Meta sent me some photos for the blog because my camera died.  Currently blooming at Meta’s:

Red and yellow gloriosa lily

Red and yellow gloriosa lily
Photo by Meta

She particularly likes her purple blooming bromeliads because they bloom a few times during the year in her Zone 9 garden yet they don’t require a lot of fussing over.  She said they can take part sun, part shade, but a bit more shade. Starting out with a one gallon pot, she divided them and continued to divide them until they now fill a huge area under a palm tree. She is hoping they will spread towards the fence and if they don’t? She “will help them along to get there.” I have no idea what that means but it sounded like a threat so I decided not to ask.

Meta bromeliad -

Purple blooming bromeliads
I cropped out a lot of them because of a camper next door
Photo by Meta

Close-up of the purple bromeliad blooms

Close-up of the purple bromeliad blooms
Photo by Meta

Tuesday I went with some of the ladies from Mandarin Garden Club on a field trip to Eat Your Yard. It’s a local, heavily wooded 40-acre farm run by Tim Armstrong to provide cactus and succulents to the wholesale market but he also has edible garden plants, a few farm-raised tilapia, chickens and rabbits. He was also affiliated with a garden project on the grounds of a school for handicapped children. I think it was Berry Good Farms. I wanted to read the brochures we were given but being a perpetual dingbat, I accidentally left them behind and the condition of my memory is beyond hope.

Tim Armstrong of Eat Your Yard

Tim Armstrong of Eat Your Yard

Eat Your Yard embraces organic farming, permaculture and any good ideas Tim encounters along the way.

Permaculture - plum trees overhead, pineapple sage, jack beans as understory, sweet potato as root crop

Permaculture – plum trees overhead, pineapple sage, jack beans as understory, sweet potato as root crop

Close-up of jack bean 14 inches long

Close-up of jack bean
14 inches long

Coincidentally for me, he mentioned something called hugelkultur which uses stumps, branches and twigs thrown in a mound and covered with soil to make a raised garden bed requiring little to no water or fertilizer. I almost missed this nugget because my mind had once again wandered off to orbit the Crooked Moon. It wandered back in just in time to catch the name and see the hugelkultur bed. Near the end of the tour, I saw a hugelkultur sign for another bed and I snapped a photo so I would have the spelling for further research. This was the most important thing I took away from Eat Your Yard. One of the old women in our neighborhood, long deceased, once told Momma that we have “seven years of dry and seven years of wet.” I never doubted the woman but also never paid much attention until I found myself unable to grow a vegetable garden the last two years. My garden sits in a low area that becomes a virtual flood plain when we have a lot of rain like we did this past summer. Just a few months before the Eat Your Yard tour, at another garden club function, I learned about adding pine bark chips to our sandy soil. This nugget of wisdom came from our local County Extension Agent, Terry delValle, who briefly mentioned it. That’s the problem with golden nuggets of wisdom. The people sharing them seldom ever raise their voice, tossing the nuggets out almost as an aside and I often need some hysteria to snap my wandering mind back to attention. Worse yet, these nuggets are usually what cause my mental crayons to start scribbling like a rabid left-handed dog and then I miss the next nugget. Thankfully, I caught both the pine bark chips and the hugelkultur nuggets and I will now be saving my 3 to 5 trashcans of limbs that usually hit the curb every week.

After our tour of his small farm, we were treated to freshly made Yard Soup and bread. He had collected the ingredients from food-producing perennials as he toured us around. He mentioned dozens of plants that can be made into teas, including a cranberry hibiscus and another hibiscus whose name I didn’t catch.

A hibiscus for tea

A hibiscus for tea (this was not the cranberry hibiscus which looks like a red Japanese maple)

Close-up of hibiscus pods which are dried for tea

Close-up of hibiscus pods which are dried for tea

Several ginger varieties

Several ginger varieties

I had a lot more photographs but I think Poppie’s camera bit the dust. I’ll find out tomorrow when I test it in brighter light than we found at the farm.  You can see a similar version of our Eat Your Yard tour on YouTube here, catch Tim on Facebook or sign up for his newsletter at http://eatyouryardjax.com.

Remember that big box of plant loot I got from Meta’s? Need to refresh your memory, it’s the last photo here. I saw her on a Thursday and I planted the daylilies on Saturday. I cut off all but 3 inches of the daylily tops so they wouldn’t have to support all that foliage while re-establishing their roots.

There were so many daylilies in that copy paper box, I dug 27 holes and planted several daylilies in each hole. I made a semi-circle around the common milkweed (the tall mostly leafless stalks seen in these photos). I will plant more milkweed in that area next spring. Behind the milkweed, I planted three straight rows of daylilies. Here’s their growth progress over a three week period:

One week after transplantingNovember 7, 2015

One week after transplanting (that’s 3 clumps of Blue Daze behind the milkweed)
October 24, 2015


Second week after transplanting

Second week after transplanting (I hit them with some “blue” fertilizer)
October 31, 2015


Third week after transplantingNovember 7, 2015

Third week after transplanting (Yep, they are gonna make it!)
November 7, 2015

By the way, Meta grew all of these daylilies from proliferations on two of her daylilies. Proliferations are leafy shoots, sometimes with roots, that pop out on the scapes (bloom stalks) of a daylily. Not all daylilies produce proliferations but it’s a quick way to multiply your collection of a particular daylily that does produce them because proliferations are clones of the mother plant.

