Sunday, November 19, 2017

Let's Talk Turkey

Folks, Can you believe it! Another Thanksgiving is upon us.

Now, let's get down to talking turkey. Pictured above: the North American wild turkey. NOT WHAT'S ON YOUR DINNER TABLE. Here's the facts ....

 1. They are the largest game birds found in North America.
 2. They are intelligent, social, and have excellent eyesight and hearing.
 3. wild turkeys can fly short distances up to 55 mph.
 4. They can run up to speeds of 35 mph.
 5. Only male turkeys, called Toms, can gobble.
 6. When a Tom gobbles, the sound can be heard up to a half a mile away.
 7. On average, their lifespan is 4-5 years in the wild, sometimes as long as 10.
 8. Wild turkeys have between 5000-6000 feathers. The male's feathers are more colorful with areas of red, purple, green, brown, bronze, and gold. Its 18 beautiful long tail feathers, called a fan, are proudly displayed during breeding season to attract a female.

Trivia:  If Ben Franklin had his way, the North American wild turkey would have been the national symbol of the United States ... not the American bald eagle.  He felt that the bald eagle was a creature of "bad moral character."

Trivia:  There is some controversy concerning the claim that the Pilgrims hosted the First Thanksgiving in the New World in the Fall of 1621. There is speculation that in 1598 a Spanish explorer had led an expedition of 500 people across southern Mexico finally reaching the banks of the Rio Grande near San Elizario, Texas. In "thanksgiving" for their survival on their long, arduous journey, they held a mass and feasted on local game and fish from the region.

         Folks,  pictured below are the turkeys that will wind up on your dinner table for Thanksgiving. They are commercially raised domesticated white turkeys. 

1. They, too, are intelligent and social. Their vision and hearing is just not as developed as their wild cousins.
2. They cannot fly.  Because they are bred to have larger breasts and thighs, they are much heavier than their wild cousins. They weigh, on average, twice as much as wild turkeys.
3. The lifespan of commerically raised turkeys is very short - on average, 126 days.
4. They are bred to have white feathers.

Trivia:  Since the pin feathers are white, unattractive dark blotches won't mar the surface of the bird's skin after it has been plucked.

Trivia:  The average weight of a Thanksgiving Day turkey is 16 pounds.


                   Happy Thanksgiving To All! 

It's Time To Force The Amaryllis Bulbs ....

As soon as the leaves have fallen, the windows are closed, and the heat inside the house is on ... you very well might start thinking it's Amaryllis Time. There is nothing more beautiful than Amaryllis blooming inside over the Christmas holidays right through the Winter.
If this is your first time growing Amaryllis ... you can start anytime between October 1st and March 1st.  After planting, you should have blooms in approximately 6-8 weeks. Just follow these 5 simple steps to begin your adventure:
1. Start with nice, fat round Amaryllis bulbs. You can buy single bulbs online as well as purchase them from Big Box Stores. You can also buy all-in-one kits containing a bulb, pot, and a compressed soil disk. Personally, I really don't care for the kits. I'd rather buy just the bulbs. 
2. Buy a flower pot with drainage holes. A 6-7 inch pot is fine for one bulb.
3. Buy potting soil.
4. To begin, moisten some of the potting soil and add it to the pot til it's about 2/3 full. Place an Amaryllis bulb on top of the soil and gently spread the roots out over the top of the soil. Now add a bit more moistened potting soil so that only about 1/3 to 1/2 of the top of bulb is visible.
5.Place the pot in a warm, brightly lit room. Water sparingly at first. When leaf growth begins water more often. Now .... be patient.

                                                          Voila! Success!

 Once your Amaryllis is blooming, the flowers will last longer if you move your plant to a cooler spot with indirect light. 

 If you buy extra Amaryllis Bulbs and pots, and stagger your planting times, you can have flowers blooming all winter long.  The chart below gives approximate planting and blooming times.  Happy Planting!

PLANT                 BLOOM
Oct 15           Nov 26 - Dec 10
Nov 1            Dec 13  - Dec 27
Nov 15          Dec 27  - Jan 10
Dec  1            Jan 12  - Jan 26
Dec 15           Jan 26 - Feb  9
Jan  1            Feb 12  - Feb 26
Jan 15           Feb 26 - Mar 11
Feb  1            Mar 14 - Mar 28
Feb 15          Mar 28 - Apr 11
Mar 1            Apr 11 -  Apr 26

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Alaska 2017 ... Nature's Masterpiece

This past August, my husband and I took a Once In A Lifetime Vacation. They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The beauty of Alaska will leave you ... Spellbound.
Alaska is Glaciers

Ice Flows and Blue Ice

Huge Icebergs
Misty Shrouded Mountains and Forests

Beautiful Waters dotted with Sailboats

Sleepy Fishing Villages

Quaint Old Streets from the Gold Rush Days

Rushing Creeks

Filled with Pools of  Wild Salmon. 

