Sunday, October 28, 2007

Back from the beach

We are home from our annual trip to the coast. This year we stayed at Blue Mountain Beach, close to the Destin area in Florida. Eight days of rest and relaxation! The weather, unfortunately, wasn't all that cooperative. The first half of the week was filled with clouds and some rain but the latter half was sunny and nice. To top it off, there was a beautiful full moon. Returned to find that we got over 4 inches of rain at home. That was nice!

Sunset from the balcony on the day we arrived.

Unfortunately on day 2, the clouds started rolling in - that means shopping! There is a huge outlet mall close by as well as some great gardening shops and nurseries.

The dreariness didn't keep some people off the beach!

We did enjoy seeing a storm approaching from across the ocean.

There was a bad Red Tide the week prior to our visit. As a result, dead fish littered the beach. We were glad that our balcony was spacious enough to sunbathe on because the smell on the beach was not pleasant. The beach patrol men did come through and pick them up a few days later.

One of our favorite places to go is Shady Oaks, in Panama City, a neat place to find cheap concrete statuary.

The trip in not complete without a visit to Eden Gardens State Park. This is a hidden gem that most visitors overlook because they are wrapped up in shopping, eating and staying on the beach. The former estate was once owned by a timber magnate. The house is now a museum filled with antiques. But the gardens are what we go for. Nature trails, a rose garden and thousands of camellias are the main attraction.

Spanish moss -

Ferns growing on a massive live oak -

Rock Hard Jewelry resides in a building modeled on Monet's Giverny. A garden with elaborate statuary and fountains are in the back. In fact, I'm not sure if it should even be called a garden. It is mainly a collection of objects. But it works for me!

The bridge -

The front of the building - I would love to see these roses in bloom!

Michael on the beach talking to his aunt -

Of course I'm fascinated by plants that I can't grow. One morning I took a walk up the street and took photos of the driveway landscaping.

This house was next door to us and was for sale. Asking price - 6.2 million!!

One of my favorite nurseries in the area is Eastern Lake Nursery. It is a tad pricey but the place is filled with unique pots, birdhouses and plants. As you can see, they have quite a terra cotta collection.

I noticed beautyberry (callicarpa) growing everywhere. Apparently it does well in Florida. I grow this in my own garden.

Just down the road from us is the famous little village of Seaside. It is too congested for our taste but it is fun to walk around it. The houses here are adorable and all are labeled with cutesy names.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Grass again

I am thrilled with the progress of the grass! I have been watering faithfully and a great rainfall last night really helped. Hard to believe that it looked like this two weeks ago!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

October blooms

Camellia sasanqua 'Cleopatra'

Angel's Trumpet

Hybrid Musk Rose "Buff Beauty"

Fuschia 'Gartenmeister Bonstedt'

Shrub Rose 'Sally Holmes'


Salvia "Black & Blue"

Mexican Petunia (Ruellia)

Pineapple Sage

Sedum 'Angelina'

Clematis 'Elsa Spath'

Miscanthus 'Cabaret'


Variegated Shell Ginger

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Great gardening weather

Yesterday was Fall Break at the university where I work and I had a day off. It was a gorgeous day - sunny with a cool breeze and the temperature just barely reached 70. I got my roses planted and I reworked the flower bed at the UU church. Back in the spring, I planted sweet potato vine, angelonia, zinna and verbena and you can see by the photo who won that contest. The potato vine took over and smothered everything in its path except for the summer snapdragon which you can see gasping for air. Well, live and learn. I'll know better next year. Actually, the potato vine got a lot of comments. I pulled everything out and put pansies down for the winter.

I was amazed at the size of the tubers! The largest one is the size of a basketball and the creepy one on the left looks like an alien baby. Is this normal??? I'm wondering if I can keep these to replant next year?

Grass update

I'm thrilled to report that the grass seed has sprouted!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

New roses

I'm like a kid at Christmas time when I get an order from a mail-order nursery! Yesterday my order arrived from Chamblee's Rose Nursery. This is one of my favorite sources for own-root roses and their prices are the best. And best of all, I don't think they have ever made an error on my orders. I now have limited space for roses and my sunny areas are rapidly dimishing so I should be kicked for ordering more. In my defense, I have spots already selected for these and I did limit myself to 4 - that is saying a lot!

Here is what I ordered:

Graham Thomas & Heritage - Two David Austin English roses that are supposed to perform well in my climate. I have had limited success with these roses but they are so beautiful I can't resist trying new ones. People tell me that Heritage is the best performing English rose for the South.
Paul Neyron - A couple who have an extensive rose garden in a neighboring town swears by this one. They grow a lot of hybrid teas but this is one of the few old roses that they rave about.
Zephrine Drouhin - I had this rose for years on my pergola before it finally got choked out by Rambling Rector. I've always heard that this is a rose that should be planted close to your house because the fragrance is so divine. So I am replacing Climbing Old Blush (it just doesn't bloom enough and the flowers are not that spectacular) with ZD - it will be on an archway right next to the patio!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Lawn redo - finishing up

Another unseasonably hot weekend here (I've given up on us having Fall, I just don't think it is in the cards)! I finished redoing the front lawn and am in the process of watering, watering, watering and keeping my fingers crossed.

Saturday morning I went to the Home Depot to buy grass seed and was overwhelmed with the choices. I knew I wanted fescue but good grief, they had red fescue, creeping fescue, tall fescue, as well as blends for shade, semi-shade, you name it. I was fairly certain I wanted tall fescue but seeing the red fescue threw me for a loop since I was not familiar with it. I trotted over to the book section and looked it up in a book on lawns and when I read that it preferred cool summers in higher altitudes I knew it wasn't what I wanted. Why are they even selling that here anyway???

The sunny/shade option presented another dilemma. The area I'm doing is mostly shady but one section of gets more sun than the other. I ended up selecting a bag of each and mixing them.

Back at home, I tilled in more compost, spread pelleted limestone by hand, then used my drop spreader to distribute the fertilizer and seed. I topped it off with a thin layer of pine straw and started watering. According to directions on the Scott's bag, I'm supposed to apply their Turf Builder product in about four weeks. That is, assuming that I have grass by then.