Category Archives: Mother Nature

Fashion Statement?

Hotel for Dogs

Arkansas got the ‘summer memo’ about 3 weeks ago. We’ve been in the high 90’s with uncomfortable humidity since then. I have to tell you that spring and the 60s are where I am comfortable, so I visibly wilt as soon as I go outside.

We have a lot of sweat bands we keep on a special hook thingie on the back of the door to the garage. I grab two of them routinely because my husband needs one, too, but never seems to remember to get one. He wears a ham radio hat and I wear a hat that makes me look like a squashed mushroom to protect us from the direct sun.

I’m getting so that it FEELS as if I’m wearing a sweat band even when I’m not. It’s a regular part of how I look during the day and evening when we’re home working.

We grab a sweat band and head out the door. We come in, throw the sweat band in the washer, regular as clockwork.

I doubt if we’ll start a fad, though. You definitely need a sense of humor up here on top of our hill.

Today is a several-sweatband-day. I’m going to

  • plant two celery plants in the square foot garden and cut stalks from the largest plant out there
  • sweep the pooled water from the latest storm off the floor of the greenhouse
  • prep for putting tomato suckers in water out there
  • cut down some weed trees
  • prune stuff in the trio of brick planters between the driveway and the front yard
  • mow this evening when the sun is down a bit

I hope that you’re having a good Tuesday.

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Filed under Challenges, Gardening, Mother Nature

Roadrunner

Photo Credit: Christopher Schwarz/Audubon Photography Awards

We saw an amazing sight out the window of our office this morning. A roadrunner much like the one pictured above was standing in the grass with a tiny snake in his/her mouth. The tail of the roadrunner seemed longer and fuller to me than the ones we usually see. It stood stock still, then looked around as we watched. Then it turned around, flew up to the top of our well house, and then walked over the edge where we couldn’t see it anymore. We don’t know if he/she is feeding babies in a nest somewhere, but it was obviously taking the snake to someone else. Amazing sight!

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Mother Nature

Pink may be Perfect

“Appreciation and Affection” – Paul Militaru Photography

 

 

“Busy Bee” – Paul Militaru Photography

 

 

“Eternal Beauty Rose 1” – Paul Militaru Photography

 

 

“Tulip for You” – Paul Militaru Photography

 

 

“Tulips 1” – Paul Militaru Photography

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A Special Treat

IGN.com

On our way to Lunch Bunch this morning, we had a rare treat – a doe was way down the road in front of us. My husband slowed to a crawl. When we got close, we stopped and just looked at each other. (This is not the doe we saw, but it gives you an idea.)  We sat for several minutes and then she went to the side of the road and up the bank.

On the way home, we saw another doe standing by the road looking at us. We went by her very slowly and she didn’t move.

Such a beautiful sight!

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Two Sweet Sights

This is the tall, lone sunflower that was about to bloom the other day. It’s fully open now. We have no idea where it came from or why it’s by itself on the way to the shop, but we like it.

 

Some petunia seeds obviously fell onto the ground off the edge of the deck. These are volunteer blooms just in the yard, that form a very happy spontaneous bouquet off the end of the deck. I’m very happy that Amber hasn’t run right through it or decided it’s something to eat.

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“The Earth Laughs in Flowers” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I don’t know the name of this group of burgundy lilies, but we’re really happy to see it each year. All the buds open and it’s like a huge bouquet.

 

Here it is from a different angle.

 

We’ve had so much rain this spring that a cactus in the wild part of our place is blooming!

 

We have a pot of these impatiens on either side of our front door.

 

This is one of a trio of brick planters that divide the driveway from our front lawn.

 

This lone sunflower is blooming between the house and the shop. The bloom is opening more each day.

 

We love these yellow lilies!

 

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Filed under Arkansas, Gardening, Greenwood, Mother Nature

Extremes are Pounding My Garden

My poor square foot garden is reacting to the cool weather, then hot, then too much rain, then the cycle all over again that we’ve been having over the past several weeks.

