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So, we had our first torrential downpour a week after we planted the roses. We’ve always had an issue with drainage. The soil here in Florida is either sand or clay. There is no in between. What we did for the roses was dig a double wide/double deep hole, remove the sandy clay (I know, oxymoron, right?!) and replace it with a layer of gravel (for drainage) and an equal mixture of potting soil, vermiculite, and peat moss.
Oh the rain!
Oh the rain! See where it falls off the roof?

a pool for the Lantanas

a pool for the Lantanas

The front lines the porch and is situated right under the roof overhang, which is normally fine. Until it does its heavy rain. Luckily, it’s not very often. So, the roses should be fine. The problem we have, though, is erosion. We are trying everything to keep the soil in place. When we first moved in, we watched as the mulch floated away and washed down the storm drain–hence the reason why I am reluctant to buy more mulch and I want stone in its place! But that’s another project and more back-breaking work altogether.

The veggie garden, worst side of the house, ZERO drainage

The veggie garden, worst side of the house, ZERO drainage

Back patio poor drainage

Back patio poor drainage

The front porch area is not as bad as the back patio area. Because the front is on a hill, it drains to the sidewalk. However, the poor Lantanas were swimming. 🙂 The erosion on the two roses at the stairs to the front porch will have to be taken care of. We plan on getting some concrete edging just to keep the soil from running away. Hope that will help (and look nice). The side of the house with the small veggie garden is our worst enemy. Even in the drought of summer that side remains squishy. We have moss growing over there. At least most of them are in raised beds, and the cabbage has a substantial amount of gravel in the hole we buried it in. We know we have good drainage in the back, because it dried up rather quickly. It is the erosion we are most concerned about. None of the houses around here come with gutters. We will have to look into that option later. But I’d really like to get some diverters at the very least. But diverting the water…where? No matter where we divert it to, it will cause erosion.

Front porch erosion. After the storm.

Front porch erosion. After the storm.

Front porch erosion. After the storm.

Front porch erosion. After the storm.

Back Patio, after the storm. Water is nearly gone, proves good drainage.

Back Patio, after the storm. Water is gone, proves good drainage.

At least they survived the rain storm. And we got a double rainbow at the end! To thank my husband for all his efforts, I bought him a new BBQ grill. We’ve been without it for years now. With the new house, new neighborhood, and everyone else having a BBQ grill, we’ve been wanting one since we moved here. Finally, we got one. And had hamburgers for dinner that night. 🙂

After the storm! Double Rainbow Happiness!

After the storm! Double Rainbow Happiness!

Hubs' present for helping!

Hubs' present for helping!

LadyJai

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Unboxing the Roses – Gardening Part 4

Posted April 2, 2012 By LadyJai

My roses finally arrived from Jackson & Perkins last Monday. All 18 of them. So, the process to plant them begins.

Carefree Wonder Roses from J&P Box

The Box--Carefree Wonder Roses from J&P

Inside the Box

How it was packaged

These are the Carefree Wonders from this picture. Eventually, hopefully, they will look like the 2nd picture.

Close up of roses still in the box
Close up of roses still in the box. Yes, they are bare root.

Carefree Wonder by J&P

Carefree Wonder by J&P

After we disentangled the roots and canes, we had to soak them overnight in water. We were able to get 2-3 in each bucket.

Roses soaking in the Homer Buckets

Roses soaking in the Homer Buckets

My hubs wasn’t doing so well on Tuesday night. Not sure if most of you know, but he is a disabled veteran. He suffers chronic neck pain from several accidents while in the Army. He also gets 3 to 4 migraines a week. When he’s out, he is out! So, Tuesday, I planted 6 roses by myself (with a little help from my son, who’s easily distracted–but what 9-year-old isn’t?). Anyway, I planted 6 roses around the back patio. Here’s the before, during and after photos. 🙂

Back patio--Before

Back patio--Before

Back patio--After (without roses)

Back patio--After (without roses)

Back Patio Area with Newly Planted Roses

Back Patio Area with Newly Planted Roses

Hubs still wasn’t doing well on Wednesday either. But he powered through helping me with the remaining 12. They HAD to get planted within a few days of arrival. It couldn’t be helped. I commend him! I just feel so bad that because of all this manual labor, he’s suffering because of it. But he tells me not to worry. (Can’t help it!) He loves doing things with me and the boy! 😀 I love him.

Oh, and my hubs calls each one of my roses, “She/her”!

So, the front got the remainder of the roses. We mixed up new soil with vermiculite and peat moss, added some water crystals and fertilizer and added it to the holes we dug.  And here’s where they all went. Notice they are much smaller than what’s left of the existing bushes. 🙂 Hopefully, they will establish and fill in nicely. Eventually, those bushes will be gone too. I just don’t know what I will be putting in their place just yet.

