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15 May 2016 @ 10:44 am
It’s a bit early for NEW plants but some old and from recent yrs have given me enough info to make a reasoned decision about them…
Red Guava-at Hummingbird something that produced every few yrs a handful of fruits was OK, here with limited space, not so much. Last Winter was mild enough it suffered little Frost damage. If there are less than 6 Guavas, it’s out for someone else to try.
Pink Torch Ginger- No blooms this yr, OUT
‘Matsumoto’ Persimmon- Not fruit, no space for the biggest space hog!
Hellebores-All those that haven’t bloomed by next Spring, GONE.

Things to keep but move:
Bamboo Muly Grass-Too BIG for the space. It’ll look nice in a pot by the carport.
Parrotflower(Astromeria species)-move to bed outside fence with the Dragonsong Persciaria. That’ll be a pretty, low-maintenance bed.
Extra Persacaria-took cuttings when we moved. Everything took! Neighbors, shady bits in front and back yard.
Longevity Spinach(Green form of Okinawaan Spinach)- Pot up. It takes over any bed you plant it in. Can’t eat enough of it to keep up;>.

Things to Try:
Black Surinam Cherry
Dwarf Mulberry
Petite Nigra Fig

Old favs that I might bring back:
Meiwa Kumquat
Dwarf Asian Pear
Owari Mandarin
Cheers,
Pat
 
 
Current Location: Royal Oaks
Current Mood: accomplished
Current Music: Welsh Traditional Radio
 
 
01 May 2016 @ 10:44 am
Only other Plant Geeks really Understand;>…..
I was spoiled living in cities like Seattle, DC and San Francisco, food-wise. Great farmer’s markets and ethnic groceries meant I had access to if not the best of, at least SOME of ingredients. Then we moved to “The Dangly Bits”(below the Bible Belt). A land where fresh Ginger and Cilantro are considered “exotic spices”. Many over the yrs I’ve either found sources OR plants to grow it myself….all but ONE.
For 15 yrs I’ve tried to find a source for Myoga. Can find it pickled online but fresh? NOPE. Occasionally I could find the Ornamental form ‘Dancing Cranes’ but whenever I ordered they would be out of stock. Then, this Winter I found an offering on Ebay.
This week it sprouted! It’s Hardy here(to z7 I believe) and our Summers here are a Humid as Tokyo’s so it should do well. One of the great things about Myoga is that only the flower buds are eaten. This means that by removing the flowers before they bloom you’re actually strengthening the plant;>!
Cheers,
Pat
 
 
Current Location: Royal Oaks
Current Mood: happyhappy
Current Music: French Pop Classics Radio
 
 
24 April 2016 @ 11:29 am
At least this Spring;>! The seeds that needed Stratifying all had true leaves and got potted up into their final pots before transplanting them outside; Shiso and White Monarda(hopefully. You know OP seeds;>). The Shiso are colouring up nicely. At Hummingbird I didn’t have to ever start them; at some time the previous owner had and they’d Naturalized so whenever I needed some I just went out and cut some. It also makes a nice tea. The blossom colour of the Monarda has nothing to do with the flavor, I just think it’ll go better with the other flowering plants I’ve got going.
The Caladiums are in as well. They’d all sprouted in the growing room and since a missed tuber from last yr’s planting sprouted, I figured it was safe for the rest. They’re sort of a substitute for my Taro and Ornamental Colocasia collection I didn’t bring ‘cause I didn’t have room here for. Next yr I’m going to “splurge” and try some of those small Thai hybrids for the Shady areas. Last Winter was so mild here that the Angelwing Begonias I left out only lost about 50% of their biomass. The one’s with spared growth tips are blooming at present.
Sadly, none of the ‘Ugli’ blossoms “took” again this yr. It’s SUPPOSED to be self fertile and there really isn’t enough room for another tree in the front courtyard. If it happens again next yr I’ll have to get a dwarf that’s compatible….not fun.
Cheers,
Pat
 
 
Current Location: Royal Oaks
Current Mood: accomplished
Current Music: Showtunes Radio
 
 
08 April 2016 @ 09:58 am
Finally! Everything for Summer Planted, repotted, potted up, etc. There ARE a few things though, some of the true Tropicals that need soil to be above 60F so they won’t go in until the end of the month….normally. The last decade there’s been fewer and fewer of those though. And, of course those spontaneous purchases;>!
The Stratified seeds are all out now and the Shiso are germinating like weeds. Not only tasty but attractive. A lot of folks think it’s a Red sun-tolerant Coleus;>. The Guava took minor Frost damage this yr so I should get at least a couple fruits. The ‘Ugli’ Tangerine is blooming but that last cold snap may have injured them since a lot of them are dropping and not Taking. The Yuzu Lemon has broken Dormancy but no blossoms YET. The Persimmon has done so as well but no sign of buds. Well, maybe next yr;>…..
Got some long put off projects done; a xeric, Sun-loving shrub had been planted in moist Shade so I moved it to the other side of the house in Full sun in very Sandy Soil, It already looks happier! I also renewed an old sodded over flowerbed. I discovered about 6’ down that there was a sprinkler servicing it. I figure it’s been buried at least a decade.
A couple days ago the weather broke and it was warm and dry enough to have Dinner out on the patio…much to the cats’ disgust;>. My SIL said she saw her 1st Hummingbird a couple days ago so I’ve put up the main one and today will finish filling and hanging the others. It always amuses me that we’ve had more Hummingbirds here at Royal Oaks than we EVER did when we lived on HUMMINGBIRD;>!
Cheers,
Pat
 
