CindySue's blog

A pair of Annies
Posted on Jun 11, 2017 6:36 PM

Pruned the annies when I got them. Let them rest about a week and repotted them. Didn't pot them together but they're together with their own pots.

Pruned them a small amount again today and stuck a soft cutting with the scraggliest one - both putting on lots of growth but the scraggly one isn't keeping up. He's on the right and leaning WAY over to the left. He doesn't seem happy. I may cut him all the way back and nurse the suckers. His leaves are well formed, perfectly green and standing out but they are SUPER, super thin. There's something going on there, I SUSPECT in the lower portion of that wacky mainstem. The suckers are good and strong but there is no activity at all along that long bare portion of the stem. The other has sported growth all up and down his previously leggy stem so I'll be removing his suckers.

The seeds are Portugal Laurel (Prunus lusitanica). Not sure how they're going to fare (or if they'll even germinate). I'm a little out of their comfort zone BUT I have a dozen of them and a thermodynamic plan - so we'll see. I'll be putting a wick mat under their tray as they reportedly like moisture but not necessarily in the form of water, LOL, which is tricky with the soil I'm using and this dry wind. I'm sprinkling them 2 or 3 times per day with a shaker and wetting their tray but they don't stay moist. Apparently they need sun and moisture without actually being wet to germinate so...we'll see. I might make them a little baby moisture-harvesting cover. I think I have a way that will draft the heat out the top and cool the air coming in the bottom AND drip so they can have their moisture but not boil in it. Actually, the wick might be all they need. We'll see.

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Still with the weird weather
Posted on Jun 5, 2017 5:11 PM

90s during the day and 50s at night. And, of course, after the flooding, windy and dry as a bone. Pfft!

Finally snagged me a couple of young hydrangeas, sans fungus - Annabelles - one for the landing pad and one for the backyard. I have to get them out of the pots they're in but I think I'll containerize them for a couple of years and just heel them in for the winter. They're scraggly and leggy and look like they were probably potted last year and then got behind something maybe or were otherwise forgotten about. Much like my boxwood looked when I got him. He was a bit neglected but he was happy so I took him home where he was surrounded by tulips this year, LOL, I thought I'd gotten rid of all of them but they sprang up right next to him this year so I think I'll leave him a few. I doubt they'd be able to get out of that particular bed. of course, they got INto that bed somehow, after being eliminated, or so I thought - which was kinda weird...now that I think about it. Must have been his favorite buds.

Anyway, the Annabelles aren't much to look at, at the moment, but they're fine. Maybe I'll put them in the same container and let them buddy up until I actually plant as one appears to be doing better than the other.

We'll just buddy everybody up and see what happens. I can divide them when I plant them and give the one in the back some poppy mix wildflower buddies and since it's extra hot on the landing pad, I think I'll buddy that one up with a clamshell shaped trellis I've been sort of engineering in my head, with some Morning Glories for afternoon shade.

It seems mean but I'm so glad my neighbor moved. It feels good to be outside again. I avoided hanging out outside before he moved. Isn't that terrible. He was fine but I just couldn't get past his vibe. It was so miserable and angry. Not at me but just in general. I don't know. He moved and I'm glad and I choose to think of him at a new house that doesn't flood and happy to be there. They got hit far worse than I did as they had just finished their basement - new floors, carpet, furniture, the whole works - whereas I prefer mine as storage and workspace. Oh well, that's my story and I"m sticking to it: He's in his new house that doesn't flood and he's happy. The end. And I can work outside and not be overwhelmed by the man and be happy. The other end.

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Not Really a Gardener
Posted on May 30, 2017 11:32 PM

I'm a shrubbery gal. I love shrubs. In particular, hydrangeas. Some of my best friends are hydrangeas, going back to my very first summer. My grandmother had a hydrangea that was bigger than her little dirt floor garage. I was 9 months old for my very first hydrangea - my very first summer. All I had to do was stand up and that old hydrangea just handed me flowers - I've been walking ever since and talking to hydrangeas every summer since I was born. Even for these past few years, in this new house, with none of my own, I'm practically surrounded by them.

What amazes me most is that, even including that first summer, I've only had 60 summers. It makes me feel young to think about how little actual experience that is and how little experience I have, even with hydrangeas - and how little experience most have with gardening in general.

