We are an older couple living on our 10 acre homestead in southern Alabama. I am 'deb' and have a rare plant nursery and my hubby is 'Db' and he has a classic car restoration on our homestead. Together we have a lot of fun and are living the "good life" in our senior years. Come join us and see if you can keep up!
THIS YEAR SHALL NOT BE MISSED! It has been nothing but drought and misery for plants and animals alike...and I include we humans in the "animal" sense. Southern and western states fighting over water rights, farmers going bankrupt as they attempt to make it big with "bio-fuel" and instead watch as everything burned up in the fields. GREED! It will be your un-doing every time!!!
Every year brings new hope and this coming new year is no different. I am making plans for more raised beds for fruits and veges as well as planting the two big Trachy Palms that my hubby gave me for Christmas. Right now they are sitting in their pots outside, patiently waiting for their holes to be dug. I'm still debating as to where to plant them. Our place is laid out so strangely due to the necessity for a raised septic system and our overly long (90') manufactured home and then a 125'X50' retention/fish pond fifteen feet on the other side of the home, that I am in constant turmoil as to where to plant things. As the bamboo groves continue to expand and spread hither and yon, it will all soon be a "moot" point, anyway.
Db's shop has the foundation finished, but that is all for right now. I hope we can complete it before summer. I want to get the landscaping completed around the building before the heat sets in and I will have no energy or will to do it.
I won some succulent and cactus cuttings off of EBay the other day and really lucked up! Thirty cuttings (two of each species) which arrived last night when hubby brought in the mail. Since I had no mix to plant them in other than my tropical mix, I just wet some Sphagnum moss and stuck the cuttings in there until I can get some, hopefully this weekend. I'm really getting a passion for these now and have found myself becoming a collector....just what I need...another plant collection!!!!
Well, enough for this go-round. I hope you enjoy the picture of the Tree Dahlia bloom. Later gator!
It is the end of a season after tomorrow night. We should get our first frost and all the tropicals I keep outside year round will hit the dust. I will mulch them well and wave by till spring comes round once again.
The drought has been horrid! I can't even describe how bad it is to those who have never been in something like this 100 year happening. I'm lucky as I live on a wetland and even though it is much dryer than normal, the trees have been taking it all in stride. There roots will just go down further to seek the water they need to survive.
The pond is down by 3' but all the fish are surviving. The last rain storm brought it up about a foot once it was all said and done and I was very surprised. If we don't start getting some rain soon, though...it will start to go down again. We have only lost two fish through it all and both were due to Great Blue Herons trying to spear them and dropping them due to their size and weight.
I have started my winter garden and have garlic, lettuces, and spinach growing well. They are in pots out front and on the back porch for easy snipping while cooking. Just the thing for a sandwich or quick salad.
I am now getting deep into Square Foot Gardening (TM) and bought some lumber to make my first 4'X4' raised bed. I will enclose some pics as soon as it is up and going, but that may not be until spring. I will probably just over-sow it with annual rye grass till spring with some pansies here and there for a spot of cheery color.
Speaking of pansies; I have four hanging baskets full and about ten more to plant up so I better get on the ball with them. How i would love to have the health and energy of youth! Ah, well....I must just take life as it comes and rejoice in my good days. Later gator!
This has been the worst drought in over a hundred years for we here in most of Alabama. It has been devastating to the farmers, but of course you don't hear much of that on the National news...who cares, right? It's more important to talk of war and elections. You S.O.B.'s !!!
The shop is ready to be poured now. Just waiting on the cement guys to get out here. Hopefully today because it's supposed to rain tomorrow.
Db has changed the layout of the shop and will have only two garage doors on the outside plus one entrance door. It would require too much fill to have the other two doors on the side as that side is low and would have to be raised up by about 12 truckloads of fill dirt...mucho $$. He is going to put a garage door on the inside of the shop where the paint booth will be.
As far as any gardening goes, I have been potting up the Trachys I started this winter from seed. They are growing quickly and will be ready to pot up to gallons come February for the nursery.
