Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Gardener's Prayer

Oh dear Lord of little things
Please smile upon our labors
And make our little gardens
So much better than our neighbors.
-- Unknown

When I first heard this little prayer a few years ago I remember telling my mom about it. At 30-something years old I found myself getting in trouble. "That is not nice, Heather." she said. "I realize that mom, but you have to admit - it IS funny...and true." I got "that" look that told me that she did find it a little funny but still didn't approve.

While we might deny it, many of us "obsessed" gardeners I'm sure find ourselves praying, or at least thinking/wishing, for our little gardens to be "so much better than our neighbors". Just thought I would share.

Happy gardening. --Hoe Heather

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday Night and I'm Waiting for the Sun to go Down...

So, I'm still here in my office, waiting for the sun to go down so I can drive around one of my properties and check out new lights. Long story, boring subject. But, while I waste time at my desk (because I can only be SO productive on a Friday night), I decide to check out our blog.

First, I love checking out the blog because even though I talk to the gardenhoes via email nearly daily, there is always something that we forget to say to each other face to face that I can catch on the blog. Example - Hoe Heather's pond plant (got to get me some of that). And I got to see how my once defunct bowling ball ended up as a cute as abutton ladybug (got to get me one of those, too). Just over at her house, she didn't even mention the plant or the ladybug because we got so caught up talking about other things, including my now considered mystery seeds from Florida. Funny thing - HH always says I have a green thumb, but I'm always envious when I go to her house (and the other Hoes' homes) because she has such great plants. Grass is always greener, right? (Or in this case, flowers are always prettier...)

Second, checking out the blog always puts me in a good mood because it always reminds me that plants can bring folks together, and I wouldn't have met any of the Hoes had it not been for the flowers. The folks I have met through plants I probably wouldn't have met any other way, so I'm always happy when I think about how I've increased my circle of friends.

Third, the blog reminds me of how the Hoes are so open and giving. I ran Hoe errands this past week - made a round trip to:

1. Beth's (not Hoe Beth but another Beth) to pick up stuff we need for the Pond Tour going on this weekend; got Jen's stuff for her.

2. Jen's place to drop off pond tour stuff and veggies from my garden. I always plant WAY too many plants, and we can never eat all that we get from the garden. So, off to Jen's with a tomato, cucumbers, and a butternut squash. Left with a mimosa tree seedling and deer meat.

3. Heather's place to drop off more veggies (including above plus purple ruffle basil), plus butterfly barrettes I got for her DD when in Key West. Got beer in return.

And earlier in the week, went to Hoe Nickie's place to drop off gourds and pick up wood for a trellis.

So, for nothing more than gas, I got plants, food, beer, garden supplies, and friendship. How can you beat that? And that's why I ended up posting - because the blog makes me think of happy things and I wanted to share with you.

Hoe Naomi

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ladybugs and Flowers

Unfortunately, between the massive heat Naomi mentioned in a previous post and the fact that all these dogs we have had, along with our two, have completely destroyed WAY TOO MANY of my plants, I've not got much to report on that is in all its gloriousness and bloom. My vegetable garden this year BLOWS and my other beds have suffered, well... horrible deaths thanks to dogs digging up plants in the never ending search for cool earth and considering my gardens are the only thing I've messed with watering lately... well... it doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to figure out why the dogs dig there. Anyway, I digress....

Some of my current bloom activity is occurring in my pond garden. The ice plant that serves as Tiki-Man's "hair" never ceases to put on a bloom or two (and usually when I need them most to brighten my day). The red trumpet plant is one I don't know what it is. It was an almost dead mystery plant I received a few years ago. Always scraggly, it never bloomed (until this year) but it also continued to come back each year despite my lack of a green thumb. Still small, it has these very pretty red trumpet flowers on it. Now that I've seen the flower, maybe I can figure out what it is. I've got some beautiful purslane that is planted in some of the rocks bordering my pond. So far, so good. Nothing else has lived here but these apricot beauties are doing well (keeping my fingers crossed!). Hopefully, over the next month or so I can get pictures of all my plants so I can organize myself and know what things are and where.
Lastly is one of my pond plants. It has had a bloom here or a bloom there but this morning on my way to work I peeked at the garden and KAPOW! I was hit with the beauty of 10 or more open blooms on my mystery plant. This plant (the one with the white flowers) was a neglected one...the only one... in the pond when we bought our home. Near death, I repotted it and figured we'd see what happened. Last year it was just grass looking stuff but definitely looked a little healthier. This year we had the grass type stuff again but then it sprouted up these beautiful spider-like white blooms with purple sepals. I was very excited so sharing a pix of that with you as well.

I'm looking forward to beginning my fall plantings here in the coming weeks so I can, hopefully, get a little flora before year's end..and hopefully some veggies as well. First though, I must run so I can figure out what to plant. Plus... Naomi's going to be here in a bit to bring me some goodies from HER garden...which IS doing well. Don't ask..she can make a stone flower, i don't care what she says... --Hoe Heather

Monday, July 14, 2008

Tropicals and South Florida

So, I just recently took a short vacation to Florida Keys (Key West to be exact), and was blown away by the flora there. A good part of my vacation was taken up by wandering the island and gathering random seed pods from the different plants.

While there were a lot of common plants between Florida and Texas, they had one tree that I HAVE to get - a royal poinciana tree. Check it out here: Royal Poinciana .

This tree is beautiful, with gorgeous blooms. The seed pods are huge - 8" or so. We managed to find one half of a seed pod on the ground. We couldn't pry it open with our hands, but I shook it and heard rattling, so I'm hopeful.

We also picked seeds for several vining plants and flowering bushes. Of course, I was only partially prepared with a plastic bag but no markers or tape, so I wasn't able to mark any seeds. Of course, I knew I could remember them all. Oh, but I also wasn't sure about transporting the seeds to Texas, so I had to (chose to) scatter them about in my suitcase so they would look like trash and not smuggled seed pods. It worked, but now I really have no clue which seed is which now. So, my summer/ fall seed project will be to grow the seeds and identify the plants. And now I understand more about why Beth keeps wanting to go back to FL - the plants were amazing!

Hoe Naomi

Summer Heat Wave

So, it's day 742 of 100 degree weather (maybe a slight exaggeration), and nothing in my garden is happy. Neither am I - too hot to do anything fruitful, and everything withering away. It hit 100 degrees really early this year (May) and you can tell. All my heat tolerant landscape plants are drooping, my garden is producing funny shaped cucumbers and little cracked tomatoes, and the deer and rabbits have decided that since nothing else is growing, they'll eat my plants. Heck - they have stripped my guara, cannas, even my lamb's ear has nibble marks!

But - one bright spot recently. I have been planting my mystery bulbs under the shade of the only big tree we have. Saturday, I noticed that a few of the bulbs had flowers and guess what they are? Pink rain lilies!

I was soooo happy to see that something was still alive. This is not a picture of my rain lily however, as Sunday morning only one survived the deer/ rabbit onslaught of the night before. Hopefully though, I can get a picture of the last sole survivor and post it instead of this canned shot.

Even though the flowers didn't last, it was nice to see that something is still surviving the hot weather and my lackluster efforts.

Hope the weather is not treating you as badly where you are!
Hoe Naomi