Thursday, June 16, 2011

African Violets Part 2, Giant Hostas, and a Bad Moon Risin'

This little one loves to bake cookies.
This is grandchildren week at the Garden Spot, a week set aside where nothing gets done except play, lots of play. We drove to Denver late Sunday afternoon to pick up Jacob (8) so that he could spend the week with us. On Tuesday Ellie (4) and Lucy (2) came to spend the night, too. We baked chocolate chip cookies, roasted marsh mellows on the gas grill, played with a tub of Barbies, mastered the fine art of building with Legos, and tonight home made ice cream. The little girls went home last night, and I was just plain worn out. Today Jacob and I made videos of his "tricks" on the swing set. Little gardening gets done when there are children in the garden. Ellie did find a packet of baby lima bush beans, so I let her plant a short row.  

The Head Gardener got his hay bales picked up today. While the cut hay got rain on and the baled hay got more rain, the hay doesn't look too damaged. It is now nicely stacked in the barn.

African Violets Part 2

My post a few weeks ago on African Violets received a bit of attention with posts ranging from "I love African Violets," to "Once they are done blooming, I throw them out." Oh please, don't do that for a healthy one will bring years of joy, as will this one that I re-rooted. It took several weeks for the violet to grow a healthy new root system. I planted it in a clay pot using African violet soil. I prefer the clay pots to plastic, but I always dip the top of the clay pot in melted paraffin (the kind that you use to seal jelly jars) because if the leaves rest on the clay they will rot if the clay rim is not sealed. 

Ihave two more violets that need attention, so I worked on a second one, one that had been my mother-law's. It's stem had grown rather crocked, so I cut it down, stripped off the lower leaves, hoping to create a more symmetrical plant. I placed it in an empty spice bottle and took the healthy leaves that I stripped off in water to root. I will get a lot of new babies, more than I can possible use--well, we see.

An otherwise healthy violet that I hated to mess with, but it will be much healthier and more attractive once it is replanted

On the Road, Again

 Last week-end I traveled 115 miles east to a little village on the Colorado prairie, Haxtun, to spend the week-end scrap booking with my dear friend Sherry. Now, there is a gardener. Her story really is no different than the rest of us, she loves to garden and has created her own little paradise in her back yard, but what is so admirable is her tenacity, patience, and endurance. She has had over a dozen back surgeries and deals with a considerable amount of back pain daily, yet she digs, she hauls, she carries, she bends, she stoops, she lifts, she plans, and she plants. She does get help with the the hard chores such as rototilling and removing sod; she also hires two school boys to do other really strenuous work, but for the most part she has created a beautiful garden all on her own. Some years ago she asked me what she could put at the back of the lawn underneath a big cedar tree, something that would grow in shade and hid the back of the neighbor's shed. I suggested hostas and bleeding hearts. I hadn't seen her garden in a few years because I just haven't made the trip out there in the summer. And boy was I in for a shock. The hostas are 3 feet across and 3 feet high. I asked her how she got them to grow so big: "Lots of water and slug bait."

There is much more to Sherry's garden, but I got busy scrap booking and didn't get out to take anymore pictures. I think that she should join Blog Land, but she really isn't a computer geek like the rest us; I guess as long as she has me to blog for her, then that's all that counts.

There's A Bad Moon Risin'

Hubby called me out last night to look at the moon. It was just coming up over the horizon, big and orange. I had fun taking pictures of it as it rose above the trees. I am not too good at using the camera at night; the results were fair. 

This week-end: the Ft. Collins Garden Tour. Can't wait to tour the six gardens on the tour. Jacob's mom will be up Friday night with the 2 year old, so more play and no work. You all have a good week-end.


  1. The Garden Spot is to me a very beautiful and fun spot to visit. I am sure there is fair bit of cleaning up to do after the little one completed her baking. You must have a lot of patience. :)

    Sherry's garden is awesomely tidy and beautiful. I wish I have that mulch available here to prevent the weeds. I checked them but they are all imported and very pricey. I'm still looking for an alternative. Meanwhile, it's weeding, weeding and weeding and of course also chasing birds and butterflies.

  2. Ha ha! I have Granny Camp next week! I'm fixing things all up, getting ready. It IS tiring, I agree! I'll go to bed early with them!

  3. I never knew that before about African Violets - have you any good tips on getting them to reflower again?

  4. I could also use some tips on how to encourage the the African violets to reflower. Your friend's garden is really nice. By the say, your rainy day flowers (yesterday's post) are super, very pretty and eye catching photos. Happy gardening! Kelli

  5. Sounds like you were in Granny heaven with your grandchildren visiting. I have to travel quite a way to spend time with my grandchildren and I was lucky enough to do that for a few days just last week ... nothing lifts the spirits more!

    You do have quite a way with growing AVs. I have never been good at it, but I have one that's still hanging in there at the moment. If it will flower for more again, I'll keep it!

    Your good friend, Sherry needs a big pat on the back. She's done a fabulous job and I'm in awe of anyone with that kind of tenacity.

    Thanks Ann for visiting My Dry Tropics Garden blog and leaving your lovely comment. Yes I am a teacher and I've been working as a Learning Enrichment Teacher for a few years now assisting students with learning difficulties and their teachers. It's very rewarding work.

  6. Those Hostas are very big! Your grandchildren have so much fun with you! Love your kitchenaid too. I never get my african violets to survive let alone reflower...

  7. What a great tip for the African Violet, I had no idea about the leaves rotting. Good to know.

    Your friend has a gorgeous collection of hostas...way to grow.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  8. 'Grandchildren' week sounds like fun! I must say Sherry's garden looks amazing, and I love your photo of the moon.

  9. Very nice picture. Good work.