Out with the Old, NOW!

My Christmas tree flocked itself!


If you don’t know what “flocking” is, it is a method of spraying fake snow on a tree.

My tree took on a flocked appearance overnight, due to our ramping up the heat.


At first I thought the little white specks were moving.  Mealy bugs?


Upon closer inspection, I saw the specks were actually tiny fibers blowing due to the fan.

I snipped of some whitened shoots and popped the pieces under the microscope.


There was a fungus among us.

The tree was unceremoniously stripped of its ornaments in record time.


We hauled it out on the deck with the lights still on.


No need to spread the spores.

Out with the Old.

Happy New Year from the FLOWER and her fungus.

In With The New

I love to share my favorite plants.

Today is the day I pot up the Schlumbergera pieces.

I have taken color requests. I have twisted off pieces with three or more links.

I have let these pieces callus off for several days.  Notice the plates are labeled.


Now, I dust some rooting hormone on the lower nodes.


I use craft mesh over the drainage hole for any pots going outside and then inside. It keeps the critters out.


I use cacti/citrus mix potting soil, but any type will do.  I prefer 3 inch pots, but could not find many.


Notice the labels for the pots with color and year.  All these babies look the same.


I let these stand around in their pots for a day and then give them a watering.


I like to use a weakened mix of Planting/Transplanting solution.

They will be fully rooted and growing nicely when their new parents come in the spring.



Southern Snowflakes

If we want snow at Christmas in North Carolina, it needs to be fake.

That’s why we decorate with snowflakes down here.

You folks up north get all the real stuff, so we have to make our own.


No need for it to be white.


A friend gave me this lovely Origami Snowflake light this year.


It looks great. It is my favorite color. It doesn’t melt.

It fits right in with the blue one at the front door.





Bunny Mommy

If you think it’s difficult to get a Christmas photo with children in it,

you need to try it with bunnies.


Barley took to the hat without complaint.


He also likes to be held, so this part of the photo-shoot went easily.


Then there was Charlotte.


The first photos had to be redone, because I left the photo card in the computer.

The repeat performance was even more lively than the first.


She bit her hat and then climbed me like a tree.


No blood was shed, so I consider this a success.

These two are such fun.

They are a lot of work, but worth every bit, or should I say bite?



FLOWER/Bunny Mommy

Preventing Dormancy

Winter is here in North Carolina.  It’s hard for the plant people.

Outside is all browns and grays and cold.

To keep from going dormant myself, I have indoor gardens in pots.


I keep myself surrounded by green.


I coo and ooh over every new sprout or leaf.


Here are my upstairs gardens.


The downstairs gardens may be shared later, after a major clean-up.

For now, I keep myself alive by turning and tending these potted plants.


They reward me by continuing to grow, while everything outside is dormant.



Flowers and Facts

There’s a new book in town.   It’s Garden Flora by Noel Kingsbury.


It is full of beautiful paintings and photographs.


It is also full of information about each flower featured.


Facts include not only the plants’ origins, but also their uses in medicines and cultural information.

The flowers chosen are featured in alphabetical order, so it can be used as reference.


It is an interesting read for folks with some science background.

This is not a “how to ” gardening book.


It’s full of fascinating facts about the plants you all ready have in your garden.

I read this on rainy days.   The pictures are amazing.



My Brain and Pain

I am hobbling around again.  Do not pity me. I have good insurance and a great doctor.

This is temporary.   It will be fixed.

In the meantime, I chose to learn the lessons taught by experience.

I am noticing others hobbling and limping.  I whisper a prayer for their healing.

I have been here before. I know the tole chronic pain takes on your mind.

It is like being punished for moving.  I am a mover. This is frustrating.

My right knee gave out on another trip years ago. This time it was a tour of the Biltmore House with the eighth grade. Thousands of painful steps. Up, down all around. No sitting down.

I digress. This is what happens when there is always pain.

It reminds me of a Vonnegut story from Welcome to the Monkey House, Harrison Bergeron.

In the short story everyone is made equal by handicaps. The physically strong must wear weights, the beautiful wear masks and the smart people have noises blasting in their ears to disrupt their train of thought.

This is where pain comes in. I am only taking OTC medications, so I know it is the pain that is chopping up my thoughts into fragments.

For me this will end soon with an injection or a surgery. I just pray that all those other folks with canes and crutches can get some help.

The problem is in my knee, but it doesn’t stop there.



Deep and Wide

Your Dahlias have died.   Dig deep and wide.


I use my shovel we call Bubba for jobs like this.  Overzealous use of Bubba several years ago caused my plantar fasciitis.


Dahlia tubers should not freeze.  NC people, low temperatures are headed this way.

This means it is time for your second phase of digging.

All your “BEFORE FROST” plants should be stored away by now.

Now is time to bring in your desiccated and dead looking  “AFTER FROST” plants.


This group includes dahlias and Elephant ears. I bring in some “stock plants” of my different types,  since I have too many to bring them all in.

I put a thick layer of mulch over the ones left outside.

ALWAYS keep the names of the tubers, bulbs or corms WITH the plant.

This year I punched holes in the plant markers and tied them to the tubers.

One year I wrote the names on the outside of the paper bags they were in. The bags rotted along with the names.


Dig up tubers.   Cut back the stems.   Clean off excess soil.   I use a chopstick or skewer.



Put the tuber clusters in dry peat.


Plant again in the late spring.