16 08 2011



Tomorrow is going to be like Christmas, Hanukkah, Halloween, my birthday and the first day of spring all rolled into one……And why? Cause Turner Classic Movies is going to show Bogart movies all day tomorrow. Have I seen all the movies they’re going to show tomorrow? Of course I have, what a dumb question Paul From Alabama to ask yourself…..:-) I know I’ve watched the Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep and To Have And Have Not maybe 300 or 400 times a piece, no exaggeration fellow gardeners. What I don’t understand is why everybody hasn’t……:-) I don’t even know how to explain it, watching Bogart just makes me feel good. I know not only all the plots by heart, good Lord I know the dialog by heart too. I know the endings, I know the beginnings and I know what happens in the middle too….:-) But no matter I’m going to be glued to the screen tomorrow.

In this age of DVD’s, movies on demand and digital video recorders don’t I already have all the movies myself on one or all these formats? Of course I do…..:-) I got two copies of the Maltese Falcon on DVD and both versions of the Big Sleep on one “Deluxe” DVD….:-)  So why in the world would I make such a big deal about all those movies showing on Turner Classic Movies tomorrow? One reason fellow gardeners and it’s just this…..Not only me but thousands of other Bogart fans are all going to be sitting in front of the TV tomorrow enjoying the movies together, even though we don’t even know each other, don’t matter…..I know they’re there, enjoying Bogart along with me.

Smiling when Bogart makes saps out to the bad guys…Envious with jealousy when he gets the girl every time….Even after all cigarette smoking has cost me in my life, my voice and nearly my life, I still get a kick out of Bogart smoking one  cigarette right after another, I ain’t never seen a guy enjoy a cigarette so much, even me…..:-)

Good guy, bad guy, leading man, supporting actor, scoundrel, hero and the “everyman” of all time, you gotta love Bogart……

So this evening I watered all the containers real good. I deadheaded the daisies and whatever else needed it. I filled the bird feeders and the bird baths cause tomorrow me and thousands of other folks, strangers to one another are all going to be watching Bogart movies all morning, all afternoon and all night long and thinking the same thing, “I wanna be  just like Bogart”……:-)

And one last thing about Bogart. At the end of the  movie, The Maltese Falcon when Bogart is talking to Ward Bond, who plays the police detective, Ward Bond asks Bogart, “What is that thing?” Looking at what was supposed to be the real Maltese Falcon.  And Bogart stares at the black bird, the fake Maltese Falcon, a lifeless figurine of a falcon that has cost so many lives and Bogart says,”It’s the stuff that dreams are made of” and that’s what Bogart movies are, the stuff that dreams are made of…….Sweet Dreams Fellow Gardeners…….

Paul From Alabama


Here’s the Turner Classic Movie schedule for tomorrow, August 17, 2011:

17 Wednesday

6:00 AM

Stephen Bogart hosts this one-hour special on the life and career of his legendary father, Humphrey Bogart.

Dir:  Cast:   ,  ,  .

C-46 mins, TV-G, CC,

7:00 AM

A cop goes undercover to crack an influential crime ring.

Dir:  Cast:   ,  ,  .

BW-82 mins, TV-G, CC,

8:30 AM

A convict’s sister falls for the captain of the prison guards.

Dir:  Cast:   ,  ,  .

BW-70 mins, TV-PG, CC,

9:45 AM

A lady doctor gets mixed up with a criminal gang.

Dir:  Cast:   ,  ,  .

BW-67 mins, TV-PG, CC,

11:00 AM

A skipper-for-hire’s romance with a beautiful drifter is complicated by his growing involvement with the French resistance.

Dir:  Cast:   ,  ,  .

BW-100 mins, TV-G, CC,

12:45 PM

Private eye Philip Marlowe investigates a society girl’s involvement in the murder of a pornographer.

Dir:  Cast:   ,  ,  .

BW-114 mins, TV-PG, CC,

2:45 PM

An aging ex-con sets out to pull one more big heist.

