Monday, August 31, 2009

Seed dispersement from Cranesbills- (Erodium sp.)

Photo from PlantZAfrica

Good morning everyone. Can't believe it's been a week since I posted anything here. I did get out two mornings last week to mow, weedwack, weed and trim, and things look much better, but there is still more to do. We just need some cooler weather.

DH read me an interesting garden tidbit last night from the website below. I then went online this morning and found a couple websites for your reading/viewing pleasure about this wonderful plant.

... the methods by which plants disperse their seeds are legion, and so diverse are they that one has the feeling God must have taken a sheer delight in exploring all the possible solutions. There are plants in which the seedpod lies at the junction of a leaf with the main stem. When the weather becomes dry, at this point the leaf begins to coil itself like a spring, and this process continues until there is a length of quite sharp and well-defined corkscrew. The formation of the corkscrew appears to result from the structure of the stem. Two layers of different material react to the drying process in building up tension until the arrangement breaks free and flies off with some force, carrying it a fair distance from the parent plant. Then two things take place: first, the ground is softened by rain at the same time to receive the seed pod, and secondly, moisture begins to act upon the coil in such a way that it starts to unwind itself. The whole structure is of such a form that the somewhat pointed seed pod is resting point down and at a slight angle to the soil. The gradual unwinding of the coil serves to drill the pod into the soil where it takes root in such a way that the old withered leafy end becomes the visible stem of the new plant. (123)

123. A number of species are known, a characteristic example being a member of the Geranium family (Erodium sp.) commonly called Cranesbill, found in Europe as a weed.



Look at slides 6-12 to see pictures of this unique way of dispersing seeds.

Then we have PlantZAfrica with info and pictures of the Cranesbill, including the following:

The seed of pelargoniums has an interesting mechanism: the elliptical seeds have a feathered tail-like structure, which is coiled into a spiral. The tail causes the seed to be twisted around so that it drills into the soil in a corkscrew fashion and thus secures itself in the soil. For optimum germination, seed is best sown when fresh, although it may remain viable for up to 7 years. Sow seed in a light, well-drained soil with a high content of coarse sand. Firm down and level the medium gently. Broadcast the seed evenly, covering it with a layer of clean sand. The depth of sowing is usually one and a half times the size of the seed. Water thoroughly but gently and provide light shade. Germination usually takes place within 10 to 14 days but can take longer if temperatures are low. Plants grown from seed are generally more vigorous than those produced from cuttings, however, they take longer to flower, from 12 to 18 months after sowing, and may also display a certain amount of variation.


No doubt, there are some of you who already know this wonderful bit of information. I don't grow these wonderful flowers and thought this info was fantastic and I am thankful to our Creator who thought of so many wonderful ways to propagate the plant kingdom, to the delight of Himself and His human creations.

Have a great week.

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Didn't do what I thought I would :-)

Isn't that the way it goes? I was going to go out and weed and trim in my main garden. I got sidetracked by spying a decorative piece of iron. DH helped me hang it on the privacy fencing, over the Victorian wire bench in our new little arbor covered seating area at nw corner of main garden.

Then I got the idea to paint the front surface to make it show up. After I did that, then I wanted to paint the bench. That took the rest of the morning. My eyes were buggy and my body pooped from standing there painting all that wire. But, I was in the shade, and I wasn't sweating as much as if I had done my original plans. This was more fun, artistic and somewhat relaxing.

I took two pictures outside, and then one from the bedroom window. I think I still want to put another coat on the heart decorative iron piece. to make the hearts stand out, maybe on the sides also. It used to be part of a chandelier. We paid $10 for the bench, many, many years ago at a local flea market.

That's it for now. I'm ready to get horizontal and read for a bit.

Have a nice evening and a nice restful sleep.

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Overgrowth/undergrowth in the garden

Good morning everyone ~ Hope your weekend will be a good one.

I took a little walk around the main garden area this morning and decided to take some pictures of how overgrown things are around here. It's just too dang hot and humid some mornings to even go outside and do anything, so I do nothing, thus the overgrowth keeps on growing.

I did mow and weedwack the driveway and front little lawn the other day and took a picture of the drive because it looks nice, to me. Things always look better right after you do them, and if you don't get a picture then, stuff overtakes and gardens, etc. look unkempt.

