Thursday, February 25, 2010

"Got you In A Stranglehold, Baby"

Fun fact about Ted Nugent, who has been kind enough to provide our post title today. The Nuge is a chef!

I don't even need to provide hilarious commentary for that one, it laughs for itself :)

Three words. Wisteria. Is. Awesome.

I love the stuff. It's one of those exotic things for this transplanted Canadian that never gets tired. Like magnolia trees. Like azaleas.

I fool myself into thinking it's spring at the end of February. Then there's a frost. Then I fool myself that it's spring in March. Then there's another frost. Then I get upset and throw a few tantrums.

But in April! When I see that first bloom of purple in the trees while I'm driving to work...I've nearly crashed my car craning my neck to make sure that I really saw it. And then I KNOW it's spring. :)

I'm full of fun facts today. On the television show 'Desperate Housewives', the name of the street they all live on is 'Wisteria Lane'. Wisteria is an invasive plant that strangles the structure it grows on, eventually crushing it or killing it. The boa constrictor of vines. Great name for the street that these crazy broads live on:

Well, it's not invasive in every area. But wisteria's potential for invasiveness in my area is the reason I don't grow any myself. I wouldn't trust any structure I grew it on, unless it was an already dead tree. Which I don't have on my property. And I sure wouldn't grow it near my house. I feel comforted by the fact that it takes a lot of years before its first bloom, and I probably wouldn't be in this house by then anyway.

Lowe's has a wooden arbor that they call a 'Wisteria Arbor'. The salespeople must have thought I was nuts, standing there laughing at this arbor. There's no way that flimsy thing would last more than a couple of seasons under the grip of wisteria.

I don't want to grow it on a metal one either, unless it was some serious heavy metal.

We found out that metal trellises seriously corrode here on the Southeastern coast of NC. Mr. A had some Carolina Jessamine growing on one out in the backyard. We had a tropical storm come through 3 years ago, and the arbor snapped like a twig. The metal was just so corroded, it couldn't take a bit of heavy wind.

I know that wisteria can be used as bonsai. I LOVE this idea. I've seen it trained into tree form in a few of the neighbourhood yards here, and it looks amazing. I just don't think I have the patience or skill for that at this point.

This 'bonsai wisteria' is not my photo, the rest of the wisteria ones are.

However, I love to take walks. And wisteria is everywhere. There's this one area on a dirt road down behind where I live that has the largest amount of wisteria that I've ever seen in one place. It must have been growing there for a couple hundred years at least. The pictures I'm posting of it don't do it justice.

Imagine this powerful, beautiful, heavy scent hitting you in the face like prizefighter. Wisteria smells amazing. Have you ever seen bees get lazy and sleepy when someone 'smokes' them? I look just like a dazed bee in this picture....bee-dazzled, if you will :P

I'm sure I'll bore you all with new photos of wisteria this spring, but here are some more from last year. My favourites are the ones where people are growing it through their azalea bushes. The colour combination is AWESOME.

This wistera is growing on a large crepe myrtle. Which is now sorta half dead. And I guess it doesn't matter because you can't see the tree through all the wisteria lol.

This is my favourite wisteria photo. I put it on the 'Crystal Coast Gardener' bumper sticker I had made on

Can you tell I'm still waffling and want to plant it even though I know better?

What's Ted Nugent doing these days besides hunting and writing cookbooks?

Maybe I can hire him to threaten the wisteria into staying contained... O_O

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Star Is Born

A few stars actually. They're gonna be the peacocks of my garden this spring!

My tulips have come up!!

They're still very shy at this point, but they're finally deciding to show their faces.

Well, maybe not quite faces, but the tops of their heads anyway :)

Can't remember which type I planted at the moment, I know they'll be bright red lol.

And my 'Ernest Markham' clematis has started to squeeze out buds as well...

