Archive | May 2014

My Bucket List Contains…

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…ACTUAL BUCKETS!

I got this brilliant–I hope–idea to replace my typical hanging baskets with galvanized buckets. I’m tired of the plastic crumbling apart after a season in our punishing sun, or the hangers all snapping off and spilling the baskets to the ground. Since I just built my “wee potager” herb tower, I thought why not try hanging buckets, too?

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I planted this one yesterday with some 99-cent scaevola (fan flower), gazania, and India Frills coleus. My only worry, again, is if the metal will get too hot and damage the plant roots. Otherwise, I think this is a great idea, if you like the rustic look of metal buckets, and I do. My pond is a galvanized watering trough, and I plan to do some vegetable gardening come fall in some more of those. Maybe something like this, on a smaller scale.

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Or this one.

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Have any of you done gardening in galvanized containers? I’d love to hear about it. For more ideas and photos like these, check out my Pinterest “Garden Ideas” board.

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Wednesday Author Interview: Deborah Brown

Check out the whole interview on Bookin’ It. Hope you enjoy it. 🙂

Bookin' It

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My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Today, I’d like to welcome cozy mystery author Deborah Brown to Bookin’ It. Deborah’s Paradise Mysteries are so much fun, and I especially love them because they are set in south Florida, and make me feel right at home as soon as I open the covers! Thank you for being here, Deborah. I appreciate your taking the time to talk to us today.

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1. Deborah, can you 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? 

I didn’t necessarily think one day I wanted to be an author, even though I’d been writing since high school. Five years ago, after spending the summer voraciously reading I realized I wanted to try again. 

2. Lucky for us! Were you…

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Update on My Cardinal Babies

Posted a picture two weeks or so ago showing Mama Cardinal sitting on her nest in my jasmine vine. The vine is on a trellis at the end of my screen porch, so we have to take pictures through the screen. I apologize for the quality, but I’m not going to come at her the other way and scare her. Last weekend, Mark managed to get pics of two babies, reaching for food. Thought you might enjoy them. I sure do.

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Needless to say, my poor cats have been banned from the back porch until the babies fledge. No glaring through the screen at them with their big, cat eyes! 🙂 They are not happy kitties, but they’ll survive. It won’t be a lot longer before the babies are leaving the nest. Sadly, baby birds fledge before they can fully fly, and spend a few days, running, hopping, and taking very short flights around the yard. They are super vulnerable during that time, but I’ll do my best to make sure the dogs don’t find them.

On the plus side, here in central Florida, cardinal pairs will raise several clutches of eggs and babies over the spring, summer, and fall. At least three, and sometimes four broods will be fed and nurtured, thus insuring that some of the babies do survive to be parents themselves one day.

My Interview With Wetknee Books

I had a great time being interviewed by Wetknee Books. Thoughtful questions, and a fun website, too. Check it out! 🙂

Bookin' It

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Sharing my interview with Wetknee Books with those of you who might enjoy it. I thought the questions were very well thought out, and I had a lot of fun trying to stick to the “one paragraph” rule! Ha. (Hey, she never mentioned how LONG the paragraphs could be! 😀 ) Hope you’ll stop by and check it out, and while you’re there, take a look around the rest of the site, and sign up for Anna or Aimee’s Mail List, too.

Wetknee Books Interview With…ME!

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Herb Tower, Chaste Tree, and Weeding!

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My little chaste tree has really started to grow this year, popping out with newly formed flower spikes all over the place. It’s fun, watching them turn from whitish buds to lavender blooms the bees just love. I’m really happy I planted this, even though it goes completely bare in the winter. It leafs back out so quickly in spring, and blooms so beautifully, it’s worth it.

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You can see the individual purple flowers opening up on these spikes. The color will deepen to a lovely lavender, and the blooms last a long time. And anything that draws bumblebees, honey bees, and butterflies is something I’m sure to love.

