Monday, May 21, 2018

Fun Find for my garden!

I'm always amazed at what some people discard to send to the dump! Look at these wonderful concrete bench supports that were in a pile of rubbish and broken stones that I found last weekend. I asked a workman what they were going to be doing with them and he said they'd be hauled off for trash. If I wanted them, I could just back my car up and take whatever I liked!

Originally, I was going to put a board across them to make a bench but I think they look cute without it. They seem to create an "entrance" to the side-yard garden. I'm still trying to decide if I want to keep the metal trellis' on the outside of supports to grow a vine of some sort on.

I'd love to know what you think!

I also have to add this to my growing list of things I need a small SUV for! My son thought I should trade in my old one for a little car that got better gas mileage. My reply was, "but how could I carry home things I might find such as wheelbarrows or bark mulch?" His answer was, "well, how often do you carry home a wheelbarrow?"

Check out this cute little one :-)

I found it this spring in an old barn for a bargain price!! If you look closely in the 1st picture above, you can see it's now found a home in my garden planted with flowers and budding cucumbers and a pumpkin vine!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Peggy Martin roses - My Favorite!

This was "then" (April 2011)
When I look back at pictures of my yard when I 1st moved here, I'm amazed at the transformation of that empty space - one small little corner flower bed and nothing but grass to the fencelines.

That 1st year, I attended a Master Gardener's Fall plant sale, and purchased things I'd never even heard of to try in my yard. I knew if these gardeners thought the plants would do well in my area of Texas, then I'd give them a try. And they were right!

My tiny little Peggy Martin rose barely climbing up the trellis.
Spring 2012
One of my favorites was the Peggy Martin Rose (sometimes called the Katrina Rose). This one blooms almost 10 months of the year and now the stems get so heavy with blooms, I have to tie them up to the fence. I even use strips of leather to do so!

Spring 2018

The petals fall right off after they bloom so I've read that you don't need to dead-head them, but it sure looks better when they are "cleaned up".
I've read the same thing about "knock-out" roses.

Do other gardeners dead-head their roses?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Best item I bought to take to France - a WIG!!

Yes, a wig! I contemplated taking all the hair products I'd need -
hot rollers, hair straightener, hairspray, shampoo, conditioners, mousse, a converter for the correct electrical current, and a plug adapter! Oh my!! With only a small carry-on to pack, these products alone weighed at least 5 lbs of my allotted weight limit. Besides, they took up more room than an extra pair of slacks and a sweater, which I decided were more important!

So, I swallowed my pride, went to our local department store that sold wigs, and emerged a short-haired blonde. My hairstylist often colors my hair this shade but this wig might end up costing me less than 2 trips to the salon and last ALOT longer!

As it turned out - it was perfect! I always had a Great Hair Day!
Even at the top of the Eiffel Tower, with the wind blowing it wild and crazy, with just a little
combing with my fingers, I had it as good as new and the envy of my friend who had "lost her style"!

The best part was that every morning, after showering and putting on my makeup, it would take me an additional ... maybe FIVE minutes to "put my hair on" and off I could go, out the door to the local
patisserie for a croissant!

Why haven't I thought of this sooner! I call it my "Travel Hair" :-)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Traveling to France!

                 This post is NOT completely about gardening ... but Gardeners DO
            take time off to go and "smell the roses" in gardens around the world :
Tuileries Garden in Paris
I hesitated to plant a back-yard vegetable garden this spring because I knew I was going to take a vacation to France. It's always hard to impose on friends and family to come over and water while you are out of town. But I planted it anyway and will let nature "take its course" and hope for a bit of rain to water it while I'm gone.

Traveling to France!! I've been making plans for months and it's been as fun getting ready to go as the actual going will be.  It's similar to perusing garden catalogs in winter - dreaming of what to plant and where, as well as purchasing a few of the newest gardening gadgets to make it easier.
I haven't traveled abroad since I was in my 20's and I wasn't sure how to travel with just a carry-on.
Since I had trouble finding "mature women" travel ideas on the internet, I thought there
might be some others out there that are wondering the same things I did.
I'm going to be posting some ideas for the Seasoned, More Mature Woman traveler.

