What better way to say 'HI' ......

tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)July 2, 2009

...... than to say it with flowers?


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puglvr1(9b central FL)

How PRETTY Al!! I just love the cute little frog! How right you are...Hi, right back at you! Thanks for the colorful and pretty picture.

Happy 4th Everyone!!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 5:03PM
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kevin_mcl(S Ireland)

Trying the 5-1-1 mix this year for the first time and everything seems to be quite happy. Thanks for all the useful info.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 7:38PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Life is good ......size>

..... if you're the BIG toad.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 9:08PM
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yellowthumb(5a Ontario)

Hi Al,

The pine tree besides the big toad looks really interesting. It looks like a giant bonsai.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 9:49PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Pinus densiflora 'Pendula', aka weeping Japanese red pine.

It's only been in the ground for about 3 years & it's a pine that's slow to establish, so I've done precious little pruning. I'll be able to be a little more aggressive in its training next year. I planted it too close to the flag light though - it already blocks some of the light. Oh well .... ;o)


    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 10:21PM
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haha...that big toad is cool.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 12:28AM
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So pretty and I love all your frogs. And a happy "Hi" back at you.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 12:14PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

OK - these guys wouldn't stop buggin til I let them say 'HI' too. ;o)


    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 2:25PM
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Al, did you purchase that large toad/frog or is that a hypertufa project?

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 3:28PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

It's a resin toad from 'Toad Hollow' (they make a family of 'head planters' that's whimsically cool, too).
Cut/paste & see the Muggly Family:


Cut/paste - see the super jumbo toads half-way down the page:


It's an old one - lots of knock-offs available now, but I don't know if you can find them that big. The little flat guy under him used to have a thermometer attached so you could hang it on the wall, but I need another thermometer like I need a hole in the head, so the thermometer went bye and the flat frog got appropriated as a garden prop. Everyone giggles at it when they see it.

I WISH I was that talented ... to be able to make a toad like that from hypertufa. ;o) I'm not very artistic - took me over 10 years to develop a decent eye for bonsai, and at times I still struggle mightily.


    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 4:30PM
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I WISH I was that talented

me too. I hate some of your container displays simply because they work so well together. And the whimsical stuff you add for effect... beyond me.

I am still stuck on the stage of trying to get plants to perform optimally, nevermind how they look together ;)

Still, I was in love with this giant, unpainted frog/toad thing at Wal-Mart this year, but they wanted $40 for it and I was like 'Dude, this is Wal-Mart, it should be less'. I waited for it to go on sale and it simply sold out. LOL. One of these years.

The best I could do was this sad looking turtle trying to say hi.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 5:03PM
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flyingfish2(9b w stuart)

Justaguy, my brain must be more like yours, function over form is all I seem to know.

Tapla, nice pics.


    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 6:42PM
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sprtsguy76(Santa Clara Ca. 9b)

Well its about time we get some pictures from A1 and jag. Alright now lets see your SWC's pictures.


    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 8:04PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

A few more:


    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 10:26PM
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Beautiful containers, Al.
My container planting has always been a failure as I always ended up having only one or two species taking over the rest, so that the container looked monotonous!!!
What's the trick besides the right mix, Al?


    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 10:50PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Hi Xuan! So nice to see you!

I think it's pruning & thinning. I/m always deadheading as I water & walk around scouting for weeds in the garden (there are a few I refuse to let get out of control because the consequences are an exponential number of NEW weeds). If I notice something in the container is stealing the show, I'm not bashful about reducing its presence in the container by cutting it back as hard as necessary, or thinning it out.

Another 'toad abode':

4 kinds of mint, kept tidy by pruning:

I really like Streptocarpella (don't know if there is a common name), but I couldn't find it this year:

If you look closely, I think you'll see you're getting mooned!

The front deck. I'm ruining it with the plants ..... and don't think I don't hear about it!

A look at one of the bonsai benches I use for growing on material:

Happy Independence Day, all!


    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 10:20AM
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yellowthumb(5a Ontario)

Hi Al,

It's the first time to see your plants. You don't just know your mix, you have the sense of beauty as well. I like all the arrangement of your container plants. They are stunning. But what inspired me the most today is your bonsai benches. I have so many containers which I have to put them here and there, some on the lawn directly which will destroy the grass in the long run. The bench is really a terrific way to organize the containers. Did you make it yourself? Could you show more pictures of it?
Thanks for showing.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 5:17PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Thanks for the kind words. ;o) I have 2 more benches, just like that one, and I did build them myself. If you send me an e-mail, I'll send you some pics of them in the winter with nothing on them. They're basically 4x6 treated posts, some 2x4 and 2x6 treated, and some 1-1/2 x 1-1/2 angle iron.

My steady companion. He's getting soo old now:

A comma plant - Juniperus horizontalis "Wiltoni" (blue rug juniper) that I grafted to a volunteer J. virginiana for kicks:

Wren's nest in the shade & shelter of a Picea pungens (blue spruce)


    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 7:06PM
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Stunning work! I want you as my neighbor!!!

Your pictures are encouraging in the midst of our 100+ temperatures.

Happy 4th to ALL . . .

    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 9:40PM
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What a beautiful garden Al, do people stop and stare as they drive by? Many accidents out front???

I don't have any garden frogs, but I bought myself a little gnome, and he talks to me if I press his button! I turned off the motion detector... you can see him on my home page...

Ok, off to go find a recipe for the oodles of swiss chard I harvested today (from the garden plot, not a swc :( )

Here is a link that might be useful: Pam's Garden 2009.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 4:05PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Lol. I live on a little Cul de Sac, so no accidents, but I do get a lot of people stopping to ask what this or that plant is. I think it's often just an excuse to chat about gardening, and of course I always offer to give them a tour. When they discover all kinds of little hidden things (like the frogs & toads and other little unusual things) it's soo cool to see their faces light up.

Most, but not all, of the people that drop by are serious gardeners and feel a sort of camaraderie before they even get out of their cars. They rarely feel bashful about stopping because they already know they'll be welcome.

I also work on my bonsai trees in the driveway. I have a really cool cart with a wooden box on it and a drawer in it. I use it for potting, repotting, working on trees, and as a portable work table.

It's adjustable for height & a real work saver:

As many people stop to ask about the trees as they do about the garden. I've had 4 or 5 people stop and ask about bonsai just between last Sat & today. The garden's kind of ugly in the spring, huh? ;o)

A couple more container shots:

Taking shelter from the sun:


    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 5:41PM
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Thanks for the tour Al. Very very nice! filix.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 5:50AM
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Al, you're "bad", killing us with all your gorgeous containers!!! But... do show more :-)


    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 9:14AM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

Your cart looks like a modified machine shop cart designed for working on transmissions. A great use for it and a real back-saver. Thanks for sharing your solutions for gardening problems. Al

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 9:25AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Thanks, Xuan. I'm at work now, but I'll dig around in my pics & see if there is something else to share. ;o)

Hey, Al. It's some such thing as you suggest, that Northern Tool peddles to repair shops or anyone who wants to buy them. I think it set me back about $100 a few years back, so I don't know how much it would be now. I bet you could find one at Harbor Freight and not have to worry about the shipping. I built the box on top of it. I keep the most commonly used bonsai tools in the drawer & most of the common sizes of wire I use for wiring trees hang on the outside of the box. It's a really handy gardening/bonsai accessory. You KNOW you want one. ;o)


    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 9:57AM
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Strong work Al!!!

Absolutely beautiful...I am envious of your frogs..Not the fact that I have none, but of the contentment seen on their faces in your beautiful yard and their wonderful surroundings!
I still wouldn't mind having one though..lol
I love your different looking pines..WOW..Amazing

Thanks for helping us to be just a successful as you..:-)


    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 2:38PM
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Phenomenal pics, I really like that blue spruce

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 11:01PM
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Wonderful plants and color combinations. I love the blue spruce too.
Your dog is beautiful! He looks like such a sweetheart.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 2:42AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Thanks, Mike ... Buzz. ;o)

Marlene - Ticen is a standard poodle, and I think was delivered into the world a perfect gentleman. He'll stay where I command for hours unless I say 'ok', and walks everywhere with me, at heel if I wish, w/o a leash. He's a constant companion in & out of the house (at my feet as I write now). I've had lots of dogs over the years, but never loved one as much as I do him. He's old, at 13+, so I won't have him a lot longer. I'm already deeply saddened about that, but we're enjoying our time together as long as we have it. ;o) I know you'd enjoy his company - everyone seems to.

Cobweb houseleek with lotsa healthy babies in a tiny salter:

Another container:

Succulents in the gritty mix:

A tiny sedum in a mame size bonsai pot:


    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 2:55PM
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Al, I bet I would enjoy his company!
You have a wonderful bond with Ticen and I hope you have lots more quality time together. We have a senior cat who we treasure and hope to have with us for as long as possible.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 6:26PM
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Al, I need some salt, please pass me that salter!!! It looks so cute.

Please take good care of Ticen so he can stay with you many many more years and don't let him go. Dogs have a very special place in my heart. I love them all.

Thank you for sharing.


    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 9:48PM
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Thank you so much for showing us your beautiful garden:) I love your doggy. He is just gorgeous. You are blessed to have him for so long and so I don't have to tell you to enjoy every minute you have with him. We are dog lovers too and have 2 dobbies, a male and female and we love them like children. Thank you for giving him first Billing on the Garden Web.


    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 9:52PM
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I guess threads like this are why I need to check the forum more often. So amazing and creative. Love all your photos. Are you sure you didn't take them out of a gardening magazine! Ha! What talent you have.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 10:16PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Then it's a mutual admiration society - (I just looked at the pictures she emailed of her garden - beautiful!)

Thanks for the sentiments about my pal, too, Huttnem, Xuan, and Dusty. You are each very kind. It's no wonder that I enjoy this forum so much. ;o)

Thanks again!!


    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 10:38PM
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OH Al,your containers are lovely,wish i were your next door neighbor,and love your dog.I have a streptocarpella,that i've had for many years and i find them hard to find anymore as well.I just repot mine every couple years ans so far so good.

Love your color choices in the planters,and all your little garden frogs and toads.TFS

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 4:15PM
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alison_27(z8b coastal WA)

Thank you to Kathi for bumping this thread! Al, I'm a complete noob so forgive a (dumb) question but are the containers with the fuschia and coleus perennial plantings? I'm taking notes on your color and texture combos for inspiration come spring planting time!

The streptocarpella photo launched me back into a massive fit of nostalgia. I had a gorgeous specimen a long time ago, I think I'll need to track one down again soon...

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 4:59PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Thanks, guys. ;o) I keep some tender perennials over winter under lights, but room is at such a premium that they usually lose out to the bonsai trees. I have a friend that found streptocarpella at one of my usual greenhouse haunts this year, but darned if I could find them. I s'pose I should've asked. ;o)

Have (easy) more than 100 frogs & toads - some in their little inconspicuous hidey holes & some right out where they can be easily seen. They're kind of fun.

The Streptocarpella responds really nicely to pinching, & off-shoots from the stems you pinch are usually blooming their heads off again within a week. It strikes me as a very feminine plant, and I think that's why I like it so much - that, and it's so easy to grow & keep tidy. It comes soo easily from cuttings, too

Alison - I treat the Coleus & Fuchsia like annuals, even though they're perennials. It's just too much effort (for me to want to make) to over-winter them here.


    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 6:31PM
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I'm glad this thread re-appears :-o)

Al, I see that all your frogs/toads etc. look right at home in your garden beds. How was that done? Is there any rules to place them (or any other garden decorations) in the bed?

I have some small animals (frogs, toads, deers, etc.) but... they always look out-of-place wherever I put them :-o(.

Please share. Many thanks.


    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 9:18PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Lol - I don't know what to say. It's kind of hard to get a frog with a fishing pole & a toad holding a bouquet of balloons to look right at home in your garden. ;o) The whimsical stuff I don't try to make look natural. I just put it someplace where it will be seen as part of a theme, but the little guys that sort of look like the real thing - like real frogs & toads, I look for little hidey holes where a toad might take refuge, or put them where they might be partially obscured. I'll put them in the shade next to a planter or by a tree trunk, anywhere that looked natural. Maybe that part of it has something to do with the thousands and thousands of hours I spent afield in nature as a youth and young man.

When you walk through the gardens, you see all the obvious, big frogs & toads, and maybe a FEW of the more natural ones. It's only after you really start looking closely, that you start to see all the smaller, more natural looking little guys waiting to surprise you. If you ever get to Michigan, Xuan ..... ;o)


    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 10:44PM
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Ok, Al. I guess it's just something you've gained from years of observation of nature.
These containers are my "best" with those decoration stuff. What do you think?

Thanks for your comments.


    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 8:58AM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Hello Al~
I've been browsing old threads looking for new ideas for our yard. Were getting rid of a car which is going to open up a huge growing area for me!

DH is so pleased with how all of our plants have done this season in your mixes, he's interested in more plants and landscaping too!
All will be in containers, due to our gravel yard. I guess i'll need to teach him how to sift. LOL!

Can you tell me what the lacy looking plant is , in the basket, hanging on the blue wall? It kinda looks like a coleus.

I would love to find some of that!!

I'll be back later, and maybe add a pic or two to this thread.
I hope others do to!! I love seeing everyone's plants and am always looking for new ideas.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 3:28PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

This was such a fun thread ..... enjoyed sharing the pics.

The Coleus you asked after was trailing 'Dark Hearts'. The companion plant is Asparagus plumosa (asparagus fern - or at least one of the several plants commonly known as asparagus fern).

It bums me that (if you look at the frog/toad in the second picture) that the little frog under the toad's foot was stolen, as were the 2 ceramic toads in the picture with the toad house with the curved roof that had a toadstool to the left of it. I had sooo many people get an honest belly-laugh from the set-up with the little flat green frog under the toad's foot. ..... still have the big one, but I'll prolly never find another flattie frog. ;-(

I'd be grateful if anyone knows where I could get another.

