Friday, March 7, 2008

Pictures from 'Down Under'

I thought I would share some pictures of spring from 'down under'. Down under of course, being Florida (for the azaleas), and Georgia (for the forsythia and verbena). Thanks Lola and Skeeter for sending in the pictures! We up here in Tennessee can use them since we are getting a blast of wintry air and will be under a storm warning tonight, beginning at 6 pm.

This is also a good opportunity for me to briefly talk about these plants. I absolutely love azaleas. When I lived in Fayetteville, North Carolina, one of my favorite things to do each spring was to visit the Azalea Festival in Wilmington, North Carolina each year. One year my youngest sister came to visit me and we all traveled to Wilmington with the two year old twin daughters. It was a beautiful trip. Just picture millions (seemed like) of azaleas blooming in colors of pink, peach, mauve, lavender, red, and whites! Now, add to it the beauty of pink, red, and white dogwoods and you have a good idea of what Wilmington looks like in the spring.

I sure wish our area could look like Wilmington. Azaleas and (in my opinion) dogwoods do not do well here in middle Tennessee. It really makes sense when you look at the difference in soils in Wilmington compared to here. Wilmington soils are sandy. Very sandy. Here we have clay soils. Sandy soils drain much more easily than clay soils. Azaleas need excellent drainage for their fibrous roots, they will not tolerate standing
water. If you plant azaleas here, make sure they have good drainage. I had about two dozen, then lost several to the freeze and ensuing drought last year. It was a combination of both of Mother Nature's acts that took them out. I have since replaced them with oak leaf hydrangeas, much more adaptable to our conditions. I planted alot of azaleas because I wanted to simulate living in North Carolina, partly because I loved the state, and partly because Mr. Fix-it hails from North Carolina. I pointed out the fact I was trying to bring a piece of home here to Tennessee just for him, and he looked at me cross eyed. "What?! Azaleas?! What are they?!" Needless to say, my attempts at gardening North Carolina style were lost on him. That is ok. I sure wish my azaleas would grow as large as Lola's in Florida.

The purple flower above is verbena. I bet it is the cultivar 'Homestead', and it is growing in Skeeter's yard. She was uncovering some of the perennials and discovered the bloom. I love purple and this color purple goes with both the yellow of forsythia and the pink of the azaleas. Lovely! The verbena is also fragrant.

Forsythias are lovely. They along with the daffodils seem to really say spring is here, though many other plants have bloomed before these two. That is ok, forsythias just can't be ignored and are welcomed sights!

When I visited Sandy Britt of the Pet People blog she had several forsythias growing in her yard. And while some pet people may not know it, I can personally vouch for Sandy as a gardener. She told me how she takes cuttings of forsythias and sticks them in the ground-and they grow! They grow fast too. Hers are beautiful along the back of her property. Sandy also has several speciman plants, including one of my favorite evergreen shrubs for the shade, aucuba.

Soon our azaleas (I hope they do) will be blooming beautifully, and we know the forsythias will bloom faithfully here in middle Tennessee.

in the garden....


  1. dawn with peachesMarch 7, 2008 at 7:52 AM

    What nice pictures! Spring has sprung in lower America. I saw some buds on our trees yesterday and parents, at the school, were talking about residents in Mass. having green grass in their yards. Thanks for the taste of things to come!

  2. Nice pictures Lola and Skeeter! Azaleas would be nice here but you're right Tina they do seem to be a challenge. I think you're right on the verbena also. It does look like a 'Homestead Purple'. We put one in last year. They propagate very easily in water. An easy one to try if you haven't done it before. I made our one into two last season. Hopefully I'll make that 2 into 20 or so! It's a good plant to have around. The forsythia looks great. Ours just got started in the fall but next year they should have some blooms.

  3. Tina,

    Good morning, it's really gray out there so the azaleas are a nice lift.

    I tried coral bell Azaleas, they were beautiful for a few years and then died. I am not going to plant them again, but I miss the sweet flowers....those lovely shades of pink.

    One year the verbena bloomed at Christmas time...quite hardy here and they are happy in our cedar glade-ish conditions.

