Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Hiker in Me

I love hiking. So many beautiful scenes to behold... I admit to not understanding how someone can stand in the grandeur of nature with all it's bold statements and fine details and NOT believe in God. I literally thank God for the experience every time I find myself appreciating the outdoors.

Last weekend, I went with the NWA Hiking Group (from to Devil's Den. We went on trails and wandered off of them as well. It was great exercise and I enjoyed meeting so many outdoorsy individuals.

This weekend, after attending a cooking class in Eureka, I drove down to Withrow Springs and hiked the War Eagle Trail. Beautiful area! I will have to go back when I can spend more time.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tomato Fest

Ozark Slow Food  is hosting a Tomato Tasting at the Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks on Sunday July 24 from 11:00-1:00 pm. Sample several varieties Arkansas-grown tomatoes, including heirlooms. Master gardeners will provide free information about growing tomatoes. A local chef will discuss pairing the unique flavors of these tomatoes with other foods.
Adults - $5
Kids 10 and Under - $2.50
Pay at the door - Admission to the garden is not included.

I am looking forward to this! :) Will try to take photos.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Truck: the Unsalvageable?

So...... I went down to my brother's last weekend to take a look at the jeep truck. My heart sank when I saw it. I wanted to cry, but pulled my big girl panties up and grabbed my camera to document what is still left of the dream. The cab (minus the hood and engine area), the bed (minus fenders and a tailgate), and a part that is laying inside the cab. That's pretty much it. I didn't see the frame or any other parts.  Swallow. Don't. cry.

Tomorrow I'm going down for 4th of July with the family. Hopefully, my brother will reveal that the frame and front of the truck just haven't made it back to our farm yet, but that they will be on their way soon. I'm holding out hope that they are simply over at his father-in-law's (who had the truck most recently) until we can get them back here.  You think?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

New Reading Material

Since I finished Plan Bee, I've been reading a few of the stories from the wild animal folktale book. I admit it's not one that sucks me in and I read straight through. It is interesting; but I found another book that caught my eye: Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels . Apparently the author, Ree Drummond, has a blog and a cookbook of which I knew nothing. I guess I have a lot of catching up to do. When I ordered the book from my local bookstore, Nightbird Books, the girl at the checkout said her friend was obsessed with Ree Drummond's blog and books and had been featured on her website. I don't know if this is true, just taking the checkout girl at her word. The bookstore was all sold out of the book, so it must be a good read (either that or it has a good marketing strategy).

Last night, I tried to make an impromtu blueberry custard.  It was pretty much a disaster. Sometimes throwing ingredients together without a recipe works and sometimes it doesn't. Oh well. I'm thinking maybe I should have added another egg? Or maybe adding coconut milk to the regular milk throws it all off? Perhaps the ginger and the cinnamon had an argument and the bluberries suffered the consequences? Nah..... Ginger and cinnamon are good friends.

Oh wow, did I ever get distracted..... I was going to finish up the reading material section with the fact that I bought a new book while waiting for Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels to arrive. It's by Michael Perry and is about his year fixing up his truck and the love story that unfolded during. It's called Truck: A Love Story. Anyway, it is interesting so far. His style of writing is a tad confusing to me, but I still like it. He's funny. I completely understand his attachment to the old truck that doesn't run. I have a similar attachment to my dad's old jeep truck.  I'd like to fix it up. But knowing nothing about cars and trucks or about rebuiling or reparing them, kind of has the whole idea straining my brain wondering if I can ever actually begin. My brother has some automotive know-how and I have a cousin who does also. I also have to come up with money..... Since turning tricks doesn't seem to be a good option, I suppose I'll have to take more call at work.  Starting tonight :(

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

June 16, 2011 I Have Tadpoles!