It's like farming. How many farmers do you suppose there have been who have brought in a hundred harvests? It can't be more than a handful. Compare that to the number of meals a cook has prepared or how many times a dairy farmer has milked his cows where every meal and every milking is like a season in itself.

This is only my 60th summer and that just amazes me.

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** A ramble from the "What's eating my hydrangeas" post in perennials...@TheGoodSoil
Posted on May 30, 2017 5:37 PM

Hydrangeas are like magic. If you're patient, they'll adapt to just about anything - unless it's just hellish where they are but there are other things you can do. If the sun comes up behind the house, it might just be a matter of moving it out a little further away from it so that it gets some a little bit earlier, before it gets to the beating down stage, so it's not as much of a shock. Or you could add something interesting that would give it a little bit of relief. It doesn't need to be completely shaded. It could even be a flush of shade that simply moves across it during that hottest part of the day.

The sun moves pretty quick - not a fast as the moon, but it moves constantly so even a few tall stalks of another plant could give it some relief during that part of the day. Or maybe just an olla.

You don't want to water it or have it wet with the sun glaring on it as the moisture acts like a bunch of tiny little magnifying glasses but an olla or one of those 2 liter pop bottle things, with some small holes buried near it (I forget what they call them) or something that provides water under the top of the soil where the roots can easily get at it.

Yours don't look too bad and, as you say, they recover pretty quickly once the sun's passed over the high spot a ways, right? Just that little extra water, closer to home, would release some of the energy it uses to increase the reach of its roots in search of water (Which SPENDS some of its water) and have more energy to move the moisture up the stalks and to the flower heads. It's a bit like cutting leaves when propagating from cuttings to release some energy from photosynthesis so your cuttings can add that energy to root production.

It looks like plants just sit there and don't do much but they're very busy little multi-tasking dudes and, like people, they only have so much fuel and muscle to work with. So if you can free up some fuel and strength from its other efforts, it can redirect that energy into protecting itself AND into learning about its new home and adapting to its conditions.

And you probably already know all of this - I'm just rambling. Sorry.

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Well poop...flooding.
Posted on May 19, 2017 8:26 AM

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The top photo is the currently flooding view down the wind tunnel - the one below is the landing pad from up in my kitchen window. We just passed 3 inches of rain. Since last night. So far so good but once the property next door is completely underwater, my basement may begin to fill. But NOT with rainwater, if you know what I mean. They're fixing the problem but I'm not sure how far they've gotten in the project so...we'll see. We're officially saturated now.

One note about flooding - here are my flood tools:

Tub trugs. The large ones. NOT the extra large ones because they're too heavy for one person to carry when they're full of wet stuff. Just the large. They are a lifesaver and will cut cleanup time by more than half. They're awesome.

German, rayon chamois. The TV version is call ShamWow but you can get unbranded ones. Be careful when you go to buying these. You want the 20 x 27 inch ones. Not "large" ones. The large ones are ripoffs.

Clay. Clay, clay, clay. I keep both wet and dry food-grade bentonite clay. And dry pure clay pond sealer. I keep wet clay in a half gallon mason jar with a plastic lid and dry clay in a 5 gallon glass apothecary jar. Pond sealer just in its bag, sealed in a large plastic garbage bad. To save you the bother of me preaching about clay, it has its very own blog post. Clay rocks! Get some, use some, eat some, send the mud some love.

Nu Stock - for various health matters. For you and pets. This is a 75% (by weight) sulfur cream. I use it straight on the dogs and mix it 1 part Nu Stock and 5 parts coconut oil for me. It will last you a very long time for scrapes, cuts, bug bites, rash, poison ivy, anything that might have or attract yuckies. Basically all of the things for which I would use clay but more easily carried and tossed around. Although, Redmond has wet clay in a tube which would not be a bad idea to keep in a bag or in your car or pocket if you're antiquing or rummaging, working out on the back forty or otherwise away from home with no idea what might come up.