    Are you heading to Nashville today? Be safe out there.


  4. Nice pics girls. It will be another moth before my Forsythia blooms. Tina when you and Mr Fix It tore my old deck off and built me a new one a Forsythia was in the way and you spilt it up and planted it in several places and they have done ok but have not grown much. But my one in back is 10 to 12 feet tall and also that big around. I don't think I have ever seen a single Forsythia that big and it sure is magnificence when in bloom. Nana had planted that one. Baba bought it for her as an anniversay gift one year when they lived here.

    Another storm for Maine tonight and tomorrow. Dawn with Peaches will no doubt get snow, freezing rain and sleet but here on the coast we no doubt will get mostly world record 122 foot snowman or woman in my area.

  5. hey all, snowing like crazy here. amazing.

    dawn with peaches, yes, i think even in maine spring is here! do you know we have to set our clock ahead this weekend!!! already!

    dave, you'll have no problem making your verbena and forsythia more than 20 in no time. before you know you will be over your head in flowers!

    gail, i love azaleas too. such a shame they don't do so well. verbenas a really cool season flowers aren't they?

    not going to nashville today, north instead. though with the weather getting bad i may have to change my plans. darn!

    mom, i had not heard of olympia. if you can find a picture send me that! a snowman just shorter than the statute of liberty! wow!

    i am always proud about the leaders that come out of maine. olympia snow and george mitchell being just two. how about cohen? the secdef for a while during one of the wars. also, let us not forget the only state ross perot took in the 92 election (i think) was maine! i always think that funny as folks from maine tend to do their own thing and are not afraid of being different.

  6. Hi Tina --nice lift with those spring flowers. It is snowing like crazy out here --I ran some errands earlier so I wouldn't have to be out in it. I hope it doesn't get too wild out there --my girl model is way out at school:( The boys can walk so I'm not so worried. It does look pretty but I hope the roads stay clear. Hi Jean, Nina, Dawn with peaches, Lola and Skeeter -it's finally Friday --whew --love the weekend with the kiddos home:)

  7. dawn with peachesMarch 7, 2008 at 10:13 AM

    oh, your right, she is 122' and 1'' tall, both jack of all trades and myself were thinking 114 but that must of been Angus. Just looked at her in our paper. Well, we are sick, what do we know. Ha!

  8. dawn with peachesMarch 7, 2008 at 10:54 AM

    Tina, if you want I will send you an actual pic of Olympia with the kids and one of Angus from Nicks postcard or just Angus?

  9. Tina you are right....I forgot about William Cohen. I knew there was another famous senator from Maine and I racked my brain trying to think who it was. Cohen it was!!! All four were famous senators but probably Margaret Chase Smith was the most famous but she died before the day of cable news stations and had retired before most will even remember. I remember her being a senator as an adult but also as a moons ago.
    There are many things named after her in D.C and in Maine. She was from Skowhegan (and I know that is not spelled right) and had a summer place in Cundy's Harbor and lived there mostly year round after retiring and she died there.
    George Mitchell after retiring has sure made a name for himself around the world. He has always been involved with working on peace deals in Ireland and the mid east and most recently he was in charge of the steroid mess in baseball. He is a big baseball fan
    and it has been rumored every time they get a new commissioner of baseball his name is always thrown around but he does not wanna do that, just wants to be a fan he says but then he did the steroid thingy.

    Dawn send the pics to Tina that you have and I will email all the stats from the paper. It might make a good post with the snow they are getting today. Paper said Angus was 112 feet.

    Tina, the pic in the paper looks funny cause it towers over the homes. I have never seen a snowperson that large.

  10. Tina, what a surprise to see the pictures I snapped yesterday! I did not think they were Post quality but was just sending them to you so as to let you know how Spring is progressing in GA. I think it is neat for so many of us (Lola, Dawn with Peaches and Jean, etc) to live elsewhere so as to see the different zones!

    Good thing I snapped the picture of the forsythia yesterday. With one more inch of rain this morning, the area is standing in water so no way I could get to it to take a picture today! Well, I could put on some flippers, mask and snorkel and splash my way out there... Wish I could snap a picture of the Veggie garden area for you today, then you could see how much water we have in the yard. Puddles everywhere!

