Friday, March 27, 2009

Follower Friday: Guest Arkansas Cyndi

Today Arkansas Cyndi is sitting behind the steering wheel. She's been following for a while, so we thought we'd slow down and let her in for a ride. Who knew she'd take the wheel? ;-)


Thank you to the ladies of RWTD for the invitation to blog. I’m honored to be the third “follower blogger.” RWTD is a MUST on my daily blog tour. My congratulations to Susan Kay Law and Cindy Gerard for their RITA nominations.

Like so many of RWTD followers, I am a writer...unpublished (for now) but working on it. When I’m not writing, I am a huge reader. One of my goals for this year is to read 50 books. So far, I’m up to 21 books since January. I’m keeping a running tally on my personal blog. Feel free to drop by and see what I’ve read this year.

The day Michele emailed me to ask if I would do this blog, I was involved in my other main time consumer. That day was the first day of Spring Cleaning. You’re thinking house, right? Nope, yard. The weather is too perfect in Arkansas to be inside, and we have a yard that requires work. That particular day was mowing. First time this spring. I have a lawn tractor that has seen better days. We call him “Patches” because it’s a patch here and a patch there that keeps him going. However, not all my yard work goes well.

We have an inground sprinkler system. I have a love/hate relationship with Mr. Sprinkler. Love that he waters my yard but sometime the spout sticks too high out of the yard. I have been known to mow off a one...or two...okay, I’ve leveled three. Here is my husband’s solution... I’ve drawn an arrow toward a 5 gallon bucket that my husband puts over the sprinkler head to keep me from mowing over them!

He says we have a 50/50 relationship. I break stuff and he fixes it.

But mowing isn’t my only yard challenge. Some previous owner apparently thought that planting a huge volume of English Ivy would be a great way to avoid, well, I’m not sure what they were thinking actually. What I’m thinking is what a mess. Did you know you can’t kill English Ivy with Round-Up? Something to do with the glossy leaves. The only way to get rid of it is to pull it out by the roots. And let me say, I have A LOT of ivy. This is ONE of my ivy projects for this year. This is all ivy at the side of my house that needs to be removed before it kills the trees. Lot of labor required. But there’s scads more under my deck that will have to be dealt with also.

But I don’t mind the yard work because the outcome of the labor looks like this...

The old dogwood in the middle of my drive.

The azaleas ready to burst into bloom.

This is the purple phlox that we dug at my grandmother’s house and moved. It seems to be happy.

Not the best picture but this is Rosemary. Not only does it smell like heaven but the blue flowers are beautiful

This is also something we moved from my grandmother’s house. She always called it “Hens and Chickens” I have no idea what it’s really called. If someone recognizes it and can give me a real name, that’d be great.

And finally, after many years, the vinca minor (it’s ground cover in my flower bed) is finally taking off. I hope you can see the small blue flowers. (This could be vinca major...I don’t know!)

So that’s what I’m doing when I’m not writing or reading. I’m outside. If not working in the yard, I’ll be motoring around the lake on an old pontoon boat that we stripped down to the pontoons and rebuilt 2 years ago.

So that’s a little about ArkansasCyndi. When I’m not here, I’m at Cynderella’s Castle ( or Pink Fuzzy Slipper Writers ( Or Tweet me on Twitter. ( Y’all know about Twitter, don’t you? It’s like the cool kids’ table in high school! So I’ll see you around the net. Be sure to say HI!


William Simon said...

Cyndi, you just nailed while I use a lawn service...:)

Edie said...

Your flowers are beautiful, Cyndi. It will be a couple months before I see any of that in Wisconsin.

Betina Krahn said...

Cyndi, how wonderful to get to know you better. And what wonderful photos! I'm a sucker for flowers and gardens. The Hen and Chicks-- that's what it's really called. My mom and grandmother both grew them. I smiled, as the picture brought back memories.

I also love the distribution of responsibility in your marriage. . . 50/50. . . all women should be so lucky!

