My Blog


January 2016 • Southern Rural Route

Sometimes I wonder about things. Like tulips and cat fur. Tulips require a minimum number of chill hours in order to bloom. Do cats require similar chill hours to grow a winter fur coat? I wonder only because my big old tom cat has a lot more fur this winter than my baby Zorro. I probably shouldn’t call him a baby. In cat years, he’s likely a teenager by now; but he’s so much … Read More


December 2015 • Southern Rural Route

You will recall from my post on Eat Your Yard Jax that I was fascinated to learn about hugelkultur. I didn’t want to toss chunks of trees in my hugelkultur plot because covering it with soil in my low vegetable garden would have been enormously expensive but I liked the idea that hugelkultur would raise my garden above the flood plain while we are in the “wet” years. I opted to … Read More

I want to caution you about recipes you find on the internet written by bloggers with unknown education and experience. Basically, people like me. I found a Toilet Bowl Cleaner recipe (hereinafter referred to as “cleaner”) on one of those natural living websites. Interested in trying less toxic cleaning products, I decided to give it a try. It was a simple recipe calling for 1 … Read More

While visiting with Mr. and Mrs. Golf Cart in their backyard garden in May, I admired their wind chime. I mentioned I had always wanted one of the larger ones but, at $89, they were out of my price range. I explained that I was a dollar store kinda gal. Mr. Golf Cart said, “Bring me an old frying pan and I’ll make you one.” Poor guy was probably joking and thinking I had no … Read More


November 2015 • Southern Rural Route

Meta sent me some photos for the blog because my camera died.  Currently blooming at Meta’s: She particularly likes her purple blooming bromeliads because they bloom a few times during the year in her Zone 9 garden yet they don’t require a lot of fussing over.  She said they can take part sun, part shade, but a bit more shade. Starting out with a one gallon pot, she … Read More

Tuesday I went with some of the ladies from Mandarin Garden Club on a field trip to Eat Your Yard. It’s a local, heavily wooded 40-acre farm run by Tim Armstrong to provide cactus and succulents to the wholesale market but he also has edible garden plants, a few farm-raised tilapia, chickens and rabbits. He was also affiliated with a garden project on the grounds of a school … Read More

Remember that big box of plant loot I got from Meta’s? Need to refresh your memory, it’s the last photo here. I saw her on a Thursday and I planted the daylilies on Saturday. I cut off all but 3 inches of the daylily tops so they wouldn’t have to support all that foliage while re-establishing their roots. There were so many daylilies in that copy paper box, I dug 27 holes and … Read More


October 2015 • Southern Rural Route

I have begun to use my 2015 crop of Meyer lemons. This year’s crop of 5 is bigger than the 2014 crop of 3.  I am looking forward to a larger crop each year. That is not a weed in the lemon pot. It’s a naturally occurring fern whose name I can’t remember.   What I have always liked about the Meyer lemon is the less astringent flavor. It doesn’t have the “pucker to the … Read More

Orbiting the Crooked Moon as I do, I’m always having these “adventures” I would just as soon not have. Yesterday was no different. I headed south to visit with one of my blog’s first subscribers, Meta. I ran into more than my share of T-stops that had so much signage I couldn’t see the name of the street or either the name of the T-stop was different than it was supposed to be. … Read More

Zorro has entered the Terrible Twos and is good for at least two good laughs a day. Whenever I hear a loud noise coming from the direction of his last known location in the house, I holler, “What have you down now???” Immediately, a wail arises that, if translated, would probably mean “I didn’t do it!”   … Read More

It has been a rough year for departures. First, Poppie. Then a Houston friend of 30+ years. This morning, I found Big Foot in the middle of the grassy area that used to be Momma and Poppie’s vegetable garden. Something had torn out his left haunch and he crossed the rainbow bridge sometime in the night. I didn’t shed a tear. I don’t think I can feel anymore. … Read More


September 2015 • Southern Rural Route

Other blogs with gardening as a topic, such as Seattle Trekker, are always setting my snarl in motion by featuring plants I can’t grow here in Florida under any circumstances but they can often grow our stuff if they are willing to fuss with it. It ain’t right, I tell you. The Butterfly Vine, Yellow Orchid Vine or Gallinita is best suited for USDA Zones 8-10 where it remains … Read More

My friend Lam shared several different kinds of bulbs with me a while back and I planted all of them in the same area. A few days ago, as I was leaving the Southern Rural Route, I discovered this yellow Spider Lily blooming where I had planted her bulbs. It really catches your eye better than this photograph indicates. … Read More

The Mandarin Garden Club is again cranking up their social calendar after taking the summer off.  Who wants to garden in the heat and humidity of Florida? I consider myself saintly to even do maintenance during the summer. Tuesday, September 15, the Dogwood Circle met and I went because they had Terry DeValle, the Duval County Extension Agent, speaking on “Color in the … Read More

I haven’t posted here for several weeks but, trust me, any reports of my death are erroneous. I can envision how such a report might happen. Someone borrows your name, birth date and insurance card number to pay for an ambulance ride. At the hospital, they fall off the gurney, bang their head on the floor and croak. With your info on the chart, your next of kin get the call … Read More


November 2014 • Southern Rural Route

When I first wrote about Lion’s Tail, I was trying to explain that there was more than one variety and my first acquisition of seeds were for the wrong variety (the one with fat leaves).  I finally got my hands on the kind I wanted at one of Cunningham’s herb festivals about this time last year. It was just a stick but quickly grew to 4 or 5 feet tall. Late in the fall, it … Read More

I should award myself a Dingbat Certificate. I went to all the trouble to mostly clean out the green house and then fill it with many of my favorite potted plants. The weatherman threatens a hard freeze with the possibility of 9 hours of 28 degree temperatures in my neck o’ the woods. Tuesday, I ran around the yard with my “dead body” sheets to cover up the rest of my beauties … Read More

We have a leash law here but a lot of laws are ignored by the citizenry. Two big dogs periodically show up in the yard and promptly leave via a hole in the fence near my Fern Bed. I told Poppie about the busted fence but a lot of what I tell him goes in one ear and out the other. Last Monday, the dogs caught the two cats – Big Foot and Whiskey – out in the yard a little too far … Read More

Every now and then, after you have suffered trespass after trespass from a particular plant, you whip out your Southern lexicon and declare “it needs killin’”. That happened with my Cherokee Rose, Rosa laevigata, also known as the Georgia State rose. It became the Georgia State rose in 1916 at the request of the Federation of Women’s Clubs. Clearly, those poor women were just … Read More


September 2014 • Southern Rural Route

We have had a LOT of rain lately. Buckets and buckets of rain. All kinds of mushrooms have been popping up around the yard. This was the weirdest of the weird. The mushroom top was 4 or 5 inches and the stem was a good 3 inches in width. … Read More

Tonya bought a new shovel – a drain spade and raved about it on her Facebook page, Seed & Gardening Exchange. I was intrigued as I am not particularly overwhelmed with the regular shovels we have on the Southern Rural Route. Research tells me that drain spades are used for digging narrow, deep ditches to drain agricultural land; digging post holes for fences; laying pipe; … Read More

It’s a treat to be an important visitor! Saturday, I was one of three Very Important Visitors who were invited to the Mandarin Garden Club plant and garden goodies swap which is a private event for club members. Also invited were Linda Cunningham of Cunningham Herbs and Tatyano Vaynberg, formerly of Trad’s Garden Center. I had so much fun with all the gals and, as always, one … Read More

This is news you can use. I’ve been under the care of a chiropractor for the last 16 months because of a car accident in 2011 that messed up my spine. I found, over time, that his treatments allowed me to work in the garden with less pain and grimacing. At my most recent treatment, I happened to mention that I had poison ivy. Or, at least, that was my best guess. I don’t … Read More

Text editing done in PicMonkey. … Read More


June 2014 • Southern Rural Route

Found these in the garden this morning. I was able to recognize these as Chinese Yellow Cucumber from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. Most of what is in the garden this year is a mystery but I’m not really up to explaining the mystery. It would require an admission of the depth to which my stupidity plummeted. Baker Creek seems to think these will grow to 10 inches. At four inches, … Read More

On Monday, I noticed two hummingbirds working the Blue Black Salvia in the wildflower bed across from my porch. There was probably a good ten feet between them and my rocking chair on the porch. This was good. You will recall from Birdfeeder that I don’t like these insect birds getting too close. Yesterday, I was standing on my porch fussing over a potted petunia on the … Read More

