicus
Japanese snowbell
(note snow-like fallen flowers
and mass of vegetation at its base)

            Styrax japonicus, or Japanese snowbell, is a lovely tree. Its picture is the only one I’m sharing, as the post before this one put me off photos for a while. Small, pure-white bell flowers dangle in sweet-scented profusion in May. Each bloom produces a Skittle-sized fruit that will fall in the, er, fall. All of which germinate. Every damn spring. The area around the tree—under which I cleverly planted hundreds of five different types of bulbs, plus variegated liriope, plus rain lilies, plus a bee balm (Monarda didyma)—is by this time of year a jungle of bulb and liriope and rain lily foliage with little bee balms, looking amazingly like Styrax shoots, coming up. Interspersed through this lush growth is a blanket of tree seedlings. Because of the monotony of the task, I count as I pull. Two hours later, the 1665th infant snowbell lands in my overflowing joint-compound bucket. No, I’m not exaggerating.

            The eleagnus, etc., will have to wait until another day.

            That’s okay. Tim and I have a plan. The day after we finish our current job (with luck, on Monday: no later than Tuesday, surely, says Ms. Time Optimist), we’ll pick up supplies and 1) run drip irrigation to all my planting beds because paying Oak Island for watering the grass is so not gonna happen this year; 2) fill the new raised beds; 3) build trellises for said new beds and an easy (haha) arbor to shade the path running through the big new bed out front; 4) plant the buckeye and the Euscaphis and hyacinth-bean vines at the new arbor in said big new bed out front; 5) bring the eleagnus under some semblance of control; and 6) do all the jobs I didn’t get to today.

            Uh-huh. Make that Ms. Cockeyed Optimist, with knobs on.

            Well, hope springs eternal. Especially in gardens. Thanks for dropping by, and stay tuned.


Friday, April 15, 2011


Agapanthus hybrid

Blue potato bush
Solanum rantonetti 


            As promised, a bonus post of photos of my favorite blues, in no particular order. (I included some of the lavender-blues and the violet blues, too.) Click on the pictures to make them larger, okay?

Lithodora 'Grace Ward'
Ipheion uniflorum 'Jessie'
Star flower

'Blue Pacific' juniper (prostrate shrub)
& Dianthus gratianopolitanus
'Baths Pink'
Perennial groundcover

False indigo
Baptisia minor

Globe thistle
Echinops ritro

'Elijah Blue' fescue
Festuca glauca
Ornamental grass

Golden Dew Drop
Duranta erecta 'Sapphire Showers'
Tender perennial
Glory vine
Thunbergia grandiflora
Tender perennial vine

Southern monkshood
Aconitum carmichaelii
Brown's yew two-toned berries
Podocarpus macrophylla 'Maki'

Sea holly
Eryngium planum
 The pictures are starting to do weird things. It's like the machine has a mind of its own, which is a little scary to one who grew up with Rod Serling. Think I'll just let them place themselves. Wish me luck.

Blue butterfly vine
Clitoria ternata
Annual vine

Caryopteris clandonensis 'Blue Mist'

Cape plumbago
Plumbago auriculata


             Since things seem to go a bit more smoothly when there's text, I'll natter on here before trying to insert some of the last 11 photos.
             What? I told you I love blue flowers.

Tradescantia virginiana
Japanese roof iris
Iris tectorum

Stokes aster
Stokesia laevis 'Blue Danube'

Campanula sp. (but I don't remember which one)

Siberian iris
Iris sibirica 'Caesar's Brother'

Grape hyacinth & catmint
Muscari armeniacum &
Nepeta x faassenii 'Walkers Low'
Bulb & Perennial

Dutch iris
Iris hollandia

          Well, it's time for another little paragraph. How 'bout those Mets, huh?
Only three more pix to go, so I'll say so long here. Don't expect too many of these mainly-pictures posts: they're a major pain in my Luddite ass. Thanks for dropping by anyway.

Peruvian scilla
Scilla peruviana

Spanish bluebells
Hyacinthiodes hispanica 'Excelsior'

Delphinium hybrid
Delphinium 'Dark Bee'
Perennial where the summers aren't too hot
(like at my house)