Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Old Pecan Tree

Whether you say "peacahn" or "peecan", my guess is that it's all the same to this ole tree! The local arborist tells us that it could well be 200 years old and is generally thought to be the oldest pecan tree in Georgia.

Imagine . . . ., this was Cherokee country then. There were no cars, no highway, no shopping centers or sub-divisions. It withstood the Civil War and witnessed the transformation from agriculture to industry.

It has endured, even if it has not always been loved, and its signs of age are obvious. It lost a very large branch a few months ago; I thought I'd better take its picture now and hope to show it again, with its full canopy, next spring.

Black Tulips - 2 - The "Beds"

Take that "beds" with a grain of salt. Unlike the acres and acres of flowers one sees at the Keukenhof and other famed Dutch bulb gardens, these "beds" hold five tulip bulbs each. The bottom photograph shows a spot in my original backyard border. Flanked on the left by garlic that shot out of the ground within days of the cloves having been planted and on the right by a sizable clump of Dianthus 'Bath Pink', I expect to see, and document, these tulips from my patio as they emerge, grow and bloom. The top photograph depicts the northern end of my western border, where the tulips will be accompanied next spring by Dwarf Nandina (spectacular color, this time of year!) on the left and an Azalea on the right. The Violas and Pansies that edge the bed now may or may not still be there when the Tulips show their blooms. Till March or so, then!

The Gaura That Won't Give Up!

Another plant that's got its seasons confused, although not as much as the Rudbeckia, this Gaura continues to provide cheer in one of my garden's favorite corners.

Confused by the Season . . . .

This Rudbeckia apparently believes it's time to send up a new crop of flowers; this is one of three fresh buds I saw in my western border last Saturday.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Coleus - Indoors

Before the frost was going to get them all, I brought a few annuals inside the other week (Alternanthera and Plectranthus as well as Coleus), even though I had so very little space for them . . . This one will have to be ditched before long, but in the meantime it has started blooming, and how does one throw something like this out?

Black Tulips - 1

The bulbs arrived today; as soon as the soil is dry enough I'll put them in the ground and then we wait, and wait, and wait . . . :-)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I Won!

What a surprise! I learned last night that two of my entries into the 2009 photography contest of Gwinnett County Master Gardeners won prizes. My Black Widow Spider got 2nd prize in the "wildlife" category and my "almost-open-sunflower" third in the "plants" category. See July 10 and July 21 posts, respectively.

Wow - I've got to take this photography stuff a little more seriously from now on . . . :-)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Favorite Colors

My preference is for a “cool” palette in my garden: white, pink, lavender, blue. But this time of year, a warm, bright splash here and there is a welcome addition. That’s why I like the Swamp Sunflower and the Pineapple Sage. This year, unfortunately, we had an early frost, which obliterated the latter and did the former no favors. Both have now dropped their petals and the only remaining color in my garden comes from 3 Gaura that don’t seem to want to give up. They have recently been joined by Pansies and Violas, all very cheerful (and mostly in cool colors!).

Soon, after clean-up is finished, the last bed has been mulched – and that one tree has been moved to a new location! – 2009 gardening will be finished and dreams of “next year” will begin.

I wonder how black flowers would do in my garden. I don’t have any yet (and, seriously, I am running out of space!), but after becoming acquainted with Karen Platt and her books, I am at least intrigued. So, I have just ordered 10 ‘Black Hero’ tulips. Check with me in five or six months and I’ll let you know what the results have been!

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Pesticide Lobbyist in the U.S. Administration?

That does not sound quite right, does it?

President Obama has nominated Islam ("Isi") Siddiqui, a top official from CropLife -- the pesticide industry's powerful trade group -- as America's chief agricultural negotiator for international trade. If confirmed by the Senate, Siddiqui, who has spent the past several years of his career fighting various restrictions and bans on environmentally hazardous pesticides, is expected to bring that aggressive stance on broadening pesticide use to the White House and influence trade negotiations with Europe and the developing world.

From the looks of it, I don't like it. Do you?

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Day in the Country

More than a month ago, a friend had asked if I would be interested in going with her to a "Les Dames d'Escoffier" event at Serenbe and I told her "yes" -- much more because I had read about Serenbe for years but never yet visited and this seemed like an excellent opportunity than as a reflection of my interest in the event.

So, we went, yesterday - and never saw each other! I wanted to be there early, so that I would have time to stop at Wilkerson Mill Gardens on the way home, and she arrived just as I was leaving, because she had had an issue to deal with at her place of business earlier in the afternoon.

In addition to actually getting a glimpse of Serenbe, the best parts of being at the event were . . . tasting a marvelous Cabernet Sauvignon from Wente Vinyards, listening to Drivetrain, and enjoying a wonderful creme brulee (from an establishment whose name I do not recall).

"Far From the Madding Crowd", my stop at Wilkerson Mill Gardens was the best part of the day. It's one of those renowned nurseries in Georgia that have become a "must visit" among Master Gardeners, but its location, 80+ miles away, on the other side of Atlanta, was not an attraction for me until this opportunity presented itself.

And, even though Wilkerson Mill Gardens is famous for its Hydrangeas, it's an Aster ("Fanny's Aster") that I, as the owner of a garden that is far more sunny than shady, purchased. I hope to get it into the ground today, joining a Georgia Aster and a Japanese Aster that are already there.

If I had more space left in my garden, I would also have bought a Welsh's Pink Beautyberry, but, alas . . . . I'm running out of room!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Advice to Myself:

Stick to writing. And gardening. A little photography, maybe. Painting? Not so much.

I had a great time last night at Masterpiece Mixers and I can’t wait to tell friends and neighbors about this unique establishment. Go on-line, pick a topic that interests you (“Fall Flowers” was last night’s), make a reservation and show up with $25 and a beverage of your choice. Yes, that’s right, if you like to have a glass of wine or a bottle of beer while you create your masterpiece, Masterpiece Mixers has a BYOB permit that makes this possible.

Then, you tie on an apron, put a stretched canvas on an easel, get a Styrofoam plate (uh, a palette . . .) with paint and a cup full of brushes and “follow the leader” – the instructor of the evening, who leads everyone through the process step-by-step. There were close to 20 of us last night; great group!

Two hours later, you take your creation home and hang it . . . . .? Well, I think mine may find a place in the garage! :-)

Here I am, with my less-than-masterpiece, flanked by instructor Kelli (left) and fellow-student (Nikki); it was great fun!