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Old 01-06-2004, 08:02 PM
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Default The machines continue to grind, the appearances of my beloved Blue Chicory, red median poppies, whit

When I left you last post, I was talking about the speedy rate of my gardens
due to this unseasonable heat -wave we're experiencing here in the
Southeastern portion of Tennessee. Normal high's at this time of year are
usually in the mid-70's and lately they've been more like what it's like in
July......upper 80's and low 90's, high humidity, afternoon scattered
thunderboomers, and sporadic rains on whatever portions of the region that
gets it.

I haven't been getting the rains. Just more Red eyed devils, which are now
starting to join themselves to each other in whatever frenzy they have, to
procreate themselves and another 17 year generation. I'll be 68, and
honestly, ain't worried about their next arrival. This one has amused me to
no end though. * (*major update on this comment here, if I'm still living in
this house when I'm 68, I WILL have netting to put around beloved shrubs and
trees when they crawl out of their holes! I can see me almost 70 doing

The machines continue to grind, because their noises are macabre and sound
like some strange machinery. And until last night, they didn't make noises
at night. Just odd, lower versions of this sound they make.

The heat has affected my gardens no end though, and I'm struggling to catch
ya'll up with what's blooming only because I'M struggling to catch up to
what's blooming. I have to tuck these rounds in between the hectic and
insane schedule I'm having right now with my life because I'm not only
working less hours which ordinarily would mean more quality time out in my
gardens to do what I need to do, but my oldest son, who also works at Lowes,
but not at MY Lowes, has had his hours cut and he doesn't have
transportation, doesn't have a driver's license because of drama's I won't
bore you with at the moment, and his hours conflict with mine. For motherly
reason's only I seem to understand, and I don't understand them fully
myself, I have taken this task on.

So despite that I have more time to devote to my gardens and life, I
because I have to deliver son to his job which is 40 miles away. And come
home, and go pick him up when he's done........and go to bed, to get up and
get myself to work on time the next morning. So I tuck these Fairy Holler
moments in where I can, and apparently this fast forward time warp has blown
me away. Because here it is the end of May and I'm really behind in my
attentions to what I love.

Now that I've gotten that outa the way, I'll take you back outside with me,
and if you'll ignore the low flying cicada's and the heat, and bring yer
glass of ice tea with you, we'll check out the other things in this comedy
of a garden........

The drive to work still thrills me, but I am constantly amazed at the
arrivals of specific plants. Nature fills it all in despite our tinkering
with things like using mowers and such. First thing was our tinkering. The
median's around here between the interstate has been seeded in red poppies.
Not Flanders poppies, but larger, more blousy ones with larger red flowers.
Like great gashes of red at merges and exits, I started seeing their
appearances about two weeks ago. You could land a plane on them they're so

Since the city sowings of poppy seeds has taken off, I started looking for
Nature's sowings. Mom's Nature sowings amaze me..... And I was rewarded with
my late spring favorite, the white daisy. I love her. And every chance I
get, I stop at a roadside and lift a clump to bring home to sow her own
seeds at my holler. I haven't the successful sowings yet, because my soils
are too rich. I'd do better if I let them reseed themselves in my driveway,
but the person I share the drive with would have his son mow them down, so I
continue to tuck them in when I get a chance to snatch a few from mowers.
This year they grew so quickly though, I never had a chance to get some
clumps for the holler.

Everywhere I look, great colonies of them are everywhere. Little white heads
in pastures just barely even with the pasture's grassy edges. The farmers
have already mown the land, but at the edges all ragged and shaggy, the
swaths of white daisies huddle together in groups of 30 or more. Some clumps
take advantage of richer soil in one particular spot and bulks up and I'll
see a particular interesting and tempting bunch of them and itch to throw
the new Fiskar's spade in the trunk to use to bring it home. All along the
roadsides I travel every day to work I see my familiar flowers. I dearly
love the composites.

Since the white daisies are here, I've started looking for the distinctive
blues of another beloved flower that also has a composite, daisy like
flower. I had a customer who remarked one day to me that she had more
chicory than she knew what to do with and yanked it out by the wads. I told
her I longed for just one good plant to reseed for me here in my gardens or
holler. I adore it. Blue's are so dear, and as I talked to her, that
afternoon going home I saw the starts of my beloved pieces of sky.

