Sunday, October 2, 2011

Cool maintenance

Yesterday and today were gloriously cool and dry, not a smidgeon of humidity in the air. Ahhh, it was perfection. This weekend was the reason people come to Florida. Woke up to 50 degrees, and the mercury hovered around 85 this afternoon, making the garden an enchanting place. Couldn’t be out yesterday because we had overnight company. They left at noon today, and fifteen minutes later I was outside.

Today ‘my age’ didn’t keep me from doing the things that have been so long undone. I believe today dispelled the discouragement that has been plaguing me. Six hours in the garden today was a snap, though my legs and feet were sore when I came in. So it’s not age…it’s humidity and heat that has made me feel so wimpy. Well, the truth is that steamy heat and my present age do not get along as well as steamy heat did with my previous ages. The last two months I was doing well to manage three-hour stints outside on a Saturday or Sunday, occasionally both. Evenings during the week were hopeless. So even though I’m guessing that summer isn’t quite gone, I’m so grateful for this cool spell.

First thing to be done was to set the armadillo traps that were purchased about three weeks ago. DH looked them over. He’s very handy for figuring out these mechanical things. We struck a bargain. I’d get the varmints into the traps, and he would get them out, and since some aspects of his duties may be somewhat questionable, there will be no more said about it. All’s well that ends well.
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The critters have dug tunnels under the house at the front right of the garage and at the left rear under my bedroom windows. So the big trap is set in the front, and the small one is in the back.
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Cydney told me to place boards on both sides of the entrance to make sure they didn’t miss the trap, so I did that. When it gets inside and steps on the metal plate at the back end, the door snaps shut, and then… well, Elvis will have left the building.
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Here’s a birdseye view of his tunnel. I hope he hasn’t messed up the termite treatment barrier.
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Lots of other garden maintenance was checked off my list including cutting out that dead branch on ‘Souv de Francois Gaulain’, some but not all weed removal, deadheading and cutting back – mainly ‘Bow Bells’, untangling and cutting back my neighbor’s jasmine vine that had nearly engulfed ‘Parade’, a lovely deep pink Large Flowered Climber that’s actually blooming, but leaves would be nice, too. (Remind me never to stand still next to a jasmine vine for very long.) ‘La Sylphide’, the Tea rose, got a little trim, mostly her backside which was growing hard against the stockade fence. She looks like she’s about to start a growth spurt.

The ‘Niles Cochet’ that turned out to be an unknown something-else was shovel pruned, and the Mealy Cup Sage that had overtaken almost half of that bed was cut back so that the baby daylilies are now visible. I was afraid they might have smothered under the lovely sage. Dead wood and spent blooms were trimmed on some other roses; more jasmine vine was cut out; mustard seedlings were pulled here, there and everywhere. ‘Francois Juranville’ cascades a little less now, having had some of his very long canes tossed up onto the arbor. Why can’t ladders just be pulled out of your pocket and popped open lickety split??

The giant ‘Periwinkle’ clump was deftly made smaller, and the 4” potted rosemary plant that was hiding under it was planted in the dry ground next to ‘Parade’. I hope that little plant does well since I love the fragrance so much. Pulled up more Mustard seedlings, did some chopping on ‘Climbing Maman Cochet’ who had stolen all the headroom next to her, making ingress and egress impossible without sharp pains and snagged clothing. Then DH’s back felt strong enough to make him want to trim some low-hanging oak limbs with his handy-dandy chainsaw-on-a-stick. That was fun, and he didn’t hurt himself in the process.

Oh, and the toughest chore of all lately, photographing beautiful blooms.
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‘Souv de la Malmaison’

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‘Bermuda’s Anna Olivier’

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Above and below ‘White Maman Cochet’ – one with a vegetative center aka proliferation
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‘Mme Abel Chatenay’

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Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

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‘White Maman Cochet’ showing the effects of her organic feeding four weeks ago.


  1. You GO GIRL!!!! Will be waiting for those "armadillo reports" from the field!!! Whoo Hoo!

  2. The weather was really nice yesterday, we both said Autumn is here. I hope our weather continues to be like this until next summer, well, we could stand for it to be a little cooler, as it only got down to 69 down here. Better than it was though.

    Oh my, wish I had been there for the shovel pruning of that rose, whatever it was. It sounds like you got a lot accomplished and the photos of your roses are wonderful. I have blooms on both Chrysler Imperial and Don Juan, what a heavenly fragrance.

    Happy Autumn Gardening ~ FlowerLady

  3. No, it's not age - humidity and heat combined will zap anyone! I hope you get your critter! Love the pic of Bermuda's Anna Oliver - she looks silky! Love the color, too. I'll have to check her out!

  4. I recently had to bunny-proof part of my garden. I've never had to deal with armadillos so I'm curious to see how this turns out! Your roses look great! I just added some roses to my garden, including one that would do well for you. It's all in my recent post. Baked any more cakes lately? :o)

  5. The cooler temps are definitely invigorating. It looks like your roses are loving the pleasant weather, too.