Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hummingbird War!

Ok, truth be told, I believe I only have 3 hummingbirds at my house. But those three have become mini B52s around here. It's become natural to shield my head when I hear them coming because they have just missed my face so many times now! Pretty much everyone knows the "hum" sound when they are close, but it's a whole other ball game when you 3 agitated micro mini divers flying by. This has been going on steadily now for at least 3 weeks and they are really funny to watch. I have even had them darting in and out of my hose ("on shower") when watering flowers! Now that would of been a cool picture! Now of course during one of the days I was trying to get their picture, I had been watering my flowers with one hand and camera ready in the other. I'll be damned, these 2 people going by my house on bicycles, when the lady up and did a swan dive off her bike to land face down in my yard. You think I got a shot of that?? Had the stinking camera on, in my hand, and didn't get a single shot!!! So much for me becoming a professional photographer, I obviously freeze in action! Oh yeah....turns out the lady who fell was a girl I went to school with and hadn't seen since high school ...25+ years ago. I don't think she wants to see me again either....

Haven't been able to get much of anything done on here lately. Staring classes tomorrow, this will be my toughest semester yet. That's right peeps!!! This 45 year old mama is digging the college scene!!! WOHOO! Also making hypertufa planters for the community day here in Kingwood....yeah in my new garage! Which by the way: my "half" seems to be getting smaller and smaller. Post for another day for sure! Also going to attempt some of those glass/dish art totem pole thingers. Went to the flea market hoping to find some cheap dishes to use HA! WHAT WAS I THINKIN???? Apparently at this flea market EVERYTHING is a freakin antique and worth its weight in gold, or so that's what they thought. Didn't come home with one single thing, freakin unbelievable I tell you! BUT! the next day it seemed everybody put out dishes and bowls and glass lamp shades and etc, all out by the end of their driveways with a "FREE" sign.  I couldn't believe it!
Time for me to stop BSing around and get back out to work....its like 2000 degrees out, I really did need some TLC with the AC!!! Going to go out and do a special emergency Rain Dance too, the sound of crucnhy grass is really freaking me out. Oh wait a minute, I beleive "Earl" is coming, maybe I should wait before I get more than I can handle!
Hope everyone has a great end of summer!!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cleome...weed or not to weed?

Since moving here to Kingwood, not only did I have to start from scratch as far as gardens go, I also had to forget everything I thought I knew and start over. You see, the old house had a lot of shade and wet clay for soil. Sun was a luxury, I even had some high branches professionally removed just for a few more inches of sunlight....then we moved (AAARRRRGGGHHHH).

So now I have my "backyard" (another thing we didn't have before, swear to gawd!) garden right smack in the sun ALL day. No break at all from it. This means trial and error, trail and error, trail and error, again and again and again. Actually to be honest its been fun buying new and different plants for a change. This year I went hog wild and even bought "Elephant Ears"!!! and Caldium to! WOHOO!  Though my big thrill fell flat when nothing ever came up, but that's a story for another day. Back to the Cleome.....yeah, so I buy some of these critters, no problem, they're Ok, I like change, everything is cool.

Fast forward to this spring...these suckers are popping all over the damn place! Well, truthfully, you can see the path the wind blew one day, apparently with a crap load of their seeds. Now what you don't know is at my old house, or I should say shoebox that we lived in, I was an obsessive gardener. NO, and I mean NO, weeds were allowed or tolerated, that's right, any tiny weeny, itsy bitsy, microscopic piece of unplanned green and you were outta there! This was mostly due to the outletting of stress to my garden.....15 years and medicated later.....we FINALLY moved away to our current little piece of Heaven. And WOW, what a difference happy pills make, I have developed quite a tolerance for weeds now, I even water the suckers if they ask. No, not really, they're just in the way of the flowers that I am trying to water. So since I no longer start foaming at the mouth and begin drooling at the first sign of spring and pounce  upon my garden with mulch, mulch and more mulch, stuff actually has a chance to grow. I love seeing babies from last years plants, how cool is that??? I never gave them a chance before, I'm like a born again gardener!!!

Ok, so those cleomes.....what the hell???? LOOK at this plant below, sprouts up in the middle of gravel, I REFUSE to help it in any freakin way, and its the best damn looking specimen I have!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't know what the hell to think here. That freakin plant, and some of it's siblings, are so good and healthy looking, I'm just totally dumbfounded.
Just look at this obnoxious cleome in the middle of no stinkin where in the gravel???? All nice and dark green leaves and big and tall and so NOT suppose to be THERE, neither are its abhorrent pals standing in FRONT of the other shorter flowers that essentially belong where they are!

