Friday, October 28, 2016

Let's Rebuild Part 2: What Thrived, What Tried, What Died

I realize that, though more and more people are experiencing the total or partial destruction of their habitations and gardens, it's still not the most common experience out there (Phew!). My habitation is now 90% repaired, but my outdoor garden is still a shambles. I finally got out there and did a tally of what survived and even thrived with Hurricane Matthew, what limped through, barely, and what really died. Here are some results:
The Great Survivors: The Jamaican Leaf of Life, The Mother of Millions, Rosemary, Cabbage Palms
Mother of Millions, aka the Devil's Backbone in Bloom
These plants not only survived a Cat 4 hurricane (max winds on my dune were 107mph, or 172kph), but actually managed to propagate themselves or grow robustly after the storm. Interestingly, these are all plants native to areas that experience regular cyclones (or in the case of rosemary, non-cyclonic harsh sea storms). The mother plants were bedraggled, but had babies growing all over the yard and probably beyond.

The Scruffy Stragglers:These plants lived, but were sorely tested and very unhappy with Hurricane Matthew: Aloes, Elder Tree, Frostweed, Cacti, Buttonwood Tree, Lemongrass, Goldenrod, Gynura Procumbens, Garlic and Onions, Sweet Potato, Croton, Plumeria
Plumeria, MRobb
The Plumeria in our neighborhood mostly died, but we all cut off branches and are growing the branches. This is how plumeria survives, so I'm counting it with the Scruffy Stragglers. I really thought my little Elder was dead, but it just put out new leaves this week! The Frostweed also looked completely dead, but some little plantie voice told me to keep watering, and yesterday, it also starting sprouting new leaves. Time will tell. Someday it may look good again!
Frostweed and Leaf of Life, MRobb

The Walking Dead and the Really, Really Dead: Basil, Shiso, Mint, Lithops, Pittosporum, the Mystery Vine, quite a few orchids, Sage, Anthurium

No pics here, just too sad. I did plant some new basil today, as my kitchen can't do without it! I was just starting to get a good shiso harvest, but I may try growing it inside next year, in pots.

So now that I know how everything did, I can start planning with an eye to hurricane survival, just in case we all have to do this again next season (Noooooooo!!!!).

Wishing you all some wonderful Weekend Walkabouts!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Let's Rebuild: The Inspirational Garden Art of Andy Lakey

I won't be replanting my garden until the end of hurricane season, or maybe not until February 2017. But rebuild it I will. One artist in particular has been inspiring me this dreadful October: Andy Lakey.  Interestingly, he was born in October 1959 and died in October of 2012. He was a "naive" artist, with no formal training, who had an NDE (near death experience) as an adult and began to paint angels and the spirits of all sorts of living creatures. He stated that three angels taught him to paint, and not surprisingly, he's most famous for his angel paintings, which hang even in the Vatican:
Andy Lakey, Angel of Hope, courtesy of the BBC
He said his paintings would transmit the right type of loving energy to the right person at the right time. And the stories of his paintings are quite amazing (you can look up several books about Lakey on Amazon or Abebooks if you're curious). Two of his "Brilliant Nature" series (1997) came into my hands this month. They are not as well known as his angels, but clearly, I needed the energy these little plant paintings provide. Every time I look at them, the clouds lift and I smile:
Andy Lakey, Yellow Flowers, acrylic on wood
This one is rather oddly called "Yellow Flowers", and the one with a yellow background is called, "New Flowers":
Andy Lakey, New Flowers, acrylic on wood
I most enjoy painting miniatures myself, and I really like having these in my house. I wish I could have met Andy, he seems to have been a very joyful person.
Andy Lakey

So in these little energetic works I am finding my inspiration to rebuild my shattered garden. Maybe it will even be fun!
Wishing you all a wonderful weekend walkabout!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Back to Blogging, Looking Like a Drowned Rat

We had an unexpected death in the family, then Hurricane Matthew. That's why I haven't blogged in awhile. I'm still feeling quite bedraggled and befuddled, but here I am.

We lost our longtime furry companion. Fortunately, these days more people "get it" that when our other-species companions leave, it hurts a lot. We're losing some of our human arrogance and realizing that relationships with other creatures can be strong and meaningful. That's progress!

