Filling in the Holes

This is the time of year when I do a lot of digging.

I have to bring in all me tender plants that will not survive the winter outside.

So when these plants are dug up and brought in, there are empty holes.

This is the perfect time to amend the soil for next year’s planting.

I start out by throwing in a few shovel fulls of nasty compost.

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This gets chopped up and mixed with some of the removed soil.

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Then I top this off with some seasoned bunny litter.

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More dirt and mixing.

Then the hole gets filled in with the remaining original soil.

There is a science to this messiness.

My compost is never seasoned enough nor balanced before going into the ground.

Therefore, I have to chop it up in the hole

and mix it with soil to get the bacteria in good contact.

Too much of a good thing is a bad thing.

Re-nitrification first involves de-nitrification.

Never put unseasoned compost near a plant.  It needs to decompose.

Also, the bunny litter on top tends to discourage the critters

that would love to dig up the slimy fruits and veggies for a nasty feast.

Come next spring, the soil in these holes will be fertile and full of worms.

This is my dirty way of preparing for spring as everything dies.

FLOWER surviving the fall.

All Those Arms

I tend to change the names of people, places and things.

Just ask my students and family.  New names are the norm with the FLOWER.

So I call this Life Saver plant ( Huernia zebrina) by the name Starfish plant.  Which is NOT its correct name.

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Star Fish plant/ Huernia zebrina

This is not due to senility.

It’s  because this plant reminds me of a starfish story I used to tell my students.

Starfish/Seastars are capable of regeneration. If they lose an arm, they grow a new one.

This is important to know if you are harvest oysters.

You see starfish eat shellfish.  They use these arms to pull open the shell and stick their stomachs inside to secret acids that dissolve the guts of the victim. Then they slurp up the goo.  Yummy.

Oyster fishermen  in the past tried to kill off the competition by chopping them into pieces.  This only multiplied the problem, because if a piece of the central disc was left on the arms, all those pieces became new starfish.

So the lesson here is to know your enemy.

Okay… back to the plant.

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Star Fish plant bloom/ Huernia zebrina

The Life Saver plant likes to drop arms around.

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If these land in a neighboring pot, the pieces produce new plants.

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So all those arms are a way of reproducing asexually.

So the Life Saver gets called the Starfish at FLOWER’s house.

It’s no surprise that Wingrid loves this plant.  It’s the extra arms she can relate to.

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Anybody want some Starfish…I mean Life Saver plant parts?

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FLOW

Saving the Tigers

Some of my plants are too precious to leave their survival to chance.

I put my new Tiger lilies at the top of my precious list.

I know they are supposed to survive in zones 4 through 9.

I am in zone 7, so I should relax and leave them out, but…

Some winters are extremely cold, others are soggy wet.

Our soil is red clay so things rot. I have to put pebbles under plants to ensure drainage.

Why would I risk the only lily the mama deer did not eat?

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These Tigers are the only lilies that came through the “deer delicatessen ” month uneaten.

So both the bulbs and the bulbils are coming in.

I removed the purple bulbils from the stems.

I immediately popped these into some cactus soil in shallow pots and watered them.

Label these babies in the pots.

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Then I removed the yellowed plants from their giant pot.

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I shook the damp soil off the roots.

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I let these dry a few days and then knock off the remaining soil.

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I store them in a cardboard box full of damp vermiculite separated be used packing paper.  Separation prevents the spread of diseases.

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The big, heavy, empty pot will have to stay outside.

Always keep the label with the bulbs.

If you think you will recognized them in the spring,

you are either young or very optimistic.

I always have WTF (What’s This Flower) moments in spring.

Now these Tigers , big and small, will be safe through the winter in my workshop with my hundreds of other precious plants.

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The FLOWER knows she is forgetful and plans accordingly.

FLOWER in the Fall

 

 

The Marvelous Marching Band

Western Carolina University is known for its marvelous marching band.

