Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - November 2017

I've spent the last few afternoons working out in the gardens.  Mild November weather (low 50's) makes up for the hot July weather in NC.


This perennial sunflower, which we planted last year, is over 12 feet tall.  It's been blooming beautifully for the last two months.


It's not always easy to find pineapple sage.  One year, the only place I could find it was at a store in Black Mountain, NC (4 hours away) when we were on vacation in July.  It takes all summer to get large, and then blooms wonderfully in the fall.


We have these chrysanthemums all over in the garden.  They're wonderful in the fall, and the insects love them.  These are some of the last blooms.


One last bloom on the twice-blooming azalea.


These chrysanthemums are the last perennial to start blooming in the gardens every year.  I love their bright yellowness.


I bought too many pansies this year, but I love them.


We've had two freezes so far.  We put some of the deck pots in the garage for two night so we still have some annuals - like this geranium.  


This African impatiens also was in the garage.


The hanging basket also went in the garage.


The last blooms on the tickseed


This cone flower is in a pot waiting for us to finish redoing part of the flower bed.  I'll plant it later this week.


Plants haven't been doing well in this part of the flower bed for the last few years.  We dug lots of bulbs, and a few not-very-happy plants out of it yesterday, and our sons are digging it up, adding soil amendments, and mixing it all together.  Tomorrow, we'll finish up, and then I have lots of bulbs, pansies, and perennials to put in. 

See more November Bloom Days at May Dreams Gardens!

The Stubborn Amaryllis

You're supposed to store amaryllis bulbs in the dark after they're finished for the year and then repot them after a few months' rest.  Sometimes mine come back, and sometimes they don't.  Last year's bloomed beautifully.*  Once the leaves had finished, younger son and I boxed it up and put it in a safe place...

... which we couldn't remember.  I was sad, but I bought a new bulb, which I potted in December and which bloomed in February.  

Dear husband found the missing bulb a few weeks ago.  We had put it in the cabinet in the downstairs bathroom.  That makes sense because we also have a number of tall vases in there so it's a flower-y area.  We have a wall cabinet for the things that are used more often so nobody had looked in the under-sink cabinet during the winter.  

We opened the box, and the bulb had put out a very long, very white stem - and bud!  The stem snaked around the small box.  I planted the amaryllis in a deck pot immediately.  The flowers are still opening.

It makes me happy!



(I tried to prop in up on the trellis, which actually belongs to the mandevilla** behind the amaryllis flowers, but the stubborn amaryllis didn't want to stay there.)

* Thank you to my sister!***

** Thank you to my mother!***

*** They know me well!

The most wonderful idea

I always get excited by the first daffodils and crocuses of the spring - particularly after really cold winters like this last one.

DSC08490sDaffodils at the bottom of the back steps - March

When we get to the dogwoods and azaleas blooming, I want to squeeze every bit of bloomy goodness out of the season.


 Duke Gardens - last Wednesday

Things calm down a little bit in the later spring.  Not too much, though - I love the columbines all over the yard.  

Columbines in the front yard (all the rest of the photos are from this afternoon)


Forget-me-nots and columbines


Columbine and star of Bethlehem


Later-blooming azaleas in the backyard


I bought this 12 years ago as a 6" tall, pitiful, heavily discounted azalea.  It's happy where it is, and it spreads all over


Lily of the Valley is my favorite scent

We ate lunch outside today.  Every year, after the first rush of daffodil/dogwood/azaleas blooms is over, it always hits me that this will last until late October.  For the next six months, something will be in bloom somewhere in the yard!  

What a wonderful idea!

Mums in the Biltmore Gardens


October 18, 2014



The last of the annuals

We had a few frosts a week ago, but we put some of the pots in the garage and covered up some of the ones on the deck.  Tonight, it's supposed to go down to 26 so I cut the last of the flowers to bring in and cleared the plants out of the pots.  It's been a good gardening year.


Nasturtiums and argeratum




The morning glories grew onto all the plants around them, including the tithonia and the cleome.  We couldn't cover them up so I was surprised they made it through the frost.


It's gotten more sparse since the days got shorter, but this African impatiens was one of the largest and densest we've ever had.


