Sunday, January 14, 2018

Love To Garden But Have Health Issues? Gotta Cheat And Make Some Changes.

Sooner or later health and age issues will catch up with you.  In my mind I'm still 35 and can work in my garden all day long. But my body says ... who you kiddin'? I'm going on 67, have a bad back ... and bad knees. To top it off ... I'm a 16 month out Breast Cancer Survivor. Four rounds of Chemo and 35 Radiation treatments takes a lot out of you. As a result, my immune system is forever compromised. Right now, I 'm getting over a cold and my Doc told me it might take me about a month to really feel better. To say the least, my mind and body has gone through a lot.

Yet, the thing that still makes me happiest ... is working in the garden. And I refuse to give it up ... but I can compromise. That is my goal for the upcoming gardening season.

                     For years ... from April through mid-June ... I've had daffodils

along with Irises, Bleeding Hearts, Astilbe, and Alliums to dependably brighten up quite a few of my garden beds.

When they would begin to fade, I would normally plant clumps of annuals around them for Summer color.

                                     LOTS OF ANNUALS EQUALS LOTS OF DIGGING. 

                                                    So, I'm going to cheat! 

 I'll buy a flat or two of annuals and fill some large flower pots with them ... then hire a teen in the neighborhood to tuck the pots into different places for spots of color.

I may even consider Silk flowers ... How could I even contemplate comitting such a sacrilege you might wonder?  Hey,  it is not as tacky as you might think.  And there are benefits. You don't have to fertilize or water them ... and slugs, deer and groundhogs won't eat them. I am a bit embarassed to say this, but this hanging basket is still hanging above my well and it's mid-January. 

Summer, though, can be more of a challenge, especially if it's hotter and drier than normal.  But I do have quite a few hardy perennials I can rely on.  Catmint, Yarrow, Butterfly Weed, Shasta Daisies, and Black-eyed Susans are champs.  They happily grow and flourish on their own.  They can stand a dry spell ...  but on a really hot day, the Shastas are happier if they get a good soaking before the Summer afternoon sun hits them.

Three years ago I fell in love with the tall Garden Phlox I planted in my front garden with Impatiens as a front border for them. They pretty much bloom from mid-summer right through the Fall. They are easy to care for, they spread each year, and their scent is heavenly. They don't seem to mind the heat of Summer as long as they are well-watered.  They will continue to bloom as long as you cut them back. 

I'm know I'm jumping around, but I had to mention something else about flower pots. I use only pots on my back deck. They always come to the rescue in the lazy days of Summer.  I have a water hook-up to the left side of the deck. All I have to do is pull the hose up through the rails and water my plants. Easy peasy!

Have you tried trellises with flower pots? Last Summer I had Morning Glory and Moon flower vines covering my 2 tall trellises on the back deck. Mind you ... I had more vines than flowers due to a very late start and a cooler and wetter Summer than usual.  But at least I had showy green leaves climbing up the trellises. This coming year I will start the seeds sooner. I'll try both an outside winter sowing (around March) and also start some seeds indoors in April. 

This coming growing season I am also going to use water sprinklers to water my garden beds. 

Normally, I had been using a watering can and/or hose to soak down my flower beds, but it really is too time consuming. Too much walking ... too much refilling the watering can ... and the heavy weight of the filled can has become too much for my shoulder and wrist. I've got Arthritis in my shoulder and Carpel Tunnel in my wrist and hand.  It might seem counter-productive to drag a hose and sprinkler around, but it will save time in the long run.  A sprinkler can cover a much larger area. In-ground sprinklers would be nice, but the cost just won't fit in the budget.  So, I will compromise. I just love  the word ... compromise!

Well, this is what my new agenda will be for the 2018 Gardening season. Wish me luck ... I'll let you know how it goes!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

The Twelve Days Of Christmas ... In Flowers

                                 On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me ...
         a pretty, frilly pink Pe-on-y.

         On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me ...
two yellow Roses ...
and a second lovely pink Pe-on-y.

       On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me ...
three white Daisies
   two yellow Roses
     and my favorite flower ... another pink Pe-on-y.

   On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me ...
     four lavendar Lilacs
       three white Daisies, two yellow Roses 
       and, Oh My ... another lovely pink Pe-on-y.

           On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me ... 
    four lavender Lilacs, three white Daisies, two yellow Roses 
              and another ...  pink Pe-on-y.