 

This is my square foot garden, minus the tomato plants we have on the opposite end of the house. We have six 4’x4′ planters at about chest level inside a fence and reinforced around the bottom by chicken wire. As you can see, my lettuce is starting to bolt.

For those of you who are beginners, as I am, ‘bolting’ lettuce is bad. It means the plants shoot way up high and start to go to seed. Usually this happens when the weather gets too hot.

 

When this happens, the leaves start to get bitter-tasting. I’m going to harvest as much as possible during the coming days, but a lot of work has gone to waste. :0(  This is the red leaf lettuce.

 

And here is the Romaine.

 

My Georgia sweet onions seem to be doing well.

 

My celery plants look healthy, but nothing like what you would buy at the store. I have no clue what to expect here, but I’m having fun trying.

 

More celery.

 

I’m trying to get the spaghetti squash plant I grew from seed to spread out as much as it likes. It’s blooming, but again, I have no clue whether I’ll actually get a spaghetti squash or just a lot of leaves and blooms.

I still have some spinach, but it doesn’t like the hot weather, either.

My tomato plants on the other side of the house are still looking pretty good. I’m hopeful we’ll start getting ripening tomatoes soon.

Each year I feel like a complete beginner again. Every year I’ve had a square foot garden, the results have been completely different. Each time I feel I’ve learned something, Mother Nature laughs at me.

I love the process of planning, planting, and hoping, though. The greenhouse we’re building will hopefully help me do some laughing myself! (The progress of the greenhouse is slow because the first step is clearing some land. Our weather has not been cooperating, so we keep having to move it to another week. This forecast shows you what we’re dealing with.

 

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Filed under Arkansas, Challenges, Gardening, Greenwood, Mother Nature, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Rushing Around

Cartoon Characters

The forecast is for rain today, so, of course we have a gazillion errands to run, plus an appointment with the eye doc. Not only is rain predicted, but possible flooding.  It’s a very good thing that neither of us is water-soluble, because we may drown.

I hope that you have a good day. We’ll compare notes when we get back. :0)

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Good Morning from the Beach (Vicariously)

“This Morning’s Sunrise” – Mary Lou Lewis

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Filed under Favorite Pictures, Mother Nature, vicarious enjoyment

Sunrise at the Beach – Vicariously

My sister-in-law is enjoying a much-deserved week at the beach with friends. She has been trying to help me enjoy it by sending me pics of the glorious sunrise there.

 

The friends go once a year, sharing the cost, content to be together or be separate, as they choose, drinking in the wonderful scenery. beach, water, sunrises, fresh air, and r-e-l-a-x-a-t-i-o-n…..

AHHHHHHHHH!

 

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Meet “Sedona”

I told you awhile back that we lost one of our three Rio Samba rose bushes. We went to the local nursery to get a replacement to find that of the 15 plants they had gotten in, none was left. We walked around the variety they had, both deciding we liked this one. It’s called, “Sedona.”

 

It started its first bloom today, the buds opening quickly this morning. It’s a nice contrast to the yellow and coral Rio Samba and we hope it’s happy with us.

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Harvest May 8, 2017

Families Online

Cold temperatures and nearly torrential rains for over a week followed by intense sunshine wreaked havoc in my square foot garden. I spent an hour weeding, pruning, and harvesting today, and another hour cleaning up what I harvested. I’ll probably do one more session out there before the day is gone.

Just at the wrong time for the broccoli and cauliflower. I found a bit of harvest-able broccoli, but the cauliflower was granular-looking and dry. The rest of the main broccoli plants had bolted, so I had to cut those off and hope for some more shoots off the main plants.

 

The romaine lettuce really surged, showing me that next time I plant this, I’ll only have one plant per square. When they touch another plant, the outside leaves get yucky and croak. I have a lot of pruning to do to get these plants happy again.

The spinach went nuts, as well. I harvested a bunch today, cleaned it, and froze it.

The red leaf lettuce plants look like small BUSHES now. I’ll tackle them tomorrow. I harvested the rest of the radishes and will start another two squares of seeds soon.

I’ll need to try to either get up earlier and get right out to the garden, or plan to work out there right before sundown. The sun is really intense and this old lady gets more than enough in an hour’s time.

