Garden Challenge

Woke the following day to explore what was left of the garden. In conversations with a neighbor while away I heard the Florida heat and drought was severe so I anticipated much demise. Shocked to see how much did survive I eagerly pulled out my shears and trimmed the dead to allow regrowth of the remaining plants.

Since the shearing the garden is showing life and a semblance of order. The hibiscus bushes which I never planted are now three bushes strong and the oleander is 4 foot tall. Where those hibiscus came from I will never know, but glad they selected my garden as I welcome them. Perhaps the garden is good to see me back.

Having bought many bulbs at an Aldi’s while away I began research to ensure their survival with hungry squirrels. There are many bare spots in the garden next to the porch so ample space for the bulbs. After their 6 week refrigerator incubation they will be planted in cayenne pepper soil with chicken wire placed over the ground then forks placed upright in the chicken wire, and another layer of soil with globs of Tree Tanglefoot applied to the new soil. Almost sounds like lasagne wouldn’t you say?

And last but not least the final additions…

I’ve recently hung out a for rent sign and looking for occupants.

More Raleigh

After leaving the art museum I ventured to the North Carolina State Fair grounds which has a flea market every Saturday and Sunday 9 to 6. There are outside booths as well as an air conditioned booths inside. What a clean and organized flea market. As with any flea market they sold soup to nuts, furniture to clothing, kitchen supplies to farm supplies, but never have I seen a flea market that sells this….

So, go see what you can find. Maybe you need a chandelier. Tell them I sent you.

A few miles down the road from the flea market was the JC Raulston Arboretum. 6,000 different kinds of plants are in the landscape collection. This research and teaching center is named in honor of the late director and founder, Dr. J.C. Raulston, a North Carolina professor. Nice spot with many trees supplying shade. During this visit there were several wedding parties taking pictures.

Next was Pullman Park. This historic city park has a train ride, paddle boats, a well preserved carousel, picnic facilities, and a playground. It’s a good place for young families to hang out, and there is ample free parking. Rides are $1.50. Here are a few pictures.

Then back to the NCMA for a benefit Nina Simone concert. This was a sultry night of jazz with Lisa Simone, who flew in from Paris, performing songs of her mother. A native of Tyron, North Carolina, this woman had a fascinating career and life. She left us too soon. More information on her life can be found on

This fundraiser was to repair and refurbish the childhood home of the jazz great. Her home has been proclaimed a national treasure and placed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Contributions can be made at

What a way to end a perfect day.

#2 Sealing Up The Condo For Departure

I began to move on to other concerns now that the security of the condo was established. First on the list was learning how to turn off the water. Ron, one of the condo maintenance men, was key in this assist as the cover over the turn off valve was a nightmare to open. Here I learned the value of a flat screwdriver and hammer for cover removal. We then dug through dirt and found the valve to turn. These valves are in elbow deep holes, but I didn’t fall in, and the valves turned with ease.

The third picture is the hole, doesn’t it look like a sci-fi character?

Ventilation concerns moved with ease. I am a professional when it comes to air filter removal and installation. Life would be so much easier if everything had an arrow to direct you. On day of departure I will make sure the temperature is set at 80 cool so upon return there will be no mold in the sheet rock. Another item completed.

Success, look who turned on at 9 pm and shut off at 11 pm..

While I thought security was finished as I opened a kitchen drawer 3 lamp timers came to view. How could I have forgotten these? The installation of these babies proved to be a larger than life nemesis, even worse than the window devices. For the last 3 days I have been waiting for lamps to turn on and off to no avail. Upon locating the instructions all is well, and I must report my third lamp just turned off as I wrote this line. Thank you, IIIWoods Company, whoever you are. I’d drop you a line raving about the great instructions, however, I am a little busy, and on the sheet there was no address. So, please accept my gratitude via blog.

The final concern is the garden, however, Mother Nature seems to have this covered. Also, Jimmy, our other super skilled maintenance man, was finally sent to watering system school, (yes, there is such a place), and this baby is functioning well. I trust upon my return there will be many blooms.

In the meantime, as Stephen would say, I owe you a blog or 2 on my favorite places in St. Augustine. Stay tuned.

Garden Growth

With the heavy Florida rain my garden is blossoming by leaps and bounds. I have added a rose garden around my Cypress tree. Knock out roses are virtually indestructible. At night I walk around the condo and look at the stars as the garden solar lights keep the alligators at bay. Have to keep all those extremities.

Best side.

CBS This Morning had a gal on speaking about the senior years. As a woman in her late 30’s she stated this is the happiest time of most people’s lives. I’m sure she has many degrees to back up her premise. And who knows?? But, as I look at my garden, it certainly makes me wonder and smile. May it do the same for you.