1/31/09

Lily of the Valley in South Florida

Our Walmart has a whole aisle of bulbs because it's spring time. Last year, I planted their elephant ear which have done great. I also planted the tigridia and the dutch iris. They didn't do as good.

This year, they were selling northern bulbs and I somehow thought that for only $5 I can try to grow lily of the valley down here. The packaging clearly states "Gauranteed to Grow." It's got a picture of Florida on the back of the package and I followed all planting instructions.

So, I am already assuming these plants will fail, but then what? How will I collect on the guarantee? I think this is just a very good marketing tool because no one will ever try to collect on the guarantee. I do the same thing with gardening clippers. They last a year, then they break. I took a pair back to Walmart last year and they said I need to contact the manufacturer. The manufacturer's website did not provide any info that was useful. Oh well. :)
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1/25/09

South Florida Freeze Damage

We had a freeze here earlier this week. Temps here in Palm City dipped into the 20s last year, but this year, we were in the 30s.


I haven't yet surveyed the front yard, but the side yard was hit hard by the freeze.

Photos above: Coleus. It did not survive temps in the 30s. This shot was taken 2 days after the freeze.

I don't remember the aloe getting frost bitten last year. This year, the older foliage was affected the most. As you can see, the top, younger foliage looks great still.
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1/19/09

A Bit of a Disconnect: Camera Problems

Today's post has nothing to do with gardening. Click away now if you need to.

Photo: taken by Danielle beneath the Palm City Bridge looking toward that bird island.

I was so excited last year at this time when I was learning about my new digital SLR camera and I happened to capture that Hawk. I have been without the camera since August. The short version of the story is that upon purchase, my husband paid the extra $250 for the extended service plan. It's been sent away 3 times for service. All three times, my complaint was the same, and was replicated by the Geek Squad, the second party that ships repair items to the third party. Mind you, I purchased the camera from Best Buy, the first party, I guess.

Upon issue replication all three times, the GS techs told me that after the 3rd or 4th time, the Florida lemon law kicks in and the vendor will advise Best Buy to replace the item with a store shelf item.

That explains alot. During the first repair, they cleaned the camera. During the second repair, they did nothing. During the third repair, they replaced the CCD.

When I picked up the camera the third time, I received attention from three employees, no doubt aware that I would be asking for a replacement under the lemon law. Thankfully, the camera seems to be working fine.

The only other thing I wanted to mention is that I had the MOST pleasant attitude each time I was at the store. Imagine if I had been a typical angry consumer...probably would have gotten nowhere.

I have half a mind to return the camera one last time to service just to get the new one. What if this happens again because it really is a lemon? I guess there is no diagnostic test I can perform to identify a lemon...that's the problem. Oh well. I feel better.

1/18/09

What I Learned in School Today

Here's a shot of the library at FAU, my university. I was happy recently to learn that I am a member of Generation X, not Y as previously thought.

Two years ago I scoured in the internet and found that I was GenY. So, I slapped that moniker on all my blog profiles. Yesterday, I was reading my Essentials of Entrepreneurship text book and learned that I am indeed GenX. What!..........could wikipedia have been incorrect?

I have a feeling these generation designators are not as hard and fast as is, say a president's term in office. That is, I don't know if there is a clear beginning/end date for each generation.

In fact, I was just about to hit the publish button on this post and be done with the subject. I decided to quickly check wikipedia one more time. According to the wizzards of wikipedia, I am in both Gen X and Gen Y simultaneously. All 29 year-olds rejoice!

My Dad always told me I was special, but I had no idea I was this big of a deal.
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Retry of My Neglected Garden

We do this Christmas thing each year, so I don't get much gardening done from October through January. The garage is finally almost done which will signify the time at which I can garden guilt-free and not worry about how I need to be doing other things.

I didn't think this tomato plant would produce any fruit. It flowered for months before setting fruit. I guess now that it's finally below 70 at night, it'll begin setting lots of fruit. I should probably fertilize it.

I also just got my camera back from the repair shop for the third time. I think it's working now. Here are a few shots of the neglected veggie garden. Below, this poor pepper plant is laden with peppers that need to be picked.
Below is one of the young blueberry bushes from last year. I think it may have buds on it. Either that, or it has new leaves forming. Everyone else's blueberries have been blooming for weeks now. Here's a posting on gardenweb in the Florida room where people are talking about their blues.

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1/17/09

A Garden Bathroom Get Window Mis-treatments

Here is our ladybug bathroom. We bought the house like this, but love it as if was our own creation. This door opens up right onto the porch that leads to the pool.

I hated the window treatment on the tiny door window. So, I got online to research DIY window treatments. That's when I found my new favorite blog, The Nesting Place. She has hundreds of photos of "window mis-treatments". Ah ha!...that's just what I need given my sewing skills. I printed a few photos to use as inspiration, but I'm glad to say my new mistreatment is totally my own.

I had a few goals: let in lots of light, give total privacy, and the ceiling appear taller and the window larger. I wanted add a bit of seriousness to the bathroom given the whimsey of the mural.

I think I'll sinch up a few inches on either side where the green meets the white. This might give it more of a roman shade feel. By hanging the rod very close to the top and very close to the sides, I was able to use more fabric length-wise, which makes the room appear taller. Goal achieved!

The neighbor kids tested the privacy issue. Goal achieved!

Here are my supplies. I spent $19. (I'll return the ribbon). I had to paint the curtain rod because all they had was brass. Here's my sketching...I had to change my measurements several times  because I only had 54 inches of fringe.

1/12/09

dendrobium

I've had success with Grapette Ground Orchid (Spathoglottis Grapette), but never before with any other common orchids. Here is good size Dendrobium Ban Yen. I don't doubt it's a dendrobium, but what is "ban yen"? I've never heard of this and nothing is coming up on the internet.

Back in August, I plunked the young clearance orchid in this toby mug I had recently purchased for $10 from a thrift store. It's more than doubled in size since August and I've totally ignored it. I bought fertilizer, but haven't used it. To my surprise it has bloomed!

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1/8/09

UF Sun Peach Blooms in January

The UF Sun Peach will bloom in January sown here in South Florida. At least, that's what mine is doing without any help from me.

I've had this young tree since last April, so this is the first January I've seen it through. I had been waiting until January to prune it in accordance with this good IFAS article. So, yesterday, as soon as I noticed these little blooms, I ran out to prune it.

I performed "heading-back pruning cuts". I took 6-12 inches off the tips of the branches. a few branches were very weak and had no buds, so I completely removed them. I always snipped about a quarter inch above a bud, just like I do with the nodes on my rose bushes. I have a cold, so I didn't get the chance to smell the blooms. I have a feeling the blooms will cover the tree in the next few weeks.

The UF Sun Peach, by the way, began dropping leaves back in Sep-Oct. By mid-December, it had just the last few ramaining dead leaves hanging from the tips of the branches. It looked dreadful. It's growth rate has been unbelievable. In April when I planted it, the tree was slightly larger than me. Now, 9 months later, it's 3 times larger than me. It's on a drip irrigation system that feeds it water only (no fertilizer) twice daily for 3 minutes.
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