Friday, April 30, 2010

Help! Mexican Fan Palm

My dear Mexican Fan Palm is on its last leg. We had a colder than normal winter, and lots of the tropical plants around here bit the dust. My neighbor had a gorgeous 6-foot agave that was the focal point of her front garden. It was in front of a pretty bay window and I oooed and ahhhed at it every time I walked past. I was in shock when I walked by one day last month and saw the whole thing in pieces on the sidewalk for the garbage men to pick up. It just got too cold for too many days, and it wasn't bouncing back. Boo-hoo!

I think my 8-foot Mexican Fan Palm may be about to experience the same fate, but, please! Say it ain't so!

When we visited New Orleans back in mid-February, my mom came by to feed Walle. And she decided to do a little yard work to "help" out. Well, two bad things happened that weekend. One - She pruned my spirea into nice, round balls. Lovely, right?

Two - She also cut back my palms. As in, she took off all of the fronds. Yes, the fronds were brown and not looking great, but I also know that the tree will continue to pull food from the fronds even as they are brown... so it has been my policy not to trim them until I see new growth popping out. After the trim, this is all I have left...

I do see some green peeking out on what is left of the fronds, so I can only hope that it has some life left in it. Does anyone have any advice about what to do? I am really at a loss. My other palm, which is only about 3 feet tall, is slowly putting out a new frond. But this one hasn't budged an inch.

More Clematis Blooms

Last week I posted the gorgeous blooms of H.F. Young clematis. I really can't believe I bought that lovely plant on sale at Home Depot. I hope it continues to thrive on the pool pump fence.

This week my two other clematis vines are blooming. These vines are Franziska Marie (purple) and Henryi (white). I have them growing on a black iron obelisk-like trellis. You can hardly see the trellis anymore! These two vines were very slow growing the first few years. I bought them to hide the ugly kitchen range vent pipe.

I first planted them in 2006, and they were just a few feet tall by the end of the growing season that year. Last year the vines finally produced lots of pretty blooms. And now this year! Wow! The vines are huge.

They say clematis like their feet in the shade and their shoulders in the sun. If that is the case, then H.F. Young is in exactly the right spot. The other two - not so much. Those vines get around two to three hours of sun in the afternoon, and that's about it. Maybe that explains why H.F. Young took off so quickly, while the other two were very slow to develop.

Either way, I'm happy with the placement of these vines, and I'm happy that Henryi and Franziska Marie have finally grown so large.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Clematis Blooms on Earth Day

As I watered my vegetable garden this morning, I couldn't help but think about how lucky I am to have this little plot of land on the Earth, so big and diverse. Today, do something to show your respect for the planet.

As promised, I went to the Mississippi Farmers Market on Saturday to check out what they had in mid-April. I was hoping for produce, but I didn't find much. I did, however, pick up farm fresh eggs from BobKat Farms in Florence, MS. I am most excited about my purchase of one half of a grass fed, free range lamb from Livingston Springs Farm in Madison county. This share includes a leg, rack, chops, ribs, a shoulder roast, and 2-3 pounds of ground lamb. The lamb will ready in early fall, just in time to try out some fall lamb recipes. I've never cooked lamb at all before, but Chip and I both like it. It will definitely be a new experience for me!

Ok, enough meat talk. Let's get to the flowers! Clematis H.F. Young is in full bloom. This vine is right outside my bedroom window, so it is the first thing I see when I open the blinds each morning. Soon the jasmine will be blooming, too.

- Posted from my iPhone with BlogPress

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

While I was watering my veggies at lunch today, I noticed that one of my fennel plants was looking very bare.

Upon further inspection, I found this little guy chomping away. A little research tells me this is a Black Swallowtail caterpillar, and they love fennel, dill, and Queen Anne's lace.
I plopped him in a bucket and tossed him over the fence. I hope he doesn't come back! But, I do wonder how he found my fennel. Or, maybe the little eggs were attached to one of the plants all along? I need to inspect them better!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Garden Bloggers Sustainible Living Project

In recognition of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, Jan over at Thanks for Today is asking garden bloggers to post about ways they are actively practicing a greener lifestyle and contributing to protecting our environment. Jan calls it the Garden Bloggers Sustainable Living Project.