Mid-Sep and still healthy as can be, no thanks to 2 big wind storms in late Aug/early Sep:


    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 4:09PM
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Sorry to hear about your toads... what is wrong with people today... stealing a toad? How petty. I'll keep you in mind when I'm out and about flea marketing, Al... I see some interesting garden ornaments sometimes. We usually shop after the flea markets, to re-supply the barn and house, so if I see a toad or frog in my travels that looks similar, I'll grab one for ya!

Your containers and bonsai photos are so awesome, Al! Mine did terribly outdoors this year... I know the heat didn't help, plus we were away for a while helping my son put together his wedding and attending all the events associated, and I know they suffered in my absence.

I had two really big moss baskets loaded with annuals. Usually, they do really well, filling out beautifully over the summer and lasting into fall... but this year, I just couldn't devote the time they needed. Oh well... maybe next year!

Coleus is such a wonderful filler plant for arrangements, but it does equally well as the star of the show. I can't wait to see everyone's container gardens next year!

Hey, JoJo! Good to see you again! :-)

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 5:04PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Thanks, Jodi. Everything did really great until the wind in late Aug. I had some plantings with Impatiens and Begonias that had their branches stripped nearly clean of leaves. Had many pots knocked from their perches - even lost a very expensive Sarah Raynor bonsai pot to wind breakage, along with several lesser pots. ;-( Lol - I guess I need to look at the bright side and be glad it wasn't:

and be glad also that at least it happened late in the growing season. ;o)

I wonder why we don't just keep a thread like this around all the time, so anyone who feels inclined to and friendly can join in, just to shoot the breeze & not have to worry about being off topic.


    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 5:24PM
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I love this thread....I was wondering if you ever found another "flattie frog"?

Jodik, did you ever find any at the flea market? My mother bought me a frog, but not anywhere near as cute as Al's..She got me one a week after she read this thread...Her favorite is the one on top waving hello surrounded by all those beautiful flowers...

I love this thread and thank you for all the info and fun on it..I remember seeing how well the plants are doing in the gritty mix, especially the succulents, and now, when I look at mine, especially my jades, I can only thank you for helping me grow them when I could never..

Take a look at the succulents forum, under "jade pictures", and you will see the success I have had because of your help..:-)

Thank you...

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 6:55PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

No flattie - I just posted that post tonight. I was waiting for YOU to find me one! ;o)


    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 12:00AM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

I'm so sorry to hear someone took that frog! :(
That one was DH's favorite.
I know how you feel, after losing solar lights this summer. I'm almost afriad to plant anything of value in my front yard, near the road.

I'll be watching for you, that's for sure.
If I see a 'flattie', it's yours. :)


    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 12:13AM
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Really enjoyed these pics, thanks for posting them. How did you shape the blue spruce? It's toadally awesome ! ! !


    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 12:36AM
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I, too, like a thread to keep going that just contains flotsam and jetsam from the minds of our members... greetings, happenings, stuff other than serious gardening. It's fun, and a great way to start the day! It's also a great place for those pictures that don't really fit anywhere else... our beautiful attempts at taming Mother Nature!

A while ago, I kept hearing stories about people having expensive orchids stolen from their yards, from trees where they'd hang for the summer. I also heard some tales of thieves ripping rose bushes right out of peoples' front yards, right out of the ground! And now, Al's stolen frogs! What is the world coming to when you can't even plant something nice in your own yard, for fear someone will hike it? How ridiculous! How petty, really!

We're kind of lucky in that we live so far out in the boonies that practically no one knows we're here... there's very little traffic, mostly local. We have lots of resident dogs, too. I never leave any large items out near the road as temptation, like wheelbarrows or large garden tools. I'd be devastated if someone invaded our gardens or yard and stole something. It's not just the frog that's gone... it's the very personal feeling of being invaded that you're left with. It's eerie, creepy.

But anyway... I've got my eyes open for cute, flat amphibians.

On a painful note, I overdid it about a month ago and damaged my back further, including sciatic nerve damage. My own fault, really... I forced myself to move a wheelbarrow filled with damp sand. I didn't think it was that heavy at the time... I should have known better.

It's incredibly frustrating when your body fails you. Age combined with permanent injuries tend to limit what you can do, but when there's no one else to help, you try to do it all yourself. It's angering to have to limit what I do... I feel so useless and helpless. I want my old body back! The young one that wasn't damaged by disease and accident injuries! I could just scream, I'm so frustrated! I have so much to do before frost gets here, and I'm so far behind! I was caught up... until I wrestled with the sand!

So, anyway... I did get some help a few days ago... a couple of guys with good backs were hired to help, and they stripped the sod for a new rose bed. We have a bucket tractor, so the amendments can be moved easily (so why didn't I get someone to move the sand with it then, you might ask?) Um... I'm impatient at times? My point was, I can now get the last of the plants in for this year, throw some mulch over the bed, and call it a day.

Then comes the task of storing all the garden ornaments, and moving all the potted items into the garage for winter. I have the baby pools all ready to accept them. I group them in the pools, and it seems to help, keeping them slightly off the concrete in the plastic pools.

8:11 am... time to take the dog out, and get ready for another day...

Have a good one, y'all! :-)

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 9:14AM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Thanks for the name of the plant. I will keep my eye out for it. I'm looking for plants that will be easy to press for craft reasons, and that sure is a nice one!
I'll try and get pics of the other 3 i have later today. I have a neat chocolate coleus!

So good to see you!! Big Hugs!
I had a long crazy summer, then this beast crashed! We'll catch up soon!
We have pups running around and Rowdy is getting fixed soon! LOL!

I too would love to see this thread continue!
Here's a pic of my son's plants. He's been taking care of this dish for about 5 yrs now, and it's due to be thinned out for the 3rd time!
The Euphorbia to the back of it gets an awsome shade of pink to the edges in the spring, and the tall redish one is the one that bloomed for the first time this summer. It's a 'Rainbow cactus', Echinocereus pectinatus.

The little twirp ran off with what was left of the gritty mix you sent for some of his succulents! LOL!


    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 10:03AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

What better way to say 'Hi!' indeed!
Good morning, everyone! It's great to see all the old faces....! ;)
Al, Mike, JoJo, Nate joining us, too, and anyone else that I missed!


    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 10:10AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Thanks for watching out for me, JJ. The little flattie was one of the more whimsical things in my garden, so I was very disappointed .... Some people get such pleasure out of stealing other peoples fun - that's depraved.

Nate - the spruce is Picea pungens 'Globosa Nana'. I just picked an imaginary line about 12" above where the top of the plant was when I acquired it. As the growth reached that line, it was truncated - like a flat-top haircut. After the flat top was established, I worked on getting the top perfectly circular and reducing the thickness of the foliage pad by removing foliage from the underside.

The plant in the picture needs pruning badly - I'll see if I have a more recent picture after I get home. I'll look for a picture of what everyone calls my 'comma' plant, too - a Juniperus horizontalis (blue rug) that I grafted to a volunteer J. communis trunk.

Jodi, Jodi - when are you going to get better? I wish I was closer so I could pitch in in the garden - and you know that's not just talk. ;-)

Cool pics, JJ, and 'HI', Josh. I'm not sure why the thread sank before - didn't bother to think about it, I guess. Forums have been slow lately, but hopefully others will join in with pictures & chatter. There're plenty of friendly faces around, eh, Josh?


    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 11:04AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

And I, too, am sorry to hear about your frog, Al.
Maybe I'll post a pic of my frog-friends a little later....


    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 11:43AM
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drudadunat(9b Tampa FL)

This is my first time seeing this thread. Al, what a breathtaking garden you have with so many unusual plants. I bet it's wonderful to walk through it. I don't know how you find the time to take care of all of it, plus answer so many posts here. You must be Superman!


    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 12:12PM
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"What is the world coming to"?

Jodik, a "froggie frog world"..!

You are not kidding....Over the summer, I saw someone trying to steal this huge 'Duke Jasmine" that can takes years to grow, right off of someones porch..I scared him off..Thank goodness my yard is hidden from public, although it would be nice to show off our beauties, like we do with Christmass lights...Those get stolen too..Talk about eerie, creepy...Someone broke into a mosolium up the street from me and stole the ring off a dead womens finger..It is crazy..

Jodi, I too would help you..Too bad we all didn't live much closer...We could all be there..You get better and and see if you cna find a good message therapist..

Jojo, wowowowoow...I think your son will be looking for a username soon and joining this forum...Those cactus and succulents are gorgeous! To think that you only have a small about of gritty mix left scares me...Great job!

Al: Did you shape the pine that is half moon shaped?Beautiful. You have so many pictures here for me to pick a favorite, I just can't..I also wanted to let you know that your BEST FRIEND, your commrad is a most wonderful and handsome dog..I am so sorry he is no longer with you..:-(((( No one can at least ever steal your good memories of him Al.. Thankyou for that picture..

I can not help but look at all the beautiful pictures and appreciate that someone took their precious time to show us how to do just so and not just look at others with envy anymore..I love it, and all my friends here!

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 12:30PM
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Sheesh, Hi JOSH!!

How are you? Good to see you here..You must be getting better weather than me now, since our side of the country is below normal and for days!!
I shall have to see your citrus and succulents pretty soon again after a long summer...I can only imagine how good they look, and without peat in your mixes too..:-)


    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 12:35PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Sluice - are you a prospector? ... wondering how you came by the handle.

As I looked through the pics, I noticed I already posted a picture of 'the comma plant', so no need for me to go looking for another. But here's another look at the flat-top spruce:

The watering can is sitting on the flat top. :-)

Thanks, Josh. I won't dwell any longer on the fact the frog's gone, but it both ticked me off and disappointed me. Easy for anyone to see how those emotions would come to play, I guess.

Ahhh - Darlene. Thanks for joining us, and for the kind words, too! I get a LOT of people who stop out front to look at the garden. I often walk up to talk, and we end up touring it. It's not at all unusual for me to come home on a weekend or after work, to someone already IN the garden. I'm almost sure there is something instinctual going on, on their part. They feel comfortable doing that, because they can just 'feel' they would be welcome in the garden.

There are a LOT of little things that go completely unnoticed unless you're up close & personal, so they always enjoy it. I always have lots of plants in containers I've propagated to give, so unless it's an organized group, everyone usually always leaves with a plant ... or at LEAST a cutting and instructions on how to start it.

I love having people enjoy the garden - not because I get an ego-boost or feel prideful - I just feel good about providing something others can find some beauty in and enjoy. That's part of why I post pics here, too, but I have to admit that at least a part of why I post is so you can see I'm not just a big bag of windy theories. Hopefully, the wide variety of plant material in the pictures, and the health of everything in the background, helps lend the credence I need before your confidence ..... that whole talk the talk/walk the walk thing. ;o)

Mike - I think the plant you referred to is the Juniper I mentioned upthread. None of the unusually shaped trees/shrubs came that way, and I'm not sure how they came to BE the way they are. I have pre-bonsai trees in containers I don't know what to do with. It's not that I don't have multiple styling options; rather, it's that I can see the tree can one day be exceptional, so I'm content to just wait until the tree tells me what it wants. I know that sounds hokey, but it's the truth. I've looked closely at trees and shrubs 100 times w/o deciding its future shape; then, all of a sudden, you just KNOW. It's the darndest thing and very common to those practicing bonsai.

Yeah - thanks for the condolences. I was really hit hard by the loss of my pal. He got old (15-1/2) and had an injury such that his life was no longer fun (still very hard to even write about) so it was time. It's been a couple of months, and he was my constant companion while I was home. Room to room, garden to garden, lying in the grass next to where I'd be working on trees, next to the chair ...... Still, when I get up from the computer, I find myself ready to step around him, because I always KNEW he'd be lying at my feet - same, if get out of bed in the night. I'll miss him forever.

On a lighter note: Here in MI, I suppose scenes like this

aren't too far away. Been frosty lately.

Here's one of his insolent kids, sunbathing:



    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 2:49PM
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deburn(6 - Boston MA)

Al, so sorry to hear about Ticen...but it sounds like he's in a better place...

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 8:52PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Thanks very much. I knew I would miss him a lot. He was born a gentleman & remained that way always.


    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 9:41PM
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Hello friends.

Al, I'm so sorry to hear about your Ticen, so so sorry indeed.

Jodi, it's been a long time and I'm so happy to see you again. I hope your health will improve.

Here's a photo of my "miniature" garden to say "HI" again.


    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 8:50PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Thank you, Xuan - very much. As always, your plants are very beautiful. ;o)

A mixed planting:

Did you ever see 4 kinds of mint so neat? A friend sent starts, and I kept pinching and pruning to prove you could keep mint neat if you were willing to work at it. The Portulacaria afra bonsai is about 12 years from a cutting.


    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 9:11PM
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First... I so appreciate all the wonderful offers and good thoughts! I know you'd all come and help if we all lived closer, and just that thought makes me feel better. It certainly brings a big smile to my face, and a warm feeling to my heart. :-)

JoJo, that's a lovely cacti/succulent collection! The flower is really pretty! I'm glad you got your computer fixed... I know how it feels to be offline involuntarily!

Mike, I have the best massage therapist... my husband! He does great deep tissue massage with warm oil, and it's really helping. I'm lucky to have such a talented husband.

The sciatic is getting a lot better... I just have to remember to take it easy so I don't re-injure it. I'm itching to get out there and get finished for the season, but not at the expense of my back and hip. This is the worst pain I think I've ever felt, and I don't want to go through it again! Some of the planting can wait.

Xuan! So wonderful to see you again! I hope all is well with you and your lovely family. Such beautiful plantings! I love the photos! How are your orchids and other beauties doing? I always enjoy seeing your pictures... they're so inspiring!

Al, you do wonders with plant material... and you're not bad with a camera, either! ;-) How many hours a day do you suppose you put in to creating and maintaining all your awesome plantings? I love your yard! I can imagine your neighbors are either jealous, or just adore living in the neighborhood, and can't wait to see what each spring will bring! The flattop spruce is really interesting! I just love how neat and tidy and wonderfully weed free everything is... it's perfection! Is that Gaura in the blue pan? It's really airy and light, a nice addition!