Also been experimenting with herb towers this week, made from galvanized tubs and buckets. I love the rustic look of them, and they are so easy to take care of. Plus, they aren’t breakable, something that can be an issue with terra cotta. Now to see if the metal gets too hot for the plant roots in full Florida sun.

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I just planted this one yesterday with a cherry tomato in the top bucket, and oregano, ornamental pepper, basil, and thyme in the bottom part. Still room for another herb or two, but I want to put my mints in the shade, so I’ll have to stop by the nursery this weekend. It’s late for buying herbs and the selection is limited, but I’ll find something.

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Another view of the tower, in relation to my patio. I could have added a 3rd bucket, but decided the tall tomato and support tower were enough for this one. I’ll post more pictures as the weeks go by. If the metal gets too hot, I’ll have to use this idea for shade loving mints or flowers like impatience. It will be a fun experiment, anyway. Off to weed a long-neglected bed this morning, before the temps hit ninety outside. It’s supposed to be a very hot weekend. Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

Check It Out!

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The Reason I Got So Far Behind on This Blog!

Download Swamp Ghosts FREE today on Amazon. If you enjoy Romantic Suspense in a beautiful Florida setting, I hope you’ll check it out. Find out why eco-tour boat owner, Maggie Devlin, and wildlife photographer, Gunnar Wolfe, are being hunted by the most dangerous creature in the swamps…the one that walks on two legs. Love, humor, and the occasional dose of Creep Factor. It’s all there.

Only out a few days, and already has eight 5-star reviews. I couldn’t be happier! Go get yours today…you know you want to! 😀

5 Stars: “Great for your summer reading list. I wish I could give it 10 stars! You will not want to put Swamp Ghosts down, it will keep you on the edge of your seat and will keep you guessing.”

5 Stars: ” The main characters are believable and the chemistry between the two is incredible. I highly recommend this book. “

Swamp Ghosts: A Riverbend Novel

Finally! I’m BACK!

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Coral Honeysuckle in Full Bloom, and Carolina Wren in Residence in the Old Birdhouse

I know I’ve said it before, but honestly, you have no idea how much time writing and publishing a book can eat up. I’m spending at least 60 hours a DAY on it, so you know I’m in Time Deficit Mode, here! 😀 But. I’m trying to find ways to manage my crowded days better, so I can get back to my blogs again. I’ve already gotten Bookin’ It back to speed, and I can’t leave Who’s Your Granny just abandoned and lonely, now can I?

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View from My Patio Table

So…here’s the scoop. My sad and neglected garden is undergoing a metamorphosis as I try to get it cleaned up, replanted, and looking good before the heat becomes unbearable.

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First Don Juan rose of the season. Reddest & most perfect rose, ever! (Ignore all the photos
on my inspiration board. This is my writing desk, and you never know who or what might
be displayed! 😀

I dug my pathetic looking roses, which do not like my soil, and potted them in huge containers last month, and they are already leafed out and starting to bloom. They LOVE the richer potting soil, and the extra TLC.

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I’ve raised and released six monarchs already this season, which is pretty good, given that I don’t have as much milkweed available for them to lay their eggs on as I usually do. It’s on my shopping list.

Found a decent source of good terra cotta and glazed pots at my local Wal-Mart. Much better prices than Home Depot, and certainly better than most garden centers. So I’m collecting pots and moving a lot of things out of the ground and into containers. Easier to care for, and I have more control over the growing medium. I’m trying to do more xeriscaping for the inground stuff…native plants and low maintenance things. And annuals, which I’d have to replace every year, anyway. Thinking of broadcasting some wildflower seeds, if it isn’t already too late here.

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Mama Cardinal on my Jasmine vine, just outside my screen porch. Can you see her? (Look for her orange beak.)

We’ve been having 90 degree days regularly for several weeks, so summer is upon us already. Stay tuned for more frequent updates! And please let me hear from you, those of you who are still with me. I’ve missed chatting with my fellow gardeners and friends.