Gibbs and I were at Lake Monroe in Sanford today for Pet Rescue by Judy’s second annual PRBJ Reunion. PRBJ is the shelter I adopted him from. My friend Erin and her dog Tide, another PRBJ alum, met us there and we just had the best time!
Don’t worry…I haven’t become a nudist. But I did fertilize with all those wonderful organic fertilizers that my garden loves: alfalfa pellets, bone meal, blood meal, cottonseed meal, and milorganite. That along with the horse poopy I put down a couple of weeks ago and the rain we’ve been getting lately means the garden should start looking much healthier and happier soon. I cut way, way back on the fertilizing earlier in the season cause of the drought and high temps cause I didn’t want to force new growth that was just gonna get fried and stress the plants out. So my fertilizing schedule is totally off this year. But having to deal with what Mother Nature sends us is just a part of gardening.
So, you ask, what exactly does all that organic fertilizer stuff do? Good question! Organics provide nutrients to the plants along with improving the viability of the soil as they break down. Most of the organics I use are slow release except for blood meal which is considered a fast release organic. Here’s what I use and what they do:
- Alfalfa Pellets: Gives the plants slow-release nitrogen and trace minerals. It also contains a naturally occurring plant hormone called triaconatol that stimulates growth by improving photosynthesis and cell division.You can use either alfalfa meal or alfalfa pellets. If you use pellets be sure to get the pellets used for horse food and not for rabbit food. The rabbit food pellets have salt added to it and salt build-up in the soil is not a good thing. I use 1 – 2 cups per bush depending on the size of the bush. 3-0-2
- Blood Meal: Gives quick-release of nitrogen. Yes, it is exactly what the name says: made from blood, usually from cows. It’s awesome in its ability to green plants up quickly that need a nitrogen fix. This stuff is very potent so be sure to use it as recommended on the bag! Mine’s from Hi-Yield and 1/4 of a cup (yes, only 1/4) is enough for a 3’x3′ area. That’s a big area for only 1/4 of a cup. Lessen the amount for smaller bushes and plants in containers. For large climbing roses or trees the amount can be increased. It’s water soluble so it can be mixed in a water can and used that way. I’ve never used it in a sprayer so I don’t know if that’ll work. 12-0-0
- Bone Meal: This is basically ground up bones. It proves a very slow-release of phosphorous and calcium. It doesn’t travel easily through the soil so be sure to either work it into the soil or add it to the hole when planting. I use 1/4 – 1 cup per bush. 4-12-0
- Cottonseed Meal: Provides a slow-release of nitrogen, phosphorus, potash, and minor elements. It also loosens heavy soils and helps sandy soils hold water and nutrients. 1 – 4 cups per bush depending on the size. 6.5-2.5-1.5
- Milorganite: Slow-release of nitrogen and phosphorus and iron. 1 – 2 cups per bush depending on size. 5-2-0
Organics are awesome cause they increase the biological activity of the soil structure as they break down. Simply put, all the little microscopic and not so microscopic critters that make your soil healthier like to hang around where organics are. The microorganisms break the organics down and release the nutrients for the plants to use. As the breaking down happens other critters, such as earthworms, show up to either munch on the organic goodies or use them in building their tunnels. And we all know how incredibly cool and helpful earthworms are to our gardens! So by using organics you not only fertilize your plants you also increase your soil which in turn helps your garden to be healthier and happier.
The three numbers at the end of each organic description, i.e., 5-2-0 for Milorganite, represent the macronutrient analysis of Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium of each fertilizer. All of my organics are from Hi-Yield except for the Milorganite. The numbers can be different if your organics are from a different distributor.
