Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Great Bougainvillea Revival

About a month ago Sam and I decided that we needed to "rearrange" the yard. By rearrange, I mean move the two bougainvilleas from the shaded area right next to the fence to the new "color panels" that are behind the pool. So we trimmed them both lightly, tied them up carefully (getting thorned and scratched terribly).

As they were moved, the first one that was transplanted had very little finger roots, but just one long tap root that was unfortunately severed during our relocation. The second was a larger shrub that had plenty, I mean PLENTY of roots that outstretched about 10 feet in diameter. Needless to say, we were thankful for our Florida sand again. Both of the bougainvilleas were transplanted with plenty of compost soil and fertilizer to minimize the transplant.

The second lost a lot of leaves, but with daily watering, bounced back after a few days and had plenty of new growth within a week. The first one however, lost every leaf, was watered daily and about three weeks later, nothing... I expected that it was just dead.

Thinking the worst, I decided it was time to start the process of removing the dead tree. I pruned shrub back to about 2 feet tall and we burned the cuttings (The thorns on these bougainvilleas were like daggers!). And lo and behind, what happens?! A week later after cutting it back and stopping the water to a "dead" plant, shoots of green emerged from the twigs! I even planted other vines behind it!

Sam and I are very happy to see that the Shrimp colored bougainvillea survived the transplant, but now I have to find another location for the purple trumpet vines.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Dodging Raindrops

This entire weekend it felt like Sam and I were dodging raindrops. No matter what the project was, it kept seeming to be interrupted by the rain. Yesterday we were able to accomplish one feat: The Maple Tree Project.

We were working on our fence in the backyard. This required us to remove the panels and reset the posts. While doing so, we had a somewhat large Maple Tree interfering with the panel. Instead of just cutting it down, we decided to dig it up and at least try to give it a good home.

Luckily for us, Florida is a big sandpit and the Maple was right in the middle of the sandpit. We somewhat successfully dug it up and moved it to the front yard. The move to the front yard was the rough part.

When we dug the hole in the front yard for the Maple, someone (previous owners - not us...) decided that it was a good idea to use gravel and clay to level off the area. After a lot of back-breaking work using shovels and the claw side of the hammer, we were able to excavate a nice size hole.

In went the Maple along with several wheelbarrows full of compost dirt until we ran right out. At least covering all the roots, we felt that topsoil to help fill in the hole would be ok to stabilize our newly planted tree.

Just as we put down our shovel, the rain came pouring in! At last! A project done before the rain beat us! And just the right timing for the tree.

Ohhh... yeah.... I forgot to mention the size of the tree.... About 15-20 feet! Fingers crossed that it does well.

Happy Earth Day!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

It's official... Spring is here!

OK... so it's going to be a wet weekend... Great for the plants and gardens and we really need the rain. But did it really have to be just for Satruday and Sunday?

Try to plan a little better Mother Nature.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Daylillies - Part II

When we first moved into our house (before I ever discovered Etsy), I bought a few fans of daylillies from Wal-Mart. As much as I like the prices there, nothing from Wal-Mart EVER seems to live past a week for me. Reluctantly, I planted the 6 daylilly fans surrounding our Arizona Sunset roses.

They struggled. Two died. And Four continued to struggle. Last year a few greens just sat there and no blooms appeared.

A few weeks ago, they finally started to take off! Sending up their sun-scopes to reach as high as possible for the sun. The stems have been waving in the wind for a couple weeks and then the little buds appeared. Last week they plumped up. And then... success! the first blooms!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


And yet another amaryllis blooms!

I'm still learning about each bulb in my amaryllis garden. I just never know what to expect. It sprung up this spring with the double whites with frilly pink and red edges, then came the dark pink witht he white centers, and then the candystriped, and now what I am calling creamsicle.

Tell me this color does not look like the Creamsicle Pops from when you were a kid! These have been the most bizarre. Apparently I have a few that have all started to bloom at the same time. Normally the bulb sends up a shoot that get between 12-18 inches tall and then 3 to 6 flowers open a the top of the flower stem one at a time with each bloom lasting several days. These Creamsicle Amaryllis do not seem to have any stalk. The flower buds pop from the bulbs and then just open. I am not sure why there is no stalk...

