Sunday, May 30, 2010

Ooooooh A New Daylily!

This was a surprise for me! This morning while walking around the gardens I spied this beautiful Daylily standing tall and proud in the shade garden! Hmmmm, I wonder how it got there? Surely I would remember planting it...well probably not...sometimes my gardening with wild abandon provides me with the most unexpected surprises!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Althea Trees are Blooming!

These photos are from one of my 3 Althea plants. They are known as Althea, Rose of Sharon or Hibiscus syriacus. The other 2 have buds but no blooms so I'll just wait...their colors are stunning! We'll catch them as soon as they bloom!

This is what the same bloom looked like yesterday! I am enthralled with the bloom process of this pretty plant! All three plants will be covered with blooms soon and they will bloom all Summer! The hummingbirds and bees love 'em and I can see why!

My gardening tips for this plant are based purely on 8 years of trial and error...sorry poor Althea. This tree is pruned annually to a height of 5 feet. Plant #2 is pruned back to a height of 3 feet and plant #4 is pruned to a 1 foot height. I usually prune them after all the leaves have fallen in late Fall. They all add on a minimum of 2 feet in branch length during the Spring and the branches are thick with leaves and flowers!I water them a little bit every other day during the heat of summer...not mushy wet but just enough to keep they lightly moist. My Altheas are totally non forgiving and their demise is imminent if left to dry out.

I've attempted to propagate these by air layering, soft wood cuttings, placing branches in water and from harvesting seed pods left by spent blooms and I have had absolutely no success! So ever the optimist...I'll keep trying.

You can go here for more information.

Friday, May 28, 2010


Begonias! YES, another favorite of mine because they're easy to grow, they provide texture and a variety of colors in the garden.

Come along with me as we visit mine...notice the first three photos? These were hanging baskets but with the temps in the mid 90's and no rain for awhile...they were starting to become leggy. Leggy means that the stems elongate and the leaves and blossoms are well scant.

My solution every year is to remove the basket chains and place the baskets among the existing plants under my Mama Crepe Myrtle...there they receive morning sun and shade from 11 am till the next morning....

Now I have one solution for correcting the "legginess"'s not for the faint of heart...and honestly the baskets will not look happy for a few days. In the shade of late afternoon, I water the baskets thoroughly, then I pinch off at least half the length of each stem. Then out comes the trusty "Rooting Hormone"...dip the pinched off end of the stems into the I use a pencil and poke a 3" hole in the empty portions of the basket or another container and then put the pinched stem into that little hole. I carefully pat the soil around the "Cutting" and now comes the easy part. Just check on the soil daily...not dry...but not mushy wet...just a touch of water and soon you notice the cuttings are growing!

This process allows for easy propagation of your favorite begonias and the Mama plant will thicken up and the blooms will just keep on coming!

Here is a website that defines many alternative methods of propagating begonias!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Mushrooms, Toadstools or Fungi?

Well...this morning when I walked into the backyard I gazed upon the lawn and there they were...Mushrooms, Toadstools or botanically known as Fungi! Hmmm...what to do?

Well I grabbed my camera, attempted to get the perfect photo...a never ending quest on my part...and then I decided to research these little beauties!

I usually have these gems pop up during the transition from warm Spring days to Hot Summer days. Not too many...perhaps 6-8 in one spot. Do I worry, grab a fungicide, apply fertilizer? Nope, I pick them up and throw them away...sometimes I just give 'em a swift kick.

I really am not that concerned about their presence as I figure everything has a purpose as far a Mother Nature is concerned. The general purpose of a Toadstool? Well, for me their simple existence is enough.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Congratulations !

Yesterday Mr. B and I went to Miss M's high school for a meeting with one of the Assistant Principals...not to worry Miss M was not in trouble we just wanted some clarification on "a thing". Upon arriving at one of the many parking lots of her school we saw the risers (you know the portable bleachers) and a sea of black gowns and mortarboard hats! We looked at each other...realizing that this was a photo op for the high school and this years seniors.

Okay this parking lot and the entrance door to the school were realistically not available...but there are 3 more parking lots to go to. We drove around to another parking lot...the seniors were exiting the school and this parking lot (being the student body parking lot) was BUSY!

We waited as the seniors made their way to their vehicles...graduation gowns flowing in the wind, hats in hand and the smiles from ear to ear on each and every senior's face....

Mr. B and I looked at each other and smiled...we each were remembering this most special of life markers...that glorious threshold of passing out of one realm of education and their march towards all the other thresholds now available to these seniors!

We parked, walked into the school and immediately saw our Assistant Principal...we saw him before he saw us...he was standing in the hallway, could see the pride on his face...yes he's made this journey many times before but upon getting closer to could see the emotion on his face. We apologized for disturbing this special moment in time...he being the professional that he is assured us that Miss M's moment was equally as important...

