February 28, 2013

Duplicate Photo Cleaner for Mac

If any of you are like me (digitally challenged, to say the least) you may also be trying to figure out how

to remove duplicate images from IPhoto and Aperture.

There is no straightforward way in the program itself to do this...



but you CAN (my Apple genius told me).... get an app for that!  

Try the  Duplicate Cleaner for Iphoto for Mac (here) .


Before installing this FREE app, I read the reviews, and was prepared (as is usually the case when I try to fly techno-solo on my mac) to be frustrated, exasperated, and extremely irritated.



But surprisingly, NOT SO!  It worked like a dream, removed over 1000 duplicates from my library, and freed up all sorts of space.  Just remember to:



Close all other applications and windows

Temporarily turn off photo stream  

Try it more than once, if the first attempt is unsuccessful.

If it solves the problem for you...

my job is done.  :)







February 25, 2013

Ceratotheca triloba (South African Foxglove)
























I am on record more than once in this blog about my love/obsession for foxglove, a signature plant here at  p o t a g e r.

But I am also on record attesting to its finicky nature, propensity for spider mite, and frustratingly short life span here in Oklahoma.

So while perusing my Bustani catalog (here), I was, of course, intrigued by the plant Ceratotheca triloba, or SOUTH AFRICAN FOXGLOVE (here).

It may be less refined in appearance than digitalis....and taller....but makes up for it with heat tolerance (hello...it IS from South Africa)  and spring to fall bloom.


And actually, in looking at it closely, it might even make a more congenial cut flower companion in the vase.  I see it looking delicious with green 'Envy' zinnias and purple gomphrena in a late summer jelly jar bouquet. 




With a little luck, it might reseed and make an encore appearance next year.

Add it to my list, please.



February 23, 2013

Bustani Selections

Everyone needs something fun and quirky in their garden, don't you think?

This Rayless Gaillardia (Gayllardia suavis) fits the bill for me.  A great form for the fall garden, loved by butterflies, with potential as a fine cut flower.  Find this Oklahoma native here.


I've seen this Eucomis 'Sparkling Burgundy' growing in a friend's garden and now MUST have some for myself.


Great, huh?

Fabulous, pineapple-y flowers and equally as fabulous dark burgundy foliage will look great with the stand of lorapetalum I've established in the front...and it will appreciate the afternoon shade in the new bed along the drive.  Find it here if you covet it as much as I.

Won't this Duranta ereca 'Lime' (Lime Duranta) be a spectacular shade in contrast with the Eucomis?  Love the chartreuse color, one of my faves, and its affinity for the hottest of summers.


Find it here...I want a cluster of three, I think.

Get another punch of the same color from Coleus ('Large Marge').  A large leaved sun coleus that fits in with this color scheme brilliantly.


 LOVE


 THIS


COLOR COMBO!


February 21, 2013

Bustani Plant Farm and the God of Second Chances


 I've been hearing a commercial on television lately by a morally wayward politician who is now trying to restore his political career and good name.  He refers to 'A God of Second Chances'  in his entreaty for forgiveness and understanding.  I'm not sure about his sincerity or his chances for a second act, but I HAVE been thinking about this 'God-of-Getting-Another-Stab-at it'...





a deity that I also pray to each spring...in gratitude and anxiety...over another new season in the garden.


 So today, I am petitioning this God to be a beneficent one in the gardening season of 2013.


Just in case there is a little static in the connection, I'm not leaving anything to chance (doing what is within MY power) and ordering some tough as nails specimens from BUSTANI PLANT FARM (get a catalog here).

To quote them:  " We are always looking for the best performing plants for Oklahoma and the surrounding region and often travel to countries with similar climates."

 

So my strategy for this year:  identify plants and flowers I can't live without in my English garden (or at least the look I can't live without...) and find tough doppelgängers that will provide the same effect, but can handle our rough and tumble summers.  The beautiful silver foliage above is from G. Rudebeckia maxima (Giant Coneflower), a perennial I bought from them a couple of years back.  

The huge powder blue leaves are reason enough to grow this plant, though it puts out dramatic, long-stemmed yellow blooms.  A perfect addition to my garden... since apparently English gardeners love it, but have trouble growing it....

because it doesn't get HOT enough...


Ohhhh, the irony, the irony.