Front Left Porch With Newly Planted Roses

Front Left Porch With Newly Planted Roses

Right Front Porch with Newly Planted Roses

Right Front Porch with Newly Planted Roses -- There's two behind the pillar as well.

So, this is pretty much it with the process. I’ll probably post more pictures when they are established and blooming! I’ve got a couple I am really worried about because when they came to me their roots were cut really short. But luckily, Jackson and Perkins has a 1 year warranty on their plants!

We still have a lot of old dirt, decomposing mulch and leaves to remove from the bed, and put down some mulch. We wanted to replace the mulch with stone, but OH.EM.GEE! That will be next year’s project. We need 4 cubic yards to do that (about $600). And that’s about two or three TONS! I may just save up for someone to do it for us! Probably not, though, because that’s about $2000!

Hope you enjoy watching us break our backs! We are definitely NOT 20 anymore! 😀 But hopefully, this will all be worth it in the end!

LadyJai

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Gardening Part 3

Posted March 28, 2012 By LadyJai

We spent another (extended) weekend working in the yard. I received confirmation my roses had been shipped on 3/22/2012 so we had to step it all up a notch. It was hard, back-breaking work for these old bodies! Why can’t our bodies still be as young as our minds? 😛 Anyway, this past weekend, we dug up and removed the last of those nasty bushes around the porch and back by the patio (where the roses were going). We also had to remove a lot of old, rotting mulch.  Here’s a before and after picture for our back patio where the roses are going:

Back patio--Before

Back patio--Before

Back patio--After (without roses)

Back patio--After (without roses)

And look what we found…

Yup, that's a Black Widow with her egg sacks

Yup, that's a Black Widow with her egg sacks

Black Widow - She's a beauty, isn't she?!

Black Widow - She's a beauty, isn't she?!

And she wasn’t the only one we found. We have been finding them all around the edge of out house. We’ve been killing them with a passion as well, since hubs has already been bit by one and I’ve come very close many, many times. We even found a nest in our car!!! talk about a FREAK OUT!!! We planted a small herb garden in a cinder block stacked container. And, put our son’s cabbage in the ground next to it.

Herb garden + 1 vegetable

Herb cinder block container garden with cabbage on the side.

We also planted another Jasmine (next to the one we planted last year) in hopes to hide the Heat Pump from the roadway.

Jasmine to hide the heat pump

Jasmine to hide the heat pump

And we still had 10 more creeping Lantanas we needed to plant (which got done Sunday night, by the way!) yay!

Creeping Lantanas -- Before

Creeping Lantanas -- Before

Creeping Lantanas -- After

Creeping Lantanas -- After

And we are so utterly exhausted. But my roses came in on Monday. I’ll save that for another post! 😀

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My Gardening Efforts Part 2

Posted March 23, 2012 By LadyJai

Our Home

As most of you know, I live in Florida where Spring comes early, and Fall comes late. For the last month,  the weather has been staying in the upper 70s, mid 80s and the plants that I have been preparing, still in pots on my patio, have been screaming at me to be planted. So, my goal is to replace the builder installed landscaping you can see in the pictures below.

Facing the house, this is the left bed.

Facing the house, this is the left bed. The 1st row of bushes have been replaced by Creeping Lantanas. My Hybrid Teas have been repotted and placed around the Dwarf Lilac (left in picture)

Facing the house, this is the right bed

Facing the house, this is the right bed. We have not begun to do anything with this yet, except we pulled up some of the bushes around the Holly tree last year.

I also needed to trim back my roses before they exploded. They all now look like this (most are in pots though as I haven’t decided on their permanent home yet):

Pruned Roses

Spring Pruning Roses

So, the weekend before Spring officially arrived, we were out taking care of raking the beds, pruning roses, and removing the bushes. Check out what we did in my previous post. It was hard, backbreaking work, and we have a lot more to do.

I just ordered 18 shrub roses from Jackson & Perkins to border my porch and add some color. (I have grand visions for this “landscaping job” and I hope they come to fruition!)

Carefree Wonder by J&P

Carefree Wonder by J&P

Where the Carefree Wonder will be going

Already removed part of the bushes where the Carefree Wonder will be going.

We will be pulling more bushes up and getting the soil ready for when my Carefree Wonders arrive. So this weekend will be extremely busy, again.

When I lived in Virginia, I grew and showed my roses in the local ARS (American Rose Society) Show. Three of my roses placed, 1st -3rd. I was so proud. When we had to move to Germany and leave my roses behind, I actually cried. I don’t know how they are today–if they are even still there. I only hope! When I started, though, the Internet was still very new. I tried to gain as much knowledge as I could from the ‘net. But really, there was nothing there. So, I learned how to code web pages, and created my own “Caring for Roses” website. It’s still there. I haven’t updated it with my roses I’ve started growing here. But the information for pruning, caring for, and troubleshooting problems will not change. If you need help, check it out. I always enjoy helping people!