Your gentleman companion looks so sweet and serene, so loving... you can just tell by the picture. I know you miss him... as canine breeders, we've been there more times than we care to remember, and it never gets easier. But the great memories and all the wonderful years shared are worth a little pain. At least, that's how I feel.

I've been so lax this year, I didn't even get around to pinching the mums in the front bed. I usually pinch them, taking out the soft tips about three times during the season to help keep them mounded and nice and bushy... kind of like your mint plants. In any event, the mums look fine without pinching this year, much to my surprise. The extra height actually helped them peek above the miniature rose and the daylily in front.

Well, it's getting late... time for sleep. I hope everyone has a pleasant tomorrow! I've really enjoyed all the great pictures everyone has shared! I've got some photos on my camera of the last roses of the season... I'll try to get them posted tomorrow.

Happy Gardening, Y'all!

    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 11:28PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Hi Everyone!

Thanks you all for the kind words about my son's planter. I have told him, and he's thrilled! (and sends his thanks) He's been gardening with me 10 yrs. now,(he turned 13 this summer) and has his own collection of plants, That all must go in "Al's Gritty" as he puts it. :) Were going to work on repotting them all into it this weekend.

It wouldn't surprise me if he does want/get his own GW id soon, lol! He looks all his plants up with google when he gets them. And will talk the ears off of Toni at Arid lands. ;) She's a sweetheart and loves talking succulents with him.

Thanks! It's great to be back! It was a LONG few weeks!
So wonderful to see you! And were still very much alike! Shame on US for being impatient! lol! I hurt myself several times over the summer, doing too much and not wanting to wait for help. :) Cuts, bruises, smashed toes. lol.
Had to sit a few sundays out while everyone else bowled.

You know how much I wish I lived closer too. But something tells me if we were to get togehter, the only thing we'd get accomplished is getting into trouble. lol ;)

I wish travel was cheap and easy! Would be so nice for all of us to be able to vist!

Is that a Pink Gaura (Gaura lindheimeri) in the mixed planting in the large blue dish?
It looks like the ones I got a few weeks ago. I love it! One was planted in the flower bed, but I may try and use the other smaller one in a mixed dish. Thanks for the pic and ideas!

The mint looks great! ;)

Beautiful plants! I love the pansies! Such beauties, with happy little face's! They always cheer me up, to go out and see them.
I have some I need to get planted in the next few days.

Al~ We all got a big laugh out of the frog up to his eyes in snow! :)

Around here, he'd have a sun tan. ;)

Jodi~Josh~Waiting for pics. ;)

Everyone else? Would love to see some pics! :)

Now, off to finish my tea (chocolate ;) ..
See you all soon!

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 12:40AM
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JoJo, I had to chuckle... I think the two of us WOULD spell trouble together! But, oh, the fun we'd have! :-)

Upon removing the photos from my camera this morning, it became apparent that the last guy to use it changed my settings and neglected to change them back... I won't name any names, but he knows who he is! ;-) Half of my pictures are too blurry to do anything with, and the other half needed work! I could only salvage a few... but I'm making a point of taking new ones today, with the settings put back.

This is the new bed... it extends from the sidewalk in front of the house, all the way to the gate, and then way beyond on the other side. This is after I had some help stripping the sod from the first half, up to the gate.

Crepe Myrtle... growing in zone 5b. It's not supposed to be hardy this far north, but a few varieties don't seem to know this!

A Buck shrub rose, name unknown... I love the orange color, and the scent is wonderful!

Hot Cocoa... one of my favorites! The color is unlike anything else! I need to do something about the rust on the garage wall behind... it's from watering with a sprinkler.

The miniature, Green Ice... the heat didn't seem to bother it, and it seems impervious to bugs... it's done exceedingly well, and I highly recommend it! The cooler weather brings out the green tint in the petals, not all that noticeable in this picture.

The last flower from a Canadian rose... Adelaide Hoodless, I think... what a red beauty!

And... the lovely yellow of another miniature, name unknown. A lot of our tags have faded, and without checking through files of paperwork, I'm not sure of names.

Well... that's what I have right now... I'm really disappointed that more didn't turn out. My mission today will be taking pictures with the right settings on the camera! I have so many picture files to go through, too... I've taken oodles of photos throughout the season, and neglected to size and upload a lot of them for sharing.

Anyway... off to work I go... the dogs are patiently waiting for my attention, and I've got to get some tropicals carried to the basement for winter... I think we're getting a frost tonight.

Have a wonderful day!

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 11:27AM
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Do you know how nice it would be for me to settle my pop up greenhouse in all that open space...I hate the trees that block the sun this time of year in my yard..

Jodi: That is so nice..Those roses are so beautiful! My mother is in love with the Orange colored rose, and the Coco one..After all the pain you have been in, look at what your doing...You are a trooper and I am proud of you...I can't wait to see the others..

Al: Is that "Rose" on the same shelf as the Portulacaria afra bonsai is on? If so, I love it! You should see the one you gave me growing in the gritty mix..I did post it on the succulents forums...I hoped you had seen it..I can always post another picture of it here..It looks so happy..
Your yard must be like a paradise..I see bits and pieces, and all those nice containers and frogs, wierd shaped plants, Bonsias, throughout and I just want to come for a visit and relax...You must have need security guardsv to gaurd the corners of your home while your away...
Oh if I could see it all close up...:-) I wish I could take a walk through and take my time looking at everyone of them..I wish I too could come out with a few give aways..The ones I already have from you are very special...

Josh: Yes, as with Jojo, I am still waiting for pictures too..I would love to see your fern, a few jades, and your Moro here...Please..

Xuan: Do you ever have ugly looking plants? They seem so happy where you live and the flowers and colors, amazing..I love the succulent gardens you have..How you get your jades to do so well there amazes me..

Jodi: Please be careful with the back..It looks like you have a job ahead of you...Fun it can be though..:-)Man, those roses are so different and the hard work worth the reward..No blemish on them and so bright!

Jojo: Your son would fit right in here..I am not sure about the cactus side though...lol
Hope you get your package very soon..You will have more pictures to take now...lol

Take care everyone for now...Where is Josh and Pug, two favorites, two of our great friends??!

Al, I won't even look at that frog buried up to it's head...Nope, don't even want to think about it..I would rather see it sitting under a palm tree next to you with you with a drink in hand...:-)


    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 12:49PM
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Hi Al, Susan here with a question. I'm trying to put two pieces of information together: one is the gorgeous picture towards the beginning of this thread of the succulents in a very shallow container and the other is a tidbit I think I picked up from you somewhere in the past few days that in general a deeper container is better than a shallower one.

I would like to pot some succulents into flattish containers but am wondering if there is an extra trick to making it work or ....heck I won't even try to fill in the rest of the dialog.


    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 2:26PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Wow! This thread is moving right along! ;o)

I noticed I had already posted a similar picture of the mint a little farther upthread, so I'll offer apologies for that little slip .... from the department of redundancy department. ;o)

Jodi/JJ - That IS Gaura lindheimeri in the pot just upthread a little. Don't know if you can see it, but there is a VERY upright columnar oregano in that pot, too. It has been a regular and strong performer in containers, and works well to add the height element ..... can't remember the cultivar - sorry. I find it every year in 4" pots.

I really like chocolate tea, JJ - one of my favs!

Jodi asked how much time I spend in the yard. I probably average about 4.5 - 5.5 hours a day from May - Oct. I spend considerably more than that early in the growing season, because I'm trying to get stuff in the ground and get the containers built, while trying to get through up to 125 repots of the temperate bonsai. After that's behind me, there's a little break before I start repotting around 75 tropical trees each year. They're usually done by mid-Aug. By Sep, I'm really looking forward to Oct, when I can but all but the tropical trees to bed. They come in and go under lights in the basement growing room. Lol - I've often wondered how many cops have looked through my basement window to 'see what's growing down there'. In the winter, I water every day, but some plants get watered daily, some every 2 days, and some every 3 days. It takes about a half hour to water; whereas, in the summer, watering takes about 1.5 hours daily. I maintain about 300-350 containers. I couldn't do it if I lived where I could garden outdoors all year. I'd have to cut back by half, at least.

Those beds were a LOT of work, Jodi. Please be careful & don't overdo? The roses and CM are a joy to behold - nice pictures!

Mike - That is one of Rose's offspring I was using for cuttings to start more. It's a long story about how that works, but if you lop off the stem and start a cutting from the top, several more stems will appear from the rooted stub that's left. You can take each of those new stems & root it, and the stubs that are left from those cuttings will produce even more stems for cuttings. I'm pretty attached to Rose. ;o) I didn't see your pic of your 'Rose'. Send me a link? ... and any time you happen to be in the neighborhood - stop in. I'll buy you a beer and we can look around before dinner. ;o)

Susan - I don't know for sure which picture you're referring to - the one about half way down with the succulents in the terra cotta collection saucer? You didn't say what your other question was .....

Shallow containers are much harder to grow in unless you use something like the gritty mix or other coarse soil. The reason has to do with the perched water table (PWT). If you have a soil that supports a 3" PWT, and you use it in a 3" pot, after you water or it rains, 100% of the soil will be completely saturated. Plants that don't like wet feet just won't tolerate that arrangement well. A 12 inch deep container with the same soil, would only have 1/4 of the soil saturated (the bottom 3"), so the plants would have 75% (the top 3/4, or 9") of the soil suitable for growth. The key is to use a soil that retains water, but doesn't retain perched water - which is what makes the gritty mix so attractive.

Euphorbia capsaintemariensis

mixed succulents

.... except for the H. helix (ivy) I just noticed. ;o)


    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 4:03PM
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Ah, it was the "succulents in the gritty mix" that got my attention, and obviously you have answered my question.

So far the nearest sources of Turface and crushed granite look to be at least 50 miles from me, so....I'm working on finding stuff that will work....

Seems my pumice bits are too big as is my Pigeon Grit....although I'm sure they will be useful for something....


    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 5:30PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

What large city are you near. Maybe we can help.


Dwarf conifers in a hypertufa trough I made

You're getting mooned!

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 6:35PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Love the little guy Al!

The box came! Thank you so much! They are beautiful! I'll get pics, and like Jodi, have ton's to sort out, upload to photo bucket and such! Next few evenings.. great project. lol!
I'll be back a little later guys.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 6:47PM
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Al, a little note to tell you know that my mom and you must be soul mates over the lost of a dog she didn't even know..He was so beautiful and she could feel your pain in your posting. I cried for you Al,Mike's Mom. I am sorry for you.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 6:50PM
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I'm 50 miles north of San Francisco. I found the Turface (will pick it up tomorrow) very close by. Now I am confident that I will also find the crushed granite without having to drive to south of SF. It will just take a bit more telephone fortitude on my part....

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 7:27PM
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Oh Al, how I love that "succulent planting" you were holding in your hand! How did you do that? I want to grow something like that, too...:-(

Mike: you asked if I ever have ugly-looking plants? Sure, and many of thems, too. But you know, I just... hide them away in the corner so no-one can see. Thanks so much for your kind words.

I want to share with you a photo of the "coffee-corner" in my "tropical" garden, down in Ho Chi Minh City. Just something different, from this side of the globe.

Hope you enjoy the photos.


    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 10:46PM
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The sluice handle is from an early gardening project. It started out as a long rectangular raised bed, and later I decided to leave the ends open.

I'm not a prospector, but I do enjoy searching for conifer grafting material in the mountains (brooms and unusual forms).

Thanks for the additional pic of the flat-top spruce and pruning tips. The comma juniper is very,, very,,, nice! What dwarf conifers are you growing in the hypertufa trough?


    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 1:20AM
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Susan, I'll also offer that many small cacti and succulents seem to have small/shallow root systems, so shallow dishes will work in that respect, too. And sometimes, it's more about the visual impact... like with annual arrangements; you might plant them in a container that isn't so great for long term health, but for one season it looks great in visual presentation!

Xuan, you live in the perfect climate for growing such lush planting! Your gardens always look so inviting, and I know they must love the humidity! Here, we fight to grow in periods of intense dry, and periods of hot and humid or cold and damp! Rarely is the weather perfect! :-)

Believe me... I know how hard it is to prepare, plant, and then maintain huge beds like the ones we are attempting! Five years ago, I began with a blank slate here, and I stripped sod, double dug, amended, and planted several gigantic beds. The trick, I think, is to do the work to prepare the beds properly in the beginning, and then to keep a thick layer of mulch over everything. If you do that, then maintaining them is relatively easy.

It's the edging that drives me nuts, with grasses and creeping charlie trying to take over, infiltrating the beds and creeping over the designated edge! I try to use bricks, stones, and other materials as edging, which helps to some extent... but I'm only one person, and it is a lot of work to keep everything looking perfect. Plus, as time goes by, my body fails me more, and each year it seems I am forced to do a little less.

I'm a big one for allowing mixed borders to evolve on their own. Once a mix of spring blooming bulbs and perennials is planted and mulched, it becomes a task of just replacing what doesn't make it... and letting everything else colonize... with a bit of trimming here and there.

If I did everything by the book, I'd never be able to maintain so many large beds with so many plantings! Once put together, though, I allow Mother Nature to have her way. Some perennials form thick cover that weeds can't penetrate, and some rely on reseeding for the following generations... like the Foxglove, and the Pineapple Sage.

We're all about roses, so those are the backbone of many beds. In between the roses, we plant staples that we know will do well, such as Daylilies, Iris, Siberian Iris, Columbine, and Gaillardia. For early color we tuck in bulbs, such as tulips, daffodils, and especially alliums, which many animals don't care for. The allium keeps them from destroying other plants.

Mike, there are plenty of flawed roses in the gardens... I try to choose the nicest ones to photograph. We grow everything as organically as we can, so we do have our share of rose eating bugs and caterpillars! By the heat of mid-summer, there are many roses that look quite pitiful, either through the munching of bugs and deer and rabbits, or through the fungi and molds from rain and the dampness, like blackspot. Some roses are resistant, and some suffer until the cooler weather of autumn. Own root roses do much better than grafts, though.

