Oconee Bells

I was so excited to finally see these rare wildflowers in bloom at Devils Fork State Park.  The Oconee Bells (Shortia galacifolia) is a special treasure of the southeast of the United States.  They only bloom for a couple weeks each year.

I found the story of Asa Gray's obsession with this wildflower really interesting.  He spent 38 years looking for them in the wild after he saw this unnamed species in a collection in Paris.  Then, almost 90 years after they were first discovered, the teenage son of a amateur botanist stumbled upon them, and they were rediscovered.



Wild for Wild Flowers

The wild flowers were just starting to poke up over at Station Cove and while everyone else was getting good shots of the flowers and the waterfall, I was thrilled to see a couple of leaves infected with a fungus! This parasite of hepatica was my undergraduate research project. Crawling around in the mud looking at the wildflowers reminded me of the time I got so muddy that my roommates wouldn't let me in the room till I stripped in the hallway of our co-ed dorm. Ah, the memories.  


Blueberry & Cream Pops

Have an excess of blueberries right now?  Try these yummy treats.   

Combine 1&1/2 c blueberries, 1/2 c vanilla yogurt, and 1/4 c white sugar in a blender.  Layer the blueberry mixture and extra vanilla yogurt in popsicle molds and freeze. 


Giving up

Thomas Edison once said, "Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time."  But I think sometimes the most certain way to fail is to never give up.  One of my greatest weaknesses is not knowing when it's time to give up. 
I first ran into this problem in the garden when I moved in to my first little rental house.  I was so excited to finally have a chance to garden!  I got a bunch of beautiful red impatiens and put them out in the sunniest part of my yard.

As I was working, my neighbor politely mentioned that impatiens like a lot of shade and maybe that wasn’t the best spot for them.   That’s one thing I love about Southerners; they can tell you you’re idiot without making you feel like a complete idiot.

Well, she was right.  My impatiens soon looked awful.  But they weren’t quite dead yet!  And I wasn’t about to give up on them.  I was out there every afternoon with the hose, trying to resuscitate them.  I was convinced that if they got a just little bit more water, maybe they’d start to thrive.

About this same time I met the guy I would eventually marry.  Those impatiens were a lot like our relationship.   It’s hard to accept you’re in the wrong spot and that you need to dig yourself out and move on.  But that’s what I’ve been doing in the last year. 



Non edible crops

You can have beans coming out of your ears, run out of creative uses for zucchini, eat summer squash until the sight of it makes you ill, but you can never have too many flowers!

That's why even with my limited space, a good amount of real estate is devoted to zinnia and cosmos for cut flowers. I just need to find some more vases!