Friday, June 29, 2012

Lend Me An Ear -- An Elephant Ear

"Elephant Ear" is a member of the "Caladium" family and I've grown several plants with success over the years. As a perennial in our southern climate they can remain in ground, but need lots of mulch and will wither and die in the fall through winter, as their corms need a resting period during cool weather. Originally a swamp plant it is a moisture lover, and grows wild in tropic climates, such as Indonesia and other countries in southeast Asia. Then in the spring and summer this plant will come back and can grow three to six feet tall and four to five feet wide.

Prior to our last garden meeting, I had bought a few bulbs to plant close to the lake on the side of my house (as seen above). After almost everyone had left the meeting, two members, Cindy and Mike Christie surprised me and Deberah with a pot of "Elephant Ear" plants, they brought to give away.
"What a surprise!" and such a great addition to my little project, as you can see in the first photo.

I also bought "Canna" lily bulbs to plant in this tropical garden spot. This tuberous plant was introduced from "Tropical America" in 1570 and needs similar care like the "Elephant Ear."

Both need rich soil mixed with peat, sand, manure and a good dirt or potting soil. Fertilize with miloganite or a "Miricle Grow" product every month for best results. These tropical plants can take full or part shade depening on watering. They make a great pot plant addition to a patio or pool setting. If you want, add some coleus, begonias and impatients to the planter, if you have enough shade. Just remember to water, water and water to keep the plants happy.

Now, all I need to add is a banana tree to really get me in the tropical mood and maybe a lounge chair, flip flops and a tropical drink with an umbrella!

Thanks for lending me your ear and until next time......

Happy Gardening 2012!

Posted by Wilma Smith

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pickin' Time -- A Garden Update

One of the best things about a vegetable garden is when you need to pick the bounty. After planning, planting, sweating, hoeing, and lots of looking at your work, all of a sudden, eureka, you have veggies! In the south we say "the garden needs pickin'." Containers are a must for pickin' time, we like farmer's baskets because they come in all sizes.

The hot peppers in our garden are so bountiful, we have to pick every other day to keep the plants blooming and the younger peppers growing.

We fooled the squash vine borers for a while by covering this straight neck yellow squash variety with ground cover cloth when it first peeked out of the ground until it was blooming. Then Diatomaceous Earth, an organic herbicide helped to keep the borers and squash bugs to a minimum.

This Patty Pan squash variety is hardy and a treat to eat.

As seen above the row of okra is healthy and will begin to bear pods in a week or two.

Jerry's watermelons are growing great! I just hope we can keep the critters like crows, rabbits and field mice from nibbling.

Today, I counted fifteen watermelons already formed in this row. To the right you see winter squash under the ground cover cloth.

Our tomato vines are full of large fruit but, so far the large varieties haven't ripened. I picked four today for "fried green tomatoes" to add to the vegetable supper planned tonight.

This year we chose "Rattlesnake" green beans over "Kentucky Wonder" and honestly, it appears this variety is good for Georgia hot weather and drought spells. We have picked a couple of bushels so far and frozen that many gallons. Pickin' the green beans is fun 'cause you can talk, gossip and catch up on what's going on at your house.

Although the eggplants have been invaded by thrips the yield keeps coming.

This red cabbage variety is heading quite well. I can't wait to make slaw for our annual fish fry.

Although for the last several weeks the weather has turned hot and dry, our garden is doing good. It takes more care to water and bug proof, but any time you can reap the rewards of a little hard work it's worth it in the garden.

I hope your pickin' and enjoyin' yours!

Until next time........

Happy Gardening 2012!

Posted by Wilma Smith

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Picture Can Say A Thousand Words

I've always heard that a "picture can say a thousand words" and since I've had some problems taking and down loading photos for our gardening blog, I decided to dig into my old picture vault and see what you think about this saying. Several winters ago, several inches of snow fell and above you can see the beauty of an oak covered with snow in my front yard.

The drive reminded me of  a Beatles song that mentioned "the long winding road."

This bird feeder made a good picture, although I didn't capture any birds around.

The big lake looked beautiful and clear "Spring 2011." Capacity around four acres filled with bass, brim and yes, lots of turtles.

The small lake is two acres and we irrigate the garden from it because it's the closest water source.

Last year was my first trip to Las Vegas. I think most gardeners love to travel and experience different landscapes and plants.

Of course, we all like this kind of green! One million dollar display at "Binion's."

