The queen is dead!

Those worker bees in the yellow hive were not taking as many “orientation flights” as they used to do. Hmm … that’s suspicious.

Yes, we keep bees. Or as some of the more experienced (and skeptical) beekeepers put it, we are “bee have-ers.” We have bees. Whether we can keep them remains to be seen! There are parasites and diseases now that were unknown when my Grandpa kept bees. He just kept them; up there on the hill, in front of the pink rambling roses, out of our way — until we stepped on them with our bare feet in the clover-filled lawn. Continue reading “The queen is dead!”

The Outhouse Flower

Nicole should have a bumper sticker that reads, “I brake for interesting vegetation.” Well, so many of my friends need that phrase emblazoned on their vehicles! Many of us carry digging tools in our cars for “emergencies” such as finding an unusual plant in a neglected area, sometimes about to be bulldozed over.

It should be stated here as a disclaimer that neither Nicole nor I would knowingly dig a protected species of flower just so we could cultivate it in our own gardens, but there is such a thing as a bona fide “plant rescue.” Then there are the times when we couldn’t resist a wonderful roadside “weed” that was in large supply.

That was the case when we came upon a beautiful stand of what we tentatively identified as  Rudbeckia Laciniata, or Cutleaf Coneflower. I was hoping that it was what many people used to call “The Outhouse Flower.” That version is actually Rudbeckia Laciniata Hortensia, with a doubled flower, which blooms most of the summer. Continue reading “The Outhouse Flower”

Completely overwhelmed

It’s not that there is a lack of bunnies in the yard; there are way too many! Those little monsters seem to know which plants are the most costly, and happily munch them to the ground. They’ll even chow down on stuff that’s supposed to be poisonous. Baby rabbits are the proverbial “dumb bunnies” and will eat any plant. They especially delight in munching just a tiny bit of stem, so that the plant is destroyed without being consumed. I’ve seen my Gerbera daisies mowed down by young rabbits. 

Even with the surplus of those pernicious little rodent-like creatures in the yard, I still love my little life-size decorative resin bunny. He’s very polite, and has never wreaked destruction on the garden like those cute but naughty live rabbits.  Continue reading “Completely overwhelmed”

Entwined in the vine

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5, NASB).

It is not often that I write about a plant simply because the name is intriguing, but this will be one of those rare times.

A world class daylily hybridizer, Karol Emmerich of Springwood Gardens, has taken the opportunity to name her new introductions with phrases inspired by the Bible; and I was blessed to have seen and purchased one of these this year.  Continue reading “Entwined in the vine”

Plants gone wild!

“Don’t mess up that front room, now!” That might be something you remember your mom saying, because if nothing else had any semblance of order, the first room a guest would enter had to look decent. Your Granny may have called it “the parlor,” meant only for guests with family members not allowed in it.

This is how some of us manage our gardens. I’m beginning to notice that the ever-widening flower borders look much better at the front than they do in the far reaches where the taller plants grow.

First impressions are important. But then again, so is deep cleaning. (So I’m told; don’t ask me personally, I’m too busy gardening!) Continue reading “Plants gone wild!”

Ain’t nothing but a hound dog

“And you ain’t no friend of mine.” This is how I feel when our friendly neighborhood pooches break off the flower stems just when they are about to bloom. 

Now, if Wallace or Max or Bailey would get rid of the rabbits that eat my flowers and vegetables, their friendship with me would remain intact even for the brief moments when they aggravate me with their destructive romping in the garden.

I am about to put my willow branches in a cage, along with their water bucket, after finding them pulled out of the water and their new roots drying in the harsh spring winds. No doubt the culprits are just some animals brushing up against the branches and interrupting their work of making roots. Continue reading “Ain’t nothing but a hound dog”

Filler material

The primary source of help in the garden was “out of commission” this year. He was worried that the yard would be a hot mess. My reply was that the perennial flowers would just come up and bloom anyway, weeds and all, and next year we can clean up around them.

The weeds agreed. The steady rain early in the springtime and the warm temperatures following it ensured that the chickweed, dead nettle, and wild ranunculus thrived!  Continue reading “Filler material”

What a pansy!

Pansies in the South have been phenomenal this year. They are the larger flowering subsection of the Viola family of plants, usually with a well defined blotch or eye zone.

One noteworthy exception of this successful pansy season is our yard. What with health challenges and other things occupying our time, the annual “planting of the pansies” did not occur at the usual time last fall. In fact, one half-flat of these charming annuals has been languishing on the mulch around the old cherry tree all winter. 

It won’t make much sense to plant them now, as the weather heats up, as much as I love them. By the end of springtime, they usually are leggy and fried by the hot sun, even when they got the right start in the autumn.  Continue reading “What a pansy!”

Credentials

“Master Gardener” — now there’s an oxymoron, if we are being honest. While there is a level of knowledge and expertise that one gains by attending classes and working with plants and landscapes, one never really gains mastery over those plants in general. They’ll just do as they want more often than we care to admit.

In fact, the speaker at the last local Master Gardener event bemoaned the demise of a very expensive Monkey Puzzle tree at the display gardens in Jackson, Tennessee. Apparently, the more pricey the plant, the less likely it will do what you want it to do. Continue reading “Credentials”

Coats of many colors

“The second coat is on!” Those were the words spoken to me as I walked into the garage with some new plants from my favorite seller. The reason they were going into the garage is that the nights are still freezing here, and will be for some weeks now. My “Yard Boy” husband wasn’t talking about wearing two pieces of outerwear, he was referring to the beautiful paint job he did on the beehives.

Yes, it looks like our little patch of flowers and vegetables will soon have extra help getting pollinated. The second coat of paint had just been finished, just in time to put the plants on the work surface now vacated by the beehives. Continue reading “Coats of many colors”