I'll cover what I found about such topics as:
*what kind of purse do I take?
*what do I wear on the plane?
*what kind of clothes do I pack for 2 weeks in France?
*can you really get 2 weeks of clothes in a carry-on bag?!
*what is the best way to pack a carry-on, with that many clothes, so they don't wrinkle?
*do I wear a wig or do I really pack 5 lbs. of hair products (rollers/straightener/mouse/etc)

1) What kind of purse do I take? Everyone said it's essential to take a crossbody bag so you
don't have to worry as much about pickpockets. But ohhhhh the choices! Big one? Little one?
I ended up purchasing a bag by Travelon because it had some extra-savvy safety features that
made me feel like I would be as protected as I could possibly be:
- slash proof strap, side and pocket material
- wide strap so it won't dig into my shoulder when I get it packed extra heavy with souvenirs!
- a side pocket to carry a water bottle
- locking zipper pulls
- I chose black so as not to be too conspicuous to those that might want to steal my stuff!
                               Here's a picture of the one I bought:
I got it on QVC and the price was the best I found on the internet.

I also bought on QVC a Travelon-RFID-Blocking-Zip-Around-Wallet.
In case you don't know about RFID protection, the thieves out there can actually take a scanning device that can copy the numbers off of your passport or credit cards without even having to steal the physical card! This purse and wallet have a protective layer inside that keeps those rays from penetrating and keep your valuables safe. I also really like the features in the wallet such as the zippered coin section, credit card slots, and zippered closure. The black one I got has a beautiful turquoise lining but they also come in other great colors. I love mine!

One worry and 2 items checked off my packing list!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Playing "I Spy" in the garden

There were tell-tale signs in the garden this morning..

    I learned last year when I saw my tomato plants, 
                   minus their leaves like this, 
                what I needed to be looking for ...

They are sneeky little things - 
well, actually not SO little, but 
you have to really look to see them!
They are good at camouflage.
I read that if you go out at night with a florescent light,
you can spot them more easily. According to Wikipedia,
 "Using an ultraviolet light source of 375 nm and viewed behind a blue-blocking 
filter (yellow or amber filter), a tomato hornworm fluoresces in bright green 
while a tomato leaf appears deep red/amber.

When you see the leaves like this, you need to go on the hunt for these caterpillars.
They are voracious eaters and they'll strip your stalks clean! 
Ask me how I know! (see post from last year!)
Now that the weather has gotten cooler, I'm hoping to get a new crop
of tomatoes before the 1st frost in Central Texas.

Yes, that's YOU I'm looking at!

In my opinion, 
the only good tomato hornworm 
(no, I didn't take a picture of the smushed ones!)

Friday, September 19, 2014

It's "Fall Ya'll"!!

It must be September! 
Every year about this time I walk out in the garden trying to remember where I planted them. These red lilies never fail to surprise me!

It must be my forgetful age ... I'm always surprised by Joy!

Growing up, my dad called these 
"Schoolhouse Lilies" 
because they always appear 
in September.

The bulb is extremely hardy, 
surviving even our hot, 
sometimes dry summers. 
But after the 1st rains begin 
in the fall, they come back 
year after year. 

These particular bulbs came from 
my Dad's yard that I dug up after he died. 
I feel a special bond with him every time they bloom. 

This pretty, white coral vine started blooming 
several weeks ago and gets showier by the day!
I planted it last fall and babied it through the winter, 
covering over the root ball with a bucket 
every time we got a hard freeze. 
It was slow to grow but I don't mind a bit. 
It's so nice to have something new blooming 
after the heat of summer has passed and 
other summer flowers are starting to fade.

These little cuties we always called "Rain Lilies"
The leaves have been growing in my vegetable garden all year - 
looking like a garlic plant.
But today when I went out to look, the flowers had appeared!
How did I miss seeing them before now?

And last, but certainly not least, 
is my dwarf Barbados Cherry!
It has started blooming Again! 
I looked it up and found out 
that it blooms, not only in the Spring, 
but again in the Fall!!

