Water water everywhere

So Gibbs and I decided to go adventuring across Lake Pontchartrain to Mandeville. Why, you ask? Well, one of our fav rescue shelters, Animal Helper of New Orleans, was having an adoption event at Adventure Pets, a pet shop in Mandeville, and we thought showing our support would be a fun thing to do on a hot Saturday afternoon. So adventuring we went!

We’d never been across the lake before. I knew it was big, but had no idea it was 40 miles long and 24 miles wide worth of big.

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Lake Pontchartrain

We didn’t start seeing the north side of the bank until the 7 mile marker. Look way, way in the distance.

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Lake Pontchartrain

Hmm, so what happens if you get halfway across then decide you need to turn around? No problem cause they have these handy dandy crossovers for just that reason. I believe I counted seven of them.

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Lake Pontchartrain

Not sure what these little buildings are for. Maybe storage, maybe shelter for when the bridge gets worked on?

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Lake Pontchartrain

Not only does one get to experience 24 miles (one way) of riding on a bumpity bumpity bridge, a drawbridge was also added as extra entertainment value! No large ships were traveling that day so unfortunately we didn’t get to see the drawbridge in action.

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Lake Pontchartrain

Look far off in the distance, under that big cloud. Know what that is? That’s the beautiful skyline of the city of New Orleans. See that building with the white roof? That’s the Superdome where my awesome Super Bowls champion Saints play. That gives you an idea of how huge the Superdome is.

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Lake Pontchartrain

Ready for some fun facts about Lake Pontchartrain? Yeah? Ok, here they are:

The lake was created anywhere from 2,600 to 4,000 years ago. The Native Americans named it “Wide Water,” which makes perfect sense to me. Then the French came along and renamed it after Louis Phélypeaux, comte de Pontchartrain. Nah, I didn’t know who he was either. Who he was was the French Minister of the Marine, Chancellor, and Controller-General of Finances during the reign of France’s “Sun King,” Louis XIV, for whom the colony of La Louisiane was named.

It’s not a true lake, but actually an estuary and experiences small tidal changes cause it dumps into the Gulf of Mexico. Its average depth is 12 to 14′, but is dredged in some places to 65′ for those large ships that use the shipping channel. New Orleans is at the bottom of the map. That line through the middle of the lake is the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway.

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Lake Pontchartrain Map

I thought this was very cool: Guinness World Records has the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway listed as the longest continuous bridge over water in the world. How neat!

Oh, in case you’re wondering … it’s pronounced PAHN-chuh-trayn.

And that, my friends, was our fun adventure of the day. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. Well, as much as I did … Gibbs slept through most of the ride up and back. Seeing the other dogs and picking out treats at the pet shop was more his thing.

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Cheers to an awesome rest of the day!

Jeanni and Gibbs


Who Dat

New Orleans. Just the sound of those words has magic in it. I’ve wanted to live in New Orleans for as long as I can remember. Everything about the city intrigued and excited me. I’ve even been a Saints fan starting way back in the ’80s when we were the sad sad ‘Aints.

I realize tons of people visit NOLA, fall in love with it, and never leave. But that’s the kicker for me … I never visited NOLA before moving here. Oh, the family passed through it once on a trip from New Mexico to Florida. I remember turning around in the seat to watch the city’s light fade away in the station wagon’s back window. But that’s as close as I got to visiting. So back in June when I moved, not knowing a soul, most people thought I was crazy. Me, heck, I just looked at it as another awesome life adventure.

The city spoke to me and drew me in. It felt familiar and safe from the moment I got here. And it feels like I’ve lived here forever even though it’s only been a tad over a month now. Why is that, I wonder. Maybe it’s along the lines of why I can’t sit with my back to a window or door. Past life experience? Intuition of some sort? Not sure, but I do know the deja vu has been incredibly strong and frequent since moving here.

Gibbs and I found an amazingly little cute apartment in an old Victorian house on Napoleon Avenue only three blocks from all the shops and restaurants and bars on glorious Magazine Street.

See the roses and gargoyle?

See the roses and gargoyle?

There are only five apartments in the house, so I don’t feel closed in by too many people. lol Want to know the best part of my apartment? It’s on the Mardi Gras parade route! I can sit on my little balcony and watch the whole parade go by. No fuss, no muss.

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Yeah, construction is on-going in the neutral ground. A pain in the ass, but it’s to help the flooding issue so we deal with it. After November 2016 it’ll be green space again.

Life is so good here. My business, Roses and Gargoyles Gardenscapes, is starting to take off already. I’ve met some really cool people. Gibbs and I are having a ball exploring the city. It’s very dog friendly, btw. There’s so much beauty and history and architecture and diversity here, it just makes my heart sing. I want to share all of that with you, and this blog is going to help me do just that.

So stay tuned cause we’re gonna have us some fun now.

Who Dat!

Jeanni and Gibbs


Gardening Equals Happiness

No wonder digging in the dirt makes me so happy!

“Gardening is known for its meditative and relaxing effects. Medical News Today reports UK scientists found a helpful bacteria in soil that affects the brain in nearly the same way anti depressants do – by increasing the release of serotonin.” Taken from Natural Cures Not Medicine

gardening 

So go dig in the dirt and make yourself happy!

