Arizona Sun Gaillardia

gaillardia_arizona_sun

Gaillardia “Arizona Sun”
Picture found online.

We lost another of our beautiful big oak trees a few weeks ago, and the shade that came with it. Consequently, the bromeliads that had been planted around the mailbox were suddenly in full sun, and burning up rapidly. Mark moved them out, and I bought three nice looking bright yellow lantanas, one for behind, and  one for each side of the mailbox, and then I went looking for something low and colorful (and cheap) for in front of it. I ended up with some very nice looking gaillardias that I think will give me several months of color, while I consider something more permanent in this spot. The variety I found was Arizona Sun, and I’m really looking forward to seeing them in full bloom. Hope they will look just like these pictures! Who grows gaillardia? Have any luck with it?

In Florida, winter is the time for many annuals that just can’t take our heat, including petunias, nasturtiums , and dianthus, to name a few. This is my favorite time of year to garden…or at least, it soon will be. I can feel just the tiniest hint of fall weather first thing in the mornings, even though it’s still hitting 90 or so by mid-afternoon. But even that little bit is enough to get me in the mood.

arizona_sun

It’s Time To GARDEN Once Again!

lablab
Purple Hyacinth Bean, or Lablab
(Photo found online)

Wow. Summer is leaving, thankfully, and cooler temps are beginning to pop up, a day here, and a day, there. That means I can start to spend an hour or two in my yard again, clearing out “excessive horticultural overgrowth” and planting winter annuals and veggies. For the last four months, I’ve been trapped inside, but I’ve been so busy working on my third novel, I didn’t have time to go outside, anyway, so I guess it worked out okay. Now as I near the end of my first draft, I can afford to take a few hours off a week to do the other thing that’s good for my soul. Plant stuff! :)

Question for any of you loyal followers who have stuck around while I was busy elsewhere. How many of you grow lablab, or purple hyacinth bean? I ordered some seeds from amazon a few weeks ago, and have been very pleased. I found a supplier offering 100 for $4.95 (the same price as those offering TEN!) I crossed my fingers that the seeds were viable, and planted them in a container by the framework of my patio gazebo. It said germination was ten days to two weeks. In three days, sprouts were popping up everywhere. In 3 weeks the first vines were nearing the top of the gazebo. And now, roughly 8 weeks later, the vines have flowers galore and purple bean pods coming out.

I’m really pleased with this one, and am planning to do the same thing on the opposing corner of the gazebo, so the vines can meet in the middle.

I’d like to hear from others who’ve grown this. There is an online argument as to whether the beans are edible, and from what I can gather, MOST sources say they can be toxic in large amounts, and recommend boiling them twice, throwing away the water each time. I don’t think I want to eat anything enough to go to that much trouble. I’ll just grow mine for looks, because the color of both the blooms and the bright purple pods is beautiful. What do you think?

Wednesday’s Guest Author: Elise Abram

Marcia:

Another cool Wednesday Author Interview on my Booki’ It blog. Hope you’ll check it out.

Originally posted on Bookin' It:

20885829

Today, our guest author is Elise Abram who writes what might be called “light science fiction,” and also has a newly released YA adult book available. Elise, welcome to Bookin’ It. So nice of you to join us today.
 
BI:. Tell us a bit about how you became a writer. When did you decide that’s what you wanted to be, and what steps did you take to prepare for a writing career?
 
EA: Being a writer was never a choice for me; I’ve always felt compelled to write. Growing up, I told myself stories to keep myself occupied. Sometimes I wrote them down, but I never really liked how they sounded. I kept telling myself one day I’d write all my stories down and get them published, but I never did. The Internet changed all that, because I suddenly had access to content I couldn’t get before and…

View original 2,219 more words

Might As Well Have A Laugh Today…

Marcia:

Just for grins.

Originally posted on Bookin' It:

Yeah, it’s not Thor’s Day, my usual joke day, but sometimes I just feel the need to share a laugh, regardless. Got a couple more reviews to do today, and my Sunday Blog of the Week, but I don’t care. I’m starting with a chuckle, anyway. Hope it makes you smile, too. I might even throw in a few more throughout the day. That’s the kind of week I’ve had. Every little laugh helps! :)

  f3fc605fb198c9be27f47f39fd358cb5

View original

Great Weather for…Soliciting?

Marcia:

Who knew this would work?

Originally posted on Bookin' It:

Well, must be something about 90+ degree days that brings out the solicitors en masse. The last week or two has been one constant barrage of doorbell ringing, accompanied by the not-so-dulcet tones of two frenzied dachshunds who continue to bark for another three or four minutes after I’ve chased off whoever was at the door to trigger their stubby-legged outrage.

I’m trying to write, here, but instead, find myself under constant assault from people of all ages and clothing tastes, trying to sell me home security systems, cemetery plots, life insurance, flood insurance, frozen steaks in bulk all the way from Omaha, and even salvation, or at least their particular concept of what being saved is all about. Doesn’t matter if I tell them I have my own concept, a freezer full of steak (I wish), all the insurance I need (doubtful), a place in the garden set aside…

View original 46 more words

The Herb Tower Groweth!

herbtowersm

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a picture of my new herb tower, or “wee potager” as my friend, Nicki, likes to call it. I stacked up a galvanized washtub, and a smaller bucket, and planted with a cherry tomato, in the bucket, surrounded by herbs in the washtub. I thought you might like to see how well it’s doing.  The tomato plant is as tall as I am (close to 6′ feet), and the herbs have filled out very nicely though I did lose one spicy globe basil. For some reason, none of my basils are doing well this year, no matter where they are planted, except for my African blue basil, which is slowly becoming a monster plant and bee magnet. But that’s for another post. :)

In comparison, here is the potager right after I set it up. You can see that there has been plenty of growth in a very short time. I even have some tomatoes starting to ripen. And in spite of several days of 97 degree weather in a row, the galvanized metal doesn’t seem to be getting too hot for the root systems. I think I’m on to something here. I will be doing a lot more gardening in these tubs and containers. They are cheap, long-lasting, and apparently work quite well. In fact, rather than going to the expense of buying watering troughs for my container vegetable beds, I believe I will just stick to washtubs. I can grow plenty of bush beans, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, lettuces, and the like in tubs, and line them up along the same area where I had thought to put the troughs. Why not? :) Are any of you using galvanized containers in your gardens? I’d love to know how they are working for you!

herbs1sm