Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

>Flowers before the storm

February 28, 2011

>Every year the threat of severe weather makes me anxious about the flowers in our yard.

At the beginning of March, there are always camellias still blooming, and I bring a few indoors as fresh flowers always seem to brighten up a room and lift the inhabitants’ spirits.

The yard is full of daffodils. We will see how they look tomorrow.

This one is already a little worn looking, but she is pretty never the less.

This Japanese magnolia is not native to Japan, but that is what everyone calls it. Its name is Magnolia liliiflora, and is native to southwest China, was cultivated in Japan, and introduced to English speaking countries from there, thus the common name.

Today’s storms will certainly tear these blooms up.

Sometime during January the fountain in the back yard quit working. I figured the pump had died, and was waiting until spring to replace it. Yesterday we were outside working and suddenly heard water dripping. the fountain had come back to life!

Obviously this is a part of the yard that we have not gotten to yet. But since this is a rose garden, we have a few weeks until blooms appear. By then this area will be very inviting, both to us garden lovers, but also to the birds that love to drink from the splashing water.


April 15, 2010

>Our backyard is an oasis.


I don’t look at Bessemer as a suburb of Birmingham. It is an urban city, with the same opportunities that other urban communities have. In fact, more opportunities.

But it also has the same problems many urban communities have. A neglected and deteriorating downtown. Lack of leadership. Missed opportunity. Perceived and actual crime. Traffic. Noise.

But we have a place to retreat to, where the hustle and bustle of Bessemer and the street noise and sirens can be forgotten.

Our sanctuary. Our oasis. Our backyard.

This pergola is covered with half a dozen antique climbing roses that will be exploding in color and scent over the next few weeks.

But already, this rose, known as Mermaid, which actually towers in a nearby magnolia tree, has sent a cane down to the pergola from above, and allowed a bud to open early. Mermaid’s canes can grow 40 feet or more, and this specimen does not disappoint.

Even at night there is beauty (and I need a tripod to get better pictures).

This Flame Azalea, a native, deciduous azalea, is a spring favorite, but was almost overtaken by weedy vines and had to be rescued.

Spring bulbs are still coming into play, as these yellow irises opened yesterday.

Sweet Shrub is a childhood favorite, one of the shrubs that grew in the woods near my Vestavia home, and that my dad pointed out to me. It does have a pleasant scent, that’s for sure.

The Lady Banks Rose is in its full splendor, and this is not all of it. A cane from this climber has travelled about 50 feet up into a nearby cedar tree and is blooming now also. What a surprise to look high op in a cedar tree and see yellow rose blooms!

Columbine. These perennials have sowed their seeds all over the place, and this is the result.

Most of the pesky Wisteria that we have is the familiar purple, but this vine has white flowers.

If you need respite from your busy life, come pay us a visit, and relax for a while in the Oasis we call our backyard. Just give me a call or send a message. A cup of coffee or a glass of wine and a hundred different birds and the floral scents will let you forget your troubles, if only for a while.

This is a good weekend for gardeners. Petals from the Past in Jemison is holding their Antiques in the Garden event.

The weekend event you have been waiting for has arrived. Our annual Antiques in the Garden event will be April 16 and 17. Shop the many antique and craft vendors we have joining us this year. There will also be food vendors and Southern Sweets will be serving lunch in our educational barn. We are looking forward to seeing you this year.

Closer to home, the Birmingham Botanical Gardens annual plant sale takes place at Brookwood Village near the old Bruno’s.

Today’s the big day for the 2010 Spring Plant Sale! The Preview Party is today from 5-6:30 p.m. & tickets are $45 now/$50 at the door! The Members-Only Sale (free for members) is from 6:30-8:30 tonight…if you aren’t a member or you were but need to renew, come on anyway, you can join or renew right there… at the door! The doors open to the public Friday morning at 9 a.m.! See you there everyone!

>Early Spring Gardening

March 6, 2009

> The early spring garden has been planted. Onions, lettuce, collards, mustard greens and cabbage plants are in the ground. More on gardening later.

I’m not going to write about the idiots today, although there are plenty around.

But if you read and watch that, then also accept this.
Obama Birth Announcement from Honolulu Advertiser Sunday August 13, 1961.

And this:
Obama Birth Certificate

And read this from which answers all the stupid questions that these racist, xenophobic, America-hating bigots are raising.

And let me say, that I will not post any comments about the above that are negative or even questioning about our president.

Now, on to gardening. I will post comments on this.

At Lowe’s you can by these little soil test kits.

I tested three areas and learned that the pH of the areas is fine but the soil is deficient in Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium. The raised bed, pictured above, was slightly better in nutrients than the other areas I tested, probably because of this.

That is a Nature Mill Automatic Indoor Composter. I put all of our scraps (except bones and celery) in it, and within a few days I have compost. You can include meat, shrimp shells, egg shells, coffee grounds, pasta, stale bread, leftover lima beans…everything. Every few days I get a little load of compost and spread it outside. So far all of the compost produced during the winter has gone on the raised bed. That’s one of the neat things about it, it produces compost all year. And it uses minimal energy and recycles all the scraps.

This is where my tomato seeds are planted.

We still have plenty of canned tomatoes from last summer (Disclaimer…the canned tomatoes came from the farmer’s market, not from out garden). This year we hope to produce a bumper crop.

You can see last year’s collard plants in the garden photo, still producing fresh young leaves. Remember I cooked some on Super Bowl Sunday? I picked about all the leaves that day, and now look, I can get another meal out of them.