Sunday, November 30, 2008


You all must know by now that I love Elephant ears in my Georgia Garden! After all, I am standing in the middle of them on my profile picture.

Here I am again standing among my tropical friends. I picked up the bulbs in a bag at a big box store and they were labeled Miniature. I believe they were mislabeled. What do you think? If not, then I would really like to see the large ears! I stand 5 foot 7 and they are above my head! Look at the size of the leaf compared to my head.

I like the heart shaped leaves on the elephant ears and they do look like the ear of an elephant. I came out of a store once and found my dad sitting on a brick wall holding elephant ears up to his head and he was just roaring away as if an elephant. I will never forget how funny I thought that was and hope to always have elephant ears in my garden for that memory alone!

I did not research the bulbs before I put them in the ground. I just stuck them in the ground in a sunny area and let nature take its course. I recently read that they need a lot of water to survive but for some reason, my ears do not as I don't water them much. And as you know, we have been in a drought ever since I planted these ears 3 years ago. All I do is give them a fresh coat of pine straw each year and water occasionally but not often. I don't know what it is about them but they seem to really like my garden as they return each year being larger then the previous year.

I added a Black Elephant ear to the garden this year. The tag said to put in the shade so it was planted in a totally different spot then the other ears.

It must have liked the spot as it gave me a bloom!

Although, a strange looking bloom. It actually gave me several of these interesting blooms that resembled the blooms on the Caladium plants. I wonder if they are related. Hum, maybe our Master Gardener can answer that one for us.
The first picture you saw of my elephant ears was snapped on Nov. 4 and standing tall. This picture was snapped on Nov 19 the morning that mean ole Jack Frost showed up at the front door. Jack will not leave town and I am really tired of his visit and wish he would leave! The leaves turned to mush and have been put into the compost bin.

I really do enjoy my ELEPHANT EARS and cant wait for them to return, In the Garden...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Double Trouble

CC, short for Christmas Cat, belongs to my wonderful next door neighbors. He is a beautiful kitty they adopted just before Christmas one year.

How could that adorable cat be trouble in my Georgia Garden? Ha, where do I start? First my birds are not too happy with him. More then once I have found some of my feathered friends that were not on their guard as they should have been. Over the fence into the birdy graveyard they go. CC also likes to walk and nap on top of our automobiles! Then there is the wonderful moments in my life when I find he has used my gardens as his own personal liter box!

*Note to cat owners. If you ever run out of litter, grab a handful of pine straw from your garden. Cats love pine straw!
So what do we see in this picture hiding to the lower right of the blue tarp which is covering up the horse's hay bales? Hum, can't see it too well in this picture so lets move in a bit shall we....
Now just look at that little orange Fur Ball. Where did you come from? Well, I will tell you where it came from. An irresponsible cat owner which did not spay or neuter their pets! Argggg. This little innocent kitten is called a STRAY! Poor thing came crawling out of the woods and has decided to make CC its mentor!
Our neighbors decided to adopt this fluff ball. The little thing is still a bit shy of humans at this point. They will tame it then off to the Vet and have it fixed so no more homeless babies are produced.

I snapped these pictures while I was pet sitting for them a few weeks ago. I made great progress with getting OJ to come out from under the hay to pose for this photo op.

I am sure CC will teach OJ all the wonderful tricks of the trade like pooping in my garden. What is an animal lover like myself to do other then welcome OJ into my life as I have CC. If CC and little Orange Juice would concentrate on Moles and Voles, then they would really be a welcome sight in my garden...

I reckon, I will continue to deal with not only CC but now DOUBLE TROUBLE, In the Garden...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Great Wolf Lodge and Recruiter Ring Ceremony

The Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio is definitely great. Mr. Fix-it is an Army Recruiter; the toughest job in the Army because without him and the other recruiters, there would be no Army. Have you ever tried getting folks to join the Armed Forces during times of war? I digress, this posting will be saved for a later date, but the fact Mr. Fix-it's job is so tough entitles him and the other recruiters to many perks. Okay, not many, but a few. Great Wolf Lodge for the recruiters and their families is one of those perks.
Mr. Fix-it's battalion headquarters is based in Indianapolis, Indiana, though the battalion's recruiters are spread out all the way from Fort Wayne, Indiana to Kentucky. It is a very wide area for one command to command. In order to bring the entire battalion together and to enable training and bonding of all assigned soldiers and their family members, an Annual Training Conference (ATC) is held once a year. This year and last year the location chosen was The Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio. What a location!