There are differing opinions of whether organics should be worked into the soil of existing beds or just used as top dressing (meaning just thrown on top of the soil). I personally agree with the opines that as organics decompose (or “cure”) they generate heat. And that heat has the possibility of damaging the tender feeder roots of plants if the organics are worked into the soil. So I pull back the mulch, toss the organics around the drip line, and put the mulch back in place over the organics. (The “drip line” is the area below the canopy of the plant’s leaves. Keep in mind that roots rarely grow past the plant’s drip line.) Please, please, please do not pile the organics up against the trunk or stems or base of the plant! That same curing heat that damages the feeder roots means the organics are too hot to be placed up against the plant.
I’ve got the perfect example of an organic that was too hot and damaged the plants it was on. Remember my post on getting two loads of horse poopy? Well, one load was aged and one load was fresh. Usually I unload stuff like that onto the driveway by the double gates but I knew the heat from the horse poop along with the heat from the driveway along with the fact that it was August in Florida would probably kill me if I put it on the driveway. So I put both loads in separate piles on the grass. In the pic below, the pile in front is the aged one and I was just starting to unload the fresh one. The aged pile actually sat on the grass for about twelve hours longer than the fresh one did.
The next two pics were taken about a week after I’d put the poop into the beds. This is the grass that had the aged poop on it. You can see that some of the grass was killed, but definitely not all of it.
And this is the area where the fresh pile was. Pretty much all the grass and weeds were killed cause the heat coming from the pile as it decomposed was extremely high.
Yo. Whatzup with you? Glad you’re hangin with me today!
Hey, do you keep a garden journal? Is it handwritten or ‘puterized? I’ve kept one off and on for the past twenty-some-odd years. Handwritten on notebook paper and kept in 3-ring binders. But it’s time to put down the pen and pick up the keyboard so this blog is gonna take the place of my notebook paper and binders (am I the only one that thinks that’s kinda sad?). A downside to that is I’ve got a desktop pc so I can’t sit outside and work on journal updates like I could with pen and paper. bummer. The plan though is to buy myself a laptop Christmas present (I’ll try to act surprised…) so that problem will be solved in a few short months.
Well. Let’s see. Since this is now my garden journal, it needs to be updated with all the info I kept in the binders:
- Plant descriptions and pics. Already started on this…got so many more to add it’s almost overwhelming. Gotta keep reminding myself that one at a time is all I can do.
- Garden layouts. I design my gardens by hand on graph paper so it’ll be easy to scan and add a “Garden Layout” page. That way when I post about adding plants to the East Fence Bed you’ll know what I”m talking about! I don’t label my plants in the garden so the layouts remind me who got planted where. Don’t wanna be calling anyone by the wrong name. It hurts their feeling and they pout by not blooming as well…
- Before and after pics. Yep…wait till you see what the garden looked like in the beginning.
- Fertilizing and pruning info.
- Good bug / bad bug info.
- Gardening definitions.
I want this to be not just my journal but also someplace you can come to and enjoy garden pics and maybe learn something you didn’t know about gardening. After all, sharing information with other gardeners is one of the many aspects of gardening that I love.
Ok. Kinda got my thoughts going in the right direction now. So now I’m gonna introduce you to my garden beds so you can see what I’ve got in each one. Today you get to meet the West Fence Bed! This is the bed I recently added the concrete border to so you’ve already seen a couple of pics of it.
WFB is a pretty big bed – 61′ long x 14′ at its widest point and 6′ at its narrowest point. The plants in it were planted either in 2010 or 2011, so they’re pretty much babies.
I chose Society Garlic as the border. Luv, luv, luv Society Garlic.
I swear sometimes it’s like I’ve got an episode of Wild Kingdom happening in my garden. This week’s episode was the birthing of a cicada…not real pretty btw; one of my resident blacksnakes climbing the fence to get his lizard lunch; and gorgeous hawks just hangin out.
