Monday, March 30, 2009

Caribbean dreams

Scott and I are hoping to go back to the Caribbean in the next couple of months... Five days two years ago just wasn't enough! Here are some of the flora and fauna pictures from our honeymoon in the US Virgin Islands:
I think this picture is so cool. I love the tropical colors juxtaposed with this scaly lizard!
The lizards (iguanas?) were everywhere. They are creepy, but harmless. Here they are on the walkway down to the beach from the main Marriott hotel in St. Thomas:
We took a day trip to St. John. It truly looks like a postcard:

Here is a bird that was about a foot away from us while we were eating lunch. Notice the pretty hibiscus growing wild.

There is a mongoose near the center, to the right in this picture! Like Riki Tiki Tavi! (This was taken at the sugar mill ruins.)

Driving on the wrong side of the road is hard enough without donkeys on the road!
They say Kenny Chesney lives here. I can see why!
Ahhh...... Now, I'm headed to Travelocity!

A different view of the zoo

We've been going to the zoo often lately to see Emerson, the tiger Scott "adopted" for me for Valentine's Day. This time, I decided to pay attention not only to the fauna, but also to the flora.

You can tell that some of the plants have been around for years, if not decades, and many have been allowed to naturalize:
Purple and white wisteria is all over the place. So is trumpet vine:
Yellow irises thrive in the marshy areas:
Scott thought these cypress knees were really weird. I thought it was cool that the zoo didn't try to chop them down.
Bamboo (to the right -- ignore vulture):
The newer plants at the zoo were obviously chosen for toughness. These are all plants that can take heat, humidity and drought. Once established, they will require almost zero care.
Pretty pale pink camellias:
Prickly pear cacti:
Japanese maples and azaleas (in the background):
Peaceful, isn't it?

Friday, March 27, 2009

La vie en rose

The first rose of 2009...
...but not the last! Check out all the buds!This rose came with the house and appears to be pretty old. It smells AMAZING and blooms on and off through spring and summer. I sidedress it with compost or manure every year or so, and prune it in January, and that's all the care it gets. What a payoff!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Katherine's garden has yet to notice her absence

I've mentioned before that my best friend Katherine is away on military leave. I haven't mentioned that she's the lucky owner of a home previously occupied by at least one gardener. Her yard has great no-care perennials and is especially beautiful in spring. I went by today and took these pictures so she (and you!) can see what's happening in late March:
The rose bush has lots of healthy new growth and multiple buds.
Daffodils coming up in the lawn, where there used to be a bed.
A really fancy purple iris.
Her confederate jasmine is doing its thing.
Does anyone know what this shrub is? It has these oblong blue fruits on top...
Azalea and wisteria - what a pretty combination!
These petunias survived the winter.

It's a beautiful yard/garden, isn't it?

Seedy? Nah, just cheap!

Garden Trails sells Botanical Interests and Seeds of Change seeds with free shipping. I ordered a $1.79 package of Black Krim tomato seeds. They spent $0.83 to mail them to me, in a padded mailer made from recycled paper. The whole transaction was so professional, even though they surely only profited pennies. I really like Botanical Interests seeds, and I'll definitely be heading back to Garden Trails when I need (ok, want) some more!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sunday, March 22, 2009

For the birds

Birds are always nesting in weird places at our house, such as inside a folded-up camping/beach chair. We only had one birdhouse, which of course only one family of birds could (and did!) use, so Scott and I decided to build another one. Witness:

We used these plans: We had scrap plywood. We bought non-toxic exterior glue and paint, and the drill bit to make the entry hole. The plans were pretty easy to follow, though Scott had to rig up a right angle clamp:

The house is very sturdy. All of the parts are connected by glue and nails. Scott thumbed through a book at Lowe's about building birdhouses last weekend and it recommended drilling drainage and ventilation holes. I drilled some on both sides:
I hope the birds will love it! Here is a picture of the baby birds we had in the other birdhouse last year:
They were so cute!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Attract bees with overgrown, neglected shrubs!

While I was in the yard taking pictures for the previous post, I walked by an ugly old holly. "What was that noise?," I wondered, "A chainsaw in the distance?"
Nope. The holly is in bloom and it was covered with buzzing bees!

This shrub was slated to go the way of the other holly, but how can I deny it clemency now? After all, I'm always trying to attract bees!

Peer Pressure

Everybody's doing it... Blogging about the signs of spring in their gardens, that is! Here are fifteen in my yard:
White pom-pom mums. These were originally centerpieces at our pre-wedding brunch two years ago. They bloom on and off from early summer through late fall.
Peruvian lily/parrot lily/parrot flower (as identified by Jan and Cherry in a recent post). My offer still stands that if anyone wants some of this, I'd be happy to share!

Mexican petunia.
Bearded Iris.
Shasta daisy.
Purple coneflower.
Black-eyed susans.
Butterfly bush.
Orange asiatic lilies.

Monday, March 16, 2009

My (backyard's) name is mud

I don't have much time to garden, so a little rain/cold/mud/hail (ok, maybe not hail) isn't going to stop me when I have a chance. It has rained for four days straight now. My secrets to staying clean and dry? LL Bean gardening clogs and Atlas gloves. Love 'em both.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - March 2009

Wild violets:
This flower grows prolifically in the yard. I am unsure of its identity, but it resembles a white violet, if such a thing exists. The first strawberry flower!
Spiderwort: The bradford pears are almost done with this year's flowers... evidenced by our driveway:
I grew up calling these "onion flowers." Is it weird that I love the smell?
A few muscari are still in bloom.
Lorapetalum and daffodils (please excuse the foundation work!):
I just bought this Joey at the garden show this weekend. It's supposed to be very heat and drought tolerant. I'm waiting a few more weeks to plant it in the front, in case we have a late freeze.
Carolina jessamine:
Katherine's overwintered gerbera daisy is on the verge of opening its first (red!) bloom.
White crocus and daffodil:
Clover in the yard:
Camellia still going strong!