Adventures of a Transplated Gardener- Ginny Stibolt

Ginny Stibolt digging mulch: typical!

Ginny's Garden Log

 

The main purpose of this log was to expand on the gardening adventures that Ginny wrote about in her Adventures of a Transplanted Gardener columns, but now she writes at The GreenGardeningMatters blog.

Current postings and other posts to Ginny's Garden Log Meadow page 

This is the Fourth postings page (8/12/06 - 1/10/07):  Topics include: 2007 plans, Poem, Tropical Home, Mantis, Fall roundup, Purple meadowsGardenfest, Gil Nelson, Good & Evil, North, Sunflowers


Chinese Tallow --sory to see it go.  Photo by Stibolt

1/10/07 It's the new year and I've been thinking about my gardening agenda for the year.  #1 on the list... Kill more invasive aliens.   

Creeping daisy or wedelia has to go.  Photo by Stibolt.

Some I don't mind killing off such as the very invasive hydrilla in the lake--I'll just add it to the compost along with the few water hyacinths that have floated in since last year.  I'm more ambivalent about others like the beautiful creeping daisy and the Chinese Tallow with its great fall color even here in north Florida. 

I'll do what I must as a responsible citizen and I'll work to replace these invasives with more natives.  I'm thinking dahoon hollies and native azaleas.  I'll keep you informed, of course.  I look forward to hearing from you on your plans for the year.  


12/14/06 I've posted a poem, a bit of holiday fluff, but the sentiments are true.  I do wish you a wonderful holiday season and a most prosperous New Year in 2007.  Can you believe that it's almost here??  Also three holiday podcasts have been posted for your listening pleasure.


Ginny Stibolt is a contributor to "Tropical Home"

12/10/06 I'm pleased to tell you that one of my articles, Myths of Mistletoe and Magnolia for Christmas, has been published in the holiday issue of Tropical Home, a slick new magazine for all of Florida and other tropical places.   It's published by the same folks who publish Vero Beach Magazine.  I'll be writing more gardening articles for some of their future issues.  Cool, eh?? 

We've been enjoying the lettuce the most of our fall vegetables--lots of salads for us.  We've also enjoyed the turnip greens and the arugula, but more sparingly--the turnip greens are bristly and the arugula is pretty strong.  They tend to dominate whatever we put them in if we use too much.   We'll start using the onion greens soon.


Praying Mantid on the dog fennel in the front meadow.  Photo by Stibolt.

11/27/06 I posted links to two seasonal podcasts, above.  Four more to come in the upcoming weeks.  I recorded all of them a few days ago at The Times Union building with Cherri Pitzer.   The fall/winter color around here has been beautiful this year.  Who needs to go north when we have great color right here?

I found this praying mantis (Stagmomantis spp) hanging out in the dog fennel in the front meadow the other day.  It's probably a Carolina mantis, but I don't know for sure.  There were plenty of other bugs floating around the flowers for her to prey upon.  Mantids are the only insects that can turn their heads.

I've always loved these voracious insects.   I remember one year my mother brought a mantis's egg case into the house thinking that it would be a butterfly.  We were surprised at the hundreds of praying mantises one morning when we came down to the kitchen. 


Winter crops in Ginny's garden--Turnips, arugula, spinach, and lettuce. Photo by Stibolt.

11/20/06 A Fall Roundup--what's worked in our landscape and what hasn't

Read my most recent column on what's happening now in our gardens.   The weather is definitely cooler here, just in time for Thanksgiving.  Fall is also the time to reflect on the year and be thankful for our blessings.  I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving and hope that you find some time during the rush of the upcoming holidays to reflect on successes in your garden and to plan for an even better garden next season.  


Beautyberry has brilliant magenta berries. Photo by Stibolt

11/3/06 There's Pulsating Purple in our meadows...

Besides the beautiful beautyberry, there's also pokeweed, elderberry, southern bayberry (not really purple, but maybe lavender) in various meadows and wild spaces on our lot.  I posted a column on all this purpleness for you to read.  Did you know that *they* were saying, "poke sallet" and not poke salad?  Or that both beautyberry and bayberry are natural insect repellents and that Native Americans, including the Seminoles, put bayberry twigs under their beds to repel the fleas and in their flour to repel the weevils? Neither did I.  

Fall weather seems really cool these days.  It's much more comfortable to do some heavy gardening projects, but of course, I have a book to write, so I must monitor my time in the garden.  The Sustainable Gardening for Florida book is really exciting.  There's so much we can all do to make a significant difference for the good of our state.  Some sneak peeks coming soon.


Grape ferns in Ginny's yard. Photo by Stibolt

10/15/06 Fall, Gardenfest 2006 & more...

