Saturday, October 31, 2015

Pumpkins and Treats

Candy day has arrived. A day for treats. I don't participate in the other side of the day but enjoy the children arriving for treats. Maybe one of few days that many are allowed a sweet treat. Today was my first time attempting to carve a pumpkin. Didn't come out perfect but it surprised me that I could do it and it certainly peaked the curiosity of children arriving at my door step. On Friday I watched as our secretary effortlessly carved a pumpkin for one classroom. I thought to myself, I think I can do that.
Lets get started.
Those tools actually do work although it was easier to use the pointed tip of my pair of scissors and a knife to cut the pumpkin.
Beginners designs were my choice since this is the first time. My book came with templates but there are thousands on the internet to download.
From my steps out front warts and all and scratches where squirrels attempted to have a meal.
Cutting the top was easier than I thought.
Pumpkin plants.
Many seeds had germinated inside the pumpkin.

Lot of seeds.
Instructions say to wet the template lay it on and dry to get out all wrinkles, impossible. Then lay plastic wrap on top and start cutting. The plastic help because the wet template tears easily. 
My carvings aren't perfect but it was fun and I'll learn each time I do another one.
One pumpkin had a lot of seeds, nice and full. Plenty for roasting.
And now for some treats. My daughter gave out candy dressed as Foxy Brown. Do you know who that it?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Just Thoughts

Sometimes I spend time looking at my blog and I smile to myself at my tiny green urban space. I'm amazed at what God has given us in nature and what one can do with just a little work and finding pleasure in the beauty of plants and flowers.  I'm also amazed that many people don't get the same joy from plants and flowers that many do. We are such different individual souls. This morning while walking to my car, I walked passed a neighbor's house and outside waiting for trash collection as today is our day for collection, was a beautiful huge arrangement of flowers. None past their bloom or prime. Beautiful lilies and a variety of fresh flowers. My fresh flowers are truly dead when they reach the trash but obviously what brings joy to each person is different as evidenced by the flowers. Did I want to pick out each beautiful lily and place them on my desk  today to admire? Of course, but I didn't. I hope someone passing along did. 

When I started my blog encouraged by my biggest supporter my daughter, I hoped to build a dialogue with other gardeners who shared interest in gardening. It's been a couple of years blogging now and that dialogue hasn't happened. Am I disappointed? In some ways but not totaly. I take joy that what I called therapeutic journaling will be a treasure for my daughter and future family to share memories and read and still catch glimpses of me, my essence, personality, and spirit. My disappointment with blogger is that post must be public. I need to find a way to share my gardening and life with family and friends more privately. I used to journal in a diary, maybe I'll try that again. My daughter feels that it's not the comments but how many people look at the blog. It's a matter of opinion. Yes, I'm ranting. Thanks for listening.

Last night I forced my first paperwhites. It was now or never for them. Purchased with glee when they were first available at the end of September and sitting on my porch was not a good idea. The bulbs were already sprouting tops and not as firm as when purchased but not soft yet. Maybe next week I'll start some others just to see what they look like since they're a variety I've never purchased before. The year seems to have passed quickly with each season arriving sooner than it does when one is younger. Although my goal is to simplify gardening, how does one do this? It seems like I have more to tend but the same amount of space. I enjoy it and find it beautiful. By the end of summer I'm tired and glad to see dead foliage through the window killed by frost. So why was I planting broccoli in October a few days before November? Who does that in zone 7? I have no answer. Maybe I like to see vegetables die. I should get some lettuce by Thanksgiving, I'm hopeful.

Going through my seed box on Saturday was fun. So now it's really time to do some indoor gardening or should I say actually pay attention to the house plants in the house what plants are left that I didn't kill. I try, but plants do what plants want to do sometimes often ending in death not caused by the owner. Although winter is normally not a time recommended to transplant houseplants I think I'll do some transplanting, and grooming. Sunday is the first day of November so  it's time to spray my plants and bring them inside till spring. After this along with preparing the house for Thanksgiving and Christmas maybe I'll start some seeds. Maybe focus on getting the bulbs in the ground first. Have a good night.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Fall Yard Chores

This morning I planned to continue preparing the house for our first holiday. I started last weekend moving furniture, washing wood moldings, and mopping and waxing the floor before I put down a rug in the living room. Cleaning always make the house smell so fresh and clean. Starting now will relieve me of the small tedious house chore that probably everyone having family over for Thanksgiving dinner does. I broke my rule though. I went into the yard first and didn't come in till 7 hours later. You know no house cleaning will be done now as I've had a long, hot soak in a bubble bath and now I'm blogging.  It was a beautiful day to be in the yard and no problems with mosquitoes or other insects.