Our meeting was brief and went well...but as we left the building...I paid more attention to the atmosphere...the faculty and staff were filled with pride and yes there was that special emotion on their faces defining their professional and personal investment in each and every student.

This year's seniors were beginning their walk towards new vistas and underclass persons were watching not only the seniors but the faculty and staff...the opportunity to view this shared experience was a gift!

Congratulations to the 2010 seniors and THANK YOU to every faculty and staff person who have contributed to their lives!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Here are the soft yellow Daylilies! They grow beautifully in morning sun with some afternoon shade after 4 p.m.!

One of my earliest forays into gardening was definitely trail by fire! I had a lovely huge bed of yellow/orange Daylilies...I decided that I would thin them out. So I brought my shovels, Miss M's trusty red wagon and a brave spirit to tackle this job. I dug and dug...hmmmm now where are the bulbs? I dug some more...nope not here...okay they must be tiny bulbs in the swath of brown roots I dug I filled the red wagon full of water...I sifted through the brown roots...dumping them into the trash as I went...hmmmm I literally scratched my head and wondered where they could be...totally frustrated with my adventure...I threw away all the brown roots, the then damaged flower plants and sat down to muddle my way through this early episode in gardening. As I pondered I decided I would just go to the store the next day and buy some more...

Early the next day, off I went to the store, purchased my replacement Daylilies and came home to plant. As I opened the packages I saw "BROWN ROOTS"! Oh no! I then realized they did not have a bulb but rather a brown root system....I ran for the trash! I would save my Daylily mistake...WHAT THE TRASH TRUCK HAD ALREADY MADE IT'S PICK UP!

My lesson...investigate the plant completely prior to now my laptop is my gardening buddy...I search for all kinds of information; growing tips, zones, propagation, fertilizing and pest control.

So somewhere in a garbage dump...under who knows what...are my Daylilies!

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Crepe Myrtles are Beginning to Bloom!

This is a close up of one of my Crepe Myrtle flowers. I love the swirling yellow anthers! The yet to open flower buds! Oh so beautiful!

You can go here to get more information on the anatomy of the Crepe Myrtle flowers!

We have Red, White, Pink and Lavender Crepe Myrtles! Now I love 'em but I must admit when our pool (oh don't be too impressed it's an above ground pool but we love it all the same) is full of the flowers blown about by storms or winds...well let's just say the first vision of all the flowers swirling on the pool surface is stunning...then comes the clean up...not so stunning!

For now, I watch and the Lavender and Pink Crepe Myrtles are just beginning to bloom. The Red and White Crepe Myrtles will bloom later. Their colorful show of blooms lifts my spirits...we sit under these beauties during the heat of summer and bask in their glory!

I attempted to make some photos of our Mama Lavender Crepe Myrtle...she stands about 35 feet tall now but Mother Nature was not in a very cooperative mood! Her winds are strong today and every photo came out BLURRY! So I wait patiently until Mother Nature agrees to allow the Mama Crepe Myrtle to be photographed!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Mexican Petunia

This morning I wandered through the gardens and found the first Purple Mexican Petunia! Now my photos don't do the color justice because this flower is a deep purple color.

They are true perennials, lovin' the full sun but will do equally as well in part shade. They can grow to be 24 inches tall if not pruned. If you prune them back periodically they will thicken up and provide you with beautiful blooms until the first frost! Here is a website with more information that may help you.

I've also made cuttings, with my tried and true rooting hormone and placed the cuttings in pots to grow. They've done beautifully and I can move the pots through out the gardens or gift them to family or friends.

These plants can overtake a garden quickly but I have found them easily controlled by careful garden management. I just dig them up, divide the root system, put half of the original plants in the same spot and plant the other half where I want them.

Now here's a funny aspect of this plant...the spent flowers develop seed pods...when you water the plants... they spit the you may find these little jewels popping up in the strangest places but they are easily dug up and transplant beautifully!

I also have pink Mexican Petunias growing in various parts of the gardens...we'll see them later this Spring or early Summer!

Hope you like them!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Baby Crepe Myrtle!

I'm proud to introduce our newest baby Crepe Myrtle! Yes, this was a cutting last Fall! Now before you get too excited I must explain that my success to failure ratio in Crepe Myrtle propagation is VERY LOW! For every 6 cuttings I survives. But that's one more than I had the year before so I'm pleased.

How did I do it? In the early Fall, I make both soft wood cuttings and green wood cuttings, I peel back the soft wood bark about 4 inches, remove any flowers, dip the stem in water, then into the tried and true rooting hormone and next into a really good location...either directly into the soil or a large pot. I make the hole in the soil with an old salvaged CB radio antenna. The hole is approximately 1/2 inch wide and 12 inches deep, then I put the cutting in and wait.