Al, as always your plants and mixed plantings are just gorgeous! I've always wanted to try my hand at hypertufa, but then I remind myself that I have enough projects going on! I also want to do some gazing ball tile work, as in creating a sparkly gazing ball out of an old, abandoned bowling ball by covering it with mirrored tile pieces, and I want to make my own decorative stepping stones, too, perhaps with pressed leaf patterns... some day! (sigh)

Well, I did reset the camera, and I did take new photos... I just haven't gotten around to uploading them yet. Today. I'll do it today.

In the meantime, have a great day, everyone!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 9:20AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Thanks, JJ - I have another picture somewhere where it REALLY looks like you're getting mooned by a frog. If I stumble over it in my travels, I'll be sure to post it.

Thank you, Mike. Please give your mom a hug for me - you'll have to be happy with a thank you. ;o)

As always, Xuan - very lovely photos of your garden and plants. You've definitely got the touch! The succulent planting in my hand was just something I put together from a piece of lava my brother brought back from Hawaii and I subsequently 'borrowed' from his stone collection. ;o) The surface is uneven, so I carefully filled in the depressions with a very fine version of the gritty mix, and planted with 7 different plants. You can count them if you look carefully. The ivy is in the largest soil mass because it needs more water than the rest of the planting. You can also plant on a rock or wood slab if you want. Wouldn't that make a good instructional thread? Hmmm .... ;o)

Sluice - there are 2 dwarf varieties of Juniperus chinensis 'Shimpaku' and a Tsuga canadensis of unknown cultivar. It cane from Iseli's, so it could be any one of a hundred. I'll look it up if it's important. Hidden from view behind the Tsuga is a Chamaecyparis obtusa Gnome'

Jodi - Your plants always look soo nice. I too, only take most of my pics of plant material when it's looking prime, but I also look for opportunities for pics I can use to illustrate things that are always coming up in the forums. I often think "Hmmm - taking a picture of this plant right now, even though it's not prime, will help me explain .....

Kind of like this picture illustrates how you can start with a handful of Ficus cuttings and plant them together so they will eventually fuse into a single trunk. The plant isn't pleasing to look at (yet), but the picture can still be used to illustrate a technique.

Still, I'm with you in only wanting to show the nicer things in the garden. Lol - I don't want anyone to think I have weeds or plants with dead leaves, but I'd be pretty phony if I didn't cop to having my share of difficulties. They seem to be getting fewer and fewer - prolly because my plants are growing more mature and not acting like the kids they were any longer? ;o)

It takes more than one to keep the gardens nice

From a bunny's perspective


    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 3:39PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Hello Everyone!
I am sure enjoying all the pictures!
Xaun, thanks for posting yours! Everything is beautiful and I always look forward to seeing your plants!

All your roses are lovely as always! In the spring, I am going to get some and try them one more time! May have to put them in a container with gritty mix to get them to live though. Several yrs of trying to put them in a bed with no luck. LOL!

Josh, Mike, where are your pictures?? :)

My Gaura lindheimeri had a comon name on it along the lines of Dancing Butterflies. I love the plant! Do you think it would go well in a container with Rosemary or Lavender? It says it's drought tolerant.. and they don't like alot of water. I'm thinking of trying it with one of those.

Well... back to work for me. I have a friend coming over tonight to use the puter, and I plan to show her this thread! :) She's decided next year to try the mixes for her plants, based on how well mine are doing this season.

Take care guys!
I'll see you all soon!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 6:35PM
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Still having issues with the camera, but I did manage to get a few nice shots.

Here's the second half of the new bed, from the gate and beyond. There's a lot of work yet to do, but getting rid of the sod is the hard part.

This is Sally Holmes, planted in the first half of that new bed. It's got orange hips already, but it's still trying to bloom!

Speaking of hips... check these out! They're as big as cherry tomatoes! These are on the species types, Alba and Rubra.

The easiest roses that require the least of amount of work for the most output are the Knockouts... this is Rainbow Knockout...

And this is a red Knockout...

This is red miniature that blooms in multiples... it's a great, easy grower with a long season...

Green Ice, a better depiction of its green tint during cooler weather...

Climbing White Iceberg peeking through the aster skeletons...

Betty Prior still heavily blooming...

This little guy grows under our apple tree. I'm hoping to train it up into the branches...

And this is part of this year's production... I really need to pick them! They're Fuji apples... delicious!

A few with names unknown...

And finally, the Pineapple Sage that shouldn't, but reseeds itself. It's not hardy to zone 5, but it keeps appearing year after year!

Oh, ok... one more... Hot Cocoa!

I hope you enjoy these... I can't wait to see everything come back to life in spring... it's my favorite time to take pictures!

Happy Gardening, Everyone!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 7:12PM
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Sheesh....two of you (Al and Jodi) have posted pictures of Hot Cocoa, and......I gotta have her. Are yours "own root"? And if so, who did you get them from. All my 200 or so roses are own root, and almost all of them are from Vintage Gardens, but this year I ordered four new ones from Cliff Orent atEuro-Desert, and now I'll order HC whereever I can find her. Own root, however, is a reqiurement.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 7:27PM
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Thanks Al for the instructions. I've a "spronge" (?) rock and maybe I'll try to apply your instructions to plant some succulents.

Jodi & Mike: Thank you for your kind words re my gardens. Living in tropical and sub-tropical climates, sometimes I have to "endure" a wild garden, especially now after the rainy season. You don't want to see the weeds I'm having here!


    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 8:33PM
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Al: My mother was grateful for your hug! Ok, let's face it, I too am not about to show you all a picture of my only sad looking plant..lol...You should see my "orchid" busting out in flowers though...Ok..I think I am due for some pictures too..I will work on some tomorrow..You said something that was very enlightening Al...I never thought of my plants as Kids that have yet to grow up! No wonder they perform better as they get older..
What a cute little helper..Being in your company, she has a great head start to make many plants very happy..She is so cute!
I also love the picture"from a bunny's perspective"! So cool..Very nice..You never realize what bugs and animals see when walking or hovering around your yard..At least you hope the good bugs are the only ones that consider your yard inviting..lol

Is that a Christmass cactus I see there? Beautiful!

Xuan: Thank you so much for that beautiful picture of the coffee corner..It looks so serene and so peaceful..I wish I could visit there..Even if you posted an ugly plant of yours, it would probably be one that looks better than my healthy ones!!:-)

Jojo: Hello! How are you..I will work on it tomorrow and wait till you see a plant that Al made possible for me to keep healthy from the beginning of coming here, from when I first started to get to know him and understand his offerings! Good night..Where is Josh anyway?

Jodi...My mom is sitting here telling me that she wants to walk through your yard with you, in fact Al's too, and just spend time with you all..She is so in love with your roses and Al's little plants and frogs! My sister just loves that Hot Cocoa one! Hard to believe that you can suffer so much pain, and yet be so successful in growing some of the most beautiful roses we have seen..I wish you were much healthier to do so much more as your heart wants too..But for what you have done, it is a huge accomplishment and something to be proud of...I wish I could pack up my glass ball and send it to you..It is huge..
The roses in the forth picture up from the bottom I love..
What is the name of that one? Is it a graft or from root? My goodness, that pure white rose is so beautiful, and the apples..Yum..You live in a nice area!

Have any of you ever grown a plant in Lava Rock? You just sink it in water to moisten the roots...I have seen Bonsai plants in this..I also saw Bonsai plants in hand made Clay Balls with moss on them..Huge clay balls, at least 8 inches in diameter..I think the Chinese grow many this way,very interesting..

Hi Landperson: Funny you would ask the same question as my mother..She loves that one..It is so different..Welcome here with us all..:-)

Sluice: Have a good night and thank you for the nice comments..

Goodnight everyone...

Pug, miss you here!


    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 9:49PM
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Thanks, Mike, glad to be here.
Your comment about plants growing up reminded me of the answer a worker at Vintage Gardens always gave when asked "when is the best time to plant a rose?":
"20 years ago...."


    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 10:13PM
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Yes, Susan... the majority of our roses are own-root. Grafting gives an edge to production, but it does nothing for the rose, or the rose customer. Own-root allows for better health, better adjustment to climate, etc... in fact, we have several zone 6 roses growing in our zone 5 gardens, so in many cases, you'll gain a zone with own-root plants. You won't have to worry about protecting that graft.

In our garden, roses must be able to survive with a good layer of mulch and not much else. Our winters are often frigid, plunging below zero, but I refuse to coddle my plants. We have too much to do to worry about wrapping with burlap, or covering, or digging and laying in trenches, etc... and styrofoam rose cones are worthless. Our roses get a nice thick layer of mulch, and that's it. We may tie errant canes together so they're not flopping in the wind, but other than that, we do nothing. In spring, I want to prune a little dead wood, maybe do some shaping, and move on to the next plant. This is a farm-ette with horses, goats, fowl, dogs, a hunting lodge, pasture and hay fields, and extensive gardens... I don't have time to baby anything!

The majority of roses sold in our area originate in Texas, are grafted, and come from J&P. The majority won't last through one winter. But stores still sell the heck out of them because people don't know any better. I'd rather spend a little more and get healthy own-root roses that will thrive in my zone, than spend $12 or less and have to replace the darn things every spring. Tea roses are not for zone 5... but stores push them, and people buy. They neglect to research, usually. There are many roses available today for the northern gardener... but you won't find a good selection at your local home improvement store!

Vintage has nice roses... Heirloom has an excellent selection, link below. In time, so will we. That's our goal... to offer a fine selection of old garden and hard to find antique roses, all own-root, which are impossible to find in our area.

Don't count out species types, miniature varieties, or ground cover types, either... they have definite places within a garden! My criteria for choosing a rose are own-root, hardiness zone, health/disease resistance, type, bloom time, scent, and the color and shape, of course... in that order.

Mike, I don't know the name of that rose offhand... you mean the purplish ones, correct? That's actually two types of roses next to each other. If that's the picture you mean, I'll find names for you.

Hot Cocoa is one of my favorites because it's color is unlike anything I've come across. It's also a continual bloomer, and it's fairly resistant to disease. We have two of this variety growing in our gardens, and it's proving to be a good choice. Climbing White Iceberg is another that's earning a place in our gardens. Bugs like to eat the leaves, but the blooms are spectacular. Pure white, very symmetrical, and nicely scented.

So far, some of my favorites are Quadra, Autumn Damask, Betty Prior, Hot Cocoa, Green Ice, Carefree Beauty, New Dawn, Enigma, and the Canadian Explorer series, plus many of the Bucks. I could go on and on, adding many more to my favorites list, but those are probably the top.

You can't go wrong with Knockouts or roses from the Flower Carpet series. Both are very hardy, and both require little in the way of work.

Xuan, I would imagine that the constant humidity could also be an annoyance... it would limit many plant types. It's funny... those of us in one climate type want to grow plants of another climate type! I'd love to grow more orchids, but my environment simply won't support them. Phals and Dens do fine, and don't seem to mind our drier air. Catts and other types don't want to grow here, requiring different humidity. I can't keep a constant humidity... not without purchasing a humidifier or having a nice greenhouse. But I can grow many plants that wouldn't work in a different climate, like deciduous plants, so it's a trade-off. But we always want what we can't have! :-)

My two great loves in growing are bulbs and roses. Bulbs have always fascinated me... they're little self-contained units, kind of like batteries. And roses are something I've always loved, but never thought much about growing because of the poor selection that used to be standard fare. The rose world has changed a lot, and now anyone can locate plants bred specifically for their area. I'm still learning... and I have a long way to go... but there is a rose niche to be filled here, and we're working toward that end.

Well... I've rambled enough for one morning... no pun intended! :-)

Seriously, though... for those of you interested in growing roses, there are many types bred specifically for your area. Choose carefully, and you'll really enjoy growing them!

Have a great day!

Here is a link that might be useful: Heirloom Roses

    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 10:02AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hello, hello, on this rainy Sunday morning!
Greetings to all good folks gathered: Al, Mike, JoJo, Xuan, Jodi, Susan, and Nate!

I'm impressed (and a little overwhelmed) by all of the incredible container and ground-grown plants!
I would have been by to post pics sooner, but alas! I don't have many blooming container plantings.
However, if no one objects, I'll share just a few shots from the dry flower gardens this summer.


    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 12:13PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Hi Josh!
Good to see you! We were starting to worry a little. ;)
I think with this thread, anything goes. :)
I love everything!
Is that the naked lady? you really should put some clothes on her! LOL!

And is the tall pink star like blooms part of the cobweb leek? They are beautiful! If so, can't wait for mine to bloom now!

Everything looks so peacful! :)
Nice bee balm too. I never had any luck with that one.

Your little helper is alot cutter than mine. ;)
She's adorable!!

Here's a pic of my helper.. kicking back after a long day..
Now the best part is he didnt know I took these till after the fact.. I was inside taking them through the glass door. he he..

Here's one of my favorites.. Datura, aka Devils trumpet..
The fragrance is amazing! Only blooms at night and the smell carries in the air, even just one flower open, i can enjoy it from about 10' away! Almost a citrus and jasmine combined.

Daytime visitor

And at night..my favorties..:)

I guess I didn't resize this picture. LOL! This Sphynx (sp?) is bout 2" long and 3-4" across the wings. They are so cool.. and will land on you and stay. :)

Have a great day everyone!
Off to bowl.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 2:03PM
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Oh, my! Josh, I'm so jealous! I see rose campion, and I adore how you've used ornamental grasses... wow! Gorgeous! Just gorgeous! Lovely gardens! Thanks for sharing them! Is that Amaryllis Belladonna? Or Lycoris Squamigera? I adore Naked Ladies! ;-)

JoJo, great pictures! Monarda likes a little bit more moisture than I think you are able to provide. That would be my guess, anyway. But you've got great Datura, and I'm not having luck with mine... they're potted. I've had them two years, now... and no blooms. I'm about to give up.

I like the moth, too... we get the large Luna Moths sometimes, and they're just beautiful! They hang out on the side of the house and fly around the yard light at night.

