Tuesday, April 24, 2012

World Meningitis Day

World Meningitis Day is today, April 24.  I meant to get a post up earlier, but alas.  Hopefully, you've already gone over to The Confederation of Meningitis Organizations and joined hands (virtually) against meningitis.  Always review the Signs and Symptoms to be prepared if a loved one seems very ill.  I won't bother with statistics (I don't trust them anyway.)  I won't talk about how many lives are touched and families hurt by meningitis each year.  I just encourage you to look into those beautiful blue eyes and remember those lost and do what you can to be more aware.

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Sampling from the Woodland Gardens

I'm rather behind.  I took all of these pictures almost a month ago.  Many of these plants are no longer in bloom, so I'll just have to enjoy the blooms through my pictures.  The above is a cluster (?) of blooms on the Deutzia gracilis "Chardonnay Pearls," also called Duncan.  I think in a little more sun the foliage is more of a chartreuse, but it's mostly a light green in my shady garden.  In spite of the shade, it flowered its little heart out!  Another spectacular year for "Duncan."  It's a rather compact deciduous shrub of about 2-3' high, and 2-3' in width in my Zone 7B garden.

The lovely Southern garden staple is the Camellia.  These evergreen shrubs are generally slow growers.  I've had this Camellia japonica "White Empress" for a few years, and it's still no more than 3' tall.  Apparently one day she'll be 10' tall!  And possibly as wide!

I love my little native Celandine Poppies (Stylophorum diphyllum)!  They bloomed more than a month ago, but I thought the little seed pods were so cool.  It has bright yellow happy flowers that really pop out of the woodland garden and adorn this small perennial with oak like leaves.  One of my personal favorites!

These little Bell Flowers are woodland natives.  They're not really showy, but more what I would call sweet.  I don't know the botanical name, unfortunately.  Seems like any plant with a bell shaped flower is called a bell flower!

I may have had a bloom on my Trillium.  Once.  At least the foliage is attractive!  I wonder what the trick is for Trilliums.

My little Virgina Bluebell (Mertensia virginica) was a little disappointing this year.  I mean, look at it.  It's like Charlie Brown's Christmas tree!  The other one I had didn't even come back.  I guess the heat/drought from last summer did it in.  It's a shame, because they're pretty little plants.

I've never had a big show from my Viburnum plicatum tomentosum "Summer Snowflake."  Just a few blooms here and there.  It's okay, because I appreciate the ones I have.  The one I have is no more than 5' tall, and a few feet wide.  It sounds like they can grown 10' wide!  And 6-8' tall.  Maybe she'll bloom more then!

And, of course, there are ferns cropping up all over the place.  Big ferns, little ferns.  Native ferns, non-native ferns.  And they are all lovely.

Building Blocks

Most kids seem to enjoy building things.  Usually they start off with large building blocks.  In fact, the number of blocks a kid can stack (into a tower) is one of the questions doctors ask at a well baby checkup.  It's some sort of measure of development.  Or something.  Kids, as they grow older, often will start playing with smaller and smaller blocks.  Or if they have gullible parents (raises hand), they'll do something even better...play with furniture.

We bought these toy storage things from Ikea a year or so ago.  Justin commented at the time that they resembled steps (something the kids noticed right away, too.)  I just thought they looked like the perfect solution to a ridiculously messy toy room.  And toys generally do end up in the red buckets.  But the "steps" get pushed around to be used for fun, rather than function.  I suppose they do get the furniture moving gene honestly from their LaLa.  But at least she lets things stay in place for more than a day (possibly because they're all so heavy!)

It's nice to have somewhere cushy to sit in your Little Kid Hideout.

And the phone is essential.  This is a "track phone."  No, not a Tracfone.  This is a phone made out of Hot Wheels track.

And here Miranda takes the conversation to the next level.  Literally.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Butterfly Garden...Mostly

I dusted off the fancy camera to take some pics the other day, only to find out that the batteries were dead.  And, naturally, there were no new double A's.  So,  I got the pocket camera out to do the job.  It's my Panasonic Lumix ZS10 that I got for Christmas last year.  And really, I need to take it through the paces anyway.  I'm no expert photographer and not even a hobbyist, so any opinion is not very educated.  That being said, I think the Lumix takes nice quality closeup images of my plants.  The Pansies pictured above are finally putting on a show.  I planted them in the fall in the front yard and was disappointed (again) with no winter blooms, even though we had a VERY mild winter here.  Now that it's warming up so much (read: so early!) the Pansies will be getting leggy and it'll be time to tell them goodbye.

The neighbor's beautiful Dogwood tree.  Dogwoods have always been a favorite of mine.  Beautiful flowers in spring, and beautiful umbrella like canopy in summer.  Just...nice.

The Rose bushes are starting to put on blooms here and there.  Can't wait for the big display in a couple of weeks!  This is one of the Pink Drifts I purchased last year.

And now to the Butterfly Garden in the back yard.  I just purchased this White False Indigo Baptisia alba last year.  I had a blue one and moved it last year, and it doesn't appear to have come back.  I think I'll replace it.  I just love the blooms and the foliage.  Neat native plants that can put up with heat and drought.

The Columbines are still blooming their little hearts out!

Another purchase from last year!  I'm so glad all of these plants made it, considering the very hot and dry summer we had last year.  I bought this peach colored Foxglove Digitalis from Santa Rosa Gardens.

Blooms of Heuchera 'Vesuvius' and Centaurea Montana (called Bachelor's Buttons or Cornflowers) intermingling.  Of course, I have two of those Heucheras, and the blooms are different colors.  I wonder which one is mismarked.  One of these days I'll look into it.

Pretty blue blooms!

I got a big chunk of these Irises from a friend in trade several years ago.  She may have told me what they're called at the time, but I don't really remember.  They've spread and been divided a few times, and give me lucious blooms in spring.  Just...beautiful!

And here's the progress of the lettuce and my sweet peas in the Veg Garden.  I just recently planted onions, strawberries, and carrots (seeds).  I hope to get some potatoes in the ground soon, although I know it's getting kind of late.  In a "normal" year, I think this time would be ok, but with temperatures already like that of May or June, I'm afraid I may have waited a little too late.  We'll see!