Archive | September 2014

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

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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?