I have weeds, grass, plants that spread by tubers, runners, etc. all fighting for space and recognition. :-) Tomorrow morning I hope to get out there early to at least make a start. We'll see how much gets accomplished before the sun starts blasting the space.

I wanted to get out there so bad this morning while it was cool, but I am working today, and did not want to get all hot, sweaty and red-faced. Not exactly the kind of picture you want to portray in an antique shop. :-) So, for my morning gardening fix, I've been moving the hoses around to water, since it is one of my two days to water with sprinklers.

This is looking west, gate to sidewalk/street on the left, the patio is behind the shrubbery on the right.

This is also looking west from the patio, main garden at the end of little sidewalk.

This is looking south, standing in little ally-way between house and workshop(right). Tork is walking ahead of me, letting me know she's around because it's time for breakfast. :-)

There are mother-of-millions plants all along that sidewalk on the left, and spiderwort and ferns spreading out into walking space also.

Here is our driveway. I'm standing just inside the gate. You can see our huge almost 11' fiberglass swordfish on the back fence. We found him in the trash on the next block.

Next shows my shed with bougainvillea, Louis Phillipe roses and crape myrtle growing up and over. The boug and roses do need trimming back that's for sure.

The next picture shows the back shed with my potting area to the right of it.

Below is a picture of the potting area, looking west. I haven't worked back here in months, and DH put a lot of flower pots from another area that he was cleaning up, here. There are weeds, pine needles, and vines back here as well. I did start on this area the other day, but didn't take pictures of that yet. I want to wait until it's all cleaned up again.

I have a LOT of work to do, and now that it's starting to be a tad cooler out and the sun isn't directly overhead frying everything in sight, I hope to get things looking good again.

That's it for now.

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL


The one small garden of a free gardener was all his need and due,

not a garden swollen to a realm;

his own hands to use, not the

hands of others to command."

- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Sam Gamgee

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Happy to Report

Ana is no longer a threat, or at least that's what they are saying. She has given us a little rain and some breezes. It is cloudy and breezy, not as warm as it has been, I am thankful. Sunday morning while working out in my main garden I got a hint of fall coming. I'm not sure what triggers the hint, the sun being at a different angle, the breezes, but it was something. It happens every year, hints of cooler weather coming even though it is still hot and humid out.

Bill is a hurricane, cat. 4 with winds 135 mph. He is headed northwest, should pass between Bermuda and the east coast of the US. May head up into Canada, but I hope and pray he just heads on out to sea.

I went out this morning after a bit of rain, saw some lovely Penelope rose blooms so came back in for the camera.

Here are the results. Click on pictures for a larger view.

Thanks for looking and I hope the rest of your week is great.

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Friday, August 14, 2009

In Spite of ...

Good morning. I hope everyone is surviving the 'dog days of summer'.

In spite of heat and humidity, we're still surviving as are the gardens. I have worked outdoors 4 mornings this week. Yesterday I was pooped and sore from the other three mornings of work and could hardly get going so I only worked outside for 2 hours instead of the 3-4 of other mornings. There is still more to do, but I'm working at my job the next two days so will have a time of relaxation from the gardens.

I did take a couple of pictures of a lovely purple crepe myrtle ~ Lagerstroemia Indica, that bloomed for me this year. I've had this a long time, and it only blooms every now and then. The leaves of this tree are larger than the other crepes I have, except for the Queen Crepe. I was thrilled when I saw buds and then the open blooms.

The pictures are below. Click on pictures for a larger view.

Have a great weekend whatever your plans.

Zone 10 ~ s.e. Fl

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Here they come

Well, here we are once again watching as potential hurricanes leave the coast of Africa. This is NOT something we look forward to every year. It takes about 12 days for a system to get to the east coast of the US from Africa. So, now it is watch and wait. The weather people are no doubt gearing up, eyes getting all glittery, waiting for the possible BIG ONE that they get to tell about. The hype really gets intense and can drive a person crazy with worry and fear.

We went through Frances, Jeanne and Wilma, Wilma being the worst. My heart goes out to everyone who has to go through any of these storms. These storms can be unpredictable that's for sure.