Cheers to an awesome rest of the day…

Jeanni and Gibbs

 


Harmonia axyridis

In other words…the North American Ladybug.

Yes, this little alligator lookalike bug is the ladybug larvae (baby).

And this is the beautiful adult Ladybug it turns into:

Adult Ladybug

Adult Ladybug

Do you know how beneficial ladybugs are to our gardens?  Well, these little bitty girls and guys just love, love, love to eat bad bugs such as aphids and scale.  So, please, don’t kill the ladybugs.  And when you see aphids or scale on your plants, why don’t you just let nature take its course instead of reaching for the insecticide? Once the ladybugs are in your garden, they will clean up all the bad bugs.  Just be patient.

Well, that’s all for now.  Cheers to an awesome rest of the day!

Jeanni and Gibbs


The Story of Poinsettias

Poinsettias. They’re such pretty plants, and very much a sign that the holidays are here. Here is some interesting information about Poinsettias that you might not know…

Joel Roberts Poinsett is the person who introduced Poinsettias (see the resemblance between his last name and the plant’s name??) to the United States in 1828. He was the US’s first Ambassador to Mexico and a botanist and physician. He fell in love with the plants he discovered in Southern Mexico and sent cuttings to his home in Charleston, South Carolina.

The colorful parts of the plants aren’t the flowers. Nope, those are actually colored bracts and are considered modified leaves. The flowers are yellow and are in the center of the colored bracts. The bracts get their color changes through a process called “photoperiodism.” That means they need 12 hours of total darkness for at least five days in a row to change color. Not just a little darkness, but total darkness. Light of any kind, real or synthetic, will throw off their color changing abilities. That’s why the Poinsettias you planted in the garden might not be as colorful as the ones you buy every holiday season.

Pink Poinsettia

Pink Poinsettia

I’m sure you’ve heard that old wives tale that Poinsettias are poisonous. Well, the National Poison Center in Atlanta and the American Medical Association have repeatedly tested the Poinsettia’s reportedly poisonous abilities and have found, repeatedly, that they are not poisonous. One study done at Ohio State University showed that 500 to 600 leaves would have to be eaten by a 50-pound child before any side effects would even start to show up. And those side effects would be upset stomach and vomiting…which makes sense if one eats 500 to 600 leaves of anything.

Poinsettias do ooze a milky sap when the stems are broken. That sap can cause allergic reactions to people who are allergic to latex.

Here’s an interesting tidbit: Florida has a native Poinsettia! How cool is that?? Euphorbia cyathophora (or Euphorbia heterophylla) is its botanical name. Common names are wild poinsettia, Fire on the mountain, fireplant, painted euphorbia, desert poinsettia, paint leaf and kaliko plant.

Native Poinsettia

Native Poinsettia

And that is your Poinsettia history lesson for the day.  Did you learn anything??

Jeanni and Gibbs


Letting the Good Bugs Win

Hi there.

This is a story of what happens when, instead of automatically grabbing the insecticide, you let nature take its course.

Yesterday I noticed this on my tomato plants:

Tomato Hornworm 09-13

It’s the Tomato Hornworm.  It’s really kinda pretty except for the fact that it’s eating all the leaves on my tomato plants.  And I think it turns into one of the Hawk Moths, which are cool.  Well, I decided to leave it be for the time being.  The next day I went to see how much more he’d eaten and this is what I found:

Parasitic Wasps on Tomato Hornworm 09-14

How cool is that!  Ok, it’s kinda yucky but still very cool.   The white stuff is the larva of the Braconid Wasp, which is a natural predator of the Tomato Hornworm.  BW is a tiny beneficial bug that lays its eggs inside the TH, then the larva eat their way out, eventually killing the TH.  If you leave the TH on the plant and let the BWs do their thing, then you’ll have plenty of new BWs flitting around your garden doing their best to keep your garden free of Tomato Hornworms.

And that, my friend, is nature at its best.

Well, that’s all for now.  Cheers to an awesome rest of the day!

Jeanni and Gibbs


Another Reason I Haven’t Posted Lately

Hello there!  Well, the last time I posted was February and that post was talking about why I hadn’t posted in awhile…which is the same theme of this post.  But my reason this time is extra special cool:  I opened a Garden Center in Lake Helen named Roses and Gargoyles!  Yep, back in March I came up with a half-baked idea that my town needs a garden center and that I need to be the person to give them one. Since then I’ve been working like crazy to make it happen.  And my half-baked idea turned into a reality on Opening Day, Saturday, September 1.

I named it “Roses and Gargoyles” for the simple reason I couldn’t think of any other name I like as much as that one.  It’s definitely a different name, and I’m pretty sure there will be no other garden center close by with the same name.  Take a look at the R&G flyer for more info.  You can also visit R&G’s website, http://rosesandgargoyles.com, and its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/RosesAndGargoyles.

Opening weekend and this first full week has been great.  Getting to be around plants all day, talking about plants with people, and actually getting paid to do that is Amazing!  I am so very blessed to be in a situation to do something like this with my life.

