June 16, 2011


 This past weekend Cynthia and I and our good friends Jack and Kendra loaded up the Mini Cooper's and headed to Blountsville, Al to participate in the 8th Annual Bloom-N-Pie Festival held at Harold and Delois Dunn's daylily farm. In addition to the 800+ varieties of daylilies they raise, they also are famous for their homemade fried pies. They also have several varieties of hydrangeas for sale, most notably Annabelle, Limelight, and the fabulous "Snowflake" made world famous by Eddie Aldridge from Hoover, Al. I've been trying to find one reasonably priced so I was very excited when I found out they had some for sale. 

It was a beautiful day without a cloud in the sky and hot as "Hades" with temps in the mid 90's with the "real feel" temps being closer to 100. Fortunately, the Dunn's provided several tents as well as shade trees on the property to offer some escape from the sun. In addition,  homemade ice cream and drinks were available as well as free ice water. 

The daylilies were in full bloom and spectacular. I had told myself that I would not buy any daylilies for the following reasons: 1. I did not have a place to plant one,  2. I really wanted a Snowflake hydrangea 3. We took the Mini Cooper to insure that I did not buy very much. 4. Cynthia would kill me if I did.

To make purchasing easy the Dunn's provided a handout of all the varieties available with a price list. You could walk through the planted fields and look at all the different varieties in bloom and mark your handout and then go to the potted plants which were arranged in alphabetical order. There was a special section of potted daylilies which were the "premo" varieties which commanded a higher price. Utility wagons were provided to load your treasures and make your way to the check out tent. 

 After looking at all the daylilies I focused my attention on my true desire, the Snowflake hydrangea. Sure enough, they were there and at a price I could not refuse. I also bought a Annabelle hydrangea as a house warming present for my nephew and his wife. She had recently seen one in my garden and stated that she wanted one for the yard at the new house. 
                             "The object of my desire"

We could not leave of course without purchasing a few fried pies for the trip back home.

I know I said I was not going to buy any daylilies but I found one that I just had to have. It is called Highland Lord and does well in both fun sun and partial shade.  

We all had a great time and came away with some great plants. Now I just have to find a place to put them.

* Dunn's Daylily garden is a registered display garden. They are open daily June 13th through June 30th. The address is: 2395 Skyball Road, Hayden, Al.

June 7, 2011

"Don't you just love a bargain"

Over the weekend I made my weekly soujourn to my neighborhood Lowe's to pick up some gardening soil for my SWC's (self-watering containers) and just happened to walk by the plant clearance racks located at the far end of the plant center,  almost isolated from the rest of the plants as if they might contamination the other plants around them. I normally do not waste my time looking at them as most are literally on their "last legs" and only a miracle would resurrect them from certain death. However,  on this day I spied several plants that made me stop and examine more closely.  What I found were several plants that still looked good and healthy with prices reduced so drastically that even a person who has no place to plant them could not resist taking them home. So..... I did!

I ended up buying a Oleander for $3, two hellebores for $2 each, a 3 gallon and 1 gallon "Endless Summer" hydrangea for $4 for $1, a ponytail palm for $4, a 3 gallon peony for $4, and a Hibiscus for $6, and a Weigela "Wine and Roses" for $4.  As you can see, they are not the typical plants you normally find in the clearance rack. The retail value of the plants was $130, I paid $30. Anyway, I felt like Christmas had come early. "I love a good bargain".

The Weigela was not doing very well in the pot so I went ahead and planted it to reduce the stress and get it out of it's root bound pot. It perked right up!

Needless to say I will be checking back frequently for more "bargains" even though I have been threatened by my wife not to buy anymore plants.

Garden Update:

Everything is doing great with both the raised bed and the SWC's.  I picked the first pods of okra over the weekend and more are on the way. I don't expect the four okra plants to produce that much but they were the only plants available at the time and I bought them more to see if we liked the red okra and if so, I would save seed for next year and could plant a bigger crop. We did fry up what I harvested along with some regular okra we purchased at the store and it was very good.

The squash are in bloom and and should start producing soon.

                         The "rattlesnake" pole beans have tripled in size in the past two weeks.

The weekend project was to clear an area to plant all the heirloom tomato seedlings I've had in pots on the driveway.  Last year a friend of mine raised his tomatoes on  feedlot panels which come in 16 ft. lengths and varying heights. I choose the hog panel which comes in a 34" height with spacing large enough to pick the fruit.  I found them at "Tractor Supply" which is  now a "new" favorite store.  I used T posts to support the wire and zip ties to secure the panels to the posts. Next, I ran a soaker hose, planted the tomatoes , and put down mulch to retain moisture and impede weeds.

The SWC's are doing great.

A while back we bought a galvanized tub at an auction and decided it would make a nice planter.

Have a great week and check out the clearance racks!