In the Beginning

This is the post excerpt.

Pots01 1200x280 IMG_5674Several years ago we moved into a new home on 18 acres of land in the country in north central Florida. We are high and dry at 80 feet above sea level. Heavy storms leave little water standing. A wooded area all around us, peaceful and quiet with Oak trees and some pines. The trees and vegetation have been here untouched for thousands maybe millions of years. So, you would think that the soil must be fertile and our daylilies that we brought with us from the other house would do well here. Wrong. We discovered that when we raked away the surface leaves what we found was nothing but pure sand. The soil was so sandy that any decayed plant matter did not remain on the surface but disappeared to the depths below. This turned out to be a big disappointment. Any rich soil and plant nutrients or fertilizer we applied to our daylilies only disappeared. Our beautiful daylilies were suffering and trying to tell us something. We did everything we could for them the first year. It was a bad year. We lost some. We tried but could not bring them back. We had never experienced this soil condition before. We were determined to do this. We badly wanted to have our daylily garden again with bright smiling colorful faces each morning during the spring and early summer. We were so relieved when our experiment worked. We planted all of our daylilies in 5 Gallon plastic nursery pots with the soil they needed, a mix of our own. Now everyone is happy and doing well.

Single or Double which one will you be?

The answer to this question is you will have to wait until the bud opens. Signature Truffle, a Hemerocallis daylily, has just opened this morning. It is a beautiful single bloom flower. The colors are magnificently defined. The petals are Coral peach rose with a gold edge above a huge clover leaf yellow to lime throat. So, I get out my camera, tripod and favorite lens to record this beauty. Keep in mind that we have a lot of these same buds forming on many different fans of the same daylily. Every year we see fifty to eighty blooms from the same species that should be all alike. But not so. Out of all the hundreds of buds that open up, some will open as a single bloom and some will open as a double. Signature Truffle does not look like the daylily the hybridizer described. It was supposed to be a double. A double bloom is has more petals than usual and can be quite beautiful. Why this happens, I don’t know. My best guess is a simple answer and that it is just a twist of nature and all is well.          

A Bad Day

It started out well. I had good intentions. The grass in the yard has got a little taller. I have been watching it grow for a while now. I really need to get out the lawn mower but there are so many other things I want to do. Things that are a lot more fun to do. I remember the last time I had to cut the tall grass. The walk along with 17 inch mower was self propelled and was easy to use but some time ago the self propelled part broke and was too expensive to fix. Now things have changed. The wonderful 17 inch self propelled mower which was a dream to use has become 17 inch (You Push It Yourself) nightmare. As I wheeled it out to the area of highest density and started it up is when I realized that I should have stayed in bed that Saturday morning at least until Monday. I pulled the cord (it didn’t come with a battery) it started up on the first pull, great here we go. It soon stopped running, died with a cough, sounded like it was choking to death. It must be a dirty air filter again or water got into the gas. Ok, it only noon now lets start it up again. It’s a hot day, it’s very humid and I am dripping with sweat but the job has got to be done. Again it started up on the first pull. I almost didn’t see the black slithering snake dart off in the other direction but I did notice the green striped garden hose that I just cut in half hidden beneath the mower in all that xyx@#f grass while pushing that xyz@#ff mower. It was so nice lying in bed this morning watching through the window as the sun came up behind the trees highlighting the daylily garden. As I pushed my way over to where the garden was something attracted my attention away from my chore of lawn mower pushing. One of the daylily buds that I saw the night before was now fully open proudly displaying its colors in all its glory. How beautiful it is. I had to stop and gaze on for a while. When things are not going well in your life you need to stop for a while and look for the beauty in nature. It’s all around you. Just look for it. It can change your whole day.   

Is the weather changing?

This year has been a really bad year for our usually beautiful Spring garden of Hemerocallis Daylilies of many colors and smiling faces to greet us in the early morning sun but not so much this year. Only about one half of all the plants even bloomed, some never put out buds some of them died. Of course the ones that died were some of our favorites. The ones that did bloom bloomed in an irregular fashion. Some of the singles bloomed as doubles and some of the normally double bloomed as single. How odd. We take good care of our plants, the right soil, the right fertilizer and water when they need it.

We observed that the plants did not grow vigorous and tall as they should. We also noticed many of the outer leaves turned yellow with dark brown tips. We suspect that the reason for the disappointing blooming year can be blamed on the weather changes and the plants could not adjust and reacted as if they went into shock. Global warming? I don’t know. I haven’t seen any data nor have I talked to our Weather Forecaster. What I do know from my years of observation and memory is that the Weather is changing.

We are located in the north east part of Florida in an area that is known for its many lakes. Most of these lakes are now dried up and are nothing more than a large hole in the ground with long wooden docks extending out into nothing. A few of the large lakes have survived the long term drought. Every day in the summer it used to cloud up, thunder with a roar, lightening (run for cover) and rain heavily for a short period, clear up and have a nice sunset. It’s not like that any more. The weather is unpredictable, hotter and dryer than it used to be with temperatures in the winter warmer than it used to be.  How will our garden grow next year? I guess we will have to wait and see.