And you have a pool... now, I'm really jealous! :-) Gosh, I'd give anything to be able to jump in a nice pool and swim after a hard day sweating in the gardens!

And yes, everyones' little helpers are great! I don't have any... well, not here. The grandkids all live up north. No interest in gardening yet... but they're still young. Grandma has plenty of time to introduce them to the joys of gardening! :-)

I took some new pictures this morning... but just as I was finishing up, the batteries died. I'll need to find replacements before I can upload.

What a day... I haven't done much, and I'm exhausted. Maybe I need a nap... first, though, I need a shower! Pee-yoo! All I can smell is goat! There's this billy goat... and he's what you might call "musky". Ick!

Great pictures, people! Keep 'em coming! I love to see how the other half gardens! :-)

    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 5:44PM
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Lol..It's a good thing I have a Mack computer, it almost took me 5 minutes to get to the bottom of this thread at work!

Jojo..Do I wish I was in your back yard pool! Boy does your son look so content and to think you can still go in your pool..That ended for us weeks ago..I guess you plants are lucky too...lol/...What a beautiful moth and cute bee..Sheesh, they all look quite content and happy..Those flowers are amazing...I would grow one as a house plant if that was possible..

Josh: It is about time you stop by and with gifts of beauty too! Unbelievable..You have some really unique and different plants compared to me...Is there any way you could put a picture of your Moro citrus and a moss picture to to compliment all these nice pictures...I love this thread! I see those hens and chicks by the way..Your begonia and lilies beat me by a margin..Nice!

Susan, I think you made a great point! My roses that have made it after years of growing always seem to perform the best..I have yet to keep one alive in a container...

Jodik, I have learned more about roses here than any book..So much I never knew, and now I know what to look for when buying! You are right. All I ever see at the box stores is grafted ones and they all claim to be hardy here..I have yet to see one come back come spring..Now I am going to go to my nursery and ask for roses on their own roots and some antiques and very hardy ones...You are right. If it requires a lot of work to keep alive, it ain't happening in my yard...Survival of the fittest in that department...Funny thing you should mention the cones...I was just looking at them at Lowe's yesterday
and debating if I should buy them...I did not..I did think of setting my fig tree pot in one, and then I said, if it takes this much work to keep it alive in my cold cellar, I am not buying anymore figs..So I left the cones there..lol
I can't even find the time to get out in my yard and trim all the vines, let alone do all the steps to protect sensitive plants..No thanks..lol
I did bury my favorite rose under mulch since every year it comes back half dead..Let's see how that goes..Boy you should sell some of those.I would be a a loyal customer of yours..Your roses are magnificent and reflects your love of plants..

Hi Al!!:-))))))..Still looking for unusual frogs....Wait until you see the Bonsia plant I am thinking of getting! I am so glad I know you even more..

Forgive the spelling errors in which I am sure there are many, but I had to go and couldn't go back to fix them


    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 7:42PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Good evening, JoJo, Jodi, and Mike!

I've been out in the windy, rainy weather for most of the day! It's a nice mess up here in the foothills.
We've had nearly five inches of rain today....

Yes, those are Naked Ladies! They have the most delicate, wonderful scent...like a faint raspberry sorbet....
I'd forgotten about them, until they danced onto the stage in September.

I'm glad you enjoy the grasses! The cats do, too...especially those tall clumps of Mexican Feather Grass!
The grasses provide texture, depth, and inviting focal points. Plus, this is California....and the more drought-tolerant, the better!

Rose Campion....more and more every year. The color is impossible to describe...eye-dazzlingly bright.
Each flower seems to float atop its pale, minty stem. I know you're familiar with these wonders!

Hello, Mike!
Ask and you shall receive. You know I couldn't turn down a request for pics! I'll have to take a mossy pic for you.
Here's a recent shot of my Blood Orange, and a shot of my Giant Chainfern from earlier this Summer.
Both of these plants are growing in a mix of Bark, Perlite, and Pumice.

Lastly, for Al, one of the drip-tray residents in my Alaskan Fern. I think I've posted this before,
but why not once more, eh? ;)


    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 8:54PM
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Hi everyone, I'm back with some photos of my orchids.

Except for the first Cattleya, other orchids are being grown in my "hot" garden. I hope you like them.


    Bookmark   October 25, 2010 at 1:59AM
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Xuan, those are lovely orchids... and all of them are the kinds I haven't had any luck with! They look very happy in your yard and home!

Josh, I sure wish I had a nice deck like yours... it would be the perfect protected spot to keep my container plants for the summers. I also wish rose campion would survive and thrive here, but it doesn't seem to like this area. I think our winters might be a little too frigid.

We finally received some much needed rain... it came late last night, and from the sound of the thunder and the loss of satellite signal, it was a doozie of a storm! I now anticipate the opening of many rose buds, which seem to have been stalled in the cool, dry weather we had before the rain. The moisture should push them to open!

Mike, if I were you, I would forget about trying to convince your local stores to carry own-root, old fashioned rose varieties, and I'd watch for the sales that both Vintage and Heirloom will have... either pre-spring or during various times throughout the growing season... and I'd order them from reputable online sources. Trust me... it's worth it. But we'll talk about roses via email before the next planting season arrives.

The problem with most local sources is that they're just vendors, and they often don't know much about the items they sell. And often, their corporate headquarters tell them what to order, so they have very little say in what inventory they'll receive.

You'll most likely see plenty of Knockouts and Flower Carpet roses, but little else of any value in the rose department. Even garden and landscape stores offer what sells, or what's popular with the general public, and won't often carry specialty items.

When I speak of filling a local niche, that's what I mean... we have a name, inventory, business cards, and everything... and we're in the early stages of becoming a local specialty for own-root old garden and hard to find roses. It's one of the reasons I've been working so hard to put together these rose gardens. We're called "Our Secret Gardens", and we sell roses locally.

Next year will be especially busy for us... we're already scheduled to host garden walks for the local rose society and a couple of other groups. I've been working to put together beds that show off the different types of roses... not exactly show gardens, but more of a realistic approach... so people can see how the various plants will look in their own yards, mixed with bulbs and other perennials and shrubs.

For me, it's a labor of love... I get a lot of enjoyment out of the work. We started with the idea of getting some of our input back, and then we decided that the plants would sell better if people could see what they're getting. Plus, I don't want to join the ranks of the greedy and sell any item just to make a buck... I want to test the roses and see how they do in our area. If we don't care for them, we won't offer them. A happy customer is a repeat customer, and to me, reputation is very important.

So, anyway, Mike... it would be to your advantage to do some research over winter. Keep in mind your gardening zone, the areas you'd like to plant roses, and the various rose habits you have room for... some varieties can get very large! Think about the various reasons you want to grow them, how much time you plan to spend, and what colors and flower types you're interested in.

Most roses require at least 6-8 hours of sun a day, although there are a few varieties that can handle a bit of dappled shade. Roses tend to be heavy feeders and drinkers, though they don't like their roots to remain wet/soggy. Deer and rabbits love to nibble, as do several kinds of insects, so they do require a little bit of effort to stay looking their best. There really are no hard and fast rules on pruning, in spite of all the different schools of thought. I usually just prune out dead canes in spring, and give some roses a little shaping, depending on how I'm using them. Dead-heading will keep many roses blooming longer, also.

In cold areas, stay away from tree roses or any other grafted shapes... they're beautiful, but not made for frigid weather. Roses don't seem to like being potted, either. Once purchased, it's best to get them planted in their permanent location within the garden. I'm not saying you can't maintain potted roses... it can be done... but they prefer not to have their roots disturbed, or to have them dry out.

Once you plant a rose, it seems like it can take a couple of years for them to settle in and get established... and I notice that the third year seems to bring really good growth and blooming when a rose is happy with its location and care.

I've read so much about growing roses, and a lot of it makes the prospect sound complicated, but it's really not. The key is choosing the right roses for your situation.

Well... it's 5:45 am... I think I should go back to bed for a while... try to get a little more sleep. My sciatic nerve is a little sore... and my desk chair is not very comfortable.

Again... great pictures! I'm enjoying this thread a lot!

Have a good one! :-)

    Bookmark   October 25, 2010 at 6:54AM
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Yesterday I found a new source for own root roses that I am trying out: Burlington Rose Nursery. Burling sells bands for $10.95, and I am going to be very interested to see them when they arrive. Most of all she was amazingly attentive all day: she sent me the availability list, then checked her inventory to see if she had what I wanted, then sent me an invoice, and will be shipping them today. How's THAT for service.


    Bookmark   October 25, 2010 at 10:32AM
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Very nice, Susan. I hope you're very happy with your order! What varieties did you get?

You're in a much warmer climate, so your choices are a lot less limited than mine! For us, Tea roses are out of the question. But we do have less fungal issues, I think, and less issues with really hot weather. It does get hot and humid here, but not for the length of time other warmer zones suffer.

From all the reading and research I've done, I think a zone 6 or 7 garden would be the perfect place for a person who loves roses. I'm stuck in a zone 5 area. But, we make do... and as time goes by, we're less limited. Rose hybridizers are working diligently to widen the field!

    Bookmark   October 25, 2010 at 1:15PM
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Hi Jodi. My Burlington order was for Baby Faurax (this is a replacement for one I killed a few years back), Distant Drums, Girona, Purple Buttons and Sweet Pea.

As you can see I'm a gonner when it comes to mauve roses....

I already have Nimbus, Magenta, Blue Mist, Veilchenbleu, Violette,

I think this 8/9 zone is easy peasy when it comes to roses. We do get a lot of blackspot and other fungal nasties in the early spring because we have so much cool rain over the winter, but it always clears up by itself because the summers are completely dry....

    Bookmark   October 25, 2010 at 1:37PM
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Lovely choices, Susan! I'm sure you'll be happy with all of them! Distant Drums is the only one out of your list that we have... all the others are for warmer zones. In fact, we have lots of Buck roses.

I really don't have a preferential color... I think they're all so beautiful, I just can't make a concrete choice! I guess I probably lean toward the corals and reds, but there are such lovely pinks and whites, and such saturated yellows, and oranges... I do like the coppery oranges a lot.

We have a miniature called Teddy Bear... it starts out a copper penny sort of orange, and it mellows to a lovely orangey-pink. And then there's Hot Cocoa, with it's brownish red, difficult to describe cocoa color.

The bi-colors are lovely, too. And the lavender/blue/purple roses are also gorgeous! And there's the greenish tint of Green Ice! No, I don't think I could choose just one color! Or one shape, or one size, or one anything! :-)

It's not a wonder that roses are such a popular and much loved garden staple. They have it all... beauty, scent, variety... they are the stuff of poetry, of paintings... a veritable smorgasbord for the senses!

Sometimes, I visit Heirloom, Vintage, and other rose websites just to drool over their photos!

Well... I should cut this short... we have storms moving in. Hope everyone has a nice day!

    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 7:36AM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Good Morning Everyone!
Jodi, I am loving all the Roses! All your TLC shows in every one of them!

I'm surprised your Datura isn't blooming. Is it getting good sun?
Mine is wild, a volunteer. They grow wild in the desert and the river right by my house.
The only water they get is from rain, which isn't alot here in Arizona. :)

The pool was nice.:) It was also the source of alot of Boo boo's getting the yard ready for it. lol. I had to tear out a portion of my Aviary to make room for it. Now I need to put the Aviary back together, just a smaller version of what it used to be.

Hello Mike!
Well, it's time to pack the pool up till next season, but your more than welcome to stop by for a swim then. ;) Right after you help me move my 200lb cacti. lol..
All 4 of them . ;)

We had our neighbors grand daughter here most of the summer too. She's a great kid, and it worked out nice.

A friend was here the other night to use the computer, and I had her look at this thread. :)
She loved seeing all the pics and is anxious to start trying these mixes next season!
She loved all the frogs! And Al~ She'll keep an eye out for a flattie for you too. ;)
Josh, she got a huge chuckle out of your little one in the drip tray.

Everything is beautiful!
That coffee corner is amazing! Hubby said it looks to peacful for coffee though. More like it would make him sleepy. lol.. ;) It would be really hard to motivate, and get back to "life" after sitting there for awhile. :)

Everyone have a great day! Be carful with the storms!
Jodi, I saw yours on the news this morning. Sounds like alot of you are getting it.

We are cloudy, but I don't think were getting any rain.

Josh~ your aim is a little off. The rain the other day stayed up in northern Arizona. We didn't get it. LOL!

Take care all!

    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 10:22AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Good morning!
Xuan, your flowers are lovely! I would like to explore your gardens.

So, Jodi, you're getting slammed with storms, too. Everything smells so nice once the rains have passed....

I spent all Summer sanding and re-staining the back deck, playing musical chairs with the plants.
It is nice to have a slightly more protected location - although the raccoons wreak havoc in late July.
But after trapping and re-locating 8 raccoons last year, I didn't notice so many this year.
Only two major incidents that I can recall.


    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 10:43AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

JoJo! Cross-posted! ;)

Darn, no rain for you! We got over 5 inches....! How's that for an Autumn storm?!
The weather turned clear for a light frost last night, so I'll be digging up the peppers....

My little frog friends are just about to turn in for the season. I do enjoy their company.


    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 10:52AM
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Good Morning all.
Sun is out !!!! Hurrah. We got the first big soaking storm of the season -- 4 inches here -- and I'm with Josh. That smell after rain is so delish !!!! And no matter how well or often I irrigate, nothing but nothing makes the plants feel better than real out-of-the-sky rain.

JoJo, I'm with you -- almost all of the colors grab me, not just the mauve ones. I seem to go through phases: one year I had to have all the saturated dark reds -- Guinee, Senegal, Louis XIV, Nuits de Young; one year it was primarily the browns -- Smoky, Julia's Rose; this year it seems my eye kept going to my Talisman out front and thinking what I wanted were more "painted" roses. Sheesh....nothing can go directly into the ground anymore without a gopher basket, but that hasnt' stopped me from accumulating roses in bands, potting them up into 2.5 gallon handled buckets (from the dollar store) and promising myself I'm going to make more gopher baskets the next time it rains....