On Earth Day 2008, I described the things we do on a daily basis to respect the Earth and live a greener lifestyle. We recycle, buy CFLs, bring reuseable bags to the grocery store, use cloth napkins instead of paper, buy recycled toilet paper, and compost. We still practice these activities, and over the past two years, we've added a few others.

1. We eat locally when we can
I try my best to grow yummy veggies, and this fall I increased our plantable space by moving a raised bed. I am working on getting my produce yields up so that we will have more home grown produce. But, I am also trying to make the farmers market a priority on Saturday mornings. The Mississippi Farmers Market in Jackson is such a wonderful resource. Can you believe this is what they have this week? Cornish Game Hens, farm fresh eggs, buttercrunch lettuce, goat cheese, shares of free range and grass fed beef and lamb, local honey, fresh herbs, and strawberries! I am going to hit it up on Saturday morning. I can't wait to blog about what I got!

2. We eat less meat
There are many studies out there that show that meat production (factory farming) contributes to climate change. Cows especially contribute to climate change because of all the methane they put back into the environment. Recently, a study by the Worldwatch Institute found that half of the world's greenhouse emissions are produced by the livestock and poultry industry. I am not a vegetarian, but in our house we have chicken only once a week. Once a month we'll have beef or pork. The rest of the time I cook vegetarian or we have fish or shrimp. If you haven't seen the documentary Food, Inc. go rent it now. It will change the way you look at factory farmed meat and processed foods.

3. I shop secondhand
I've been trying to make this more of a priority lately. When I need something, I try to hit up the secondhand/antique/junk stores before I buy it brand new. I've found an awesome lamp, some pretty table linens, water glasses, even funky jewelry. You'd be amazed at what you can find in these places.

4. I reuse what I can
I bought this countertop plastic bag dryer at and it has more than paid for itself in ziplock savings! I don't think I've had to purchase any since we got this thing.

5. We get our butts outside!!
There's nothing that will encourage you to love the planet Earth like spending time with it will! I like to hit up the local Nature Center for a walk or the Natchez Trace for a bike ride or the Yazoo River to kayak. I adore Smoky Mountains National Park. Since I first ventured to the park as a 19-year-old on Spring Break, I've looked for excuses to return. I'm going back in June to see the azaleas in bloom on Gregory Bald. It will be my 6th trip. I encourage everyone to find something they like to do outside that is close to home. Even if it is just a favorite walk through a pretty neighborhood or forest. There are opportunities to enjoy Earth all around us!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Irises in the Evening Light

This is probably my last iris post for a while. I don't want to bore y'all with photos of the same plants over and over. I am so happy with this part of my garden this year. It seems that after four years of trial and error, this area is finally looks how I always knew it could. I took these photos as the sun was going down, from 5:40 pm to about 6:20 pm.

I turned the compost pile yesterday evening and harvested over 15 gallons of gorgeous, black compost. I've already used about 5 gallons of it on my veggies. I plan to give some to my mom to supplement the clay-heavy soil in her vegetable garden. I'll find plenty of uses for the rest of it, I'm sure!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Irises in the Morning Light

The irises are exploding into blooms this morning. I can't believe how healthy this patch has become. When I moved in to this house, the irises were in two shady spots, and I had just a few blooms that first spring. I vowed to move them to a sunnier location, so I built a bed around a gum tree and moved them on New Year's Day in 2008. In 2009 the blooms were just mediocre. Here are some blooms from this morning.

The morning light isn't the best, so I am going to try to take more photos this evening. I also have my first clematis bloom of the season. This variety is H. F. Young.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Irises in Bloom

I got home from Oxford today and found that my irises are starting to bloom. Aren't they beautiful?

- Posted from my iPhone with BlogPress