Saturday, August 23, 2008

Garden Ghost

Some pretty strange things have happened to us since moving into this house here in Georgia. The Saint and I have always joked that we have a ghost living with us. Both Smoke detectors have gone off with no reasonable explanation. One night I was awoken by the sound of the trunk release button to the car being activated over and over. The car was parked in front of the house and we went out to investigate. We would close the trunk and it would pop back open again. That went on for about 30 minutes. The car doors were locked and no one was inside but something was pushing the button in the glove compartment! (Insert Twilight Zone music here) Our poor cat Skeeter was knocked out of his bed several times. He would look at me as if to say, "why did you knock me out of my bed mommy"? Our cuckoo clock is often stopped.

One night a little child named Nelly came to me in a dream. She had long blond curls and laughed a lot. It was as if the dream were real but most of my dreams seem real as I dream in color. The next morning I spoke out to Nelly and asked her to stop playing little pranks on us. I told her that this was our first house and that we really liked it and would take good care of it and not do anything bad to this house. Hey, it works in the movies sometime, so why not give it a try, right?

No unexplained event has occurred since that day. The clock still stops but since that is on the wall to the front door, we think the jarring of the door being closed may be the culprit. If not, then Nelly kept her one fun game.....

What does a house ghost have to do with my garden? Just stay with me a bit here and you will soon find out.

Look at the pretty Black-Eyed Susan's (Rudbeckia mix) from last years crop in the picture above, standing tall. I planted these from a packet of mixed seed two years ago. They have thrived and loved this planter and provide beautiful blooms and don't seem to mind the drought conditions in which they have been under. I don't do a thing to them but remove the old foliage each spring then more return.

Here is a beautiful Susan from this year, as are all the pictures from here on. Susan, is so pretty with her yellow petals surrounding her perfect brown eye. Look closely to see the circle of deep yellow about 3/4 of the way to the tip of the petals. I just noticed that!

I am always excited when Susan opens up her petals to reveal which variety she will be for me. By tossing in a mixed seed packet, I have no idea what all I have. One thing I do know is, I sure do like seeing Susan in my garden. Just look at my painted lady!

The painted ladies, as I call them are my favorites as they remind me of some Texas wildflowers we enjoyed on the roadside while in Texas.
But how can I call them my favorites when the old fashioned Black-eyed Susan is a standard of the south? Hum, maybe I don't have a favorite after all....

Here is where a Ghost has come into play. Someone or something is playing an ugly trick on my beautiful Black-eyed Susan's this year. Look at this strange looking bloom below! With the showing of the first one, I had thought I had some type of Susan I had not seen before.
Then as time passed on and more strange Susan's started to appear, I knew we had something really weird going on in the planter. Look at what I assume to be a Painted Lady all weirded out!
Green-Eyed Susan? What is going on with that? Frances was showing a virus ridden echinacea going on in her garden during her GBBD posting. I think the same thing is happening with my Susan's.
I must say, some of the blooms look rather pretty in a strange sort of way. I am always a sucker for the abnormal in things such as the ugly pet, (my pets are not ugly though) the not perfect seashell no one will chose, etc. So why not flowers as well?
I have healthy flowers intermingling with the strange looking odd balls and don't know what to do about it. The healthy Susan's did not stand tall this year as they all fell over to their sides as if in distress.
Does anyone out there know exactly what is going on with Susan? I took out all strange plants and piled them near the compost bin. I wonder will it be okay to compost them or should I dispose of them elsewhere?
I had thought that maybe the drought has something to do with this strange behavior but I cannot help but wonder if Nelly has something to do with this? hummmm...
Since Frances showed something similar happening in her gardens, I guess it is safe to say I don't have a GARDEN GHOST, In the Garden...


  1. I like the Garden Ghost idea better than a virus, but sigh, it is probably the virus. I would pull them and take them to the dump. Don't compost them. I have read this virus is spread by an insect. I had some infected coneflowers too and it has not spread so I hope that is the same with you. They sure are gorgeous in the first picture! Maybe this is just a bad year for them since so many people have this issue? Nellie huh?:)

  2. Wow! Sure looks soooo different in the photos, I can't imagine what it looks like for real. I say Nellie! But don't compost them, maybe they will recover next year. I've never heard of such a thing.

  3. Very cool that you might have a ghost living with you(-: The flowers probably have some kind of virus though. Very werid. It seems like all the flowers on the same plant would have the virus though so who knows. ??? The flower is the only weird part about the plant? I would just leave them and see what happens next year.

