Tuesday, June 28, 2005


I've been wanting to post this for a while. This flower is literally as large as a dinnerplate. The bee in the middle is a large bumblebee as long as my thumb. I got this plant as a end-of-the-season-please-take-me-home-before-I-endup-as-compost sale. I think I paid about a dollar for it...or was that for the pot...lol Anyway, it dies back completely every winter and torments me in the spring while I wonder if it is really going to grow, or should I plant something else in the cast iron pot in my front yard. Yes, I have a cast iron pot in my front yard. Doesn't everyone? Okay... well maybe only people who married a guy that once had a guy roommate who liked cementing rocks and things into the front yard.........in straight lines..do. I do. Yah.. I do. BUT, I digress! I like this huge, improbably lovely flower. It's like something out of a Disney movie. Sometimes, I wonder if there isn't a fairy prince hiding somewhere in one of the blossoms, or if perhaps, there is a thumbellina child I'm destined to raise wrapped up in one of the almost opend blooms. YEE GADS, I'm strange today. Oh.. I started work last week! One on one with an Angolan engineer who works for HUMOUNGUS OIL COMPANY teaching English, and a little Texan culture (ie: don't get the traffic cops pissed at you, and yes Texans really do drink their tea cold and sweet). He is a very nice gentleman who listens and learns quite respectfully, in spite of the fact that I make (when working at a real job as a public school teacher) about 1/4 of what he's making. I know this only because he wanted to know if what the company was offering him in US currency was good money. I gulped, counted the zero's I estimated he was getting in salary, subsidized housing (in a waaaaaaaay 'spensive place), and in a HARDSHIP bonus, and very calmly and and graciously assured him that yes, indeed, he was being quite nicely taken care of. I also warned him not to discuss money and salary with his co-workers, as I understand from hubby that corporations don't like such talk amoung the rabble......errr employees. Sigh... Have fun everyone. Posted by Hello

Friday, June 17, 2005


Smile purty for the camera Braindog.. Spitty Kitty is sleeping in the background. With the weather heating up, not much new is happening in the garden. I'm pretty much just watering like crazy, (water bill up from usual) trying to keep the morning glory vines from encompassing the whole house, garden and anything left sitting too long (including me! I sometimes fear), and trying to stay cool. New news from the personal front: I had an interview with a company that hires people to tutor individual students in an intensive, immersive English as a Second Language course. I hope I did well. I've not heard from them yet, and it's already afternoon, but I still have some hopes. Sigh. I've enjoyed being a "lady of leisure, gardening happily"... but I'd like to get a paycheck again. Hubby dear would like me to bring in a pay check again too. Even Brain has his hopes, as the quality and amount of his doggie treats depends on whether "mommy" can bring home a little extra CASH! Anyone need a garden designer? I LIKE telling people what to plant where! And I'm cheap! Not easy.. but cheap!  Posted by Hello

This split leaved philodendron is usually a house plant. I planted it outside 5 years ago. Houston is semi-tropical at the BEST of times, so it's been very happy, tucked away under an ash tree on the east side of the house. Posted by Hello

This is one of the larger leaves of the philodendron. I hate having short arms. The plant stands at 60 inches tall, by the way. Exactally a quarter inch taller than ME. Posted by Hello

And this leaf is: 40 inches long, from top to bottom. Posted by Hello

Here are my two largest elephant ear leaves. I tried to measure AND take a picture at the same time, but my arms aren't that long. SOOOO... I did it in chunks. Posted by Hello

It's not easy measuring and taking a picture of a leaf as large as this one when a person is by HERSELF... but the measurements are: Posted by Hello

This is how WIDE the leaf is, at it's widest part.  Posted by Hello

This is how long the larger of the two elephant ear leaves is. It stands 64 inches from the ground to the tip of the top. That's 4 inches taller than I. Posted by Hello

My cucumbers are behaving...oddly. Believe it or not, this IS a cucumber. The skinny pointed end is where it's ATTACHED to the vine. The more cucumbery shaped end is the blossom end. Has anyone ever grown a circular cucumber before? Posted by Hello

And then, there's this cucumber... looking distinctly barbell shaped. What IS it about this vine that it wants to produce such oddly shaped cucumbers?? Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


