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Raleigh’s Snowpocalypse 2014 – Take Two! (or How I Jumped the Gun on Titling My Last Post!)

Snowpocalypse.

It seems to be a word being used a lot this season, and I followed suit last week when we got our 5 inches of snow. I mean, it hardly ever snows in this part of North Carolina, so surely this was THE big snow of the year for us. Little did I know that I was jumping the gun on using this fresh-coined term. :)

Yesterday, it started snowing early in the day, and within three hours, we had five inches of snow on the ground again. Then, the snow tapered off as it all turned to sleet. Add another inch on top of the snow, but this time, all ice pellets. Reports were coming in via the news that it was pure gridlock in Raleigh as people tried to leave work to head home. The only thing that kept this from being a repeat of what had happened in Atlanta two weeks earlier was the fact that all the surrounding counties had closed school for the day, so the kids were all home safe and sound.

snow2-12b snow2-12a

 

 

 

 

Last night, the sleet turned into a gentle rain that gave us a nice coating of ice over the whole shebang. Luckily, besides a few flickers during the night, we’ve managed to keep power on.

Today, around lunchtime, I took the camera out and took a few pictures of the beauty and the damage. I think you’ll agree that there’s a certain amount of beauty to the destructive force.

Luckily, schools are cancelled again today (and probably will be tomorrow as well), and we’re all home safe and sound. I’ll be making bread again tonight, and we’ll all enjoy a couple of movies or TV shows on Netflix today. Life goes on. :)

DSC06194 DSC06187 DSC06188 DSC06184 DSC06202DSC06192 DSC06193

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Raleigh’s ‘Snowpocalypse’ 2014

IMAG0408Here in the Southeast U.S., we see very little snow. On Sunday, when the local weather gurus started saying there was a small chance that we might see snow by mid-week, most of us scoffed. On Monday, they started saying that it was looking more and more like we would get hit with the white stuff, some of us still scoffed. Then they told us we would get snow, but they still weren’t sure how much. “It might be significant amounts in some areas”, they said. On Tuesday, they were sure enough that most of the local schools closed. It wasn’t until Tuesday after dark that we started to see the snow come down. And come down. And come down.

IMAG0409The fine, little powdery flakes fell on through the night, and by morning we woke to a wintry wonderland. We ended up with somewhere around four inches here, a blizzard for this area. Today, Thursday, the kids are still out of school due to the black ice on the roads this morning.

Today, the sun is out, the skies are blue, the deck and stairs are shoveled, and I’m waiting patiently for a frozen pipe to thaw so we can have water again. Life goes on. By this weekend, it will be in the mid to upper fifties, and I’ll be back in the flowerbeds again. :)

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Another Day of Planting

It’s been a real roller coaster of weather here in North Carolina. Yesterday was cold and the day before that was even colder. Today, it reached up into the lower 60’s. Tomorrow is supposed to be a high of 29 degrees AND we’re supposed to get between 1 and 5 inches of snow. Go figure.

I took advantage of the weather today and started planting a flower bed on the west side of the house. I got five more daylilies planted, as well as a yet-unknown bush (I’m working on identification as I type this), a couple of Crinum bulbs and some Narcissus.

Sun-starved Narcissus

Sun-starved Narcissus

The daylily cultivars I put in today are ‘Mary Guenther’, ‘Scatterbrain’, ‘Barbary Corsair’, ‘Adrienne Anderson’, and ‘Seductress’. (Images of all but ‘Adrienne Anderson’ are below; I couldn’t find one of that one.) I planted one of the Crinum ‘Cecil Houdyshel’ bulbs as well as an unidentified Crinum. I finished it all up by putting in almost all of the Narcissus ‘Twin Sisters’ I had left.

I got a nice little bonus when I peeled back the landscape fabric: a few little Narcissus, left behind by the previous tenant, trying their best to reach some sunlight. No idea what cultivar they are, so they’ve now been transplanted to a separate area to keep the Twin Sisters all together.