Tomorrow, other plants on my Bustani order form. :)


February 18, 2013

The Inn at Perry Cabin

Five years ago, just about now, my men and I took a trip back East to look at colleges for my oldest son.  He was a junior in high school, a boy in every sense.  

This May, that same son, now man, will graduate from college and I am left wondering, marveling really, where the time went.

Wasn't it just months ago, that on that very trip, we stayed at the enchanting Inn at Perry Cabin? (A stately colonial mansion, now  five star resort and spa on the Chesapeake Bay along the East Coast of Maryland).


I think of that place often, especially in the spring, more for the gardens and flowers, of course, than for the exceptional setting, service and accommodations.

The Inn had its own full time gardener...who tended the surrounding landscape and ran the greenhouse, where she forced countless pots of bulbs to adorn the common areas and delight the guests...me foremost among them.


What struck me most of all about her care-taking was the very TIDINESS of the gardens and outside spaces.  Even in blustery March (albeit a more temperate, maritime blusteriness than our Oklahoma version...), when temperatures were still quite cold and the bulbs, perennials and shrubs were just beginning to show signs of breaking their winter hibernation.

The hellebores were untucked from their bed of fallen leaves, the emerging bulb shoots uncovered as well...with all signs of winter burn and brown foliage removed...leaving only timid green shoots....appearing even greener and more pristine against a fresh protective back- drop of dark, moist mulch and compost.

Every spring since, I recollect that crisp garden impression, of tidiness, contrast, enhanced loveliness and garden spring giddiness.


I am content to leave the fallen brown foliage and debris to protect the garden in late fall and winter. But now... when the tulips and pansies and crocus and daffodils begin to show signs of eagerness...responding to longer days and warmer air...


I don't want their spring renewal and beauty diminished in any way. Not by brown leaves, tattered foliage, broken terra-cotta and branches...or errant Halloween candy wrappers and water bottle caps that invariably appear during the clean up process.


This weekend, I concentrated on just this.  Exposing, unearthing, discovering...clipping and sprucing and mulching, these

late winter miracles.


Coming up for air and warmth and light.


Now, a tidy home,


and an anxious gardener,

await.

           





February 12, 2013

Boden and the Duchess

Images compliments of  Boden, U.S.A

I can't remember how I first discovered BODEN, a clothing company out of Britain that is a combination of 

fun,
classic,
quirky,
unique (and often in polka-dot)

fashionability. Over the years, I've ordered quite a bit from them...usually when a coveted item is on sale...and when they offer free shipping and free returns.




I am especially fond of their knits...comfortable wrap dresses and tunic tops that are among my favorite wardrobe go-to's. 

A package from them, not unlike opening an Apple product, is not just an exercise in unwrapping a box,

rather an experience that begins with their witty instructions on the outside of the box...to the colorful tissue paper within... to their excellent customer service...

and finally the goods themselves...

happy, comfortable, unique apparel that,

satisfyingly, I don't see everywhere, on everyone.

Order a Boden Catalog here to share in the fun.


Ever the older sister, I often point L'il Sis in the direction of Boden buys for her.  

She recently had to thank me big time for selecting a darling swing jacket and a cotton top for her (I only suggest...I don't PAY, she would point out...)

She told me how much she LOVES getting her Boden packages...

addressed, she tells me delightedly,

to:  THE DUCHESS L'il Sis

(you too can be a Duchess, or an Admiral, or Baron, or Countess, or Viscount...just indicate the appropriate title when placing an order...an option I too find delightful. 



How does 'Madame Potager' sound?)





February 10, 2013

David AustIn Roses

My beautiful copy of this year's DAVID AUSTIN ROSES (order one here) arrived this week and, as always, I feel conflicted as I leaf through the pages with its beautiful images of these gorgeous old-fashioned roses.



Many stunning roses; so little space to grow them in my small urban space.  Consequently, I treasure those I do have room for all the more.


I do so love my sweet, pure 'Fair Bianca'. 

Her fragrance is divine.  Where she is now planted -- in the white section of my spring garden -- she does not bloom heavily. Too much shade, an issue I plan to address this spring.  


Still, the paucity of blooms makes them all the more cherished and appreciated.


Each year she blooms in tandem with the 2013 Perennial Plant of the Year:

Polygonatum odoratum ‘Variegatum’

or Variegated Solomon's Seal. A part-sun/shade lover that manages to look both innocent and elegant simultaneously, a characteristic I much admire in both plants AND people.