Has anyone else had this experience with Amaryllis? Anyone have any ideas why this might happen and perhaps ways to "fix" it? I would love to have this color actually visible in the garden. And without the flower stalk, you really can't appreciate their beauty.

Monday, April 16, 2012

My frankenstein cat...

Yesterday Grizzly popped his stitches. Poor kitty is still trying to get better, but just not getting any luck. The wound started to heal, but it's still about a 7 inch gash from his back down his leg.

This morning I dropped him off to see Dr. Beth today. Of course he needed to be fixed. Since the stitches didn't hold my "little" 18 pound baby together, whe had to use staples. My little boy looks like her got in a fight with a swingline.

Deciding not to post a picture since it unnerves me and it would probably unnerve many others. Would just love to have Grizzly all better and playing in the backyard...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Trash to Treasure

Yet again we have come to find that one man's trash is another man's treasure...

Our neighbor is a surveyor and frequently comes home with all kinds of stuff from jobsites. Several months ago he came home with a 12" diameter pvc pipe that was about 6 feet long. It has sat in his yard for months now without any purpose and he was ready to toss it to the curb. Lucky us!!!

We happily accepted this as a gift and started working on an herb garden trough made from the pvc! Hopefully soon we'll have a step by step of how we made it complete with pictures!

I am so excited about it I can barely stand it!!!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

pauvre petit

Poor Baby... Took Grizzly to the vet yesterday. He is soooo lucky to be alive. Several gashes along his back side from dog attack. One big one on the top of his back leg about 6-8 inches long. Over 20 stitches in total.

He's coming around today and moving well. Hopefully a speedy recovery for Grizzly.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Three Cat Manor

Welcome to my home! With Captain, Grizzly, and Lady Iris, hence the Three Cat Manor.

A few years ago, there were just two: Captain and Munchie. Munchie only knew Captain, and Captain pretty much raised her. One day, Munchie took a turn for the worst. It was completely unexpected. We never realized that she had any health problems because she was always such an independant cat.

By the time we took her to the vet, it was too late. Munchie was diagnosed with cancer and it had already spread to her lungs and the glands in her neck. They gave her some medicine to help control the pain to perhaps help her maintain a standard of living and sent us home. We had just one more day with our little girl. The next day we had to go back to the vet because she couldn't walk, and sadly she never came home.

The last picture of our little girl.

It happened just before we were able to move into our house. Captain lost weight, and would walk around the apartment screaming. They had been together over 10 years. I still miss Munchie...

We moved into our house in September 2010. A month later in October, our vet called and asked about adopting a kitten. I didn't know if it was the right time. She had a litter of two kittens that was found and dropped off and thought that maybe one of them would make good company for Captain. She brought them over so we could see them and we fell in love with both of them, one boy and one girl.

Little miss Lady Iris was clearly the runt. She was and is still a slender little cat. And Grizzly was a huge kitten and is now an even bigger cat.

 Last night Grizzly found his way out of the fence. As we hunted for him, he limped his way through the sliding door all wet and bloody. My poor baby was attacked by some neighborhood dog. I am taking him to the vet this morning and hopefully he will be ok. I hope that my little Three Cat Manor will still have three cats...

Captain and Grizzly (being a clown!)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

duck, duck, goose... well not really...

Started to leave for work this morning and the neighbors came over. This guy wanted to say hi!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


We moved into our home about a year and a half ago. I remember the feeling of how wonderful it felt to finally check the homeowner box instead of renter. I never had any issue with being a renter; I always love my apartment, but it's just not the same as having a place that is yours.

We found that the area had so much nature to offer; from the river otter that ran down the fence one day, and the one-legged red shouldered hawk that was persistent in his daily hunts, to the twilight dances of the bats- and this is just from our yard! We love the nature that our home has brought.

As we began to settle down into our home, we began to explore our new area. We moved completely across town. We would hop on our bikes and hit any trail that we could find in the area. In one of our adventures down the Cady Way trail, I remember spotting a little prickly pear cactus. Simply turned over from the work that they were doing in the area. Carefully, I snatched it up and threw it into my backpack, hopeful that it would at least survive.

