Friday, May 30, 2008

I was tagged, indirectly!

I was visiting a blog I had never been to, quite enjoying it, when I came upon THIS POST, by Jodi... and once I had read it, I was considered to have already been tagged! I liked that kind of swift trap! LOL. It sounded like an intreguing tag, so here is how it goes:

The Rules:-
Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more.
Find Page 123.
Find the first 5 sentences.
Post the next 3 sentences.

Well, here's mine:

"It was embarrasing, to say the least."
"Was Wynn upset?"
What could he say?

CHRISTMAS LETTERS, by Debbie Macomber (well, my closest books were all non-fiction books about cacti and succulents, desert plants, shells and nature stuff, which I keep sitting under a little table that is right in front of me on the couch where I sit with my laptop.! I had to actually search around a little to find a fiction book, which I felt would be a bit more interesting!) BTW, my cousin gave me this book 2 years ago for Christmas, and I am embarrased to say I have not actually read it yet! Sorry, Debbie!!!! Have I turned anti-fiction??? Yes, I think I have!!!

If you read this, you have been tagged!! You may leave your post as a comment here! :) Ha ha ya!!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Oh dear...

I think I have been bitten by the Bromeliad bug!!! My screenroom is begging me to populate it with these gorgeous plants! I am searching for ways to hang them, and attach them to something, etc...I want to be able to get them growing in several vertical displays, but need to know how!!! What to do!!! My S-I-L has several old tree trunks in her screenroom (which I DO NOT have)and she has attached them all in the approximately 5 ft. trunks, and they just look gorgeous! I have borrowed a few pics to show you a couple of these plants that I really love (I ain't got them yet)...from Bromeliad World. Let me know of any ingenious ideas for taking them vertical!


ABOVE: Hieroglyphica Hybrid cv. heiroglyphica


ABOVE: 'Peregrine johannis X concentrica

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Dragonfly Photo Shoot Up Close and Personal!

Well, I was out in the side yard (and luckily I had my darn camera in hand), when a dragonfly came to rest right in front of me on the Jasmine on my gate! I couldn't believe how he acted...very friendly, and let me put my hand up right under him. He moved a couple of his little legs onto my finger, and then moved...but only a teeny distance away. I felt like I was freakin Snow White!!! This guy was trying to actually communicate with me...I talked to him, and he just let me take picture after picture!!! What a sweetheart! He was a goodlooking fellow, too! I am referring to him as male, but for all I know he could be she!

Doesn't he look like a helicopter animated for childrens television?????
In these two pics he had flewn over to the tip of an hibiscus bush, and I was taking the pics into the sun, so they don't show his color as well, but I thought these were still interesting shots!

That was fun!!!

"Thank God", the succulents cried...

OK, this is a sad story! I was out at my tires the other day and found 3 of these plants (everything except the purple one, Wandering Jew)laying in between some of the tires, on the ground. I had forgotten that a few months (I'll bet ya) ago, I had pulled them out because they were getting fried in the sun. They would be put in a pot and taken in the screenroom, never all this time they were just laying the shade. Then, when I discovered them, they laid around another two weeks waiting to get planted...THIS is the reason I love succulents...they tolerate so much abuse from me...but they LOVE me too!!! LOL
Anyway, I planted them in this clay pot today and added a peice of my neighbors Wandering Jew, and they look pretty darn happy, don't you think?

Sempervivum arachnoideum cv. 'Cebenese, or "Cobweb"

Could you have resisted this absolutely neato-groovy-cool plant??? There he was sitting amongst all the others...obviously a king among paupers. Although he felt happy, he cried out to be taken home with me, and made to be the king he really was! I repotted him, and put lovely stones all around him, and he is now the new King of Screenporch Succulentom, surrounded by his new "subjects". He is happy, and I am ectastic!!! This is a crazy love I have for all my babies!!! What is wrong with me...I must be going nutty in my old age!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Succulent plants and a new book!

Here are a couple of shots of two plants in my tires. This one is Crassula pagoda, and I love how it turns red around the edges, as so many of the succulents do, in full sun. I have a fondness for crassula anyway, the way they build upon themselves! I'm glad this one seems to be happy in it's location, and with it's watering schedule!

Here is a growing specimen of Mammilaria gracilis fragilis, and I found this little tanish colored firm pod-like thing growing on it...I hope it will open to a flower! It would be this plants first time flowering for me, so I am unsure of what to expect. If and when it does, I hope I catch it so I can take a picture to share!