I love tadpoles. They're so cute.  I remember trying to catch them when I was little. Of course we never did (catch any) and that's okay. It was cheap entertainment. These new tadpoles I have no intention of trying to capture. I feel blessed that my little pond is home to them and whichever parent is in there. I sneak a glance every time I walk by the pond to see if I can see the frog before it disappears beneath the surface. I only just noticed the tadpoles this weekend.  I just want to saw "awww" everytime I think about them. Am I disguisting or what?

This week has been really busy (but fun)! I'm working on pulling up more posion ivy. I still managed to get a little bit on my skin. This plant is resilient and everywhere. I am determined to get rid of it without chemicals though. My skin does not thank me but maybe the bees and earthworms would if only they could.

Speaking of bees, I finally finished Plan Bee last week.  I loved it. But, I was right in thinking that I shouldn't just jump feet first into beekeeping.  Maybe I'll start with something simpler like building or buying homes for solitary bees. I've seen plans for them online and some for sale on Etsy.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

June 12, 2011 A Little Rain....

Seems like it wasn't long ago that I was complaining of all the rain we were getting.  We went through a hot, dry spell after that. It killed one of my blueberry bushes and the lupine. Last night it finally rained. The weather had settled down by morning.

I went swimming at Beaver Lake this afternoon with David. He was housesitting for some friends of ours in Eureka Springs. The lake was beautiful and the weather was fabulous.

We stopped to have dinner at Luigi's in Eureka (which I can't recommend) and saw a baby praying mantis on the outside railing.

June 11 2011 The Garden Tour

A friend and I bought our tickets to The 14th Annual "Through the Garden Gate" tour this morning. We picked them up at the Farmer's Market and then had breakfast at Jammin Java before heading to our first garden. The list included six gardens: three in Fayetteville, one in Farmington, and two in Rogers.We started at the Fayetteville gardens, finishing in Farmington.  We completely skipped the two in Rogers. I had intended to go later, but it got too hot for me. Maybe next year!

The Mainview Garden was the first one we visited. Owned by Judy and Jay McDonald, it was on the way up Mt. Sequoyah. According to the handout we were given, their home and gardens lie on three and half acres. They had a few large trees, including a locust that serves as the form for a wisteria vine.  It's season for bloom was over, but the vine was beautiful and I can imagine it would be quite lovely dressed in purple flowers.  We enjoyed their little ponds with water plants, tadpoles, and goldfish. My favorite of their water features was the one with the moss cave (see picture above right). Their gardener is Melva Mellinger.

Our second stop was to the Survivor's Garden owned by Martha and Mark Haguewood. It's off of Mission. It is called "Survivor" because it survived damages from the strong winds and rain left over from Hurricane Ike and damages from the ice storm of 2009. They did lose 14 trees during all that and had to learn to sun gardening instead of shade gardening. The Haguewood's also had a water feature (did we go to a garden that didn't have one?); theirs had "rescued" Koi. The table and chairs in the shade was our favorite spot (and not just because it was hot out). You can hardly see it in the photo, but the form for a chandelier light is hanging from the tree above.

"Mascabado" at Mission de la Esperanza (Mission of Hope) was our third stop. It is the home of Denis and Hershey Garner. Our handout stated "Mascabado" to mean "unrefined" and naturally comfortable..... and it was. Here we were treated with lemonade and cookies. I loved a couple of the old trees they had there. The saltwater pool was really nice.  It looked natural and had many plantings and stone around it. The old church pews under the refreshment pavillion were beautiful. Their water feature (besides the pool), was full of a sturdy blooming water lily as well as other water plants.

Our last stop was my favorite, I think because it seemed more natural. This garden is owned by Mary and Tom Dillard and helped along by Wesley Smith of Dirty Deeds. The garden thrives in the back-acres of Farmington. We loved Wesley's lily ponds up front which were full of tadpoles. They were all framed by rock and had rock paths. Here we saw excellent usage of ground cover between and around stones. Tom had three immature paw paw trees. They are lovely now, but should be even more so when they are grown. He had laying hens in a backyard enclosure. One feature my friend and I both enjoyed was the use of hollowed stumps as planters. This was repeated throughout the garden. Rock "sculptures" were found throughout as well. Butterflies and caterpillars both were at home in the Dillard Garden.