We got home and dropped it in the side yard. Only to discover when it started to rain that we chose the wettest part of the yard! The little cactus survived, but we moved it into a pot for safekeeping until we create our cactus garden.(Yes, I know... Sounds already like we have a lot of different gardens...) As soon as we moved her into her pot, she started to grow. And a few weeks ago I noticed what looked like it could be a bloom. Lo and behold! This morning I was graced with the presence of the sunny yellow bloom of the prickly pear!

I have learned that many times people overlook the things that they destroy. This beautiful flower came from the oversight of a construction crew. So many people went right by it on the trail. Sometimes you have to give something just the right chance so that you can truly appreciate its beauty.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Blue girl?

A few months ago we planted roses around the driveway in front of the house. We already had two arizona sunset, but filled in with Lincoln (red) and Blue girls (ummm... these are blue...).

So the first roses of the fill-ins with buds were the blue girls. I was so excited since we had previously planted them only to watch them wither, blacken, and turn into thorny twigs fit only for kindling. And the first bud left little to be desired. A small light pink bloom. And I thought that maybe it was just because it was becoming established.

So last week, the buds came again on the blue girls. And this time, a much larger bud had appeared. And yesterday it started to open. Today it fully opened. There was a much fuller bud than the last, but still no luck on the blue. Another light pink rose rilled in.

Has anyone else had blue girls? Anyone familiar enough to maybe provide some advice? Is there something I can do to aid in the blue-ness of my blue girls? Any idea why they aren't blue? I look forward to any responses with advice and perhaps someone else can also benefit.

Monday, April 9, 2012


After work I got home and spent some time going through etsy. I always love viewing ommat's shop. Definitely one of my favorites!

I love reviewing her shop mainly for the daylillies. I love the selection and keep promising myself that one day I am going to find just the right spot in the yard to create my daylilly garden, and then I'll buy several of the wonderful varieties that she has available in her shop. But I just haven't found it yet... soon I hope!

This is the newest one that caught my eye...

Plant  Blackberry Lily, also known as a Leopard Lily  Live Plant

Tell me this is not amazing!

Soon, I can only hope to fill my dreamy daylilly garden with varieties right from ommat's shop...

Sunday, April 8, 2012

What is it?!

Had a lovely Easter with Mom in Ocala. She made an amazing stuffed pork loin with sundried tomatoes, spinach and mozzarella. Afterwards, she wanted to share her garden with me.

She has the gift of the black thumb. Don't know where I got it since dad never had a green thumb either. Because of this, I had to check on the Amaryllis I gave her last month, feed and water them, and then proceed to check on the status of the rest of everything in the yard.

Just beyond the hanging basked with the brown ivy (not because the foliage was actually brown, but because it was dead, dry, and clearly no longer living), I noticed a patch of bulbs next to her shrimp plants. When i asked, she didn't know what they were. They happened to be there when she moved in. There had to be hundreds of bulbs! Maybe some kind of lillies???

So I asked... I had to know what they were... Mom said, "Go ahead and take as many as you want!" Clearly there was no way to so no! I ended out taking about 20 or so plump 2-3 inch bulbs. I can hardly wait to get them into compost with proper nutrition to see what they are! It's like a surprise that is just waiting for me!

I was also able to coax a couple sprigs of the Shrimp plant and a small papaya tree. And of course, whenever the papaya fruits come in, mom will be the first to be able to set her black thumbs on the brightly colored flesh!

I leave you with a close-up of the Shrimp Plants, just in case you're curious... and will leave you with a promise to share with you what the bulbs yield will be!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Amaryllis in the Springtime

My favorite thing about Spring is the flowers.

A couple weeks ago, our gardens in front of the house began to burst into bloom with this beautiful double amaryllis. A shimmery white with pink, frilly edges that gracefully dances in the wind. And although the bloom has passed now, it led the brigade of flowers into Spring and now the garden is full of large bright red, white, pink, and candy-striped blossoms.

Just to the front of our Amaryllis gardens, our roses stand tall with graceful, delicate pink blooms that tower over the purple and blue mini pansies and red and yellow snapdragons. And in each corner of the rose gardens there is a daylilly.

This morning when I woke up, I found the excitement of my day! The first daylilly opened it's little yellow face to the world today! We planted them last year, but nothing ever bloomed.

It's so exciting to see the growth in our yard. I can't wait to see what else is due to bloom!