The next big thing for R&G is my Grand Opening/Fall Garden and Art Festival.  I’m in the process of lining up speakers to give talks on various subjects as “growing plants, veges, and herbs from organic seeds,” and “Florida native plants.”  I’m also working on getting the Bat Lady to talk about why bats are wonderful and how to attract them.

So if you’re in the Lake Helen area please stop by to say hi.  Gibbs and I would love to see you there.

Well, that’s all for now.  Cheers to an awesome rest of the day!

Jeanni and Gibbs


Got Blooms??

Hi there.  I know I haven’t posted much lately…shame on me, right.  The reason I haven’t posted is I finally started remodeling projects on my house!  It’s slow going cause I’m on a tight budget and I’m doing most of the work myself (and with the help of my very awesome friends), but I am absolutely delighted with the changes so far.  Will start posting pics on the progress soon.  But today I thought I’d post pics of some of my first blooms of the season.  It’s been a warm winter (thankfully), so everything’s blooming a few weeks sooner than normal.  You won’t catch me complaining about that though!  Enjoy the pics and I’ll be back soon.

Clotilde Soupert, Climbing 02-25-12

 

Freesia 02-25-12

 

Maman Cochet 02-25-12

 

Freesia 02-25-12

 
Freesia has a to-die-for fragrance.  It’s in a pot by the house and I can smell it clear across the pool patio.
 

Maman Cochet 02-25-12

 

Clotilde Soupert, Climbing 02-25-12

 

Maman Cochet 02-25-12

 
This week I’m hanging out with these very cool blogs…be sure to take a peek at them!
 
Well, that’s all for now.  Cheers to an awesome rest of the day!
 
Jeanni
 

Ho, Ho Ho!!

Merry Christmas to you!  I hope everyone has a joyous, wonderful, loving, stress-free Christmas.

I’m having the perfect start to my morning:  coffee on the pool patio while watching the sun come up.  After it warms up a little, Gibbs is getting a bath, then I’ll finish packing our bags and we’re heading to Mom and Dad’s house.  Can’t wait to see my family again.

Weather’s going to be perfect:  around 80 for a high and sunny.  It’s about 60 right now (7:00 Christmas Eve morning).  Yep, that’s why I live in central Florida!

Gibbs, Bear, and Tide.

 
Bear and Tide were our puppy houseguests over Thanksgiving weekend.  The boys helped me decorate the Christmas tree…didn’t they do a wonderful job!
 
Well, time for another cup of coffee, so that’s all for now.  Cheers to a very awesome Christmas!
 
Jeanni and Gibbs

Lake Helen’s Fall Color

What’s that you say? You don’t believe that Central Florida actually gets Fall color? Well, for the most part, no, we don’t.  At least not like the Fall colors in the colder parts of the country.  What we do get is Fall color of a different kind.

Some of our trees’ leaves change before they drop…

Sycamore

 

"Forest Pansy" Redbud

 
And some of our trees give us color by flowering this time of the year…
 

Cassia

 

Cassia (yellow blooms) and Golden Rain Tree (red seed pods)

 
Then there are the roses… oh my goodness the roses…

Alister Stella Gray 11-05-2011

 

Alister Stella Gray 11-05-2011

 

Alister Stella Gray 11-05-2011

 
 

Don Juan 11-05-2011

 
 

Climbing Clothilde Soupert 11-05-2011

 

Rosette Delizy 11-05-2011

 

Ducher 11-05-2011

 

Jacqueline du Pre' 11-05-2011

 

Souvenir de la Malmaison 11-05-2011

 
And the shrubs…
 

Sweet Almond Bush 11-05-2011

 

Sweet Almond Bush (bloom) 11-05-2011

 

Mexican Bush Sage and Vinca 11-05-2011

 

Mexican Bush Sage (bloom) 11-05-2011

 

"Royal" Jasmine 11-05-2011

 

"Royal" Jasmine 11-05-2011

 

Night Blooming Jasmine (and a nice shot of my trash can!) 11-05-2011

 

Banana Shrub (look at all those buds!!!) 11-05-2011

 

Muhly Grass 11-05-2011

 

Muhly Grass (bloom upclose) 11-05-2011

 
and perennials…
 

"Dancing Girl" Ginger 11-05-2011

 

"Dancing Girl" Ginger 11-05-2011

 

"Dancing Girl" Ginger 11-05-2011

 

Torenia 11-05-2011

 
 

Salvia 11-05-2011

 

Salvia (bloom) 11-05-2011

 

Firebush 11-05-2011

 
and here are some various bed shots…
 

Firebush, Lantana, Alister Stella Gray 11-05-2011

 

Firebush, Lantana, Alister Stella Gray 11-05-2011

 

Orchid Vine (on fence. aren't those seed pods the coolest??), Jatropha (in the middle with red blooms), Ducher 11-05-2011

 

Muhly Grass in the foreground 11-05-2011

 
 
This week I’m hanging out with these awesome blogs.  Be sure to stop by their places for a visit!
 
Well, that’s all for now.  Cheers to an awesome rest of the day!
 
Jeanni