Welcome to the humid South!

High humidity is a given in the Lower South. We always say: “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity!”.

As a gardener it’s a good thing!

Tomatoes and cucumbers grow very large although they stop blooming when the nights are too hot in midsummer!

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Vegetables seem to grow larger than normal. Banana chilies:

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Insects are everywhere!
Bumble bee:

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Summer vegetables reproduce in overdrive to the point that you wonder if birth control is an option?
Zucchini:

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The humidity helps tropical plants to mature faster!
Bananas:

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Some perennials reproduce to the point of becoming weedy!

Day lilies:

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And did I mention azaleas in the Spring?

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And hydrangeas in early Summer?

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And Oakleaf hydrangeas

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And I could go on and on…

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A trip to Ocracoke Island

A day trip to Ocracoke Island is always a nice way to spend a day. I always enjoy the two and a half ferry ride from the mainland of North Carolina to this populated island of the Outerbanks of North Carolina.

My maternal grandmother’s family are from the island. They are O’Neals. Other Irish names such as Gaskill, Fulcher, and Willard are common. They also speak with an Irish accent called a brogue!

The day begins at the Cedar Island Ferry terminal waiting for the ferry to arrive at 10 am.

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Once the cars are loaded we head out into the Pamlico Sound for the 2.5 hour trip to Ocracoke Island which is one of the chain of islands which forms the Outerbanks of North Carolina.

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Within an hour you are out in the middle of the sound where you see no land. These bays were called “sounds” by the Irish settlers because the waters were sound or quiet as compared to the rough waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

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The island of Ocracoke comes into view after a few hours.

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As you come into the harbor, which is called Silver Lake, the distinctive lighthouse is framed on the East side of the island.

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There are many historic houses built by the Irish fishermen who settled these islands.

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A close up of the lighthouse.

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Shrimp boat

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The Village of Ocracoke only covers the area around the harbor. The remainder of the island is part of the National Seashore.

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Tourism is almost more important than fishing now and many gift shops, bed and breakfast inns, and hotels fill the village; chickens, too!

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The style of seafood served from North Carolina and South through Georgia is called Calabash. It’s major difference is that milk is not used in the broth.

I love the clam chowder.

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We left on the last ferry of the evening at 8pm.

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The sun was setting and we arrived back on the mainland of Cedar Island about dark.

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It all makes for a long day!

Find out more about Ocracoke here:

http://historicalbemarletour.org/north-carolina-ocracoke.htm

 

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I love tiger lilies but why did somebody attack my fruiting Basjoo banana ?

Tiger Lilies are my favorite lily! I love how they quickly forms colonies thanks to their habits of forming bulblets along the stems which drop around the mother plants and grow into new bulbs.
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The bulblets grow through out the Summer and drop off when they begin to grow a root.

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The Basjoo Banana was blooming beautifully until…..

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Until one morning I noticed it was leaning. When I attempted to straighten it this is what I found!

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Something had chewed the stem off at ground level! Oh well. At least I had a few months of enjoying the bloom!

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Over the holiday weekend we took a day trip to Durham, North Carolina and to one of my favorite gardens.

Sarah P. Duke Gardens

http://gardens.duke.edu/

The gardens have a large lake and a several small lakes with plenty of water lilies. A few swans, geese, and ducks inhabit the larger pond. The Black-Neck Swan from South America are beautiful. The one below was photographed near the Japanese style bridge.

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The red Japanese Bridge

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The lily pond near the Doris Duke Center.

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A native azalea

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The terraced gardens leading down to a koi and lily pond.

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The Blomquist Garden of native plants.

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I love this stone bench built into the hill.

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Durham Bulls

We also attended a Durham Bulls minor league baseball game while we were in Durham.

This is the mascot: Woll E Bull

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A little break where Woll E Bull drove a go-cart around shooting t-shirts out of a cannon!

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Our seats were perfect! On the left field side of home plate until the cover!

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The Durham Athletic Park is surrounded by office buildings in rehabbed old tobacco processing campus.

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When a home run was hit the bull sign would blow smoke out of his nostrils, his eyes would light up red, and his tail would wag!

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The team roster had players recruited from all over the world!

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It was a busy day!

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