And, here is my latest new OLD book! It was published in 1977, by George Ashley. The drawings inside are by Maggie Baylis, and are very detailed pen and inks. The author has a wonderful sense of humor, and came from a cactus and succulent dominated home (his Mom loved them). He covers every detail about these plants and their care, and the ink drawings are really great. I would have to say this is a really fun and informative that I have REALLY enjoyed picking up over and over, in even a few short weeks! I adore all of my older succulent books (my collection is growing)...there is just something about them that I enjoy.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Bragging on my daughter a little bit!

This evening, my daugher sat down at the table and decided to try and draw Jessica Alba. She used this photo from the cover of Allure Magazine as a reference. In about 20 minutes she walked over and showed this to me!!! I was amazed, seriously. Where did she learn to do this? She is self taught...I tried to get her to take art classes over the years, and she always refused. She never wanted to learn something someone elses way. I am seriously telling her that she needs to go to art school now for college...what do you guys think??? Am I just prejudiced, or is she talented??? She rarely does any artwork, but then she just sits down and does something I would call outstanding. I really wouldn't think she was my daugher, except we practically look like twins...a young and an old twin anyway!!! LOL!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A succulent dinner at Tall Tales!

Tonight we went for dinner at Tall Tales, a new restaurant inside of our new Gander Mountain store! The restaurant just opened last week, and the store only about 1 month ago. It is a store much like Outdoor World, with all sorts of outdoor enthusiast stuff...hunting, fishing, camping, etc...
I took a few pics of the place as we went in...(You can see all the new plantings outside, and one husband who must be a big ham)!

A few of these lighting peices were in there...a huge log with different sized electric flickering candles hung up by ropes! Nice touch, for sure!

A hunting lodge feel, for sure!

Until you see the computer lunching counter! Well, maybe a new fangled hunting lodge, eh??? LOL...anyway, very nice idea, for a lot of fun. My Army son would appreciate this!!!

And a view of part of the outdoor seating...with lanterns on the tables for dining after dark, which I intend to do a lot of...

And the menu...which, BTW had a nice variety, reasonable prices... and included s'mores for dessert! What more could you ask!

My salad was devine! I highly recommend this restaurant for anyone who is lucky enough to live close by one...or if you run into one on vacation! The store is so fun too!

My Silver Squill is blooming!!!

Can you see the white blooms leaning over on the red ladybug in the one picture? It is difficult to get a good pic of the long stalks! These are the neatest plants...a bulb for a root, and the color of the leaves is really groovy! They are spotty...I just love them so much. I was looking to add more plants in my yard with white blooms, and look here...I have another one!!! I can hardly wait to see them start making more...I want a ton of these!
They only grow to 6 inches, evidently, and are good in zones 10a, 10b, and 11, which is right in my little section of the world (South Florida). They like full sun, which I am so happy to hear, because they are planted in one of my succulent tires.
Silver Squill are drought resistant (thank God, hee hee hee)!!!
Don't you agree they are just really cool, and ultra great??? I'm in love!

Dyckia marnier-lapostollei

I recieved this plant...a Dyckia marnier-lapostollei the other day, and I really like the way it looks, with the little teethy edges, and a silvery coloration. It is not a succulent, but part of the bromeliad family. It looks like it likes to grow in rock gardens, and amongst cactus and succulents, and is drought tolerant, which is kinda good for me!
They grow only 6-12 inches high, in zones 10a and 10b. I looks like I am in the perfect location! They like full sun to partial shade, and I am really hoping I can put it outside...maybe in one of my tires. I think it would look cool to do a tire of all plants with this similar leaf structure. It is supposed to bloom with orange flowers, which is one of my fav colors, so that is a good thing!
I really like it so much.

I'm sorry I haven't posted for a few days. It's been a rough last few weeks at work, and I am so looking forward to the 3 day holiday weekend.

God bless our soldiers and their families, and all those who have served our country!
With great appreciation to them...

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Air plant blooms!

How interesting to walk out my front door and see one of my air plants with big purple blooms and yellow tips, but when I went over for a closer look, I discovered a smaller one underneath was also in bloom. (The one on the right was under the one on the left). They sure are pretty! I wasn't expecting anything so showy, since the plants themselves are far from that. I hope this means they are happy sitting in their current location of shade mostly, with a little bits of sun that peek through my hibiscus to shine on them briefly as the sun sets each day.
I accomplished my two goals today of getting my tomato plants in a pot, and looking for a book I wanted to read. It was something I had read about, but when I actually looked at it, I decided it wasn't for me. But, at least I looked. I was glad I hadn't ordered it online, because I would have been disappointed. I am trying to do 2 things before I order books online. Check the library system, look at a local used bookstore, so I can see it before I buy, and if I decide to buy, I still save postage. The library is the best though, if it works out that they have it!
It has been a lazy day, really, after working all week. I bought chicken wings and collard greens for dinner already made, at Publix. It was delicious...
Hope your Saturday is going well.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Ric-Rac Cactus, (aka: Anthony's Rick-Rack, Zig-Zag Cactus, or Fishbone Orchid Cactus)