They go so nicely with the white daisies scattered amongst them. But the
chicory is brave. They grow right up to the edges of the roads and asphalt.
And once the machines come and slice them to the pavements, they'll sit
awhile and bulk up and return even hardier and happier than the first
showings. Tough little blue guys, I can almost see them thumbing their
"noses" at the machines when they not only return later, but are almost
muscled in their stems from the whacking. (a good lesson on cutting back
plants for tougher stems to hold flowers)

Their tenaciousness pleases and tempts me. I want my own clump. They resist
my attempts at lifting, though because they have a tap root that really
resents movement like another beloved and lusted for flower.......the
screaming orange butterfly plant.

The sultry spring heat is starting to get to the plants and flowers
everywhere. And the masses of red eyed devils is increasing every day. Now
as I travel the interstate while taxi-ing son to work, I hear the swelling
sounds in great waves riding on the heat of the thousands, millions of
emerging cicada's in the clumps of little woods that dot the concrete and
interstate between the civilization. I hear people tell me they don't have
one, and others tell me they have thousands like me. It depends on how many
trees and land has been cleared. And Rose is starting to gain weight from
munching them all the time......

In between all this, the flowers continue to arrive at work, and despite
that I am tethered to the cash register in the nursery, I still find
opportunities to purchase some perennials and a few annuals. Like the six
packs of Dusty Miller that are now 25c each. (g) Tempting me are the
screaming red and orange and yellow daisy like Gerbera's that are arriving
in plastic Miracle gro pots. I've had two customers tell me theirs have
returned for them from last year and the year before. Here. In Eastern
Tennessee. I
wonder aloud if they have reseeded, and one lady insisted her's might have
but some were apparently from the roots. I resist the urge to purchase a pot
or two. Where would I put them??

My beds are now in steroid bulk. Plants gone insane with growth from the
early intense heat and humidity regardless of the rains sliding past me.
Despite my lack of grass, the heat has inspired the Bermuda to attempt a toe
hold. But it's losing ground with the silver leafed Lamium, the yellow
Archangel that has climbed out of the beds and trickled into the small
"islands" that puddle in front of the beds and their extensions.

As I walked thru the every narrowing sidewalk (with the sounds of Squire in
my memory file saying "geeze hon, your flowers are growing INTO the
sidewalk!!! I'd LOVE to be able to walk thru the sidewalk to the front door,
but yer flowers are hanging OVER the edges (there ARE edges, aren't
there??!??) can't you train them BACK or tie them up or heaven forbid, TRIM
some??? I mean, I love your flowers and all, but they're taking over the
sidewalk!!!!!!!!!") the Yellow Archangel has not only benefited from the
heat and humidity and now some seriously feeding storms with lightening and
charged rains that soak and quench the major thirst they have experienced
until now, but they have exploded.

They resemble swelling masses of silvery patterned arrows, almost like
proofing bread dough they have risen up and covered the feet of everything
that has been able to push past their mass of roots in the places where
they've grown, which apparently is the western end of the front beds.

Soon, thanks to gardengal, Pam, I will have Anne Greenaway and I can start
another totally different swath of textures for other plantings to shove
thru. g

Everywhere there is spent Spurge, foot tall shoots of Bermuda, Lamium, and
now I find another Kuggle Sonne Helenium has leaped out of the bed and made
another daughter for me to move somewhere later on, right next to the
Chinese almond I had thought was fried. Apparently it was faking it's own
death. It was glorious this spring despite the onslaught of heat.

Another surprise was the wallflower. Last year's plants I had tucked next to
the now dissolved Kniphofia's that I horribly lost,{tangent thread
warning!-} I mean, a whole established, beautiful clump of orange and yellow
pokers just disappeared on me. Leaving a hole that I haven't decided how to
fill, and a tough as nails pink flowered geranium that has also defied
divisions next to it. Apparently the geranium loves the southern and western
scorching sun and
despite my efforts to lift it and move it to a dappled shady spot, a root
was left behind and it now languishes over the landscape timber border where
the poker used to be.

But like I said, the wallflower surprised me. It returned, but now where I
had tucked in the little plants last year. I had enjoyed their crisp yellow
flowers and hoped they would return as the perennials they are touted to be.
But alas, they did their thing, but the bees and other fairy pollinator's
provided me with random castings of their own sowings. Four little
plantlets of daughters in oddball places. Some obvious, just below where I
had tucked in their mama's. The others in weird places. In the nursery
bricks where I park my car. Hopefully I can gently lift those out of the
cracks of calcium carbonate stuff and tuck them into a spot where they will
reseed INTO the bed's edges. They'll probably ignore my ministrations and
reseed back into the cracks but a gardener has to be diligent in some

The daylilies look like some wild grasses, and shoving thru them, the
oriental trumpet lilies have not only plowed thru them like butter, but are
now already six to seven feet tall and laughing at me for not staking them
while they were pliable and green. My attempts at gently tucking them
against various assorted rods and devices has proven to be too much because
I snapped one right off the other day So I carefully brought the
sacrifice and bungled attempt at restraining it before the winds and rains
and weather broke it and cut the stem at an angle and put it into a vase. I
hope it ripens and blooms for me inside. I doubt it, but what else could I
do? I love to bring flowers inside so much but know when I cut them that
they don't last as long as when they're on the
plant.......................and no room for a cutting garden yet..