I took a lot of pictures but these will have to do for today. It's still hot and I'm tired!
Until next time........

Friday, June 10, 2011

June 10 2011 Hmm.....Is it the Pollen Sacs?

Sadly, I must report that bees do not have knees.  I am disappointed but not suprised. Seems like I knew that previously in life (I forget soooo many things) and it is fairly logical that they wouldn't. I found several explanations for where that phrase "the bees knees" came from. The one I like the most: it refers to the pollen sacs on the bees' legs. A couple of bee websites I'd like to take a closer look at:

Ahhh... I am really looking forward to the weekend.  It's going to be hot though. Early tomorrow, a friend and I are meeting up at the Fayetteville Farmer's Market on the Square to get our tickets to the "Through The Garden Gate Tour" sponsored by The Flower, Garden and Nature Society of Northwest Arkansas.  It's a six-garden tour. I have to remember to take my camera!

During my lunchbreak today, I stopped by Snooper's Barn (I worked in Fort Smith today) and found a great little book: Wildlife Folklore by Laura C. Martin. I LOVE folklore and I LOVE animals.  What could be better than a book on both?

June 7- June 9 2011 The Bees Knees

Do bees have knees?  I don't know, but I think I'm going to find out. I found the neatest book at Dickson Street Bookstore last night. It's called Plan Bee by Susan Brackney.  I've thought more and more about keeping bees over the years.  I stumbled upon this book and it reminded me that now that I'm single again, I don't have to worry about someone's family being allergic! :)  YAY!  My coworker let me know there's a hive with box and queen available for sale on Craigslist for $225. I don't really know how much they cost elsewhere. I'm not quite ready though. I'd like to learn more about it.

I had no idea that honeybees had their own subspecies.  They are in the family Apoidea, genus Apis, species mellifera. But there are categories below the mellifera designation that I did not know about.  Fascinating! For example: the German dark bee is Apis mellifera mellifera, the golden bee from Italy is Apis mellifera ligustica, a Slovenian bee called the Carniolan is Apis mellifera carnica, a bee from the Caucasus Mountains in Eastern Europe called the Caucasian honeybee is Apis mellifera caucasica, and the famous "killer" bee from Africa is Apis mellifera scutellata. They each look a little different, have different personalities, and tolerate different climates. All this information I found while reading Susan's book. I'm hooked! The way Susan writes makes Plan Bee an entertaining, easy read. So glad I found it!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

May 28- June 6 2011 Lake Leatherwood

Wow, all it took was a little sunshine to keep me from writing! Let me see if I can remember anything....

We went hiking at Lake Leatherwood in Eureka Springs last Monday (Memorial Day).  It was a really nice day weather-wise. The lakewater was muddy from all the rains, but the streams in the woods were deliciously cool and clear. The one of the bridges across the trail was relocated by the flooding, so I took my sweaty socks and shoes off to wade across the streams.  It was both soothing and painful. We were hot, so the cool water was wonderful on my feet, but since the riverbed was ALL rocks, I did feel a few sharp jabs.

I still have poison ivy all over my hand, so I didn't do much work outside. Plus, it was in the mid to upper 90's and our air-conditioner is on the fritz. I didn't want to get hot outside and not be able to come in and cool off. Apparently the darn thing needs replaced. Thank God for the home warranty that covers this.

Saturday we went back up to Eureka for our friends' party.  Once the weather cooled off, we played volleyball and threw a glowing frisbee around once it got too dark to see the volleyball.

I now have a beautiful pink water lily flower and a white one as well.

Friday, May 27, 2011

May 27 2011 Blue Skies, Nothing But Blue Skies.....

The sun is here again!!  Yesterday after work, I was able to plant the cherry tree cutting that grew roots and take up the crabapple trees.  I got a general fertilizer from our local Nitron Industries store as well as the paramagnetic rock.  I used these when planting the cherry tree and in replanting one of the crabapples. The other crabapple snapped in the winds earlier this week. I'll probably end up using it for mulch.

