Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Azalea Regalia

Spring has definitely sprung in South Carolina, and Todd and I have started eating out in the sun room so we can listen to the birds and enjoy the breeze.

Our early-blooming azaleas have all vividly come to life.

Azaleas, azaleas, everywhere.

It's got me asking the question:  how did I ever live without azaleas?

Sigh...they're so lovely.

They've definitely found a major place in my weekly bouquets.

The dogwoods are starting to bloom in long white drifts.  I bet they'll all be open by the weekend.

Remember this mystery bud?  It has progressed nicely.

They're leaves, not flowers!  It's so nice to see all the green.

 I've been taking advantage of every sunny place.  I've planted the window box:

I've filled the greenhouse window over the sink:

I've filled a small table behind our couch:

Our front steps are full of flowers, and we've got flowers in the sun room and on the patio.  How can I afford so many flowers?  Well, I can't.  Every single plant we have was in the clearance bin at some store, or propagated by me for pennies.  Clearance flowers are so easy to revive.  They're usually just in need of a little water and pruning and they snap back into shape.  I purchased two giant pots (10" across) of "Christmas pansies" at Lowe's for $2 each in January.  Both are STILL blooming beautifully. 

This giant fern was $40 - $50 at Walmart...dragged out of the clearance bin and mine for $9.  I'm repotting it in a bigger container today!

 These plants were all dragged out of the Lowe's clearance bin this weekend.

$6 hydrangeas (I bought 4)!  $3 columbines!  Dried-out succulents for $1!  These are perennials, which means that you can revive them now and they'll be with you as long as you can keep them alive.  I'm begging you:  raid those clearance bins!  Just not the ones around Anderson, South Carolina.  ;)

What I don't get from the clearance bin, I grow myself.  I planted a few inexpensive herbs a few weeks ago:

They needed some space, so I thinned them out and now they're growing happily on my patio.  I don't need so many herbs for cooking, so I'll use the extras in bouquets to add a little green.  Of course, they'll go to seed in the fall...I'll collect the seeds and do it all over again.

I've sowed seeds from last year - and a few new ones - on the patio.  A $10 seed investment, 220 perennial flowers planted, and hopefully all will grow.

I'm propagating all of my succulents in a sunny window.  They'll grow roots and make new plants...free!

It doesn't take any skill, much money, or much time.  The only thing you have to remember to do is water them!  I hope you'll give it a try!

I've been using my binoculars to watch birds down by the pond.  We've got lots of water birds:  geese, ducks, kingfishers, and herons.  What looks nice to the naked eye...

...doesn't hold up well under binocular scrutiny.

That's right...the current carries all sorts of trash to our edge of the pond and deposits it there.  It's pretty disgusting.

We've both been pretty busy, but this weekend I told Todd that we couldn't wait any longer to clean up that mess.  While I held the trash bag, Todd caught all of the trash up in the rake.

It took about 30 minutes to get it all cleaned up...I couldn't believe the trash filled an entire bag!

It looked so much better after we finished.

I was gratified to see a family of turtles moving in the very next day, hanging out on a log that had previously been bobbing in a sea of trash.  We'll keep up on it so that it doesn't become so messy again.

I hope you've got some flowers in your neck of the woods.  Have a great week!

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