My Blog


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


January 2013 • Southern Rural Route

I have a friend who lives in the frozen tundra on the way to the Great Lakes. The Baroness (just one of her many aliases) mirrors my personality in many ways including the ability to charge forward without fear when caution screams in the double digits. She sent me this photo by email and said, “Poor thing, but he looks comfy doesn’t he?” I’ll admit I missed the part about … Read More

The Camellias are in bloom now and the bees are happy. All of these Camellias were planted by Momma. We even have multiple bushes because she rooted some of them to make extra bushes. The bushes are on both sides of her house, at the front entrance, and in the back near my “Fern Bed.” … Read More

I’m starting a new category unrelated to gardening or living on a rural route. It will go by the name, It Caught My Eye. Here is the first offering – a mural on the side of an elementary school. As I was driving by, the flash and sparkle of the mural pieces literally caught my eye. I told a few friends about it and it turns out that one of my friends works there as a teacher’s … Read More

My regular readers have probably figured out by now that I have a unique outlook on the world and quite a few things strike me as downright funny.  After Momma passed, The Grande Poobah in Ohio sent me a plant. First, you need to know that she has an oddball sense of humor funnier than mine. She couldn’t possibly have arranged what happened but it would have been like her to do … Read More

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog. Here’s an excerpt: 600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 12,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 20 years to get that many views. Click here to see the complete report. … Read More

I had four days of work come up for the week of December 31st and intended to use New Year’s Day to get my blog ready for the New Year and post something humorous. Alas, my mother, who has been ill for two years, passed into God’s Kingdom New Year’s Eve at 7 p.m. and I just haven’t been in a frame of mind to blog. Give me a few days for my sense of humor to … Read More


July 2012 • Southern Rural Route

I recently finished reading DIGGING DEEP: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening by Fran Sorin, a garden designer. I loved this book because it was about gardening and creativity. As I mentioned in a previous post, the subject of creativity has been dear to my heart for 20+ years. Digging Deep was divided into seven stages starting with Imagining and Envisioning … Read More

I found another garden marker idea on Page 86 and 89 of the April 2012 issue of Better Homes & Gardens. In the article, Donna Drago placed 5 or 6 foot tall unpainted wooden stakes in her square foot garden. Each stake had a whimsical lime green dowel cap on top. Just below the dowel cap, she wrote the name of the plant. I knew the wooden stake was a bad idea for my neck of … Read More

Give me a moment to rant: Thanks to Wall Street’s hijinks, I have worked all of 6 weeks since August 2009. I place the blame for our financial meltdown on all of corporate America because of the bribes they pay our political leaders to acquire legislation favorable to their goals. Any legislation favoring corporations generally is not in the best interest of the rest of us. As … Read More

Unlike most people who obtain an amaryllis bulb as a gift, I do not grow my amaryllis in pots. Mine have been planted in the ground in front of my deck/porch for more than twenty years. It’s a wonder they bloom at all because they are not planted with the top third of the bulb exposed. They might have started out that way but are now buried under inches and inches of leaf … Read More

I now have my very own photo of this crustacean, the Eastern Lubber Grasshopper. He was sitting at my front steps on top of my hibiscus  as big and audacious as you please. The nerve. I reached inside my front door to grab my camera off the floor. I don’t dare leave the camera on the porch when I’m outside because my cat, Big Foot, likes to spray everything in sight. I got as … Read More

There’s not much I can grow in Florida’s heat during July and August, sometimes September. I can grow peas, however, as they love the heat. On Monday, my good friend Evie, and her wonderful sister-in-law Shorty, came to help me weed a few rows for peas. If it wasn’t for that dadburn dollar weed, my weeding situation would not be so difficult. Evie must not have liked plowing a … Read More


March 2012 • Southern Rural Route

  Ethyl, them taters done sprouted! It’s been two weeks since me, Evie, Shorty and Shorty’s 6-year-old daughter, Leyah, planted them Yukon Gold taters. I thought you’d like to see what a tater sprout looks like when it’s just barely out of the ground. In the winter of 2011, I experimented with growing some potato eyes on a sliver of potato peel  given to me by Momma.  The peels … Read More

I am always looking for pass-along plants from the yards of other gardeners. My friend, Patricia, gave me a cutting from one of the stems of her Jade plant back in 2004. I immediately potted it up without allowing the cut to callous. God, ever merciful, let’s us succeed when we don’t know what we’re doing. I realize 2004 is a while back but, oh my, look how it has grown. The … Read More

This is my asparagus bed. I think I ate an asparagus once but left to my own devices, I don’t actually choose to eat asparagus. I mean, they look like little trees, you know? However, I am trying to eat more veggies and less meat soooooo if I should happen to get some of those little trees to come up in this bed, I’ll have to acquire a taste for trees. My asparagus project … Read More

My butter beans sprouted in seven days and this is what they look like a day after they pop out of the soil. We Southerners do like our butter beans and ham. Of course, the seed packet doesn’t refer to them as butter beans.  It drives me nuts, and admittedly I don’t have far to go, when I can easily find butter beans in a grocery store can (at least in the Southern USA) but not … Read More

Ethyl, we got them taters planted! I was huffin’ and puffin’ to get my spring garden planted and seemingly getting behinder every day so I called in the troops. None of us has very many friends who would come to our aid when we need help digging in the dirt but we all know who they are, don’t we? I called my chief abuser, Evie, and she brought along Shorty, who is really not … Read More

I was reading one of those free email newsletters from Mother Earth News in which the author, Michelle Martin, had interviewed Ethan Hughes about his educational homestead, the Possibility Alliance. He has a remarkable generosity of spirit and the last three paragraphs of his interview were inspirational: “I would also like to give readers a homework assignment. Sit down, put … Read More

March has historically been my winter clean-up month. This year has been slightly more challenging for me. After being the grateful recipient of some free tilling from Mr. Beekeeper on February 18 to double the size of my veggie garden, I’ve worked on weeding and raking it into rows, and filling the pathways with leaves for weed reduction. I didn’t even finish that project … Read More


faded coneflower Archives • Southern Rural Route

This is the  life cycle of a Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) as I have witnessed it by playing with them for two years. When the leaves are at the size shown above, they come out of the pot and go in the ground. The leaves will grow to four times this size before a flower stalk emerges. The final stage is waiting for the cones to dry out and turn … Read More