Cicadas are everywhere in my garden. I hear their nightly serenade from the trees, see their funky little empty shells hanging out on the shed and on the fences, and watch the birds chasing and catching them for dinner. But have never seen one doing its birthing/molting thing. Have to say it’s kinda gross. Pretty much like some ugly-ass alien baby being born. Yuck. Seeing this vision of loveliness (not) started when I was hand watering the Souvenir de la Malmaisons in the Driveway Bed with the hose. I’m standing there just a watering away when I see a cicada shell on the picket fence. And it looks like it’s got something attached to it. So I spray it trying to get it off the fence. The thing kinda wiggles a bit but doesn’t fall off. Hmmmm. That’s weird. I walk over to take a closer look and this is what I see:
What the hell??? That’s just plain gross looking. At first I thought it was something eating the shell. After looking at it from different angles I finally figured out it looked like a full grown cicada. That’s when the light bulb came on over my head…dumbass, that’s part of the cicada life cycle! One of the reasons it looks so gross…other than it really is gross…is this pic shows its tummy so poor little guy is molting upside down. Don’t know if that’s normal or not. I’m just glad I didn’t drown the poor thing trying to spray him off the fence! This is the empty shells they leave behind after molting:
Ahhhhh blacksnakes. Do you know how beneficial BSs (that’s “blacksnakes” not “bullshitzers”) are to our gardens? They eat rats and bugs and lizards, and frogs, and other snakes, and birds. Well, maybe not so much good that they eat birds, but the rest of their diet is very good. These guys are non-venomous and will only strike when cornered. Most of the time they turn and hightail it out of there when we come face to face. I got two that live in my backyard: Peri and Peri’s Pa. When I first bought the house Peri had a burrow under the southside pool decking. He got his name cause he’d lift just his head and neck out of his burrow to see what was happening outside his home and the way he’d turn his head around he looked just like the periscopes you see in old-time submarine movies. Cracked me right on up. So I dubbed him Peri. He was about two feet long at that time. Then I saw the four foot BS and I knew it wasn’t Peri! They hung out in the same area so I decided he was Peri’s Pa. Could be Peri’s Ma, but I ain’t gettin close enough to find out if it’s a boy or a girl. Anyway. Saturday Gibbs and I are lounging about the pool patio when I hear this noise to the left by the fence. I glance over there and see this lizard hauling ass up the fence post. And hauling ass right behind him is Peri! Man, I never seen a lizard run so fast. Seeing Peri slither up that fence post that quickly with no hands was just awesome to watch. Peri never did catch Lizzy though cause Lizzy jumped to the safety of the big oak tree. Guess Peri wasn’t that hungry cause he didn’t give chase anymore.
Are hawks gorgeous or what?? All birds are cool but there’s just something about the power of the predatory birds that’s awesome to me. I’m lucky enough to have a couple of hawks that hang around my neighborhood. One’s HUGE and one’s a bit smaller. Their fav places to hang out in my yard are the arbor, shed, and fence. Unfortunately every time they came around this weekend my camera wasn’t handy…so this old pic of the smaller hawk will have to do. Oh, and I took this from inside the house so it’s a bit grainy… oh well.
Well, did lots in the garden this week: made a border out of busted up concrete, dealt with canker on the rose canes, picked up two loads of horse poopy, did the weekly fungicide / fish emulsion spray, weeded, and put out pinestraw in one of the beds. whew. Makes me tired just thinking of all that work. My two favs though were the concrete border and the horse poopy.
I like having a border of some type around the beds. Informal, non-fussy type borders. Really, really like the look of uneven sizes of fieldstone stacked two courses high. But being that I’m on a tight budget and haven’t won the lottery yet and have 1/3 of an acre that will eventually be almost all beds, well, that all adds up to Jeanni ain’t getting fieldstone borders any time soon…if ever. A few weeks ago I noticed my neighbors had a bunch of busted up concrete just lying around. I got to looking at the concrete, then looking at my beds, and damn if another light bulb didn’t go off! They said they didn’t want the concrete so it came home with me to become the first of my busted up concrete bed borders! woo hoo! luv me some free stuff!
