Tag Archives: Gardening

Almost there…

The snow is slowly melting.


The temperature should reach 62f by tomorrow! Wow! That should melt the remainder of the snow!

Gus is still on vacation! He thinks you should take it easy today!


I am sure there is some garden work to do? The freezing and thawing of the ground usually heaves a brick or two out of place. The gutters are probably in need of cleaning, too!


Today will be a good day for an iced double mocha latte at Cup-A-Joe while the snow melts. Relax and read the paper out the recycle bin and chat with people I know.

Tomorrow will be a better day to do yard work if the rain holds off with the warm temps in the 60s.




Filed under General Gardening, Gus

Fall continues to roll in.

Fall continues to roll in. The nights have cooled to the 60s and the days are barely in the 80s now.

It’s hurricane season. We have not had one come this far inland in years but it has happened before. It’s not always a bad thing. They clean out all the dead limbs in the trees and wash out the rivers of all the debris that has accumulated over the years. The last storm that made it inland punctured the roof of the house with a large limb.  I always wonder: Will this be the year?

The vegetable garden has produced its last few chilies and the tomatoes have long died. The basil plants are so large they are like small shrubs. I think I may be attempting to make pesto soon?


Winter is the time when I focus on the hardscape in the garden and attempt to correct any ideas about the layout of the beds that seemed to not work over the season.

Throughout the year I take pictures of ideas in public gardens or around town as reminders of elements I would like to have in my garden.

I particularly like this stone wall and capstone JC Raulston Arboretum installed in their lathe house. I would like something similar on the North side of the patio as that is the high end of my sloping property. It would provide a place to sit or display potted plants and also frame the bay laurels I have planted there. The cap stones are beautiful.


Garden spiders continue to appear out of nowhere! Beautiful yet creepy!


And Fall bloomers continue to create a beautiful palate of color and fragrance.



And I think ahead to next year and make my wish list:

I dream of gingers… the clump below are a peach-colored and  variegated leaved plant at J C Raulston Arboretum at North Carolina State University.


And the wish list becomes longer every day…


Filed under General Gardening

Crape Myrtles and Southern Gardens

I grew up on the Southeast coast of North Carolina. The weather is humid and subtropical. The winters are very mild and the hot summer days are often followed by short rain storms. I did not realize how much the ocean breezes cooled the air until I moved about an hour-and-half inland to attend college. The summer air was so humid and thick you could cut it with a knife!

The good side, as a gardener, is I could grow so many tropical species down there! Now I am two-and-half hours from the coast and the winters are just a bit colder but not by much thanks to climate change.

Crepe Myrtles are a very popular tree or large shrub throughout the South. The flowers originally came in shades of red and pink but now there are whites and lavenders and purples. There are also a few sections with burgundy foliage, also.

NCSU has a very nice list of the cultivars with descriptions of flower color and growth habits:


A few photos for Crape Myrtles around Raleigh, North Carolina.

I call this color watermelon. These are in my neighborhood.


A pink Crape Myrtle in Cameron Village Shopping Center.


A young group of mixed colors near Cup-A-Joe.


And a beautiful purple Crape Myrtle in front of The Reader’s Corner.


This beautiful red one on Oberlin Road has a very nice shape.


And a white one photographed late in the evening.


Crape Myrtles need to only be pruned to removed crossed limbs or damaged or low hanging limbs. Some varieties have beautiful bark that can peel in beautiful strips which revel shades of red and brown.

Unfortunately, most landscape crews do not know how to prune this heavy blooming plant. They tend to prune crape myrtles as if they are herbaceous perennials.

This promotes an awful water- sprout type growth.

These are weak stems which may eventually split the main trunk where they are attached. This type of pruning creates a look of a pollarded tree. Its not attractive or healthy for any tree.

Just say NO and don’t.

No! No! No! If you are in doubt that your Crape Myrtles need to be pruned. Just don’t do it. They will look better with a more natural shape anyway.

This is a properly pruned crape myrtle.


This pruning allows the a more natural shape to develope which allows the beautiful and colorful bark to be seen.




Filed under General Gardening, Plants