Link Between Pesticide Levels In Blood And Parkinson’s Disease

Link Between Pesticide Levels In Blood And Parkinson’s Disease.

People with Parkinson’s disease have significantly higher blood levels of a particular pesticide than healthy people or those with Alzheimer’s disease, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found.

Choose organic when you can!

-- Weather When Posted --

  • Temperature: 86°F;
  • Humidity: 53%;
  • Heat Index: 89°F;
  • Wind Chill: 86°F;
  • Pressure: 30.09 in.;

Share
You can edit this ad by going editing the index.php file or opening /images/exampleAd.gif

Humility

Generous Gardener Rose

Generous Gardener Rose

There is no gardening without humility.  nature is constantly sending even its oldest scholars to the bottom of the class for some egregious blunder.

– Alfred Austin

-- Weather When Posted --

  • Temperature: 84°F;
  • Humidity: 56%;
  • Heat Index: 86°F;
  • Wind Chill: 84°F;
  • Pressure: 30.11 in.;

Share

Turk’s Cap

Turk's Cap Blossom

Turk's Cap Blossom

Turk’s Cap is known to biology geeks as Malvaviscus arboreus.  It is a decidous perrenial Texas native shrub that will grow in both sun and shade. It’s natural habitats include sandy low grounds near streams, limestone slopes around wooded creeks and palm groves. It ranges from the Texas Coastal Plain, east to Florida and also to the West Indies, Mexico and Cuba.  Maybe it’s because it is a native, but I have never had pest or disease prolems with this plant or even heard of anyone that has.

Turk’s cap blooms from mid summer all the way through fall. I love the little red flowers that really do look like a Turkish cap and the flowers and fruit can be used to make a tea.  I’m not the only one that loves it, though.  The hummingbirds and butterflies do too.

In the late summer or early fall, Turk’s Cap produces little red fruit that kind of look like rose hips and tastes like a cross between watermelon and apple.  They are very pulpy and full of seeds, but the can be cooked down and strained to make jelly or syrup.

Variegated Turk's Cap Foliage

Variegated Turk's Cap Foliage

I got this particular plant from a gardening friend and it is a variegated variety.  I seeds fairly easily so there are plenty of seedling to share, but it has not been overly aggressive in it’s reseeding.  If you plant this in N. Texas though, be sure to put it where you want it.  It has very deep and dense roots once it becomes established.

-- Weather When Posted --

  • Temperature: 84°F;
  • Humidity: 56%;
  • Heat Index: 86°F;
  • Wind Chill: 84°F;
  • Pressure: 30.11 in.;

Share

Yeah! High today of only 98 degrees!

I was able to stay in the garden until noon.  This is the first time all week that I have been able to spend much time at all out there without bursting into flames.

Mr. Stripey Tomato

Mr. Stripey Tomato

So what did I do?  I pruned and tied up tomatos.  Did you know that it’s not necessary to plant entirely new tomatoes for a fall garden?  Well, it’s not.  If you prune off any dead stems back almost to the base, the plant will put out an entirely new stem there.  It also helps to prune back the ends of any really leggy branches that just can be tied up.  And don’t forget to keep them watered and mulched.  As long as there is still some life in the plant, it will come back strong in the fall.

I also pruned back some more storm damage from the tornado… yes, I’m still dealing with that.

We finally got our mulch delivered this week, so hopefully I will have help to build that bed around the chicken coop this weekend.  And as soon as it cools down a bit (the mulch is freshly shredded so it has a lot of biological heat going on) I will be able to put it out in the other beds.

Not being able to get out into the heat this weak, I have spent some of my time ordering seeds for fall. Here is what I ordered.