I also dug and potted up some of the Alocasia 'Borneo Giants" I was growing in the ground around our home. They seem to be happy with the change and are taking off like a rocket! One of them by the front porch had toppled over and when I dug it up to see what was going on, I found the beginning of rot from the nibbling of a mouse or vole. I cut out all the rot, let it dry for a day and potted it up. It is now happy as a Lark and growing like mad in my master bath solarium where it will over-winter along with many more tropicals.
My Dahlia 'Imperialis,' also known as 'Tree Dahlias', are shooting up like weeds and should bloom come November if we don't get a frost. I am going to dig them after they are finished blooming so I can divide them. I want to pot some up for sale this spring either at the nursery or on EBAY.
I have a ton of work to do today so better get off and get going. I will endeavor to write in this blog more often in the future for anyone who happens to keep up with my musings. Later gator! deb @ The Bamboo Jungle N Gardens
The shops construction is under way. Since I last posted it was graded again, a special fill brought in and leveled. Next, the foundation forms will be built next week and the concrete poured. Db showed me a plan on paper last night and it will be very nice at 30' X 50' with four bays and an entrance door. Two in front and two on the long side facing the highway. What you see in this picture is my greenhouse and office/gift shop. We are having the buildings all painted green to blend in as we did with our guest cottage by the pond.
I am going to take some pictures today so I can keep a running pictorial journal for Db and later, present him with a collage of the process for his office wall. Speaking of offices, he will be moving his present office out here after the building is completed. It is similar to the one in this picture only smaller and he has had it for about 18 years. The one you see here is around 15 years old. As you can see they last and last if kept up like any building.
With all the outbuildings we have now, we have a "sort of" Compound and I will be landscaping it in such a way that all are connected with paths and small courtyard gardens. The courtyards will be enclosed by hedges, gates, arbors covered in the many wild vines that grow in abundance here with no help from me. Muscadines, Passion Flowers, Honeysuckle, Ivy...just to name a few.
We recently had to cut down a natural arbor that had been produced after one of the many hurricanes we experienced a few years ago. A tree had toppled part way over and Muscadines clamored over the Oak Tree and latched onto a Willow tree on the other side. Db loved it so much that he left it be and would prune it only enough to keep it passable by vehcles. It just killed me to see all the un-ripe fruit tumbling down to the driveway as he sawed and pulled away at what nature had made with no help from man. We will let it grow over again as soon as the big trucks are through with their comings and goings.
The drought and 100+ degree temps. have pretty much put gardening to a screeching halt, other than keeping everything watered sparingly...just enough to keep my rare plants alive. Praying constantly for rain and relief from the 100 yr. drought- record- breaker. Later gator....
We have had rain every day this week except for yesterday and that is good new! I guess the drought is over, but we still need much more before we can make it official.
I was fortunate enough to find someone on EBAY who lives in SC and sent me some Water Hyacinths. They have been outlawed in AL but this woman obviously was not aware of that as she sold me a big box of them. I hope they grow in my fish pond and help shade/cool the water. There were no roots on the plants and I am not familar with how they grow, but I assume they will root.
It is ridiculous how they will outlaw any plant that is beautiful, grows well and needs little assistance from mankind to keep free of insect and disease. Instead, they need to find a good use for the plants. Look at all the uses found for our nearly native Kudzu !!!! (by the way, I am a Kudzu fan from way back) If you wish to flame me on this in the comment section...don't bother; I've heard it all. I am not alone in my thoughts on this.
Some of the plants I grow that I have been flamed on are, Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus , ArundoDonax, Kudzu, Japanese Honeysuckle...just to name a few. I've been growing them for years and keeping them in check. It's not hard if you aren't the lazy type.
Well, since it is cooler today, I am off to pot up some more plants for the nursery. Have a ton of Trachys that need to move up as well as Papaya and Tapioca trees..later gator!
