10/21/2008

H.O. SMITH BOTANIC GARDENS

I believe that quite a while ago, I mentioned in a blog entry about the botanical gardens being built at Penn State University. There's not a lot to see yet -- just dirt, construction equipment -- but there are some foundations being placed. They are visible in this shot from the webcam across Park Avenue.



According to the site http://www.arboretum.psu.edu/index.html, this is what is happening now:

• October, 2008 – Work will begin on stone and stucco for the garden walls, masonry and steel for the pavilion’s portico and two wings, and plumbing for the fountain.

• November, 2008 –The rose arbor, a major structure, will be built and the fountain will be completed. Work will commence on the irrigation system and on the roof of overlook facilities.


Here's an interesting feature about a historical "prairie" in Pennsylvania:
http://www.arboretum.psu.edu/research/prairiepatch.html

10/20/2008

"STAY-CATION"

This is one of my favorite places to vacation. Atlantic water is warm in September and October because the sun heats it all summer. I won't be going there this year, but it's nice to think about.


One of my sisters and her husband spent a week in Cancun. So, thanks for the pictures, Nancy!








Hibiscus -- a beautiful flower.







Another sister and her hubby spent roughly a week motorcycling from central Nebraska into the mountains of northern Arkansas with a bunch of fellow bikers. (I have no pictures.)


I haven't been to the beach or anywhere in a while for vacation. This year is no different. I'll have to enjoy my garden, back porch, fall foliage and maybe a little hiking or a drive. So, I may have more pictures in a few weeks. (If I'm not just recovering from dental work, that is. Oh joy.) Leaves are changing color. There are a lot of reds and striking orange trees.

Sometimes relaxing at home with the pets, taking a few naps, reading, and spending time with friends and family when not rushed is a good vacation.

10/15/2008

A FEW PESTS AND WELCOMED GUESTS


Something sees your garden from this point of view. A well-tended and productive garden is an invitation to bugs.


True to their name, cabbage moths seek out cabbage; they like other plants in the same family such as broccoli. The moths lay eggs on the underside of the leaves. When the eggs turn to larva (worms), they eat holes in the leaves. They have smoky white wings with a black dot (or multiple dots) that some think looks like an eye.

On the underside of potato plant leaves, orange eggs indicate potato beetle infestation. Adults are large enough to hand pick and crush as are the egg bunches.


Store onions properly and grow them in loose, well-drained soil in the hopes of avoiding this as much as possible: Maggots aren't repulsed by onion odor.


When it comes to these, you usually (if not always) want to leave them "bee". Many are pollinators, besides being attractive photo subjects. They're not always obvious. When I took this portulaca photo, I didn't realize a tiny bee had landed in the flower on the left.

Even wasps, despite their reputation for being nasty, can be good. Some prey on garden pests.

If you see either of these "guys", don't worry.


Dragonflies are nice to have around.



This little fellow wheeks when I bring greens from my garden. He's very nice to have around!!

10/06/2008

PLEASANT SURPRISES

My container plants surprised me this year.

In late September, the morning glories slowed and moonflowers appeared. I did not think the seeds I planted would germinate. There's no dialog on the second video, but you might want to turn the volume down because of the wind noise.


The first and third videos have a little dialog. Taken last week, the day was quite windy, so that overpowers my voice a little.

video


video


Keep in mind that the wind was blowing (you'll hear it). I was the camera person, narrator, and demonstrator. I'm not a professional broadcaster. No special tools to reduce wind noise or stop the plants from trembling in the gusts. If you don't like the sound, just mute it.

One of my medium-size (8-10 inches in diameter) Tera cotta pots contained pennyroyal last year. I attempted to nurse the herb indoors through winter and almost made it. By mid-February it had died down and apparently returned twice with a good soaking. In March, I thought it revived once more until I realized the leaves were not the right shape. I allowed it to grow.

'Even if it's a weed,' I thought, 'It may be a pretty flower.' My curiosity played a roll, too. In previous seasons, I've had corn seedlings in containers, courtesy of the birds who visit and sometimes nest on my back porch.

Shortly afterward, I moved it outside. In the sun, the seedlings grew several inches quickly and were easily recognizable as tomato plants. They seemed to be happy there, and I don't mind this kind of freebie. So, I watered them, then transplanted some to a larger pot to grow. This video shows them as of last week. video




Click on this to see more videos from my garden. It takes much less time to upload them there than on here.

If you would like to see still photos, click this.