Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Tackling A Few Garden Challenges

Do you have areas in your garden that present a constant challenge for one reason or another?
One such area for me is right here at the front door.
I like to have something growing in the pots to soften up the space and look more welcoming.  The challenge here is the area is in total shade.  Through the years I have tried a variety of shade loving plants (caladium, coleus, impatiens, etc.). While in most cases they lived out the season, they didn't exactly thrive and also didn't look too impressive as the season wore on.  Not what I want right at the entrance to my home.
While at the garden center over the weekend, I settled on these ferns.
I've given up on flowers here.  I do like the looks of ferns on front porches, so I have high hopes for these.

According to the information on the plant tag, it should be happy in it's new home.  I think the golden-orange fronds will add some interest too.  Plus the fact that it is a perennial will mean that it won't be necessary to replant the pots every year.

Throwing in a photo from my garden center visit.
With Mother's Day coming up, the displays were particularly pretty.

Another challenge in the garden is the state of this Sky Pencil Holly.
There is one on each side of the grill.  The one on the right looks fine.
This one has dead branches and yellowing leaves.  It just doesn't look healthy and I wasn't sure what the problem was.  The other day I noticed little bright orange dots running around the stone surfaces next to the grill.  I am guessing them to be spider mites.  That made me wonder whether that was the problem on the nearby holly.

The day I was at the garden center they were handing out ladybugs free with a purchase.  In reading the label I learned that they love to feast on spider mites and many other undesirable garden pests.
How interesting, I thought.

I learned many things about their life cycles and how to release them into the garden to obtain the best result.
It was suggested to water the affected plant well, wait until dusk or early morning and then open the bag and let them crawl out on their own.  Shaking the bag to get them out could cause them to fly away.

Here they are emerging from the mesh bag.

Now I leave them to have a feast.
I much prefer this method to spraying a bunch of pesticides.
Time will tell whether the problem will be solved.  If it is, I may purchase more lady bugs to assist in keeping the bad pests out of the garden.

Enjoy this last day of April!!

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Thursday Chit Chat

Clematis in Bloom

I seem to go in spurts with blogging anymore.
One day I'm all gung ho to start posting more regularly and then the weeks slip by with nothing much happening.  At least nothing that seems worthy of turning into a blog post.  Yet, I miss my connection to this place I have been spending so much time in for the past 15 years or so.  Sometimes I'm shocked to realize how many years have gone by since the blog craze was in it's heyday.
Although most of the regular bloggers from that time seem to have
moved on, I am so glad there are still so many of you out there who continue on.

Azaleas brightening the landscape

The last couple weeks have been spent taking care of annual doctor's appointments.  The routine lab work has been less than routine.  After three unsuccessful attempts at drawing my blood, I was given another appointment for the following week.  At that appointment blood was taken from each hand.  The technician felt it would be adequate.  Apparently it wasn't.  I went back for another try this week and was told they didn't have orders from the doctor and sent me home.  Some type of mix up on the doctor's office end.  They asked me if I could come back tomorrow.  The answer was no.
This simple (?) lab work is taking a toll.  I need a break and, besides, I have more important things to do tomorrow.

This pile of birthday gifts arrived in the mail yesterday.
I've been using all my willpower to not open them until tomorrow.
I did open a few birthday cards this morning.
When you receive cards and gifts ahead of the holiday, do you open them upon arrival or wait for the big day?

Next week I will be back to the lab hoping for a successful visit.
Next up, eye doctor, dentist and mammogram.
I think somewhere along the line it seemed like a good idea to make all these appointments around my birthday.  I'm beginning to re-think that wisdom.


Monday, April 1, 2024

Let There Be Flowers and Strawberries

When we left for vacation, the daffodils were just starting to bloom.  I was happy to see them still blooming when we returned home so that I could enjoy at least one bouquet before the season came to a close for another year.

When the daffodil bouquet needed to be replaced, the tulips began to make their presence known.  I planted a mix of colors.  So far the yellow are the only ones in bloom.  How fun it will be to anticipate more bouquets in shades of pink and peach.
The spring flower show is underway and I couldn't be happier.

  On Saturday I made my first visit to the garden center.
The plants all looked so vibrant and healthy before the heat sets in.
The colors of the calla lilies and clematis above were so pretty against the green foliage.

I felt it necessary to take several sniffs of this lilac.
Lilacs don't grow as well here in the south as they did up north.  In
fact, I couldn't tell you when I've had the opportunity to savor that scent so I took advantage of the situation.  sniff sniff sniff

After reading the tag on this one, I was surprised to learn that it will bloom twice (spring and fall).  Somehow I don't associate lilacs with
fall.  I do, however, enjoy the scent so maybe it would be nice to have that opportunity twice per season.

When we were in Florida strawberry season had just begun.  We saw several roadside signs advertising strawberry festivals.  Unfortunately the dates didn't coincide with our visit.  Just thinking about seasonal strawberries made me crave them so when these bright red flowers caught my eye, I went in for a closer look.

Sweet Berry Strawberry

Into the cart went this beautiful plant.  
The tag tells me that it will thrive in the container it's in and provide delicious sweet strawberries throughout the growing season.
I have high hopes for a plentiful harvest.
It seems there is so much to look forward to in the spring garden.