Horse poopy! Luv me some horse poopy for my garden beds. Thanks to Paula and Roya from West Volusia Saddle Club for hooking me up with two local stables that give away their horse poopy. Friday after work I rode over to a stable at Ormond Beach to get the first load. Unloaded it Saturday morning bright and early, then went to a stable at New Smyrna Beach (can you tell I live close to the beaches!!) to get my second load. Here’s my poopy piles:
Howdy. How the heck are ya on this lovely day? I’m pretty much fine as frog’s hair (does anyone know where or who or why someone would be inspired to first utter the ridiculous words “I’m fine as frog’s hair”??? wth?? sounds like something google could tell me). Me and Gibbs just got back from a short truck ride round the block to drop off the water bill payment and to get four bales of pine straw from my little local nursery. Love my little town, but they really need to move it up to the 21st century…the water bill is the only bill I have to write a check for. And every quarter when I write the check I have to mentally think about how to write out the dollar amount. Seriously. It sucks. Step it up, Lake Helen! Put Pay Pal on your website!!!!
Anyway. I had a blog epiphany today. Yep, sure did. My epiphany (luv that word) is that I’m trying waaaaayyyy too hard to fit into the blogland niche of the perfect-garden-nothing-out-of-place-my-life-is-heaven-on-earth blogs. Yeah right. First off, if someone tells me they’ve got the perfect garden with nothing out of place and their life is heaven on earth all the friggin time…well, I’m gonna tell them they’re a liar, liar pants on fire. Then I’m gonna stick my tongue out at them. That’ll tell em. ha. So this is the deal: I’m gonna start being more me when I write. After all…Roses and Gargoyles is MY blog about MY imperfect garden/house/life and how I deal with all that imperfectness (that might be a Jeanni word…). If you want to follow along for the journey, then I say Hell yeah! But what you’re gonna get on that journey is talk from someone who (as I’ve been told many, MANY times by my friends and family) really has no filters. Things pretty much roll round my pretty little head then just kinda pop out my mouth. Think Pez dispenser… Sometimes I can hear a few brain cells whispering “whoa! let’s think about that before we…oh, too late.” Man, those brain cells need to learn to yell if they want me to listen to them… Do I intentionally say things to hurt people? No. That is oh so not what I’m talking about. What I do, though, is speak my mind. If I think you’re being an idiot, well, sweetness, I’ll find some Southern lady-like way to tell your little pea pickin heart, God bless ya, that you’re an idiot! And I LUV me some swear words. Yeah bubba. So you’re gonna see “wth’ and “wtf” and some other choice words bantered about. You’ll know I’m REALLY pissed about something if I’m spelling those choice words out instead of abbreviating them. Sorta like when Momma calls you by your first, middle, AND last name. You know there’s some deep shiz going on then.
Yeah R and G is about me creating my new garden and renovating my house. You’re gonna see garden pics that have weeds in the beds or shrubs with yellow leaves or a pool with leaves floating in it (thank goodness I got rid of that green water though…it’s back to sparkly blue again! damn algae). And you’ll see house pics with dirt on the floor or a cobweb or two in the ceiling corners. I’m pretty darn sure if you zoom in you might even see a spider in those cobwebs waving at you. I’m also gonna talk about Gibbs, and my horrible day at work (or my good day…good days are known to happen at work sometimes), and my relationship with my Handsome Man, and so on, and so on. But it’s gonna be real talk, not some make-believe oh-blogland-will-like-me-better-if-i’m-perfect fake crap.
My deal is this: Don’t visit R and G if you expect perfection or if what I say offends you. Consider yourself warned.
Phew. Boy do I feel better now that that’s out of my system.
Ok. Raise your hand if you want to see roses!!! Some of these are ones in my garden now and some are from my previous gardens. If the name is in burgundy and underlined that means it’s linked to its description page in “My Roses….” Click the name and, viola!, you’ll see more stuff about it.