We do have different shutters we have made to cover windows out of various materials, we know the drill. Not fun.

Below are a couple of pictures from Accu-Weather. Hopefully these will be pulled northward and just head on out to sea. They do say that there is that possibility, but they focus on telling of them hitting the east coast.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Pictures from today

Good evening. Hope you all had a lovely day today.

I wanted to get out early this morning, like between 7-7:30, and got out around 7:15. I wanted to work on the front hedgerow as I had not done anything with it in quite sometime. I didn't think to take a before picture, but you'll see an after picture taken a little while ago.

I am pooped, have stiff and sore muscles too. I worked out there for 4 hours. I did drink several glasses of water and took two or three breaks. If you don't do that you are asking for trouble. A couple of weeks ago we were working on something in the heat and all of a sudden I felt weird, light headed and told DH I have to sit down, and did, in the swing in the shade until I felt better. Sure don't need to have heat-stroke. Today when I came in from working, I saw online where our temp was 91, but with the humidty it felt like it was 105. My clothes were wet and sticking to me when I came in. But, I felt good at what I had accomplished.

Before I took this picture below, we had a little rain, which was nice. This morning I filled up 5 bags of trimmings, which will be picked up and made into compost by the county, which we then can go get for free. This is the 4 lane road that we live on. The speed limit sign in the hedge says 45 mph, but people do more than that trying to beat the light up at the intersection about 4 blocks away. Our private space is behind the hedgerow. When they first did this road, it was awful for us, as they had taken a depth of 15 feet into our property, imminent domain, on top of the 10' easement they already had. We had had a tree border out front and they mowed it all down and we were totally exposed to the world. This is now 20 years later. The front hedgerow helps with the traffic noise somewhat, and it creates a more oxygen filled, cooler environment on the inside. Our front property corner is at the telephone/light post. I am standing in our driveway.

This next picture is of clouds that I thought looked nice,

especially with the tree silhouette.

The next three pictures are of our supper tonight, homemade pizza. I used my bread machine to make the dough, which I added dried garlic and Italian herbs to. The first picture shows the dough covered in homemade sauce, Italian sausage and sliced olives.

The next shows the cheeses sprinkled on top, plus a dried hot pepper blend.

Fontinella, mozarella and Parmesan cheeses.

Next, it is fresh out of the oven and ready to be cut and served,

with a nice chilled bottle of Chianti wine,

that we've had in our stash, bought on sale quite awhile back. :-)

We always eat half, then have the rest another meal. Mmmm, mmmmm.

That's it for now, I'm ready to get horizontal and relax with a book.

Have a good nights sleep and a great week.

Friday, August 7, 2009

A lovely summer garden video

Good morning everyone.

I have been catching up with reading and answering comments today. I followed one commenter to her blog *Mother Nature's Garden* and she has a delightful, peaceful little video of her summer garden that she put up on you-tube. I am sharing it here today.

May today be the start of a lovely weekend for all.

Musings from FL zone 10

All I see teaches me
to trust the Creator
for all I do not see.
Author Unknown
(Taken from a little book called Serenity Is ...
Compiled by Gilbert Hay 1969)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Good Thursday morning to you

Good morning. Not much new happening here, just our normal August weather of heat and humidity. I've been doing very little outside as it's just too miserable to work out there. Have to get out early in the morning and even then the humidity is awful, and so are the mosquitoes. We sure are looking forward to cooler weather, but that probably won't happen until October or November.

Below is a picture of a sweet little rose bud of Phyllis Bide. I have this growing up over my arbor at the back northwest corner of my main garden. These roses are tiny, starting out this color and fading to white. She is a Polyantha, introduced in 1923. She is a great little climbing rose and I look forward to her blooms covering the arbor.

That's it from here. Hope your day is a good one.

Musings from FL zone 10

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Samba Pa Ti

A New Blog - Plum Cottage Creations

Well, I've started another blog, this makes three. I'm thinking of another one for cooking, but that's just a thought right now. :-)

Since I plan to be selling things in my Etsy shop, also called Plum Cottage Creations, they suggested having a blog to show your works, your work space, etc. so that people can get to know the creator. This is an adventure, that's for sure.