Betina Krahn said...

Rats, I forgot to ask what kind of writing you do, besides the blogs! And to wish you good luck on it. It would be so cool to celebrate a first sale with you here.

Also-- I thought maybe my eyes were deceiving me with the dogwood in the middle of the driveway. Yikes. How did that happen?

Keri Ford said...

Cyndi has a beautiful yard (I seen it with me own eyeballs!).

I started spring cleaning as well. I raked a little strip a couple weeks ago. cleaning done! I have some jasmine growning out front, but they take care of themselves. OH! Grandma gave me some royal empress trees a couple years ago. One of them bloomed this year!(again, they take care of themselves) And my peach tree bloomed, but haven't done that whole spray-away-the-bugs thing.

Kathleen said...

I am so glad I live in a house where someone else looks after the gardening and yards. Green thumbs I do not have.
My landlady is the gardner and she has her gardens looking very much like yours. And we have that ivy all over the place.
I just look after the 'spring cleaning" of my own little corner of the world inside and leave the outside to the landlady.

Helen Brenna said...

Hey Cyndi!! Thanks for following and sharing with us about yourself today! Love your yard and all the pics.

Funny, I somehow manage to kill English Ivy just by looking at it. LOL Can never seem to keep a plant of that stuff in my house and I've tried several times.

Michele Hauf said...

Welcome, Cyndi! I'm thinking your hen and chicks are actually 'stonecrop'. Look that one up online and see if it is so. They get about two feet tall sometimes.

Playground Monitor said...

Love the photos! I have a huge rosemary plant too and have been known to clip off a handful of foot-long sprigs and put them in a vase inside.

Have you tried mowing or using a weedeater over the ivy so you roughen up the leaves and also break off the woody vine and then spray Round Up? Or talk to a professional landscaper or lawn care service and see if they can come out and do it with Round Up Pro. I'm wondering if either of those might work. We had a neighbor at our old house who planted ivy and it crept into our yard and took over a whole flower bed we'd built along the edge of the lot. Grrrr.

magolla said...

I'm going to politely disagree with the 'hens and chicks' ladies. :-) What you really have is Sedum, a variety called 'Autumn Joy' provided it get about 12 inches tall and blooms around September, and it dies back in winter, usually. I know mine does.
Stonecrop are succulant cactus that actually look like small stones. They looks really good in small rock gardens or in indoor plantings, they tolerate dry conditions.
Hens and Chicks are also a type of succulant cacti that stay on the dwarf size, 1-3 inches tall MAX. The two varieties that I had had pointed leaves, but the soil I had around them was a little too organic and moist, they rotted about three years.
Margaret--not a Master Gardener, but she knows all sorts of useless, or useful, crap.

Anonymous said...

Hi Cyndi- great photos! All we have in Pittsburgh so far are snow bells and crocuses, but this week's rain will help.

xo Kathy

Kay Thomas said...

Hey Cyndi,

Your yard looks so pretty. And those flowers! Wow. Will you come help me plant some? : )

Better Than Bulletproof 1/09
Bulletproof Texas 4/09

Playground Monitor said...

Magolla beat me to the sedum discussion. I knew it wasn't Hens and Chicks but had to go a'Googling to find the right name.

Karen in Ohio said...

The Hens and Chickens' Latin name: Sempervivum tectorum. (I beg to differ with Magolla; it's not Sedum Autumn Joy because it's too short.) My grandmother had this in her yard, all around the house, along with peonies and four o'clocks. The Hens and Chicks were also in strawberry pots, with their little chicks poking out the holes. I've never been able to get any to do that myself.

For the ivy, I have a suggestion. A guy at the garden shop told me to add a drop or two (only) of Dawn dish soap to each container of Roundup. It breaks the waxy coating on ivies, including poison ivy, and it really works. Try it, and let me know how it does on yours, Cyndi. I've been successful with eradicating the poison variety here with that method.