 
Current Location: Royal Oaks
Current Mood: accomplished
Current Music: Sia Radio
 
 
06 March 2016 @ 10:06 am
With the local Spring Harbingers in full fig(Azaleas and Redbud blossoms, Maple sprouts), it’s time to clear away the obviously Winter-killed. Annuals and Herbaceous Perennials, Ornamental Grasses(and Culinary as in Lemongrass, which IS actually pretty Ornamental after a couple yrs;>), dieback of various shrubs, etc. I noticed some of the Hardy Annuals are germinating, esp. the Queen Anne’s Lace. Because the Winter was so Mild here on the Florida Gulf Coast this yr, many things that normally don’t make it DID. The White flowered Black-Eyed Susan Vines and one of the Moonflower Vines as well as all the Salvia concinna forms I grew(White and Pink).
Noticed that the Lankonese Lily main bulb died ‘cause there are a dozen(at least) small sprouts where last yr there was one. In Fall I’ll have to dig a couple to the front yard. Of the seedlings started indoors, the White Iceplant, Gomphena and Verbena have germinated. The Iceplant is doing so well today I potted the seedlings up. I’ve small areas in both courtyards(and outside) that only receive Rainfall so they’d do well in our Sandy soil.
Cheers,
Pat
 
 
Current Location: Royal Oaks
Current Mood: accomplished
Current Music: John Dowland Radio
 
 
 
22 February 2016 @ 01:33 pm
A lot of folks get hung up on the zone system. While it IS a good GENERAL indicator, area within(or even within your own property) can be a full zone above or below. That’s why I don’t think you really get a “clue” about where you live until you’ve AT LEAST lived on it a full 2 seasonal cycles. My present home we’ve only been here 1, so while I have an idea what the condition are, I really won’t for at least one more….though likely 3;>.
We lived on our old property 15 yrs. Depending where on the property you were:
Z8a
Z8b
Z9a

Chill hrs ran from 200 to 400. That meant that, depending where I planted, I could grow stuff from Temperate to Tropical. And this isn’t adding in artificial help like Frost covers;>. Landscape and Hardscape will influence Temps both Up AND down as well. A lot of folks think jut about the low Temps but IME I’ve had more plants fail due to overheating than the cold. Warmer temps can screw up a plant’s Dormancy requirements preventing thriving at least and preventing fruiting and flowering as well. Heat’s also the hardest to work around. There aren’t any “cool covers”;>.
Pay attention. Long time growers know this and is THE most important thing you can do. After all, in the 15 yrs I lived on my last property we migrated from an average z8a to a z9a. Adapting is the 2nd most important thing. Rainfall patterns at the old place changed from generally gentle afternoon Rains in the Summer to about a dozen cloudbursts a month. Areas without irrigation(including the Woods) lost pretty much everything that didn’t have water storage capacity or deep roots.
I’ve learned a few things in a yr here at Royal Oaks. I’ve learned exposures; Sun and Shade at what time of the yr. A big reason this Spring I’m moving lot of plants from the back courtyard. When we moved in last Yule-eve it was part Shade. We learned in Summer it’s full Sun. Some things got moved earlier;>! The front is just the opposite. Winters here are drier than in FWB, which is only 20 minutes away. We’re more Humid however. So while everyone 15-20 miles away this Winter has been washed away periodically, we’ve road it out with actually a helpful amt of rainfall. This yr will teach us more and the next and the next……
Cheers,
Pat
 