If any of you are interested on this aspect of my life, click on the picture below. Maybe it will inspire you to create also.

Hope you are all having a nice Sunday.

Musings from FL zone 10

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Galactical Display of God's Creation

The following info was sent to me as a powerpoint presentation recently and I thought I would share the info here for any who are interested.

Earth is catching up with Mars in an encounter that will culminate in the closest approach in recorded history. The next time Mars may come this close is in 2287.

The encounter will culminate on August 27th, when Mars comes to within 34,649,589 miles of earth and next to the moon will be the brightest object in the night sky.

At a modest 75-power modification Mars will look as large as the full moon to the naked eye.

Mars will be easy to spot. At the beginning of August it will rise in the east at 10 p.m. and reach its azimuth at about 3 a.m.

By the end of August when the two planets are the closest, Mars will rise at nightfall & reach its highest point in the sky at 12:30 a.m.

So, watch Mars grow progressively brighter and brighter throughout the month.


Hopefully the weather will co-operate. It seems like a lot of times we get thwarted from seeing events by clouds.

Musings from FL zone 10

Something to think about

There are a lot of things going on in the government these days that are very scary.

Below is an example.

How House Bill Runs Over Grandma

By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Friday, July 31, 2009 4:20 PM PT

Rationing: In the recesses of the House health care "reform" bill is a provision for end-of-life counseling for seniors. Don't worry, granny, they're from the government and they're here to help.

At a town hall meeting at AARP headquarters in Washington, D.C., President Obama was asked by a woman from North Carolina if it was true "that everyone that's Medicare age will be visited and told they have to decide how they wish to die."

At first, the president joked that not enough government workers existed to ask the elderly how they wanted to die. The idea, he said, was to encourage the use of living wills and that critics were misrepresenting the intent of the "end of life" counseling provided for in the House bill. He did not say, "No, they wouldn't be contacted."

This administration, pledging to cut medical costs and for which "cost-effectiveness" is a new mantra, knows that a quarter of Medicare spending is made in a patient's final year of life. Certainly the British were aware when they nationalized their medical system.

The controlling of medical costs in countries such as Britain through rationing, and the health consequences thereof are legendary. The stories of people dying on a waiting list or being denied altogether read like a horror movie script.

The U.K.'s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) basically figures out who deserves treatment by using a cost-utility analysis based on the "quality adjusted life year."

One year in perfect health gets you one point. Deductions are taken for blindness, for being in a wheelchair and so on.

The more points you have, the more your life is considered worth saving, and the likelier you are to get care.

People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn't have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.

The British are praised for spending half as much per capita on medical care. How they do it is another matter. The NICE people say that Britain cannot afford to spend $20,000 to extend a life by six months. So if care will cost $1 more, you get to curl up in a corner and die.

In March, NICE ruled against the use of two drugs, Lapatinib and Sutent, that prolong the life of those with certain forms of breast and stomach cancer.

The British have succeeded in putting a price tag on human life, as we are about to.

Can't happen here, you say? "One troubling provision of the House bill," writes Betsy McCaughey in the New York Post, "compels seniors to submit to a counseling session every five years (and more often if they become sick or go into a nursing home) about alternatives for end-of-life care (House bill, Pages 425-430)."

One of the Obama administration's top medical care advisers is Oxford- and Harvard-educated bioethicist Ezekiel Emanuel. Yes, he's the brother of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and has the ear of his brother and the president.

"Calls for changing physician training and culture are perennial and usually ignored," he wrote last June in the Journal of the American Medical Association. "However, the progression in end-of-life care mentality from 'do everything' to more palliative care shows that change in physician norms and practices is possible."

Emanuel sees a problem in the Hippocratic Oath doctors take to first do no harm, compelling them "as an imperative to do everything for the patient regardless of cost or effect on others," thereby avoiding the inevitable move toward "socially sustainable, cost-effective care."

During the June 24 ABC infomercial on health care broadcast from the White House, Obama confessed that if "it's my family member, if it's my wife, if it's my children, if it's my grandmother, I always want them to get the very best care."

Not, apparently, if it's your grandmother.


This reminds us of a movie we saw many, many years ago called Soylent Green.

To view the movie, click on Soylent Green

What is the world coming to?

Musings from FL zone 10