These African impatiens and nasturtiums were in front of the front porch.  I eat breakfast on the porch if it's above 54 (breezy) or above 51 (still).  They've been lovely to see every morning.


 I amazed that the tithonia plants have still been blooming this late in the fall.

The worst day of the regular year (plus garden photos because, apparently, I'm not all that good at ranting posts anymore)

There are other kinds of worst days, but today is the worst one of the regular calendar year for me.  We turn back the clocks AND we have the first frost tonight. 

I'm not totally grumpy.  Older son is singing to himself while making breakfast which is actually cheering me up.  We usually have breakfast with him before he goes to sing in choir (oh, I'm not singing today,even though I hoped to be back in choir in November, because it's a feast day and there will be incense.  I can manage breathing incense some of the time (I never enjoy it), but I've had really bad allergies and asthma the last two weeks so there's no way I can go sing).*

The other three of us that are home (daughter is at her church), had breakfast an hour ago.  We woke up at the same time as usual - by the sun, which means that, clock-time-wise, we woke up an hour early.  We ate breakfast at the same time, sun-wise, because we were all getting hungry and didn't want to wait for the right time. 

I know all the stuff about changing the clocks back for the farmers and the kids at bus stops.  I was a kids at the bus stop back in the 70's when we didn't go off of Daylight Savings time for one winter.**  I understand it for that.  It doesn't mean that I enjoy it.

I really hated it when I worked in insurance.  I could only exercise while taking walks during lunch.  Jogging after dark wasn't safe so I didn't jog during the week unless I drove to one of the universities and jogged there.  It's much better now - I can arrange homeschooling around a mid-day walk or go to dance/Zumba in the evenings. However, there won't be any weekday walks, even in the twilight, with dear husband until the time changes back in March.  He doesn't get home early enough.  We do lots of wintertime walks in the dark - pretty in its own way, but not really good for people with seasonal depression.  I also hate doing all the evening driving around totally in the dark - particularly on rural roads with psycho deer:  "Look!  It has lights!  It will be my friend!" 

The first frost just makes today worse.  Instead of planting pansies this afternoon, we'll be putting away most of the clay pots and yard ornaments, although we'll keep some of the pots of annuals in the garage.  After tonight, we'll have another week until it gets this cold again.  I should pull up the impatiens and the nasturtiums in the flower beds because they turn to disgusting slime when they freeze. Right now, I'm typing this at the kitchen table while glancing at marigolds, nasturtiums, cleome, geraniums, tithonia, argeratum, hyacinth beans, two new annuals whose names I don't remember, and a bounty of morning glory flowers - all in pots on our back deck.  We'll try to cover them tonight, but, even if they don't freeze, they'll be damaged by the tarp.   

Today has its excellent points, however - it's sunny rather than rainy & gloomy, and, most importantly and happily, all five of us are going to my Mother's house for dinner!


Here's the deck the way it looked while I was writing this post this morning:



The morning glories grew all over the deck and climbed up the tithonia all summer - then they started blooming beautifully in October.  I'm glad I left them.

I planted these two for the hummingbirds - who loved them.


* Older son is busy with a show the next three weekends - move in next weekend and then two Sunday matinee performances.  If I go to choir those Sundays, I'd go by myself, which is very lonely so I'll have to see. :P

** It actually wasn't that big a deal for me, and I just looked forward to the sun coming up during Social Studies, but I can see that it could be a problem for kids who are in more dangerous situations than standing on a suburban driveway.

What's blooming in our garden

I don't know if it's because of the unusually long and cold winter we had, or if it was because I couldn't sing or dance this spring so gardening was my major creative outlet, but I have been enjoying the gardens more than usual this year.  Here are a few things that have been blooming lately:

Hibiscus and phlox - Except for Osmocote, I don't usually use anything artificial on the gardens.  However, small caterpillars and beetles have been decimating the hibiscus leaves so I finally bought and used Neem last week.  


A small hibiscus (or hibiscus relative) - this one is very healthy


Daisies and phlox


Asiatic lily and bee balm (the lily is what made me decide to take pictures of the garden!)


 Bee balm!