Sometimes I know rather quickly that a cutting is not going to make but sometimes I'm surprised. Todays first photo was a complete was rooted last Fall in a corner part of the yard that receives morning sun and then dappled sunlight throughout the day to shade in the late afternoon.

Now this is a photo of one of my propagated Crepe's about 6 years old now...stands almost 20 feet tall and has survived two of Mr. B's mowings...well survived from the soil down but he did manage to scalp it...wonder of thrived.

So it can be goal is to have a few crepe myrtles within the fence lines of Red and Yellow Honeysuckle, Carolina Creeper and Red Trumpet Vine. We'll see how long it takes...

Hope you enjoyed this little baby Crepe Myrtle's story.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Music for my Soul!

Ahhhh, I am an early morning person, always have been and always will be. My first memories from my childhood are waking early, before daylight, trying with all my might to stay in bed as I listened to the total stillness of our family home. Then I would climb out of my bed, ever so quietly and play with my dolls on the floor of my room. When what I was sure was several hours had passed, I would tip-toe down the hall to my parents room, peek in through the small opening of their door...hmmm still sleeping. Then to my brother's room...hmmm they're still asleep also. Okay, perhaps it's earlier than I thought. Back to play. As with most children, sound was relevant to "my" world...I had no concept that my parents could hear me because I just knew I was being very quiet. Actually, they naturally were aware of everything I was doing and everyday I was asked if I could try to sleep a little longer. "Sure." But we all knew that was not to be.

Today, I still rise "EARLY" but now I go to my back porch to experience my portion of the world as it awakens.

The sun's first rays send a glow of light over the eastern horizon to be followed by beams of light reaching out through the tree tops and then bouncing off the morning clouds.

As the light increases, all the colors begin their transition from shades of grey to soft pastels and then intensify to their full spectrum of color.

I hear roosters crowing, the awakening songs of the many birds in our backyard. Then the squirrels scampering up and down the tree limbs as Mother Natures' orchestral crescendo begins. The birds swoop from tree to tree then ever so tentatively they light on the grass to pluck what they need to sustain themselves that day. Soon the bees begin to buzz, going from flower to flower on their daily quest for the oh so necessary nectar to sustain the full colony. The butterflies begin their graceful flight to every item of color in their search for sustenance.

Everyday Mother Nature opens her door for me to experience this early morning repertoire and I am grateful!

Friday, May 14, 2010

My Thumbprint

My dear friend Rose at Delightful Clutter recently asked the meaning behind my blog name of Peridots are you ready? Here goes...

I love nature, my favorite color is green, my birthstone is peridot, I am a former "Flower Child", I have an affinity for Native American cultures and therein the primary reason for the name and the punctuation...or lack of...

You'll notice that there is no apostrophe in "Peridots Garden". As in Native American culture the "People" believed that they did not "own" the land or any part of it's gifts...they used what they needed to sustain their lives, cared for the land for future generations and knew the fragility of Mother Earth.

I am but a grateful custodian of Mother Earth's gifts, be it the stones I use in jewelry, the metal I carefully wrap into protective coils of support for said stones, the leather her animals provide for me, the colors I select from the Nature's palette or the plants that I care for...which are my inspiration.

I am drawn to discarded or forgotten relics with an unknown's my harvest, to use what I need, to waste nothing, to cherish everyday things and covet my thumbprint will be a positive impression upon Mother Earth's horizon.

I am the transient entity...Mother Nature's gifts are forever...IF...we respect and take care of these precious gifts... Therefore my name selection and my belief.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I love Hydrangeas! They are very easily grown in the proper environment and when their gardener pays attention to their messages they will reward everyone with their incredible beauty for many years!

The colors are subtle, the blooms prolific and they can become parents to new babies if done properly with Mother Nature's full cooperation!

Now this is a happy Hydrangea! It's nestled beneath a Crepe Myrtle tree that allows early morning sunshine and all day protection from the harsh rays of the afternoon sun that will burn the tender leaves of the Hydrangea.

This is a back view of the same Hydrangea. Notice the blooms starting to pop out everywhere?

This is a view of the eastern side of the appears to be very content to soak up the early morning sunshine.

This is a view of the western side of the same's leaves remain in full shade during the hottest part of the day throughout the year, thanks to our Crepe Myrtle and our western tree rimmed shade garden.

These are 3 baby Hydrangea plants that I started two years ago...they appear to be happy...there was 1 bloom last we'll watch and see what develops!

My secrets to a happy pink hydrangea?

1. Good soil that drains well.
2. Planted in a location with early morning sun and protection from the sun after 10 a.m.
3. I water mine the soil never on the leaves. Now if there is rain...ahhh you will have an exceptionallly happy Hydrangea.
4. When the leaves appear to wither up ... your Hydrangea is telling you that it's time to WATER and not to forget again! It will plump up again but please don't allow this to happen too severely stresses your lovely plant.
5. You want babies? Okay, I done this more times that I care to remember...the wrong way...