 

Narcissus 'Twin Sisters' Image copyright lambley.com.au

Narcissus ‘Twin Sisters’
Image copyright lambley.com.au

'Barbary Corsair' Image copyright groundcover.com

‘Barbary Corsair’
Image copyright groundcover.com

'Seductress' Image copyright daylilies.org

‘Seductress’
Image copyright daylilies.org

'Scatterbrain' Image copyright plantdatabase.com

‘Scatterbrain’
Image copyright plantdatabase.com

'Mary Guenther' Image copyright davesgarden.com

‘Mary Guenther’
Image copyright davesgarden.com

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Have You Ever Done The Black Widow Shuffle?

Black-widow-spiderThat’s where you find a black widow spider somewhere you didn’t expect (does anyone ever EXPECT to find a black widow?) and trip over your own feet hurriedly jumping backwards while simultaneously trying to keep from screaming like a little girl and keep your undershorts clean.

Did you know they find the space under well houses as absolutely delightful places to dwell? Now, don’t get me wrong; I don’t mind spiders, snakes and most other creepy crawlies. I think some spiders out there, including the black widow, are absolutely beautiful and I think most of God’s creatures have a place and a job in the natural order of things. Having said that, I’ll admit that black widows give me the willies.

Well, two bits of good news: There’s now one less black widow around my house, AND I found the loose connection that was keeping the well pump from pumping water to the house this morning. (We really, honestly thought a pipe was frozen somewhere.)

Of course, the fat little lady in question was sitting about a half inch from the loose connection. Coincidence, or arachnidian plot? :)

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My First Seed Exchange and A Few More Plants In the Ground

'Hyperion' Image copyright davesgarden.com

‘Hyperion’
Image copyright davesgarden.com

It started out chilly this morning, but by lunchtime, it was warm enough to get outside and plunge my hands in the dirt once again. In an hour or so, I managed to separate a large clump of Daylily ‘Hyperion’, and plant some on each side of the front steps. This involved moving the liriope (monkey grass) that was already growing in the spot that was needed.

Crinum 'Rose Form' That's a quarter propped on it for comparison.

Crinum ‘Rose Form’
That’s a quarter propped on it for size comparison.

I also decided to go ahead and plant the Crinum ‘Rose Form’ football-sized bulb that had been hit so hard by the 9-degree night that we had last week. The bulb was a bit soft on the outside, but had a hard center, and the basal plate seemed to still be in good shape. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

After an hour, the predicted plummet in temperature happened and a few scattered COLD showers sent me back inside.

Tonight, I had a chance to go to my first seed swap  at the NCSU J.C. Raulston Arboretum hosted by The Gardeners of Wake County, so I met my brother Doug, and we headed to Raleigh. There was a PowerPoint presentation of Chinese Garden Design for the club, and then everyone was free to visit the tables of seed and plants. There was a little bit of everything there, flower and vegetable seeds alike.  I picked up quite a few things I’ve never tried my hand at like Asian Green Beans and seedless grape hardwood cuttings. I also grabbed several types of heirloom pepper seeds as well as some heirloom tomato seeds for the garden and flower seed for the front flower bed.

I met quite a few very nice people there tonight, including a gentleman who had a Crinum growing in his yard that I had never heard of, Crinum ‘Milk & Honey’. He described it as a white Crinum that looked like someone had drizzled honey inside the bloom.

He now has my email address, and there WILL be a trade this Spring.  :)

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A Short Taste of Spring

It’s been three weeks since I posted anything, not because nothing has happened, but because life has been a bit hectic. My father went into the hospital on January 1 (he’s doing much better now), we had a deep freeze one night (it dropped all the way to nine degrees and took out most of the smaller Crinum bulbs that weren’t planted yet), and I’ve been beating the bushes high and low for a job.

Today, however, it was 63 degrees out, and (after scouring the want ads and sending out several resumes) I took advantage of it by starting a new flower bed. I need to get as many of these plants as I can into the ground before I lose even more to cold weather.