I recieved two new specimens in the mail yesterday from Gardinos, and one of them was this lovely cactus...which to me seems more non-cactus because it has no spines, and it is an epiphytic plant...dark green, smooth and flowing. Ever since the time I saw the first one in picture, and then at Vickie's, I have been in love. If you go to her blog you can see the blooms! They are awesome, huge and purple!!! I will probably need to wait until next spring to see this one bloom, if it will. I plan to put it in a big pot, and keep taking cuttings on the longer peices and get myself a nice huge plant going!

According to Paghat, Cryptocereus anthonyanus (formerly Selenicereus anthonyanus) is an epiphytic cactus from Mexico. It can be grown either in orchid substrate, or in regular cactus potting soil with a bit of humus added. In the wild it attaches itself to trees, clinging by little aerial root filaments along the zigzagging succulent leaves, but is adaptable to terrestrial habits. It can be trained to climb a trellis, but looks best in a hanging basket from whence the lightning-shaped leaves will dangle two to four feet over the edge.

It loves strong yet indirect lighting. It does not need a lot of water & should be permitted to dry out entirely between waterings. It has its limits, however, & we did manage to neglect the plant for some while so that several leaves died, & so we put it in a spot where we'd be more apt to pay attention to it, & it rapidly bounced back with occasional watering.

It is nightblooming, & its flowers last only a single night in spring. It is common that specimens rare or never flower, but when they do so, they are usually rootbound in poor soil, then can produce many white & pink & maroon slender-petaled starburst blossoms, which begin to open right at dusk, releasing a pleasing fragrance intended to attract nocturnal pollinators.

Because the flowers are so quickly spent, this epiphyte is mainly only grown for the strange leaves which lend it the common name Ric-Rac Cactus, or occasionally Zig-Zag or Fishbone Cactus.

The species name is after St. Anthony. Is there was a Catholic myth which explains the reason for this name? It turns out that there is a traditional prayer to Anthony that pleads, "From thunder, lightning & storms, St. Anthony deliver us," for as it turns out, Anthony is called to whenever a Catholic is at risk of death in a blizzard, & might even be regarded as a patron saint of weather forcasting.

Seeking further a story that would explain Anthony's power over fierce weather, it turns out that among his many supernatural visions, induced by fasting & abuse of his own body, he hallucinated himself set-upon by demons in the form of tornados & hailstones & such like, with Satan having the form of a thunderbolt, as is stated in the gospel of Luke [10:18].

So as it turns out, the ric-rac cactus is manifestation of the devil!
What a great story!!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Look what I found today after work!

This little bugger (Huernia Schneideriana) had 2 blooms and another bud up underneath it! I just happened to find them while relocating a few plants around. I sort of cleaned up my screen room, and moved the grill, and all my plants to opposite ends of the room...and I brought in Rex (my big tall Euphorbia), who was sitting out in the full sun, and my orange colored Aloe, because I feel they were just getting too much sun, and possibly not quite enough water. After I got everything moved, I gave all my plants a drink of water...I think they were all to the point of ready for that, and I believe I heard them all sighing!!! LOL.

Well, check this out!

My friend, Karen found these wire hanging baskets for me...and one for her too! Tonight after work we went to Lowes and bought plants and cocomat to plant them up! I picked out a peach and a pink portulaca, and a string of bananas to put in mine! It turned out real pretty...once it fills in, and is in full will really be stunning! Thanks Karen!

My new seeds

I not only found my Cleome, or Spider Flower seeds today at Lowes, but I found these absolutely adorable red and white candy cane striped Zinnias! I am psyched...will try planting a few of each and see what happens this weekend!!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

These boots are made for rooting...

...and that's just what they've done!

I am trying an experiment...about 2/3's of these Fittonia were actually rooted in water, and I stuck in 1/3 without roots. I want to see if I keep the soil moist, if they will root on their own, which I feel they definately will. Hope I am right! I think this variety of Fittonia is my favorite...the white veins show up so prettily against the dark green leaf.

These boots I found at a thrift store a few months ago, and wondered what I would do with them...they found a home in my kitchen with the low-light loving Fittonia! A match made in heaven!

Yo, ho, yo, ho, a pirates life for me!

Here is an antenna topper I found in the gift shop immediately following the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney...had to have a pic for my blog, of course, mateys!