Gardening is such an immediately rewarding way to spend time, isn't it? Thanks for sharing your photos with us, Cyndi!

Karen in Ohio said...

On second thought, it could be stonecrop. How tall does it get, Cyndi? There are a lot of different sedums, all succulent like that (and Hens and Chicks are also a succulent). My apologies to Magolla.

The problem with plant identification is that people use common names interchangeably, sometimes. Our neighbor called Rose of Sharon "Althea bushes", which still confuses me, since they are not altheas. She also called ice plant "Isis", also not correct.

And I meant to swoon over your rosemary! I'm envious that you can hold it over from year to year. Up here in the frozen north we're lucky if we can winter one over indoors.

Liz L. said...

Cyndi, since I confess to a black thumb, I won't even try to comment on your plants with so many gardeners out there. What I will say is your yard looks gorgeous. Here comes my ignorance - can you use the rosemary?

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone! This convertible really goes FAST! Hang on Michele! LOL

THANKS for the English Ivy discussion. I'll try the soap/Roundup combo in an area where I don't have any other plants to worry about. At the side of my house, there are some HUGE trees and we are worried about accidentally killing them. But mowing over to expose the stems for pulling is a great idea. I'll give that a try. My plan is a couple of hours of outside work every day I can.

The Hens & Chickens plant does not get tall. It sends up shoot with flowers that die, leaving dead stalks that I have to pull off.

What you don't see is where the purple phlox is grown is the strawberry plants that are just coming up. We can't figure out why the phlox is doing so well except that we planted it in soil from the country mulching plant, which has lots of straw from the horse track. We're thinking the phlox likes horse sh*t!

I'm so glad to see some of my friend who don't normally drop by here have stopped by with a wave.

I'll be checking in all day, so keep those comments and waves coming!

Lynn Parker said...

I have Spring Envy! Here in SE Michigan we are not quite there yet so seeing your beautiful plantings has given me something to look forward to. I am doing my own Spring Cleaning--I am moving next week and have found the job overwhelming this time. I don't have a yard to spruce up, just miles and miles of dust bunnies to clean up (they reproduce just like regular little old bunnies!) and tons of items that I don't even think are mine to box.

Knowing that the blooms of our flowers and trees are coming soon has helped me out. Thanks for sharing your Spring!

Anonymous said...

Liz - the rosemary can be used for cooking. If you saw it up close, you'd recognize the herb, except it's not dried like most of us are used to seeing.

I didn't post a picture of the small bed outside my kitchen (there's a picture on my site of it). I'm trying to clean it out and get some other herbs growing there. Most other herbs don't grow like rosemary. They die off.

BUT I do have mint grow. and I have the most wonderful lavender bushes that smell heavenly. I didn't put pictures up of those.

The mint I keep in a pot because it would spread beyond believe (like kudzu). The lavender grows in a clump but sends up purple lavender flowers that can be cut. I sometimes have lavender flowers in my car for the smell. The neat thing about lavender is that it loves abuse (perfect for my house!) Crummy soil. Not enough water. Direct sun. Lavender will make it.

thanks for asking about the rosemary. It's one of my favorites.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and Michele - anyone who knows me would NOT be surprised that I grabbed the wheel and wanted to drive. :)

Keri Ford said...

LOVE the smell of lavender. Hubs picked up off the radio or something that lavendar can make little boys grow boobs.


Who knows. But no lavendar at my house now.

Anonymous said...

Oh good lord Matt! must take control. Lavender will not make boy grow boobs. It makes them wear make-up! BRAWAHAHAHA

Kristen Painter said...

Seriously, what's up with the tree in the driveway? Where do you park? How do you get a car into the garage?

Anonymous said...

The tree in the driveway... It was here when we bought the house. It's a dogwood, a tree that holds a soft spot in my husband's heart.

If you knew how slow dogwood trees grow, you'd realize how very very old this tree is. Probably close to 100.

