Wednesday, September 30, 2009

House Color Help

Now that the weather has finally broken (highs in the 80s instead of 90s), we're thinking about tackling our next big project: painting the house. Something about the current two-tone blue feels a bit dated. We're not averse to adventurous colors - after living downtown across the street from a sage green house, a pink house, and a purple house we've come to like bright house colors - but since we don't live in a historic downtown and we want to sell the house in four or five years, we need something a bit tamer. We've thought about yellow, red, green, white, until we're blue in the face. Anyone got any suggestions?

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Guess my thumb might have a little green in it after all:

Or, maybe Josh has a green thumb and I just want to take credit for it. All of you who know my history with indoor plants can be the judge.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Interesting Caterpillars

Yards in Florida are strange places. I've noticed that we have a number of scary looking caterpillars in the yard. The top one I found near the herb garden today. As luck would have it, there was a guy here to look at a tree that's got to come out. He said it was a "fireworm." I haven't been able to ID it further online yet (all the fireworms appear to be aquatic and feed on coral), but he said that the sting is very very painful. It certainly looked threatening enough. The lower photo is a saddleback caterpillar that I came across while weeding on Sunday. It's quite striking, and also very painful. We're going to have to be careful when we're handing plants out there so as not to get stung. In my research to figure out what these guys are, I found out that I had gotten rid of some caterpillars that would become black swallowtail that were munching on our parsley. That's too bad. Next time I'll let them be and lose the parsley just to watch them and see what happens. Ah, well. We've plans for a butterfly garden, which seems like a weird thing for me to be into, but what the hell. I like bugs. I like gardening. I must therefore like bugs that are good for gardens. And besides, butterflies look cool.
I added Greek Oregano, English Thyme, and Spanish Lavender to the herb garden today. I also finished mulching it and made a border by laying down cedar rails (the kind that serve as rails in a split-rail fence). Cheers.


Saddleback Moth Caterpillar

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Yard Work

We spent the afternoon working in the yard today. Pulling up all the vines that are choking off the azaleas and camellias and miscellaneous other plants could well take weeks. Luckily, among the things left by the old owner were an electric lawn mower, which I used for the first time today, and a really good set of gardening shears that are sharp enough to cut through 1" thick branches on the crepe myrtles like butter.

We've got two hummingbird feeders up, and both are regularly visited. There seems to be one bird that's staking a claim though. He often perches nearby and chases off any other hummingbirds that swoop in for chow.

The herb garden has expanded to now include silver thyme, garlic, and tricolored sage. We also had some cuttings from the African Blue basil that sprouted roots and will make nice trans-plants to the beds in the front yard. Aimee got a banana tree, which we haven't put in the ground yet, as we're still figuring on the best place to put it. The jalapenos are coming along very well (two obvious peppers and about 14 more budding, it's amazing how fast they grow). No tomatoes yet, but we're keeping our fingers crossed that we didn't plant too late and that they're getting enough sun. We'll see. We started clearing the area that will become the vegetable garden today. It's going to take some work, but we'll get there. In addition to the hummingbirds we have woodpeckers (red bellied and pileated), and lots of frogs and lizards, and cardinals, and wrens, and crazy looking caterpillars with thorns. It's an interesting yard. Cheers. Photos of plants to come as soon as I can get some decent shots.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Lemongrass and Thyme

Today I added some plants to the herb garden. I also got the kayak rack up, finally. I've read a book by Lee Reich called Weedless Gardening, which gives us a conceptual framework to work with. Such things are important for cerebral people with little to no gardening experience. There seem to be thousands of mosquito's living in our yard. The lemongrass will hopefully help with that, as it's called citronella in french. Cheers.