Good news...check it out...the Cleome or Spider Flower will grow in Zone 10 and 11. Yippeeee!!! I am gonna get some seeds right away. They flower through the summer!!!
Cleome hassleriana
Common Names: spider flower
Family: Capparaceae (caper Family)

Spider flower is a tender annual that grows up to 5 ft (1.5 m) in height. The palmate leaves are composed of 5 leaflets each 5-6 in (12.7-15 cm) long. The delicate flowers are held in cluster at the stem tips. Flowers are 1-2 in (2.5-5 cm) wide with long, 2-3 in (5-7.6 cm) graceful stamens that are the "legs" of this spidery flower. The buds at the lower end of the flower stem bloom first and then proceed sequentially toward the tip which continues to grow and extend over the course of the season. Slender seed pods quickly follow the flowers, hanging on long stems they are arranged around the stem like a bottlebush with limp bristles. Selections are available in a range of colors including white, pink, rose and lavender. Many varieties are colored when they bloom and then fade, some to white, over the course of a day. Named cultivars include 'Violet Queen', 'White Queen', 'Rosea', and 'Alba'.

Spider flower is native to an area of South America stretching from southern Brazil west into Argentina. This plant has naturalized in scattered areas across the southeastern U.S.

Cleome prefers light, fertile soils but is adaptable to most conditions (except soggy and persistently moist).
Light: Likes bright sunny situations but will tolerate some shade in hot climates.
Moisture: Needs well drained soil. Doesn't require a lot of moisture, water when dry.
Hardiness: USDA Zones 8 - 11 where it will reseed. Grown as a tender annual in Zones 4-7.
Propagation: By seed, start indoors in colder zones and plant in garden when frost has past. Space plants about 1 ft (0.3 m) apart.

'Violet Queen' is a compact varieties whose flowers open violet and then fade to almost white as they age. Click here to download a large version (800x600) of this image.
Use spider flower as a background plant and in borders. Also good in mixed shrub plantings to fill in while shrubs mature. Makes a durable container plant for patio or balcony. Remove spent blossoms to prolong flowering. You can shape spider flower plant to suit your tastes and design needs. For tall slender plants remove the side branches. For shorter, fuller plants remove the central bud when the plant is about 1 ft (0.3 m) tall to encourage side branching.

Spider flower is not bothered by pests and is easy to grow from seed. Cleome is a satisfying plant for new gardeners. The flowers are very attractive and the cleome has a long flowering season(6 months in Florida, 3 months in more northern areas).

You may ocassionally see this plant referred to as Cleome spinosa especially in older gardening publications.

This is a closeup of the spider flower's "legs" (stamens) just emerging as they begin to stretch out into graceful arcs. Click here to download a large version (800x600) of this image.
It's possible that this plant might freak out your friends and neighbors! Until it produces it showy blossoms, spider flower looks very much like a marijuana (Cannabis spp.) plant! A few years ago a high school student wrote to Floridata asking if there were any garden plants that looked like marijuana. They were conducting a mock drug trial at his high school and he was defending a client who an eye witness had testified had marijuana plants. I sent the student lawyer pictures of the spider flower, scarlet hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus) and chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus) all of which resemble the notorious weed in some way. We won - I mean he won the case by demonstrating reasonable doubt that it was marijuana and that the witness may have seen one of these "lookalikes". Case dismissed!

Spider plant will reseed itself and under some conditions may become invasive.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Magic Kingdom Saturday~

We were standing at the entrance to the Magic Kingdom, and this monorail came by which I took a picture of, and don't you know, it was the same one our son and his family got off of! I thought that was quite amazing, especially considering it was his wife's first time to Disney, and I got a pic of her first monorail ride ever!!!

Here are a couple of blooming trees I took pics of...they were so beautiful...Disney goes "all out" in so many ways! I have no idea what these trees are...if anyone knows, please let me know! Oh, the yellow tree was "raining" flowers was the first thing I saw as we entered MK...there were people sitting and standing under this tree, and the yellow petals were falling down just like rain...and all to the music of Zippedy-Do-Da!I felt like crying, I was so happy!

These beautiful flowers were just inside a center garden just before you head down Main Street. I have never seen anything like these before...there were white and pink ones all planted together in one bed. They are so futeristic looking to me! I will have to see if I can find out what they are...for some reason "Asters" is coming to mind, but I don't really know...we do not grow them in so I have only seen asters on seed packages. These must be a fancy form of something!!!

And, I really liked these trimmed up podocarpus in tomorrowland!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Which of these Kalanchoe is your favorite?

Look at all these bloomers I saw today at a local nursery. Aren't they so pretty? I just wonder what your favorite is. I really love the blooms on the last pink one, but the color of the first one!