A Fire Bowl from the Farm

I was involved in a major production yesterday. Mr. Flower and I moved a giant iron cauldron from the farm to our fire pit area. It took a tractor with forks, a broom, a truck, a lawn mower, Crowbar, long iron bar, ropes and straps. I sent videos to both kids. They love this sort of entertainment provided by their father.

This cauldron is huge. A person could take a bath in it. I wanted to make it a fish pond, but I am pretty sure the fish would boil in the sun.

We are not sure why Papaw had this monster or if he ever used it. He did try to cook molasses once. He grew the cane himself. No one remembers much about that adventure except that Nana rode a lawn mower around in a circle to grind it since they did not have a mule.

The bowl was made by Stuart and Peterson Co. of Burlington, NJ.

There are no holes in it, but we will see what happens.

I plan on wearing a pointed hat for the occasion. Now that I have a cauldron, I might as well embrace my witchiness.


My Flickr Photostream

I have picked the best of my thousands of photos to put on Flickr. It’s like my blog on steroids. I have tried to name each flower in the description.

This is a work in progress. This old dog is trying a new trick.

I hope this link works. Somebody let me know. ENJOY!



My Three Hibiscus

These three have been babied into blooming. They require more attention than most of my plants. I get rewarded in late August by their unbelievably beautiful blooms. These started out in the same pot last year. I named them ‘The Hibiscus Circus.’ They grew too large for their container and were separated in early spring. These are tropical, so they must come inside for winter in my Zone 7 location.

The double orange has been blooming for weeks.

It got re-potted many weeks before the other two. This one is a gorgeous color. Its symmetry is sometimes messy, but when it is balanced it resembles a pinwheel.

The pink bloomed for the first time earlier this week.

Even the back is beautiful.

The complex pistil of hibiscus is amazing.

The red burst open this morning.

Its pistil end is dusted with pollen.

I love that these three burst into bloom just as most of my other flowers are waning. What a show!


My Wondrous Cereus

I saw the most beautiful sight I have ever seen last night in my garden. I witnessed this wonder alone at midnight.

I consider this plant a miracle. I believe its flowers are a living link to something magic and cosmic.

My friend The Fairy(Madge) gave me this dream of a plant. I thought of her and my father last night as I sat under the stars watching these blooms quiver with energy. My daddy sometimes exclaimed “How could heaven be better than this?” I cannot imagine that, Bop.

I knew this second blooming from this plant was coming. That has never happened before. The buds turned up like pipes and started expanding two days ago.

When I saw the shape last evening, I knew this was the night. I was determined not to miss it, so I set my alarm. I could not go to sleep. I decided to go sit beside the plant in the dark and wait.

Epiphyllum oxypetalum

Its flowers were almost fully opened. They were quivering. There was no breeze. The blooms have their own energy.

The white, threadlike stamen form a tunnel through the flower.

The opalescent pistil has a strange star-shaped end.

The flowers are as big as my opened hand.

The back has finger-like sepals that splay as the bloom opens.

What wondrous, glorious blooms this “Queen of the Night” has!

Night blooming Cereus/”Queen of the Night”

How could heaven be better than this?

FLOW in the GLOW

Dahlia Disaster

I try really hard to be a good ‘plant mama’ but I fall short each spring and summer. This year it was the dahlias that took a hit.

The dahlia ‘Nonette’ got left in the bag until I discovered it in June when I almost threw it away. It could not be revived.

The lovely ‘Kelvin Floodlight’ got a disease again this year. My overzealous treatment killed it. I will miss its giant yellow blooms.

I had two batches of ‘Thomas Edison’ dahlia. My usual potting soil messed up the mix this year. It was too wet. Many of my plants rotted including one pot of ‘Thomas Edison.’

‘Cafe Au Lait’ is spindly and floppy with no blooms. I keep propping it up, hoping for improvements. The weather has cooled so there is hope for it.

I know this row looks lovely from afar. I know how it could look. That’s my problem. Gardener’s Guilt is real!

The “glass is half empty” and the row is half empty. I am extra grateful for ‘Firepot’ and ‘Snow Country.’

They have survived the many mishaps and are happily blooming.


What’s Eating You?

I grow tomatillos every summer for the chipmunks. They climb up the plants and shake the fruit down. I love watching this trick. My usual supplier did not have any, so I had to grow them from seed.

Growing these plants has taken months of babying, watering and staking. I finally put most of the potted plants in the ground last weekend.

They started disappearing on Monday. It happened so fast I thought the deer had eaten them. The twigs and fruit were left, but the leaves were gone.

Evidence was examined.

The culprits had the nerve to continue eating right there in front of me.

There were numerous Tobacco Hornworms on each plant. They hang upside down to eat.

Grasping the petiole with their back legs and gripping the leaf blade with their front little legs.

They munch away with their tiny mouths.

Okay, so I planted these Tomatillos for the chipmunks and now they are being eaten by caterpillars.

I am hoping for a lovely crop of Carolina Sphinx moths this fall. I have planted a patch of Four-o’clocks just for them.


On Golden Pear

I spend a lot of time outside every day. I am usually too wet and dirty to go inside for a snack, so I grab a hand full of Yellow Pear tomatoes.

I call them Golden Pear because it is so much more poetic. These tomatoes are the perfect size to pop in your mouth. They are not too acidic to eat alone.

This morning I started to pick a snack and noticed signs of another snacker. Missing leaves and frass(poop) means caterpillars.

The expected suspect was the Tomato Hornworm/ Manduca quinquemaculata. I searched and search for the expected intruder, only to discover many other visitors on Golden Pear.

I first found a brown caterpillar.

Then an exoskeleton shed by a cicada.

I almost picked this pear with a tiny frog on it.

No jewel could be more gorgeous than this tiny amphibian.

I finally located the suspected munchers.

There were three. They were smaller than I expected.

I even clipped one off the plant and had to put it back.

Hornworm caterpillar on eaten Yellow Pear tomato leaf

These caterpillars make lovely moths. I do not mind sharing my Yellow Pear tomato leaves.

Who knew there was all this life on Golden Pear?


If I had Wings

If I had wings I would want them to be sturdy and small

not big and showy.

Spicebush Swallowtail?

I do not want to be defined by my wings.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail/ Papilio polyxenes asterius

I want to be known for my flying.

“Common Clearwing”/ Hemaris thysbe

I need wings I can count on in a storm.

Not delicate colorful things that keep me grounded.

My wings need strength, with strong ribs and veins.

So that I can fly when I need to fly.

I want some rainy-day wings to lift me up and out to a new place.

Hummingbird Moth on Verbena bonariensis

I do not wish for beautiful wings, I need useful wings.