Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Casual Observations While Getting My 10,000 In, Winter Walk-off 2016

Skyler and Newton
Every year about this time, my friend Les hosts a Winter Walk-off. To participate in the Walk-off you need only your two feet and camera. The rules are simple- don't photograph your garden/yard and travel by foot. 
I have participated every year, last year I won the drawing! I will bow out of the drawing for this year, but still wanted to play along. Each year I have had my four legged friends accompanying me. Sadly we lost our sweet Newtie this year, so I only have one dog, Skyler. Charlie and I have been walking since the end of November, more religiously since the end of December. 


Our neighborhood is five miles from end to end and so far there are less than 50 houses built. Much of what we see along the way are blackberry brambles and grasses. We also have a rollercoaster-esk road. The elevations range from 440 feet above sea level at the lake to 550 feet or more. Some hills are harder to climb than others! 

My initial goal was 10,000 steps and I have increased it to 11,000 recently. We got Fitbits for Christmas and have become obsessed with how many more steps we need.  The only thing I needed to do for the Walk-off was to remember my camera! We only take Skyler on part of the walk, he does about 2 miles. 

So, on with the walk.... 

Ours is a Hickory-Oak forest, bordered by a Pine forest that is harvested by the paper companies. From the road to the lake is more Hickory-Oak, sprinkled with pines. Native trees such as Beech, Fagus grandifolia, show off their Marcescent leaves deep into the forest. (Leaves that remain through the winter) It wasn't until the first winter here that I knew for certain how many beech were in our woods. 

Another tree that stands out in the winter landscape is Sycamore, Platanus occidentalis.  With its white mottled bark, this tree shines in the forest. This one still has its seedpods, looking like upside down lollipops. 

We first saw this hornet's nest in November. A couple days ago I noticed a Hummingbird's nest on the next tree. Sadly, didn't have my camera with me on that walk. 

Our quiet neighborhood is growing, this is the most recent lot to have building started. Here is the utilities guy marking the electric and phone lines.

If you keep your eyes open while you are walking you will see all sorts of interesting items. Not sure whose nest this might have been last year. It is nestled in the blackberry brambles, food at their front door?

I noticed that the color on the Eastern Red Cedars, Juniperus virginiana was changing, the flowers are getting ready to explode with their pollen going all over.  The dark green foliage is overtaken by the golden male blooms. 

Speaking of keeping your eyes open--- I saw this item after walking this direction for almost a month. Do you see it in the photo below? Look closely--- near the © symbol.

How about now? A mysterious round hole. No idea who lives in this hole, if anything. The hole is very round, about  6- 8 inches in diameter. I would love to move my trail camera to this location to see if I could capture on film something coming in or going out of this hole. Sadly there doesn't seem to be a good place to anchor the camera, (yes I know, I could take a post to mount the camera) but remember those brambles I keep mentioning? There is a thick stand of them between the road and the hole. Any guesses?

Not too far from the hole is a nice stand of deciduous holly. I would guess it to be Possumhaw,  Ilex decidua,  but I don't know for sure. Love the bold red berries! 

Before you leave, give a listen to our noisy neighborhood. You can tell spring is in the air!

Skyler is glad the walk is over, he is ready for a drink of water and a rest.

Be sure to check out the other Winter Walk-off posts. Visit A Tidewater Gardener.

 ©Copyright 2016 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Roses Roses Roses- And the Winners Are.....

Rosa 'Janet'
Thank you to each and everyone of you who visited my blog or my Facebook page to participate in the David Austin rose giveaway.
I have been a fan of the David Austin rose in my garden. It is a pleasure to share three to my readers. Wish I could send each and everyone of you a rose.
The winners are Ed Yemola,  Donna Abel Donabella, and Lynn Hunt.
I need you to send your name and email address to me.
 My email is thequeenofseaford@gmail.com. I will send your information to my contact at David Austin, Sally. She will send you an email with the details on how to receive your bare rooted rose. In the meanwhile go to the David Austin website and search the bare root rose list to make your decision. You have so many beautiful roses from which to choose. My choices were from the 2016 introductions but you don't have to limit yourself to my choices...the world is your oyster. The hard part will be making a choice.
Rosa 'Janet'
Again, congratulations to you- send me your information and look over the roses at David Austin. The roses will be sent to you according to your region's best time to plant a rose.

Rosa 'Janet'
And thank you to all who participated!

©Copyright 2016 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Blogs, Flings and Rose Give-Away

Last month I was asked to speak at a Master Gardener program about blogging. What does one say about writing a blog? Do you talk about the ins and outs of which platform to use? I did. Do you include why one writes a blog? Of course I did. I also included learning about writing html code and that I was glad it isn't critical. I also talked about other bloggers helping me get started. I appreciated my sister suggesting that I do a trial blog to make sure my photos and text all line up correctly and  Freda sharing a technique to line up multiple photos in rows and columns. Of course one must also talk about their photos. I talked about photo tagging, embedded info on the photos and different photo editing programs. Writing is critical, information needs to be accurate and well written. Check and double check your facts. I try to use a couple different references, especially when I write about trees.

 I told them the best part of blogging are the friendships from all across the world have been formed. Blogging friends are electronic pen pals. I have been blogging since 2008 and made many friends along the way. A few posts ago was my 400th post.
A couple years ago I went on my first Garden Bloggers Fling. It was like seeing old friends. Each subsequent Fling is a great gathering, seeing old friends, making new ones.

I wrote about the Fling in Toronto a few posts ago. You can read about it here. The Flings are sponsored by a multitude of garden related companies and individuals. The organizers of the Fling get support from far and wide to help lessen the cost for attendees. Over the years we have been privileged to receive tools, seeds, clothes, gloves, books, and plants. One of our sponsors this past year was David Austin Roses. Through some luck and the kindness of our Fling planners, I won the raffle for the roses! I am sharing my winnings with my readers. Two for me and three to share with you! Three chances to win!!

David Austin Rose 'Janet' 
My regular readers know I have one David Austin rose in my family garden. The family garden is a section in my garden where I have plants with names associated with members of my family. Rosa 'Janet', Paeonia 'Charlie's White', Paeonia 'Rachel's Red', Camellia sasanqua 'Rebecca's Paradise', and Hemerocallis 'Alexander's Ragtime Band' to name a few.

Over the years I have shared many photos of my 'Janet' rose. The fragrance is incredible and the colors change as the rose matures. It is a wonderful addition to my garden.  Amazing to think these two photos are of the 'Janet' rose.  The petals just keep opening and opening. A gorgeous rose.

The choices I made for myself are two new introductions for 2016. The first one is 'The Lady of the Lake'. It makes sense doesn't it? I live on a lake, therefore I NEED this rose. The second one I chose is 'Olivia Rose Austin', a heavy fragranced bloom. The photos below are from David Austin's website.
'The Lady of Lake'
'Olivia Rose Austin' 

If you would like to win one of the rose bushes, there are three chances! Just leave me a message below or on The Queen of Seaford Facebook page, or both! You will be able to make your own choice, the roses are amazing, to decide on one will be hard. A bare root rose bush will be sent to you at the correct time for planting in your area. THREE CHANCES TO WIN!!! Drawing will take place on January 7th.

Many thanks to Vincent Plotczyk for taking photos during my program.

©Copyright 2015 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.