The lodge has an indoor water park and neat machines all through the hotel where children can become 'Magi' and acquire runes and obtain points. The Jimster spent a good six hours just on this game. His goal was to get the highest points ever, and he has plans to return when he is 16, just so he can still see his score. He also enjoyed the waterpark. His dad worked, and I suffered through a migraine headache in the hotel room, though I did manage to take part in the award ceremonies. This weekend was very special to us because Mr. Fix-it earned his Recruiter's Ring. It is a ring like a class ring and not all recruiters can obtain it. We were so honored Mr. Fix-it earned his and very excited to be there for his award ceremony and induction into an elite group of recruiters who proudly wear the ring. Here we are all standing with the Sergeant Major and the Battalion Colonel after the ring ceremony. We were quite happy the Jimster was able to participate by walking 'the gauntlet' with us. The ring ceremony was a proud day of my husband's long recruiting career; which will come to an end in a few months. Thank goodness!!! Great Wolf Lodge is a real gem and if you are ever in the area and have plans to visit Kings Island, do stay at Great Wolf Lodge and have a super great time. Their service and facilities were great for the large of group of Army recruiters that ascended on the lodge this cold weekend in November.

in the garden....

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Crabapples for the Birds

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at "In the Garden...."

Skeeter's parents snapped the picture of the turkey along with her friend the squirrel in their backyard recently. A fitting tribute to our day of thanks and our Turkey day. What do you suppose the squirrel and turkey are discussing? How lucky the turkey is she did not wind up on someone's dinner plate? Enough about the turkeys, let's talk of feeding the birds.

Do you remember my post on Crabby Crabapples way back in April? Well, it is crabby crabapple time again, and this time the crabapples are showing the world why they should be in the garden. The birds love them and the crabapples are a feast for my eyes. I assure you that if you eat these crabapples, you will not be happy with the taste. At first bite they seem to taste just like apples, then the bitter and sour taste come through and you say, "Yuck!". But, the birds say, "Yum!"
All birds love crabapples, and they are a great source of food for the birds in the winter. I find that in my garden mockingbirds are particularly fond of the crabapples, but I also enjoy the cardinals and chickadees eating them too.

Food for the birds is a fitting tribute to Thanksgiving when we are all warmly ensconced in our homes feasting on-what else-birds-shhhh-don't mention turkey or our friend above might get all gobbly and wobbly. Happy Thanksgiving!

in the garden....

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Scilla are one of those bulbs that works hard in the garden. It is not as well known or frequently grown as its flashier cousins, narcissus, grape hyacinths, hyacinths, crocuses, and tulips, but is worth growing!

I grow Scilla siberica in my garden. I planted these bulbs many years ago and they faithfully come back each year. Scilla are also known as Squill and Bluebells. These are surefire bulbs.

These scilla bloom very early and are understated, but definitely a presence. They come in other colors like white, purplish pink and violets too. I wish I had taken a macro shot of these but it was way back when I did not know quite how to operate the camera. (Thanks Frances for showing me)

Check them out this fall, and don't be afraid to try something different. Other good bulbs you might like to try include Chionodoxa luciliae, (now changed to Chionodoxa forbesii) aka Glory of the Snow. Both of these bulbs are reliable no matter the circumstances, but you do want to plant them where you can enjoy them up close. Get busy as fall bulb planting season is full upon us!

in the garden....
Happy Anniversary to my dear husband, who indulges my passion for both gardening and for blogging. He's a great husband. Thanks for all you do Babe! I love you so very much!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Itty Bitty Bottle Tree

My husband and myself met at a compromise, I had purchased large wine bottles off EBay to make a bottle tree in the yard, all the bottles are green. I had difficulty finding any other color let alone dealing with my husband's expression, once I told him my plans for them.

A meeting of the minds, bitty bottles that are available in the beauty section, the gourmet section and perhaps the cooking oils, who knows...? This was hubby's idea, Ah, Ha! When I got them home though and ready to place on my tree, I noticed the blue and purple bottle was actually painted on the outside. So I clear coated them, all of them. I figured it couldn't hurt considering the harsh winters in Maine. Hummm, maybe there is an idea for the future.