I will be trying to incorporate some more of our adventures into this blog, gardening or otherwise, in hopes to make it more personal and not strictly about writing. If you have any suggestions or comments on what you would like to see, let me know! I would like to have more traffic than I do and more interaction with my readers.

Hope you are enjoying my gardening adventures! Let me know if you have any questions or need some help.

LadyJai

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Gardening and Week 3 #WriteMotivation Update

Posted March 19, 2012 By LadyJai
Our Home

Our Home 2009

Me: I’m so old.
Son: No you’re not. You were just bent over gardening too much this weekend!

Ok, so this post might have to be something simple. I’m zapped from all the manual labor this weekend. My plants were screaming at me for the last 3 weeks. My roses needed re-potted and trimmed (Still haven’t decided where their permanent home will be so I bought bigger containers. My Lantanas needed to be put in the ground. My beds needed raked, mulch removed and weeding. It was in the upper 80s all weekend so we usually don’t do anything during the heat of the day. We began in the morning, rested during the day, and went back out in the early evening when it began to cool back down.

Not sure if you can see from the picture to the left, but the landscaper wanted to put in as much as he possibly could. He over-crowded the area. And, I didn’t have any of the plants I wanted. We’ve been working on the left side of the house as well. The tree all the way to the left of the picture has been replaced. The first year, it became home to wasps and hornets. And somehow managed to contract some sort of disease. We’ve since replaced it with a dwarf lilac. This will be its second season. The place I bought it from said it was the only one capable of handling the heat of Zone 9. So, fingers are crossed.

Our Home 2009

Our Home 2009 different angle

Also, see all those tiny bushes? in the front? Well, I’ve been slowly removing them and replacing them. They stink to high heaven and they seem to like to get and keep mildew, and ants. Plus, there is too much green and not enough color. Way up in the front, you might not be able to see it, but there are African Lilies. Those have never bloomed out of the 3 years we’ve been here.

Not only did we replace the tree (left of the photo) with a Dwarf Lilac, we’ve pulled up about 3 rows of those nasty, stinky bushes. That was last year. In their absence, weeds have taken hold. Fresh, exposed earth and there you go. We’ve not only weeds, but grass. It is a daunting task to keep up with the weeding. We are trying to get some mulch this year, to replace what got washed down the drain during rain storms, while we save up for stone. Plus, it’s easier to plant before I get stone.

Along the back, lining the porch, I want to rip up those bushes and replace them with hedge roses. This year, though, we’ve managed to re-pot my hybrid tea roses. We also purchased some Creeping Lantana for the very front, more for ground cover, where the African Lilies used to be. We haven’t been able to lay much mulch. We only have a car, with limited trunk space. We bought 2 bags of brown mulch on Saturday. We laid that around the Dwarf Lilac and where my potted roses are. It looked really nice. We went back Sunday to buy a few more bags and were stuck getting 4 bags of red mulch. I HATE RED MULCH! Ugh! I don’t want a patchwork flower bed. But, daggum it, we don’t have a truck. I WANT MY STONE!

Beginning Of New Front Yard 2012

Beginning Of New Front Yard 2012

So, we still have more mulch to lay, and more work to do. I haven’t bought all the plants just yet. I have to get my hedge roses before June, though. That’s the last time they will ship to my zone until next year. It’s a slow process, but hopefully will be beautiful next year when it’s all done.

So, with that being said, my writing suffered this weekend.

March’s goals:

  1. Continue with my daily writer-ly duties.Yes and No. Monday through Friday was fine. Between finishing up editing one short story, completing another, and a couple of critiques along the way, I did rather well. However, this weekend, I did not! 🙁 I lost two days. Zero work. 2 days without writing in 3 months, though. So I consider that still an amazing accomplishment.
  2. By March 20th, I would like to complete and submit another story to the 713 Flash call at KazkaPress.   Yes and No. I completed editing the short story I wrote last year. Since this month’s prompt reminded me a lot of this short story, I wanted to make a companion piece to it. I completed the 713 short. It’s currently out for crits. Submission is end of day tomorrow. Hopefully, I can manage to submit it tomorrow.
  3. regular blog posts. Yes. YAY for me, I’m writing today’s blog post.
  4. I would like to read another book this month. Nope. Still trying to decide what to read next. I would like to read Terry Goodkind’s latest, The Omen Machine. Or Naomi Novik’s latest, Crucible of Gold. But both are $12.99 for the e-book price! (ugh! wish e-books weren’t so pricey!) Only The Omen Machine is out in paperback, at $8.99. Crucible of Gold was released this month, so no paperback yet. I may just have to go and start The Wheel Of Time series, or start back with Artemis Fowl series. I’ve just been so tired to read anything lately.

And we all need to Embrace The Suck! Check out my mugs and T-shirts!

Embrace The Suck Men's T-shirtMen’s & Women’s  T-shirt
Embrace The Suck Caffeine Holder

Caffeine Holder

 

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