MMS - chlorine dioxide. It is a sodium chlorite solution that usually comes in 4 oz bottles. If you're not familiar with it, then get the "set" that includes a 4 oz bottle of citric acid solution. You use it by drops, so it will last a long time. For my basement - which is already leaking so it's damp down there, now. I will put 30 drops of MMS and 30 drops of citric acid into a large, one piece, plastic watering can I got at Walmart years ago which is perfect. It has a big sprinkle head on it and holds about 2 gallons. So, 30 drops of MMS and 30 drops of citric acid solution, let it sit for about a minute (it will stink and smells like bleach or ozone. It's non toxic but it will displace oxygen so don't stick your face over it to smell it) after a minute, I will fill the can with water and sprinkle distribute it all over the basement floor. Soaking wet, running under partition walls, washer/dryer stands, everything. Then I'll close off the basement and let it do its thing for an hour or two. Then I'll do it all again. This is not handy, dandy stuff. You can't really stick it in your pocket and whip it out in an emergency. But for decontaminating stuff, it's AWESOME. mix 6 drops each of the MMS and citric acid solutions, let it activate (it turns brown and stinks like bleach or ozone) soak it up with a cotton ball, make room for it and hang it from the bar in your closet and close the door. Then go back an hour later or a day or a week later. It will freak you out a little bit. Make you wonder what that smell in your closet was, all those years. Smells you didn't even realize were there until you eliminated it.

MMS is being used in an effort to eradicate malaria so it is often sold by people from the church that is trying to do that which puts a limit on what they can charge you for it. So, it's cheap. Get some. Keep it in the fridge. You never know when you might need it. It's high-power stuff. It was used to clear the Hart Federal building of anthrax, it's still being used in the clearing of black mold in post Katrina New Orleans and currently being tested and used as a remedy for the toxic drywall that was coming out of China for God only knows how long. It's fast, effective, is spent in its activites and has a super short half life. It's almost perfect.

I already keep everything up off the floor due to the nature of the flooding I've experienced so the only stuff that will be under water is the stuff I can't get up off the floor. BUT, the chlorine dioxide will kill every bad thing in its path PLUS everything the "smell" (gas) comes in contact with at which point the whole mess will be sterile and a whole lot less icky to clean up. Plus, all mold spores will be dead which gives you plenty of time for the whole area to dry out before hidden spores can regroup and colonize and by then you're done cleaning and can move on to the next step.

I probably don't actually have any mold spores in my basement because I keep it sterile with chlorine dioxide (ClO2) AND ozone. And sometimes, grapefruit seed extract but I use that to brush or spray on things and then let them air dry because the half lifes of ozone and ClO2 are so short. The grapefruit seed extract will dry and just sit there, waiting for moisture at which point it will reactivate. So things are cleaned and kept clean.

Which brings us to the last tool which is an ozone generator. I have two. A super small "bare bones" unit from Forever Ozone and a Made in USA commercial unit that looks like a canister vacuum from...I'll have to see if I can find the name of the place 'cause I forget the name. I'll take a side by side picture of them so you can see the difference because the "bare bones" (that's what they call it because it is not encased with a fan) is AWESOME! WAY cheaper than the commercial unit and the plates are just plug and play. You can replace them yourself. Whereas the commercial generator has to be sent back to the factory where they replace the plates and inspect the fan and stuff but it's all self contained, comes in a carrier and can be hauled around from place to place. It is rated as generating more ozone but I don't know what it is but the "bare bones" is more than enough for my small house. I plug it into a timer. Open a window and set a fan blowing IN (to provide fresh air to be converted into ozone and to create pressure in the room so that the ozone can penetrate things like upholstery, mattress, framing inside the walls etc) and crack other windows a little bit and then another fan blowing over the little generator to circulate the ozone and I think it is every bit as good as the commercial unit. But that might just be my preference for its compactness, I don't know. It does the job and it's just so tiny! It's awesome. Mine is full blooded American. Currently, they get parts from China but they're still actually made and, in turn, inspected, in the USA.

Use a timer, that way you can just leave it to activate, shut-off and dissipate without having to breathe it. It's not poison but it does displace oxygen and will irritate the membranes in your air passages and eyes. So, you don't want to sit around in it. You can walk in and turn it on and shut it off if you don't have a timer but timers are about 8 bucks so just get one. You can set it up to generate for a few minutes every day while you're on vacation and come home to a perfectly fresh house.

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