These wise guys are NOT inside the rock wall either and openly hanging with their weed friends.
Such disrespect I tell you!
Now see these little buggers? Yeah, the ones INSIDE the rock wall with all the other good little flowers, how come there not as big as the derelects, the big, lush ones???? I do water these ones, so what gives? Are they secretly evolving to the cacti family.

And last but not least, the oddball that exists in every family. All the other cleomes are white but this one. The ugly duckling.....not really, cause I like this one the best!!!

 All right, they are beautiful and since I don't have a job it's pretty cool to have flowers that I wasn't planning on. FREE...always a good thing! I learned that to keep them from becoming invasive it is best to snip off the seed capsules when they are plumped up.  To keep the seeds for controlled (hahaha) planting: keep the capsules dry and wait till they turn tan or start to pop open. The seeds will "rattle" loosely in the pod, break them open and shake out. Store them in a dry place till you are ready to use them.
 For more information about Cleome, aka Spider Plant, Click Here.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

REPOST for Dad's Birthday....Dad & his Daylillies

Today is my Dad's birthday, so I'm reposting this one. I also saw 2 daylillies the other day in his garden that are still blooming that I don't have. What I like most about these two? They're like 5 feet tall! One is a gorgeous pale peach, the other a spikey petaled yellow. Don't know how I never added them to my stash before, guess I should go over with my shovel & some pots.....but first going to go kayaking with Mom over at Round Valley. My daughter, Mom & I decided a couple of years ago that on the anniversary of my grandson's death we would do something we have never done before.  A way of adding to our lives instead of just sulking. So I think we should find a little something to add to our "live list" today...hmmm....what kind of trouble can we get into today? The other week, for Dominic's day we went kayaking down the Delaware, which we have done before, but this time we stopped & had lunch at "The Hotdog Man" floating BBQ in the river, literally. The tables are in the water to! Then we ended at a different spot so we had to go through the "wing dam". We never considered the thunderstorms from the day before so we're a little shaky about doing this (not that either admitted it till after), only to find it was no big deal, at all!!! SIGH RELIEF EXHALE...well then we were done...OOPS! guess who took her keys with her & left them in the truck up river???? Long story short, within minutes Mom got a ride with a State Trooper....a first for Mom: riding in a police car!  OK, lets see what we can do for the "first" time today!

My favorite picture of my Dad
James P. Halligan
August 5, 1939  - December 27, 2007
This blog is dedicated to my Dad. I caught the garden bug shortly after he did. First he started with irises, then he found his real love: daylillies. At one point he had over 400 different varieties. Dad, a very "anti computer" kind of guy, logged every single flower in a binder with each individuals information (name, cultivator, colors, height, location in the garden etc.). He also had metal name plates staked  for each one as well. Dad's favorite thing in the garden was making more (AGGGGHH!!) gardens &  splitting & potting the lillies to give away to anyone who wanted some. Of course I can't forget the how much he loved to take anyone who was interested, on a garden tour. There was always a promise of your favorite getting potted when it was done blooming.
Dad's gardens got to be more then he, or all of us, could keep up with and since maintenance was not one of his favorites, they began to get messy. Unfortunately the named stakes started falling down, sometimes got mowed over (really NOT good for the tractor!!!) or just plain vanished. Eventually the  outcome resulted in  of us no longer knowing  what daylilly was what, well except the Stellas....everyone knows those!
Every daylilly that I have, originally came from my father except 3 that I had purchased on a trip to "Ralph's" with my Dad. Later on, when they got bigger, I split them to give Dad half. Below are a sampling of Dads daylillies in my garden. Now if only I knew their names! If you know their names please tell me!!!

These pictures were actaully taken last year. Since then I have a better camera and I am currently in a digital photography class. So hopefully my picture taking skills get better!!
When Dad first started this adventure, one of the first presents he had gotten was a rock engraved with Grow Dammit! Now maybe it's a New Yorker thing of some sorts or maybe it's just my family, but I always considered that to be spelled "damnit", so now you also know where I got the name of my blog from. And yes, I am a total rough and tough total sentimental pile of mush, just don't tell everybody!

Happy Birthday in Heaven Dad!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Garden Pests

No, not talking your usual run of the mill rabbits, deer and bugs, I'm talking about my damn Damnit Brothers. Luckily I was sitting here eating some brunch while playing around on the computer, my desk sits right next to the window. If it wasn't for a snarly "get out of way" from Manny to Duke, I wouldn't have known that the little creeps were in the process of hunting down a ferocious predator that apparently required the destruction of the rock wall and my hydrangea, not to mention the digging. It's bad enough that they are doing this in the first place, what you don't understand is that I've had this bush for about 6 years. It always seem to be touch and go with this fickle plant and this year I FINALLY have flowers!!!! So yeah, I just might be feeling a bit over protective and I will not have my struggles be in vain damnit!

