Saturday, October 25, 2008

State Botanical Gardens of Georgia

Yesterday, I attended a regional Garden Writers meeting in Athens, Georgia. The meeting was held at the State Botanical Gardens of Georgia. I'm not sure why we don't have something so fancy. The meeting was really interesting and I learned some new things. We got to tour the garden also, but unfortunately it was a dreary, rainy day. Much of the garden is in transition from summer to fall, but it's going to be beautiful next spring. They added a new flower garden that has a lot of potential. I only got a few pictures in before the camera battery died. I was too lazy to go back to the car to get the extra.

This was the prettiest thing in the garden at the moment. It's a Confederate Rose in the Heirloom Garden. The Heirloom Garden only has plants in it that were popular before 1900. Lots of plantation garden plantings and so on.

They've got a serious deer problem in the garden as well. They've just planted some fall vegetable crops and are covering them to prevent the deer from getting to them.

I liked the way this looked with the flowers cascading down behind the bench.

Felder Rushing was one of the speakers. He's pretty famous in the south as a garden writer. He usually talks and writes about how gardening is really easy and anybody can do it. As an example, he plants a garden in the bed of his truck and drives around with it. He figures if he can garden at 70 mph, then anybody can garden. His truck garden is seasonally decorated at the moment, too.

Friday, October 17, 2008

"Froggy" Payne's Prairie

The last couple morning have been really "froggy" as it's known in my house. The fog's been so thick that I can barely see the car in front of me on the way to work.

This morning, Kaity and I took Will to school and were coming into Gainesville a different way - across Payne's Prairie on 441. We live on the prairie, just a different side of it, so it looks pretty similar to my normal drive to work. Lots and lots of fog. Since I wasn't in any hurry to get to work and Kaity doesn't get to do many special things by herself, we stopped at the boardwalk overlook for a few minutes.

Here's what it looked like as we started walking down the boardwalk. You can barely see the end of it.

The fog was masking the sun rise.

A different direction. The prairie is so interesting to me. There's trees all around and the all of a sudden this open space.

We've had a lot of crows at our house lately. I think there were 50 or 60 in our tree last night. I'm guessing that the prairie has just as many (or maybe it's the same flock.) Kaity was hoping to see a gator, but this was all the wildlife we saw.

Kaity really enjoyed the quick 5-minute stop. It was quite the treat and out of the ordinary for a school day.

She also requested a take a picture of the dead "pine" tree, so here it is. We're going to start working on tree id soon.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fall is (sorta) here...time for the veggie garden!

Fall has finally arrived in Florida (kinda). Temps have been in the high to mid 80s all week. And, the humidity is still brutal...but I've never known a day in Florida when the humidity hasn't been brutal.

Anyway, we finally got around to putting the fall vegetable garden in the ground. I'm a little late in getting started this year, so we planted mostly store-grown seedlings and not as many seeds as we have in the past. It's actually helped me a lot. In the past, I have a tendency to "overplant" my seeds (and not by just a little) and then I have trouble thinning them. Having seedlings really limited what I put in the ground. And because I didn't grow my own, I didn't have 10 million seedlings of any one thing.

My garden helpers were out in force with us.

Run Tebow, Run! Throw a jump pass! ... Wait are we watching Florida football or the lab puppy? I forget - they both barrel ahead at full force.

Will directing Kaity in the fine art of turning up soil.

And, actually helped himself. We turned everything up first and then added a couple bags of new potting soil to refresh and fill in the beds.

Will's really getting into this vegetable gardening thing. But, it's only cause he can use tools like shovels. What a boy.

Kaity planting the pepper seedling. She's trying to clip off the plastic part of the pot like I was doing and is a little frustrated that I keep interrupting her to take pictures.

Any guesses on the next garden task? How about irrigation? Until then, John will water by hand. He's a better farmer than I am and actually remembers to water. Oh, and here are the finished beds. Vegetable gardens look so much better with flowers in them, don't you agree?

This bed has a straight neck squash plant which I'm going to try to trellis, lettuce, collards, and mums. The rows behind the bed have more collards and broccoli (I ran out of room in the beds. Remember what I was telling you about overplanting?)

This bed has three varieties of tomatoes, two varieties of peppers, a few lettuce and some mum. John's watering in the squash (butternut and acorn) and pole bean seeds which are planted behind this bed.

Until we're able to put up a real fence around the garden, we had to make do with an invisible fence for the dogs. They love the garden, upturned soil, and easy claim to veggies. I'm not having any of that this year.