This is the first year we're growing vegetables at our new home. I was saying a prayer as I planted seedlings and seeds because the soil in this area is virtually builder's sand. Plenty of soil amendments - - compost, garden soil, blood and bone meal...plus anything and everything else I could find to improve the soil - - were generously added.
Almost immediately the caterpillars showed up to feast on my tomato plants. I did a lot of plucking and squeezing in an effort to get rid of them. Once the temperatures cooled down a bit I noticed the cats disappeared. Pickle worms pierced the cukes, and powdery mildew finished off the leaves. I find cukes very hard to grow. I gave up on them since I'm not a big cucumber eater anyway, and replaced them with bush green beans . . . a favorite of mine.
It's taken the tomatoes a while to ripen . . . with Sungold being the first . . . but now they're all slowly turning color. And, the lemons, too are ripening. A cocktail citrus tree was planted, so hopefully next year this time we'll be enjoying some homegrown citrus.
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On a different note, I made this horrifying discovery in my garden yesterday.
I almost had a heart attack when I saw him perched in the tree, especially since Nutty... the squirrel we raised . . . was darting all around this tree and at one time was about a foot away from it. Fortunately, the snake was in the process of digesting an earlier catch as you can see by his bloated mid-section.
Apparently, I disturbed him when I moved some large pots on the side of the house. I didn't see him at the time but am thankful I did eventually discover him and doubly thankful that the "Wild Animal Evictors" came by and evicted this non-venomous Coat Whip (one of Florida's largest native snakes) from my garden. I don't mind black racers but I'm not willing to tolerate a BIG snake in my garden.
For all snake lovers out there . . . don't worry he wasn't destroyed just relocated to an orange grove quite a distance down the road.
Have you ever thought about what would be your "dream" rose . . . flower . . . or plant? Pictured above is Belinda's Dream. No, I don't know who Belinda is but I imagine her as a rosarian who has a yard full of every rose imaginable . . . kind of like Sherry over at "If Only Sweat were Irrigation" or Flowerlady at "Flowerlady's Musings." I imagine that she learned how to cultivate roses and did so for many years in search of the "perfect" rose. And, eventually she found success and aptly named her beautiful rose - - Belinda's Dream!
Belinda's Dream has become a dream rose for many Florida gardeners as I see it pictured often on other Florida garden blogs. And I agree with Belinda that it is a dream rose. A nice shaped bush with healthy leaves (no black spot) and beautiful large soft pink flowers. Much to my satisfaction she is singing autumn's praises with a shrub full of buds that are soon to reveal a bounty of glorious flowers . . . some of which I'll enjoy on my kitchen island. Thanks Belinda for sharing your dream rose with all of us!