    Wish we could raise the back yard but no way as the house was built about level with it. Duh, on the builders part for that one! The only option we have would be to dig a creek and go with a water theme complete with bridges and such. But then when we have the drought conditions, the creek bed would be dry and look silly... Such a dilemma for a back yard! I really wish you could see it in person so you could give me some advice on what to do. It has come a long way since we moved in here and I have done a lot to make things better around the patio and shed areas but I am at a dead end with some other areas that really need some help!

    On a happy note, the lake has risen one and half foot! But still has a long way to go before we can launch but a start…

    I looked in my files to see if I still had the tag for the Verbena to see if you and Dave are correct on the exact one. Could not find that tag so I am assuming you two are correct. For me, it will remain a purple Verbena! ha,... Anyway, I found the tag to the large green bush in the garden that you thought might be a Sweet Olive tree. Remember, the one that blooms little white fragrant blooms in fall and winter? Anyway, it is an Eriobotrya Japonica (Japanese Loquat)... Now we know, the question is, will I remember that? LOL

  11. dawn with peachesMarch 7, 2008 at 2:19 PM

    I have to get on first, take the kids and get a good one, close up.

  12. Lola, I forgot to say how pretty your Azaleas are in the pictures! How far south are you located in Florida? Our Azaleas are not blooming here in GA as of yet but should be soon.

  13. Well folks all the talk we have had on people (scum bags, I call em) stealing copper....About 300 people in my little town were without phones for 3 days this week due to someone cutting unerwater cables. They say it was done for either vandalism or the copper wire. The wire is the most likely reason. We live a ways from a town, hospital, ect and have a volunteer fire department and ambulance service and one needs a phone to call the dispatcher so it could have been a BIG problem where someone could have lost their house or died. Our rotten phone company (Verizon) and rotten power company (CMP) is susposed to let the town office know when there will be or is an outage of more than just a very short one so the rescue and fire people can go in person to check on people. None of the 300 people with the outage were involved on any town affairs which happened last Friday so did not check on anyone till Monday when the town office opened and got all kinds of calls about it. Terrible. It took the till late Tuesday to get it working again as the cables were buired under the ocean floor and could only be worked on at low tide. It also affects the way town business gets done as the town administrator and others are working on the problem instead of what they should be doing. I know this as my youngest daughter is the assisant administrator. It cost over $15,000.00 to repair. In other words up goes our phone bill. What a domino effect, all because of a couple of scum bags.

  14. dawn with peachesMarch 7, 2008 at 4:56 PM

    Mom, mail Tina stats, I just mailed her stuff on the snowpeople.

  15. Dawn I did it a few hours ago.

  16. anonymous, it is crazy outside today. lots of cars slipping and sliding. it reminds when in 1984-85, clarksville had a big snowstorm. i got stuck on the hill in front of grandpas-nice people were getting out of their cars to push mine! it is the same tonight. lots of cars stuck on hills. stay in and stay safe. it is what we plan to do! i'm with the chimney guy, why climb up to the top of your tall house if he doesn't have to?

    dawn with peaches, i will check my email in a minute or two. i am sure they came through fine. mom sent me the stats-it sounds SO COOL! such a big snow woman-olympia should be honored! i like the news release too mom.

    mom, i will post about the snowwoman sometime. not tomorrow though, as tomorrow is about southern traditions another southerner wants to share with northerners, and it is a post to prepare for Easter! can't wait to see the pics of such a HUGE SNOW WOMAN. how could they even build it? you guys sure have alot of snow this year though.

    skeeter, all pictures people want to share are post quality. the good thing about this blog is i choose and edit it all myself which ones go on. all of you contributors have done a great job of sharing. i think blogs are for that and not just about my garden. it is a newspaper website-afterall, that means community to me, so you keep sharing in this community. the editor's only request when i started-and i have TRULY honored his request, was "no flame-throwers". to me that meant no negative stuff. all positive on here. that makes it easy for me as blogs should not be gripe forums as that usually doesn't accomplish anything. go to the proper authorities with complaints. though, sometimes that doesn't go far either. food to ponder.

    i got the pics of your backyard. i am not on my usual computer so i have not downloaded them or really looked closely, but i am going to and ponder how you might work with the tremendous water issues you have. water can be a problem and very challenging. i will get back to you soonest!