 
Current Location: Royal Oaks
Current Mood: awake
Current Music: Jake Shimibukuro
 
 
19 February 2016 @ 10:39 am
Well, the weird weather continues. It’s not the Day-Night temp swings, it’s the weekly ones that are annoying the hel out of me and “messing” with my Green Buddies. All the narcissi finished last month when normally they’d be in prime form NOW. Luckily, nothing Woody has broken Dormancy. Some of the bulbs have(Lilies, Tritonias, Watsonias, etc). Haven’t seen any of the Hardy Annuals I’ve planted sprout but that may be more due to the lack of Rainfall than temps.
The Citrus trees have all been fertilized(Organic, of course;>), everyone else is getting to wait till the 1st week of March. I removed a patch of ‘Red Dragon’ Persicaria and replaced it with Dutch Iris. When I moved in last yr I didn’t know that that area in Summer was Ful Sun instead of Part Shade which it is this time of yr. Haven’t figured out where to plant the clump yet, o I just potted it up for now.
Am pretty disappointed with the Daikons and Long Onions. Perhaps the seed was too old for both. Zip germination for the latter and krappy growth on the former. The Turnips OTOH have been producing both Greens and rootcrop for the last 2 months. I like young turnips like radishes; a little seasalt and nothing else. They’re good in Pickles too;>!
I’m focusing this yr more on Ornamental than Crop plantings. Two White-blossomed plants I plan to get is an alba form of an early Hibiscus hybrid and that of an old fashioned Pentas. I like the latter so much better than the modern hybrids. They’re big plants that produce a great show and are always covered with Pollinators. I used to have a small collection of these Heirloom forms but am down to a single Pink and Rose Bicolor that grows the size of a rosebush and has come back regularly for me every yr for the last decade. The others didn’t.
Fragrant plants that attract Butterflies And Hummingbirds, preferably White Flowered are the choice, at least this yr;>! Colour to be provided by a few different Salvias and Japanese Imperial Morning Glories.
Cheers,
Pat
 
 
Current Location: Royal Oaks
Current Mood: accomplished
Current Music: Hagalaz Runedance Radio
 
 
11 January 2016 @ 06:44 am
So, our 2nd Freeze since Yule. Not horrible, only down to 26F. For most folks that’s NICE this time of yr. In z8b, something we get a number of times this time of yr. Things are a bit different here instead of like at Hummingbird. A big thing is no greenhouse. I’ve a shed with an incandescent lightbulb which’ll raise the Temps together about 5 degrees. This means it’s FREEZING for those being “Protected”….
I’ve become Accepting that many of the things I used to be able to Grow at Hummingbird I’m just not going to be able to here at Royal Oaks. That said, I’m going to take it as an opportunity to add more Hardy plants to replace those that will fall to this and future Freezes. But still not going to be Cold enough for Cherries;>….
Cheers,
Pat
 
 
Current Location: Royal Oaks
Current Mood: anxiousanxious
Current Music: Patsy Cline Radio
 
 
08 January 2016 @ 09:50 am
Sometimes, it shocks me when I realize how long in this Incarnation I've been on my Path. It seems like yesterday that I found a Sybil Leek book in a used bookstore and realized THAT'S WHAT I THINK!!!!! Not as big of a shock as the weight I've gained since the same time period though;>.
Things change. Back then there was what today is mostly called British Traditionalist Wicca and Pagans. The Pagans weren't non-lineage Wiccans either. And my Spiritual Life was FILLED with Ritual....and Tools.
4 decades later, the alt-religion world has changed. BTW is a Minority and Pagans, for the most part are those that use Wiccan methodology. And Me? Rites are short with minimal Tools. I'm more likely to Interact Deity to Human than Pantheon to Human or even more General God/dess to Human. Definitely a Pantheist today;>!
Not that my Altar isn't cluttered as always;>! Truth is, I've not used most Tools in decades. Just don't have close friends on the Path to give them to. Besides, they pretty;>! Take Yule. All I used was a mug(a nice one from my great-aunt's estate though;>), a bottle of hard cider and Incense sticks(the good kind!). Truthfully, I spend at least the same amt of time if not more with Those the Rite is for than I did back in my "Bells & Smells" days; all the schlepping of materials, the setting up, the using them THEN the breaking down and cleaning up. Not that they WEREN'T needed then. It takes YRS of doing something to get to the point you can do the same thing "freestyle" and have the same Effect on Spiritual, Mental AND Physical Realms.
So Remember, some of us "Old Farts" aren't just Lazy(though we've certainly been through enough to be TIRED;>), it's just the Experience that has Freed us to CHOSE because even though we may not NEED all the "geegaws" they're still Fun and Pretty;>!
Cheers,
Pat
 
 
Current Location: Royal Oaks
Current Mood: amusedamused
Current Music: Hagalaz Runedance Radio
 
 
26 November 2015 @ 09:35 am
It’s been a couple days since the Cold Snap, long enough for the “squelchy” results to dry enough not to be too disgusting to grab;>. Even stuff that wasn’t killed isn’t going to grow or bloom again(Annuals and Herbaceous Perennials) . Might as well while I’m there;>.
I’m going to have to “rethink” my trellising next Spring. Visually, hanging fishnet from rafters down…great. Harvesting or simply removing/cleaning? Not so much. Thankfully, living in an area that still HAS fishermen means damaged nets are not rare so I’m just tossing the works. Then there was all the climbing;>!
The Green Onions and Sweet Peas haven’t Sprouted yet, though the Daikon and Turnips are doing gangbusters. Already adding thinning to soups and salads
Cheers,
Pat.
 
 
Current Location: Royal Oaks
Current Mood: accomplished
Current Music: Hearts of Space