Sweet Kate



Sweet Kate is a wonderful perennial for the garden. The above picture was taken early in the morning back in May of this year. I purchased Tradescantia Sweet Kate from Plant Delights Nursery about 12 years ago. It is an easy to grow perennial that has spectacular bright chartreuse foliage and blooms all summer long.

It forms dense clumps, foliage is erect and has strap like leaves growing about 18 inches tall. The bright chartreuse is eye catching along the border of my garden. The next two pictures were taken this morning, towards the end of the season it is still blooming but the leaves are not as bright.

Sweet Kate

The flowers are a deep blue nearly violet color. Flowers are petaled and bloom everyday in the morning until the sun hits them from spring to first frost. The stamen stems have a dot of pollen on each that floats above the flower.

Tradescantia sweet kate

Sweet Kate is deer resistant, will tolerate wet soil, attracts a lot of butterflies, blooms from spring to the first frost and will grow in direct sun even in South Carolina. It is easily divided so you can transplant to other areas of your garden. If you are not growing Sweet Cate, you should give it a try.

Let me know if you are growing Sweet Cate in your garden?

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Snail Mail


I received a wonderful thank you note from Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten’s administrative person, Lidey Heuck. She loved my cutting board!

This is her note:


It is so nice to get snail mail every now and then, especially when it is not a bill!

I still have not heard back directly from Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) but I hope too.

If you have not followed my story on this, check out these other post:

Shipped end grain cutting board to Ina Garten, This Week

Received email from Barefoot Contessa, Is Today The Day?

end grain cutting board with wood conditioner ready to ship

This is the board I sent to Ina Garten

See more about My Work and cutting boards.

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Bracken Ferns

bracken fern fronds

During my hike this evening I found a large patch of bracken fern growing on the side of the mountain. Bracken is a large fern that can grow up to 3 feet tall and grows well in the sun. Here is South Carolina we have a lot of extremely hot weather in late July and August and the bracken ferns will grow well in direct sun in our area.

Bracken ferns have rhizome roots and are rapid growers in the right soil. They can reproduce two ways, by rhizomes spreading and by spores. All you need is about 3 to 4 inches of the rhizome to transplant bracken ferns from one area to another. Bracken ferns are fast growing and can be invasive.

bracken fern fronds

As you can see in the pictures, bracken has fronds that are made up of smaller leaflets. The fronds are shaped like triangles. After the first hard frost the bracken fronds die back but will come back in the spring.

When I am making an arrangement of bourbon roses or oriental lilies I will add a couple of bracken fronds. I have read that bracken fern is carcinogenic to mice, rats, horses and cattle when eaten.

If you plant bracken ferns in your garden they are almost impossible to get rid of them if you decide you don’t want them anymore!!

Caterpillars, Insects, Lizards, Newts


I planted a few large ostrich ferns today that I got from a friend in a trade for a cutting board. Then I walked around the garden and down to the creek with my camera. Along the way, I spotted a few caterpillars, insects, lizards and newts!  By the time I got back it started to rain and has been raining all day.

orange color woolly catipiler

Orange Woolly Caterpillar



Cicada killer wasp

Cicada killer wasp capturing a cicada.

The above picture was taken by a friend, Rob Mays at his church just a few weeks ago.

Green Anole Lizard

Anole Lizard


Red-eft (eastern newt/salamander)

red oxblook lily flower

Red Oxblood Lily Flower


Talking Turkey


wild male eastern turkey

I decide to pull theSanDisk card from my Reconyx trail cam today and had a over 50 pictures of wild eastern turkey, 20 plus night pictures of raccoons and a a few of a red fox. Most of these turkey pictures are males, tom or often called gobblers. Tom turkeys have a beard,  a snood on top of their head, dark almost black plunage around the neck and the extra claw or spur behind the foot. Click on the pictures to enlarge to see the details I mentioned!

wild eastern turkey

eastern turkey posing for camera

I love these pictures where they are flapping their wings, looks like they are standing on their toes!!

five large wild eastern turkey

I love my trail cam, the brand I purchased is a Reconyx Hyperfire trail cam but there are many different brands and price ranges. Each picture get the date and time stamp, moon and temperature.

Previous post on Wild Mountain Turkey.

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! Giveaway Winner !

I posted Yesterday that Carolyn had won. Carolyn declined the Bluebird House since she lives in a heavy wooded area and doesn’t really have birds around. I then did the drawing again and got Alana Mautone! 


