Monday, July 30, 2012

Lighting - Stage Two


Well stage two of the garden lighting project is complete. I installed 19 path lights to go with the 21 spot lights that I had already placed out there. Once again I was able to find some VERY reasonably price solar path lights that emit a remarkable about illumination. These light were $3.61 a piece at Lowe’s and I cannot believe how bright they are to be single LED bulbs. I couldn’t be more tickled with outcome. It's difficult to tell from the photos, but the paths are lit well enough you can now safely see where you are stepping.


Now I do realize as the trees mature and I get more shade these lights will not be nearly as effective. That will be several years down the road so I’m certain I will get my money’s worth from this purchase. Also, when the time comes to replace these lights with low voltage lighting they will more than likely have moved from incandescent to LED bulbs and you will be able to use many more lights on the transformers. I won’t have to struggle with light placement either because I will already have them placed where I want them. It will just be a matter of laying the lines and connecting the light.


The next and final stage will be the down lighting. I’m still kind of perplexed as to just how I’m going to do that at the moment. I’ll get it figured out… :0)






Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Recent Happenings

Well, there’s not much going on in the garden right now other than the crepe myrtles and you’ve already seen those so I thought I would just catch you up on the news. I need to do a blog post and I guess this is just as good a subject as any.

It was time for me to change rides again. As much as I absolutely LOVED the Camaro it was time to get rid of it. In the past year it was in the shop 5 times, each time for a different reason and once for a major repair. A new car that cost that much money should not have so many issues. So I decided it was time for it and me to part ways. I got online and proceeded to search for cars. I decided to order a 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe with all the bells and whistles. In the past when getting a new car the dealership has always called me within the hour and said we’ve located your vehicle and we can have it here in “X” amount of days. Well, the day came and went and I never hear anything so I decide to pay a trip to the dealership. I was informed that it would be several months before I could get my car because it would have to be shipped from Korea. There was a possibility they could find the specific car I had requested at another lot, but they felt it would be highly unlikely. I was disappointed, but I needed a new car quickly so I decided on the 2013 Hyundai Sonata Limited. Not exactly what I was looking for, but still a beautiful car none the less.


It has more features and more voice commands than I will ever use, but they are there should I decide I want to use them. It’s pearlized white with a black leather interior. I think I’ll enjoy driving it for a while, I know I’ll enjoy the reduction in the monthly car payment. :0) I really expected my insurance to go down as well, but it actually increased 60 dollars a year. The motor was so large in the Camaro, surely I will save on gas. This Sonata has to get more than 18 MPG, which was what I was getting on the other car. Hopefully I can use these savings to increase my bank account levels and maybe eventually I’ll go ahead and get another sports car. Time will tell…


In other news, I’ve been spending time trying to get things caught up in the garden. I’ve been doing a lot of weeding and cleaning up. The weeds are pretty much under control, so this past weekend I turned my attention to other things. I got the arbors and the back hedge trimmed up. It all looks much better. It’s not going to be much longer before I have to get one of those hedge trimmers on a pole to get to the top of the privacy hedge. It’s starting to get really tall. I’ve also been limbing up most of the trees. I know procedure dictates this is done in the fall or winter, but I’ve always done mine in the summer. The weight of the leaves and blooms completely change the shape of the tree and you get a better idea where you will create unwanted holes if you do your pruning now. I’ve also finished the second stage of lighting by installing path lights and I’ll be doing a blog post on that soon. Right now the humidity has just been too bad to be outside stomping around at night taking pictures. As you can see, it’s just been routine maintenance around here. Thank you to Colvin for helping me this past weekend. What’s going on in your garden?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Expert Advice Needed!

What to do, what to do… My black and blue salvia has become over grown and is no longer blooming. I know I need to cut it back. It’s going to leave such a gaping hole in my garden…


It’s gotten all leggy and it’s not attractive at all. I’ve searched on the internet several times for information to no avail. So I’m calling on the knowledge of my blogger friends.


Should I chop it all the way to ground or should I cut it back to about 12 inches? Will it only come back from the roots or will it put up new growth from the pieces of material left behind. Surely someone out there has experimented. What is the best course of action? Help!


Friday, July 6, 2012

Blooms You Can Count On...

No matter how hot and dry it gets during our summers there is always one thing I can count on and that is my beloved Crape Myrtles. Or Lagerstroemia for those of you that need the Latin name, I have to admit I’ve never been one to consider that to be important. If you know it’s a crape/crepe myrtle and you know the cultivar epithet you can find the plant you’re seeking.

I love these trees. I have 13 of them in my garden and if I had the room I would put more. True they do make a mess on the patios, but that’s easily swept away before company arrives. I think the blooms are well worth the trade off for the mess they can create. I also love the beautiful green leaves and bark colors. I don’t know the name of the one below it was at the house when I bought it and has probably been there since it was built in 1971.


If you are considering putting these trees in your garden I would be right there rooting you on to do it. I do suggest you consider a little research before you buy though. With so many different colors and sizes you should be able to find the perfect one for whatever location you have in mind. This particular one is called ‘Zuni’. It only reaches about 9 feet in height. It has beautiful purple blooms and they usually last for about 100 days in my area even though the heat sometimes takes a toll as you can see in this picture.



‘Natchez’ has always been a favorite of mine and I can’t wait for it to reach its mature height of 30 feet. It will go a long way on providing me the much needed shade I want in the garden. My long term plan is to move to more lush, shade loving plants like hydrangeas, ferns and hostas in the garden. Its pretty white blooms will be with me for at least a couple of months as well.



If I judged my sizes correctly the canopy of these trees should eventually form a nice dapple shade over the garden. But I should still have pockets of sunshine for a few bright flowers for butterflies. This is ‘Tuscarora’; it can boast a height of almost 25 feet and beautiful coral pink flowers.



Last but not least is ‘Tonto’. Pretty fuchsia flowers and a nice taupe colored bark. It gets 12 to 14 feet high and starts to bloom about the last of June. Who wouldn’t love all these beautiful colors? Yet to make their appearance are the blooms of ‘Rosadao’. It should be starting its show in about another two weeks and I’ll post photos when it does. If you have a hot southern garden, then to me, these gorgeous work horses are a must have.



Thursday, July 5, 2012

Not Much Going On...

'Joan Senior'


There’s not a whole lot going on in my garden right now as a result of the heat. Blooms are indeed very limited but I snapped a shot of what I could find. :0) We’ve all be talking about how everything is blooming at the wrong time and how odd it all is… Can you believe one of my dogwoods is in full bloom right now? Talk about weird… this has never happened before.


This is one of two sprigs of milkweed growing in my garden. I really, really hope it makes seeds this year. My garden is usually a happy breeding ground for Monarchs but I haven’t seen any caterpillars in almost 3 years. I was just commenting to Dee at Red Dirt Ramblings about how I would like to increase the number of host plants in my garden. I use to have a HUGE stand of milkweed and now it’s down to practically nothing. I was digging thru old seeds and found a package of pink milkweed from a kind blogger friend that I never planted. I don’t know how I managed to misplace it, but I will happily be scratching a place in the ground to plant it this fall. I think that’s when you are suppose to do it… please correct me if I’m wrong.


Peegee hydrangea ‘Grandiflora’ is looking prettier this year than it ever has before. I’ve seen these get very large. Mine doesn’t seem to be getting any taller though. I don’t know how you are supposed to limb something up when the trunk gets no taller. Anyway, I’m okay if stay a little short thing it still produces lovely blooms for me.