Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Delightful Day - Filled With Plants

Despite the clouds and a brief downpour, I was able to have a soulful visit with Tony Avent, plant collector and nature benefactor extraordinaire. Tony is also the owner of Plant Delights Nursery. I am taking home inspiration and a bountiful harvest from the six acres of themed gardens, test beds, greenhouses, moss-filled shaded pathways filled with 17,000 one of a kind plants. Plants you won't find anywhere else on the planet for sale.

The garden center and Juniper Level Botanic Garden with its' picturesque pathways is outside of downtown Raleigh, NC. it is only open to the public two weekends a year so check out the times first to make sure you can tour. Groups are welcome. While you're making arrangements, go online and order the free catalog. Each catalog with plant details and Tony's experience and insight becomes a piece of well-thought out artwork and garden enthusiast collectible - much like Avent's plants. Written by Tony and his staff, the catalog is intelligent, humor-provoking, and as deep South, and politically uncorrect, as you can get these days. When you're digging in dirt, you might as well dig deep.

I'm going to float all the way back home filled with hope and conservatively, I'll be getting a little dirty myself.

Plant Delights Nursery - May 2009

Why My Gingers Aren't Doing Well...

That's Mactavish laying across my ginger pot that was full of blooming, fragrant white hedychiums. He was placing his little white belly on the cool, rain-soaked soil. And I couldn't figure out why my gingers were not coming up this year.
The other black Scottish terrier is Nipper, the good dog.
Solution: Dog Stew!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Water Gardening - Daytona Beach Style

UPDATE: Setting historic record (5/17 - 5/23)

Daytona Beach 23+ inches
Ormond Beach 30+ inches
New Smyrna Beach 20+ inches
Orlando 12 + inches (my home)

Daytona International Speedway gives flash a different meaning when it comes to flooding. Click here for more photographs of the 25" + of rain dropped in the last ten days on the most famous beach in the world.

Photo credit: Nancy501s

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Hagar the Horrible and My Husband the Wonderful

God bless husbands and/or wives of compulsive gardeners. We couldn't live without them!

Florida Yard - North Carolina View

We received over an inch of rain this morning and isn't eleven o'clock yet. We could get another inch to two inches today and the showers aren't expected to stop till after Memorial Day. I am pleased that my anti-tropical yearnings to have a North Carolina garden are coming along nicely. When you're in the Smokies during a summer rain storm, you can hear the rain ping off the branches between layers of trees. Jutting up and down the mountainsides and across the balds down to the valleys, the majestic trees allow the raindrops to land and slide down. The panoramic view of seeing dimensions through the canopies of Fraser firs, alders, maples, pines,and hickories is not a scenic visual you expect in Florida's flat landscapes. But with a little thought and patience can be achieved, or at least imagined.

These rainlilies are a week old and still popping up under my shrubs and around my bird bath. The moss is starting to become a striking mound and without the assistance of over-watering.

The mist of the sometimes gentle rain, then a torrent evokes memories of North Carolina childhood summer vacations waiting on the porch for the rain to stop so that we could go hiking in the woods. I get goosebumps now remembering the narrow clay footpaths on the steep slopes, trying to keep my balance after a rain. You could look ahead of your path for hundreds of feet and see into the forest.

I am enjoying every moment of this low pressure system moving across our country today. It's bringing much needed rain to the Southeast. Despite the Memorial Weekend holiday picnics that will be cancelled, I know that this week of thunderstorms and rainshowers will have firemen breathing a sigh of relief.

It's taken almost four years to achieve the layered look in my North Carolina backyard. It's only going to grow more with this rain. What will it look like by the end of this summer?

Gardening With Soul

My first garden writing, "Gardening with Soul" began in 1997. It started out simply:

"I am a gardener. You can ask my family, my neighbors, my friends and fellow employees, my constant companion, Sheila, a wheaten Scottie, and even my three cats, Pitter, Dribbles, and Kitten, a 17-lb Siamese. They will all tell you, "Oh, yes, Teresa is a gardener". Well, the cats will just purr.