The questions...
Why keep it? Well, it does make it easy to give people directions to my house. We're the only ones with a tree in the middle of the drive!

How do we park? We curve our truck and my Volvo around each side and into the garage. Not really a problem...once you know how!

Why wasn't it cut down when the house was built? I have no idea. The house was built in 1974 or so. The tree was there at the time, so I'm assuming the original owners thought it distinctive.

Since we moved here, we've cut the dead top out of the tree and put fertilizer out for the roots. It's grown a great deal and put out more and more flowers each year. If the tree every dies, after the husband stops crying, we'll cut it down. But until then, I'll keep enjoying it. It provide shade for the house and driveway. The downside is that the birds sit there and poop on the cars!

Debra Dixon said...

Hey, Cyndi !!

I'm so jazzed because I'm actually around a computer on a Follower Friday. I missed the first two!

So, welcome. :)

I have to say I love that phlox. So pretty. I suck at gardening and yard work but I do admire beautiful yards, well-kept yards, pretty flower beds, lovely shrubbery, etc. I find much to be jealous of when seeing the homes of gardeners.

We lost a very old dogwood a couple of years ago. Just long term effects of the drought. Other trees were steeling from it because the dogwood doesn't have very deep roots. Broke my heart. This was a dogwood my son climbed as a boy.

Anonymous said...

Dogwood roots run very very shallow. They can be very long, but they run right below soil level, so they are quite affected by drought. We do water them during the summer (we have a number of them in the yard.)

When we lived in Memphis, we were on 4 acres that was COVERED with dogwoods. Literally, we had hundreds in the woods around our house. We spent a fortune keeping the woods around our house alive during droughts.

SO glad you drop in today, Deb.

Tom said...

You *are* ambitious with that yard, AC.

We're trying vegetable gardening this year and making self-irrigating containers. Not beautiful like your yard, until after a good harvest.

Anonymous said...

Tom - I'd love to grow vegetables. But we usually end up going somewhere during the heat of summer and there goes the tomatoes!

This is the first "yard" I've ever had. In Memphis and Little Rock, our houses were surrounded by thick trees. Yard work = using the weed whacker!

Thanks for stopping by

My Blog 2.0 (Dottie) said...

Hi Cyndi

Over from the Tarts. What a beautiful yard! Here in Illinois, the grass is starting to grow, but in this nasty looking clumps, with dead brown spots all around. I did notice my lilac bush is budding!! I do believe Spring is here and maybe to stay. A chance of snow this weekend though.

Dot in Illinois

Anonymous said...

don't ya just love your lilac bush? That's something I need to add.

thanks from driving over from TLC!

Kathleen Eagle said...

Oh, Cyndi, I'm drooling. We just got rid of the snow here. We had flakes this week, but the sun took care of them.

I have quite a few varieties of what we call Hens and Chicks up here, and yours aren't like mine. Your plant looks exactly like my stonecrop sedum. I have several varieties of sedum--both tall and groundcover varieties. I love succulents. My front yard is dedicated to native prairie plants and rock gardens. Sedum is hardy here, bless its heart, but I usually take a few pots of hens and chicks in over the winter because I often lose them.

What a gorgeous yard you have!

Kylie said...

Cyndi--love your pics! They make me long for spring :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Cyndi! Congrats on getting to be a follower! Woohoo for you.
Gorgeous yard. It's supposed to snow in Tulsa tomorrow. What's it doing there?

Therese Walsh said...

My mother calls them hens and chickens, too. I can't wait for spring to arrive here in NY. Thanks for a taste of it, Cyndi!

Mary Marvella said...

Cyndi, Sorry I'm late stopping by but is appears you had good company. Your yard shows how hard you work! I go for easy since all poison ivy, oaks Shummac(sp), and ground itch give me fits. I do plant things in planters, a lesson I learned from Mama.

If stuff grows at my house it's sturdy and stubborn.