If I can produce enough light and space in the same area, I'd love to plant some tall white phlox...perhaps 'David'...to prolong the white theme.


I am regretting that I didn't plant a huge swath of white hyacinths...layering the fragrance, the beauty.


I would even be open to mixing in some white parsnips (yes, parsnips!) if their snowy contribution was not below ground.

But wouldn't they look fabulous in an all white flower arrangement on your dining table?  We can find some seed for white parsnip 'Gladiator' parsnips here.  :)



February 3, 2013

HARD LESSON LEARNED

Let me just make this short and to the point.  There are certain things we should


NEVER DO ALONE.

Or at all. One of them being pruning our trees on a high ladder with no one there to stabilize or assist us...

IN CASE WE FALL AND SERIOUSLY HURT OURSELVES.

A friend and neighbor of mine was pruning his oak tree in the front yard under such conditions this afternoon. I was working in my own yard across the street when I heard the crash (after JUST thinking to myself that he probably shouldn't be doing that...)

Let me recount this quickly:

--I ran across the street to him and he (very casually under the circumstances) told me he had broken his ankle.

--The bone protruding from his shin looked like the exposed root system of this giant Yosemite redwood (and my neighbors will tell you I am NOT exaggerating)

--I called 911 immediately, summoned a doctor next door at about the same time other various health professional neighbors on the street also arrived

--to share my amazement that the victim of the fall was still conscious, lucid, and not in any pain

--despite his compound fracture (in three places) and the fact that his foot was just kind of, well, dangling.  

I am happy to report that within thirty minutes he was on his way via ambulance to the hospital; his wife (who was in Houston at the time) is now by his bedside; he made it through surgery just fine, but will be off his feet for a very long time, and with CONSIDERABLY more metal in him than when he woke up this morning.

So to all of us gardeners who foolishly think that

it will never happen to us;

just this one little last thing we can do ourselves;

we are too impatient, thrifty, or stubborn (all of which has applied to me in the past) to wait or ask for help... 

LET US (ME) NOT BE STUPID!  

LET US (ME) BE ABLE TO RECOGNIZE OUR OWN LIMITATIONS

LET US PRACTICE A LITTLE MORE COMMON SENSE AND A LITTLE LESS IMPATIENCE

WHEN GOING ABOUT OUR GARDENING BUSINESS.

And if you follow my blog, (and if you are counting), this is the second neighbor I've called 911 for in the last six months from a gardening related incident..(oh, cuz I'm always out in the front gardening too.)

I am equally as guilty of foolish gardening practices, and I resolve today to stop such nonsense. (I once dropped an aerator on my knee while removing it from a truck with Husband... and ended up limping and in physical therapy for six months...all to save money by doing it ourselves. Trust me, the PT was considerably more costly than hiring someone to do the work for me.)

LET US NOT BE STUPID, MY FRIENDS.

AMEN.




February 2, 2013

Changes

This is how my front yard looked this past fall after I added an additional section to the flower bed along the drive on the east side.


I wanted it to connect seamlessly both in line and content with the existing bed...one that has been in place for almost twenty years.

You can see it here from various vantage points and, and judge for yourself how successful I was.

In very little time, with constant tweaking and additional planting on my part,

cooperation from rapidly growing plants, and prodding from copious amounts of organic fertilizer and a beneficent Mother Nature,

things filled in beautifully and this gardener was pleased.

Especially given the marked improvement over how it looked in August before I removed sections of pythium-stricken (a fungus), water-guzzling, (okay, let's just say it, dead)  fescue...

 
and a cycle that is as regular as the seasons in my landscape...the severity of the late summer ugliness increasing each year with the rise in extreme temperatures and extreme drought. 

Part of this cycle has been to reseed this area each fall (it is too shady to support tougher turf) after aerating and topdressing with compost.  




A lot of work, a lot of frustration, a lot of irritation...

and a lot of expense. In a fit of exasperation, I scruffed off the little remaining grass in the area, 

amended, loosened and bermed the soil

and (voila!...okay, it took a lot more effort than that...)

created the new bed. I did a video about the process for Lowe's. (watch it here or below.)


















This is what the area looks like now and I can't wait to see it unfold this spring.


Already I love the balance, the symmetry, the mirrored image...the clean lines of the droplet of grass.










The remaining issue will be:

do I still love it in August?

Stay tuned.