From Seed Saver’s Exchange:

  • Calypso Bean
  • Purple Pod Pole Beans
  • Fin De Bagnol Bean
  • Prickly Caterpillar
  • Buttercup Squash
  • Golden Hubbard Squash
  • Turk’s Turban Squash
  • Five Color Silverbeet Chard

From Pinetree Garden Seeds:

  • Waterfall Viola (it was on sale… and you have to have some pretty flowers for winter)
  • Green Globe Improved Artichoke
  • Pinetree Broccoli Mix (I’m doing the mixes for a staggered harvest)
  • Fallstaff Brussels Sprouts
  • Thumbelina Carrots
  • Winter Lettuce Mix
  • Spinach Mix
  • Baby Boo Pumpkin
  • Golden Ball Turnip

From Bountiful Gardens:

  • Cabbage Mix
  • Amaranth Mix (I just think it’s pretty and the birds love it.  Maybe I will figure out how to cook with it this year.)
  • Basil Mix
  • Crimson Clover (green mulch plants for garden and lawn)
  • Dutch White Clover
  • Pine Nut Pine (this will be a potted plant, I think.  I hope I don’t kill it.)
  • Super Sugar Snap Pea
  • Mixed Dwarf Nasturtium
  • Fragrant Mix Sweat Pea

I hope I can find room for everything.  Really, what I need is about four or five acres, right honey?  I’m thinking four or five acres right in the middle of town would be perfect.

-- Weather When Posted --

  • Temperature: 84°F;
  • Humidity: 56%;
  • Heat Index: 86°F;
  • Wind Chill: 84°F;
  • Pressure: 30.11 in.;

Share

The Botany of Desire

The Botany of Desire

The Botany of Desire

What a great book!  There is so much fascinating information in here.  The book highlights the co-evolution of four different plant with humans and the particular element for which they are selected… apple/sweetness, tulip/desire, cannabis/intoxication, and potato/control.  Here is an excerpt from the chapter on the tulip/desire:

Once upon a time, there were no flowers – two hundred million years ago, to be only slightly more precise.  There wer plants then, of course, ferns and mosses, conifers and cycads, but these plants didn’t form true flowers or fruit.  Some of them reproduced asexually, cloning themselves by various means.  Sexual reproduction was a relatively discreet affair usually accomplished by releasing pollen onto the wind or water; sheer chance some of it would find its way to other members of the species, and a tiny, primitive seed would result.  This preloriferous world was a slower, simpler, sleepier world than our own.  Evolution proceeded more slowly, there being so much less sex, and what sex there was took place  among closepby and closely related plants.  such a conservative approach to reproduction made for a biologically simpler world, since it generated relatively little nobelty or variation.  Life on the whole was more local and inbred.

The world before flowers was sleepier than ours because, lacking fruit and large seeds, it couldn’t support many warm blooded creatures.  Reptiles ruled, and life slowed to a crawl whenever it got cold; little happened at night.  It was a plainer-looking world, too, greener even than it is now, absent all the colors and patterns (not to mention scents) that flowers and fruits would bring into it.  Beauty did not yet exist.  That is, the way things looked had nothing to do with desire.

Flowers changed everything.  The angiosperms, as botanists call the plants that form flowers and then encased seeds, appeared during the Cretaceous period, and they spread over the earth with stunning rapidity.  “An abominable mystery” is how Charles Darwin described this sudden and entirely evitable event.  Now, instead of relying on wind or water to move genes around, a plant could enlist the help of and animal by striking a grand co-evolutionary compact: nutrition in exchange for trasnportation.  With the advent of the flower, whole new levels of complexity come into the world: more interdependence, more information, more communication, more experimentation.

The evolution of plants proceeded according to a new motive force: attraction between different species.  Now natural selection favored blooms that could rivet the attention of pollinators, fruits that appealed to foragers.  the desires of other creatures became paramount in the evolution of plants, for the simple reason that the plants that succeeded at gratifying those desires would up with more offspring.  Beauty had emerged as a survival strategy.

The new rules speeded the rate of evolutionary change.  Bigger, brighter, sweeter, more fragrant: all these qualities were quickly rewarded under the new regime.  But so was specialization.  since bestowing one’s pollen on an insect that might deliver it to the wrong address (such as the blossoms of unrelated species) was wasteful, it becme an advatage to look and smell as distinctive as possible, the better to command the undivided attention of a single dedicated pollinator.  Animal desire was thus parsed and subdivided, plants specialized accordingly, and an extraordinary flowering of diversity took place, much of it under the signs of co-evolution and beauty.