I feel bad when the garden isn’t at its best. It’ll probably take another day or two before it is under control again. My goal will be to have it done, plus the weed whacking of the yard finished, before the rain comes again Thursday.

 

 

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Filed under Arkansas, DIET!, Gardening, Greenwood, Mother Nature, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Tomatoes 5/5/2017

Since the rains came and the sun started shining, the tomatoes have really grown. I spent some time today tying up branches, trying to get them to climb the trellises my husband made. This is the smaller tomato plant in what we call “The Nook” beside the porch and behind the house.

 

This is the larger of the two nook tomato plants, planted about two weeks before the smaller one.

 

Here are the two together.

 

We have six more tomato plants in the brick planter we also converted to square foot garden plants, with Mel’s Mix. We bought these at three different times, again trying to expand the season and spread out when the tomatoes ripen a bit.

 

You can really see the difference between the plants here.

Finally, I just planted two grape tomato plants in the main garden a week or so ago. I’ll take pics of those when I start repairing what the rains did to the plants out there tomorrow.

My mouth is already watering! I saw some sweet yellow blooms here and there today…

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Filed under Arkansas, DIET!, Gardening, Greenwood, Mother Nature, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Sunshine!

HD Walpapers Rocks

The sun has come out to play today! Wheeeeeee! We had almost forgotten what the sun looked like here in Arkansas. Some of our counties have received over 1 FOOT of rain in the last couple of weeks.  Thankfully, though we are susceptible to hail, high wind, and tornadoes, floods are not a problem on top of our ridge line.

Now that our errands are finished for the day, I’m looking forward to getting out to our garden. The raised bed garden with Mel’s Mix is designed to drain well, but with so MUCH water, cool temperatures, and almost no sunshine, I’ll probably be spending several days working out there to get the plants happy again.

I’ll take pics when I see what’s what.

In the meantime, I wish YOU a nice, sunshiny day, too!

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The First Hummingbird is Spotted Today!

All About Birds

This isn’t THE hummingbird we saw this morning, but it is the kind we see most often around here – A ‘Rufous,’ I believe it’s called.

We were eating breakfast when the sweet hummer came in for a quick drink. He was gone so fast my husband didn’t get a chance to see him.  It was only 56 degrees F. at the time, so he wasn’t even thinking of playing in our new hummingbird bird bath, but I hope he at least looked at it and will consider it the next time he comes.

My friend, Carla, assured me that hummingbirds weren’t due here until the 14th, so obviously this little guy didn’t get the memo. I’m glad we had fresh nectar for him so he could tank up.

Have you seen hummingbirds yet? Do you think they actually will enjoy a birdbath, or was someone just playing with us when we saw a picture of a gazillion of them playing in the water on Facebook?

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Filed under Arkansas, Favorite Things, Greenwood, Mother Nature

Storms in Arkansas

“MAJOR FLASH FLOODING IS OCCURRING ACROSS NORTHWEST ARKANSAS WITH ADDITIONAL RAIN LIKELY ALL AFTERNOON. THE ELK RIVER, ILLINOIS RIVER, & WHITE RIVER ARE NEAR OR APPROACHING RECORD FLOOD STAGE. WATER RESCUES ARE UNDERWAY. ALL BRIDGES IN BENTON COUNTY HAVE BEEN CLOSED. ” -GARRETT 

Benton County, NW Arkansas – April 30, 2017

Northwest Arkansas has gotten the brunt of the latest series of storms since Friday, with over 6 inches of rain. “More than 70 percent of roads, and 90 percent of bridges across unincorporated Benton County are closed, ” and Benton County has been declared a disaster area.” They have had to do water rescues.

I’m grateful that we live in Sebastian County (west central Arkansas) and I think that most of our county has come through this barrage of storms well.  My heart goes out to those in the whole Northwest Arkansas area. The rain has mostly stopped, but there will be more damage as the rivers crest, and that might be next week, with a domino effect as the  water travels down throughout the state.