Garden4 13 May 2019 IMG_8242

The nasty Aphid

A common garden pest that loves our Daylilies and invades our garden every year is the Aphid. A nasty juice sucking insect that shows up often here in the warm climate of Florida. Look for them in the new growth area of the plants. They like to cluster on the underside of the leaves and in the center of the plants. They come in many colors. They can be white, yellow, orange, brown, black, gray or green. Aphids are very small soft-bodied pear shaped and very slow moving insects and appear as if they are dead. If ignored and left to their destructive ways you will find distorted and yellowing leaves that will eventually fall off. We have found the best way to get rid the garden of these insects is to spray the plants with Insecticidal soap or Neem oil. Another way that seems to work well is to spray them with 5 Tablespoons of liquid Dawn (unscented) dish soap mixed in a quart of water. Dawn is a choice for homemade insecticidal soaps according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension website. A few days later they appear to still be there but they are most likely all dead and are just stuck on the leaves. They can be washed off with a hard rain or a water hose.

Aphids 10 Jan 2020 IMG_9580

Starry Nights


Starry Night Text

In the Spring during blooming season in my garden of Hemerocallis Daylilies I spend a lot of time among the beautiful smiling faces that greet me in the fresh early morning. I set up my camera on a tripod, select the correct lens and settings and begin to take the best photos I can to record the beauty, as they only last for one day.  When the sun goes down my attention turns to the night sky where my other interest begins to come into focus. I reset my camera settings for long exposure and wide open lens to gather in as much light as possible. Here in Florida we do have a lot of clear nights and starry skies. Some of my photos of the night sky were taken with standard camera lens and some were taken with a small telescope. The camera is mounted on a sturdy tripod with a clock drive to follow the stars across the sky. Some photos are wide views of the sky showing the constellations. Other photos are of stars, nebula, galaxies, comets and meteors or whatever is on display that night. If you see them be sure to comment and tell me what you think.

Oh Deer!

Our little Daylily garden on our 20 acres of heavily wooded forest borders the State Park here in Northeast Florida. Away from all the city lights, it gets really dark at night. Sometimes late at night if I go outside I can hear strange sounds coming from the dense woods just beyond the range of my flashlight. Sounds that I never hear in the daylight. I don’t know what kind of creature makes these sounds but my young daughter won’t venture far beyond the back door after dark. Of course the park has a five foot wire fence along it’s perimeter as I have seen on a nice sunny day while venturing through the woods to check out the back of our property line. I noticed that the wire fence was pulled down in places as if something large and heavy had tried to climb over it. I meant to mention that to the Park Ranger. I also noticed several paths traversing through our property. Something has been through here and it looks like its been often. Recently I have been puzzled about the condition of some of our daylilies. A number of them are missing some of their healthy green foliage, like they were hit by a weed eater or string trimmer. I wasn’t too worried about it because they will grow back. What kind of creatures do you think could be wandering through our yard when no one was watching? Knocking over flower pots and munching on fresh green leaves and flower buds too. A few pictures will tell many words. Yep! You’re right. You guessed it. DEER. More than one too. Three to five young females along with their mother stumbled onto our Daylily garden and they were not about to leave. We took a few pictures, enjoyed their visit before our presence frightened them away. I know they will be back when no one is watching, early one morning. We tried to discourage them from eating our lovely daylilies by spraying some Deer repellant around. But it stinks so bad that even I don’t want to be in the garden. Don’t know if it works yet. What if they like it? Then what? chomp chomp

When is Rust not Rust?

When a rust like residue is seen on your daylily foliage is not from nearby rusty nails. This rusty yellow orange substance is actually a fungus that appears mostly on the under side of the leaves and looks like many small dots or pustules. If you are not sure what you are seeing just wipe the leaf with a clean white tissue and if you get streaks of yellow orange you have rust. Technically it is a fungus called Puccinia hemerocallidis. This Daylily rust is not likely to kill your Daylilies but it can make them look really bad. We have not noticed any bud or bloom damage from this Rust Fungus. There are some fungicides available to treat your plants. If you chose not to use fungicides you should remove the affected foliage and the brown dead leaves but keep them far away as even the dead leaves can spread the rust from the blowing wind. For Daylilies grown in the warm southern climate this rust problem can be severe. In the northern climate the prolonged cold will either kill the rust fungus or cause it to go dormant. For more detailed information see https://www.daylilies.org/ahs_dictionary/daylily_rust.html



Using Fractal Geometry as an art form

Here are some examples of using Fractal Geometry with a single flower. They are computer generated images using mathematical algorithms for the Mandelbrot and Julia sets.  Basically it is a process of repeating a geometric pattern an infinite number of times each time it is smaller but identical to infinity. The process of doing so is not basic but is in range of today’s fast computers.


The Mandelbrot Set


Mandlebrot .9, 4



Mandlebrot .4, 2



The Julia Set

Julia 1a

Julia .6, 5

Julia .5, 5Julia .7, 5

The Source

Fried Green Tomatoes First Bloom 2 June 18 IMG_6920
Fried Green Tomatoes  Bloomed 2 June 2018

Supporting tall stem plants

Some daylilies, due to their variety or the light or weather conditions in which they are grown, develop very tall stems and have difficulty holding up their heavy head of blooms and buds. When we find this happening we get out the plant support props which we purchased earlier at Lowe’s, Home Depot or the local garden store. There is nothing more disheartening than seeing a daylily with bent over stems or a beautiful bloom facing the ground when it should be facing the sky. These support post have proven very useful on windy days and will keep tall blooming plants from being whipped around.

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