I planted the two passionflower vines finally. I don't have the trellis built yet, but I know what I want to do. The caterpillar disappeared.

I'm still working on that online landscape design class through our local library. This is what I wrote for one of our assignments which included drawing up a plan:

"Before I bought the house, I'd had the full acre surveyed.  I used this professional survey as the background for tracing paper. Using this method, I mapped out all the existing trees. I had several "free" Arbor Day trees I wanted to put in, so I read up on how large they are expected to get. I evaluated the available spaces, keeping in mind areas we wanted open for company to be able to park and just open yard space to enjoy.  I was able to find a few areas to plant my trees. I thought about the colors the trees would offer and what times of the year those might change. This allowed me to plan where to plant a witchazel, a cherry, a redbud, and a crabapple. I also found spots for lavender to spread. I thought about what kind of trellising to use for my passionflower vine and put in on the plan. The trellis is pretty much longer than it is wide, sort of a short, shallow fence that parallels the driveway.
Before I started planting trees, I also called the 811 number our state has for finding the utility lines and was able to include those in the plan so I could avoid planting trees on or too near them.  It's been an interesting but fun experience."

Technically, David helped me quite a bit with this.  And the 811 number did NOT help me much but I figured out where the utility lines were anyway (the sunken earth lines gave it away).

Thursday, May 26, 2011

May 25-May 26 2011 Acres and Acres

More rains last night, but not much.  My brother came up with a friend of his and took David and I out to eat. It was nice.

The caterpillar was still around this morning but wasn't on the plant anymore.  Frog is still around too!

The wormies are happy still.  Treelings look okay.  I know that's not proper terminology, but I like the way it sounds. I wish had acres and acres.  I would plant an orchard, have some chickens, some goats, a great vegetable garden. I'd also make sure there was adequate plantings around for rabbits, squirrels, deer, birds, and other wildlife. I would have a blast. 

I'm going to try to remember to stop and pick up some mushroom fertilizer on the way home.  Someone suggested it for my trees.

I don't think I mentioned it before, but they had a tornado down in Denning and Altus a day or so ago. Four people were killed and I think 33 injured. Donation sites are popping up all over the place to help with Joplin and the smaller tornadoes.

May 24, 2011 Rainy Days Are Here Again

We got storms again last night. About another 1.5 inches of rain.

Caterpillar still with us.  Need to get the passionflower planted, but can't because everything is soaked.

Monday, May 23, 2011

May 23 2011 Tornadoes

Last night a tornado wrought havoc on Joplin, MissouriNational Public Radio this morning reported that 70% of the town was flattened and the death count was at eighty-nine. Last count this evening was 116, again from the NPR news. claims that Joplin's tornado activity is historically higher than the rest of Missouri and is 161% above the national average.  I'm not sure where they got that information though or if it's even true. Joplin's public library has a digitized collection of photographs from a 1971 tornado. West Siloam Springs is also said to have been in the path of this 2011 tornado on its way to Joplin.

Here on the homestead, we got just under 2 inches of rain since last night and it's about 60 degrees. There's standing water under the skinny magnolia, in the spot where we turn around, under the big tree out back, where the gas and water lines are, and in some holes the dogs dug. Did I mention the last winds that we had snapped the tops of my tall blueberry bush?  The blueberries are gone of course.  Oh well. And the catnip and bronze fennel may not have survived David's mowing yesterday.  Again, oh well.  I need to plant the mint out there.

Once it dries out, I'll plant the rest of the trees out front. It will eventually give us more privacy from the street.