Db and I have been working on the dock gazebo for the past month and today we will finally put the screening in. When that is completed we will celebrate with a little champagne toast tomorrow night. I am trying to think of what to put inside the gazebo as it has four corner shelves and four hooks to hang "whatever" inside. With my penchant for a "tropical" theme, you just have to know that it will be exotic! Ha! Ha!
I will take a picture of it tomorrow night and post it here. This current picture is when Db began work on enlarging the dock to accommodate the gazebo's larger size. I will say one thing...it was definitely an experience with just we two putting it up!!! One time it almost fell on my head and bent a few of the metal hinges, but Db managed to straighten them out with his hands; then we ended up having to take one corner down in order to get the second roof on correctly. It's been an interesting journey; one of many in our twenty-two years together! Later gator...
The on-going drought here in some of the southern states is absolutely devastating! My fish pond is down by two feet and I worry about all the many stocked fish we have. So far no fish kill, but my dh tells me fish are dying in ponds in Montgomery now. I pray for a tropical storm or tropical depression daily...in fact off and on ALL DAY! Since I live on a wetland, it's not as bad as some have it, but I am starting to see leaf kill on some of the plants on higher ground.
We have a new puppy. His name is Little Boo and he is twelve weeks old now. He is a PekeaChi. Have no idea if that is a recognized breed now or not and really don't care. He is a doll. Am having no problems with house training him but am exhausted from going up and down the steps so many times a day to make sure he doesn't have any accidents. He is black and white and looks more Chi than Peke.
Our son left for Florida on Monday where he and a buddy have moved. He loves the ocean and this was always his dream so now that he is 21 he decided this was the right time. He wants to eventually become a police officer and has had to wait till he turned 21. He wants to make sure that he is happy there before he joins the police force, though. Only time will tell, but so far so good.
Now that I have a completely empty nest, I find myself in a bit of a slump. I am so used to taking care of others that I feel lost. You would think with all the critters I have to care for that I wouldn't feel this way, but you can't cook for your critters and find yummy recipes to try out just for them. Well, I do make my own healthy puppy and kitty snacks) I'm sure this will pass as I have sent off two daughters into the world over a decade ago and I survived, but then again Chad-E was just a little guy then and I had my hands full.
I bought that tonic that is supposed to be so great for plants with all the vitamins/minerals/hormones. Well, guess what? It's not what it is cracked up to be at all. I have noticed absolutely no difference in any of my plants since I started using it. My own secret plant tonic does, though, so I will just continue to use it instead.
The banana plants are taking off like a rocket with these super hot days and I am keeping them well-watered so they keep it up. I must remember to water the Butia palm that Db and Chad-E gave me for Mothers Day. It's out back by the chicken coup and clothes line and I tend to forget it when I get busy out there. These 100 degree days are murder though, and I can't forget!!!
Well, It's 6:20 and I want to get out in the gardens before it gets too hot so I will quit here for now. Later gator!
I can't believe how fast time is slipping away from me. It is so depressing to get on this computer with my slow modem. The internet is so far advancing and not considering the hell we folks on slow modems have to go through just to read our email, let alone try and surf anything on the web!
I live out in the country on a main Hwy. that is fast growing with homes for the rich. You would think that they would get DSL out here. The more the area grows, the harder it is to use the internet as the phone lines (old as it is) just get too much traffic on them. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Can't something be done about this? No, not interested in Satellite. Have heard nothing but complaints about it from folks around here.
Well, as far as the gardens go, the drought is bound to take it's toll eventually if we don't receive some blessed rain soon. The sport fishing pond is down by two feet and losing more water every day that passes with no rain or measurable rain. My water bill jumed twenty dollars last month from having to water despite using as much mulch as I can get my hands on. Guess I will have to go out into the woods with a tarp and start raking up leaves for more mulch. Unfortunately, I need to make more borders around the beds/trees in order to keep them contained or else the night wildlife just rakes it out everywhere by morning in their search for bugs.
