Thursday, May 5, 2011

It has been too long...

Apologies to anyone who actually reads this spaced out rambling of a blog, I know I have been lacking in posts for a while now. The final weeks of any final project in an Architecture program are hectic, filled with 18-20 hour days, and sometimes strings of days without sleep. (I think the personal record for this semester goes to a good friend of mine who worked the full last week on her project with 6 hours sleep, across 4 days) Drawings must be spectacular, models well crafted, and this is no easy feat. In the studio, we deal with tempers and egos flaring to an alarming level, meltdowns of every shape and size, our cigarette addictions doubling in size, trash building up like small foul-smelling mountains, lack of home-cooked (or sometimes cooked at all) meals. All this leads to pinning our completed work up on a wall, dressing as neatly as possible, shaving the weeks of stubble from our faces, applying a thick coat of foundation under our eyes so as not to look like a raccoon, and presenting. An architecture jury goes like this: 1. You present your project, hoping against hope you remember why you made and drew everything up on the wall and all the while wondering where the semi-articulate speech uttering from your lips is actually coming from, as your brain is probably the consistency of tapioca after the last week. 2. Upon completing the presentation portion of the jury, a panel of distinguished visitors, who have never seen your work before, tell you why you are a complete waste of space, or how awesome you are, but most likely a blend of 60% bad, 40% good. 3. You sit down, and try to remain awake (this hardly ever happens) for your fellow classmates turn. 4-9 hours later, you pin down your work, almost literally throw it on your desk, and leave. Now here is the strange part...even though you haven't slept in a month, the fact that it is over and done with creates a new gust of lucidity, and nearly everyone in the class is chattering about which local dive bar to invade, drinking and talking long into the night about how awful or great the semester was. I know this whole systems seems horrid, but it actually is quite invigorating. It takes a passion for what you are doing to cope with this, especially considering that the average salary for an architect is somewhere around 40,000 after 5-7 years in the field, and entry level is a mere 25-30,000. I love my classmates, and enjoy each semester of learning....but sometimes I really just want to dig in the dirt..

So herein lies the point of this post. I have had lots of pretties blooming and growing, and when I have the chance in the mornings, or whenever I happen to be home, I snap a couple pictures, meaning to post them on here. Now I get my chance. This is a load of pictures, some roses, some daylilies, and various other things. These range back over the past month, and some back to February, as I finally found my iris pictures. So enjoy, and let me know what you think:

The Cleome is really taking off!

Capitane Dyell de Granville

"Forever in Time" from the Nethertons' at Peace on Earth Gardens

again, with mealycup sage and sweet potato vine (which is taking over!)

An older variety of daylily from my mother's yard.

Not sure on the variety, but its so lovely.

looking to the oldest pergola, with Mrs. B.R. Cant climbing up and over.

I am finally getting my hydrangeas to turn, they were SO pink last year from the alkalinity.

Leveson Gower and Vincent Gosdiff

My first thripless bloom in Anna Olivier

Anna, and two of my three hounds. 

Mrs. B.R. Cant. This bloom was nodding down in my path, and just begged me to take a picture.

Abraham Darby flopping over the adjacent fence, along which grows a passionflower vine.

and again, isn't he handsome?

This variety of passionflower (maypop as we call them) smells just like fresh laundry to me. Very clean and very beautiful.

I believe this to be "always joy" but I am not sure, as it got misplaced in another clump.

My first Paul Neyron bloom! Nearly 4 inches across at the height of bloom, and smells to me like lemons and tea. 

The aforementioned mystery day lily.

My sweet girl, Cinnamon. (I did not choose the name, she was adopted)

Heirlooms from my grandmother. She loved iris, and even though they tell me most iris won't grow here, these apparently did not listen. These bloomed in February, and I thought I had lost the pictures. 