I bought the batch of daylilies that Autumn Red was in from Gilbert H. Wild’s nursery the beginning of this year. I tell you what…everytime I deal with everyone at that nursery, the happier I am with them. I’ve bought from them for about ten years now and this was the first time any type of mistake was made. I sent them an email late Saturday night asking which daylily my unknown was. Well, by early Monday morning I had a response from them sittin in my email in-box! AND they were so apologetic about the mistake and wanted to credit my account. Gracious, it was only one mistaken daylily out of the 35 I ordered that time. So I told them nope, didn’t need any credit…I was perfectly happy with everything. Don’t you just love dealing with companies that have great customer service?
Well, now that I know which one she is I’ve updated Autumn’s description page if you’d like to get more info on her.
Speaking of her description page…see all those titles at the very top of my home page? All of those titles will eventually have a boat load of information in them. I’m trying to take an hour or two every night to add pics, descriptions, etc. to them. Basically I’m taking my hand-written garden journals of the past twenty-some-odd years and putting them into this blog. So, yea, I’m thinking it might take me a little while to get everything in. But take a gander at them every once in awhile…maybe you’ll find something new and exciting about gardening or Florida or me that you didn’t know.
Anyway. This post is gonna be short and sweet tonight. I’m tired and bout ready for the bed. So I reckon that’s all for now. Cheers to an awesome rest of the day!
Ok. Hmmmmm. Tell me the truth now. Which definition of “weed” popped into your pretty little head when you read that title?? lol. It actually pertains to the gardening type of weed…as in sitting on my butt in the garden beds pulling and cutting and digging the little buggers out. Pulled so many of them I filled up my big weed can:
Those weeds weren’t just tossed in the can willy nilly…no, those were packed down as tight as I could possibly get them to make way for more weeds. Have to make my confession for the day: Because of our very-hot-and-no-rain weather this Spring, I have been the worst kind of Garden Mom. Meaning…I’d stand in the garden room looking out the sliding glass doors and just wave at the plants cause it was too dang hot out there for me! And I LOVE hot weather, so if I be sayin it’s too hot for me to go out, you can bet your bippy it’s blazin outside. But thankfully Mother Nature’s taken pity on us Floridians and dropped the temps to normal hot and even gave us rain. So I spent pretty much all day Saturday and Sunday in my garden. And, man, did I have a ball. Weeding to me is pretty much therapy. You get instant gratification at doing something that makes the garden look prettier, and it’s one of the few times in life you’re actually allowed to kill something you hate! ha! The only time I left my house all weekend was to go…wait for it…to the nursery to buy plants to replace the dug up weeds!! Woo hoo! I’m so lucky cause there’s a great little nursery about two or so miles from me called A Place in The Son. Yeah, I know…it’s quite dangerous having a nursery that close. I’d link to their website but I don’t think they even have one. Anyway. Went there with the intention of replacing a Night Blooming Jasmine that didn’t make it through our cold winter. Not only did I get the Night Blooming, I also got a Variegated Shell Ginger,
AND in the Bargain Barn area I swooped up two replacement heliotrope for $1.00 apiece. Well alrighty then!
On top of the wonderful weeding adventure, I also transplanted a Muhly grass to a better location and put the new Night Blooming Jasmine in its old home. Have you ever smelled a Night Blooming Jasmine in bloom? Oh my Lord…it’s one of the most beautiful smelly plants out there. And I grow roses, so that’s sayin a whole lotta lot. It blooms in these clusters off and on all year round till it gets cold. Very old-time Southern pass-along plant.
Oh! Check this out! Even though I’ve been lamenting bout how bad the weather’s been, look what I found in my garden this weekend:
Hi all! And how was everyone’s weekend? Mine was absolutely fabulous. Had a long four-day weekend that I put to good use by working in the garden like crazy, hung out with part of the gang on Sunday, and had another part of the gang over on Monday for dinner, drinks, and fireworks watching. Was tough hearing that alarm ringing by my head this morning…
While I was working like crazy in the garden I noticed one of my Black-Eyed Stella daylilies had buds that looked darker than normal. I passed it off to the weird weather we’ve been having. Well, the next day two of the buds had opened and I saw that, no, the dark buds were not due to weird weather. They were due to the fact that instead of looking like this when they opened:
they looked like this:
I ended up deleting alot of the pics cause they were just way too much alike. I still really do need to get a faster computer though. Actually I’m jonesing for a laptop so I can sit outside while working on this. That would be great.
