Monday, January 19, 2009

Happiness is... Spring Plant Catalogues

I love to garden. I really, really love to garden. I have a lot of gardens if seven qualifies as a lot. This is the time of year that the plant and seed catalogues start arriving. So while it’s frigid outside and my gardens are buried under snow, I get to peruse my favorite catalogues, review pictures of my gardens, decide which plants to replace (if any) and which new plants to order. If there is a new variety of Echinacea it’s a must order for me.

Echinacea, as I mentioned here, are more commonly known as Coneflowers. Some Rudbeckia (most commonly known as Black-Eyed Susans) are also referred to as Coneflowers so I prefer the Latin names of plants to cut down on confusion.

These are some of the Echinacea in my gardens:

In addition to Echinacea, I seem to 'collect' Centaurea and Dianthus. There are several species of Centaurea. The most common is Centaurea montana which is commonly known as Bachelor's Buttons. Presently I grow 3 types of Centaurea - montana, dealbata, and macrocephala. I am also a huge fan of Dianthus. While I like large carnations, I prefer the smaller Pinks and similar small Dianthus. Bath’s Pinks are a particularly lovely and easy to grow Dianthus. More about Centaurea and Dianthus in a future posts. But here's a photo of some Bath's Pinks to tide you over:

It’s good that the catalogues (all 20 or so) start showing up now because it also reminds me of my favorite plant suppliers who don’t have catalogues. I usually order my plants from Big Dipper Farm (Grown on the Third Planet from the Sun), Bluestone Perennials and Garden Crossings. Big Dipper Farm and Garden Crossings don't have print catalogues, but do have excellent websites. I also buy locally from one plant grower in town and two in the next town.

So far I’ve managed to read the Bluestone Perennials catalogue. I’ve picked out a few plants that will be finding a new home in my gardens.

Echinacea purpurea Green Jewel. I love green Echinacea and have a few already.

Clematis Rebecca. I have to replace one of my Clematis and liked this bright red one that shares its name with my daughter.

Centaurea Amethyst Dream and Centaurea Amethyst in Snow.

I've also taken a quick look at Garden Crossings' website. I'll more than likely order the two new Echinacea I saw there - Tomato Soup (a beautiful red) and Mac 'n' Cheese. I can't resist a new Echinacea!

Now off to view the Big Dipper Farm’s website.

Qwill’s Qwestion: What is your favorite flower or plant? Do you garden? Do you have a favorite place to buy plants?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Humans Invited to Subscribe to Paranormal Town's Newsletter for the First Time Ever!

Once again I am saved from blogging by a wonderful author! Or is that you are saved from reading my blog by a wonderful author? Michele Bardsley has just announced that The Broken Heart Banner is available to humans. Here is the text of this stunning announcement:

"Humans Invited to Subscribe to Paranormal Town's Newsletter For the First Time Ever.

The Broken Heart Banner, is available to you (and, you know, all the other humans). Get an inside peek at the goings-on in Oklahoma's only paranormal community. With every issue, you'll get interviews with your favorite authors, Old Sass Cafe recipes, and regular columns, including It's Real! with Theodora Monroe, Ask Z with cranky fairy Zerina, and all the undead dish from the Gossip Ghouls. Subscribers will also receive an exclusive Broken Heart short story in every issue!

This is a print newsletter mailed out to paid subscribers every other month. It's not currently available in e-format.

To get more details about The Banner and see a sneak peak of the first issue, go to:"

For those of you who are not familiar with the denizens of Broken Heart, Oklahoma, I highly recommended this series. The books are laugh out loud funny and sizzling. In reading order, the books are:

I'm the Vampire, That's Why (September 5, 2006)

Don't Talk Back to Your Vampire (July 3, 2007)

Because Your Vampire Said So (May 6, 2008)

Wait till Your Vampire Gets Home (November 4, 2008)

and the yet to be released

Over My Dead Body (May 5, 2009)

Even paranormal parents have issues! To read more about the Broken Heart Banner just follow the link in the announcement above, and if you subscribe by January 31, 2009, you'll be entered into a special contest to win Broken Heart goodness!

Monday, January 05, 2009

After the holidays... I've got nothing!

I'm still recovering from the end of the year holidays. Hope that everyone enjoyed/survived. I still have to take down the decorations, but will get to that this week... if I have time. We haven't had any snow in a few days. No storms are on the horizon. My kids had a terrific school vacation capped off by sledding on the really big hill in town. Nothing and no one got broken. I'll miss them when they are at school today, but will also enjoy the quiet.

Instead of writing about something, I've decided to share some photos from warmer weather.

I love this photo. I think that this squirrel needs a waistcoat and a pocket watch. I feed birds (15 feeders worth) so I have a lot of squirrels hanging around.

We enjoy watching the life cycles of the birds. In Spring it's always a treat to see the juvenile birds come to the feeders.

This is a juvenile Cardinal that we named Grumpy because he looks grumpy. This is a male. You can see the red starting to cover him. Also note that when he's an adult he'll have a much more flashy orange beak.

This is a juvenile Red-Bellied Woodpecker. She doesn't quite have the hang of the feeder yet.

Here she is 3 months later showing off some adult plumage.

And here she is with her Dad. Looks like they are not getting along at the moment.

This is a Rose Breasted Grosbeak juvenile male. He only hopes that he looks as great as Dad. (see below)

Rose Breasted Grosbeak males are spectacular during mating season.

I'll share more birdie pictures in the future. Oh, and lots of flower pictures especially when I can't think of anything in particular to write about. :)

Here are some cardinals for Ter:

Female cardinal

Male grabbing a seed

Male in Winter Showing Off

Juvenile male getting his colors on

Qwill's Qwestion: What do you think this is? Or do you have a favorite or not so favorite wild bird or backyard critter?

All photos were taken by me around my house.

And here's the answer: it's a Hummingbird Clearwing Moth, Hemaris thysbe. The first time that I saw it, I thought it was a baby hummingbird. Well at least until I noticed the antennae! Here's another picture to give you an idea of just how small it is.

Thanks to everyone who guessed and to those who knew what it is!