There are beautiful Totem Poles 
Train Rides into the Past
An unexpected Waterfall at the bottom of a huge Forest

Places where the water is as Blue-Green as the Caribbean

Humpback Whales

And Sterling Sea Lions living  ... Free.

Once you EXPERIENCE Alaska, the memory will STAY with you FOREVER.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Deadheading? Make Mini Bouquets!

It's mid-summer and most plants and flowers start to look a bit wild and overgrown. Cutting them back makes them look neater and will often make the plant produce a second flush of blooms.  And what do you do with the cuttings?  Like most people, I bet you toss them in the trash or into the compost pile.  Well, I decided to try something different. How about making mini bouquets?

You can use anything you like as a vase.  For this particular mini flower arrangement, I used  a recycled small jelly jar and tucked in snippets of flowers that I took from flowerpots on my back porch.  This one is a mix of cosmos, marigold, candytuft, and lemon thyme. 

Petunias  get very leggy in mid-summer and definately benefit from a  hard pruning.  In just a few weeks they will look robust and full again!  Since these red petunias are very short stemmed, I chose to put them in a recycled glass candle holder.  

Get creative!  Use containers you already have in your home.   A little white milk pitcher makes a cute vase for this small assortment of dwarf snapdragons, cosmos, lambs ear, a bit of lavender, and viola.

Wine glasses aren't only for wine.  Fill them with cuttings from red petunias.  

Display your mini bouquets any way you like.  Alone ... or grouped together.   The choice is yours!

Happy Gardening!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Some Pocono August Blooms 2017

It's early August and the weather hasn't been all that cooperative. This summer has been cooler with more rain than in past years. Yet, many flowers are happily blooming their heads off!
Don't you just love Marigolds?  They are always bright and cheerful and continue to flower well into early October. Found a few Japanese beetles on them, but just plucked them off and plopped them into a cup filled with some soapy water. Adios!
Have some Lauren's Grape Poppies blooming ... the flowers are not as large as last year's, but I do so love the color!
My Zonal Geraniums haven't hit their stride yet, but late August usually brings the hotter weather.  They are planted in window boxes in a mix of  ... red
and white. If Geraniums came in blue, I would do a mix of red, white, and blue and be very patriotic.
My Hollyhocks have been my biggest delight this summer. It's the first time they've bloomed and they're still going strong. I do see some seed pods forming. Hopefully, they will drop some seeds and self sow. I'm also going to try and salvage some seed pods as well. 
My Tall Garden Phlox are really pretty this summer. I bought 2 small plants on clearance from either HD or Lowes last summer and planted them. They did bloom, but this year they were much taller and really spread. They are just so pretty, and the scent, is heavenly!
This is my Morning Glories Summer! Got a red, white, and blue combo of Morning Glories climbing steadily up both trellises. Also got 2 Moonflower Vines in the pots, too. In the center, is a pot filled with Red Mini Roses and Nasturtiums. Pot on the left is filled with Red Petunias. Sadly, Tunes aren't doing too well. Bought them on clearance and they weren't looking too good then. Should have known better.   :-((
More Morning Glories ...  with a pot of yellow zinnias for company.
Side note: Have 2 similar trellises in front of the house that had Morning Glories covering them nicely until the deer got to them.  Also had a nice Nelly Moser Clematis growing on one of the trellises. Deer got that too! 
    Lastly, on the other side of the back deck, in the foreground, is a large pot of Catnip for a special buddy.       
 On the right is a pot of tall climbing Nasturtiums. On the railing... a window box filled with red/white Geraniums and two pots of Marigolds. On the railing on the far right .... Red Million Bells Petunias in a very UGLY flowerpot decorated with a pair of Cardinals.

Funny, I used to like that pot. Now I find it ugly. The pair of Cardinals have a RODAN look to them.  If you are familiar with OLD SCI-FI movies from the 1950's, you'll probably know what I'm talking about.  If not, for your viewing pleasure, RODAN is a 1950's black & white Japanese Monster Movie about 2 enormous flying reptiles that gleefully destroy Tokyo. Nuff said ....

Happy Gardening