So now that the Spring semester is over, I have 1.5 weeks to devote to the garden. Boy have I missed it, and it shows. Apparently the camphor trees in my yard are trying to kill me, as every seed they produced has been viable, and I now have to spend the next two days ripping those damn little trees out of every bed, crack in the sidewalk, and anywhere else they fell. Here I thought oak trees were bad. HA! Absolutely no contest. The upside is, I got a gift certificate for ARE on my 30th that I still need to use, and I now get to put my spring/summer rose order together. There are upsides to everything.

Sorry for the epic length of the post, I have missed writing and I felt the need to catch up. 



  1. Hey Ken....You've got so many wonderful old roses blooming in your garden...and what a variety of daylilies. I only have a couple I've been successful with but after looking at all of yours I may add a few to my garden and see how they do.

    Is that a bearded iris? If so, you have any idea what the name of it is? It's darling and I'm sure it's priceless to you.

    My hydrangeas are pink, too...but i like them just as much. Congrats on completing your studies and I look forward to more pics from your garden.

  2. Thanks Susan,
    Glad you like the garden! I have tons of day lilies, some brought from home, some purchased from my favorite daylily nursery
    The Netherton's who run it are great people and even breed their own varieties. Wonderful site too. The trick to growing them in Florida I have found is picking the varieties that work here. Only choose evergreen types, as the dormant and semi-dormant types don't work here as well.

    The bearded iris is a good bit older than me, and I have no clue what type they are. I just know my grandmother loved them, I love them, and I am so glad I got them to grow here.

    I love hydrangeas of all colors, but I have been trying for a year or so to get mine to be a more blue shade, or even lavender, so as to contrast the light pink color of the house.

    I hope you enjoy as my garden grows as much as I do, and I hope to be able to keep up with posts even though I am going to take summer classes.

    Thanks again for reading!


  3. Loved this post, Ken, and all the pics. It couldn't possibly be too long!! Mrs. B R is looking so wonderful way up on that arbor. She may go to the moon!

    Thankfully, I don't have camphor seedlings! The oaks are way more than enough to drive be crazy! I feel for you while you regain control of your garden. Enjoy it!!!

  4. WOW! You can grow roses! Me, not so much. I did order myself a cracker rose over the weekend. They say it's hardy. We'll see if it's Dani proof.

  5. Dani,
    I guess everybody has their strengths in the garden. I would kill to be able to make my veggie patch look like yours, especially with the ability to mix flowers and vegetables and make a pretty scene. All I have is a couple of tomato bushes and some zucchini that is on a rampage. We should trade garden knowledge sometime, maybe our gardens would meet in the middle LOL.


  6. Enjoyed reading about your school escapades. I'm glad you have some time in the garden again though it sounds like it may be short. Your roses and daylilies are stunning. Love the iris too - good thing it doesn't know better than to grow well in Florida!

  7. Your roses are beautiful.This is the first year I have given roses a try.Your photos are amazing!

  8. Fantastic roses! we always have a lot of problems with black spot. what's your secret to spot free roses in Tampa?

  9. NanaK,
    I am glad to have time in my garden again as well, It needs weeding again, though i spent my entire week break weeding out all of the camphor trees. I guess that is just Florida, good AND bad plants grow quickly here. I am hoping the iris will keep up the good work next year as well. They seemed so happy this year, but it was their first year in the Florida ground. They had years and years of good South Georgia dirt to keep them strong, so lets hope it holds up.

    Thank you for the kind words! I love growing roses, just for the sheer joy of their beauty. It can be very trying at times, but it is worth the effort. Once I educated myself somewhat on the types of roses to avoid and how to amend properly in the sandbox of an area I live in, it became 10 times easier.

    Thanks! I try to maintain an organic garden, but blackspot here can be an issue. During the times it becomes problematic,I do spray, with Bannermaxx, but using a very light hand. Otherwise, plant selection, good pruning practices and proper cleanup are all I really do . There are such great disease resistant old roses available that it makes it much easier, and the upside is, with proper amending, you don't have to buy grafted. So there are my secrets in a nutshell.