<< I found these rattlesnake ferns (Botrychium virginianum) along the edge of the woods on the way down to the lake.  I've passed this place hundreds of times, but I've never seen these before.  I just love ferns. 

Yes, fall's in the air and I planted my lettuce, spinach, arugula, & turnips last week.  As promised, the lettuce & arugula sprouted in three days.  The turnips were next and now finally, the spinach is making its appearance.  I used a different strategy this time for planting seeds directly in the ground.  I added good compost to the soil, made short rows facing west, and lined each row with an inch or more of sterile topsoil that I bought.  I sowed the seeds and covered with more of the store-bought soil.  Then I mulched between the rows with pine needles.  So far—knock on wood chips—no weeds have sprouted. 

Gardenfest last week was great fun.  I did enjoy visiting with Gil and all kinds of other gardening folks.  I enjoyed the presentations on Invasives, Water-wise Gardening, Fire-safe landscaping, Florida Daffodils, and Gil's presentation on the importance of native plants.  I posted 40 (!) photos on Jacksonville.com. Here's the link: http://photos.jacksonville.com/mycapture/folder.asp?event=183523.   


Gil Nelson, noted nature author and photographer.

9/28/06: Rubbing shoulders with noted nature author and photographer, Gil Nelson

I've mentioned Gardenfest 2006 on Oct. 7th in Jacksonville previously, but now that I've interviewed Gil Nelson, the keynote speaker, I'm really looking forward to his talk and maybe I'll purchase some of his books. I've posted my interview with Gil here to whet your appetite, too.  

So meet me at Garden fest, meet Gil and Linda Van Beck, president of the Florida Daffodil Society, and learn what all the other folks with displays, such as The Nature Conservancy, Florida Native Plant Society, St. Johns Riverkeeper, nurseries specializing in native plants, and more have to offer.  More details at www.fnps.org or download a Gardenfest 2006 brochure here. (Pass it around to your gardening friends, too.)


Ragweed's poolen causes more allergies than goldenrod.  Photo by Stibolt.

9/18/06: Good and Evil in the Meadows

<< Ragweed (Ambrosia spp) produces massive amounts of pollen in the fall causing many people to suffer hay fever.  I'm not prone to this malady, but when I see ragweed growing in my meadows, I pull it out and put it in the yard trash.  On the other hand, goldenrod (Solidago spp) blooms at the same time and for many years was blamed for the allergies.  I have more details on goldenrod and ragweed (the good and the evil) in my latest column: There's Gold in Our Meadows.   I spotted a pair of Baltimore Orioles in a button bush near the pond out by the front meadow—a good thing, as Martha used to say.

Two monarch larvae strip my butterfly weed.  Photo by Stibolt

So when we left for our trip in August, these two monarch larvae had completely stripped my two scarlet butterfly weeds (Asclepias curassavica).  They'd eaten every leaf and even ate the flower heads.   The poor butterfly weeds were two naked stalks.  

With apologies to Nathan Hale, I regret I had only two butterfly weeds to sacrifice for my worms.  I will buy more at the first opportunity.   One good opportunity will be at Gardenfest 2006 sponsored by Jacksonville's new chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society on October 7th.  Nurseries specializing in native plants will offer a selection of native plants for sale.  For more info see: www.fnps.org.  

<< So what happened to my butterfly weeds? Near the top of each stalk, a new shoot has grown.  One of them has a flower now, but the other does not.   I will provide these plants with plenty of extra compost this fall, because losing all its leaves is a strain on a plant. 


Lady slipper orchids in Cape Breton. Photo by Stibolt

Cornus canadensis, bunchberry in Cape Breton.  Photo by Stibolt

9/15/06: Northern woods

Yes, we've been on another trip--this time to Nova Scotia.  Oh, those northern woods.  The acid soils and long winters provide ideal habitat for lady slipper orchids (Cypripedium spp), shown to the left with their blue fruits.  Also another flower you don't see in Florida is that groundcover dogwood, bunchberry (Cornus canadensis). We're glad to be back and now to attack the to-do list. 

 


A wasp on the Maximillian's sunflower.  Photo by Stibolt

8/12/06: Sunflowers!

As I promised in my column on sunflowers, to the right is a photo of the Maximilian's sunflower (Helianthus maximiliania), the one perennial sunflower that I planted this year.  It has taken its time blooming compared to the faster-acting annuals that are mostly done for the season.   

This one is the first to bloom: it's grown to six feet and there are 20 or so buds on long stems running down the stalk.  This first flower is about three inches across, so you can see how long this two-toned wasp is.  

Several others are beginning to form buds, but many of these perennials don't look like they'll be blooming this year.   I'll let you know if there's a late fall blooming period.

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