Checking in after a long time, and a look at what's blooming


I haven't posted here in so long.  It's been a busy, eventful spring year.  Here's a brief rundown:

  • Les Misérables was one of the best experiences of my life!   It was such a wonderful challenge, and the cast & crew were great!  I was going to blog more about it during it, but I was too busy.
  • I injured my knee the evening before opening night.  Since then, it's been up and down.  Some days, it would feel fine, and, other times, it would be really stiff.  I started doing Zumba again regularly, recently, and I've also been doing my physical therapy again.  This week, my knee seems pretty much back to normal - I'm even samba-ing again!
  • After four years of very hard work and intense involvement, daughter graduated from UNC-Asheville.  I'm so extremely proud of her, but I'll miss going to see her so close by.
  • (... so many Kleenexes...)
  • I had reflux for the first time ever in March & April.  It seemed to come & go mostly based on stress.  It was so bad that I was losing my voice.  I was eating meals half as large as usual to try to get it to go away.  I wasn't trying to lose weight, and when people complimented me I was polite.  However, I'd rather STAY THE SAME WEIGHT AND HAVE MY VOICE BACK!!!!!!!!!   I got my wish. For the most part, the reflux has gone away, and I'm back to about 3/4 of what I usually eat.  I'm close to where I started, weight-wise, which, I suppose, should upset me, but I don't care because - a few days before Seussical auditions, my voice was back to normal!!!!
  • I sang "All That Jazz" for the Seussical auditions.   I was trying not to dance it too.  However, after all the times I've danced it in two different Broadway dance classes (and performed it with one), I had to stay so tense to not dance that I danced the second half of the audition (I asked ahead if that would be okay) so that the singing would be easier!  
  • I'm a bird girl in Seussical!  We've started rehearsals, and it will be fun!
  • Seussical is being done by the community theater group I've been in during the summers.  I don't put the name in personal posts so my blog posts don't come up when people do a search for the group.  
  • My first musical with this group was five summers ago.  Younger son (15 yo) mentioned that I've been doing this for 1/3 of his life.  He's going to help me paint sets this summer.
  • Older son is doing some of the set design!
  • I did a mindfulness-based stress reduction class through UNC-Chapel Hill in March and April.  It's helped to lower my blood pressure and my stress, and I've really liked the changes I've made as a result of the class.   I've been trying to take an MBSR class for the last two years, but the program at the other university medical center in the area (which my doctor recommended) never worked schedule-wise (either vacations, my performances, or daughter's performances were on the same days).  UNC-CH's classes are more flexible - you can make up a session with the same session in another group, which worked out very well. 
  • Usually, I have seasonal depression in the darkest parts of the winter.  Being in  Les Misérables pretty much kept that at bay this year.
  • On the other hand, I was depressed in the later part of the spring.  That's almost never happened before.  Spring is usually my most energetic time of the year.  After reading a lot of different books in the first part of the year, I read very little in the late spring.  I got way behind on the photo blogs, and I've hardly posted here at all.  I took photos for May's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, but never even bothered to post them. I also watched more TV* than I've watched in decades.
  • Gardening did keep me going.  I think I did more gardening this spring than in many past springs.  
  • My mood totally improved when we started Seussical.  All of a sudden, I had energy again.
  • I think I might be show-dependent!

Here are some more of the photos I took in mid-May for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day:


This rose bush is doing unusually well this year.


I could see these pansies from the window next to the computer.


I often eat breakfast while sitting on the front porch steps.  This was the view.  The daisies in the background escaped from the bed behind them years ago as did the purple mazus in the grass on the right.


A close-up of the daisies and the mazus



The mountain laurel is one of my favorite bushes.


I took a number of photos of the columbines.  This is the only one that came out well.  They're hard to photograph.


Mountain bluet


Yellow flag iris


These daisies have escaped from the bed into the drainage ditch between our house and the neighbors'.


This columbine photo turned out well.


 I'm so happy to see the fairy wand (Chamaelirium luteum) blooming!  I've always loved seeing it in the Mountain Habitat Garden at the NC Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill, and I was able to buy it there two years ago.


 Coreopsis "Jethro Tull" - a perfect plant for me since I play the flute!  The only large pop/rock concert I ever went to was a Jethro Tull concert in Boston in 1980.

* The Blacklist, Agents of Shield, and Boston Legal - all three are good, but, usually, I can't even keep up with one show, much less watch two current ones and one older one.