Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I Found the Island!

Yes! I finally found the desert island! And I have my 3 plants with me. Customs problems with the plants, computer problems(actually Internet interruptions) and the slow boat to China, have all delayed my arrival. But at last I can start my garden on this lovely island.

My first choice is the butterfly bush, Buddleia, a perennial in most zones. I let mine grow to whatever height is wants and only deadhead. This bush can be kept trimmed-but why? These 5" to 6" blooms are such eye candy.

To say it attracts butterflies is an understatement. It is truly a butterfly magnet! It's scent is especially tantalizing to butterflies. At times there were dozens of butterflies on the blooms at one time.

Mine is the dark purple, but it does come in several other colors, even a new bi colored one is now available. I am going to have to check that one out. The more bushes the more butterflies!

My second choice surprised me a little. While looking back through my pictures of bloomers this past summer, I found these glorious gentle giants-sunflowers. Originally I planted them as part of the bee counting project, but was enthralled by their beauty and the birds that also came. Finches by the dozens found the seeds as soon as they started to mature. For many weeks I could look out my window and see those bright yellow and black birds doing all sorts of acrobatics to get at the seeds.

And the bees did come! Not in as great a numbers as I had hoped for, but enough to pollinate the flowers and get covered from wing to the bees' knees in pollen. (sorry, I couldn't resist the old saying!)

My last choice was a toss up between the 'Heavenly Blue' morning glory and my beloved zinnias. As you can see, Blue won out! I don't think any one annual has captured my attention more than this mistake. Some of you may remember I bought this plant as a 'Moonflower'. When the first bloom finally opened and it was blue, I was so disappointed. But Blue just kept growing and flowering-hundreds of blooms each day-for months. She won my heart completely.

These gorgeous flowers brought me untold joy each day. Not to mention the attention they garnered from my neighbors and passersby. Bees of all types could be seen disappearing into their throats and coming out dripping with golden pollen.
The choices were harder than I thought they were going to be. As gardeners we love to surround ourselves with all sorts of blooms and plants. Our goal is to have something always providing color and interests and to attract wildlife and provide sustenance for them. I hope with my choices that is what I have achieved.
Shirl at Shirl's Garden Watch has certainly provided us with a very interesting challenge. One that I have enjoyed immensely. On these cold grey days of winter it was wonderful to see others' beautiful choices and see the color of warmer days. Thanks, I've had a wonderful time!

Friday, January 16, 2009

GBBD January, 2009 (a little late)

I know that I am a day late with this month's bloom day post. But there were extenuating circumstances-really! We will get to those a little later. GBBD is brought to you by Carol of May Dreams Garden.

Due to a definite lack of favorable growing conditions out side(and we will get to those later, too!)all blooms seen below are ones found in the warmer climate of my home.

I have a garden window that is above my kitchen sink that faces east. This seems to be the perfect spot to grow African violets. Several months ago, I showed the dividing and transplanting of several of the ones I have. It has taken a while, but they are all looking very healthy and most of them are blooming. Carol says you should only have one plant for each decade of your life. Hmmm... I'm sure I'm not in my 90's yet! Although the one above looks purple it is actually more of a dark magenta. I now have 4 of these.

And I know this looks blue, bit it is actually a lavender. No amount of working with the 'fix it' photo program I have will show the true colors. It must be my camera. Anyway, I have 4 of these. The 9th one was a gift last fall and it is pink. But of course it is not blooming right now, and that's the one color that does show true when looking through the lens.

I know there is a botanical name for this one, but I'm too tired to look it up tonight. I call it a 'Peace Lily'. Last winter, it bloomed once for me. But this winter, I have had several blooms. I like that they last a long time and have a quiet elegance to them.
That's it for the blooms this month. I didn't think ahead like so many of you and plant an Amaryllis, or pot up some paper whites. When I did finally think about it-after seeing such pretty ones on others' blogs-I couldn't find any in the store. Oh well, I'll enjoy yours and put them on my plant list for next year.

Now, for the rest of the story. Sorry, Paul Harvey, I couldn't resist. I worked last night and when I came home, I thought the house was a little chilly. But then the temps were down right frigid outside so I really didn't think too much about it. This morning when I woke up and could see my breath, I knew something was wrong. It was 52 in the house! I checked the furnace and the pilot light was lit, but the furnace would not come on. BUMMER! After making a few phone calls, I found a company that could come out within a couple of hours. It seems there were a lot of people having furnace problems today.
Long story short-our 45+ year old furnace had broken a belt to the blower. And just for good measure, the thermostat was going bad. By 2:30 this afternoon the temp in the house was a balmy 65! Really, I am not complaining. I think we got off pretty well. We could have needed a new furnace and that just isn't in the budget for now!

Now, about the unfavorable growing conditions outside... I took this picture of the weather channel on our television at 12:30 tonight. Notice the actual temp and then notice the wind chill. But did you also notice the heat wave coming on Saturday? And of course a chance for more snow.
I hope where you are it is warmer than here. And I hope you are staying warm where ever you are!

**** update-we just hit -14, wind cill -32!****

Friday, January 9, 2009


Actually, the impeachment process has been started and will take some time to finalize. But we are headed in the right direction.

**"Driven by anger and politics, the Illinois House voted overwhelmingly today to impeach Gov. Rod Blagojevich, an unprecedented action that sets the stage for a Senate trial on whether he should be thrown out of office for corruption and abuse of power."

Impeachment requires just 60 votes and the vote was 114-1. This was after a special House committee heard testimony on the abuses he has allegedly committed.

"Blagojevich was arrested on Dec. 9 on federal charges that include allegations he schemed to profit from his power to name President-elect Obama's replacement in the senate. The criminal complaint included and FBI agent's sworn affidavit describing wiretaps that caught Blagojevich allegedly talking about what he could get for the seat, how to pressure people into making campaign contributions and more."

All of this is proving to be very interesting. Senators and Representatives are all speaking out about " ....cleaning up the mess and stopping the freak show that has become Illinois government." Yes, let's prove how upright and honest we are by proving how corrupt he is. I know this sounds cynical, but can you blame me.

To be fair I am providing a site here to let you read about his side of the story.

Stay tuned for further developments in the soap opera of a story.

And I hope you have a great weekend!

**quotes from the News-Gazette, Champaign, IL.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Skywatch 2009!

I have never participated in Skywatch Friday before, but when I saw this beautiful evening sky, I knew I finally had an entry.

A few weeks ago I picked Rose up at the Indianapolis airport on her return from Phoenix where she visited her daughter and had the opportunity to visit some lovely places.

We stopped to get cup of coffee and something to eat and when we came out of the restaurant, we were treated to this lovely sunset. Both of us grabbed for our cameras!

She graciously let me take the pictures to use on my post. Thanks Rose!

Skywatch Fridays is brought to you by skyle.