Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Texas winter...

Dear friends,

Our winter here has been very hard on my achy joints and muscles, and all the rain and almost constant grey skies have taken a toll on my mood. That's why, when plants went on clearance around Thanksiving, I splurged on a wild ginger. I've wanted one for years and knew that they might not make it through our winters.

I was gifted with a few blooms soon after buying the plant. Of course, the photo doesn't do them justice. I expected an exotic scent. Not so much.

Photo copyright ©2016 by Bobbi A. Chukran. All Rights Reserved.
 They did well for a while. Actually, they did well until the first cold snap we had. It wasn't quite freezing, only in the 40s. But there's a reason these plants are known as "tender tropicals." Right now the pot of dead leaves is sitting in my makeshift "faux greenhouse" which is a sheet of plastic across my garden shed porch alcove. Will they survive? We shall see.

Indoors, we're starting another phase of our old house remodeling--turning the back laundry/junk room (with seven huge windows) into a dedicated garden/plant room. Hopefully. We have a lot of constraints--no walls to put walls on, those pesky windows, plumbing that has to be moved, etc. etc. I'll share pics as they become available.

Today it's warmer and the sun is shining. And for that, I'm grateful.

Happy trails!

bobbi a. chukran

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Are you a seed snatcher?

Love this article over on the Flea Market Gardening site on seed snatching! I think most obsessive gardeners have done this at one time or another. I happen to have two lovely little trees that I'm growing from seeds I snatched  harvested responsibly from the trees at the Barnes and Noble at Lakeline in Austin.  They've been growing in a large pot now for a couple of years. It wasn't difficult to get them to sprout.

Hope you enjoy the article as much as I did!


Potted Mexican Buckeye tree, grown from seed

Friday, November 20, 2015

Four Years ago this Week...

Back in November 2011, four years ago this week, we were finishing up the ceramic tile on the kitchen floor and working on the installation of the pine butcherblock countertops in our vintage kitchen. Or should I say, formerly vintage. Now it's sort of a mix of vintage and retro. Here's the link where I blogged about it and posted more pics:


BEFORE, when we bought the house in June 2011:

And AFTER, in February 2012:

 The 1930s style doors are original to the house, and were previously in between the two front rooms, which were used as a formal living room and huge dining room. We moved the doors and closed up the walls in between the two other rooms.

Every time I think we aren't making progress, all I have to do is wander back a bit in time. :-)

Happy trails!

bobbi c.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

For the mantis lovers out there...

This is an oldie, but goodie. A short story I wrote about a creature attack in my garden. :-)

Published in SEEDS, the weekly e-newsletter published by Texas Gardener Magazine and edited by Michael Bracken.


Take a look and subscribe to SEEDS. It's free, and includes Texas garden tips, events, short articles and more. Can't beat that with a stick!

Happy gardening!

bobbi a.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Downtown Natchez, MS Container Gardens

Dear Earthly gardeners,

I recently put on my travelin' shoes. . .and went to Mississippi.

Husband and I recently returned from an amazing trip to Mississippi. I'd never been there before, and even though we were seeking out some great blues music (YES, we found it), I also had my peepers peeled for garden-ish things.

I wasn't disappointed. Downtown Natchez, MS is filled with container gardens of all sorts. Here are just a few of the photos I snapped along the way.

Some of the old downtown buildings have been turned into residences. The container garden in front of this one really caught my eye.

Farther down the sidewalk, by the entrance doors, these wonderful statues guarded the entry.

A beautiful downtown courtyard garden, in front of an oil company building:

And since I'm a sucker for any kind of wrought iron, these dark pink ones made my heart go pitty-pat!

Many of the pots were filled with mandavillas, a beautiful Mexican native plant that I've been unable to keep alive here in my Texas climate. They usually die back in the winter. I thought that this area of MS was in the same zone as my garden, but apparently not. Either that, or they wrap and cover the plants over the winter.

This one was my absolute favorite. I grow things in tubs in my container garden, but never thought about doing a decorative stencil around it. I love that, as well as the trellis at the back used for support. I assume it's part of an old metal bed--twin sized.

And here's the view from our hotel window. We both loved Natchez and have already talked about going back.

 Happy gardening,

bobbi a. chukran
AKA "bobbi c."

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Plant more flowers!

This is my lesson for the week--plant more flowers!

Just ran across this little jewel from Fran Sorin's blog. Fran is the author of DIGGING DEEP: UNEARTHING YOUR CREATIVE ROOTS THROUGH GARDENING, a book I just purchased to amuse myself while on vacation.

"Research has shown that being in the presence of flowers increases your level of optimism and sense of security, helps to decrease stress, and can have a significant effect on your ‘happiness’ factor."

Hey, I'm all for that!

Although I've planted scads of native plants and herbs that flower and bloom, it wasn't until we moved into our vintage cottage that I started planting flowers again.

Over the last few years, abandoned flower bulbs have popped up here and there on the property, and with the recent rains, have flourished. An ancient scraggly bush hidden behind some "trash" trees started blooming. Turns out, it's a very old spirea bush. Hurricane lilies popped up beside the driveway and a few lonely hyacinths popped up under the pecan tree. Poppies in the front lawn, grape hyacinths in the side yard and spider lilies in the overgrown flower bed--then the irises started blooming again.

Several yahoos have delighted themselves with telling me how our property USED TO be covered with flowers when the former residents lived here. Well, yeah. Sorry, but they don't live here anymore.

But I did get inspired. So I'm starting with a simple packet of zinnia seeds, and hope they don't drown before they have a chance to bloom. Flower seeds are SO inexpensive and you can find them almost anywhere these days. So, do you still have an excuse for NOT planting flowers?  I didn't think so. :-D

Go dig in the dirt! (And if it's too wet, put 'em in a pot!)

bobbi c.