Six on Saturday – Inside and Out – December 17, 2018

We’ve had hard freezes every night, but inside our little rancher it’s cozy at 68 degrees. We light a fire in the fireplace about five o’clock which keeps us toasty through the evening. Outside there are still things to be cut back. The ground is not quite frozen and more rain is expected this weekend with slightly warmer day time temperatures. The leaves that have blown around plants in the beds may just stay as a thermal blanket until spring. I don’t mind the messy look.

  1. Inside an anthurium is blooming.  The red/orange, heart-shaped flower of Anthuriums is really a spathe or a waxy, modified leaf flaring out from the base of a fleshy spike (spadix) where the tiny real flowers grow.  The spadix, a.k.a.: nose, tail or inflorescence is the actual anthurium flower; it is where the stamen (male part of the flower) and stigma (female part of the flower) are to be found. The stamen and stigma can only be seen with magnifying glasses and appear as tiny bumps on the spadix.

2. Before we had a frost, I cut some pieces of a bright neon green coleus and stuck it in a vase. It has developed excellent roots. I plan to pot them so I don’t have to repurchase in the spring.

3. Outside there is cutting back and cleaning up to be done. I’ll leave the heads of the miscanthus for later, but will cut back the soldago in the foreground.

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4. This fall I was able to get three Osmanthus ‘Goshiki’ half price and planted them in the revised bed where the avocado sculpture now resides in place of the river birch. I like the pop of pale yellow/white against the green. Once they get bigger, I can use some cuttings in holiday decorations.

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5. And I planted three white groundcover roses (Blossom Blanket) in the same area. They are small but I’m going to leave the leaves as insulation over the winter.

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6. The herb window box hasn’t frozen yet. I am still cooking with fresh chives, thyme. parsley, tarragon and sage.

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That’s my six for this week, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. I learn something every week from the participating gardeners and from verifying information about my photos. This week it was about the true flowers on anthuriums. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

Six on Saturday – September 8, 2018 – Fall on the Way

It doesn’t feel like fall yet. Our weather has been hot and humid. Stepping outside is like stepping into a sauna, but my husband is talking about moving firewood to the deck — when it cools off. He’s not into the gardens so much, but a fire everynight though the fall and winter is his thing. He takes total responsibility for ordering and stacking wood. We are always a cord and a half ahead so we have really nice, dry oak to burn. Coming from a house with five fireplaces, I am thrilled we are down to one.

  1. This was the week one of the river birches was removed. There is a flowering cherry, a small maple and a crepe myrtle that will fill in a lot of that area. I need to spend some time sitting and looking before I jump in and plant anything. The people who removed the tree also ground the stump. I need to dig some soil into the grindings and let it sit for a bit.
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Before

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After removal of river birch

2. Black-tailed Swallowtail. I have been watching the three chrysalis that I found. One hatched before I noticed. Another is taking forever which seems very odd. I think it’s dead.  And the third isn’t doing anything yet. Lots of black swallowtails are flying in the garden so I guess the birds didn’t get all the caterpillars. The fuzzy photo below is one that sat briefly on some foliage. One of its wings was deformed so I wondered if it had just hatched and wasn’t totally unfolded yet or was at the end of its life span.

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3. My Beauty Berry (Callicarpa) is beginning to turn purple. Some rubeckia have grown through making a nice diplay. When I googled Beauty Berry to get the scientific name, I also saw a link for Beauty Berry jelly. I don’t have enough berries to make jelly but it never would have occured to me to do so. The color would have said POISON to me.IMG_7262

4. Along my morning walk a Blackberry lily is seeding. I wonder if I could successfully grow this from seeds. The spring flowers are red orange.

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5. Figs from a friend were made into fig jam. I used the jam recipe in the SureJell package but substituted one cup of brown sugar for one of the cups of white sugar and added some vanilla. It is much better than my fig jam from last year. I made notes in my Bell Canning book from forty years ago.

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6. A stop at a local nursery where all shrubs were 40% off meant I brought three Heller’s Japanese Hollys and three Osmanthus ‘Goshiki’ home.  This wasn’t as impulsive as it sounds. I had been there earlier in the week and didn’t buy anything.

I don’t know where they will go yet, but probably in the area where the river birch came out.  I can stick the pots in the area and move them around to see what I like. There some abelias that don’t get so tall that I also have my eye on. If they are still there when things go to 50% off, I may get a couple.IMG_7281

That’s my six for this week, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.