  17. dawn with peachesMarch 7, 2008 at 8:35 PM

    Oh, I forgot to mention about the time change, yep I knew that. When you mentioned Easter I was going to say its on the 23 of March this year? Is that right? Seems awful early but I'll take it just the same. Hunt inside this year......

  18. Hi Tina --well we are all home except the daddy is at work. I thought I would have more time on here but 4 small people have been a little --active, lol. So, I have been in charge:) See, I knew this mom thing had some perks:) Anyhow, we can't even see our road --completely covered in snow. I can't wait until the morning when I can get the kids out to play in the snow. I hope it is a wet snow in the morning so we can build and make stuff:) Everyone is up late tonight --watching movies and enjoying the warmth of the fireplace. Stay safe --and try not to get out if you can help it. Who would've thought my planting onions and cute lil tulips popping up would see SNOW???? Not I:0)

  19. I love the color on the verbena & the forsythia looks like the one I had in N.C. I had it planted on downward ground between main road & driveway. It was huge. I had to keep trimming to be able to walk around it. I took trimmings & rooted & planted other places. I sure wish I could get a start of that kind here. They are different here. Maybe the one I ordered last yr. will be what I want.

    Sorry you guys are having so much bad weather, snow & all. We had it today. Tornado warnings most of the day/rain. Some places did get damage but thank God no lives lost that I know about.
    I am about an hrs. drive from Jacksonville. If you know where that is then just go south on 301.

    I sure would like to see the pics of the tall snow people. How do they build them that tall?

    Dave, have you thought about putting sand in the dirt when you plant azaleas? Maybe that would help. There is a lot of sand in the soil here. I never knew they got that big till I moved here.

    Jean, they ought to take those scum bags & hang them higher than a kite. So insensitive to the needs of others that depend on the phone for their well being. Or maybe they thing everyone has cell phones like they do to get their thievery done.

    May all stay safe, stay warm & have a warm comfortable night & a glorious day tomorrow.

  20. Lola most people now days do have at least 1 cel phone in a family. however, we live on a peninsula that is about 10 miles long but anywhere from 1/8 to 3 miles wide and there are a lotta dead spots for cel phones in our town. We do have a tower that is on the highest point of land but it is not very high. As it happens there was one chimney fire during the outage where the land phones were out. The people's house is in one of those dead spots for cel phones. They were able to walk across the street and use their cell phone and every thing turned out ok.

  21. I know about the dead spots, Jean. My granddaughter has trouble with us hearing her. Maybe since she's moved we won't have that trouble. She has the 2 babies & you know how that goes. Worry, worry. Before she had to walk out to main rd about 1/4 mile sometimes, that is why her little dog got killed.
    I'm glad all turned out well for the people. They could have lost their home.

    Has anyone heard of planting the Three Sisters method? It sounds as though it may work pretty good. I'm gonna try it & see especially since I have a very limited space.

    If you click on first pic you will see the little pet? that was amongst some others. I didn't know they fed at the base of the flower. I watched & all did the same thing. Why?

  22. Lola I have never hear of the Three Sisters Method. Please do tell us.

  23. Make a mound of dirt 1' high & 2' wide. Space mounds about 3/4' apart. Plant 5 or 6 corn seeds in the middle. About 2 weeks later after corn reaches about 5 or 6 inches, plant 6/8 Pole Bean seeds around the edge of the mound with a bit of Nature's Aid to help them fix nitrogen. 1 week or so after planting the beans plant 6/8 Squash seeds around the base of the mound, on flat ground.
    After everything begins to grow, thin the plantings to 2/3 corn stalks, each with no more that 2
    Bean plants winding around it.The Squash plants will do their thing.
    Hope it works if you try it.
    I think I'll try a new corn called Zea mays var, rugosa Corn Mini Yellow Mirai 003. The cobs only get about 5" long. Enjoy.