Congratulations Alana!    Alana I sent you an email, please email be back!

Check out Alana blog – Ramblin with AM

Thanks for entering everyone! 

rustic bluebird houses on front porch as decoration painted blue with tin roof

Follow my Blog and get ready for another Giveaway soon!!

Oriental Lilies and Geraniums

oriental lily star gazer flower

I love growing Oriental Lilies for the beautiful trumpet flowers, their wonderful fragrance and using them in flower arrangements. This is the Oriental Lily Start Gazer and it is the last flower that I will have this year. I grow a lot of Oriental Lilies, I just love the beauty of the flowers and they have the most wonderful fragrance too. I usually cut the flowers early in the morning then I hold the flower unside down and with a small pair of scissors I cut the male anthers. This will keep the flower looking nice.

If you have the space in your garden for Oriental Lilies you should give them a try. They are relatively easy to grow as long as you have amended soils. Purchase large bulbs and you will have large flowers. Smaller bulbs will take a couple years to get large flowers.  I will tell you that the deer love them, so don’t plant them if you have deer.


Geraniums are easy to grow and are fairly reliable. My wife likes to grow geraniums in posts. She has them everywhere, on the deck on the front porch, etc.. She love the fuchsia color geraniums and sometimes they can be hard to find. Last year we drove to nearly all the local nurseries before we found them. If you water and fertilize them they will bloom all summer.

This Week

I don’t know about you guys but this has been a really busy week for me. I am ready for the weekend and tomorrow is Friday, yea! The weekend weather is suppose to be nice and cooler. Yesterday I finished the end grain cutting board I made special for Ina Garten – chef on Barefoot Contessa and today I got it shipped. I shipped it using FedEx so if FedEx does their job it should arrive tomorrow at her home before noon.

end grain cutting board maple and cherry

The board I made was longer than I normally make, above is a picture. Click on any of my images to enlarge and get close-up view.

end grain cutting board with wood conditioner ready to ship

The cutting board is ready for final packing and shipping. I always include a tin of my Wood Conditioner so that you can keep your board looking great. Look at my other cutting boards and serving boards.

I can’t wait to hear from Ina to know if she likes it, I hope to post a follow up soon, wish me luck!

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Oxblood Lily are Blooming


pink oxblood lily flower

Two years ago I purchased a bag of Oxblood Lily bulbs also call School House Lily since they were often plants in school years. The bulbs I purchased came from the Southern Bulb Company is Texas. The story is that the Oxblood Lily is native to Argentina and was brought to Texas by German settlers many years ago.

pink oxblood lily flower

The pink Oxblood Lily bulbs are hard to find, red flowering bulbs are more available than the pink. In September they will bloom and then the green foliage appears and stays green all winter. The flower stalks are around 12 to 15 inches tall. They will come back every year. Last year I had flowers but they are taller and more beautiful this year than last year.

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Pileated Woodpeaker

beautiful pileated woodpecker

We have a family of Pileated Woodpeckers living near our home. I have seen two adults and three young woodpeckers all summer. I have been trying for nearly two years to get pictures. Usually by the time I spot them and get my camera they are gone or the pictures I get are bad. Well, I finally got one picture.  They are extremely fast, when they land on trees to peck for bugs they hop around the tree trunk making it hard to get pictures.

The Pileated Woodpecker is huge woodpecker, if you have ever seen one you know what I mean. They are the largest woodpecker in the United States coming in at 16 to 19 inches tall with a 29 inch wingspan. Here in northern South Carolina they are abundant. Pileated Woodpeckers are very territorial.

They have a very loud call and it carries far, you can most often hear them calling before you see them. As they peck the trunks of trees retrieving food their drumming on the tree is also very loud and sounds like someone hitting a tree with a hammer. Pileated Woodpeckers will eat mostly insects, they love ants and wood-boring beetle larvae. They will also eat some fruits, nuts and berries. Months ago a popular tree fell and I cut a log about 20 inches long then drilled a bunch of 2 inch holes that I stuff with suet mix just for the woodpecker. I try to keep the squirrels from eating the suet by hanging the log from a tree limb. I have a bunch of other woodpeckers that also eat love the suet.

Out of 14 pictures this was the only one that was good. I will keep trying in hopes to get more shots.

check out my last blog post, Is Today the Day?