Today I'm off to buy silica sand for gritty mix so I can repot succulents....

AND, if anyone sees a source for Hot Cocoa in a band on its own root, please please tell me. I'm too frugal/tight/cheap to order it in a gallon, but I'm definitely in the market for that gorgeous rose.


    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 11:36AM
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Hi Sue copy and paste this to your browser when you have a chance http://www.weeksroses.com/zipsearch.php and try someone local. Chances are you'll get a good discount this time of the year on potted 3 gallon. Buy one get one free or 40 -50% off any in stock that sort of thing. You should know or be able to tell if there OWN ROOT or GRAFTED Yeah chances are better( even the on line places) they wont be OWN ROOT
It's one of those Modern Day Fancy Hybrid Tea Rose things is my guess.Gone are the good ole days.

Don't give up there's hope yet even if it is.........


    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 4:08PM
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I ordered one from Chamblee. Okay, okay, it's a gallon and not a band, but it IS own root, and the rose itself was still only $9. and change. Just to make myself feel a bit better about spending so much on shipping I threw in a Mardi Gras -- it's a brown/red day as you can see.....


    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 4:15PM
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Al, my MOTHER still can't get over the plants you have growing in the acorn, the small rock,and the salter!!! How in the word do you do it?!! I am so proud to even have you as a friend knowing that someone as smart as that has and will always be there for me...You are treasured Al!!! Thank you!

Jodik....I am going to buy a couple of roses from you come spring..We shall e-mail..It would mean so much to my mother..She has a speciall place she is preparing and has been reading your advice and information, and can not believe how much you know...I am also proud of you..I hope your business works well, but I know that the happiness you'll bring to many people, especially with the walk throughs and the attention you give to the real "roses" will make you so gratified, because that is what makes you tick, care, happy and love..I am also proud to know you with deep appreciation!! You are much loved!

Jojo, depressing having to close the pool! Your poor son, and now he will have to float in the bathtub for comfort..lol Jojo, I would love to see pics of the plants I sent you...I would also love to say that I am so grateful to know you too all this time..I remember a time when you knew no one here, and now, we are family!!:-)Listen, you pay my airfare, and I can be there in a week to help your family move the big cactus and bring you surprises...Just say the word..lol..I will even take you on to a bowl match!!

Josh, You will miss that little frog..So darn cute! Thank you so much fro posting your pictures of the fern, and the Moro, and others..I always LOVE your pictures....Your plants are always so green and happy..I can't believe that the frost is coming so fast, and all that wind.I told you the wind is getting worst as time goes by..Today it was 75 with just a slight breeze..Weird, it felt like summer..I was out in the back yard without a shirt cleaning everything, and making room for my mom's rose garden for next year..It was great.

Xuan!!!!! What can I say except that I want to see more of your pictures...I love your plants and I wish we could trade our weather..You are fantastic with what you grow! how is your gold fish doing?

Suzi: Fantastic....I want some of Jodik's roses so bad too..lol..I hope you are happy with the ones you get..Please let us know..

Mrlike2u:::Beautiful pictures and such a help here and I am glad to meet you!...

Jodik....Thank you thank you thank you for so much information about roses and all the pictures....I feel confident I can finally grow some now and what to do...You are a gem and inspiration for those of us who were hesitant at once...You are an amazing hard worker and very smart..I think your thank you are catching up to Al's......lol

Now if there was any spelling errors, please forgive me, especially PG, since I lost track of time and couldn't go back to spell check..

Much love everyone!!


    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 5:57PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Hi, Guys. Haven't been able to keep up with this thread the last few days! ;o)

Great frog picture, Josh. More lovely pictures from Xuan certainly deserve recognition. Glad your friend liked the thread/pictures, JJ. Did you have to drive through the same wind & rain we got today, Jodi? It's letting up now, but we had 60 MPH gusts.

Mike - It's not difficult growing plants in small containers if you pick the right plants and then commit. As long as you're diligent about providing the right cultural conditions - not messing up & forgetting to water is the big one - they just grow. ;o)


    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 9:35PM
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Oh no Mike... you don't want to know about my goldfish plant and neither does Al! It seems I can't get it to grow properly so that it couldn't keep its own home but let a volunteered violet to take residence in its pot.


I'm so ashamed of my inability to make this plant grow. Can you help me out, please?


    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 10:31PM
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Honestly, JoJo, I don't give that much TLC to the roses. I'm a firm believer in letting Mother Nature have her own way, so about all I do is plant the roses in appropriate spots, give them a little one-time boost with a granular systemic of insecticide plus fertilizer, mulch them well... and then nature takes over. If they make it, they make it... if they wane, I try to figure out why, and maybe move them to a better spot. If they don't make it... well, it just wasn't meant to be.

The only pruning I do is the removal of dead wood in early spring, and as I mentioned in another post, I might shape a plant here and there to keep it within its prescribed area. Other than that, though, they're all on their own. The gardens are way too extensive to coddle any one plant.

We've actually been very lucky so far... we haven't lost that many roses to our strange winters. I think we lost 2 or 3 last year... and when you consider the number of plants I've put in, that's an amazingly low percentage of loss.

If I'm not mistaken, we got our first Hot Cocoa from Heirloom Roses. It's definitely own-root, and it's more of a climber. The second one may be a graft, although I wouldn't bet on it. I can't recall where we got that one. Week's possibly? I really don't know. It has more of a shrub growth habit. My partner in crime has all sorts of rose sources. She buys from private growers, large companies, small companies... where ever she can locate the roses she wants at the price she's willing to pay.

Believe me... $9 plus shipping is not expensive for a healthy, own-root rose... especially fully rooted in a gallon! Some varieties go for a lot more, and the more rare it is, the higher the price! Remember... you get what you pay for! And this is especially true of roses.

And, don't worry, Mike... we'll work something out. You've been very generous, and as of this moment, I owe you. We'll talk before spring. I won't forget. We'll get you hooked up with some nice plants. :-)

It's almost the end of October, and I'm still planting roses! I did get behind because of sciatic trouble, but I'm starting to catch up. Whatever I don't get put in the ground will be wintered over in our unheated garage. I'll remove the plants from their bands, and repot into gallon containers. They'll winter over just fine. I think I only have about a dozen or so still in band pots.

I appreciate all the compliments, but I really don't know that much about all this yet. I'm still learning! You wouldn't believe the myriad of rose names and information I've got rolling around in my brain! It gets confusing at times!

Ah, yes... the weather! We awoke yesterday at about 4:30 am to high winds and rain, lots of thunder, power surges as branches along the roads hit power lines... it was really bad! We needed the rains, and an occasional bout of good wind is nature's tree pruner, so I can't really complain.

The drive north was not as bad as we expected. Our doctor is in Chicago, so about every 3 months we drive up to get new prescriptions, have blood taken for the normal tests, and just your general check up type stuff... plus, we get to see Doc's dog, Rosie, a daughter of my Olde Bulldogge, Maia.

The one time I don't bring my camera with me, and Buckingham fountain was working! I could kick myself! It was so beautiful... if you don't know the seedy underbelly of the city, Lake Shore Drive is a really beautiful cruise, with the city skyline, the lake, all the parks and old architecture.

Anyway... the winds weren't that bad on the trip north, and the sun came out... barely a drop of rain. Trucks were on the road, and we drive a small Ford Escort station wagon... the drive was fine. It got a little windier as we neared home, but it's always windy down here... the land is flat, and there's nothing to catch or stop the winds.

More great pictures! Al, your annual arrangements and garden photos are always so lovely... and Xuan, that goldfish plant is blooming, so you must be having some success with it!

JoJo, I don't know what I'm doing wrong with the Brugs and Datura... I think I have both, and I think both are suffering somewhat. I've probably got them in pots that are too small... they're currently in gallons. They came in as cuttings, a gift from a friend in Texas. I stuck them in gallon pots with regular potting soil to root, and it was still too cold outside when I got them, so they rooted on a table in the basement, under lights.

In the two years I've had them, they've not grown that much. They tend to drop leaves very easily. I keep them on the cement pad in front of the garage for summer... facing east. I'm sure they need a repot. If they make it through winter in the basement, I'll repot into larger containers using Al's mix.

Let's see... what else? Well, I was so exhausted from the trip north that I crashed when we got home, and it's now about 4:00 am, and I can't sleep. It's a great time to catch up on reading and email, though... the house is quiet, the husband and dog are sleeping. The Boondocks is background noise... we always have a tv on. I can't sleep without it! The coffee is fresh... (_)D It's only autumn, and I'm wishing for spring, already! Oh! And I figured out what the problem is with my camera... the memory card died. Luckily, I have a couple of spares. It's so nice to have a techno-geek for a husband! He's always prepared!

Well... I've rambled enough again! Now that I know what's wrong with my camera, I can take more pictures to share. Hopefully, I can get a few taken and uploaded tomorrow, er, today!

See ya later! Have a good one! :-)

    Bookmark   October 27, 2010 at 5:08AM
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drudadunat(9b Tampa FL)

Jodik, your post made me homesick ... I was born and raised in Chicago but have lived in Florida since 1983. I still miss it. Your description of Lake Shore Drive was spot on. I remember reading that the fountain was undergoing renovations ... how great that you saw it functioning!


    Bookmark   October 27, 2010 at 11:49AM
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Hi, Darlene! Yes, we're fortunate to get to drive up and down LSD every few months, and that means seeing the city in all its seasonal glory! Right now, the trees are colored for fall, there are mums planted in window boxes and along buildings, the lake and harbors are emptying of all the boats, and they finally got the fountain working! It's been empty all summer.

You'd love what they've done to the median on Lake Shore Drive... it's planted with Rosa Rugosa Alba, and I think Rubra, too! There are areas with Daylilies, ornamental grasses, and a few other perennials. It's just gorgeous in spring and summer! And you can smell the roses if you roll down the car windows! I promise to take my camera with next trip up.

You know... I always say that I'd love to move south or west, somewhere warm... but I think I'd miss the seasons. Illinois has such defined seasons, and there is so much open space! I've been to Florida many times... but I always come home to Illinois! :-)

I replaced the memory card in my camera, and went out this morning to shoot a few new pictures...

Teddy Bear, a miniature...

The lovely yellow of Knockout Sunshine...

The bright orange red of one I can't name...

The fall colors of Crepe Myrtle...

Another variety of Crepe Myrtle...

The bright red berries and blooms of Honeysuckle...

There are so many hips on the Albas and Rubras, it looks like a tomato patch!

A closeup of Rainbow Knockout... look at those colors!

Red and pink Knockout in the front bed...

A better shot of the red Knockout...

Autumn Sunset planted under a young Lilac...

The canes of New Dawn creeping past a small yellow Daylily...

A red miniature next to climbing Forsythia, creeping around the bird bath...

What a great flea market find! The birdhouse matches the shepherd's hook perfectly!

A Canadian climber...

A large red bud on a plant in the new bed...

I believe this is Wild Blue Yonder...

And finally, one more shot of the gorgeous red Crepe Myrtle, with Walker's Low Catmint next to it...

I hope you all enjoyed today's photos! I enjoyed walking the gardens to take them and I always enjoy sharing them!

Happy Gardening!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2010 at 3:25PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Wow, Jodi! You bet I enjoyed those photos!
You're getting some great fall color on your Myrtles! ;)

I happened to encounter this little fellow today, and I thought of Al...so this is for you, Al!
Look at how the frog's colors match the grass and the oak leaves perfectly....

And, Mike, this moss is for you, buddy! ;)
I was hiking in the mountains early this morning, and I passed this spot in an alder thicket.
Lots of mossy stumps and rocks, bracken fern, incense cedar, and horsetail rush everywhere....

    Bookmark   October 27, 2010 at 8:52PM
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'Morning from Dalat, Vietnam.

Jodi, it's always a pleasure seeing all the gorgeous plants/blooms of your garden.

Here're a few shots from mine.

Thanks for looking at my photos.


    Bookmark   October 27, 2010 at 9:40PM
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Is that a little tree frog, Josh? We have those everywhere. I find them crawling around in the kennel all the time, and I have to be careful not to hose them down the drain! I love the mossy/horsetail picture, too... I recently took a picture of some interesting fungi growing on a tree, but I can't find it, now. That's the sort of stuff that draws my interest, too!

Xuan, lovely Cosmos... and I'm not sure what the blue flower is, but it's very pretty! The mountains in the background are gorgeous, and the birdhouse and bath are really cool! I love adding those kinds of things to garden-scapes!

Great photos... thanks for sharing! :-)

    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 11:37AM
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drudadunat(9b Tampa FL)

Those medians in Chicago sound wonderful! I'd love to see them some time but not sure when I can afford a trip there. Last time I went was in March of 03 and of course nothing was blooming then and the fountain was still off. One of my favorite memories is walking through the rose gardens in Grant Park. Sigh. :-)


PS -- your pictures today are gorgeous!

    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 12:10PM
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Don't worry, Darlene... I'll get new photos taken as the seasons pass... you'll be able to see the medians on LSD, the fountain, the lake, the skyline, and all the other scenes of note in Chicago. We go up about every three months, and I usually am prepared with camera in hand!

I do have some older pictures in my PhotoBucket albums... I'll see if I can locate them. My online albums are a jumbled mess of thousands of photos! Give me a day or two...

In the meantime, have a good one! :-)

    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 5:40PM
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Well, I posted a whole post lastnight that took me about 10 minutes to write and now it's all gone..

Jodik, Beautiful ROSES!!! And thank you

Josh, Thank you for those picture gifts and if you post the Avacado tree, that will top it off..Beautiful!

Xuan, YOu amaze me with such a beautious area and gorgoeus plants..Looks like your goldfish plant made a friend and seems very happy..

Drudad, you are right, Jodiks pictures are amazing!

Nite everyone...

Al, have you ever known anyone to grow plants in a THIMBAL? I just met a women that does..Crazy...YOur little ones are so nice...Love them..


    Bookmark   October 29, 2010 at 6:00PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

No, Mike. Never known anyone that grew a plant in a thimble, but I have seen lots of bonsai and bonsai companion plants in thimble-size pots.