  24. hey all,
    dawn with peaches, Easter is early this year. can't believe it is time change already.

    anonymous, the jimster is building a snow fort. hope the snow does stick and you guys can too. look out for those snowballs!

    lola, purple and yellow are color opposites so they always go well together. i too like the combination.

    i am so glad you mentioned the three sisters method. it is interesting. i think the Indians used to plant this way. are you going to plant this way?

    glad you stayed safe during the storms. the sun is out here now. beautiful on the clean snow.

    mom, thieves are bad. i think sometimes they just don't think. coincidentally, i have jury duty coming up. my first time ever. wonder what it will be like? how could they steal from the ocean floor? bad, bad.

  25. The Three Sisters Method sounds very intersting Lola. I have heard of something like that but I printed yours so I can look at it later. Thanks.

    Yup Easter is early this year and there was an article in the paper about that last week. It said it can be as early as the 22nd and if I remember right it said the last time it was that early only a few people would remember it as it happened like 80 or 90 years ago and anyone alive now will never live to see it happen again as it will be like 150 years.

    I have never had jury duty. David did a few years ago and the jury he was on convicted a man of murder. Nana was on the Travis Jury and the Grand jury and said she loved both it as it was a real learning experience. Do you know what type jury you are being called for?

    Yup right off the bottom of the ocean, actually it was buried under the ocean floor so it had to be done at low tide and paper said they had to have some special and costly tools to do what they did. That is why they do not think it was a vandal thing but pros stealing the copper.

  26. I think I'll try a couple hills using this method. I plan on using corn that makes ears only about 5". That should interest the boys.
    I think it was used by the Indians at one time.
    I got called to jury duty once but I have too many relatives in law enforcement so I wasn't picked. Phew, I was glad.
    The storm went through, lot of rain/wind. Still windy today, think it's supposed to be colder tonight.

  27. Three Sisters Planting is a Native American technique. Corn, Beans & Squash. We call it companion planting.

  28. Never heard of the three sisters planting. Sounds interesting and a neat way to utilize space...

    So Lola, you are not to far down the foot of Florida then. I bet you are about one to two weeks ahead of us in the growing season! I noticed some azaleas blooming around town today.

    I was called for Jury Duty one time while in Texas. It was a cut and dry case of a truck driver admitting he was speeding. He was arguing the amount in which he was speeding. In this case the amount did not matter as the fine was the same. Duh, on the truck driver for wasting our time! Of course it cost him more in the end after paying the court cost!

    Was called here once but not selected. Saint was called and selected then they pled the case so he never made it to the court room....

    The Saints mom sat on the Grand Jury for a year and was released less then a year ago. She was called up again for the county courts this past month. She is not happy at all about that....

  29. dawn with peachesMarch 8, 2008 at 10:09 PM

    Tina, My good friend was called to jury duty and it was a child abuse case, good luck. I hope to NEVER be called.

  30. Down here they go by your DL. Use to go if you registered to vote. They got smart about that as a lot didn't register to vote because of that.

    No, about 2 hrs. from border straight North. Sure would like to visit that famous restaurant in Savannah. Yummmy food, I hear.

    Nighty night, all.

  31. Oh, Paula Deens is yummy! Went there back in Feb during low season when you can walk in off the street with no reservations!

  32. I'll have to remember to go during that lull time, if I ever get to go. I watch her on TV. My dau-in-law went & she had to make reservations around noon to get in at dinner time, then had to be there by 3 to wait in line. Don't remember when she went. She, her mother & sister go a lot together.

  33. I also have watch Paula and her 2 sons a lot on TV and like her so it would be interesting to eat at her place but not worth waiting like that for me in my older years.

    Funny how sometimes we all have posted at the same time.

  34. Ops, Lola, I said I went in Feb. I dont know why that came through my fingers! We went in December! The Saint and I went to celebrate our anniversary. The manager at the hotel we stayed at said the low season is Nov through early March. Then look out, tourist season hits and crowds and lines everywhere. We were able to park anywhere on the street for free and it was great as no crowds anywhere! We toured several historic houses with only 3 other people so we were able to ask questions and get more info with less people around....