So there I sat yelling out the window and banging on the sill...hmmmm...they slowly backed away in a semi circling kind of motion which means they are in no way ready to abandon their mighty quest. The second I turned my head, BAM! they're back at it when a seriously pissed off squeal pierces the air. I go running outside with a fly swatter and promptly start swatting and yelling, cause my big dumbass self is going to save the poor defenseless squeaking mole that they finally got out from under my poor hydrangea. I winded up having to get the hose since The Damnit Bros had no intention of losing any part of this action they cleverly uncovered. We had a 5 minute stand off......me guarding the bush with the hose while they arced around me.

As I walked back into the house I passed another spot that they were so nice to try and rid me of toads, and then another they tried to rid me of oh who the hell cares!!!! They're freaking trashing MY STUFF!!! I am soooooooooooooooooo not liking them today

Finally some flowers on this baby and I love the colors!

I already put the rocks back in place and gave my hydrangea a drink in between spraying away the enemies, but I'm still mad they broke some branches those ********!!!!!
What's left of the tiger lillies that came with the house, luckily they were done blooming.

This doesn't really so bad in the picture but it was very nice and lush with astillbe before they dug up everything right in the middle.

Here is a few critter problem tonics curtesy of Jerry Baker, America's Master Gardener.

Man's best friend can be your flowergarden's worst enemy. To keep dogs away from their favorite digging areas, liberally apply this mix to the soil:
2 cloves of garlic
2 small onions
1 jalapeno pepper
1 tbsp of cayenne pepper
1 tbsp of Tabasco sauce
1 tbsp of chile powder
1qt of warm water
Chop the garlic, onions, and pepper finely, then combine with the remaining ingredients. Let the mix sit for 24 hours, then sprinkle it on any areas where digging dogs are a problem.
a few other tricks to try:
* Dip pipe cleaners in tobaco juice and hang them on lants at dog-sniffing height.
* Spread moth crystals on the soil underneath flowers and shrubs.
* Sprinkle cayenne pepper around their favorite garden spots.
OK...I do have to admit that The Dufus Bros to in fact, do a fine job of keeping away the bigger four legged critters such as deer, rabbits and groundhogs.....gotta give credit where credit is due!

Scat Cat Sollution
Cats an be great pets, but they can also be a real problem if they dig in your garden. Try this spicy solution to keep them away from your prized plantings.
5 tbsp of flour
4 tbsp of powdered mustard
3 tbsp of cayenne pepper
2 tbsp of chili powder
2 qts of warm water
Mix all ingredients together, and sprinkle the solution around the perimeter of the areas you want to protect.
some other kitty deterrents:
* Grow catnip in an area that's a good distance away from your flowerbeds. Once they discover the   catnip, the maurading kitties will forget all about your flowers.
* Sprinkle ground black pepper, hot cayenner pepper, mothball flakes or dry Borax soap powder in and around the areas you want kitty free.

 Deer Buster Egg Tonic
2 eggs
2 cloves of garlic
2 Tbsp of Tabasco sauce
2 Tbsp of cayenne pepper
2 cups of water

Put all ingredients in a blender and puree. Allow the mixture to sit for two days, then pour or spray it all around whatever plants need protection. You can modify this any way you want as well. I personally put mine in a gallon jug that I had also added about 2 cups of milk to, and filled the jug the rest of the way with water. I left whatever didn't fit in the spray bottle in the fridge (BE SURE TO WARN YOUR FAMILY!!!!) One of the keys things in this recipe is the eggs: once it is dry it still sticks to the plants when it rains.

other anti deer suggestions:
* Sprinkle bloodmeal or human hair trimmings on and around plants. renew after each rain. Ask a local salon or barber for hair.
* Hang bars of strongly scented soap at deer nose level on stakes set around the garden.
* Not to be gross, but they really don't like human urine!
* Go to the dollar store and grab a bunch of those little pinwheels to stick around in the garden.

Depending where you live will determine just how big your weapon supply needs to be.  Where deer are most densely populated, usaully in neighborhoods with big developements (and where hunting is not possible) it is very easy for them to survive and your gardens are their evening buffets. These are the hardest because the deer are no longer fearful of human scents and often don't mind climbing right on your porch for a bite to eat! These areas they don't even wait till dusk, they'll even take naps right in the middle of your yard. This is a good example of when Fido is your best weapon  and champion, so maybe a little toad or mole hunting should be just a wee bit more tolerated....or I am trying to convince myself....

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