I keep bringing plants home to try and plug into holes, but I now realize I
have to cease. There are plants coming from gardengal and I have a bed for
them down near the woods room that is intent on filling back up with unkempt
Japanese honeysuckle and offerings of bird droppings poison ivy. If I keep
bringing home plants, I won't have a place to put them when they get here.

**And we're in a drought. A bad one for here. Now I am 8 inches below
normal, and I almost lost a Forest Pansy redbud. I did lose the two
Eastern Redbuds I planted in my woods because I haven't had the time to get
down there and water them in my desert woods and they stand down there in
sadness and neglect. I should be ashamed.

The twisted Filbert has survived, and I watered it deep today, as well as a
deep watering to the first surviving Forest Pansy, as well as a deep
watering of the Kousa dogwood, the Yoshino cherry and the replacement Forest
pansy. I see I lost the Viburnum tomentosa and just barely managed to save
the small yellow twig dogwood I tucked behind a woods box that houses the
black irises and assorted plants.

**(since I started this, we FINALLY got some major rains up on my ridge.
INCHES of it.) With those lightening shows that feed the trees and scrub the
dust off of everything. I could hear great sucking sounds from the stressed
trees around me, and little whirlpool sounds as rain filled up the thousands
of perfect holes the red eyed devils left behind in their exodus and

All the sedums in all the pots are covered in yellow stars. And as I flicker
back and forth on the slope between the beds worrying over the drought and
plants, I notice that fallen succulent leaves have taken root at the base of
the retainer blocks I put around the BBQ fountain garden and there are
yellow stars on the ground laughing up at me.

The herb jar that used to house sedums and dianthus now has a Pink Panda
strawberry that sulks and pouts when it dries out, and crammed to bursting
pouches of Feverfew that I'd rather have below in the garden instead of in
the jar (the fairies are soooo funny) and any attempts at lifting them out
of the jar will damage the roots.............sigh.............I will make
attempts to transplanting them on my days off.

Despite the heat, and the hard sun, the Corydalis blackberry seedling is
cranking out little oddball purply flowers, and now the leaves to all the
narcissus are flopping over and starting to dissolve. Once AGAIN I think to
myself that I really need to lift everything and thin out the bulbs (waaaay
overgrown and diminishing flowers which are indications to necessity of
thinning. Some narcissus benefit from tight groups, but apparently I have
some that resent crowds. Plants and their roots are fine, but daughter
bulbs are an entirely different matter.

Against the back of the BBQ pit/fountain, the Easter lily that Pottingshed
(Bev) gave me is back, and there are two Pelican like buds forming. Next to
that, my first Pineapple lily is not only up, but producing little pineapple
flowers and I hope it makes it thru winter. I love it! The Iris Bucharica
that I finally found identity for has slipped back into the soil, and now
the unexpected Caesar's Brother Siberian iris has finished. Where did these
flowers come from? The fairies have been sneaky these past months.

A Caesar's Siberian bulked up down in the woods box and I need to pinch off
the seed heads, and over in the other box, where there is room for Pam's
plants, the one successful clump of blackberry lilies from Mary Emma are
leafing out. Soon if I don't watch closer, they'll make those neat twisted
buds and unfurl and be gone in the days they last. I would love more of
them but it takes time. I don't push plants that choose me anymore. I've
learned patience on some things. Now if only I could apply this learned
ability to starting things from seeds........

Everywhere there are flowers. Up on the deck there is a windowbox full of
pom pom dahlia's I got in six packs for $1.47 at work, and some Dusty
Millers and it's gone bonkers. They're all striped and different from each
other and I have recently discovered that I like their toughness and
capability. The windowbox is actually a railing planter, but it works.