  35. i always wanted to serve on jury duty. when i was working!:) not when i can stay at home. jimmy and i have an appointment scheduled that same day-made more than 6 months ago. i hope they accomodate for it. we'll see, otherwise, doing my civic duty might make me less civic since it is my own time and the appointment was there so long ago. gotta get those teeth cleaned.

    is paula deens the cook on the food channel? is that who you are talking about? if so, i have a post concerning her at some time. i met a neat woman in nashville who learned a gardening tip from her-of all things! is it the same? you all can see i don't watch the food channel.

  36. My dau-in-law said Paula is the same in person as she is on TV. Bubbly, friendly & outgoing. She quickly bought a cook book so she could get Paula's autograph. Her 2 sons are no slouches either. Her brother "Bubba" has his restaurant now too. Something like Crab Shack or something.
    Yeh, Paula on cooking network. I think she married a guy that had money. They went to France for WT or A. Can't remember which now. I think he has his own fishing boat. Now that's a woman that brought her self up by the boot straps. So to speak. She must know about gardening too as she has a lovely home & gardens.

    Wow, I would love to be able to tour some of the old homes around there. Most of them have the most beautiful gardens. Been there for yrs. My niece lives in Savannah & just built a new home. Could go stay with her & tour, if I knew her better. She served in Iraq, got out when she got back here as soon as her time was up.
    Sadly one by one the old stately mansions are being torn down. Such craftsmanship never to be done ever again. A dieing breed.

  37. Bubba's place is called "Bubba's Oyster House". We ate there also with no lines to wait in! Walked right in and sat down for lunch! Saint said they were the best Oysters he ever had. I dont eat oysters but did try them and I must admit they were good. They were grilled and tasted like mushrooms to me!

    Yes, Paula is bubbly in person too. My mom and I went to see her at a speaking engagement and she is really a funny person. Her hubby Michael was with her and he adores her. He is a Ship Captain on a tug boat I think. He directs the big cargo ships in the channel and port of Savannah. She moved next door to him and her dogs ran into his yard and she went after them. That is how she met him. She got herself a boat but did not know how to drive it so she asked him if he knew anything about boats! Too funny. He said, well a little bit I guess. He took her out on her boat to show her how to drive it and she fell for him that day. She said that God had sent her a neighbor!

    She got started in the cooking business by selling sandwiches to workers at construction sights and in other places like banks, stores, in downtown Savannah! Now she is worth millions!

    Tina, if you would like to know who she is, watch “Paula’s Party” on the food channel on Friday nights. That will give you a great idea of how witty she is….

    It is sad when an old house is torn to the ground! It is amazing how people can restore them to their once grand state! The Saint and I use to talk about doing that one day but we never had the money as they are costly projects.

    Lola, I bet your niece would welcome you into her home and show you that Southern Hospitality like you would to her….

  38. Skeeter you and I must have seen the same bio on Paula as that is exacty what I saw or read. Neat rags to riches story!

  39. can't believe i never heard of paula deen and here you all are talking about her! i will do a post about what this woman told me. it is a trick to grow tomatoes and she was so astonished she learned it from paula!

    i think this post is a record for comments. lots of comments! thanks all! nice talking to each of you and it is really easy too.

  40. Should be a record with that many comments. Guess that is what happens with all the nice folks on here....the words just flow.

    Tina why do you think tomatoes are so hard to grow with all you do in the garden. And here I think tomatoes are one of the easiest things to grow.

  41. mom, i don't think tomatoes are hard to grow at all. whatever gave you that idea? nothing better than a fresh picked tomato and as long as the ph is right, they are easy to grow. love them.

  42. Tina cause you said there is a trick to growing tomatoes. Sorry...Guess I misunderstood.

  43. Well, here's one that can't grow tomatoes. I keep thinking that is because we don't have any bees around here, but guess I'm not holding my mouth right. Sure would like to know what the secret is. I've even tried pure potting soil.

  44. Geez Lola I don't know what to tell you. Sorry about it.

  45. We planted 3 tomato plants year before last and had over 100 tomatoes from them! The first few weeks were the best then they got smaller and smaller with each batch.