Db has been working on the dock since the water is down. We bought a really attractive screen room at Lowes last month and had to enlarge the dock by about six inches all the way around for it to fit. We did that Sunday so now all we have to do is paint the new boards and then put the screen house up. That will be a wonderful place to get away from the nasty mosquitoes that drive us in every night.
I stopped selling plants and still have a goodly amount of Tapioca, Papaya, and some Tree Tomatoes left (Tamarillos) Guess I will pot them up to one gallons for next year and raise the price a few dollars then. Too hot to continue shipping, unfortunately. I could put up some more Yucca trunk cuttings. They would make it through the heat with no problems.
The area was cleared for the shop this morning. The gentleman was out there for about three hours bush hogging and grading. It will really be nice to have Db back here on the homestead, just like the good old days. He is really excited and has drawn more layouts for the shop building than I can count! My job will be to landscape it all, which I, too, am looking forward to.:-)
Enough for this go-round. I need to get out there and take photos of the progress from start to finish and now is as good a time as any. Later gator!
I really couldn't believe the weather forecast the other day...50's for highs and clear down in the twenties for lows???? It's April for God's sake!
I have been bringing plants in from outside the past two days trying to save as many as possible from the coming freezes. April 5th !!!
I can't even imagine what this is going to do to all the trees and flowering shrubs and vines that are in full swing here. It can only be devastating and will take weeks for the plants to recover. My boo is shooting so I can't even imagine what that will do to the tender shoots and leaves! I am just sick at heart over this.
I really don't see how they can scream "Global Warming" because after all my decades on this earth...I see more of a new "Ice Age" than "Global Warming".
Spring is so beautiful here in southern Alabama that I have no problem waking up each day in a good mood and ready to greet the day.
The first thing I do is to grab my first cup of coffee of the morning and take it out to the dock where I watch the birds flying back and forth in there frenzy to make nests to raise their young.
As I sit awhile longer, the Catfish let me know that they are hungry so I put my almost finished cup of coffee and go to the storage building to get them some fish chow. Boy, are they hungry! They jump up like a trained porpoise in their desire to get as much of the food that they can. The competition is stiff as they swim en mass like so many sharks in the ocean. Finally the feeding frenzy ends as they eat the last floating pellet and they once again go down into their dark world at the bottom of the pond.
I get up and walk around the pond, which is 125' long by 50' wide looking for signs of Bluets, of the genus Houstonia (or Hedyotis), of the madder family, esp. H. caerulea, a low-growing plant having four-petaled blue , pink, violet, and white flowers. the first spring flower at our place. I spot some and am thrilled as if it were for the first time. Of course it is not as we have lived here over a decade.
My geese are in the mating mode so they squawk and yell if I get too close to a nesting mama. I carry a bamboo pole to avoid attacks by the one mean goose I have. He is so mean that I won't even name him. If I could find a home for he and his mate, I would. Mr. and Mrs. Goose-Lee are all I really want anyway.
Now I go in to start my day. I will check my email, then hang out some laundry then straighten up the kitchen and make some breakfast for the guys...the sun is streaming in the kitchen window as it dances on the surface of the pond and makes such lovely sparkling designs on my ceiling...God bless another day!
It is spring in the deep south now that mid-February is here and the excitement grows as seed starting begins and the signs of spring begin to come alive outside.
The first thing I look for are the Red Maples flowering way on the tops of the trees. You can see a faint red glow as you are walking or driving around and then you know that the race is on!
Every day there is something new popping out or up. I begin to look for the tiny Bluetes that blanket the ground around the fish pond all spring. Blue, pink, violet, and white sparkles to usher in springs arrival.
My geese are mating now and I have the first egg of the season to prove it. I'm swamped with more eggs than I can possibly make into artistic creations so may start selling the extras for a little extra feed money. Let them earn their keep! Ha! Ha!
I wish you all a wonderful up-coming spring no matter what part of the country/world you live in. It's just a heartbeat away! Later gator!