I have begun to use my 2015 crop of Meyer lemons. This year’s crop of 5 is bigger than the 2014 crop of 3.  I am looking forward to a larger crop each year.

June 28, 2015

June 28, 2015 — 5 lemons

That is not a weed in the lemon pot. It’s a naturally occurring fern whose name I can’t remember.

October 21 - 4 left

October 21, 2015 – 4 left


What I have always liked about the Meyer lemon is the less astringent flavor. It doesn’t have the “pucker to the 10th power” like you get with grocery store lemons because it is a cross between a lemon and an orange. Meyer lemons were brought to the United States from China in 1908 by a U.S. Department of Agriculture employee, Frank N. Meyer. He was responsible for over 2,500 plant introductions during his career.

This USDA link has a photo of Meyer and a Certificate he used to introduce himself in his travels.

The Meyer lemon was a carrier of the citrus tristeza virus and an ‘Improved Meyer Lemon’ was not developed until the 1950’s.

Here is a link to 100 things you can do with a Meyer lemon.

Like a lot of my articles, I will come back and add photos or more information. This article definitely needs a photo of the Meyer lemon blooms. With blogging, your work is never published “once and for all.” Blogging experts tell you to write a new post when you get new information on a subject but I don’t have that kind of personality. I want all nice and neat in one place.

Shrimp plant red-6310

Red Shrimp Plant


Orbiting the Crooked Moon as I do, I’m always having these “adventures” I would just as soon not have. Yesterday was no different. I headed south to visit with one of my blog’s first subscribers, Meta. I ran into more than my share of T-stops that had so much signage I couldn’t see the name of the street or either the name of the T-stop was different than it was supposed to be. Then, of course, because everywhere I was driving was mostly rural, street signs required a magnifying glass. Plus, when you get far enough south, they number all their streets which can REALLY confound you when you are in the northwest teens and you need to be in the southwest teens. It doesn’t help when your visitee gives you the wrong area code for her phone number, either. This was nothing personal I learned. She regularly gives hapless fools like me the wrong area code.

Meta came to visit my gardens in July 2014 and I wanted to see hers but not in the heat of July again so I waited until now. Although it was a scheduled visit, it came at a really bad time as her daughter-in-law was in the hospital. The three of them – Meta, her son and daughter-in-law live in a family compound arrangement like I have done for the last 25 years.

I took a few photos of things I had not previously seen. To see previous photos, check these links: Garden Visitors, Meta’s Gardening Ideas, Meta’s Lion Tail.

A plant grouping in deep shade

A plant grouping in deep shade


Metas Easter Island head-6293

Meta had several pieces of yard art, including this Easter Island head, from Kanapaha Botanical Gardens in Gainesville. The hosta is one for hot climates.


A pathway with Aztec Grass on either side.

A pathway with Aztec Grass on either side.


A very sturdy, fairly inexpensive support if you are handy.Coral Vine, Antigonon Leptopus (sounds like a disease!)

A fairly inexpensive support if you are handy.
Coral Vine, Antigonon Leptopus (sounds like a disease!)


I had just missed the blooms on these bromeliads.

I had just missed the blooms on these bromeliads.


Same bromeliads in bloom.Photo by Meta.

Same bromeliads in bloom.
Photo by Meta.


Clerodendrum paniculatum or Pagoda Plant (tends to be invasive)

Clerodendrum paniculatum or Pagoda Plant (tends to be invasive)


Small pink roses but the sun was too bright for a good photo

Small pink roses but the sun was too bright for a good photo


This is me in Meta's side yard with all the loot she gave me.

This is me in Meta’s side yard with all the loot she gave me.
Photo by Meta.

My worst adventure happened on the return trip. I was looking for 326 and came upon another one of those T-stops that was NOT labeled 326. At that point, I had no idea where I was. I turned around and headed back and saw a County Sheriff trying to leave a gas station. I rolled my window down and waved my Google Map pages at him. The Sheriff said he hoped I didn’t want directions because he was awful at them. I would have liked to have seen my expression because it most certainly radiated “Oh shit.” Not only was I lost but this dude didn’t have a clue, either. I think he was pulling my leg, though, because he said NE 70th and 326 were the same thing and I should take a left there, go through two lights and turn right. I could have kissed his badge because he saved me a lot of grief.

Zorro when he's not up to mischiefNovember 10, 2014

Zorro when he’s not up to mischief
Photo taken November 10, 2014

Zorro has entered the Terrible Twos and is good for at least two good laughs a day. Whenever I hear a loud noise coming from the direction of his last known location in the house, I holler, “What have you down now???” Immediately, a wail arises that, if translated, would probably mean “I didn’t do it!”


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