Couldn't believe it, but that caterpillar is still out munching on the passionflower vine.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

May 21-May 22 2011 March of the Caterpillar

My butterfly garden sees its first caterpillar! This little guy or gal had the munchies for my passionflower vine (passiflora incarnata). I haven't even planted it yet, but this caterpillar has already found it suitable. My first thought was that it was a Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae) caterpillar. After a little research, I think it's actually the Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia).  I used these two great websites to help in identification:

I planted the two free crabapples this weekend. They're mere twigs right now. They were part of my ten free trees for joining Arbor Day. Basically, you get 10 free trees for the $10 member fee. Then, as a member you can buy other trees for discounted prices. You don't have to get your 10 free trees though, you can select to have them planted in National Forests instead. A few of the forests they're replanting for 2011 are in Oregon. Other National Forests included in 2011 replanting are located in Wisconsin, Montana, Colorado, Hawaii, and Minnesota. I think most of them had fire damage and that's why they need replanting help.

Friday, May 20, 2011

May 19-May 20 1011 The storm arrives

I think it might have rained last night. I know it did while I was at work today.  I had about 20 minutes of weeding and picking up debris after work before the storm rolled in. It's still thundering and raining right now. I can hear the frogs in the pond talking :)

The skinny magnolia is blooming. I only noticed because I saw a big white thing laying in the grass and figured it was probably trash blown in from the storms earlier today. Nope.  Big white, lovely and lightly fragrant blossom. Delightful scent really. I tried looking it up in the tree books we have.  My best guess is that it's a Sweet Bay Magnolia. That is a guess though. 

The skinny yellow irises are blooming. It looks like the yellow flag iris but again, I don't know.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May 17-May 18 2011 We like it wet

Oh we had two wonderful days of sunshine.  Now it's chilly again and we are expecting it to rain this evening through the weekend. It's only Wednesday! Apparently we like our springs wet down here.

The hazelnut twigs came in from the Hazelnut Project through Arbor Day. I planted them by the fence in a no-shrub zone. Most of the fence is covered with shrubs, except a few areas (thus the no-shrub zone).

So far everything I've planted looks like it's doing okay. I took a walk out with the dogs and checked on the little plants.

Yesterday we had some excitement.  When we got home, there was a baby bunny on the porch. I took a picture of it, but other than that, we left it alone. Figured it would go back to its mommy once we did.  Sure enough, we saw it hippety-hopping in the front yard with its mom about 45 minutes later.  It was so cute.  I didn't know rabbits were that affectionate either.

May 11-May 16 2011 Tree Plan

I finally got the fennel, catnip, and lilac in the ground next to the driveway. I got one of the lilies planted and still need to plant the other two and the passionflower before they die!

After the initial flights to freedom, the worm farm is doing just fine.  I need to read more about it.

David helped me figure out where to plant the 6 trees I have left: dogwood, redbud, witchhazel, hawthorn and 2 crabapples.  I was able to give the rest of the trees to one of our friends.

The weather has cooled off.  We've had a few days of scattered showers, not much though.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

May 8-May 10 2011 Sunshine on my shoulder

It was supposed to rain this weekend but didn't. Today was cloudy but no rain.  Yesterday I got the bean seedlings in the ground and built a trellis for them out of the bamboo we have growing by the pond. There are five small ones.  I don't know if I should bother with the tomatoes and the peppers.  They are very small still and probably won't do well.

I still have to get the passionflower vine in the ground as well as the fennel, the catnip, and the lillies. I also still have some flower and herb seeds I need to plant.  I think I will direct sow and get it over with. They'll either make it or they won't.  Oh... and I still need to plant the lavender.

I moved the potted ferns out by the pond.  I think they look good there.  Hopefully they do well. I noticed frog eggs in the pond.  Unfortunately, there is also some algae starting to grow.  I will have to look into how to keep it from taking over.  I know it likes sun, but I can't do anything about that without obstructing the view more than it already has been.

The temperature today was pretty nice.  The wind blew but not too hard.  All in all, a pretty great day.  I spent some of this evening picking up shingle pieces, nails, and other trash from before we bought the place.

