The return of the excessive gardener?


Well, after six surgeries on my left leg last year–the sixth being in October–I am finally back. Left with a lot of complications from the last surgery, I am only now conscious of my surroundings. Imagine my surprise at the number of changes to WordPress. Continue reading

Bed bugs, Mostly Dead, a stubborn hibiscus, and what about Bob?


Ever have bed bugs? One can pick them up from the gym, a hotel, or even a friend. There’s no cleaner person than RM’s son, “the boy” yet while I was in the skilled nursing facility (aka the home) RM told me the boy had discovered bed bugs in his bedding. Continue reading

Garden requiem in excelsis

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Surely you should be dead by now hibiscus


So this is another Florida winter!  After days of temperatures in the 70’s F (20’s C), having to turn on the AC (mostly because RM has been suffering hot flashes), it is early morning, at the time of writing, and 59 F (15 C). I am cold but I dare not turn on the furnace for fear it would wake my roommates, and I do enjoy my quiet early mornings. Continue reading

The dogs of winter


As many of you know, this weekend was Fall Back Weekend in the States. I awoke at the new time of 7 AM to find that it was 45 degrees F or 7 degrees C outside. The winds yesterday were outrageous. The huge leaves of my potted banana plants acted like propellers–lifting them off the ground and dropping them in a scatter of torn leaves and dumped dirt. Continue reading

Walking on the Sun

Nazca Desert, Peru

Nazca Desert, Peru

“Yes, hello?”

“Ma, it’s me.”

“Me, who?”

“Very funny. You left a message. Said it’s very important?”

“Not too important, DeDe.”

“Ma, I’m in the middle of nowhere in the Nazca Desert, bouncing this expensive call off a satellite heading for Jupiter. What is it?” Continue reading

A word about avocado trees

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You know when you were a kid you saved an avocado seed and stuck toothpicks in it and suspended it in a glass of water (one of your mother’s good glasses) and waited for the tap-root to emerge and grow. Eventually it emerged but turned funky looking and your mother declared it diseased and threw it away. Continue reading

Gardening update: the bugs are back in town

It’s time to get with the program.  All you’ve been seeing lately are my attempts at flash fiction.  My plants, my garden, have been suffering because of it.  So, let’s get down to brass tacks, shall we?


Update on Mostly Dead Tree:  She’s still with us.  We haven’t had the heart(s) to cut her down, yet.  Besides, she gives a bit of shade– not much.  And, the red-bellied woodpeckers love her, pecking away at her in the wee hours of the morning, the hammering sound echoing throughout the neighborhood. Continue reading

Battle of Mandevilla and the Case of the Missing Loquats

Mandy Mandevilla

Mandy Mandevilla

Those of you who are not familiar with Mandevilla I should tell you that it’s not in the Philippines and General MacArthur’s forces are not fighting the Japanese for it.  It’s a plant:  a very hardy and fast growing vine, normally (unless your roommate (RM) selects a diseased  plant) .  Its trumpet-shaped flowers come in assorted colors on varieties of mandevillas.  I have yellow and  red plants (Mandevilla sunmandecrim).  Actually, the yellow plant is called a mandevilla but it’s usually Urichtes lutea or Pentilinon luteum.  They can live in containers and even live indoors, but you better be ready to meet the Giant because they’ll grow up through the roof of your house unless you take control. Continue reading

Showcase: Crown of Thorns

According to the old Thai saying, the number of flowers on your crown of thorns will bring you luck in life. The crown of thorns (Euphorbia splendens milii) is a native of Madagascar and a cousin of the poinsettia, and was introduced to France in 1821. It is suspected it was introduced to the Middle East in ancient times and legend associates it with the crown of thorns worn by Christ. It is also known as the Christ plant or Christ thorn, and Siamese Lucky plant. This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit. Continue reading

Garden update

 I  like gardening – it’s a place where I find myself when I need to lose myself. – Alice Sebold

It’s getting close to the Vernal Equinox.  Spring will begin March 20th.  It’s  time for an update on how the plants weathered the winter here in Florida.  We had several weeks of below 60 F (15 C) which may sound ludicrously warm to those of you who have received a lot of snow.  Sorry about that.  I had to lug several of my potted plants into the house at night, such as the aloe vera, the crown of thorns; New Guinea impatience, and my young banana plants. It was a pain in the toches but well worth it in the long run. Continue reading

Yes, we have no bananas

September 2013

My banana plants have melancholy.  I worked on them all last spring and summer and brought them up to a level of excellence unparalleled in the history of the neighborhood.  Now they’re crap.  A cold spell and high coastal winds badly damaged the leaves and who knows if the plants themselves will survive.  One already toppled over and I doubt it was collateral damage from the dissipating Squirrel War. Continue reading

The War of the Squirrels

Snail sign. That’s not good. Little ones– they’re more difficult to spot. Snails are slimy slugs with shells. I bought diatomaceous earth to put around the plants. It’s just like ground up seashells, only tiny diatoms. Snails won’t travel over that, cuts them up, like broken glass. Couldn’t use the diatomaceous earth because of the baby lizards and frogs. They hide from predators in the hibiscus and the mandevilla and just about all the potted plants. Will have to think of something else.Spider mites seem to be gone. I see an occasional white fly. Continue reading

Who am I?

Everything in excess is opposed to Nature – Hippocrates

ImageHello. My name is Lucy and I am an excessive gardener. I have gardened on and off over the years in various USDA Plant Hardiness Zones. I moved to Zone 10a from Zone 7b last winter .  My problem is that I am consumed by my  fondness  of plants. I can’t pass by a Home Depot or Lowe’s without stopping in to make a quick purchase at the gardening center. Continue reading

The Recalcitrant Hibiscus


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Healthy hibiscus plants yield  large, luxurious blooms, in vivid shades from red to pink, yellow , orange, purple and white. The flowers of some species are also fragrant.  Hibiscus belongs to the mallow family of plants,  Malvaceae , which has several hundred species that are native to warm-temperate, subtropical and tropical regions throughout the world   Many species are popular  because of their showy flowers and their attractiveness to bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Continue reading

Not exactly the Ten Plagues


Mostly dying hibiscus

Mostly dying hibiscus

The hibiscus are not looking chipper these days.  I have struggled to keep them healthy, usually spending a great deal of time consulting sites on the internet.  I have gone to Home Depot for all sorts of remedies and even tried home-made ones.  I’m pretty good at identifying the problems but this time I’m out of solutions. Continue reading