 

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Some Days

Krafty Max

Like the forecasters said, it’s raining, and raining hard now. If they’re also correct re the AMOUNT of rain, it’s impressive – forecasting 5 to 8 inches of rain by the end of the day tomorrow.

I’m busy being thankful that we’re not getting hail, high winds, or tornadoes today – the threat last night. We lucked out, but it really gets my attention when the weather monitor says, “Take Cover! Tornado Warning! In the path, Greenwood!”

We timed our errands today just right, getting home just as the rain started to get more serious. Right now it looks like night as I glance out the window. I had to close the door to the porch because the rain was blowing into the living room. We feel lucky to have a nice, dry house. Our animals are thankful, too, though they’re not very vocal about it. As you look around the house, though, one cat is sleeping in the bed at my feet as I type. Two dogs are on the bed in the living room. The other cat is in my husband’s lap as he reads. And Sally, the fish, blows bubbles at me, begging for more food every time I pass the bowl.

We’ll curl up with books today and beef stew.

I hope you’re warm and dry today.

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Mother Nature

Tornado Warnings Expired

science – HowStuffWorks

We’ve had a very interesting late evening here in Greenwood, Arkansas.  We were watching TV and our weather alert started making all kinds of noise in the office. I discovered we were under a tornado warning – not watch – until 11:58 pm.

I’ve told you before that my husband and I are complete opposites. I tend to get nervous when ‘tornado warning,’ ‘Fort Smith,’ and ‘Greenwood’ are all mentioned at the same time by the weather alert thingie. My husband scoffs and wants to go outside on the deck and watch the storm come in. We’ve learned to compromise over the years. I try not to freak out. He tries not to make fun of me. We take care of our animals and listen to the local TV station and stay alert until the danger – or at least most of it – passes.

The warnings have been cancelled. Whew. We had lots of lightning. We haven’t had any rain yet, but I expect a lot of it over night. The TV guys were talking about two areas of rotation reasonably close to us. One seemed to touch down in a rural area in southeastern Oklahoma, right over the state line from us. It was moving in a northeast direction, and the cone of possible travel seemed to skirt past us to the west. Then they added rotation in the Fort Smith area. I don’t think anything happened in Fort Smith, other than hail. That was happening in Oklahoma, too. In fact, they showed a piece of hail that had a measuring tape beside it – measuring 4 inches long!

We’re still under a flash flood warning through Sunday, with 5 to 8 inches of rain forecast by Sunday. That’s a LOT of rain. We have several rivers and creeks that go through the area, and a lot of those won’t crest until Monday or so.

We’ll just keep all appendages crossed that everyone comes through this weekend all right.

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Filed under Arkansas, Greenwood, Mother Nature

Rain, Rain…

Izismile.com

 

Friday: Potentially severe storms along the warm front after dark; Hail primary threat; tornadoes possible.

WEATHER ALERT DAY SATURDAYExtensive Flash Flooding 5-8″ of rain likely.

Sunday: Rain ends, cooler. River flooding remains possible.

_________

SO – we may need a boat before this is over. We live on top of a ridge line, so we don’t have to worry about flooding in the house or the shop. We may have a lot of flooding in Greenwood and Fort Smith, though, with Arkansas River flooding, plus flooding from lots of other smaller rivers throughout the state. Spring is usually rainy, but this is a little much.  Our biggest danger up here is tornadoes. I’ve lived in Oklahoma and Arkansas (aka ‘Tornado Alley’) for most of my life and I’ve never actually seen a tornado. I’ll be delighted if this remains true the rest of my life.

The saddest thing is that the worst day for the rain is supposed to be tomorrow, when the 30th annual car show is scheduled on Greenwood’s square. It’s a fun event, with lots of people coming from all around to show the great work they’ve done on their cars, with some of the cars from the 1920s. They provide a fun day for lots of people, and then give a check to the city to use for community projects. I’m hoping that either the forecasters have misread their maps, or that the car show can be rescheduled.

