1. In 2006, light pruning and aimlessly wandering around my garden will not count as exercise.
2. I will use herbs from my garden in some healthy home-cooked meals.
3. I will take the time to stop and smell the roses.
4. I will take time to check for bugs before I sniff the roses.
5. I will volunteer more often with the Master Gardeners. In February, the Butterfly Garden volunteers will be active again, and I'd like to get involved in the Project Host Soup Kitchen Garden.
Our New Year's Eve plans are to sit in front of the fireplace and watch movies. If you're looking for movies to watch, you might want to check out my Top Ten Gardening Movies post from July. I have details on each movie there, but here's a recap:
1. Little Shop of Horrors, the original cult classic (1960)
3. Saving Grace (2000)
5. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945)
6. Little Shop of Horrors, the musical (1986)
7. Bed of Roses (1996)
8. White Oleander
9. Garden State
10. Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (1978)
Honorable Mention:Steal Magnolias, Magnolia
I’ve only lived in South Carolina for 3 years, but I tend to pick up accents like a sponge. For example, due to the subtle sabotage of my college roommate from Jersey, I order “soda” 90 % of the time and only occasionally ask for “pop”.
I’m also adjusting to Southern life in my garden. When I first moved here, the red clay was fascinating, and the crepe myrtle and lantana were exotic. Now I see the clay as merely aggravating, and these Southern plants seem commonplace.
I reckon I’m growin’ more Southern everyday, ya’ll!
It's a Vitex!
Prune in Febuary (in zone 7)!
Last spring I pruned out only the branches that would surely poke someone's eye out if he or she were walking on the outside of our front path.
I'm a relutant pruner. I know it's good for them, but it feels so horrible to slash perfectly healthy stems. sigh.
Fast Facts about Vitex: The showy violet flowers resemble the butterfly bush(Buddleia). But Vitex grow really big and attract bumble bees instead of butterflies. It's also known as the chaste tree which makes no sense to me, considering all the pollination I saw going on last summer. The bees really like this tree.
Another common name is the Hemp Tree, due to the shape of the leaves. If you're already stoned, it might look like hemp, but I don't really see much resemblance. Note to neighborhood potheads- do not smoke my tree! It will not get you high!
Below is the replica of the famous Fox theater:
Photo by Kristen Alexander from Atlanta Botanical Gardens.
I took some pictures of the orchid house on my cell phone, so I'll try to hack in there and post those photos later. It's one of the most elaborate orchid exhibits I've ever seen. I also enjoyed several terrariums with all sorts of ferns and tropical plants, and even little frogs. Poisonous frogs!
Now I want to go and replicate this all in my home. Santa, can you bring me a greenhouse?
Does this just seem wrong to anyone? What would posses anyone to paint their poinsettias, especially blue with glitter?
I'm not against some sparkle on Christmas, but this is taking it too far. It just gives me the the creeps.
Well I might be over-reacting since I've been a little adverse to poinsettias ever since I worked the pre-Christmas season at a greenhouse in 2001. I spent nearly everyday staking and moving poinsettias.
The old natural red ones are just starting to look attractive to me again.
To each his own. Enjoy your holiday season, with blue pointsettias, blue dredels, blue gods (Krishnu), or protest the whole "Happy Holidays" idea and sit at home feeling blue.
"It isn’t the way it used to be," said one leaf to the other.
"No," the other leaf answered. "So many of us have fallen tonight we’re almost the only ones left on our branch."
Can it be true," said the first leaf, "can it really be true, that others come to take our places when we’re gone and after them still others, and more and more?"
"It is really true," whispered the second leaf. "We can’t even begin to imagine it, it’s beyond our powers."
"What happens to us when we have fallen?"
"We sink down..."
"What is under us?"
The first leaf answered, "I don’t know, some say one thing, some another, but nobody knows."
The second leaf asked, "Do we feel anything, do we know anything about ourselves when we’re down there?"
The first leaf answered, "Who knows? Not one of all those down there has ever come back to tell us about it."
This passage if from what my grandmother called "The Leaf Chapter" in Bambi by Felix Salten. You can read the entire passage from a post on What's It Like on the Inside .
After a warm day yesterday, most of the ice has melted. All the major road obstructions have been cleaned up, but the aftermath of the storm is still scattered along the streets. My husband's volunteer fire department went out on several calls yesterday, mainly related to downed power lines and one house fire started by a candle.
Some of our friends are still without power, but we were lucky enough to never loose power at all. So we had an impromptu sleep-over party last night.
In our own backyard, we will have plenty of work to do this weekend. The ice storm scored the last shot of the last game that our basketball hoop is ever going to see.
Our neighbors didn't fare much better. Santa needs to bring them a new box for their Greenville News. On the bright side, it looks like the family will have plenty of firewood if they're into roasting chestnuts and drinking cocoa around the fireplace.
Top ten reasons to love ice storms:
10. I may lose blogging capacity at any moment, due to electricity outages.
9. My husband's volunteer fire department is likely to be called out, so he will have an excuse to navigate icy roads at high speeds.
8. The holiday party was cancelled for tonight.
7. And it may be to dangerous to go out to eat. So I might have to cook something.
6. The only ingredients in the fridge are beer, tofu, milk, and OJ. Well at least we have all 4 major food groups to sustain us.
5. The kids are home from school, suffering from X-box-withdrawal, and driving their parents nuts.
4. The lights are flickering. I may soon have to turn to solving Sudoku puzzles by flashlight as my only source of entertainment.
3. I will be playing a game of pick up sticks, or rather large branches, tomorrow.
2. You can't make ice Angels in the pavement. Well not without really messing up your coat.
1. Why was I missing the snow and ice of the Midwest?
CNN.com wrote a story about the storm, featuring photos a nearby city here in upstate SC.
My friends' kids (ages 4 and 5) saw Santa drive off in car recently, and their mom explained that Santa has to drive in South Carolina since it rains on Christmas here, and there's no snow for the sled. Glad she cleared that one up for me.
I wonder how Santa gets around in Australia. Looking at the beautiful summer garden pictures in the Southern hemisphere, like Chloe's garden with the prickly little ant-eater, Spiny Echidna, it got me thinking about these things. Does Santa stop off at Sydney to take a rest on the beach? Does he wear a red velvet shorts and white tank top to beat the heat? I hope they set out plenty of water along with the milk and cookies.
But these purple pansies are actually very tough! One of the best things about gardening in zone 7 is that you can plant pansies in the fall, and they bloom all winter long. One winter we even had an ice storm and my pansies were covered with a layer of ice, and they came back blooming within a week.
Purple pansies are not wussy!
I often feel a sense of seasonal disorientation when browsing through craft stores. Looking for fall decorations? Isle 1. Santa Clause? Isle 2. I expect to see the Easter Bunny around the next corner.
Now I'm feeling the same seasonal disorientation in my own backyard. The air is crisp like autumn, yet I know it's almost "Winter Break". As shown in this photograph, some trees are changing colors, others have lost their leaves, and these evergreens are begging for Christmas lights. Welcome to the seasonal vertigo of zone 7.
Back in my hometown, in Ohio, the leaves are snug in their compost piles and the bare tree branches are flecked with snow and ice. Isn't that what December is supposed to look like?
Actually they are called Fern allies because they are more like ferns than mosses, since they have tiny roots and a vascular system, which is made up of tiny tubes that carry water and food.
Here's my collection of club mosses in the Selaginella family. They like humidity so I keep them in a terrarium.
Craving more club moss? Check out a naturalist's blog who took a beautiful picture of club moss (courtesy of Leaning Birch) .