  4. I am with you Skeeter in that I also like things that are different so I think they are soooooo pretty as I also did with Frances's. That being said I am with Tina in that it is probably a virus, so get rid of em and DO NOT PUT IN COMPOST!!!! Good luck.

    Nelly....Wow, wow, wow, there is a side of Skeeter that I did'nt expect to see. However, being the oddball I am, I would have tried to play with Nelly!!!

  5. Mimi- I would have tried to play with Nelly too and play tricks back on her. Serves her right! see you today around lunch. I have fresh made zucchini bread for you guys from the one I got from you and your pretty garden...though I forgot it was in the oven it looks like it turned out perfect. Don't worry I made two, one for and one for you.
    Skeeter-Hope your Susan get healthy again, though the strange ones are pretty, I would also dispose of them to avoid it spreading to other plants.
    Mom- Heard from the recruiter yesterday, didn't get totally rejected, nor did I get the go ahead to re-enlist. Got the middle option. Evaluation by an outside professional. I'll call you later on and tell you all about it if you haven't already talked to Roger about it.

  6. Hello Everyone,
    Beautiful flowers, Skeeter, sadly it sounds like a virus. Best to dispose of it but not in compost like they said. Although green is pretty & unusual in the garden.
    Nelly Hmmmmm!!! Not such a strange occurrence. Similar things have happened to me. Some people have a special gift. Good you talked to her.
    Semi-sunny today. Fay has left the building, hopefully for good. She did some damage around the state---could have been worse. Will take a few days for the garden/yard to dry out enough to do anything.

  7. Hello Everyone! We are in Atlanta, well, a bit south of the city visiting our friends so will not stay on here long. The Saint was able to repair their computer so here I am! lol...

    Lola, I am so glad you did not have more damage then you did from Fay. We are enjoying her cool winds today but the sun is not around so no boat ride for us today. Maybe tomorrow....

    It looks as though I was correct in not putting the Susan's in the compost pile... I will put the scraps in the burn pit instead....

    Okay i need to get off here now....

    Everyone have a good day!!!

  8. A garden ghost would be exciting, but unfortunately I have to agree with the others and agree about the virus. I would definitely not compost it either. I love your painted ladies, such a shame that happened to them.

  9. It looks like your 'ghost' likes to play!
    Sometimes physiological disorders can occur in plants (for instance fasciation) and they behave in a different way.
    I will try to post about my veggie garden on the 20. I have been a bad blogger lately...
    Have a good weekend!

  10. PG, I like the idea of ghosts too!)

    Gisele, Great! Just an idea about a certain day-no memes or anything. You are a very good blogger!

  11. i do like the oddity of the looks of this! i have never seen anything like it. i wonder if you could place them in a seperate place to see if they are for real or that of a virus?

  12. A Gardening Ghost--I like it!
    But, I think it's a virus too. I have seen it on Susan's before. However...maybe the gardening ghost wants you to plant something else....hum.....this would make a great book! :)

  13. I am sorry you may have to compost the green flowers. Among some of my customers, any flower that is green is a desired thing and are prized by flowers arrangers. We contract with one of our growers for green zinnias and nicotiana, and I always sell out of St. Patrick and Lime Sublime roses. Maybe yours could be a natural variation and not a virus.

  14. Those odd susans look very pretty in the photo. Alas, I agree with those who think it's a virus. I think you did the right thing pulling them out and not composting them Skeeter.

    I lived in what was probably a haunted house from 1976-1988. It was a vintage dutch colonial, once a farmhouse, had the remains of a fruit orchard in the backyard, and was kiddy-corner from a funeral home. When we first moved there we found embalming fluid and tools in the basement. One of the remaining fruit trees had plums some years and apricots other years.

    There were lots of strange happenings in the house. Sometimes it was a little scary, but nothing bad ever happened and whatever it was in that house seemed restless but benign.

    I'm glad Nelly decided to respect your wishes and quit playing her little pranks. That stuff can be a bit unnerving.

  15. Oh goodness!I am so superstitious! That would freak me out if anything like that ever happened to me. I would move, run as fast as i can, lol.

    I'm sorry about your flowers. Nelly sure is a meddler. Did you do anything to make her mad? Grr to her. Although the virus hypothesis seems just as likely. lol.

    Those flowers are beautiful, even the diseased ones.

  16. Hello I found your blog today. I love all your black-eyed susans and rudbeckias. I really like the ghost story too over the virus. I have a cabin in the mountains that is haunted so you had my attention for awhile!
    Glad to have found you, I enjoyed reading your blog.