In the Central part of Texas, 
we may not have the oranges and golds 
of our northern neighbors, 
when we think of a "Fall Garden" 
but September brings a flush of new blooms
and they signal "Autumn is Coming" to Me!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

No shortage of bees here!

I'd heard there was a shortage of bees nowdays. 
Maybe due to pesticides? 
Maybe fire ants? 
(they blame everything on the fire ants!)
But I was out in my garden this morning 
doing a little clean-up, 
getting ready for planting my Fall garden. 
I decided I'd have to wait until the early evening 
due to all the bees buzzing around my garlic chives.

They came for the chives and stayed for the okra!

In fact, they were gathering nectar from all over the garden!
Do I need a bee box now?
Honey on toast - YUM!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Gardens Don't Take a Vacation!

What do you do with your vegetable garden when you leave to go on vacation?
I should have thought ahead and told my neighbors to come over and pick anything ripe. But honestly, I figured that it might not rain while I was gone and I didn't want to bother anyone with having to water for me. Since my irrigation system needs work, I also didn't want anyone coming over to find dead plants in my garden.

But, thank the LORD, it must have rained while I was gone ....
the okra didn't know it was supposed to take a vacation ! 

Unfortunately, I haven't figured out what to do 
with foot long okra!

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Veggies are Hiding!

Who Knew?

I had been so enamored by the beautiful display of the zinnias in this flower bed, I had forgotten all about the eggplant I planted behind them in the same bed this year.

I just wanted something to grow up my garage-sale-find garden obelisk and back in the spring, a friend had given me a starter plant of eggplant.
All along, in the shade of these beautiful leaves, an even more beautiful veggie has been growing!

Now, how does one cook an eggplant? 
Especially when you only have one of them?

Here's the recipe I received from a website called "Dr. Mike" @
I'll let you know how it turns out.

Eggplant Parmesan

  • 1 large eggplant, peeled
  • 4 egg whites
  • Fat-free Parmesan cheese
  • Garlic powder, to taste
  • 1 cup of low-carb marinara sauce
DIRECTIONS Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut into ¼ inch slices. In a shallow dish, beat egg whites and 4 tablespoons of water until foamy. Dip eggplant slices into egg whites, then into fat-free Parmesan cheese, pressing cheese into eggplant. Place eggplant on prepared baking sheet that has been sprayed with vegetable spray and sprinkle with garlic powder. Spray vegetable cooking spray over eggplant slices. Back 30 minutes at 400 degrees, turning eggplant over after 20 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through. Cover with 1 cup of low-carb marinara sauce. Bake for 20 minutes, or until eggplant is piping hot and sauce is bubbly. Makes 2 large servings.

What other vegetables have I forgotten to check on?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Happy 1st Day of Summer 2014

Summer has officially arrived
and my garden is in those lazy, hazy days of growing ....
Here's a look around the yard to see how everything is doing:

What a happy flower bed greets me when I pull in the driveway!
It's come a long way from the ugly hedge of bushes that were growing
there the 1st year after I moved in: Here's the "before" picture -
Hedges trimmed with a "Buzz Cut"

Overgrown hedges since I don't own a Buzz-Cutter
(removal of right bush had begun since there was  no growth underneath them to trim back)

Here's that flower bed today!
Checking out the veggie garden: the okra pods seem to grow overnight!
 I think I could actually stay out there and literally watch them get bigger.

I planted 6 different kinds of tomatoes this year and they
seem to be finally setting fruit nicely ...

The oregano obviously loves our Texas heat -
it's spreading out way past it's brick paver boundary.

This cute red wheelbarrow was sitting on the side of the road
begging to be taken home and loved once again ... and home it came with me!
The begonias are quite happy blooming here along with
a cypress vine that is coming back from last year -
Don't you just LOVE perennials?!

The ajuga I planted started as a small starter pot and look how
it has spread! I'm so happy to find a plant that can grown in the shade
of my oak tree overhead. What is that other plant blooming alongside
it? It has blue flowers so I decided to let it grow. Is it a weed?
I let "blooming weeds lie" :-)

And last but not least, my Mr. Sun face
 that I found at a garage sale this summer for $.25 
He's hiding the orange utility pole that's lurking
behind the wooden pallet. That's why He's Smiling!