Monday, May 9, 2011

May 3-May 9, 2011 Rain Reprieve

It's so hard to keep up in here now that the sun is shining.  I feel like we went straight from winter to summer as far as temperatures go. It's been 70's-80s and is supposed to be in the 90s this week.  It hasn't rained in days.

I mangaged to get some of the verbena, petunias, and the snapdragons in the ground. I still have to plant the passionflowers, bronze fennel, and catnip.  The catnip my brother gave to me yesterday when I went down to visit for mother's day. I also got the two semi-dwarf cherries planted. They are too close together but it will do for now.  I needed to get them in the ground.  I threw some parsely, cilantro, and some other kind of seeds out for the butterfly garden.  I still need to get some of the other seeds out. Oh, and the lilies for the butterfly garden.... still need to get those in the ground.

The roses are blooming.  Mine are old-fashioned kind that look like the wild ones. Who knows, the way my yard looks, they may be wild ones. The irises are still blooming.  I've had to stake a couple of them.  The heavy winds during all that rain knocked them over.

Right now, the butterfly garden looks like a hodge-podge affair.  Hopefully that will change.

Monday, May 2, 2011

April 29-May 2 2011 Rainy Days

It's another rainy day. We did have one day of sun. I can't remember what day that was though. 

I have been busy. I finally completed my soil testing from the kit I bought at Lowe's. In the area that I tested, pH is 7, nitrogen and phosporous are both medium and potassium is high. I will have to do more research to figure out what makes these levels what they are.

I ordered red worms and a bin through Uncle Jim's Worm Farm. I am ready for them to arrive! My kitchen compost bucket is overflowing. I keep it outside since it has a lid.

I am headed tomorrow to pick up some rain barrels from a guy here in town. I found him on Craigslist. I've signed up for a gardening class through Ozark Alternatives Farm here in Fayetteville. It's a one-day class from noon to 3 p.m tomorrow.  I took the day off from work to do the class and drive down to borrow my sister's truck to get the rain barrels.

Friday after work, I attended the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks member plant sale. I bought some plants for my butterfly garden. I'm still deciding on exactly where that needs to go.  The location I had intended it to go is looking like it might over the gas line.  Probably not a good idea.... I put in a call to the 811 "Call before you dig." I don't really get it.  They say it will be done by May 5 at 7 a.m.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

April 28, 2011 Butterfly Gardening

This evening I went to a class on Butterfly Gardening offered by the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks. It was interesting, informative, the photos were beautiful and the folks were friendly. Overall, it was a lovely class. Dr. Rita Littrell presented her computer slideshow on butterflies.  Most of the pictures were from her own garden. Dr. Littrell is not an entymologist or horticulurist or even a gardener by trade.  Rather, she is self-taught. Her interest in butterflies stemmed from being a mother. She wanted to show her son the transitions a caterpillar made to become a butterfly. She is now known to some locally as "the butterfly lady." She knows and shares so much about these beautiful creatures. I was impressed by the lengths she went to protect them in their various states. Truly a butterfly passion! I have no doubt she has inspired others as she has myself.

We didn't get any rain today (hurray!) and the sun shone all day. Temperatures this evening are warmer than yesterday. There were some winds today but nothing severe. All my plants are at least surviving.

Oooh... also, some of my trees from the Arbor Day Foundation came. Their little bare roots are sitting in water in my kitchen sink.

