I do LOVE the turkey with all the traditional fixings, but I may be more excited about the daffodil bulbs now spread out on our dining room table than the upcoming feast.

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For years, I have devoted the day after Thanksgiving to planting my spring blooming bulbs.

The timing is right. The soil must be cool for bulb planting in the South. And I always used to have the day after T’giving off when I worked my big girl job.

But blub planting on Black Friday works for me on a much deeper level. Like a lot of creative people, I struggle with balance. That means the holidays are a mine field.

Bulb planting grounds me (literally) on one the year’s craziest days. And it gets the job done before the busiest part of the season so my bulbs DON’T end up stuffed in the garage and forgotten until 2015.

This year, I’m planting two old favorites. Both February Gold and Ice Follies naturalize in my woods garden. That means their foliage has time to ripen and store energy for the next spring’s bloom before the trees leaf out.

Note that I’m planting them in large numbers. Bulbs are small, especially viewed from a window on a cold early March day.

Also note that until planting time, the bulbs are spread out in shallow boxes in a place that is not too hot or cold. Temperature and air circulation are very important when storing bulbs. Don’t worry– I’ll clear off the table before the feast, though.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Blub Planting! Enjoy!


The last of summer from the garden is always precious and bitter sweet.

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Pal Robert sent this photo from his Clayton (NC) garden a few days ago. I like the fact that Robert always includes flowers for the table in his pickings.

Last week, friend Margie emailed to say they were still getting tomatoes and peppers in her Douglasville, Georgia garden.

About the same time, I made my last harvest and pulled out the scraggly plants.

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This bounty was followed by a few busy days in the kitchen.

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I roasted the peppers, made chili, and froze the rest of my roasted peppers in ziplocks.

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With the eggplant and few tomatoes, I cooked a big pan of caponata, the sweet and sour Sicilian relish. My favorite recipe comes from Martha Rose Schuman’s Very Best Recipes for Health. This is the book I reach for most often when I’m cooking fresh veg-

The leftover caponata is in the freezer, making me feel very RICH. What a nice way to transition from summer into fall.

Have you picked your final harvest yet?


Is anything nicer than Autumn sunlight slanting through trees–

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My favorite fall camellia heavy with blooms–

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This is William Lanier Hunt, a Camellia Forest introduction.

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A long awaited honey-do project finally getting done–

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Thanks to pals Ivy and Megan for the gate and husband Bill for doing such a splendid job hanging it.

A new bed waiting to be filled–

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Our pup Tralee also likes to garden.

A newly arrived bulb order waiting to be planted–

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More on this mass of bulbs in a later post. I’m in a hurry to finish writing and go enjoy the sunshine.

Fall is the best season in the South, time to get back to the garden and all its pleasures (including the garden blog in my case–sorry for my long absence).

How are you celebrating the season?


powersctlongshot

If you love to garden and love to travel, IRELAND should be near the top of your list.

The Wicklow Mountain region south of Dublin is called Ireland’s garden spot (with good reason). Powerscourt, the most visited garden in the country was voted number 3 on Nat. Geo’s list of the world’s top gardens.

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It is a garden on a grand scale–think Downton Abby with a shovel–

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Pebble paving, Italian terraces, lots of statues and fountains–

Mount Usher in the village of Ashford is very different.

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A wild river garden that’s over a hundred years old, it’s all about layered plantings, meandering paths, and HUGE trees, from around the world.

Check out the steps that rise from the tree roots. You have to go though the two trunks to climb–

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Yes–there is a traditional English style perennial border, but like so much of Mount Usher, it’s a surprise. You find it though a small arched opening in an enormous hedge wall.

I LOVE this garden!!


I’ll admit nurseries do have a lot of splendid plants. And I’ve dropped a TON of cash in them over the years.

But the summer flowers I love the most are home grown. All came from seed I purchased years ago. All continue to reseed with abandon in my garden, so lucky me, I’m never without.

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Woodland tobacco is at the top of the list. I love these upside down candelabras. Need I say that tobacco grows well in NC? Unlike the smoking cousin, these plants do well in part shade.

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This purple plume celosia is another can’t-live-without plant. It’s tall, with colorful foliage, splendid for cutting and looks beautiful in a large summer/fall vase.

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Tina James evening primrose opens fragrant lemon colored blossoms as the sun goes down. Can you say drama? Having this plant is like a having a slow-mo photography show right in your front yard. Kids and non-gardening neighbors are always amazed.

That’s my list. What about you? Any late summer flowers you can’t live without?

A long-time gardener and a passionate beginner share the dirt on their NC gardens-

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