Articles (Blog)
Posted on May 6, 2018 8:00 AM by Gerry Trout
Jon just came in and said, "Have you seen what's growing in the compost bin?"
 I thought he was referring to the squash seeds that have sprouted in there.  I saw them yesterday, and was pretty excited about free squash plants.
But NO!!!  Today this was growing on the top layer.  YAK!!!  So I looked up 'fuzzy yellow mold'.  You can find everything on the internet!!!  Well I found this. 
Its name is Fuligo septica.  But wait!!!!  The common names are even more unattractive:  Scrambled eggs slime mold, and Dog vomit slime mold.  OK.  That's GROSS.
But the good news is this:  It's not harmful to the compost or the garden.  It spreads by spores and grows in really wet places.  So keep the compost bin DRY, and don't freak out when you see it.  It won't hurt YOU.  Except NOW whenever you see it you'll think about dog vomit.  GROSS!!!!!
That's my cheerful contribution to your morning read.  Sorry.  ;P 
Posted on May 5, 2018 8:00 AM by Gerry Trout
Yesterday we went up to Brasstown Bald, and hiked up the trail from the bottom of the road.  We had only gone a short way when we started seeing Ladyslipper orchids!!!!!!
It is a fairly common wildflower, but it takes my breath away every time I see one.
They grow in colonies in pine-dominated forests, and are dependent on microorganisms that live in the soil.  So they don't transplant well.  I've seen people selling them at the flea market:  but save your money;  they probably won't survive transplanting.  Just enjoy them in their native habitat.
They are just starting to bloom now, so you should be able to see them for a couple more weeks.
You don't have to drive up the road to the parking lot;  just park at the bottom and walk up the hiking trail.  In about a half mile you will see hundreds of them. 
Be prepared to be amazed!!!!!
Posted on May 4, 2018 8:00 AM by Gerry Trout
If you loved watching the bluebird nest, you might enjoy this new angelcam on the titmouse nest.
They are very different, and fun to see inside the nest.  When can we ever do that?
Go to  Yorktown titmouse nest and see into another world.
Posted on May 3, 2018 8:00 AM by Gerry Trout
Sandy Bradley sent me this picture today.  It is one of her grandbuddies shucking black beans that they grew in her garden.  Her message said....if you know how to pick em, you NEED TO KNOW how to shuck them beans.
Thank you, Sandy for training the next generation:  how to grow and harvest REAL food.
Posted on May 2, 2018 8:00 AM by Gerry Trout
Karen finally found something that the deer won't eat!!!   YAY! for you!!!!!
Bearded Iris are beautiful perennials named after the Greek Goddess of the Rainbow.
The best time to plant iris is early spring, to give them a chance to establish their roots before blooming.  Late autumn planting doesn't offer this, and they don't grow as well.  Be careful not to bury the rhizome; it could prevent the plant from blooming.  Iris also doesn't like mulch;  I guess the roots want to "breathe."
When they become overcrowded they don't bloom as well, so they need to be divided.  It is usually done after blooming, by lifting out the entire clump, and cutting it into individual plants.  Each rhizome will have a fan of leaves. 
This is the time to replant, or share with your friends and neighbors.  Everybody loves Iris.
Posted on May 1, 2018 7:50 AM by Gerry Trout
I hope you are still checking on the bluebird nest in Yorktown.  There are two babies, and they actually look like birds now!  They are adorable!!!!!  And they are getting very active.
Here, I'll make it easy for you....  Just click on the link.  Better hurry!  They will fledge soon, really soon.
Posted on April 30, 2018 8:00 AM by Gerry Trout
Categories: General
Ever wonder why.... Barns are painted red?  click here.
Very interesting!!!!  I love The Farmer's Almanac.
Posted on April 29, 2018 8:00 AM by Gerry Trout
Rhododendron calendulaceum, better known as Flame Azalea.  They have brilliant yellow to orange flowers.  I've seen several different colors.  All beautiful!!
They are native to our Appalachian mountains, and range from New York to Alabama.   They grow in deciduous forests and on the edges of the forest.  
Flame Azaleas are blooming all over our neighborhood right now, so be sure to notice them in your travels.
Posted on April 27, 2018 8:00 AM by Gerry Trout
In this area, clematis is a perennial vine.  There are many varieties, some native, others cultivated hybrids.  All beautiful vines.  We've had this clematis for over ten years!!  And she blooms like this every spring!
There are too many rules about growing clematis to remember them all, but the best one is this:
In general, clematis likes its feet in the shade and its head in the sun. 
So we planted ours under the deck, and let it climb the 4 x 4 posts up through the top deck railing.  I use garden string for it to latch onto, and guide it a little as it goes up.  You can see that I extend the string up the sunburst railings.  It doesn't grow that high every year, but when it gets big enough, it fans out.  
You know how grapevines have tendrils?  Well, clematis uses a tendril-like stem on its leaves that twists around the support.  In this case, the garden string.  Of course, it has a mind of its own, reaching for the sunlight, so I try to guide it the way I want it to go.  Sometimes it's very tidy, and some years it's all over the place.  
But it's always beautiful!!!
Posted on April 26, 2018 8:00 AM by Gerry Trout
How cute is he!?!   Doing an excellent job of guarding the garden.