The Botanical Garden of the Ozarks member plant sale is tomorrow. I need to figure out some plants I want before I go so I don't wander around saying to myself, "I want that. I want that. I want that." It's important to know if you have the right conditions to support the plant and if it's mature growth will fit what you really want. Also, I have been keeping an eye on allergies.  The book Allergy-Free Gardening by Thomas Leo Ogren is a great book and I am working on adding plants the author claims are at least 5 or below on his scale. I love this book so much, I ordered it online. According to the Ogren Plant-Allergy Scale (OPALS), butterfly weed or milkweed is only a 3, so I should definately look at it tomorrow.  On the other hand, Joe-Pye Weed is a 7.  Too bad.  Moonflowers which Sphinx moths (not a butterfly) love, is a 3 on the OPALS. These moths also host on this plant. Dutchman's Pipevine is also a 3 and they help support the Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly. Perhaps I overlooked it, but I couldn't find Garden Phlox in his book. It's supposed to be a great nectar plant. The spicebush, which Spicebush Swallowtails love, is an OPALS 3. The Black Swallowtail loves parsley, dill (3), and fennel (5). I couldn't find garden parsley listed in Ogren's book. Toadflax (1) and snapdragon (1) are favorites of the Buckeye Butterfly. Persimmon trees, which is one of the host plants for Luna Moths, is a 3.

Milkweed, depending on the type, will grow anywhere from 18"to 40." It needs full sun. Monarchs love it along with other butterfly types and hummingbirds.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

April 27 Provence Lavender

Between the time I set up the rain guage last night and now, we've gotten a little over half an inch of rain.  The temperature has dropped to 54 degrees. Brrrrr. 

David was down at the Farmer's Market yesterday taking pictures and he brought home a Provence Lavender (Lavendula x intermedia) plant. I've never grown Lavender before but have wanted to. It looks lovely.  Mountain Valley Growers, a website I found by searching Google, has many different types of Lavender listed and has provided great pictures of them so you can see the differences. I didn't even know there were so many different types!

Unless otherwise stated, the following information about Provence Lavender was gleaned from the Mountain Valley site. Provence Lavender is a hybrid of the English lavenders. They are great for lining the driveway or as border plants.  Apparently, "they ... bloom lots, grow just the right size, and smell like a million bucks."

The 'x' in the name Lavendula x intermedia refers to it's parentage. It's a cross between two varieties: Lavendula augistifolia (English Lavender) and Lavendula latifolia (Spike Lavender). Though Provence Lavender has qualities of each parent, they either do not make seeds or produce sterile seeds.

Ideal soil type for Lavender should be well-drained with a pH beween 6.5 and 7.5. Yellow growth in Lavenders can indicate soil imbalances. In hot, humid areas, put Lavenders in raised beds or on a mound to help prevent fungal disease and rot from exposure to too much water. Let the soil dry out before watering again.

Lavenders must have full sun. It usually takes 3 years before they reach their full size. It's essential that they be pruned each year to extend the life of the plant. Cut the green flower stem off and about 1/3 of the grayed leafy stem. Do not cut back to only woody stems.  This will likely kill the plant.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

April 26, 2011 Landscaping 101

I found and joined an online Landscaping 101 class through the local library today.  So excited!!! The first assignment has us testing our soil. I just came from Lowe's with my soil testing kit. It sounds more complicated than I thought it might be. I've also invested in a rain guage/thermometer combo that will help me keep track of weather conditions, which is my intention with this blog. While at Lowe's I couldn't resist also picking up pond testing strips. Our poor little pond...... Those little lily pads are the only things keeping it from looking completely depressed.

It has been cloudy most of the day today, though I do vaguely recall actually using my sunglasses for about 15 minutes in walking to my car after work. Thunder is currently sporadic. Sprinkles led the dogs and I back indoors from our short foray into the backyard. David is driving in the midst of the storm now about 20 minutes North of here. I feel a downpour is eminent. My supervisor at work said 13 inches of rain has fallen at his house in Goshen since this deluge began. Seems difficult to imagine, but I believe it.

Monday, April 25, 2011

April 11-April 25 2011 Flooding

April 11 through the 14th, it rained sporadically, with some sunshine in between. Some golf-ball-sized and smaller-sized hail occurred that week as well. Beginning April 15th, it has rained almost continuously and continues to fall as I type. Roads out toward Elkins are closed, schools have called parents to pick up their children. The small creek on Wedington between the VA Hospital and I-540 is supposedly flooding the road. Temperatures are still above freezing.

Bean, tomato and pepper sprouts have made it so far....