With flowers came fruit and seeds, and these, too remade life on Earth.  By producing sugars and proteins to entice animals to disperse their seed, the angiosperms multiplied the world’s supply of food energy, making possible the rise of large warm-blooded mammals.  Without flowers, the reptiles, which had gotten along fine in a leafy, fruitless world, would probably still rule.  Without flowers, we would not be.

-- Weather When Posted --

  • Temperature: 98°F;
  • Humidity: 31%;
  • Heat Index: 99°F;
  • Wind Chill: 98°F;
  • Pressure: 30.09 in.;

Share

What’s blooming today?

Crape Myrtle

Crape Myrtle

Wow… for something that I wanted to try to do weekly, I sure haven’t kept up with this very well the past couple of weeks.

A tour of the garden shows a lot of really exhausted plants.  A lot of them look somewhat sunburned – including my aloe vera.

There are some things still blooming that honestly have no business blooming right now – like the snap dragons.  Crazy flowers!

So here is the list…

  • Roses
  • Dahlburg Daisy
  • Trailing purple verbena (slow, but still going)
  • Elderberry (the last few blooms?)
  • Crape Myrtle
  • Marigolds
  • Poke Salad
  • Texas Star Hibiscus
  • Scarlet Sage
  • Tropical Blood Weed
  • Tomato
  • Peppers
  • Pentas
  • Basil (need to dead head that one)
  • impatiens
  • Coral Honeysuckle
  • Jasmine
  • Petunia
  • Calibrochoa
  • Cosmos

    Cosmos

    Cosmos

  • Snap Dragons
  • Santolina
  • Passion Flower
  • Cleome
  • Four O’clocks
  • Cannas
  • Alyssum
  • Water Lily
  • Wine Cups
  • Lemon Balm (need to dead head this one also)
  • Pomegranate (I’m also seeing some fruit)
  • Sunflower
  • Sun drops
  • Bouncing Bet
  • Butterfly bush
  • Russian Sage
  • Purple Cone Flower

    Purple Vitex

    Purple Vitex

  • Lantana
  • Althea
  • Esperanza
  • Cucumber
  • Loofa
  • Oxalis
  • Day Lily
  • Candy Lily
  • Parsley
  • Lambs Ear
  • Autumn Coral Sage
  • ‘Australia Skies’ Anise Sage
  • Autumn Joy Sedum
  • Turk’s Cap
  • Purple Vitex

-- Weather When Posted --

  • Temperature: 95°F;
  • Humidity: 34%;
  • Heat Index: 96°F;
  • Wind Chill: 95°F;
  • Pressure: 29.99 in.;

Share

Mrs. B.R. Cant

Mrs. B.R. Cant

Mrs. B.R. Cant

The Mrs. B.R. Cant is a tea rose that was introduced in England in 1901.  Can you imagine?  This rose has been handed down by cutting (asexual reproduction) for over 100 years!

Mrs. B.R. Cant has an ARS rating of 8.7, which is very good.  It is very disease and pest resistant.  It also seems to love the heat.

This rose blooms continuously.  It starts producing 3 inch blooms in the spring and continues until the first frost.  As far as foliage goes, it is pretty much an evergreen in my garden, as are most of my roses.  I just doesn’t stay cold enough long enough for them to go dormant.

Especially when the light is right, the petals look like they are dusted in silver.  They are not the most fragrant blooms, but they do have a nice moderate tea rose scent.

I got this one as a cutting from a friend and it has a permanent place in my garden.

Share

Okra!

Okra

Okra

It’s almost ready!

I have no idea what kind this is.  I think I remember it being Clemson Spineless, but I bought it so long ago that I could be wrong.  I bought a Burgundy Okra one time too, but I know that is not what it is.  I save a pod every year and that is what I plant in the spring.  I always seem to have one or two that I miss harvesting and it seems a waste to throw them out.