    Bookmark   October 29, 2010 at 8:38PM
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I realize this thread takes a while to load for some, but I didn't know where else to put these... it's November, and the gardens are winding down in anticipation of winter. The temperatures are dropping, and it's getting a little cold at night, now.

The roses are still opening buds, in spite of the cooler weather... and I'm rushing to get the last of the potted specimens in the ground before we get some really cold weather!

This is the really long rose bed that will contain a back row of climbers against the fence, and a front row of shrub and other types...

This arch, made from a piece of pig panel fencing, will hold the beautiful Cecile Brunner... and you can also see the sod tool I've been using to remove the sod for the beds.

Fall is quickly giving way to winter, but the Knockouts are still going strong, providing plenty of color!

The yellow of a Sunshine Knockout...

Quadra's last bloom...

Climbing White Iceberg...

Quietness... a beautiful Buck...

My little companion, Maia...

Some orchids I just repotted... wrong season, I know, but I had no choice.

And finally, a double Knockout with the empty raised vegetable beds in the background, ready to sleep the winter away.

Oh, ok... one more... I don't know the name, but I hope the buds open before winter hits!

Here's hoping everyone is having a nice day! Happy Gardening to All!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 10:15AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hey, Jodi!
Lovely pics of the gardens as they're winding down for the long winter's sleep!
Yes, the Thread is beginning to take a while to load, but it sure is worth it!

I thought I'd repost an Avocado pic (a la Mike's request), as well as some front yard Fall color:

    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 12:45PM
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Nice, Josh! Beautiful Avacado... I haven't had much luck getting one to start lately. Many years ago, I had a really nice one started... but I killed it through lack of knowledge. It got all leggy and stretched, and it eventually died. One of these days, I'll give it another try... it was a fun project.

Lovely fall color, too... the color and the smell of fall in the air from the fallen leaves and such... those are my favorite parts of the season. What I don't like is that a frigid winter follows!

Great pictures!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2010 at 9:09AM
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Goodness..It took me ten minutes to find this thread..I thought it disappeared everyone.!!

Jodik..I bought and saved my first avocado seed!!! Finally, and now I can not find it...I think someone threw it out..:-(
Time for another..lol,,Maybe we can start one together and with Josh's help, finally get one to grow...Quietness is bEAUTIFUL..I bet it's very fragrant too? I love very fragrant and tough to kill...
Don't you just love Josh's area and plants?

Josh..Thank you for filling my request..I love that plants along with your Moro and all the jades most of all....Are they all indoors now?
Now I see you are going to a Manderine festival? Wow..You, you could be so lucky..

Al, I am sending someone over here to see your frogs..A good friend of mine,,I wanted her to meet you all...She herself has a frog too..lol
Hope you are well..

I hope everyone here is well and prepared for the winter..Let's hope it is good to us this year and short..:-)


    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 7:02PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Did he used to be a prince? ;-)


    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 8:57PM
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We shall see...lol

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 9:07PM
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I wish people would stop by my house and comment on my Bonsai. I put out several trees on Halloween, I thought someone would at least comment about them. No one said anything though.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 9:55PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hello Everyone...

What a great post!!! I will definately have to Pop some popcorn and come back to reread this amazing post!!!

Does it get any better than this?

I am so impressed with all of the pictures posted...truly one of the best threads that I have ever been privey too!

Mike, thank you for sending me over to say hi to Al!!!

Hi Al!!! I had posted a picture for Mike and his mom..he thought you would like to see my frog...so here it is!!!

Thank you for sharing your wonderful garden...like I said, I am going to have to revisit this post and really enjoy all of the true beauty here...Bravo to you all....

I couldn't help feeling for you and your beloved dog...there is noone more loyal than your best friend...He will always be with you, in the yard...by the computer...and watching you prune in the driveway...I will include my best friend... you have magical hands...

Laura in VB

My best friend!!!

My other best friend!!!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 10:18PM
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Jamie: your bonsais looked great but I adore your dogs! I love those... they looked so cute cute cute.
Thanks for sharing the photo.


    Bookmark   November 17, 2010 at 12:45AM
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Good Morning, Everyone!

Wonderful photos! I love the dogs, Jamie and Laura! And I can't imagine why no one mentioned your bonsai, Jamie... they're lovely! I'm a huge fan of Adenium, too... anything with a bulb or caudex draws my attention!

This thread is a long load, but well worth the wait! The photos it contains are fantastic! And in that spirit, I'd like to add one more set... the final phase of the gardens before winter hits, and everything settles in to sleep until the arrival of next spring...

This is the arch, now planted with Cecille Brunner roses and Hyacinth bulbs...

Here's the long garden, all planted with various roses and spring blooming bulbs...

Another pergola area, roses planted... this one has Dutch Iris and Crocus, and Daffodils, too...

This area contains Austin English roses...

Compare the Therese Bugnet rose in the background to the Rainbow Knockout in the foreground...

In spite of the fall weather, the frosts at night and the cooler air, some of the roses continue to bloom... you can see a little bit of frost burn on some...

This little red mini just won't quit!

It's hard to believe snow will arrive soon... I long for spring already!

    Bookmark   November 17, 2010 at 9:02AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Howdy! Hello to Laura and Jamie!
And hello to JoJo, Al, Jodi, Mike, Xuan, and anyone else I'm missing! ;)

Mike, you're quite welcome for the pics! Most of the leaves have fallen now,
but there are a few Liquidambars that are just now transitioning in color.
I hope you find an Avocado pit soon ;) Garden gremlins are stealing your stuff...!
My Jades are indoors now, but I put them outside during the day (for a few hours at least).

Jodi, the new beds look great. I can't wait to see them brimming with color next Spring.
An Alaskan storm system is going to be blowing down on us this week, with snow forecasted for
Saturday at elevations between 2000 and 3000 feet. I can't wait!


    Bookmark   November 17, 2010 at 10:44AM
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Thanks everyone.

It is very hard to imagine that snow is going to be here so soon. I have to put the finishing touches on my new plant storage room in my garage - for overwintering my container plants, Japanese Maples and Bonsai.


    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 10:01AM
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The inner yard, where the dogs run, is filled with huge yellow and orange fallen Sycamore leaves from the two giants that flank the house... most everything else has dropped leaves, and except for a few errant roses that are clinging to their green, everything is getting ready to rest for the winter season.

If you get snow, Josh, then we can't be too far behind. The storms will roll down out of the Rockies, make their way across the plain states, and as soon as Iowa reports snow, we're next! I'm hoping for a nice blanket to protect the newly planted roses.

I've actually still got a few bulbs to put in... some small packages of Crocus, Tulips, and odds and ends that were in the sale bin. As long as I can work the soil, though, I can plant bulbs. A few years ago, I was still planting bulbs in December... there was a crust of frozen ground, but I was able to get them all in. They grew and bloomed beautifully the following spring.

I've enjoyed this thread very much... we should begin another with the next set of photos to be posted... this one is beginning to take a while to load! It's always nice to see the seasonal changes our yards and gardens go through... the plants we all love... and our furry little companions... yes, I've enjoyed it very much! :-)

I'll have to remember to buy an Avacado next grocery shopping trip... I'm willing to give it another try!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 10:19AM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Hi Everyone,
I've enjoyed all the new pictures that have been added!
Here's a few of my summer visitors. you can't have a garden without bugs and critters. lol!

I just got these humming bird pictures this morning.

I've had a pair of finches in my yard for 3 yrs now. This is the male. They love the basil seeds.

This guy hung out on my screen door all day! And gave me mean looks everytime I went out the door. lol

Here's another one. The big green ones are mean. lol'

This was recent. He was gathering the Palo Verde beans. :)

My son wasn't too crazy about this grass hopper. That's my hand it's on. LOL!

And a few of our toads. :)

And this one, my son raised from a tadpole. :)

A grey ladybug

A gardners best friend. ;)


    Bookmark   November 21, 2010 at 11:16PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

JoJo! Those are some great nature shots!
How did you get the hummer's to hold still...I've tried and failed many a time!
The Mantis are mean out this way, too.

Well, we had a few snow flurries on Saturday night.
My friends, up at 2300 feet elevation had a few inches of snow.
Currently, about 20,000 people are without power in Grass Valley (25 minutes up the road).

Cold wind's a'blowin'!


    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 11:18AM
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kevin_mcl(S Ireland)

My pal Max is a keen gardener - since he always wants to stick his nose into anything I am doing around the garden.

He has also spent nearly ten years trying to catch a goldfish - and failed.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 12:05PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Hi Josh!
Thank you! :)
Honestly, that is one of my tammer hummers. I have 3 that hang around the yard all the time, even while i'm right there working. He was easier to photograph than them darn ladybugs. lol!
I got on my knee's to be at his level and crawled a little through gravel to get a good shot. So my knee's are a little bruised. LOL!
I love how they turned out. And he was sure enjoying that flower!! It's part of the salvia family I belive, and the blooms are like velvet!

I'm glad I'm not the only one with mean Mantis! lol! They can be stinkers. :)

Snow! Gosh, no thank you! Were still in the 60's, down to 59 for a high on Thanksgiving.
Possibly the first freeze then too.
Stay warm, and keep the plants warm! ;)

Your yard is beautiful! I would love to have a pond someday. :)
Bless Max's heart for not giving up. :) How cute! Great pictures, thanks for joining us and posting them.

My little monsters would probably eat the garden, so I keep it all in the front yard. ;)

A big "Hello" to everyone. :)


    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 6:08PM
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I don't even know where to start..lol

Kevin: AMAZING!!!! That dog of yours gives me incentive to keep going even if things are tough..Thank him for his consistent effort..lol
You have a beautiful yard and it is a pleasure to meet you here..So happy you joined in..Thank you and send a hello to your plant friends in Ireland, will you?
I have always wanted a pond and I will have one some day...That goldfish has the best of luck I tell you..lol

Al, where in the world are you????????????????????????????????????????

Josh: Hello my friend! What a bummer to see our jades revert back to green again, ha? :-((( I can't wait till the sun starts to rise higher in the sky come December 21.Do you think you will have a cold awful winter, or us here in the east? It is always either the west or east and as it seems to appear, the west has won out in the cold department this far...We are almost 70 tomorrow..lol
I can't believe how cold it is there already..Correct me if I am wrong, but is it worst than last year? By the way, if I ever see a Mantis here, I will know if they are mean since they seem so gentle..

Jojo: My dear Jojo: I never saw such insects and frogs anywhere here..I can't believe all the huge bugs and frogs you have..I haven't even seen so much as a toad this year..You have the perfect bug to eat all the bad insects on your plants..I released hundreds of praying mantis a year ago and haven't seen a one since..:-((..Heck, I have not even seen a lady bug..lol
Not only do you have insects and bugs that are quite different than mine, but they ae actually nice looking..Look at the humming bird..I remember having one fly right into the blossoms of my citrus trees..I was shocked..
Jojo, your worms even look lighter than mines..lol
You have been taking some of the nicest pictures that I have ever seen..It seems like you are getting use to your camera..Oh how I appreciate so much the pictures as I do as everyone else's here! Thank you

Jodik: I love this thread too! I can't believe that you are getting an avocado! Me too..I have a couple ripening as we speak..I would love to dig the one up in Josh's yard he found the other day..It would save me a whole lot of time..lol..It is so beautiful..A surprise for him it was..
Don't you just love the thought of snow being that close to you? Right..I saw it was only -5 degrees already in Montana and that is not a good thing..
I can't wait to see your roses start budding again come the spring..Hey, at least if we can't enjoy some of our favorite plants all winter, we still have our fury little friends...lol

Xuan: Hi...How are you? I have been drooling over all your pictures too...Fantastic...Thank you..

If I missed anyone, I am sorry..

By the way..I MISS YOU PUG!



    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 9:41PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hey, Mike!

We're looking at a forecast low of 22°F coming in a few days. First rain, then a clear cold freeze!
Last year, we got 9 inches of snow in the first week of December...and I froze two of my Jades......

I'm not sure if this year will be worse than last. It's been pretty nice so far.
Here's a quick pic from the back yard. See that creek flowin'!
The tree's a liquidambar (Xuan has one, too):


    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 10:01PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Hi Everyone!
Yes, getting a little more used to the camera. Macro is still a little tricky, but that may be my bad eyes, and not the camera. LOL! Also can't have any wind or movement with macro setting. lol.

I enjoy most of our critters and bugs here. ;) I don't blame my son for not wanting to hold the big grasshopper, he was tickeling my hand !!

I plant my yard to attact as much of the good as i can.

That worm pic was taken in Feb/March, he was cold and not happy about being dug up. LOL!
I'm still a big kid at heart, and love all the little treasures I find in the garden! Still stomp in mud puddles too. ;)

The colors of that tree are AWSOME! But I know it also means cold. lol.. So I enjoy or drab trees. hehe.

Look at this mess! LOL!

I'll be back soon with some flowers. :)
Happy and Safe Thanksgiving to you all!

    Bookmark   November 25, 2010 at 10:10AM
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Wow! It only took 15 seconds for this page to download today..lol

Some of the CUTEST pups we have ever seen Jojo..That coming from my family. Now my Mom wants you to send her one..I don't think so..Not on a plane all by him or herself..lol
You certainly must have your hands FULL with everything going on around there, and now computer problems..Sheesh.
I know you probably won't even be able to see this thread until things are fixed, but it will be here waiting for you when you finally do..:-)
I would be great if your net was working as good as your camera..

Josh: Yes..Fantastic colors and always a nice view from anywhere you take a picture..Your area looks so peaceful and inviting! What a beautiful maple! It looks very happy to be surrounded by peace...Did it really get that cold already? Funny thing..It has not been very cold here just yet..Now they are talking 50's next week! My pop up greenhouse is still luckily going..I am greateful this year since last it snowed and the ground was solid frozen by now.I did not even have a chance to rake winter came so fast..
I hope that the very west, being you, and the very east being us get's spared the frigid weather this time around..Something about the El'Nino is suppose to dictate what we get..Your Moro and a few others, Jades?, should do fine in your pop up which was a great idea..