  17. Just jumping in real quick to say hey! Have read all the comments and am glad to see we are not the only ones with a friendly ghost.

    Well, DP, I reckon it is safe to say you will not come to my house for a GA bloggers meet and greet.... LOL. Not really sure we ever had a ghost but some strange unexplained things that did have us thinking so and it was strange the happenings left after my little chat with Nelly....

    Garden Girl, Plums one year and Apricots the next? Now that is freaky deaky for sure...

    Welcome to our little bloggers community Annie Fannie!

    Gisele, I am visiting with my German friend and we strongly believe your name is German. So Guten Tag!

    Meadowview, Hello, this would make for a good book. And as you will find out, I am good at writing long comments that some may refer to as books! lol...

    Les, if only we could get them to bloom during St Paddys day timeframe then I could make a buck or two... lol...

    I am running out of time as I need to get back to the gang, so hello to Tina, Jean, Dawn, Christielynn, Cindee, Lola, Perennial gardner, Marmee and anyone else who pops in tonight...I hope I have not missed anyone.... if so, I am rushing so sorry....

    Drizzle rain but we were able to grill ribs for dinner. Now time for us to play some cards while listening to some good old country music.... Yeehaw....

    Everyone have a good evening....

  18. I thought Fay had left the building, but no, she slipped back in this afternoon & left us with more rain. Hopefully she will leave for good. We'll see what tomorrow brings.
    Have a great night all.

  19. I guess i have a diferent point of view than most people but I think i would get a minister or something and say a prayer over your house and family. the name of Jesus does wonders for things like that. I hope that you will have comfort......

  20. Hi Skeeter, I was in Knoxville yesterday and only did some light picking on Blot. I so admire your different colors of the Susans and will look for a packet of that type next spring. But you must bag and dispose of the virused ones, not on the compost ever, or even near it, but in a garbage bag and into the garbage, no recycling in this case. I have found that along with the insect that certain plants are carriers of the virus and are then visited by the insects that spread it. Plantain is one of the worst, and we are loaded with it, especially where the virus showed up this year so I have been attacking it with a vengence. Bag that too, BTW. I don't have many Susans, mostly echinaceas, but will keep an eye out for the disfigured ones. Say hi to Nelly for me!

  21. Frances, Any secrets for getting rid of plantain? I hate them and dandelions but it seems a neverending LOSING battle.

  22. Frances, I forgot to say, thanks for the pick!

  23. Hi Tina, the biggest secret in gardening, get in there and pull 'em by hand, that's the best way. I try my best to get the whole root too, and they are really hard to pull when they are too little to grab, by the time they are grabbing size they have bloomed! Persistence is necessary. Now if only I could get rid of these &*#$%@* violets. And my pleasure to be the first to pick your posts.

  24. WOW, what a post! I am not kidding, when I read the first part of this post, chills kept running through my skin. It wasn't hot flashes, either.
    Another interesting slant on common names: I see you call the tall, large Rudbeckia Black-eyed-Susans. Around here there is a smaller, shorter Rudbeckia called that and the ones like you have pictured are called Gloriosa Daisies. By any name, I love them! Thank you for showing us yours.

    Technical question: I noticed that the size of text font is larger than that on my blog where it is usually small and all drawn up looking. I even notified Blogger about it. I am wondering, do you set the size to larger than normal when you post? It looks very good and relaxed.

  25. Hi Frances, I too am battling the weeds and hand pulling too. Never seems to get me far enough though. I do hope you get rid of the violets. Still can't believe I actually bought one:(

    Barbie, You guessed our secret here at in the garden. I ALWAYS highlight the text and make it larger. Many older folks read, including my mother and I so hope it helps the font to be more visible. Thank you for noticing! It is a committment but I like it. I use the "Large" font size and I think Skeeter and Dawn do the same thing. Thanks for your very kind comments. I checked out the site with the dancing cockapoo and we all thought it too cute! I think my mother will be checking it out too and will respond. Very nice of you to find that for us. You tube is a super cool website that I fortunately or unfortunately have not had the time to delve into. The Internet is such a big world. Thanks again.

  26. Yes, yes, yes I watched the video and it is too cool. I had seen it once before (couple of years ago, or so) as Tom always sends me things on birds but I had forgotten about it. This time I added it to my favs so I can show David as I know he will like it.

    And Tina, I for one do appreciate the large size font!!!!!

  27. Me too Tina. These old eyes don't see like they use to even with glasses.

  28. Yes, the large font is good for everyone I think.