I finally got to witness their showmanship first hand.

Even the warm up session was fascinating.

The members were grouped by instruments.

I ran from one to the next, watching these young musicians getting ready to perform.

When they took the field, they filled it up.

The sights and the sounds took me back to my days in my high school band.

I was so inspired by their polished performance.

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Oh yes, there was also a football game.

FLOWER

ATTENTION: Worker Bees

Calling all worker bees.

It’s time to stop making honey

and fly to the polls.

Do not let the smoke confuse you.

The drones think they own the hive.

Rise up and use your voting power.

Ignore the media buzz.

Vote with your heart.

Choose love over hate.

Choose hope over fear.

There is no OTHER,

just US seeking justice for all.

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This is your call to wings.

Swarm the polls.

Sincerely and respectfully,

Your fellow worker bee FLOWER

Fairy Halloween Party

The fairies have a new hangout.  Since it is fall, I carved a pumpkin just for them.

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They love all our human traditions for decorating and celebrating.

They like trick-or-treating

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and bobbing for crabapples

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and roasting marshmallows.

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Blow that out PI!

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They spend most evenings together inside that pumpkin.

Oh, look.   They are in there now.   Let’s take a peek inside.

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Looks like a Halloween party.

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What’s this girls?   Gambling?

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and alcohol?

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Et tu Tink?  Wait ’til Disney hears about this.

I should have known when I saw Wingrid’s new bottle tree.

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How old are fairies anyway?

FLOW is always the last to know.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN

 

Daddy and the Big Planes

It’s been a big week for my daddy.

You have seen posts of him with his little model planes.

https://floweralley.org/2018/04/06/my-daddys-little-airport/

This week he went to see some real World War II planes.

He looked rather tiny rolling around under these giant aircraft.

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The Collins Foundation brought their ‘Wings of Freedom Tour ‘ to Statesville’s  Airport.

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There was a B-25 Mitchell named the TonDeLayo.

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Also a B-17 Flying Fortress, the Nine-O-Nine.

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Daddy’s favorite was the B-24J -Liberator called Witchcraft.

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We got to see some lucky folks take rides in a P-51 Mustang.

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Daddy enjoyed talking with one of the pilots about the different motors used in the P-51.

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He also met a Vietnam veteran whose dad, Roy E. Guy,  was shot down in Germany.

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Mama was a good sport  during the event, as usual, despite being cold.

My sister was Daddy’s wingman,  rolling him wherever he pointed.

I, of course, was the reporter, photographer and spy.

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He claims that last year’s Liberator is his last model plane.

https://floweralley.org/2018/02/11/my-daddys-planes/

I hope this is not true. My daddy just loves planes. He was like a kid in a toy store.

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I must include this cute little dog, who waited patiently while his daddy got up in a plane for a photo.

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The FLYING FLOWER

Saving My Passions

Saving my Passions involves some risky behavior.

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Passion vine hybrid

I must climb a ladder with scissors in my hand.  Twice.

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The first trim occurs back in early fall.  I cut off the side shoots.

I then streamline the vines down to three or four main stems.

The first trim prevents the vines from getting shocked all at once and makes the second trim easier.

Then I climb back up again, about a month later, to cut them down from the trellises.

I usually leave about one third of the plant in place.

I wrap this lower portion into a wreath-like ring and secure it to a short trellis in the pot.

I use garland hooks from craft stores to hold vines onto the trellis. These can be moved and removed easily.

I then wheel my potted vines into my sunny workshop to spend the winter with all my other precious plants.

It’s a jungle in there!

The trimmed pieces may be cut up into cuttings to produce new Passion vine plants for my friends.

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Passion vines cuttings. Red Passion has bigger leaves that are hairy and bronzed.

I keep a request list.  Newly rooted plants will be given away in the spring.

The bunnies helped out by hiding under the Turk’s Cap plant.

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They know mama on a ladder with scissors is something to be afraid of.

FLOWER