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Sunday, August 31, 2003

Hummingbirds are Here.

they showed up in our yard about a week ago. they had probably been visiting the neighbor's yard earlier, but we don't yet have enough hummingbird attracting plants in our yard.

now that i've filled and hung the feeder, one male ruby throated hummingbird has declared it his property, perching nearby and rudely chasing off any interlopers lest they consume too much of his sugar water.

if those silly birds didn't chase each other around so much, they wouldn't need so much sugar!

Posted by Erica Bess Duncan in Wildlife | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August Flowers.

  • asclepias tuberosa (butterfly weed)
  • crinum
  • cuphea hyssopifolia (mexican heather)
  • hamelia patens (mexican firebush)
  • hibiscus
  • justicia spicigera
  • lagerstroemia indica (crepe myrtle)
  • lantana camara - "new gold," "radiation," "raspberry," "silver mound"
  • liriope muscari
  • origanum vulgare (greek oregano)
  • pentas lanceolata
  • peppers - banana, bell, poblano, serrano
  • plumbago auriculata
  • rivina humilis (pigeonberry)
  • rose
  • salvia
    • s. farinacea
    • s. sinaloensis
  • thymus serphyllum (mother of thyme)
  • tomatoes - "matt's wild cherry" and "sweet million"
  • zephyranthes grandiflora(?) (rain lilies)

Posted by Erica Bess Duncan in What's Blooming... | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Little Green Lies.

(catching up on the nytimes home & garden section) -- this article addresses the "tales told by gardeners who do no work".

skip about two-thirds of the way down to get to the bit that describes how to recognize the "lying gardeners" -- they're the ones with cheap tools (or clean, expensive tools), perfect manicures and the ability to walk past a weed without pulling it.

i confess, i have an assortment of cheap tools, but my hands are a wreck and i often get sidetracked for 30 minutes at a time pulling weeds when i only meant to go pick some basil.

the best looking yards / gardens around us are most definitely maintained by the owners themselves -- i see them at it year-round. while i would certainly not turn down the services of a professional landscape designer (assuming i liked their work), darin and i both feel an awful lot of pride in planning and doing things ourselves. and i find gardening therapeutic, too.

Posted by Erica Bess Duncan in Gardening in General | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

When in Rome...

the new york times writes up "river gods and grottoes: 4 italian renaissance gardens". i'll have to remember these next time i'm in italy.

Posted by Erica Bess Duncan in Travel | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Afternoon Thunderstorm.

i've been ignoring the meteorologists lately since they kept teasing me with the "chance of thunderstorms" that fail to materialize. at least they haven't been materializing in my vicinity.

this afternoon i noticed our grass was once again getting that crispy feel to it. lawn grass really shouldn't crackle when you walk across it. i was close to breaking down and asking darin to drag out the hose and set up the sprinkler when i heard the rumble of distant thunder.

naturally, i expected it to once again bypass our neighborhood, but i held off on the sprinkler request just in case.

after much grumbling and spitting, the rainclouds finally arrived at our house and dumped a goodly amount of rain over the course of about an hour.

Posted by Erica Bess Duncan in Weather | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Saturday, August 23, 2003

Propagating Plants.

i seem to have successfully started four pigeonberry cuttings (rivina humilis), five salvia sinaloensis and one (maybe two) firecracker plant (russelia equisetiformis). i am trying to refrain from planting them too soon lest they bake in the late august heat.

today i trimmed the salvia greggii (purple and coral), and i'm hoping a few of the cuttings will root.

Posted by Erica Bess Duncan in New Plants, Projects... | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Pruning Tomatoes.

i almost have the "matt's wild cherry" tomato pruned back to a manageable size.

the "sweet million" was already reasonably well-behaved (i.e. not sprawling all over the place) due to the brutal cutting i subjected it to earlier this summer.

my intent is to remove much of the old growth to get the plants in shape for the fall growing season. but they keep growing as fast as i cut them; at least i know they're still healthy.

i'd say my pruning method is something of a modified "missouri method," but i didn't realize that's what i'd been doing until i started searching for tomato pruning advice.

texas gardener magazine has more on fall gardening (and fall tomatoes).

Posted by Erica Bess Duncan in Edibles | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Thursday, August 21, 2003


the temperature outside this morning was downright tolerable, so i wandered around the backyard pulling some of the evil weeds that have invaded the lawn.

smelling what i assumed was fresh dog poop (the dogs had just been out for their post-breakfast poop) i looked around and was quite dismayed to see a dead baby squirrel. at least i think it was a squirrel, i did not inspect it closely, but it was underneath a pine tree known to be home to many squirrels.

on my way to summon darin for body disposal duty, i found a second dead baby squirrel. so, there are two fewer rodents in the world. i don't think our neighborhood squirrel population is in any danger of decline.

Posted by Erica Bess Duncan in Problems | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Fall Tomatoes.

the two tomato plants from this spring are still strong and healthy, and i'm reasonably confident they'll survive august and be productive come fall.

there are also several volunteer tomato plants that have sprouted in various places. yesterday i put pine needles around the best positioned / most promising candidates. today i noticed that one of the volunteers is about to bloom. got to scrounge up more stakes before the new plants get much larger.

Posted by Erica Bess Duncan in Edibles | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Monday, August 18, 2003

Oxblood Lily.

last december i bought (and planted) two oxblood lilies (rhodophiala bifida).

the foliage disappeared months ago, but i had carefully marked the planting site, mulched it and kept it clear of st. augustine. every now and then i think about the lilies and check the spot. nothing.

until yesterday, that is. yesterday i found what can only be a sprouting oxblood lily. yay!

if all goes well, it should bloom in the next month or so.

Posted by Erica Bess Duncan in Ornamentals | Permalink | Comments (17) | TrackBack