It doesn't matter if a loved one is old or young, sick or healthy when they leave. We miss them and it hurts. One of my teachers explained that grief has 3 parts- you feel for them because they suffered and you couldn't stop the suffering, you want to know where their spirit has gone and if they are OK, and mostly, you suffer from the hole in your heart where they used to be. Takes time to work through it all and incorporate the pain into a new version of you, but it does happen:
The Day After, MRobb, 2016
So right after this happened, we had to evacuate 100 miles to escape from Major Hurricane Matthew. Packing our lives into a few small suitcases was a 12-hour marathon I call Speed Prioritizing Your Life. It was quite interesting, and I never want to do it again. I'll write more about it later, most likely.

Fortunately, Matthew took a little wobble to the east ("Wobble, Matthew, Wobble!) and we only lost part of our roof and several chunks of ceiling. Our neighborhood is a mess, but it's livable:
I am feeling very grateful to God and LaSirene for moving Matthew a little to the right...
LaSirene, MRobb, 2012
but also feeling sad and worried for those to the North who are dealing with some horrendous floods.
OK, so what about the garden, after all, this is a garden blog. Well, my indoor garden is OK, but the outside garden is basically gone:
The only thing that stayed standing was one bedraggled schefflera and the Buddha sculpture, and a few Leaf of Life plants from Jamaica:
I did, however, find horseshoe crabs in the garden, left by the storm surge and fierce winds:
Our beach lost a lot of sand it didn't really have enough of in the first place, but the sky was incredibly blue from the fresh and clean air after Matthew roared through:
After the Hurricane, MRobb, Oct2016
So my Weekend Walkabout will be in the clean, fresh air, surrounded by piles of rubble. Hmm.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Adromischus cristatus, the Key Lime Pie Plant, Blooms!

My original post on the Key Lime Pie Plant, aka Adromischus cristatus, remains one of my top 3 popular blog posts. Who could have guessed?
Adromischus cristatus, MRobb
This plant is now bigger, has had multiple children, and is still going strong. This week, it bloomed next to my blue garden Buddha....
Key Lime Pie Plant and Buddha, MRobb, 2016
You can see that as the plant matures, those orange adventitious roots go nutty, and daughter plants sprout alongside the mother plant. Each leaf can start a new plant, so every once in a while, I pinch off a leaf, dip it in rooting hormone, and "throw it and grow it". Wonderful!
And here's a nice pic of a few American Fish Crows from our local Clan Munin:
American Fish Crows, MRobb, 2016
As I always like to say, they are as intelligent as chimpanzees, and as sociable as we are. Love 'em!
Have a great weekend!

Weekend Walkabout? Not So Much....

I recently had major dental surgery so I am too zonked out to think of anything intelligent or amusing to post for y'all! Please forgive me, I'll be back in a few days. Happy gardening to you all in the meantime!
Lantana, MRobb

Frithia pulchra, MRobb

Mammillaria, MRobb

Now back to bed for me....

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Think About It Thursday: Is Life Seeded by Comets and Asteroids??

The OSIRIS-REx Mission may be able to answer those questions, at least a little. Cuz' it's gonna land on an asteroid! To follow this way cool mission, launching from Cape Canaveral, Florida, tonight, check out the website:

But hey, every post needs a picture. And I don't have one of OSIRIS-REx. So, on a totally unrelated topic, here's how the Blackwork Embroidery is going:
What do embroidery and asteroids have in common? Well, maybe asteroid-seeded life forms that like to do embroidery? Who knows? We will, someday. Maybe.
Happy gardening and creating, everyone!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Weekend Walkabout: A Baby Bloomin' Babytoes, Goodbye Hermine, and Blackwork

So Hermine has said goodbye, the first landfalling hurricane here in 11 years. We had a lot of rain and wind, but thankfully, no storm surge on our sand dune.
I have a young Babytoes which is not like my other Babytoes- it's an aurantica! That means its flowers are quite yellow, although it could be a hybrid, as the petals are a light yellow, but not white:
Blooming Baby Babytoes, Aurantica Hybrid???
And I'm working hard on my Blackwork sampler, because I really loved the series "The Tudors", and the magnificent blackwork embroidery in those linen undershirts caught my eye. One of the women in my embroidery group took pity on me and gave me a full course on blackwork embroidery from the 1970s, and this is where I'm at with it:
It's extremely painstaking and meticulous work, but very rewarding. May take several months, but I'll get it! In the meantime, happy gardening and creating!