Planting perennials and pansies, pull annuals, plant the rest of the veggies and putting a frost cover over them, and some raking were on my list. The excitement ended after going to look at the sweet potato bin. The squirrel had been there leaving the end of a sweet potato. Possibly the only one although several large holes are in the soil. What was left, no sweet potatoes only two small wanna be's and the end of a sweet potato. Is that a word? Well a new season is approaching and of course I'll try again. Only this time, I'll put them in the soil when I get them not months later and expect full sized potatoes. I didn't completely turn over the soil but the turning I did only resulted in lots of tulip bulbs. I'll look again tomorrow. 

Not only was there digging in the bin but there was another rampage of the seedlings in my containers. I hope to end that today with some frost cloth and tight tucked in edges. You know squirrels can eat through this but I'll give it a try. I'd like to see their faces when they return for a visit. Can't wait till morning to peak and see. The cloth makes me think of what I could use as a cold frame as I'd love to have some cool season crops till spring and pick off them during the winter. Collard greens would be my choice, something I've never tried. Well let me get started.

Yes the plant died. Maybe the root is alive? I'll plant the pink Japanese anemone and culvurs root today. That's not the name of the plant I think but I have the tag in the yard. The dead topped one was penstemon. Oh well. I'm glad it was on the end of year clearance rack. It was alive when I bought it.
Pansy abuse.
Seeds, seeds, seeds.
What would a squirrel do with a strawberry plant?
Cabbages are surviving. Whether They'll be one head has yet to be seen.

Some people have deer. I guess I'm lucky since squirrels don't eat everything.

Broccoli is growing.
Sweet potato vines and weeds.
Another 3 months and maybe I'd of had 2 sweet potatoes. Sorry for the blurry picture.
A mum from my mom's spring container. I bought it to my house when I changed the plants for summer. It's really doing well. Maybe if I save all the mums I buy in the fall I eventually won't have to buy anymore.
Adding some support for another shelf for more containers.
My homemade PVC support for my frost cloth. I figured if the broccoli gets big like it does in the spring, it'll need room to grow. I need some more PVC for the sides. 
The last of the lettuce in a self watering container. Hopefully it won't keep the soil too wet.
I wonder if the strawberries will make it till spring?
Cabbage. It'll be awful if it grows no larger.
The last six broccoli seedlings planted.
The romaine lettuce already planted is growing. Maybe we'll have some for our salad on Thanksgiving.

Frost blanket or should I say for the critters.

All those sweet potato vines for what?
That's the end of the eaten sweet potato. It might have been a good size.
Elephant ear pulled from ground. It may not make it till next year. It's half the size and looks eaten on the bottom. I've never seen voles in the yard but what could eat it? There was one root. Last year it was huge and covered in roots and had a new bulb attached.

I bought these mums in Georgia in 2014. They're actually done well in the shade. Not as large as ones grown in sun I'm sure.
Fall has arrived to a neighbor's yard.
Tell her it's almost winter.
It's still trying to add leaves. I'll wait till the frost kills it then remove the bulb.

Time for the impatiens to go. They did well this season. Much better than the eaten coleus. I will deal with the snails and slugs in the spring.
Three moon been hosta and 1 other hosta planted. They should love the moisturer in the container.

Seed head of coneflower. I'm going to scatter them on the soil when I finally finish with this bed, adding some fresh soil, compost, and fertilizer.

Bleeding heart still living although it never re blooms after spring. Next year maybe fertilizing it will help.

Concerned that my arborvitae have disease. The one out front is like this too as well as some I've seen in the neighborhood. I read about a virus going around that's attacking them. I'll have to find that article. Would hate to have to replace them.

Lets see if the asters survive the winter. I would love to be able to plant these in the ground. Try digging where there's space. Tree roots, tree roots. The bulbs and any small plant can go in but not anything that needs a deep hole.
I'm going to top off the lirope this fall and see if it performs better.
The rose bush will start again in spring after it's hair cut. I'll save bulb planting for another day.