And who doesn't love a cowboy, especially on the oldest gambling strip in Las Vegas.

We stayed at the Luxor, fashioned after the pyramids and artifacts in Egypt. If I had my college major to do over, I would have been an archaeologist.

Of course anywhere you travel there are lots of characters with flare.

Later last fall, I visited my cousin in Lake City, Tennessee. We visited the downtown square in Knoxville that hosts vendors, musicians and good restaurants most weekends. This guy on the sax was great.

One tent was filled with the beat of bongo drums.

Knoxville has some awesome architecture downtown.

My cousins Vernon and Gail love gardening, too and plant their garden down the side of a mountain in in the backyard using raised beds.

Look at this gorgeous view from their garden.

And I had to capture my garden partners, Deberah and Jerry in major conversation around the dinner table.

Last but not least is a photo of Tia on Valentine's Day 2011. No this is not camera red eye, but I guess it's camera green eye.

Well, maybe you don't have a thousand words to say about these photos, a few will do fine. I will be up and running shortly with current garden blog happenings......

Until then.....

Happy Gardening 2012!

Posted by Wilma Smith

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Planting Daylilies -- More Work than I Expected

I was excited and pumped up to bring all the varieties of daylilies home, I bought at "Fern Cove Daylily Farm" and plant them until I viewed the garden spot. Then I realized to "do it right" would be more work than I expected.

I had a lot of daylilies in the strip between the herb beds and the vegetable garden. I don't remember their names, so I just decided to call them by the color and try to coordinate the new ones I bought with hues to match. Above you see a coral that goes well with "Cameo Painting," "Phoenician Ruffle" and "Dublin Elaine."

This golden yellow bloom above, I call brown sugar and decided to mix it with "Shady Lady," "Scarlet Orbit" and "Sunshine."

As you can see the chosen spot was filled with grass, small trees and yes, even patches of poison oak. So, as any smart gardener knows the ground needed preparation prior to planting the daylilies.

First I dug up any older plants and kept the clumps moist until I could get them back in the ground.

Next, I hoed, weeded and toiled to prepare the soil. I bought garden soil, bone meal and organic nitrogen to mix as a fertilizer to put in the bottom of the hole dug for each dayliliy plant. I made sure every hole had water applied before covering the tubers with dirt.

As, seen above, I cut all foliage including flower stems off the plant. I dug a hole and made a cone with the dirt then placed the bottom of the daylily in the middle of the cone of dirt and let the tubers fall down and around the cone making sure they were laying below the bottom of the plant. I finished by covering the plant to the crown and packing the dirt around the stem. I took this advice from the experts at "Fern Cove." The hardest work is done, now I just need to fill in around my new daylilies with my "no name" lilies and mulch, mulch, and mulch.

Although this was a bigger project than expected, just like cleaning for company, it needed doing and I can't wait to show you the rewards in the fall or, especially next spring.

Until, next time....

Happy Gardening 2012!

Posted by Wilma Smith

Monday, June 11, 2012

Rain a Good Day to Reminiscence

Today, I planned to blog an update on the garden, but due to technical issues down loading pictures, I decided, like curling up with a good book, I'd reminiscence on some of the blogs I'd published this year. Amazingly, 2012 is half over and I haven't begun to finish the plans in the yard and garden. In February, I introduced everyone to my babies, Tia and Todd seen above.

These knomes sat on the shelf at the local dollar store.

On, Valentine"s Day, I got some beautiful flowers from my sister and my niece like the kalanchoe seen above.

I shared this photo of a top hat adorned with medals on President's Day.

The signs of spring came early this year because of several weeks of hot weather in February.

In our garden this spring we planted new varieties of tomatoes, peppers, green beans,onions, squash and even added strawberry plants to our plant family.

This was the first view of the garden, after we toiled, tilled and planted.

Pictured above is a surprise foxglove that returned from last year. I bought more and added. Hope they all love the spot ant return next spring.

The "Crossroads Garden Club's" first field trip went to "Hills and Dales," in LaGrange, Georgia. I blogged about the beautiful orchids in the greenhouse.

I captured a photo of Tia taking a nap on the couch.

Several updates on the status of the garden pictured the growth over the months, so far this year.

I caught a snake that got loose in my car cleaning up after the first annual spring garden club yard sale.

And, this photo you haven't seen of Deberah in her dress after she worked all day. She was ready to "rock and roll" in the garden. I love it!

Until next time.....

Happy Gardening 2012!

Posted byWilma Smith