Meanwhile, all has been planted and will appreciate the rain (I hope!) I’m a bit worried that my garden plants will get hailed on again. All appendages crossed that we’ll ONLY get the rain…

 

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Outside – Days 2 and 3 of 3

APA-Sick Child

A couple of days ago I told you I was going to use the 3 days of sunshine we had to finish planting the flowers around the yard.

Day 1/of 3 was productive.

Day 2/of 3 we bought a bunch of flowers and two grape tomato plants. Before we went to do errands and buy the plants, I wasn’t feeling up to par. By the time I got home, I was feeling BAD. Something I had eaten didn’t agree with me. I ended up asleep under my throw in the recliner most of the day.

Today is Day 3/of 3 – and it’s been a good one. I’m feeling 90% back up to par.

 

Shutterstock.com

I just came in from getting all of the planting finished. It took me several sessions, but things are good now.

I planted

  • 4 yubi/purslane/portulaca plants
  • 4 gerbera daisies
  • 2 geraniums
  • 1 whole flat of petunias
  • 1 whole flat of periwinkles
  • 2 grape tomato plants in the garden

It’s almost 2:30 now – time I fixed lunch and I’ll continue to rest and re-hydrate.  Then I’ll go out and take some pictures to share with you.

This is why I’ve had to hurry to get the plants in. I’m trying to be thankful for every drop.

 

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Filed under Arkansas, Gardening, Greenwood, Mother Nature

The Sun is Shining!

After several cool days and rain, the sun is shining! HOOOOORAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!!!!!!!

We have what looks like a three-day opportunity to spend time outside before four more days of cool and rain this week.

It’s been SO cool and rainy, I haven’t checked on our garden in several days. I’ll do that today. I’m hoping there will be some good things to harvest. If so, I’ll post pictures later.

I have flower planters to clean out, weed whacking to do, and planters to get ready for new plants. We’re hoping to go to the local nursery tomorrow for a flat of periwinkles, several purslane plants, some geraniums, and maybe a flat of gerbera daisies – one of my very favorite flowers – if they still have flats for sale.

To celebrate having such a nice day today, my husband suggested that we get steaks to grill on the deck tonight. We always turn on the rope LED lights while we’re out there, and we can listen to our wind chimes on the porch and the new hummingbird bird bath waterfall while we sit, enjoying the evening and each other.

The errands are done for the day. I’ll finish my coffee and head outside to see how our garden is faring.

I hope you’re enjoying a fabulous Sunday, too!

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Filed under Arkansas, Gardening, Greenwood, Mother Nature, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Playing in the Rain

In Lieu of Preschool

 

The 80% chance of rain started in early this morning, with dark clouds, wind, rain, and an almost 20 degree drop in temperatures. It only sprinkled on us as my husband and I got the mail, enjoyed our friends at Lunch Bunch, and did a few errands before coming home and starting a comfort beef stew in the crock pot for tonight.

The rain came again as we were settling in. Perfect timing! The forecasters are saying we could get 3 to 5 inches of rain by noon or so tomorrow. We may need a boat! Usually, when we have a good, wet spring, we have a long period of NO rain for a couple of months of the summer, so I’m enjoying every drop we’re getting now.

My husband has come up with a new project –

He ordered a Blu-Ray DVD reader we received today. He wants it to read his collection of DVDs, storing each movie in a special storage drive.  When each has been stored, we’ll sell the DVD. This will eventually free up a lot of our shelving in our entertainment center. He’s started moving stuff around in the office as I type. This rainy day is a good time to get started on the project. I hope he’s happy with the results. My part in this is to add to his spreadsheet of his movies, listing main actor/actress, plus a short synopsis of the movie.

I hope that you have a fun day planned. Stay dry, my friends.

 

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Filed under Arkansas, Greenwood, Mother Nature

“Sweet Stream”

“Sweet Stream Wash Me Down” – Paul Militaru Photography

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A Glorious Day

As I walked around the yard a few minutes ago, three of our four furry friends walked with me. (Bambi was inside asleep on his bed.) This is Abby.

 

Our hummingbird bird bath came on automatically as it should this morning with NO LEAKS! Hooray!!!!!!!

 

Camellias are starting to bloom.

