Poppie and I headed to Atlanta to see Miss Priss and her husband, arriving on Thursday, April 10. The next day we made another trip to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens to revel in the blooming glory of Spring. Confession time. I am SERIOUSLY in love with Pansies and Violas. I happen to hate the name “Viola,” preferring “Johnny Jump-ups” but no one contacted me about a proposed name change. Instead, somebody, somewhere along the way, just upped and changed the name to Viola like the musical instrument. Puh-leeze. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to name them Pee-wee Pansy? Everyone would then know that it was the smaller version of the pansy.

I put the hideous name aside and went over the deep end with my camera so that I could preserve all these colors that I don’t have in my garden. Yet. Wanna admire them with me?

pansyyellow and red-2181

pansy red-2183


pansy lavender-2197

pansy yellow white-2198

pansy red violet-2199

pansy lavender yellow-2200

pansy pink red-2204

pansy yellow pink-2226

pansy red violet and deep purple-2228

pansy white purple-2230

pansy lavender purple-2243

viola purple-2188

Was that as good for you as it was for me? All of these photos were taken with an ancient and cranky Canon DSLR and an everyday 50 mm lens. I think I might have used my close-up filters once on a pink dogwood.

I’ve been out of town for several days and look what I came home to — a whole row of my red and white striped amaryllis in bloom.

amaryllis row of red and whites-2276

A cousin of mine shared a few of his huge pink and white amaryllis bulbs after I admired them with great longing.

amaryllis pink and white baby on board-1900

One of them had a baby on board

Amaryllis pink and white-2138

Two in full bloom with two more buds behind them

Hibiscus Tropic Escape2-2130

Hibiscus ‘Tropic Escape’ purchased from the
Down-and-Out-but-Not-Quite-Dead Table at Lowes.

I don’t know everything I should know about gardening.  I am not a Master Gardener and I don’t want to contemplate becoming one because you have to do phone work afterwards to pay for their investment in you. Hate phone work.

It happens that when you don’t know what you should know about gardening, you garden mostly by experiment. Highly unscientific experiments that are probably the reason I have never once heard any of my friends suggest that I might be a genius.

For instance, when my turnip greens grew really large turnips, I no longer wanted to eat the turnip greens. I figured the greens were bitter or tough. I could have dug them up and started a new crop since turnips are a winter crop in Florida. I’m not real clear on why I didn’t do this. Maybe I thought it was too cold.

I was real clear, however, on the reason I left them in the ground. I wanted to see if the plants would act as weed prevention. Those square foot gardeners plant things close together on purpose. They call it “intensive” gardening but I think they’ve mentioned weed control, too. I wish I could remember stuff. Anyway, I decided it would be a good experiment to see if all those fluffy turnip greens would shade the ground and keep weeds from getting a leg up on me.

I’ll admit, it did help. Somewhere around the middle of March, I separated those fluffy turnip green leaves and found:

Turnip boobs !

Turnip boobs !

Evie is holding the two turnip boobs to help demonstrate the size of these turnips.

turnip boobs for size-2124

Turnip boobs after harvest

I don’t know what to call this one:

Caption ???

Anybody got an idea for a caption ???

With our wildly fluctuating weather – 30 today, 80 tomorrow – my bok choy and broccoli bolted. Like the turnips, they were left in the ground for weed prevention and food for the bees. Bees have such a hard time these days with pesticides that I like to help them out when I can.

Next thing I knew, the bok choy started producing seed pods like the end of the world was coming. Here are just a few of the branches filled with seed pods.

bok choy seed pods-2111

Ready for harvest

Over at Growing Food In Florida, the blogger suggested using bok choy in fresh salads because it is good both cooked and raw. An excellent idea since I’m fairly certain I now have a lifetime supply of bok choy seeds and might as well toss a few in the ground now and then. Just to see what happens when it’s the wrong season for them. I gotta keep up with my experiments even though no one thinks I’m a genius.

Remember those childhood days when you screeched at some recalcitrant relative, “I’m telling Mom!”? After Momma passed to Glory, it was necessary for me to choose another Mom-like figure for such threats. I chose our family’s iron-fist-in-a-velvet-glove, Miss Priss (my sister).

I was in Poppie’s kitchen the other night trying to prepare a cake mix on the same counter as his toaster oven. At my request, he had earlier put two baking potatoes in the toaster oven.

I guess he forgot to poke holes in the potato skin. Or maybe I forgot to tell him to poke holes. All of a sudden, one of the baked potatoes exploded.

I was so startled, I screamed. Poppie, on the other hand, never budged from his recliner to find out what happened to me. At first, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Poppie doesn’t hear so good even with two hearing aids. I thought he might not have heard the explosion but by golly, he MUST have heard me screaming bloody murder. I could have been standing there in the boogie man’s stranglehold with a knife at my throat. Does Poppie bother to check? Noooooooo.

I rightly accused him of this shortcoming.

“You screamed,” he explained. “So I knew you were all right.”

My mouth agape, I put my hands on my hips. “What has to happen to get your attention? The potato firing out of the toaster oven like a guided missile? Do I have to create an earthquake by falling to the floor before you think something might be amiss?”

This went back and forth for several minutes before I became so exasperated I hollered, “I’m telling my sister!” I guarantee you, that shuts him up every time.

Cunningham purple shed 1-1988

Cunningham herbs-1990

Calling all cooks and herbalists! Get thee to Cunningham’s 21st Taster’s Choice and Herbal Faire on April 5 and 6, 2014, between 10:00 am to 3:30 pm, at 2440 Lofberg Drive, Jacksonville, Florida.

DIRECTIONS: To get to Cunningham’s Herbal Faire, find your way to PARENTAL HOME ROAD (PHR). From Beach Boulevard, go down PHR to Emily. Turn left. Continue on Emily down a dip in the road. Come up the dip and bear right. You are still on Emily but when you hit the curve to the left, you are on Lofberg Drive. Look for 2440 Lofberg Drive on the right.

From the Bowden Road/University side of PARENTAL HOME ROAD (PHR), take a right on Bowden and continue on Bowden to PHR. Take a left at the light (can’t go right) and continue down PHR to Emily on the RIGHT.  Yes, it’s very confusing as you will first see Emily on the left. Continue on Emily down the dip in the road. Come up the dip and bear right. You are still on Emily but when you hit the curve to the left, you are on Lofberg Drive. Look for 2440 Lofberg Drive on the right.

The event is a weekend of all things herbal, including lunch from appetizers to desserts, vendors with soap, seasonings, dips, bees and honey, pressed floral designs, herbal cards, yard art, hypertufa pots, antique roses, berry bushes, olive trees, scented geraniums, unusual herbs, coleus, succulents and much more.  Come take a walk through the herb gardens, enjoy lunch and wander through the swamp to Pottsburg Creek. For additional information, call 904.725.3106 or email “locun at att.net” or visit Cunningham’s Herbs on Facebook.

Admission is free and open to the public.  For insurance purposes, she asks that you please leave your animals home.

If for some reason, you can’t make it to the April 5-6 Festival, there’s another one, just in time for Mother’s Day, on May 10-11, but that is probably the last one until the end of the year.


%d bloggers like this: