Sunday, December 31, 2006

Blooming December

I seem to get more enamored with amaryllis every year. This one opened its first flowers the day after Christmas and is still going strong. It is a 'President Johnson' hybrid.

I bring my hibiscuses inside every year with varying degrees of success. They usually get spider mites something awful and then it takes them nearly all spring to recover. Well, not so with this beauty. This is 'Hurricane Lily,' and she really seems to like it in the sunroom (next to the cool mist humidifier, natch).

Happy New Year, everyone!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Bow to the Master

The Master Gardener, that is! Hehheh...not trying to get all imperial on y'all. But I am now officially a Master Gardener for Collin County. And it feels great.

Graduation last night was wonderful. We were treated to a great meal, an interesting speaker and several nice freebies. The best part was seeing my fellow classmates again, beaming from ear to ear, knowing that a year of hard work had finally paid off. There was a lot of pride in the room.

Speaking of guest speakers and freebies, Brice Creelman of local nursery Shades of Green talked about trees and trends, mostly, but also brought some plants for all of the graduates. And you can guess what happens when you offer free plants to a room full of Master Gardeners: mayhem ensues!

We each received a Zephranthes Labuffarosa (Blogger Matt Mattus has a gorgeous picture of one on his blog here) and an apparently very rare pink Turk's Cap (Malvaviscus) called 'Pam's Pink'.

We each also got a beautiful potted poinsettia and a cute Christmas tree ornament too, along with our requisite graduation certificate.

To top it all off, I was asked to take over the Webmaster duties at the CCMG website, and I quickly agreed. There is so much that needs done there, but it could be a phenomenal site.

What a great night. And what a great year 2007 is going to be!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

December...the New January

I'm not sure what Al Gore would think of my theory, but it seems to me that over the past couple of years, the weather patterns have bumped up a whole month here in North Texas.

When I moved here in 1989, January and February used to be the really crappy months. December was always pretty decent. Well, not anymore. Nowadays, November remains mild, and as soon as December hits, the bad weather comes with it. And the springs are hotter now too. The past few Junes have been almost unbearably July usually is.

So yeah, it got down to 23° the other night. Nothing in my community garden veggie plot is flat-out dead, but there was significant leaf scorching. I shudder to think what would have happened if hubby and I hadn't covered the whole thing with frost cloth before the storm came.

The Purple Orach took a beating, as you can see here:

The Savoy Cabbage still looks glorious, though!

The Front Yard Garden Project stood up admirably to the ice and cold temperatures. It was my plan, of course, to only put in stuff that could take the rough Texas weather -- on both extremes -- and I'm happy everything has lived up to expectations so far.

I'm trying not to let the onset of winter depress me too much. The cold weather does bring unique pleasures. For instance, I could sit at the kitchen table for hours and watch the half dozen or so mostly female slate-colored juncos that congregate right outside the window. It is like having a bunch of miniature gray chickens in the yard, with all the pecking and soil-scratching. Adorable. They're an ornery bunch, though, and twitter at me angrily when I go outside for the mail and temporarily break up their little hen party.

Lastly, this week sees me finally, officially becoming a Master Gardener. Our graduation banquet is Thursday. Weeee!