Oh, and let's throw in a gratutious shot of the red-breasted woodpecker as he's celebrating the appearance of this new life!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

You Say Potato, I say Potahto

This blog won't be about what you thought it was:

The other day, when I wrote Thistle While You Work, I had mentioned that I thought the thistle I had a photo of was pretty in it's own peculiar way. IG @ The Idiot Gardener left me the comment "It's odd; I guess I never considered that to some people they would be attractive."

I like comments like that, because they make me think. I do a lot of thinking. Thinking is one of those things I do best, like Winnie-the-Pooh. But unlike Mr. The-Pooh, I wear pants while I think.

Beauty is a very subjective thing. What one person finds attractive, the next person could walk right past without a second look. Or find it abhorrent.

I think this extends into the garden. I have a few flowers that I can't stand to have in my garden. There are a few that I can't stand to see in other people's gardens either. And then there are the ones that I can only describe as 'meh'.

Sometimes I hesitate to write anything that requires an opinion and may even lead to fisticuffs.

That harmless looking arbor started this one... O_O Sad, isn't it?

I have this weird thing about people pleasing, and don't want to offend anyone who is absolutely in love with any of the flowers/plants I will name. I will be brave in the name of science!

I'm going to tell you which flowers make me cringe or even utter the dreaded 'meh'! And in turn, I know there must be some that You would never want to have in your garden, and would like to tell me about.

First off...


I know all of the benefits of having Marigolds in the garden. They are a natural pest repellent. The problem is, they also repel me! I can't stand the smell of these things. They just stink to high heaven. I'm also like that about cut cucumbers, oddly enough, can't be in the same room....


Noelle, hope you're still friends with me. I know you're all about the desert plants!

Everyone has one planted in their yard here in Coastal NC. I don't mind the plant, but for some reason I just don't like the flowers. They sort of remind me of white pineapples. And why should this shape bother me? Oh, the mysteries of the mind!! :)

Dusty Miller

My mum used to love this plant. She had it all up and down our driveway border in Edmonton. She can't understand why I don't love it lol.

My friend Melanie's mum owns a garden nursery in Illinois. Melanie always brings back a trunkload of plants, and gives me some of them for free.

Being a very grateful person for these lovely gifts, I plant all of them. Unfortunately, Dusty Miller came as part of the package year before last. I thought, well, it will just die in the winter anyway.

But Kyna forgot that she's not in Kansas, er, Edmonton anymore. That thing grew all through the winter with zero die-back.

Long story short, I had to murder Mr. Miller in the springtime. I'm not a killer, but some things just have to be done.

Sweet Alyssum

I think Sweet Alyssum is very pretty. But I wish I had thought before planting these harmless looking little seeds. Sort of the same problem as Marigolds. The smell just doesn't agree with me. I heard it smelled delicious from other people. I went against my usual 'smell before buying' policy.

And of course it reseeds itself like a mofo, and I can't get rid of the stuff. I'm going to have to hire this job out!

All right, now I want you guys to show your cards and tell me what You don't like. C'maaaaan....there's gotta be something? :)

Friday, February 19, 2010

"Now I Ain't Sayin' She a Goldfinchdigger..."

Everytime I see a photo of a finch sock feeder with goldfinches all over it, I get a little jealous.

Not like slash-your-tires jealous. It's only a light, sea-foam tinted sort of jealousy. :)

Last spring, my old cedar hopper-style bird feeder had the honour of being selected by a couple of beautifully bright male goldfinches as a buffet table. I was so excited! They came back for a few days, and then they were gone for the summer season. According to my bird book, they only hang out in the winter and early spring in Coastal NC.

This winter, I decided to try a sock feeder, because I've seen pictures of its success across the web. I'm convinced that my gardening friend Jayne @ Green and Serene is The Goldfinch Whisperer.

But me? Nothing. Nada. Zilch. I don't know if I have it in the wrong spot, so I moved it. Still nothing. And now I don't know if the feed is too old? I check it to make sure it's not all gross or moldy or anything, and it seems to be fine.

Yesterday, I believe I finally got two female goldfinches to stop by! But I'm about to wing my sock feeder across the field hammer-throw style, because it wasn't where they decided to do lunch. They stopped on my red metal feeder lol.