Okra is a kind of hibiscus, Hibiscus esculentus, and it actually has a very pretty flower.  I must have missed this one flowering while I was on my mini-vacation.  It seems like the hotter it gets, the better okra likes it.  That makes one of us.  But at least there is something in my yard that doesn’t look totally exhausted from the heat.

I will have to be careful to check the pods daily now because they grow so fast, it’s easy to miss that perfect okra moment – when it is about 3 or 4 inches long.  And I really don’t want to leave them on the plant too long because that shuts down production.

Fried Okra!  I can’t wait.  We are gluten sensitive (well, at least three out of five of us are) but I have found that it tastes just as good fried in olive oil with salt and pepper (and maybe some Cajun seasonings) as it does breaded and fried.

Yum!

Share

July Garden Chores

And again, life goes on in spite of all the work I need to do in the garden.  Luckily, no matter what I do or don’t do, nature will take over and do its thing.  I’m just its most reliable tool.

Now it’s too hot to do a lot of things that I wasn’t able to get done, like removing the forsythia.  Sure, I could go ahead and whack it out – in the heat.  But then I wouldn’t be able to pass it on to anyone.  It would be a goner.  So I will wait for cooler weather in the fall.

So here is my current list of garden chores:

Bag Worm

Bag Worm

  • Finish clean up and repair from the tornado damage.
  • Re-pot and fertilize pond plants
  • Get more fish (mosquito and gold) for the pond.
  • Treat pond weekly
  • Dead head spent blooms
  • Prune back dead perennials and bush and tree branches.
  • Cut back asters and mums for fall bloom
  • Mulch!  I still haven’t managed to get my mulch!  I’m just going to have to break down and buy some.
  • Start pruning back tomatoes for fall production
  • Start hunting and killing bag worms.  I found one today in the bald cypress.  Just dunk the little suckers in soapy water.
  • Bed out around pond and chicken coop.
  • Mow weekly
  • Water in zones to 1″ weekly.  Potted plants daily.
  • Feed and water the birds!
  • Start planning for a fall garden.  Hmm… I could still plant zinnia and maybe some more sunflowers?  Summer squash seed and southern peas still have a chance if it’s watered well.  Winter squash, pumpkins and gourds could go in by the end of the month.  I will have to break out the books and catalogs and plan the rest of it.

-- Weather When Posted --

  • Temperature: 89°F;
  • Humidity: 38%;
  • Heat Index: 89°F;
  • Wind Chill: 89°F;
  • Pressure: 29.84 in.;

Share

Cicadas are singing

Cicadas

Cicadas

Cicadas sing of summer

Simmering their sound

In a round

Calling for a mate

Chanting and chirping

Shouting out a warning

A glorious cacophony

A lullaby of summer

Did you know…

  • That only male cicadas make sing?  The females make a small buzzing noise to talk to a mate, but only the male sings the LOUD summer song.
  • There are thousands of species of cicada?  Most of them have not even been cataloged!  Most cicadas have a 17 year cycle (but there are some 13 year cicadas also).  The female lays as many as 600 eggs in various nest in trees and when the eggs hatch after a couple of months the larvae drop to the ground, burrow down not to emerge for another 17 years.  The nymph then climbs back out of the ground to shed it’s skin to live as an adult for only a few weeks.
  • That cicadas are not locusts?  Locusts are a type of migratory grasshopper that travels in swarms and cicadas do not.
  • That in spite of their loud sound, cicadas are not harmful?  They do not bite or sting and they are actually beneficial to the trees because they aerate the soil and keep week weak limbs and roots pruned.  They can be harmful to weak trees… so don’t plant those.
  • That cicadas are food for a lot of people?  They are low in fat and high in protein.  Even here in the US, cicadas have been used as a food source.
  • There are some silent years when no brood emerges?  These are called “empty class years” when no brood class emerges.
  • The most common North American cicadas is also called the “dog-day cicada”?  This is because they emerge in the heat of July.  Most North American cicadas are in the genus Tibicen.

-- Weather When Posted --

  • Temperature: 86°F;
  • Humidity: 49%;
  • Heat Index: 88°F;
  • Wind Chill: 86°F;
  • Pressure: 29.9 in.;

Share