Bloomin’ Update 52: Cactus Up Close & Personal


As a general garden rule, I do not like — and so steer away from — plants that can hurt me.  Roses are about as close as I get to this thorny issue, which has less to do with the plant and more to do with me.  I know me.  I know that I can be careless and klutzy — and that combination, along with some blood thinners, means I can easily become a human pin cushion.

A few years ago, Joe and I asked a neighbor if he would like our cactus.  It was tall, only one stalk, and never really did anything.  It was just there, slightly askew — a leaning tower of needles, so to speak.

The neighbor gladly accepted the offer, digging up the cactus and replanting it along the property line between him and us — far enough and close enough at the same time.   Since then, that single stalk has expanded to about seven towering stems — and it’s now in bloom, giving a whole new definition to vertical gardening.

Look quickly, though, the flowers — which bees love — only last a day.

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Bloomin’ Update 51: Gettin’ Schooled In A Nursery

I'm not sure of the name of this plant, but I was charmed by the play of sunlight igniting the leaf's underside.

I’m not sure of the name of this plant, but I was charmed by the play of sunlight igniting the leaf’s underside.

Much of my garden time in South Florida is not actually spending time in the garden at all. So far, it’s been about meeting other gardeners, visiting nurseries, reading books, taking notes, and asking questions. I’m a stranger in a strange land here, a zone six-ish gardener in a zone 10 world.

When I learned the local garden club had organized a Saturday field trip to a local nursery, I jumped at the chance to do all of the above — although, I do have to figure out a way to take notes while balancing a camera.

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Bloomin’ Update 49: Color My World Brown

Lacecap Hydrangea.

Lacecap Hydrangea.

“You spend an awful lot of time agonizing over leaves,” Joe, my partner, said to me the other day as we drove around the neighborhood.  His statement was in response to my noticing that some homeowners had bagged their leaves in plastic bags while others had bagged them in recyclable brown paper bags, which the township now requires.

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Bloomin’ Update 48: The Falling Leaves . . .

Autumn Leaves

In the last post, I left the garden for a music-themed writing prompt from WordPress.  This week, it’s back outside — or rather, it’s back to the photos that I originally had taken if I hadn’t come across that writing prompt.  And it’s a good thing I snapped these photos when I did — because a week of wind later, where once there were leaf-laden trees, there now stands bare branches.

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Bloomin’ Update 47: Last Call

Every garden should have hydrangeas for no-matter-the-season interest.

Every garden should have hydrangeas for no-matter-the-season interest.

I admit I have a hard time letting go of summer.

Even with leaves changing and falling and blooms fading and browning, I’m still reluctant to clean the beds and put them to rest.  Even the weather is having a difficult time falling into a seasonal rhythm.  There are days that are windy and evenings that are slightly frosty, and then there are the times when it feels mild and balmy.

So, with camera in hand, it’s last call in the garden, one last chance for flowers to bask in the spotlight before a hard frost takes them away.

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Bloomin’ Update 46: Mum’s The Word


Mum is actually just one of the words that comes to mind this weekend.  The other word is menopause.

The calendar says October, but the tenth month seems to be experiencing an August-worthy hot flash.  The heat and humidity combined with the fall colors, as well as a rain deficit here, feels a little odd — but it hasn’t stopped the mums from doing their thing.

Nor did it stop this gardener from taking a walk with his camera.

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Bloomin’ Update 45: Garden In The Rain



I love a rainy day, no matter the season.  It’s the perfect excuse to curl up on the couch, nap a little or a lot and watch a parade of old movies.  It’s also a chance to take a break from gardening chores — but not completely.

A rainy day, as it is as I’m writing this post, is the perfect time to get in the garden — to not only weed (easier to pull out) but to experience the garden in a different light.  The whole world seems more organic — just water and earth and plants.  I guess I believe for every drop of rain that falls, a flower grows.

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