Have a great day everyone...


    Bookmark   November 27, 2010 at 9:22AM
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Hey, Everybody!

No, Mike! I hate the thought that snow is on its way! I despise the cold! As beautiful as it is, it hurts too much! I ache all winter! :-)

I just like it because a good layer blanketing the garden helps to protect the roses and other plants that are dormant underground. It's nice to look out the window, from inside where it's warm, and see a gentle snow falling, the way it sparkles in the early morning sun, the way it sticks to the bare tree branches and the other structures in the yard... but it's too damn cold! :-)

Honestly, I wouldn't care if it never snowed again! I just know it's better for the plants and gardens when they have that layer of protection. Winter and I do NOT get along! If I could give you my winter, Mike, I would... if you like it, that is... Christmas is nice, but as soon as autumn arrives, I'm already wishing spring was here! :-)

Fabulous photos, everyone!

JoJo, we have similar bugs and birds, except our grasshoppers don't get that big... what the heck are you feeding them?! ;-)

I love that teeny, tiny toad! How does it not get lost... or eaten?!

I, too, have tried and tried, without much success, to capture the hummingbirds that frequent the gardens during the nicer seasons. They just won't stay close enough to get a clear shot. And if one does get close, I manage to not have a camera with me!

And, awwwww.... look at those cute little guys, all lined up for a portrait! How sweet! Great pictures, JoJo!

Kevin, Max is a beautiful dog! And I love the fish pond! Very nice pictures! Thank you for sharing!

Josh, as always, a lovely shot of your yard... I really like how you use stone and other items within your landscaping. It so reminds me... of me! ;-)

I hope I haven't missed anyone... a big hello to all, and I hope everyone is doing well.

I just received a small care package from a friend, and am about to pot up some Galtonia bulbs and a beauty of a Eucomis bulb! I can't wait to see them bloom next year! Alas, they must remain container plants, not being hardy to this area, but I can better watch their progress this way.

The temperatures have dipped down to what I consider early winter temps... enough for a decent jacket when I go outside, that is. We've had rain mixed with sleet and ice twice already, but no snow as of yet. And tomorrow we go shopping, so I'll be picking out a decent Avacado to save the seed from!

Here's to a good evening... enjoy those turkey leftovers! :-)

    Bookmark   November 27, 2010 at 6:27PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hello Everyone...

I love all of the post here...especially the critters, dogs especially!! But, most of all the flowers...

Here are a few blooms that I have now!! Plus I thought I would share a few of the dogs as well!!!

Take care everyone!!!

Laura in VB

Stay warm everyone!!!

Laura in VB

    Bookmark   November 28, 2010 at 12:53AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I had an interesting day. A few years ago, I sold a half section of wooded property I kept for hunting. One of the things I soo miss about no longer owning it is the birds that were hand tame. I'm not really sure how many chickadees there were, but there were probably 50-100 or more scattered across the property. We couldn't go to any of the blinds and sit w/o the birds landing on us and begging for sunflower seeds.

At the road frontage, I kept a travel trailer that was 'home'. I/we would come out of the woods for lunch and gather around the trailer. I had a hat that had a little hollow spot on top where I could put a handful of sunflower seeds, and they wouldn't fall off unless I bent over sharply. The chickadees were so very bold. Not often would more than one land on my hat at a time, but they would perch on my shoulders and coat sleeves awaiting their turn to dart to the booty & then fly off onto a nearby branch where they would grasp the seed in their tiny claws and work on the hull to get at the energy treat inside.

Often, I would remove my gloves and pinch a seed tightly so the bird couldn't grasp it and fly away with it. I could watch the little buggers perch and attack the sunflower with their tiny beaks until they could steal the kernel and then fly off in search of the next snack.

The chickadees were so brazen they would fly at us from any direction w/o a hint of fear. It was often startling, even though it was completely common, for a bird to fly directly at our face at a furious pace, then, at the last possible second slam on the brakes in a flutter of wings right at the end of your hat brim.

The other birds that were tamed were the nuthatches. These birds had a trait that was quite interesting. Unlike the chickadees, the nuthatches would never fly to us directly and then land on us. We needed to be in the very close proximity of a tree before we could attract them. Their MO was to land on the tree above our head, then hop hop hop down the tree to our hat for a seed. They too would fly off to a branch, one seed at a time to chisel away the husk hiding the booty. If we were holding the seeds on our hand, or had them in a pocket, the nuthatches would continue hopping down an arm to the hand or pocket for their meal.

Anyway - the digression was so perhaps you can get a feeling for what a wonderfully uplifting experience this kind of communion with wild birds is. I've been really missing it for the last few years & had decided I was going to find a rural wooded place on the way home from work and tame a few birds. I was sitting in an easy chair in front of the LR picture window watching the birds at the feeder and decided I'd try it here. I'd reasoned that rather than risk interaction with me, the birds would simply fly to any one of a dozen nearby neighbor's feeders & take sustenance there. I thought that taming them in a wild, remote setting was possible mainly because they were unable to simply fly a few yards to a nearby feeder for an offering equal to mine ..... but I was wrong.

All I did was this: I took the bird feeder down & put it in the garage. I then held a (clean) tuna can partially filled with sunflower seeds right where the feeder was. I also put some seeds on my hat. Within 1 minute, I had a chickadee land on my hat. That one had to come back for the third time before another was bold enough to join him. After that, the chickadees landed freely on my hat, even as I moved around slowly under the tree. After they were comfortable, I shook the seeds off my hat & held a small handful on the palm of a gloved hand. Within a few seconds, they were eating out of my hand.

By that time it was getting late and the cardinals were around in force (usually the last birds at the feeder, but much too timid to come near), signaling the end of the day, and the chickadees were off looking for a warm spot to spend the night. I've got a few strategies in place that will allow me to get some rockin' pictures of the birds eating from my hand. I'll TRY to help my wife get familiar enough with the camera to get some cool pics of the birds on my hat, too. Maybe I'll just take some pictures of her feeding them & post them this weekend.

One of the things we used to do is, we would hold a sunflower seed between our lips and put our hand, palm down on the point of our chin - like a platform. The chickadees would land on the back of our hands and take the seed from our lips. The picture looked just like the birds were kissing us. How cool is THAT? ;o)

Anyway .... when I got done with my day's adventure, I felt really uplifted. Just thought I'd share. I KNOW I need to share pics, so I'll work on it over the weekend. Stay tuned. ;o)


    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 8:16PM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

Wow...I guess I completely missed this thread,lol...nice to be missed Mike!

Fantastic pictures everyone...I have truly enjoyed everyone pictures here...just AWESOME! Thanks everyone...what a wonderful thread!

Thanks for that wonderful story Al!

Okay, had to put a few pictures of Max here...

    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 8:57AM
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Nancy: Hahahahahahahh...I LOVE LOVE that picture, the second one above my post! He looks like me in the am just before getting out of bed and nice and warm.If he gets better treatment than your husband, I wouldn't blame him for being just a bit jealous....lol..Cute..

Al: Very interesting and nice story..I can't wait to see the pics you came up with..Al, I love birds!

I use to breed birds..Canaries and finches in particular..Grren singing finches that use to fetch a pretty penny..At one point I had over 100 canaries in my now plant room..I have been tempted to buy a singing bird and let him have free reign of the plant room..He would have a lot of fun, but the droppings might cause a problem..:-)
I miss my "green singing finch" I had for years..I burnt something on the stove over the summer and the smoke killed him..;-(

Laura: My goodness!!! Do you think that you and Pug might have alot in common? lol..You both like Hoya's, DR, Catuses, DOGS and dressing them up, and this forum...lol
What a cute picture..You should see the picture of Josh's cat trying to sneak into his pop up he just made..I think they would all have fun hanging out...
You know what my mother thinks about that tiger container!

Jodik: You got new bulbs?? Yippy..I can't wait to see the pics of those flowers once they pop..I ahte the winter too..I am starting to feel like I should just let the bank reposses my home and just move to my house in the Tropics with the clothes on my back and just my plants...
The dreaded 30's for day time highs will be paying a visit all next week..At least no snow for awhile..I too am wishing for those nice long sunny warm days Jodik!

I hope your back is back to well again...How is your cutting doing?

Hi Josh!! Jodik is right when she says that your yard is nice..Every one of your plants that look out your windows love the view..That is the reason why they do so well besides the mix your using too..lol

Great DOG pics everyone..I love this thread..

If I missed anyone I am sorry..I had to go..

Have a beautiful day and stay warm like your dogs..They have the hang of it!


    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 11:21AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Mike, thank you! Yes, my plants must enjoy the view...although a few of them
certainly wish that they could be outside where they vacation during the hot Summer!
As we near the Winter Solstice, the darkest day of the year, it is a good time to remind
everyone to keep turning their plants. As the sun dips, my plants strongly heliotrope and
will take a set in a particular direction if I don't keep them "on the move."

Al, that was a great story of the bird-feeding. This Summer, while watering some ferns,
a Hummingbird zoomed in and began drinking from the thin stream of water I was arcing over the ferns.
It kept flitting closer and closer to my hand, the source of the water (from the mouth of the hose).
It took three drinks, hummed a bit, and then was off. It made me think of Francis of Assisi...
and, more obscurely, Radagast the Brown Wizard, friend of animals, from Tolkien's Middle Earth.
(And that always gets me thinking of Radagast the squirrel of Norse mythology).

In other news, the fourth of five flowers has opened on my little Jade cutting. I'm stoked! ;)

Lastly, let me post a pic of my good friend's dog. This is Zoe, or Zoya (said with Russian accent!).
She's a very nice, fat little dog! I think she'd make great friends with Max!

And this is a sunset from my backyard, taken last week.

On December 21st, the Sun will be at its minimum.
But in three day's time, on the Christ mass, its return will be noticeable to the human senses.
I am haunted by the Myth, the History, and the Rites of the Sun....


    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 11:57AM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

Thanks Mike, as you can see...Max has a very rough life,lol...

Josh, how adorable, I'm so sure Max and Zoe would be best friends if they lived closer. She's a cutie! Love that sunset picture...Wow, gorgeous!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 8:53PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Hi Everyone!
It's been a few days since i've been here. I love all the photos!
Laura, I have a little sweetie, that looks like yours. But not the same breed. I'll try and post pics later. :)

I just love the story of the birds! Having raised them for years, I have a very soft spot for them. :)

I can't wait to see the pictures!

I keep my birdfeeders where I can see them all the time.

I've never tried to tame any here, but do feed them, and talk to them when their around. Like i said, my finches talk back to me. And don't mind me working the yard. :)

Years ago, I tamed a road runner, and she even brought me her "new Family" to see. She would take food right from my hand.

We had a pidgeon a few years back here.. White as snow! Wild, and we tamed him. Named him Romeo. :) I may have pics somewhere. He would show up in the morning and stare in the sliding glass door, waiting for us to go out. :)

My humming bird came by yesterday and gave me an earful, literly! because his flower was killed by the frost.

Your photo is just beautiful!

Good to see everyone!
I'll be back when I can. :)
Stay warm and take care,

    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 9:11PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Say HI to my buddies. I've had the nuthatches eating from my hand, too .... just not when I had the camera. I'll try to get some shots of them perched on shoulders & head/hat, but I need a helper for that and she's somewhat reluctant to stand out in the cold/wind to take bird pics, ;o)

I'm not sure how many different chickadees I've managed to coax to my hand - maybe 8-12. I've had at least 2 nuthatches, one regular and a red-breasted. .... keeps me off the streets & out of the bars. ;o)

Brrrr - it's been cold. Mid-20s with a stiff wind. See how wrinkled the pads of my fingers are from the cold? I guess I could have been a little more observant about the background in the pics, but at least you know I wasn't pulling your leg about 'taming the birds'. ;o)


    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 3:36PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

They're beautiful! How fun that must be!!
It really brightend my day. Thanks for braving the cold for us!
If you were to try that here, you may roast. 78* ;)

Maybe I'll try with my finches. ;)

Tell your helper to bundle up good. :)(although I don't blame her! lol) I know were all dying to see more pics!
There has to be someone you can talk into it. :)

Hope everyone is having a good day!


    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 4:36PM
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I couldn't wait to get home and see these pictures! I am in love with birds as much as I am with my plants and cat..

If you promise your helper a nice night out to a nice restaurant, she might just brave the cold for you..

Those are some really nice pictures..How in the world did you move your camera or hold it without shaking to get the bird to stay and take such nice shots?..Marvelous..! Now I am confused..I don't know if I like the pictures of your frogs better, or your plants, or the birds? lol

Thank you

Hi Jojo..We sent you mail?Many warm wishes to you..Have great day too, or should I say night..:-)


    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 6:46PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

That's awesome, Al!

What a great communion with the birds!


    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 6:55PM
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WOW I have spent a lot of my morning reading this post!! What a great way to spend a December morning with a cup of coffee. Although I am exhausted from all the work you all have done.
I guess I have a lot more to learn! I think my plants are great but I always have brown leaves somewhere on the plants.
Al lured me back to this site with his pictures of birds but everything here is fantastic! Great thread!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 2:42PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

You've been away too long anyway, Beth. Hasn't it been a great thread, though? Always good to see you ..... and I hope you come by more often ..... or better yet, stick around. ;o)


    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 5:24PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Hi Everyone!
I have a new flower to share. Now some may say they're not real inviting, at least not the fragrance, but she sure is pretty!

Just bloomed this morning. I need to find out which one it is now. lol!
I've been waiting since mid Nov. for it to bloom. :)

It's only about 3" across. A nice little one.

Nancy~ Hubby and I both love the new photos of Max. Boy does he look comfy in his little blanket, and clothes. LOL! and I thought mine were spoiled! lol!

Our grasshoppers can get a little mean, just like the mantis, so they eat what they want! LOL!!

Hi To everyone else,
I need to run!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 6:45PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Really a cool shot, JJ. A pretty bloom!

Thread's almost done for. ;-(

How about if we continue it here?

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 6:59PM
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