Now if only their husbands would join them, I'd be very delighted :D

EDIT @ 5:54 EST: Woo-hoo! Blotanical's back up! :)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hocus Crocus Alamagocus!

'Gibberish' you ask? Never! You know me better than that. :) The Canadians in the crowd who were kids in the 80's or had kids in the 80's might know this song reference.

There was this kid's television program in Canada called "Today's Special".It was set in a department store in Toronto, where everything took place after the store was closed. The characters were Jodie the night merchandiser, Sam Crenshaw the night watchman, Muffy the Mouse, and Jeff the Mannequin.

Jeff the Mannequin was special...he could come alive at night if one of the other characters put his magic hat on him, and said the magic words "Hocus, pocus, alamagocus!". If his hat accidentally fell off, he was frozen into a mannequin again. And he could never leave the store, which would remove the magic and he'd be a mannequin forever. I always thought he was kinda cute lol.

My brother Kurt hated the show. He's 8 years older than I am, and he always called it 'that stupid show with all the singing', and wouldn't let me watch it when he was around. :)

Hocus pocus makes me think of crocus. I know, I'm a genius. :)

I love crocuses (croci? LOL). I had more last year, I think I rooted around in my garden a little too much and lost some. I wish I had purple ones. The bag promised me purple ones, and they lied to me. I should have bought the bag that promised ALL purple ones. But the yellow and the white crocuses are cheery, so I guess I don't mind!

I'm sorry that I didn't make the area surrounding them clean and pretty. There are an awful lot of dead leaves in the pics I should have cleared out. I'm feeling pretty sick today with a sinus and chest cold, and every time I bend over, my head feels like it's trying to drop my brain out through my nose. Bleah.

They're kind of entwined with the remnants of violas from the fall. I can't wait till it gets warmer out and I can make everything look nice again :)

And I wish the elephant that's standing on my sinuses would kindly remove himself...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"...And It Was All Yellow"

The daffodils finally bloomed out today! A whole bunch of them at once, which doesn't usually happen. I think they're all just happy that the snow's gone like an irritating houseguest :D

Big difference from two days ago!

Monday, February 15, 2010

So is there something going on with the Blotanical website that I don't know about? Is there site maintenance/site overhaul going on? Because I haven't been able to access it for 2 days. It just keeps saying 'Internet Explorer Cannot Display the Webpage'. I've tried going in the long way, just in case my bookmarked link was bad. No dice.

Has my membership been revoked? Have I been kicked unceremoniously to the curb? Is everyone else getting in just fine, and it's just me?

I think Blotanical (if it indeed still exists) needs to put me through a 12-step program... O_O

Comments would definitely be appreciated.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snow Country For Old Men

We got about 8 inches of snow this morning!!

*does little snow dance*

To all my buddies up in Edmonton:

SEE?? You can't make fun of me now! I'm not lying on the beach today!! :P

I got up at 6:30 this morning, bundled up, and trudged through the snow to take photos.

I love the look on my face: "Does this toque make me look fat?"

(For those who don't know, a 'toque' rhymes with fluke, and is what we Canadians call a winter hat)

Anyway, these pics are in more or less chronological order. I think I've taken over 160 photos today. Don't want to bore you with all of them, but here are some of the best ones. I think I did pretty well for my camera not being a fancy one. :)

My poor magnolia doesn't know what to think!

The view down my street

You know those daffodils that I was waiting on to bloom? Yeah. They look pretty darn sad today. I feel like the kid in 'A Christmas Story' when he stepped on his glasses...."Pulverized."

My neighbour's house

Looking at my house

I took a walk in the neighbourhood, and through the woods behind my house for these ones:

I think today I've gotten the best bird shots I've ever taken.

I think this is my favourite shot of the day. I was standing like a statue with my camera to my eye for about half an hour lol. It was worth it!!

Mr. A and Desiree finishing up the snowman I started. I stopped because I wanted to take pics of the birds lol.

AWESOME day. Absolutely brilliant.