Monday, July 30, 2012

Garden Surprises

I have no idea who gave me this flower, or when I planted it, but this morning I went out and there it was!
 An incredible bloom.  Wow.  I can't believe I have something that looks this fancy in my garden.
On a different note, I don't really understand the cactus.  I am wondering if it is just growing so fast it can't support itself... because it is certainly lying down on the job. We keep shifting the rock to try and support it, and it just wonks over in the other direction.  So, it is just going to have to stay like that now, I think, and grow up from there.  Hmmmm.
And finally, the desert willow is still sweet and seems to be creating numerous little pink buds. So I am hopeful that we will get quite a show in a few days time.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Rain Barrel Saga: A Sad Story, With a Happy Ending

Tragedy struck the rain barrel during the period of heavy rain that blessed the area a few weeks ago.  The owners of said rain barrel were not very responsible (or really very bright), and so they did not set up Bertha the beautiful barrel in a balanced and safe manner.  Sadly, at the point when the barrel was full to overflowing with water, and the stupid owners were celebrating all that beautifully collected rain, the barrel tipped over.  Oh NOOOOOooooooo!!!!  Oh yes.  And of course not only did they lose all 65 gallons of water, but the barrel fell on, and broke the spigot, and and snapped the bits that held the spigot in place. Argh!
 So.  Here you have what we were left with.  The hole was relatively undamaged, and so we figured it was fixable.  Not sure how to proceed, I looked online and saw some instructions, but nothing very clear, and a call to the Great Outdoors where it was purchased produced sympathy, and a willingness to look at it should I take it in to the store, but nothing specific.  So I gathered up the broken bits and headed to Home Depot.
At Home Depot I held out the broken parts that had secured the spigot and asked various and sundry, experienced looking employees if they had them. I received the same response from them all: "No Ma'am, we don't have any parts that look like that here."  [?????] Seriously? The place is ENORMOUS!  Surely, surely somewhere on those shelves these three little parts would exist.  Disbelief made me wander up and down peering into boxes and drawers, but they seemed to be right.  The parts did not exist.
What I was able to get at Home Depot was a new spigot and a tube of silicone, so I left with two of the necessary elements of the fix-it project.  A few days later, just by chance, I was near a Breed and Company, and as the broken parts were still in the car I went in and held them out pitifully, and without much hope to a sales guy there.  He took one look and said, "Is it for a rain barrel?"  [Hope surged...] Yes, I replied.  Well, by golly, didn't he just walk over to a rack on the next aisle over and pick up a little plastic package containing the exact missing pieces!!!
 Holy Hannah, would you look at that!  I was one happy camper. How is it that Home Depot doesn't have these pieces when they are packaged up so nicely here? The next stage was to actually repair the rain barrel....  hmmmm.
 So with silicone in hand I crawled inside, (with Glenn making helpful cracks about going over the falls...)and secured the inside half, and then crawled back out and attached the outer bits.  As you can see I was very generous with the silicone, because I wanted to be as sure as possible that it wouldn't leak.  (Silicone white when wet, but dries clear)
Two days later I created a fake rain with the garden hose (because God knows, it'll probably never rain again), and as you can see from the final picture.... BERTHA THE RAIN BARREL IS FIXED AND FUNCTIONING!!!! HURRAY!  So now.... in a few years, when it rains again... we'll be able to collect the water.  (And yes, we did balance the barrel better this time)
[Say "Bertha, the better balanced barrel" ten times really fast, and you too will be able to makes yourself a back yard rain water catchment system!]

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Desert Willow is Already Giving

I was very excited to have pointed out to me that the little Desert Willow I planted is already trying to produce a flower... 
It is sooooo tiny, but is definitely there, and crowning the very top of the topmost limb.  Hurray.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Garden Views For Mum

I know that I have a habit of getting very close to flowers and bugs and other tiny things of great interest, but I am going to take a step back for those who want to get the big picture.
 First off, I have to say that I am thrilled with how established the Plumbago is in the front yard under the oak tree.  It is covered in intense blue flowers and is behaving just as I have always wanted it to. 
Secondly, I have finally started the arduous task of clearing the grass from the no man's land between our driveway and the next door neighbour's driveway.  First I planted a Desert Willow, and then a couple of weeks later, after the rains abated, I started to dig more grass out, and I have now also planted a Rock Rose that had seeded itself from the back, and a cactus.  Fingers crossed that they all survive, and that I continue to have the energy to dig, and that at some point it starts to look somewhat attractive.  Of course the good thing about a total wasteland, is that it is hard to make it look worse.
 Into the back yard, and a view to the left from the patio... my favourite view right now.  I am loving, loving, loving the bamboo, and bamboo muhli and rock/cactus area.
 Coming into the backyard from the side of the house gives you this view,
 And standing back under the Cedar Elm gives you this view... perhaps a good spot for a future guest cabin?
 Also this view.
 And finally, in the back right corner the garden looks like this.  All very green and lush right now after the rains.  And now...., just because I can't resist when I have a camera in my hands... you know, my hands just start shaking, and my fingers drift to the settings dial, and before I know it, I have turned it to macro, and then I just give in to the addiction... sorry, I can't help it.
 The Blue Sky plant has more flowers this year than ever before.  Very nice, although I do wish it would grow a little bigger.
 And the Texas Blue Bell is divine as usual.
 And the something-or-other has just taken off, so I am very pleased about that (by the patio)
 and I am still in love with the Russian Sage, although I am debating whether or not I should move it to the front.
 Loving this cactus, which I thought would always stay small, but I am getting the feeling it is going to get huge.
And a Ruellia bloom to end with because it looks soooo cool... don't you think?
So there you have it.  Something for everyone.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


I am proud to say that we all enjoyed Fresh Sliced Peaches yesterday evening!!!
 Look at this bowl!  Granted it is only one feast (yes, that's the whole crop), but it was a feast... everyone got a healthy bowl, and it is only the second year for our little peach tree!  So I am pretty darned thrilled! I hope this means years of peach heaven ahead...  Oh, and they were just as sweet and flavourful and delicious as you could want.  

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Rain Brought A Crop Of Mushrooms...

Hiding down below, in the shade of the Salvia are hundreds of tiny, silvery-grey mushrooms, looking pale and delicate and ghostly in the filtered light.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Of Note in the Garden

Well, BY GUM, would you look at THAT... I do believe that thar is a PEACH!  
 Look at that rosy glow!  Okay, it is a miniature peach, but a peach nonetheless.
 Our interloping sunflower now has several blooms,
 And the Rock Rose looks lovely after its early morning watering.
And I had to throw this one in, because the little baby ears that are coming out on the cactus are sooo sweet looking.
Just a wee sampling of what's going on down south over here.