welcome to kathy's garden!

What's New In My Garden
by Kathy Gardener



Last fall, I planted 16 bulbs... 12 tulips, 4 hyacinths and 4 Dutch iris. The tulip leaves came up fast and furiously last month, and each produced mulitple flowers - most had 4 flowers each. The bulbs were corally in color, some striped with a light salmon too. The hyacinths were the biggest disappointment. I was expecting long sheaths of flowers and they seem to be real duds. Only a few flowers on each stalk. Maybe I could have done something to get more flowers... I will have to research them. The Dutch iris were beautiful with 2 purple, one a brilliant yellow and one blue.

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Hello Spring.

by Kathy Gardener



The last whisper of Winter is due here on Wednesday April 7, when low temps are supposed to be around 30.  I hope it doesn't affect any of the budding trees and plants.  That really isn't all that cold, so I doubt it will cause any trouble.  I am glad to see Winter go.  I like all seasons, and I think God made them all to last just the right amount of time.  By the time each season ends, I am loving the signs of the new one ahead.  It awakens something in me, and Spring awakens my desire to get outside and put my hands down in the soil, to pull out the unwanted plants and seed in the new ones.

I like living in South Carolina because we have the seasons and yet none are extreme.  Last night we went out to our lakehouse and walked around, admiring the two dogwoods we let come up naturally.  One is in a bed of azaleas and  is just loaded with beautiful white blossoms, the other is up near the house.  The second one is getting its first blooms.  The tree's been there for quite a few years but had been shaded by some big pines we had removed last year.  Now it's getting enough sun and it is looking quite giddy to be doing its thing.
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First Freeze in Columbia SC.
by Kathy Gardener



In central South Carolina, we typically don't see our first hard freeze until January.  But an Arctic blast descended upon us this week and on Wednesday morning, November 19, our temperature dropped to 22 degrees.  This tied the all time record set in 1891.

I am sad to see so many plants gone dark, brown, drooping, sagging and sorry.  I left my zinnias stand so the finches could feed on the seeds and they look pitiful today.  As do the pentas and the flower box of begonias and red salvias.  But two weekends ago, I planted a flat of pansies around the patio and in a new bed out in the yard.  Their pretty brightly colored "faces" are happily smiling at me despite the cold.  I also put in some fancy kales and cabbages and snapdragons.  The color will help us get through the winter.
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My Giant Zinnias.
by Kathy Gardener



I bought a package of giant zinnia seeds at Lowe's (Lowe's brand) this June and sprinkled them in an inch or two of dirt along one side of our patio.  They sprouted right away and, according to the package, they were to grow to 2-3' in height. 

They are now up to 5' tall with beautiful big blooms.  The package reads "Zinnia Giant Cactus Flowered, Mixed Colors" and cost $1.25.  I must have 50 plants and they have been the highlight of my first summer garden.  The soil around my patio has alot of sand in it.  Maybe that helped.  I put MiracleGro on them twice.

I didn't know that hummingbirds would be attracted to zinnias, but they were and they loved them.  The little yellow "mini-flowers" (?) inside the big flowers must have had good nectar.

I plan on putting more of these in next season.
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Pest Invasion While Away on Vacation.
by Kathy Gardener



My husband and I just completed what we're calling Mountain Tour 08, a week-long sightseeing adventure through the mountains of Virginia, West Virginia, and Tennessee.  It was refreshing to get away, and we loved seeing all the beautiful mountain scenery and cooler temperatures.  The rhododendron were at peak in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and it was quite a sight to behold.  We also spotted two wild turkey families in Cades Cove, and an adult bear sitting on a limb overlooking the roadway through Cades Cove.  So we had fun.

I got back to my gardening here in Irmo South Carolina on Friday.  I was excited to see that the zinnias from seed were about to start blooming, and that a group of petunias had finally got their second round of blooms and were full and gorgeous.  The lobelia have finally opened.  These were second-year plants and don't seem to have gotten as tall as last year. But much to my dismay, a large potted zinnias I had bought and put in a few days before we left on the trip was in bad shape.  The leaves are totally eaten up by some unknown pest.  The flowers are okay but I don't think these plants will do well with no or little leaves. 
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A Welcome Summer Rain.
by Kathy Gardener



The first day of Summer.  Finally, finally we got a big storm.  It seemed to be brewing all afternoon.  I got home from work and decided to cut the grass, since they were calling for a chance of rain both Saturday and Sunday.  I live on a steep hill and cut with an electric mower and it expends alot of energy cutting the grass.  I usually wait for a weekend morning when I am not worn out from my day job.  But it was very nice cutting the grass last night.  The wind from the impending storm was blowing hard and felt cool on my skin as I puffed and panted and struggled with the mower.  Don't buy an electric mower until you think out how you will deal with a big electrical cord out in front of you most of the time.  It adds alot of work to the cutting having to stop and move the cord. 

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Attracting Hummingbirds.
by Kathy Gardener



For the past two years I have successfully attracted hummingbirds with potted pentas.  This year, my pentas are hardy but are not getting much attention from the hummingbirds.  I watch them visit a couple blossoms but then fly away.  The pentas I have this year actually seem bigger and with more flowers than the plants I have had in the past.  I am wondering if there is something different about these and what I might do to get them to produce more nectar.

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