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Monday, September 30, 2002

More Rain Lilies. i found

More Rain Lilies. i found a group of four more rain lily bulbs this weekend.

they were nowhere near the two i discovered in august, which were more or less in the middle of the backyard, between the oak tree and the garage. instead, the new group was in the far back corner of the backyard, near the fig tree (but not under it).

i noticed them only because i was cleaning out yet another infestation of asian jasmine and morning glory (i think). the rain lilies weren't blooming, but the foliage of one was tall enough to catch my attention. digging them up revealed two fairly large bulbs (about one inch in diameter) and two smaller bulbs (about half an inch in diameter). i potted them all together in a rectangular terra cotta planter and added the smaller of the bulbs from august.

speaking of the earlier rain lilies, i don't seem to have ever mentioned that i found a second one about a week after the first. it was in the general vicinity of the first bulb although about half the size; i poked around a bit more in the same site hoping to find additional bulbs but had no luck. the first rain lily is growing nicely even though it has not bloomed again. the second is coming along more slowly.

more rain lily links: "amaryllia cuties" from the national gardener magazine's gardening study perspectives and "pink fairy lily" from gay gardener.

i am now desperate to have scott ogden's garden bulbs for the south; it opens with a chapter on rain lilies, includes an extensive write-up of crinums, and also covers species tulips.

Posted by Erica Bess Duncan | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 28, 2002

Let Us Have - Lettuce.

Let Us Have - Lettuce. the lettuce from the second sowing is sprouting, both giant caesar and black-seeded simpson. five days from sowing to sprouting.

Posted by Erica Bess Duncan | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 26, 2002

Toro Rake and Vac. the

Toro Rake and Vac. the defunct leaf hog has been replaced by a toro rake and vac. the toro did a very good job vacuuming leaves last weekend; i haven't yet tried it on the pine needles in the backyard.

even though darin and i are quite capable of raking leaves the "old fashioned" way, leaves and pine needles compost oh-so-much faster when shredded. and our reel-mower, while it does a fine job cutting grass, doesn't chop leaves (or pine needles) very effectively. hence the need for a leaf vacuum.

Posted by Erica Bess Duncan | Permalink | Comments (0)

Relocating (More) Mexican Firebush. on

Relocating (More) Mexican Firebush. on sunday (yes, posts are running a bit behind) i moved two more of the firebushes. one joined its companions along the right edge of the bed; the other found a spot on the left side, next to the front step. one remains in the original location.

they still aren't blooming. i can only suppose that it is because (a) they were pretty small last fall when darin planted them and (b) they were frozen back to the roots in february / march.

earlier this week we happened to seeing a planting of mexican firebush in front of the downtown post office and these plants were blooming like mad. naturally, i had to inspect them. the post office plants are certainly older / more established than our plants because their stems were quite woody and at least twice as thick as ours. oh well, maybe our firebush will bloom next year.

Posted by Erica Bess Duncan | Permalink | Comments (0)

More on Species Tulips. from

More on Species Tulips. from the washington post archives - "compact 'species' tulips return year after year".

i've requested a catalog from john scheepers, but i may break down and place an order online before the catalog arrives.

Posted by Erica Bess Duncan | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Fall Vegetables, Day 23 /

Fall Vegetables, Day 23 / Day 2. progress updates...

peas: the peas are impressive. i actually took a measuring tape to them over the weekend - on average they are 11 inches tall. i am concerned that my stake-and-string support system will not be sufficient.

estimated harvest: november 10 (70 days)

cilantro: about four seedlings have survived so far. they're putting out "real" leaves and actually smell like cilantro. still very small, about two inches tall.

estimated harvest: october 13 (42 days)

spinach: one lonely seedling survives. i think something (bird, bug, slug?) ate the other seedlings since there were no shriveled remains. yesterday i sowed more seeds.

estimated harvest: october 19 / november 9 (48 days)

lettuce: i now know why the lettuce wasn't sprouting...lettuce seeds require light.

i had read the bit of the instructions that said to cover them lightly with soil, but then i also covered them with newspaper, as i had done for all the other seedlings. the newspaper was to help keep the soil damp and protect the seeds from the birds. it also prevented them from being washed away by tropical storm fay.

friday i removed the newspaper from where the lettuce was supposed to be, and, lo and behold, yesterday a couple of somethings (hopefully lettuce) were sprouting. i also sowed more lettuce seeds yesterday. two types - the giant caesar (again) as well as black-seeded simpson.

estimated harvest, giant caesar: november 10 / december 1 (70 days)
estimated harvest, black-seeded simpson: november 6 (45 days)

Posted by Erica Bess Duncan | Permalink | Comments (0)

Herb Garden. on sunday i

Herb Garden. on sunday i planted the newly purchased herbs in the raised bed (alongside the existing snap peas, cilantro, chives, rosemary and mint - it sounds more impressive than it is, really). chives and oregano will hopefully get established and be around for future seasons. the russian tarragon is on "probation" until we determine whether it has any culinary value. the parsley is for fall use only.

as of yesterday (monday), the transplants all looked well in the new digs.

Posted by Erica Bess Duncan | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 22, 2002

Gardening with Snakes. i was

Gardening with Snakes. i was sifting compost this evening and ended up sifting another dekay's snake. this one was quite a bit larger than the one i saw last month - about 12 inches long and about as thick as my finger.

i released it into the raised bed, expecting that would confine it long enough for me to take pictures. but the snake promptly burrowed into the mulch - much like earthworms do. oh well, hopefully it will take care of any slugs / snails that have discovered the bed.

Posted by Erica Bess Duncan | Permalink | Comments (3)

Saturday, September 21, 2002

Culinary Herbs. bought eight 4-inch

Culinary Herbs. bought eight 4-inch herbs today (two of each): parsley, onion chives, greek oregano, tarragon. little did i know that "french" tarragon is what one uses for cooking. russian tarragon, which is what i bought, is a poor substitute. worse, french tarragon is not only not too happy to grow in houston, but is also hard to find.

the south texas unit of the herb society of america does have some advice for growing herbs in houston: "raised beds." i need more raised beds...

Posted by Erica Bess Duncan | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 20, 2002

Fall Vegetables, Day 19. peas

Fall Vegetables, Day 19. peas continue to grow and are now about six inches high on average.

cilantro looks good, though at two inches high it isn't quite as exciting as the peas.

sadly, something seems to have eaten almost all the spinach. one day it was there, the next day it wasn't. two seedlings remain, although yesterday i noticed what may be a third one sprouting belatedly. or maybe it's just a weed.

and still no sign of the lettuce...

Posted by Erica Bess Duncan | Permalink | Comments (0)