 

This is Molly.

 

Rio Samba Rose Bush

 

Smoke and a hydrangea plant.

 

We’re enjoying clumps of blooms like this all around the yard and down one side of the driveway. I had hoped that the dark purple iris and the pale yellow iris would bloom at the same time, but the purple iris is gone before the yellow iris starts to bud.

 

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“A Little Purple – Magnolias”

“A Little Purple – Magnolias” – Paul Militaru Photography

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“Let’s Get to the Bottom of Things”

“Let’s Get to the Bottom of Things” – Paul Militaru Photography

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My Plants are Insulted

No Time for Flash Cards

My poor garden veggies have been/are under triple assault: hail, bugs, and weeds. I just came in from a session of weeding, cutting off broken limbs, harvesting some of the broken/hole-y stuff, pitching the rest. It looks like it will take several sessions to get my plants happy again.

We’ve had a lot of rain (with hail and other severe stuff), then good sun, resulting in all of the problems. I do pretty well for an hour out there, particularly with our new raised beds,  but I think it will take three or four more sessions to catch up. And THEN, guess what! We have more rain forecast for four days next week…

 

 

When you first glance at things, it doesn’t look very  bad.

 

 

The closer you get, though, the more you see.

Here you see a BUNCH of broken tops on the onions. This doesn’t matter as much on onions as it does on other plants.

The spinach has broken leaves, and someone is trying to eat the spinach before we do. I harvested a BUNCH of  broken leaves that will still make good eating, but not ‘pretty.’

This is one of the spaghetti squash plants. You can see the holes in the leaves. I don’t know if that will kill the actual squash trying to grow or not.

The romaine lettuce is basically really healthy, but you can see  broken and/or eaten leaves, plus little bitty weeds that have sprung up in the last couple of days.

Red lettuce leaf isn’t really a ‘pretty’ plant to my eye, but it tastes good IF it doesn’t get beaten down by hail and eaten by bugs…

The celery plants are still alive and kicking! You can again see the teeny tiny weeds, though.

I’ll try to get back out several times today and again tomorrow. The rains aren’t supposed to start until late tomorrow night – and hopefully, we won’t have hail this time…

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Filed under Arkansas, Challenges, DIET!, exercise, Gardening, Greenwood, Mother Nature, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Small Setback

Clover Gazette – WordPress.com

We had hail in at least a couple of the thunderstorms a couple of nights ago. The day following was too wet and cold to play out in the garden, so I didn’t bet back to it until yesterday.

The hail did a number on my tender veggie plants. :0(

Many of the leaves on the lettuces and spinach are broken off. I’m going to spend some time this afternoon finishing weeding, but also harvesting some of the sweet, broken leaves. I’m hoping that the roots are still robust and that improving weather will bring them back to full health in a few days or a week.

Fingers crossed.

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Filed under Arkansas, Gardening, Greenwood, Mother Nature, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Praise of the Yellow Iris

I posted some pics of the beautiful yellow iris we bought from Nanna’s Garden in Clarksville, AR. It had two beautiful blooms on it and two buds. This was several days ago.

I walked into the kitchen this morning and it took my breath away. I cut off one bloom, but –

 

I can’t believe it’s still blooming, when all our other iris only last a day or two, PLUS the buds bloomed! I can’t say enough about the quality of the iris we got from this lady. I think she grows and sells 1700 different iris. I didn’t even know there WERE that many different colors of iris!

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“White Tree Flowers”

“White Tree Flowers 2” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Trip Around the Yard

My husband has three clematis plants he’s trying to nurture. This year they seem to be happy. Were walking around the yard this morning and found these.

 

Our purple iris are still blooming nicely in clumps around the yard while yellow iris are just now starting to bloom.

 

These are growing down one side of the driveway. There are a couple more ‘drifts’ further on down, but this is the main one.

 

This is one of our Rio Samba rose bushes. I cut them back harshly this past year because of various problems. I didn’t know whether they would live through my efforts or not. One of them didn’t, but two of them did.

 

 

 

And the pale yellow iris have started.

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