The correct way to make Hydrangea cuttings!

Cut stems from underneath the plant...dip in rooting hormone...find the perfect location...or use a pot of good soil and stick them in. Now other than watering and protecting them from the harsh sun you can forget about know a watched pot never boils...OK a watched Hydrangea is simply to shy to grow!

Now my common mistakes in making cuttings...I've cut the stems from the top and too late in the growing season. Next years flowers will come from the new growth this year! Key to success is not to over cut the'll have a pretty plant but NO FLOWERS the next year.

Hope this helps, we'll keep an eye on them...and see what happens. hydrangeas? I've never attempted to change the color but it is effectively done with a soil that is either naturally acidic or the gardener can amend the soil with additives from the garden store to achieve the acid level required for blue hydrangeas!

Also...hydrangea flowers can be dried and used in your home! There are various favorite is to allow air drying...but to be honest I just can't bear to cut flowers and bring them mine stay on the stem!

Have fun!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to every Mom out there in the Land of Blog and beyond!

Traveling down memory lane is unlike any trip you will make…it’s done from a point in time…backwards…to those places in your heart, mind and soul that safeguard your collection of life experiences like an art gallery, to be revisited upon your wish with the added ambiance of full color, fragrance and emotion felt at that exact moment in time. So bear with me as I travel down my memory lane...

My life has been a rich life…three children…each a path with its own unique beginning, twists and turns all joining at a specific point via a life marker where one became one more, not as a burden but as the joining of a grape vine…tendrils shooting off the main vine…curling upward or downward going nowhere and everywhere…supporting the lush leaves and clusters of fruit…each representing a life moment fulfilled.

I remember receiving the news with each pregnancy in total awe of this new life growing inside of me…knowing my every action would affect this new person whose life I was responsible for…and my first emotions were garnered in protecting my child.

That first kick…well actually a fluttering…I would lie down…remain perfectly still…place my hand on my abdomen and wait…not to be felt by my hand but deeper as if knocking on the door to my soul which I gratefully opened wide for each of them to enter.

Watching my body change…it was no longer mine…it was an unexplored territory being shared by another person…unseen but oh so loved!

Upon the moment of birth…that first cry…each child’s cry was immediately imprinted upon my brain…linked to my heart…and I could hear my child’s cry above all others.

With each child, when placed in my arms, I bent towards their little face and smelled their baby fragrance…unlike any scent known to man…each child’s unique…another imprint upon my soul.

Tending to each child with all the love in my heart…defining self denial…I was no longer the primary in my life journey…each child was the focal point in my life.

The first time my infant smiled at me with eye contact, the first laugh, the first tears, the first hug returned to me…all gifts beyond measure…never to be lost or given away…these are mine.

The first steps towards independence…turning over, scooting, crawling, tentative steps, tumbles, stumbles, scrapes and bumps…each time to be scooped up in my arms, kissed and reassured that I’m here…I’ll always be here for each of you.

The first of many firsts, school, church, friends, activities, attitude, sweethearts, broken hearts, their dreams and life goals…all the while I watch and wonder…Did I teach them what to do just in case…? Then if need be, they come to me...I listen…they share…I am filled with wonder at their courage, resilience and wisdom…but I am there just in case.

This journey of motherhood is not an easy one…it is not meant for the weak hearted…it is a venture only for the selfless…but it is so worth it.

Then one day your child brings their baby to your arms…you look at your baby now all grown up and meet their baby. You are familiar with the path they will travel...oh so well…and your heart smiles as you watch them begin the journey…and you begin building another Memory Lane with this new life.

May your path be filled with all the richness life has to offer…may the sun be at your back…the gentle breeze on your face…may the river of life flow nearby and God’s gardens be available to sustain you when needed. Most of all…may you know love…may your heart, mind and soul be filled with these and more memories to sustain you through all the days you walk on this earth.

Happy Mother’s Day and blessings to you and yours!

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Each year while browsing garden centers and thrift stores, I keep an eye out for unique birdhouses...these are a few photos of some of them.

You'll notice there is not one nest in any of them...but the trees are full of nests...we are blessed with hummingbirds, cardinals, dove, blue jays, mockingbirds, sparrows and wild yellow finches! This is our second year for a returning pair of small owls, they come out just at dusk, go to the water sources and perch in various places in the gardens! Our lone bat comes out at dark and swoops throughout the gardens all night long!

Recently I noticed that the bird feeders and water sources were not as busy as usual...I watched....I waited...and then I saw what was happening...we have two red tailed hawks! So until the other members of our informal bird sanctuary feel safe they stay in the trees and only come out I'll keep an eye out for them....perhaps moving the feeding sources and water sources closer to their natural tree habitats...I mean we must think SAFETY FIRST! Don't you agree?