        On the sixth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me ...
six stunning Tulips 
 four lavender Lilacs, three white Daisies, two yellow Roses
   and another very pretty Pink Pe-on-y.

  On the Seventh Day of Christmas my True Love gave to me ...
seven fragrant Sweet Peas
six stunning Tulips 
four lavender Lilacs, three white Daisies, two yellow Roses 
and to my delight ... another pink Pe-on-y.

   On the Eight Day of Christmas my true love gave to me ... 
eight purple Poppies 
seven fragrant Sweet Peas, six stunning Tulips 
 four lavender Lilacs, three white Daisies, two yellow Roses 
     and a rosy pink  ... Pe-on-y.

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me ...
nine nodding Bluebells
eight purple Poppies, seven fragrant Sweet Peas, Six stunning Tulips
four lavender Lilacs, three white Daisies, two yellow Roses 
       and ... what else? Another pink Pe-on-y!

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me ...
     ten tiny Violets
nine nodding Bluebells, eight purple Poppies, seven fragrant Sweet Peas
six stunning Tulips
    four lavender Lilacs, three white Daisies, two yellow Roses
    and another sparkling Pink Pe-on-y!

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me ...
eleven lovely Lupines
 ten tiny Violets, nine nodding Bluebells, eight purple Poppies
seven fragrant Sweet Peas, six stunning Tulips
        ---FIVE GOLDEN SUNS ---
    four lavender Lilacs, three white Daisies, two yellow Roses
       and what else? Another ruffly, pink Pe-on-y!

    And on the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me ...
11 lovely lupines
 10 tiny Violets
 9 nodding Bluebells
8 purple Poppies
 7 fragrant Sweet Peas
 6 stunning Tulips
4 lovely Lilacs
3 white Daisies
2 yellow Roses
 12 beautiful flowers
as perfect as can be
Ah, come on, you know ....
it was a dozen lovely, PINK PE-ON-IES!

Wishing you all
 a very

Thanks to Pixabay for use of the photos used in this blog.

Samba Amaryllis - Tall, Sexy, and Flamboyant!

Samba, isn't she beautiful! She's my new amaryllis for this year. She's 23 inches tall from the top of the bulb to where the flowers buds formed. Two buds have opened bearing flowers that are 4 inches wide, vibrant red with fringed white tips, and a white star burst flaring out from the center of the petals. Usually Sambas produce 2-3 stems with  4-6 flowers per stem. My pretty lady is very young. She has only one other shorter stem with a bud that is still tightly closed.
 I found her in a kit on a dusty shelf in a big box store. I planted her in good potting soil in a heavy ceramic pot on November 8th.  By November 14th she was starting to grow!
This is my beautiful lady on November 24th
December 9th
and on December 13th showing off all her gorgeous charms! She is very happy residing on table in my living room. She is positioned under a floor lamp where she gets plenty of warmth and light provided by a plain 150 watt bulb from about 8 in the morning til about 8 in the evening. In the afternoon the sun also visits her for a few hours.  

Give her light, warmth, and water (not too much ... she doesn't like wet feet) and a bit of fertilizer and she will gladly brighten up your dreariest winter day! 

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Past & Present

I'm sure you've seen photos just like this one above of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. Maybe you've even visited New York City at Christmas time and personally viewed it in all its holiday splendor. But I bet you didn't know some of its fascinating early history.

On  the 31st of December 1931, a group of twenty construction workers erected a 20 foot tall balsam tree on the future site of what would eventually become Rockefeller Center. It was during the time of the Great Depression in America when more than 13 million people were out of work.  These men were among the fortunate who had jobs. In celebration of the Season, and having just been paid, they decorated the tree with strings of cranberries and paper garlands.  And so the tradition began.

1933 marked the official first year display of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.  The tree was nearly 50 feet tall and covered with 700 lights.  

  In 1936 on Christmas Day, the first ice skating pond in New York City was opened to the public on the lower plaza.

The 1940's brought America into the second World War.  To show support for our troops overseas, three trees were displayed on the plaza ... each decorated in red, white and blue.

In 1951,  all of America got the chance to see the famous tree. The very first nationally televised lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree took place on the Kate Smith Show on NBC.

America became more environmentally conscious in 1971. It was the first year that the Rockefeller Christmas Tree was recycled into mulch to cover nature trails in in upper Manhattan. Since 2007, the tree has been donated to Habitat For Humanity and the wood has been used for milling purposes. 

Happy Holidays

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!