Like most gardeners, I have a lot blooming right now. I worked up a sweat taking these photos because the humidity today, according to the weatherman, will make it feel like 100. Here are some of the highlights:   … Read More

We gardeners like to be with each other.  We join garden clubs locally and online, write or follow blogs, join seed swaps and talk shop on Facebook. What we don’t think about in our interactions with each other is how much we influence one another. The other day I was in a small-box discount chain store  to buy dirt, the only item on my shopping agenda. Until I made the mistake … Read More


April 2014 • Southern Rural Route

Chinese Wisteria, wisteria sinensis, had very obviously “escaped cultivation” in Atlanta. It was blooming beautifully and roping its way through the tree tops everywhere you looked. Tarzan would have loved it! … Read More

I thought I’d show you a few photographs I took today at the Mandarin Garden Club plant sale. Other vendors were there, too — a sketch artist, glass ornaments, jewelry, some really cute garden aprons, barbecue, and others. Hang on to yer britches! I’ve got some garden info on this purty pink thang known as a Supertunia. I was excited to hear what Susan W. of … Read More

Continuing with my show and tell from the Atlanta Botanical Garden and Callaway Gardens, I offer you a number of photos.  They grow rhododendrons rather than azaleas.           … Read More

You will recall from my earlier post, What Is THAT?, it was my opinion that Red Russian Kale was a vegetable belonging to the Most Beautiful family of veggies. The Atlanta Botanical Garden is apparently in agreement with me. Here, they interplanted purple tulips with Red Russian Kale and somewhere else they had interplanted it with a white blooming plant.   These next … Read More

Poppie and I headed to Atlanta to see Miss Priss and her husband, arriving on Thursday, April 10. The next day we made another trip to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens to revel in the blooming glory of Spring. Confession time. I am SERIOUSLY in love with Pansies and Violas. I happen to hate the name “Viola,” preferring “Johnny Jump-ups” but no one contacted me about a proposed … Read More

I’ve been out of town for several days and look what I came home to — a whole row of my red and white striped amaryllis in bloom. … Read More

A cousin of mine shared a few of his huge pink and white amaryllis bulbs after I admired them with great longing. … Read More


October 2013 • Southern Rural Route

The first thing I noticed on arrival at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens was the amazing contrast used in their plantings. Atlanta Botanical Gardens’ 2004 exhibit featured internationally acclaimed artist Dale Chihuly. Two of his glass sculptures remain at the gardens. Near the Earth Goddess in the Cascades Garden, I saw this interesting Leopard plant: And this … Read More

Poppie and I drove up to Atlanta to visit my sister Diane over the weekend of October 19. While there, we saw the Imaginary Worlds: Plants Larger Than Life exhibit at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. This was the “first major exhibition of its kind to be shown in the United States” by the International Mosaiculture of Montreal which was created in 1998 to launch a mosaiculture … Read More

I found the best book ever for helping you with season-spanning, continuous blooms in your perennial garden design: The Ever-Blooming Flower Garden: A Blueprint for Continous Color by Lee Schneller (Storey Publishing, 2009). It’s divided into four parts: Part 1 – Creating your blueprint and buying all the plants Part 2 – Case studies of five gardens Part 3 – Her plant … Read More

I embrace all colors but my two favorite colors are navy blue and purple. Momma, however, had a list of colors that were totally unacceptable for any use. She didn’t like anything orange or brown, especially in clothing, and was forever trying to snatch out my yellow and orange flowered canna. I can’t tell you how many times she told me “never come home with a red car.” I … Read More

I’m not believing this. Yesterday’s mail brought more rock seeds, er, rock seed. It’s just one but it’s a big ‘un, about 5-1/2 by 4-1/4 inches. I guess rock seeds from the mountains are bigger than those you get elsewhere. Don’t ask me. This whole rock seed thing is new to me. Duncan, who sent the rock seed, said it came from Cuchara, Colorado, on the eastern slope of the … Read More

Meta sent me some new photos from her garden. You will remember her from Meta’s Garden.  Three of the photos were of red-blooming bromeliads under the shade of a palm tree. One of the bromeliad photos had me gawking and banging my keyboard as fast as I could type to ask, “What is that plant that looks like a hosta? I thought we couldn’t grow that here.” If she was growing … Read More