Today’s plantings were day-lilies, and one row of narcissus (a.k.a. daffodils). My plan is to concentrate on the ones I have the fewest of, and the ones I love due to color, etc. And of course, the ones that have survived thus far.

The pictures below are all taken from sites on the internet, but are the varieties that I put in the new bed today. The only one I couldn’t find a picture of was ‘Duncan’s Delight’, a rare, red daylily.

Now, time to take a couple of Advil, and relax for a bit. I’m sore. I dug this new bed in the side yard, where it’s all centipede grass, and it all had to be dug by hand since my tiller is broken. C’est la vie. It will be worth it when Springtime rolls around. :)

Narcissus 'Flower Carpet'

Narcissus ‘Flower Carpet’
Image copyright digthedirt.com

daylily cleopatra

‘Cleopatra’
Image copyright davesgarden.com

'Little Violet Lace'

‘Little Violet Lace’
Image copyright americandaylily.com

Daylily 'Night Wings'

‘Night Wings’
Image copyright ofts.com

Daylily 'Paradise Princess'

‘Paradise Princess’
Image copyright davesgarden.com

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Goodbye 2013. It’s Been Bittersweet.

2013 has been a rocky year for a lot of us. For me, the year started with child custody hearings, followed closely by losing a job with a company that I had been with for close to ten years. All of this happening during a struggling economy when decent paying jobs are still hard to come by.

On the flip side of that coin, I’ve been going through a bit of self discovery:

  • I’ve learned that I’m pretty darned good at baking bread.
  • I’m rediscovering writing, something that I haven’t done much of since high school.
  • I’m learning more and more about gardening, both veggies and flowers.
  • I’ve gotten to spend more time at home with family, something I couldn’t do working retail.
  • I’ve been able to learn a bit more about my extended family via Facebook.

Yep, 2013 had its good points and bad points, and when it comes down to it, I’ve enjoyed and valued the time that I’ve had here at home.

Had I the talent eloquence of author Neil Gaiman, I’d put this wish into my own words and send it out to each and every one of you, but no one says it better than he. Tonight, I send you the same wish that he wished his friends and fans over a decade ago:

Gaiman“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.” 

(If you’ve never read any of Neil Gaiman’s work, I highly suggest starting with The Ocean at the End of the Lane. The man is an utter genius with the pen.)

Happy New Year friends. I sincerely hope it’s a wonderful year for all of us, but however it turns out great or otherwise, endeavor to make it yours.  

Be safe, and I’ll see y’all again in 2014. :)

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An Update On My Crinum ‘Cecil Houdyshel’ Bulbs

Crinum 'Cecil Houdyshel' Bulb

Crinum ‘Cecil Houdyshel’ Bulb

cri·num – [krahy-nuhm] noun

Any of the tropical and subtropical bulbous plants constituting the genus Crinum, of the amaryllis family, usually having umbels of large, showy flowers.  – Dictionary.com

I’ve been out washing and separating the Crinum bulbs this morning. I ended up with about 30 bulbs ranging in size from 1″ to 4″ across, all from 4 clumps of bulbs dug up last week. :)

As far as I can tell, Crinums were introduced to the United States in the late 1700’s. They were brought over from tropical Asia and southern Africa were primarily found around old southern plantations, (leading me to believe they were quite expensive at the time). Some speculate that they were brought over on slave ships since the Crinum is used in traditional African medicine in Africa and here in the U.S.

There are only about 180 species of Crinum, and some grow up to seven feet tall. Most will only grow in the frost-free South, but I’ve come across successful experiments where these have grown and flowered successfully as far north as New York.

Crinums can be propagated from seeds, from offsets from the main bulb, or from bulb cuttings. They should be grown in sandy soil with plenty of compost. (Sandy soil is something we’ve got a lot of here in my part of North Carolina!)

Upon reading more about Crinums, I’ve found that they currently range in price (on the internet) from about $20 for a small bulb to $40 for a large “bloomer”, and are very rarely offered commercially anymore. In other words, don’t expect to find these at your local Lowes or Home Depot. Now knowing this, I’ve decided to keep a few of these out for trading purposes. :)