Chronicaling the lunacy of taming three acres in Tidewater Virginia, one square foot at a time!

"Gardens... should be like lovely, well-shaped girls: all curves, secret corners, unexpected deviations, seductive surprises and then still more curves. ~H.E. Bates, A Love of Flowers

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Way Cool on Our Country Porch!!

Every evening we check the front porch, where a wide variety of frogs, and moths and bugs gather around the plants and the lights. Tonight, Goddess Support spied this critter, who by his sluggish behavior, must have just recently emerged.
He seemed not to mind being gently handled for the photo's. While GS found the moth, I won tonight's "What's that Bug" contest by a hair....
An Imperial Moth (Eacles imperialis) ...
Females are larger than males. Upperside is yellow with pinkish brown to purple-brown patches, bands, and cell spots, and tiny brown spots scattered overall. Males have larger patches on the forewings than females.

Adults emerge before sunrise and mate after midnight the next day. Females lay eggs at dusk singly or in groups of 2-5 on both surfaces of host plant leaves. The eggs hatch in about 2 weeks, and the caterpillars are solitary feeders. Pupation takes place in underground burrows.

Caterpillar hosts: Conifers and deciduous trees and shrubs including pine (Pinus), oak (Quercus), box elder (Acer negundo), maples (Acer), sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua), and sassafras (Sassafras albidum).

Adult food: Adults do not feed....they mate and die if not eaten by something else like a racoon , for instance!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Figs, Figs, Figs

My friend, "Beach Nancy," emailed me to let me know that the coastal crop of figs is in! Buckets and buckets of figs...

Cooked down with a recipe from one of the historic families of Wanchese, NC....Lorraine’s Grandmother’s Fig Preserves

2 cups of fruit to 1 cup of sugar.
Wash figs and put in large pan in layers of sugar and fruit.
Squeeze one large lemon over the top. (sometimes I also put cinnamon)
Put in about 2 cups of water because the washed figs have water on them. You may need to put more depending on the size of the pan and number of cups of figs. After they come to a boil turn heat back to med-low .
Cook about 1-1/2 hours - stir only several times The figs turn brown and glossy
Then pour hot mixture with fruit into clean sterile jars. Put on tops, but tighten them when you finish and they have cooled down.
Lorraine says, " We never put the jars in a hot bath and none has died or gotten germs!!!!" I will let the canning experts decide for themselves!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Back to the Country

Back in the country garden, things are blooming nicely~
This Limelight Hydrangea is the coolest color in person. I am a freak for red Zinnias...these seem to be happy!

Something new to me...."Green-Eyed" Rubekia...I like 'em!
These guys are growing like crazy...I was thinking if we tossed them in a salad, would they taste like Dill?

My kind of life...spend the day eating!!!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Butterfly Garden

The Butterfly Garden at the Kill Devil Hills Municipal Complex...a sweet treat at the beach for flying creatures and gardeners alike. Located immediately behind the Baum Senior Center and tended by Master Gardeners of the Outerbanks, a few of them my friends!

Soemtimes pictures are enough...words superfluous.

OBX Sunrise

Decidedly non-gardeny, but my second favorite place in the world.... peaceful sunrise at the beach, a day full of hope and promise....
Well I suppose these timbers were growing somewhere before they became pier pilings....

"The cure for everything is saltwater....sweat, tears or the sea."
Karen Blixen "The Deluge at Norderney," Seven Gothic Tales, p. 39

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Things in the Water

Two girls, two dogs, fun fun fun....
A pack of chicken necks, some string and a net can keep 5 kids occupied for hours and hours. Hope springs eternal when trying to net a legal crab.

Putting them in the bucket is half the fun, mostly we throw them back after watching them for awhile.

Of course, all the good shells are visible just beyond the ropes off Sea Turtle nesting site.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Farmer's Market

Summer's bounty at the market in Chesapeake City Park off Greenbriar Parkway....
I was going to bake these into something, but I couldn't stop eating them out of there are not enough to bake (until next Saturday!)

Sometimes pictures need no words... well...maybe it needs glasses and a mustache!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday Flyers....

Lots of flyers in the garden...more bees than I can count.

I am forever fascinated when watching the butterflies feed... with their proboscis....which I looked up because I am a big word weirdo...
Etymology: Latin, from Greek proboskis, from pro- + boskein to feed

A rest from flying....

I swear this one has a toothy grin if you look up close....
The first Monarch of the year...
Find these resting on mulch or the wood deck all the time...
Future flyer....

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Survival Regardless....

It's always interesting to me as a gardener, to see the the drive to survive and "become."

Take this pepper plant....actually all my veggies. After building the garden and filling it with compost-topsoil I lovingly put my plants in the ground and expected them to...GROW! But they didn't! They didn't die, but they didn't really grow either....they did set fruit, which was weird.

So being a diligent gardener, I called me county extension office and explained my plight to the master gardener in charge. Great news! It could have been any one of 20 different deficiencies in the soil. HMMMM!

So I started tinkering with nutrients...what seemed to work was "Tomato Tone," I have no idea why. But the tomatoes are growing and fruiting. And though the peppers are runty. they are in miniature doing there thing. Another testament to the ability to survive despite adverse conditions.... the perennial Hibiscus, after being dessimated by Japanese Beetles, grew a whole new set of leaves...(giving the Japanese Beetles the floral finger...ha!)
Not only did it grow new leaves.....but it also flowered...sorty of mangy, but beautiful...sort of like a cool colored broken seashell.

A less stressed member of the garden.....

And this Phlox....spent quite a bit of time in the plant ghetto alternatively dessicated then flooded until I got my act together and planted it, never really expecting it to do much of anything this year...and look what it did!! The most zingy orange blooms going! I should get more!!
I guess the point is just to....

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Trip Up North

Just back from a trip up North to the Greater Philadelphia-South Jersey area (exit 4 for those who can relate). Some of the most awesome "gardeny" things happen up there....

The Philadelphia Flower Show in early Spring comes at a time when gardeners are itching itching to get outside but largely unable because of the still frozen ground and freezing conditions. The PFS is just the "drug" you need at that time to get you through 'til its time to dig.

One of my other favorites is Longwood Gardens No matter what time of the year this place rocks! Even at Christmas it is an awesome horticultural display!

Didn't visit either of those- but I did visit the garden of my friend Lyn.... this garden rocks she has been spending her free time in the summer installing rock pathways tucking them here and there and generally working like an animal. Is there anything more satisfying than coming in filthy from a day spent in the garden with your face sun kissed and every muscle aching...its the best kind of tired that brings the best sort of sleep. simple and reliable.

I am a goof for Hydrangea...I thought this one is the coolest color.

Eagles nest spotted at the tip of the Eastern Shore just before exiting the Chesapeake Bay Bridge was high noon so the picks could be better...Just awesome to observe the construction of this nest.

And in the category of, "What the Heck Is It?" This intensely thorny shrub(?) with these green fruit(?)nuts(?) is growing in that yard. I have googled my brains out trying to figure out what it is....Do you know????

Well- now back to my little acres and work..