Archive for September, 2011

Linda shows us how color, shape, and texture all work together for a gorgeous fall foliage display. She writes,  “I enjoy the brilliant color of Canna Phasion.  I paired it with a Coleus (seen in background).  I believe it was called ‘Color Blaze’.   Cannas have such great color in it’s foliage, the flower is only a bonus.  Canna Phasion has a bright orange bloom.”


Karen submitted a set photos of spectacular-looking assorted peppers she has in her garden this year. She writes, “These were all taken in my garden during September. I have been freezing a lot of peppers!”

These are for three batches of chili. They will taste good this winter.

Photo includes varieties Valencia, Orange, Golden California Wonder, Mariachi, Inferno, Big Bomb

Photo includes varieties Valencia, Orange, Golden California Wonder, Mariachi, Inferno, Big Bomb


"Orange" is purple first.

Karen is growing a new sunflower variety this year, Italian White. They are more branched than typical sunflowers and continue to bloom after the other varieties are done.

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New Blogistas

My apologies to Pat, Paul and Naida for forgetting to snap some photos of them at their workstations.  I had hoped to add a little visual interest to this rather mundane follow-up  post, and showcase their very professional looking work.

Sue and I had a few rough moments getting our equipment to work at the unfamiliar 4-H computer lab.  Finally, we managed to get most of it up and running with just minutes to spare.  By this time, both of us were more than a little frazzled by these unforeseen glitches…and taking pictures was the last thing on our minds!

I am disappointed only half of our registered participants were able to attend. However, this did allow Linda, Sue and I to give one-on-one instruction, which is the best way to go with anything computer related.  As a result, I am pleased to report that all of our “students” took to the posting side of things like ducks to water.

The ” hardest” thing was registering with WordPress.  The rest is so easy and intuitive, it makes posting a breeze compared with the challenges of regular desktop publishing.  Text composing and editing were covered in great detail until everyone was quite comfortable with doing it, and then photo uploading was addressed.  Linda’s CAD experience was put to good use in explaining how to set up and post photos in a slide show, which I think is a cool way to go.

By the end of the session, everyone was able to produce top quality postings using their own photos in a variety of formats.  WP lives up to its reputation as being the most user-friendly of the blogging programs, with a professional looking end product that anyone can produce with minimal training.

Between the two classes, I hope we have found a new group of “authors” who will become regular contributors to the blog.  We need this new input in order to provide fresh and varied content that will continue to interest you as our readers.



If Sue and Linda are willing, we will offer more classes in November for those who missed this round of sessions.  For anyone who wants to become more familiar with how the blog works, this will be an excellent opportunity to see what is done to produce the content.  Hopefully it might even inspire more of you to submit an occasional article.  Remember the blog is the voice of the association and it needs your support.

My thanks to 4-H director Judi See for allowing us to use the lab at such short notice and for Brenda Reau for making the arrangements.   We also owe Sue Ryan a big thank you for putting in so many hours of extra work developing the practice demo blog program, in addition to keeping the blog running and holding down a regular job.

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Sweetspire, or Itea Virginica "Little Henry" with Spring flowers

Are you a fan of “Burning Bush” Euonymus? Two years ago I planted a different shrub called Itea Virginica “Little Henry”. I also planted a variety called “Henry’s Garnet”. These deciduous shrubs have beautiful white flowers in the spring, green leaves in the summer, and gorgeous, deep burgundy color in the fall. They are very easy to grow and I recommend them instead of “Burning Bush” because of the beautiful flowers in the spring. Fall is a great time to plant woody ornamentals, so I hope you will try Itea Virginica in your yard.

Beautiful Fall Color of "Little Henry"

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Linda submitted another section of her gorgeous garden.  This area is behind the waterfall and has a wide variety of textures.

I am attracted to relationships between symmetry and asymmetry in nature. The sunflower I submitted a few weeks ago was one example. Here is another:

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Garden Structure

This year I added this seating area onto my potting shed.  I love to sit there and read garden magazines while contemplating what next will happen in my garden.  I tried to make it somewhat transitional in style by adding a few oriental details like the red circle openings on the sides, and planting some lucky bamboo, kale and  grass in the window boxes.  Yet it needed  to fit within the architecture of my small ranch home, so it was not out-of-place.   It’s still a work in progress. Included in the area around the shed are two oriental tree peonies; one is the new Itoh, Kopper Kettle, ( a hybrid crossed between the herbaceous peony and the woody tree peony) and a beautiful pink tree peony, known as  Guan Hong Xia.  Both bloomed well this spring along with my deciduous azaleas and wisteria as shown in photos.  The photo of the shed was taken about a week ago, showing the foliage from the current plants.  I am truly enjoying it this season. I’m looking forward to adding a vertical garden on the left side wall next spring.

The Potting Shed-bench

Itoh Peony Kopper Kettle

Guan Hong Xia

Deciduous azelia “Mandarin Lights”


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Well, mourning is over and it’s time to move forward. Our once shady yard is now nearly full sun, thanks to the emerald ash borers that killed six mature ash trees in our yard. We have been gradually working at getting them down, but the last two years we’ve so enjoyed easily observing the hummingbirds, finches, chickadees, waxwings and other birds’ behaviors as they perched, courted, fought over territory and scouted for predators from the dead branches. We finally decided they had to come down and spent this weekend working at it. Since we enjoy watching the hummers so much, we’ve decided to leave the trunks and use them as structures for flowering vines. I’m really thinking about trumpet vine or wisteria, but am nervous about their thug-like natures. (One good thing – the trunks are not near the house or shed.) I’d also like to find something that would cover the trunks and bloom in the next two years. Our soil is sandy and with a neutral pH, maybe a tick or two into slightly alkaline. What would some of our more experienced MGs advise?

emerald ash borer damage

I'm seeing the potential...


...or at least trying to.

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Here’s a great tool offered from the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas A&M System.  This is a great pictorial tool for tomato problems.  Just click on the link (or copy and past).


The website also has a guide for cucurbit problems.  I suggest you browse the site for other sources of information.


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