Flying Saucers

I looked out my kitchen window this morning and yelped for joy.

There they finally were


among the weedy unwelcome morning glories.


Flying Saucer Morning glories/ Ipomoea tricolor

I planted them on April 25.   I wondered why I had not seen one yet.


Aren’t they lovely?

Daddy’s favorite color of blue, bluebird blue.

Blue and white.






Wild Passion

Talk about a tantalizing title!

One of the wild Passion vines that I found on the bank has finally put out a bloom.


Now I can post the wild flower photo side-by-side with my hybrid I ordered.





Wild Passion Vine Leaves
Hybrid Passion vine leaves
The hybrid has 5-lobed leaves, bracts at the petiole, and curlier tendrils.

I found three wild vines on the bank. I have cleared out the weeds around them and staked them.

They seem to be struggling to survive, unlike the potted hybrid.

Typical.  “I’d Rather be a Tall Ugly Weed” (Julio Noboa Polanco)

Follow the wild FLOWER!




The Crown of July

July is NOT my favorite month in the garden.

Water, weed, pick, again; water, weed, pick, again…

Too many tommy toes.


Itchy squash plants host their skittering beetles.


Zucchinis grow giant the minute my back is turned.


Pumpkins? I didn’t plant pumpkins.


Tomatoes… tomahtoes…potatoes…potahtoes..


Let’s kill the whole thing off.     Get the sprayer and fill it with herbicide.

WAIT!      There is one non-needy, non-weedy spot left in the garden.


A group of flowers, each wearing a crown.


Pineapple Lily.    Eucomis.


I appreciate these lovely, long spires of delicate blooms.


I have a change of heart and get the hose to water instead.


Garden Saved by Eucomis!!!

Ants on my Plants

Ants are not bad.


If they are on your blooms,


they are just sipping some nectar.

If they are running up and down the stems and leaves,

Scale on Key lime tree.

you probably have aphids or scale,

Aphids on Butterfly weed.

which the ants milk like cows.

Ants on blooms are okay.


Ants all over your plant probably means there is a problem.

The ants are a result, not a cause.

Follow the Ants.



Walk On Thru It

It is better to experience a garden from within.

I have many walkways through my gardens to guide the steps of visitors.IMG_2049

I use these paths as places to sit and work in the various areas.

I also pull hoses through on the pathways,


so I stick decorative objects in the ground along the sides to guide the hoses.


It’s so much easier to access a garden for picking, taking cuttings and cleaning

when there is a cleared out open space through it.

Stones with slab glass embedded.

My yard is also hilly, so I have made paths that run horizontally

through the middle of the terraces,

so that I can work on the different elevations without climbing up and down.


These paths must be weeded and re-mulched periodically.

I have found that they require less maintenance if there is a

foundation that separates the soil from the seeds that blow in.

I use either layers of newspaper or cardboard.


To refurbish a path, I remove the stepping stones


You may find little friends live under these, so be careful.


I rake the old layer of mulch to the sides of the path.

I then rake the soil of the walkway as flat as possible.


I lay down a base made of 8 to 10 layers of newspaper or cardboard.


Sometimes I use large nails to hold the cardboard in place.

Paint these nails bright colors, so they can be found years later when redoing the path


I water this down and stomp down the cardboard to make it mesh with the soil.

I then add a thick layer of new mulch and replace the stones.

Stones with Fern Frond impressions.

I water all this down again to help it settle.


A pathway is like a long, solid Welcome Mat to invite folks into your garden.

It also keeps those less in-tuned to gardening from stepping all over your precious plants.

I will be doing a post on how to make stepping stones in September.

Follow the FLOWER’s pathways.

Glads Flop

I love gladiolas but…


They are boring before they bloom.

They bloom for only a short time.

They fall over when it rains.

When they are done blooming they are messy.


I have tried really hard to accommodate them this year.

In their defense, I did make the mistake of planting them on a hill.

I did plant them in a row, when I usually do groupings.

So these were my mistakes.

I did do some things right.

I staggered the planting times by two weeks.

They are deer resistant, so they have not been snacked on like my hostas and daylilies.

I chose colors that I thought would complement each other.

I also developed a new colorful way of staking them using giant pick-up sticks painted green with recycled glass balls on the ends, to prevent impalement as I weed them.


I planted groups of Acidanthera/Gladiolus callianthus on the ends of the rows to extend bloom time. (These have not bloomed, yet.)

But in the end, they were a flop.

Figuratively and literally.

Another disappointment was the colors in a package named ‘Mardi Gras’.

What should have been a festive mix turned out to be two colors, fuschia and white.  Clunk!


The only reasons I haven’t written the company yet are I lost the package and the whites had purple stamens. I love purple, so they are keepers.


They other package of  ‘Pricilla’ was lovely.


I will dig these corms up and haul them in for the winter,

but there will be a whole new plan next year.

Follow the FLOWER’s flops.



Divide to Multiply

It’s time to divide your bearded iris.

Thunder Echo
Thunder Echo

Look at each grouping. Did they bloom well in April?

Are the leaves small?  Are there white spots?  Brown streaks?  Holes?

Are the rhizomes skinny?  Holes in spots?  Packed together?

Clean iris are happy iris.


I have not sprayed mine in a decade,

because I cut and clean them several times each year.

The rhizomes like to stay dry and bake in the sun.

This can’t happen if they are crowded.


Clean it before you move any plant. That way you don’t move problems.

This is especially true if sharing plants with friends.

They will not appreciate your disease or tenacious weed.


Lift the group you wish to move.  I use a combo of dig and pull.  Clean each one off.


Let it stand out for a day or two in the shade to harden off the cuts.

Cleaned and separated.
Trash pile from cleaning.

IF you must do the move and replant in the same day,

you may want to dust breaks and cuts on the rhizome with sulfur powder.


To replant, dig a large basin-type trench,

so that you can reach across it in the future to clean them.


Amend soil as needed.

The spot you choose should be sunny and well-drained.

Spread out the roots as you cover them.

I usually bury the entire roots and rhizome and then tug the rhizome to the surface.


Pretend it is floating on the soil like a little boat, half-submerged.

My Daddy likes to tease me by looking at my iris and asking,

“When are you going to plant those?”

Mud them in. (Flood with water.)


I always say that transplanting a plant without “mudding it in”,

is like transplanting an organ without hooking up the arteries.

When you are done, go take a shower. You will need it…and maybe a nap, too.




Hot Out? Stay In.

July is brutal in North Carolina.

I have been out today working on two different posts.

I  just can’t stand the thought of another shower before my afternoon appointment.

So I plan to look over a new book I discovered via my Nook.

I check out samples of e-books.  If I like them, I then order the paper version.

My latest gardening book is A Gardener’s Latin by Richard Bird.


I have learned a lot of Latin over the years as a scientist, but this one breaks it down for gardeners.

This is a lovely book that is hardback and a good size for carrying around.

It is sectioned by groupings such as prefixes and suffixes, places, textures, habitats, colors, shapes…


Did you know that roseus, ruber, rubens, rufus, russatus and sanguineus all refer to various shades of red?


The illustrations on each page are colorful and delightful.


I plan to take this little treasure with me to my appointment.

No use sitting around looking at old magazines.

Read with the FLOWER.