I chose my pruned beech tree that is the backdrop to my corner flower bed. Here is the vision from the road. I have eight bottles in all, not included in the picture above is two clear ones. I just put them on my tree a hour ago, I imagine my son might have something to say about it when he gets off the bus. If he notices that is....

The view from my driveway. I can hardly see the blue one closest to the bottom of the tree. I plan to add more bottles as time allows me to collect them. Any ideas about the evergreen next to this tree, you can see it better in the first picture. I topped it this year and have spent several years pruning it to thicken it up, I would like to spiral it. I tried once and almost killed it.

This is my favorite way to look at my tree, from the treeline with my street as the backdrop. I can barely see the purple bottle at the top and I might rearrange them at another time. I'm giving everyone in my town, a chance to tell me about it.
Whoops! A few days later I added 3 more bottles. (shucks! I broke the yellow one!)
In The Garden...catching evil spirits.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Adventure in the Garden

The other day the young'un and I went on a small adventure of sorts. A local church next to the post office had some pretty yellow flowers planted near the front. I was thinking how they were almost the color of the fire hydrant. Seems as though there is a lot of yellow.

As we progressed on our adventure we passed Camp Blanding; which was once a thriving military base. Now it's a training base for the National Guard. Notice the color of yellow at the gate.

No yellow here, but if you look closely you can see an airplane. There is also a tank and other vehicles.

There is no yellow here either, but pretty flowers on the shrub that has been trimmed. I think it is a hibiscus. I don't understand why anyone would want to trim such a lovely shrub.

Further on into our journey we crossed the St. Johns River. Young'un ran an errand and we started back. You guessed it, crossed the St. Johns River (which is 16,300' long) again. lol. In the distance you can see Jacksonville Naval Air Station (NAS). To the right of that you can see Plalatka on a clear day.

The next morning I decided I would visit an old friend. Before I left I took the picture of my side yard where the Rose Garden is located. The first rose (Black Cherry) is a very dark red. The second rose pictured (Lovestruck) is pink. As I got closer to them I noticed that the blooms looked different. They seemed to sparkle. I suddenly realized it 'dew still on the roses'. I immediately thought of the song.

"In the Garden"
I come to the garden alone while the dew is still on the roses and the voice I hear...


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Falling into despair

Here at the "Oasis in the Woods", I like to think of us as optimistic people. But I do live in a dream world at times. I am the optimistic one seeing my glass as always half full. The Saint is the pessimistic one seeing his glass as always half empty! I guess we kind of balance each other out though. Living with a pessimist has taught me one thing. The Bad comes with the Good...
The Good being those beautiful leaves we saw in our trees this fall.
The Good continues into the woods. Trees filling the ground with a fresh new blanket of leaves to keep the weeds to a minimum. They are like a new carpet below my Frolicking Friends feet!
Our front woods look so peaceful with the new leaves all spread about as if a professional had carefully placed each one.
Now the Bad side of all this Good. Those leaves do not stay in the woods and tend to become a problem for us to deal with...
A Gas blower solves the problem on the left side of our driveway. Can you tell I was standing at the opposite end of the driveway when I snapped this shot. That is a long driveway to walk so you get the lazy view with the second shot. You will see why I got lazy as we proceed.
Then we have to deal with the right side of the driveway...
A gas blower takes care of that problem as well.
Now we move into the backyard. We find more problems.
A mulching mower and this problem is solved!
I am hungry and would like to roast a hot dog. Where is the fire pit?
A Gas blower later, we find the fire pit!
It would be nice to sit and eat my hot dog while I take a break right about now. All that blowing has me tired and hungry but I cannot seem to find the patio furniture!
Nothing a Gas Blower cannot solve!
Where is the pathway to the patio and shed? It has vanished like magic.
Vanished only for a little while as the magic is within the Gas Blower!

Now back to the front where we need to work our Good magic over the Bad.

Ah, once again the mulching mower to the rescue! Ah, the Good. But wait, look up and what do I see, the Bad as I spot more leaves ready to fall so we can start this process all over again.
This fun game of Blow, Mulch and Rake continues until late December when all the oak leaves decide to come on down!

The beauty of the fall color is only a memory and now I am FALLING INTO DESPAIR, In the Garden...