Hey, I’m trying to figure out the best way to link my posts to my plant descriptions pages. So there’s prob gonna be a few changes here and there while I figure that out. Let me know if you’re having problems finding anything.
I’m linking up this week with:
Good Life Wednesdays at A Beach Cottage – Life by the Sea
and Cottage Flora Thursday #26 at Fishtail Cottage
and Fertilizer Friday / Flaunt Your Flowers at Tootsie Time
Y’all need to check out Good Life Wednesdays, Cottage Flora Thursdays, and Fertilizer Friday …they’ve got links to a ton of really cool blogs. I’m so digging them every week. Thanks to Sarah, Tracie, and Glenda for hosting them!
Well, that’s all for now. Cheers to an awesome rest of the day!
Well it seems some shenanigans of the worst kind took place in my very own home today. About 10:00 I mosey one block down the road to watch Lake Helen’s 4th of July parade. About 10:30 I mosey back that one block to my house. Upon walking into the fireplace room I notice that something’s very amiss… Hmmmmm. What is wrong with this picture?? Well, for starters normally I don’t have a half-eaten loaf of bread just laying around the house!
I wonder who may have put it there? I’m thinking this boy, who goes by the name of Gibbs, looks pretty guilty. What do you think?
After investigating a bit more, I find actual CRUMBS on the rug of the aforementioned suspect. It’s starting to look pretty bad for him about now…
About this time the suspect decides he better start sucking up to a not-very-happy momma cause he’s starting to feel like he’s in some pretty deep doo-doo. He’s beginning to get the idea that maybe getting that loaf of bread that mom just brought home from the store YESTERDAY off of the countertop and eating half of it wasn’t such a good idea after all!
So he proceeds to put on his I’m-so-sorry face and rubs against me and gives me little nose kisses. But of course I can’t let him off that easy. Oh no. He’s got to learn his lesson that that behavior is just not accepted in this house. And this is the face he gives me as I’m trying my darndest to yell at him…
Really?? Could you yell or be mad at that face?? I tell you what, it took everything I had not to laugh at him. Had to just walk away. Of course he followed me. And of course I couldn’t even remotely stay mad very long. Besides…it was just a loaf of bread.
Moral of the story: Don’t leave bread on the countertop if you don’t want your dog to eat it. Simple as that.
Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain. ~Author Unknown
Hear that?? That’s the happy, sighing sound all the plants in my garden are making after having rain every day this week. Thank goodness our rainy season has finally come.
The clouds were building in the west again this evening…maybe we’ll get more during the night.
I’ve been trying to remember to throw my camera in my purse just in case I see that perfect shot that I’ve just got to post for y’all. Well, today I forgot it, and today I saw awesome things when I was at the Lake for my lunch. Figures, right? I watched a huge storm rolling across the Lake that was just incredible in its strength and fury. And I saw the coolest gator sunning himself on one of the sandbars. I LOVE gators…both the nature type of Gators and the University of Florida Gators. Oh well. This is Florida so I’m sure there will be other storms and other sunning gators.
In the meantime, I’m gonna enjoy my four day weekend and probably even dance in the rain some.
Because that weather man, whom I’m happening to be soooo happy with his forecasting abilites at the moment, says it’s a 60% chance that we’ll get more of the wonderful wet stuff during the next couple of days.
Another cool thing to come out of all this rain is our Fireworks Ban has been lifted! Well, actually just the towns can put on their fireworks displays. But that’s fine with me cause Lake Helen has a pretty cool display, so Monday night I’ll walk down the street about a block and ooooohhh and ahhhhh along with all my neighbors.
Well, that’s it for now. Cheers to having an awesome rest of the day!