Tied Up and Fenced In

The gingers are about to bloom, which means they need to be tied up to keep the flowers from pulling the stalks over.

I finally have gotten to the point of keeping a cord permanently nailed to the fence to make the task easier.

Unfortunately, the rabbits have developed a taste for my low growing Peacock Gingers.

The are now permanently fenced in.

The fencing takes away from the beauty of the plants, but it is better than no plants.

Possible Suspect in “Bed” Case

I glanced out of the window and saw one of my plants jiggling.  While I was trying to figure out why, this Red-eared Slider came out of the bed.  I grabbed my camera and headed outside.  I assumed the turtle was away from water to lay some eggs.  I inspected my flower bed and found the African Hosta, Drimiopsis maculata, in this bed was flatten also.  Did I solve the mystery of my previous blog “Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed?”

After the photo shoot, the turtle headed back into the flower bed.  Female Red-eared Sliders will travel long distances over land to lay their eggs. I would guess this one is from the lake not too far from my house.  She had to cross the street to get here.

The female turtle will search for a suitable place to lay 2 to 17 eggs.  This may explain why I am finding plants that are flattened, but not eaten.

Red-eared Sliders can lay 5 clutches in a year.  The eggs incubate in 2 to 3 months. One problem with incubation is that raccoons like to eat the eggs.

After the turtles hatch, the babies must find their own way to water.  A few years ago, I found this one heading down my driveway to the lake.

With gloved hands I caught  the little turtle and took it across the street to the woods near the lake.  Hopefully, this year I will find some more hatchlings.


Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed?

During my morning walk through the yard, I noticed my little bed of Drimiopsis maculata was partially flatten.  What critter decided to curl up in my bed?  I will probably never know, but I sure don’t like it.

Drimiopsis Maculata grow really well in the Southern garden.  They are a great substitute for hostas and are sometimes called African Hostas, as they are originally from South Africa.  The plant grows in shade, any kind of soil and easily reproduces which makes it the perfect plant for the Automatic Garden.




Welcome Home Surprises

We were on an extended trip and had many surprises when we returned.  Some of them were not good, like a citation from the neighborhood association for my front beds.  Ironically, I am the one in the neighborhood that weeds on a daily basis.  Unfortunately, I had a beautiful Blue Bonnet (our beloved state flower) in the front and it died while I was gone.  Mind you, it is an annual and I would have probably let it get to that state so I could collect the seeds. I had to give a written account on why my beds looked bad and I blamed it on the 12 inches of rain we received while I was away.

Before the 12 inches of rain arrived, there was a violent thunderstorm that downed many branches.  This is just one pile I cleaned up.

A good surprise was finding gingers that had sprouted from last year’s cuttings.

There are quite a few, so I’m not sure what to do with them.  Maybe they will grow where they are.


The best surprise of all was that the Automatic Garden did its thing while we were gone and greeted us with beautiful blooming flowers.

Don’t Fence Me In

Several years ago we had a new fence installed.  I went out and dug up all the gingers that had made their way under the fence.

Boundaries mean nothing to these plants and they continue to head out into the wild greenbelt.

Cold Chicken Rice Salad – Naturally Gluten Free

This is a great dish for summer or a picnic as it is very easy to transport.  The recipe serves about 4, but could be easily doubled. Best of all, it is made ahead and ready to go at meal time.  And of course, it is naturally gluten free.  As always, if you have to eat GF, check all ingredients.


1 cup of  Texmati Royal Blend Rice or wild rice cooked according to directions

2 – 6 oz jars of marinated artichoke quarters

4 cups of cooked chicken breast cut to bite size (I use 1 boneless breast,  but more can be added)

1 medium red bell pepper, chopped

2 celery ribs, thinly sliced

5 green onions, chopped

1 – 2.25 can of sliced ripe olives, drained


1 cup of mayonnaise

1 1/2 teaspoons of curry powder

1/2 cup of artichoke liquid saved from the jars


DRAIN artichokes saving 1/2 cup of the liquid.

STIR together the first 7 ingredients in a casserole size container

MIX in a small bowl the mayonnaise, curry powder and 1/2 cup of artichoke liquid. I prefer to keep the dressing separate and add to taste to each serving.  Experiment and see what works for you.

Chill for 8 hours and serve cold.

Growing in Darkness

Once my composter was emptied, I started refilling it with plant material I had cut back.  A few days later when I was adding more,  I found Cannas were continuing to bloom in the darkness.