Okay...more about me later. GRRRRIIBBIT Posted by Hello

Eye to eye with a dragonfly.  Posted by Hello

Mandavilla is starting to bloom on the vine trellis. Amazingly, the jasmine is still blooming, as are the passion flowers and even a puny bloom from a clematis.  Posted by Hello

Mandavilla. It's climing on the little archway I use as a bird feeding station. My hopes are, that before the end of summer.. (sometime in OCTOBER for those of you not from Texas) it will completely cover the little arch. Posted by Hello

I swear, these leaves are getting larger every day. To give a little size reference, when I stand next to that big leaf... it is about 4 inches taller than me, from grounded stem to top of the heart shaped leaf. Posted by Hello

Yesterday was my birthday. I'm ..gulp.. 45 years old. The two toads are actually early birthday presents. I've saved them to show them off now. They're meant to go in the garden, but I rather like them where they are! The big toad is from my mom, the small one from my sister Sandi. The sculpture on the end of the bookshelf is from Wimberley Texas. Anyone interested in this artist, post a comment and I'll look up where I got it and how you can see more. Posted by Hello

My newest impulse buy. It is an "Angelonia angustifolia hybrid" , Angelface White. The foliage is actually grape scented and the flowers are lovely. These marigolds needed a nice bit of height I think.Posted by Hello

This bed is slowly getting filled with plants I buy and have no where else to plant. It's only "planned" plant is the lime thyme in the right hand corner that is blooming up a storm. The grassy plant in the middle background is Lemon grass. I suspect it wil probably end up dominating this bed eventually. I think, next year, I'm going to plant this bed with a theme. The lemon grass and lime thyme will stay, and I'm going to get a lemon verbena, which will grow shrub sized here, and plant other lemon and citrus sented flowers and herbs there. The white flowers are Allysium and have smelled very nice, but are getting a bit leggy and weedy. I may replant that area with some miniature sunflowers.  Posted by Hello

As you can see, there are a row of three stone circle planters in my front yard. I'd have planned these in a better placement, ie: not in a soldier's row, but they were here when I got here. The Mister had planted agave in them. Sword agave. As in: "if you get too close to the leaves of that plant it will slice you and anything you wear into shreds" agave. I've planted some rather more friendly plants in them. The iron pot in the background is also cemented in the ground. It has a Saucer Hibiscus in it that hasn't bloomed yet this year, but has set blossoms. Now, I just have to remember to water and feed it.  Posted by Hello

I like the way this little bed is behaving this year. The stones around it are from Central Texas, and are full sized boulders set in concrete. The Mister had a roommate, who I affectionately call "the Crazy Cajun"... who liked building things. He built the trellis in the back yard and the structure in the backyard and the gigantic doghouse/condo in the backyard. The tall bush is a "hummingbird" bush. When the flowers open, it's not uncommon to see at least one hummer flitting around. I've also got a lavender (not blooming) and a yarrow. The yellow flowered bush also attracts birds and butterflies. Posted by Hello

OOOPS there's a picture of ME lurking in this shot.......... Posted by Hello

This rose bush just keeps on putting on blooms. I've actually THINNED out some of the blossoms on this clump, but it's going to be lovely. Posted by Hello

These are the bushes on the side of my house. The window is my kitchen window. The Mister is wanting to cut them down to the ground, as they are encroaching on the neighbor's property and are just getting waaay too happy (see next entry). He wants us to attack the bushes with pruners, drag off the branches and keep going till we see ground. Then, he's proposing planting some climbing roses on some new trellis to (hopefully) grow and provide some shade into the kitchen during the hottest parts of the day. I will admit a weakness for the climbing roses part, and the kitchen DOES get kinda hot in the middle of the day.........but I am NOT looking forward to cutting down two perfectly healthy and lovely evergreens. I wonder if I could get the Mister to leave one of them? Heck, I suspect if we do one.......that might be all we CAN do, as neither of us is particularly able bodied. We'll just have to see. Posted by Hello

This is next door. Notice, this hibiscus "bush" is as tall as the first floor of this house. It just keeps getting taller and taller and bushier and bushier. The new owners of the house have done some judicious pruning this spring, and the blooms are even better than last years'. I like these new neighbors, they're a nice family with kids that range from a charming little almost 4 year old to a high school sophmore. The "old" neighbors were nice too, but a little too fond of beer and barbeque parties on the front driveway. I never wondered why my shrubs on that side grew soooooo green... Posted by Hello