I love the long boxes so well that you remember my attempts of planting
masses of little bulbs into them last fall? Well one worked quite
well....the leaves are dissolving now and I know to leave it alone to rest,
giving granular food later in the fall. But another one has failed
miserably. Packed too tightly, the soil now harbors weeds that have blown
their sneaky little children into the rich soil I put in them, and I have
new candidates to plug into the soil. Gorgeous pom pom zinnia's I happened
across yesterday when I was unloading some flats of other plants. And some
variegated pelargonium, or geraniums. And there is a flat of multicolored
zinnia angustifolia's to tuck into the rich soil and then it'll be set to
crank out flowers all summer. There is something to say about annuals and
decks. g

My container gardens have become more and more ludicrous as time goes by.
With my dwindling tillable land, I have resorted to planting perennials into
containers, eyeing possibilities in everything that can withstand the
freezes of winter. I've almost given up on clay pots, no matter how girthy
and large they are. They satisfy my need for size quite well, but the
flaking and crumbling causes me more problems later on.

And that reminds me that I also have a weakness to purchase broken pots at
work........a chipped edge doesn't daunt me. I brought one such pot home
last year, and using polyester fabric that the previous owner had made rugs
from (I had unraveled these rugs that weren't finished, and decided the
bright pink tubular fabric would be wonderful tying material and balled up
the cord) I tied a very tight corset around the neck of the broken pot. The
pot is bulking up nicely on the hot deck just next to the pot of tomato's
and round Italian zucchini I planted this year. gbseg

The rock garden I made for Micki's sempervivums is doing great with the
blasting heat. I poured pea rock in the soil and mixed it up and then
planted each of the 27 varieties into the cement trough and tucked neat
rocks and such around them, put Gloria's "Peace" rock she brought me as a
gift when her and her sweet hubby came last year to visit me, so my new
container garden is my Peace rock chicken garden. g

I also took little plantlets of portulaca and tucked them in with the semps,
and that broken lipped pot, planted a larger hen and some Grace Ward are
co-habitating with each other. And all the cactus are out now and I can
hear their murmurs of pleasure at the heat and sun, despite they're all
getting sunburns. I'm not replacing lost ones this year. It's just getting
too hard to schlep them inside and out every spring and fall. It seems the
pots get heavier each year..........(I use clay ones and neat clay ones at
that for my cactus gardens).

Back to flower updates...........................(I work those tangient
threads, don't I?)

There are popping primroses in two colors. A yellow one I got years ago from
Mary Emma that is upright and catches your eye, as well as the pink Mexican
primrose that you see around here along the sides of the road. My pink ones
were planted in the space next to the pebbles the water trickles down in the
fountain. On the opposite side, I planted Pewter heuchera that is starting
to drape over the broken bricks of the BBQ pit and the tall floppy flowers
are draping down to the raised soil below and into the water. And four
frogs have claimed the fountain this year, making cleaning and re-doing the
tubes a real pain...........

Veronica survived and is quietly creeping along the soil that Squire tucked
against the edges of the water and holding area, and a clump of sedums are
now sprawling all over the place, a reminder that I should have provided
support for them early on in the season.

Around the front, a partially successful pot of bulbs is gracing me with two
returning blue Brodiaea and one Ida Mae Brodiaea instead of the whole bunch
of them.

Now that we've had some rains, I need to get back outside and cut the
overgrowth of what I realize every year is grass. I have grass, not a lot,
but it's there never the less. Evident when I don't have time to use a lawn
mower. And with the narrow paths between the beds, I've purchased a weed
eater instead to cut it down.

There are huge leafed weeds down in the woods room that mystify me as to
their identities, and removal will either be ripping them out (no small feat
as they apparently have quite a taproot to them) or cutting them with a real

Now as the days have slipped forward from where I started this originally, I
see that there are fat buds on all the towering trumpet lilies. Daylilies
are making stems and breaking buds, and my Coronation gold yarrow has made
flat topped heads of sulphur yellow where the winged wonders land and go
insane with estacy.

A lone red poppy (from the seed's that sweet Helen up in Canada sent me and
I sowed and experienced surges of joy as they emerged and bloomed for me
last summer, but never returned for me this year....)has sprung up on the
opposite side of the chain link fence near the gate. I have to remember to
pull it up when it dries out and sow the seeds for next year's daughters.

Losses due to my distractions at work sadden me.....Japanese painted ferns
tucked in under the black cherry tree have crisped up because of no rains.
My fault.

These days of heat and humidity now seem filled with outside needful things
to be done. I will write another update later on after I come back inside.
Thanks for your patience with me as I've struggled to update it. I hope
everyone's gardens are flourishing well.

madgardener, up on the ridge, back in Fairy Holler where the Red-eyed devils
are still singing and slicing stem ends and laying their multitudous eggs,
overlooking English Mountain in Eastern Tennessee, zone 7, Sunset zone 36

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