I garden from within. My inner feelings tell me what and where to plant. My gardens show what a complicated human being I am. They are always in transition, constantly changing, and I'm spoiled. In a good way, that is. Looking for hours through gardening magazines or watching HGTV, I see gardens that set my passions afire.

Unfortunately, I have a hard time hearing the word "no" or "you can't grow that here." That is why I have a variety of garden beds. You can meander through the flowers and shrubs, walking on stone pathways and alleés that keep the gardens separated. I have some with color themes. Others have unique qualities like fragrances, specific flower types, and sun requirements like a shade garden. There are redbud trees, roses, Italian and Arizona cypresses, wisteria blooming on a arbor, bird sanctuaries, rock walls, two goldfish ponds and a gazing ball circle for the fairies to romp in during a full moon. There are esplanades to various gardens, such as a cottage garden, a rose garden, and a rickety wooden gate leading to a secret imaginary "Crape Myrtle Lane."

Read all of Gardening With Soul here.

Friday, May 22, 2009

World's Oldest Irrigation Found In Arizona

It seems that Arizona's water issues isn't a modern calamity. Recently unearthed in the Grand Canyon State is irrigation technology that is several milleniums old. Archaelogists have dated the trenches almost 600 years earlier than the primitive watering systems found in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt.

"These are not the earliest canals known in Southern Arizona, but they are the most extensive and sophisticated engineering [from the period] that we have identified to date," said archaeologist James Vint of Desert Archaeology Inc. in

The site, called Las Capas or "The Layers," sits at the confluence of the Cañada del Oro, Rillito Creek and Santa Cruz River. The name derives from the repeated layers of silt that buried the site until nothing was visible from the surface.


They identified two main canals bringing water from the Santa Cruz River and feeding it into eight distribution canals, all now buried 3 to 7 feet below the surface. The system could have irrigated from 60 to 100 acres, he estimated. The primary crops were maize, which was introduced into the area before 2100 B.C., and a weed known as amaranth, which can be eaten raw or cooked.

Ancient irrigation systems have been well documented. Lack of water during droughts and in global desert areas have been cited as causes of civilization decline. In the United States, Arizona has archaelogical tourist sites that showcase irrigation methods by native American Indian tribes, such as the Montezuma Castle National Monument outside of Phoenix.

Ancient irrigation ditch near Montezuma Well. [photograph National Park Service]

I wonder if the early aqueducts could be certified under the Florida Water Star Bronze Age program?

In our modern times, Arizona and every state in our union needs more water supply. Having better irrigation systems will help us save more potable water. Correctly installing and maintaining an efficient irrigation system will be encouraged this July with the first Smart Irrigation Month. A new resolution sponsored by Reps. John Linder (R-Ga.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.) and Bart Stupak (D-Mich)has been introduced into the House. H. Con. Resolution 118 promotes the irrigation industry's goal to educate homeowners about the finite potable water supply and the importance of using it "wisely, responsibly and efficiently." Let's hope it streams through the committee process fluidly because every month should be Smart Irrigation Month.

The Best Thing One Can Do When It's Raining Is To Let It Rain.

I used Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's quote as the title because it's 'as right as rain.'

Two weeks ago, I prayed for rain. Be careful what you wish for. On Sunday, the rain began and isn't supposed to stop for another few more days. Dropping over eighteen inches of rain in surrounding counties and nearly ten inches at my house, I took the rain as a gentle reminder to start blogging again on earth-shattering gardening.

During my travels and with work, I find interesting horticulture articles, the latest environmental news, and serendipitious gardening tidbits. I love photographing gardens and just strolling through them in my mind's eye. So while I'm not able to go out and dig in my backyard, this week I can still rejuvenate my soul by talking about the earth and gardening. Hopefully you'll write me about your garden. I know it's beautiful. Even in the rain.