Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas From Larry and Mr B

It's time once again for Christmas Greetings from Larry and Mr B in a post showcasing the Christmas decorations inside and out at Dove Manor.  As usual, we had quite a display and while it doesn't involve thousands of lights, it's still quite quite festive.  Here's Larry as Santa, wishing everyone a Merry Christmas on this warm and breezy Christmas Day.

Christmas village is 7' long with 17 buildings.

We put up five trees this year; in the family room is the main tree, done in silver and gold; a second tree is decorated with ornaments made by the kids and ones with family member's names on them.  In the living room there are three trees, one decorated with frog ornaments, one with gnomes and another silver and gold one.  We buy ornaments, usually silver or gold, to remember the places we've travelled to.

The main tree

The Empire State Building from our trip to NYC

This is from our cruise to Alaska in 2009

The egg is from our stop in St. Petersburg, Russia

The eggs were so beautiful that one wasn't enough.

The "family" tree

The frog tree

The gnome tree

tree topper

tree #5

The mantle piece in the family room

Cowboy nutcracker and vintage post cards

Santa and vintage sheet music

Thursday, December 12, 2013


This blog hit what I consider a major milestone yesterday when a viewer from Namibia clicked on one of my posts, which was the 10,000th pageview since this blog began on August 8, 2011.  In that time, I've made 218 posts and had viewers from 97 countries, which I find pretty amazing since when I started this blog, I wasn't sure if anybody would read it, other than myself. I've found that "how to" posts receive the most pageviews, so I'll be sure to include more of those to document the process as I do projects around the gardens.  I'm looking forward to the future, whatever it may bring, and documenting it here on my blog.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Weather, Blooms and Other Stuff

We've been having some unusual weather around here lately, with a storm from November 20-23 dumping nearly 3" of rain, making it the 3rd wettest storm in November since records began in the 1890's and bringing the total for the year here at Dove Manor 9.59", over an inch above average.  The following week saw gorgeous temps that were typical for this time of year, but now we're being hit by the huge Artic cold front that's affecting most of the country.  We're under a freeze warning tonight, with several more forecast in the coming week before temps get back to normal again.  I finally had to turn on the heater and will be moving the potted tropicals and covering what can't be moved.

Rainwater from the storm; I saved it in a barrel to water the potted plants (nearly 20 gals)

Despite the weather, there are still plenty of blooms to be found in the gardens, including roses, mums and cannas.

Bee on mums in a window box.


Climbing America

Climbing Don Juan

Iceberg; love the pink edging on the bud and wish it stayed when it opens.

Window box full of mini roses.

Petunias in the deepest purple.

Rose tower with Don Juan and Iceberg.

Heurnia somalica, third bloom this year and more to come.

I added another euphorbia to the wheelbarrow garden, this one's Euphorbia ferox.  

I think it's finished for now, unless the freeze gets some of them.

I noticed a couple of the pups on the "Mother of Thousands" and fallen off and were rooting in the pot, so I took twenty off the mother and potted them together.  They've all rooted and will be ready for their own pots in a couple of months.

Lastly, look at the gorgeous purple mottling on Orbesa malanantha now that it's getting direct sunlight on the porch.  

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

How To Repot Succulents

When repotting succulents, it's important not to plant the root crown deeper in the new pot than it was in the old, as this can cause the base of the plant to rot.  I came up with a solution that is practically foolproof and the following series of pictures show how it works.

Step 1: Place weed blocker fabric over the drain hole of the new pot

Step 2: Add just enough soil to the bottom of the pot so the the plant will be at the level desired.

Step 3: Place the plant to be repotted into the new pot without removing it from the existing pot.

Step 4: Fill the new pot with soil around the existing pot, then wet the soil and tamp down.

Step 5: Remove the plant and it's pot; this leaves a perfectly fitted depression in which to place the plant.
Step 6: Remove the plant from it's old pot and place in the depression in the new pot and tamp the soil firmly around it.

Here is a trio of succulents I repotted today and placed on a shelf with holes cut on the board for the pots to fit into so that they won't get blown over in the wind.

Left to right: Huenia sp, Hoodia gordonii, Stapelia scitula.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Foliage Updates, Plus Birds

The celery I've been rooting in my kitchen was planted in one of the raised beds today, in place of the sunflowers which were beyond their prime.  I also planted some pumpkin seeds my grandson sprouted in his class for Halloween.

Celery rooted from store bought stalks.

The cannas are continuing to bloom and there are some seed pods ripening.  I friend asked me for some of the cannas when I thin them and I offered her some seeds, but she decided tubers would be easier to deal with.

Each pod will hold 1-4 seeds, which are mature when the pod turns black.

The tricycle planter got a face lift with some extra vinca I had, since the moss rose seeds never sprouted.

The Climbing Don Juan rose is performing better than I could have hoped for and is almost to the top of 5' tower it's growing up through.  In the background of the picture below you can see the habaneros and lemon grass.

Looks like it's time to mow.

The Huernia somalica has bloomed again and it looks like there are another 4-6 buds waiting for their turn. I've spotted the first flower bud on the Stapelia flavopurpurea I purchased a few months ago and can't wait for this one, as the flower is really unique looking and is one of the few stapeliads that actually smells pleasant.

Huernia somalica

Look closely, near the top on the left.

Went shopping at a local nursery for more stapeliads on Friday without success, but did pick up this unusual Euphorbia, Euphorbia bupleurifolia X suzannae and planted it in the wheelbarrow succulent garden.  The may be room for one or two more plants, then this garden will be complete, as there are 10 species in there now, with the Euphorbia obesa being the only surviving plant from the original design, the others have succumbed to transplant shock, freezes or having outgrown the garden.

Euphorbia bupleurifolia X suzannae

Heard a lot of commotion in the back yard and found a couple of lovebirds and cowbirds eyeing each other warily in the platform feeder.