Dir:  Cast:   ,  ,  .

BW-100 mins, TV-G, CC,

4:30 PM

Truck driving brothers are framed for murder by a lady psycho.

Dir:  Cast:   ,  ,  .

BW-95 mins, TV-PG, CC,

6:15 PM

An aspiring actress begins to suspect that her temperamental boyfriend is a murderer.

Dir:  Cast:   ,  ,  .

BW-93 mins, TV-PG, CC,

8:00 PM

Hard-boiled detective Sam Spade gets caught up in the murderous search for a priceless statue.

Dir:  Cast:   ,  ,  .

BW-101 mins, TV-PG, CC,

10:00 PM

An international platoon fights off Nazis in World War II Africa.

Dir:  Cast:   ,  ,  .

BW-98 mins, TV-PG, CC,

12:00 AM

A group of con artists stake their claim on a bogus uranium mine.

Dir:  Cast:   ,  ,  .

BW-90 mins, TV-PG, CC,

2:00 AM

Naval officers begin to suspect their captain of insanity.

Dir:  Cast:   ,  ,  .

C-125 mins, TV-PG, CC, Letterbox Format

4:15 AM

An American in post-war Japan gets caught up in the black market.

Dir:  Cast:   ,  ,  .

BW-89 mins, TV-PG, CC,


Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day - August 2011

15 08 2011

Carol from “May Dreams Gardens” blog, which you can find right here:   is nice enough to host something called “Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day” which is where other garden bloggers post photos of their garden blooms on any particular day as long it’s the 15th of that month, that particular month….:-)  You can post pictures from your garden from the 14th of that month or even the 16th of that month, but you’ll be liable for prosecution to the full extent of the law and let me tell you fellow gardeners something right now, Carol from May Dreams Gardens means what she says about the rules cause I know one gardener who just got out of prison after doing 3 years for posting pictures of her ‘Zeprhine Drouhin’ roses she took in April when they were really peaking and at the best but the silly girl posted them in the May Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day trying to slip them in. Carol and her investigators had her picked up almost immediately, they locked the poor girl up, she went to trial, was prosecuted  and convicted for unlawfully posting pretty pictures of her roses in the wrong month, she did 3 years in the “Joint” and the investigators that Carol sent to her house to arrest her pulled up her ‘Zeprhine Drouhin’ roses just for spite !!!!……What did I tell you fellow gardeners?  That Carol from “May Dreams Gardens” blog is just a barrel of laughs……:-)

But other than that one little thing, you know posting photos of your garden blooms from some other day than the day that Carol says you should, well other than that, Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is lots of fun…..:-) And I hope you’ll participate too if you already haven’t…..I’m going to participate today and I might even try to slip  in a couple of pictures that I DIDN’T take today but you see I already been in prison so prison don’t scare me. Only thing that scares me is mildew on my phlox paniculata (‘David’ ) or God forbid on my Monarda didyma (‘Jacob Cline’). I’m terrified of that. I used to be terrified that I might actually kill a plant that I’d planted in my garden but I’ve killed so many plants now it don’t scare me anymore at all, no it just sends me into bouts of deep depression from say early March to late September…..:-) But enough about me and my little quirks and enough about Carol and her unreasonable rules and vindictiveness….:-) How about some photos of my garden blooms I took early this morning or NOT….:-) Photo slide show is below, Photo galldery is below that, take your pick, both have the same photos along with intelligent, cogent, informative captions written by the same guy who took the pictures at 6 0′clock this morning…..:-)  The ‘Addendum’ is below the photo gallery below, way below……:-)

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I’m glad you dropped by for Garden Bloggers’s Bloom Day. It’s fun and I love to post pictures of my garden as much as I love visiting all the other gardeners’ blogs who participate in GBBD. Thanks so much for taking the time to either read one of my little stories or to take a look at my photos on Garden Bloggers’s Bloom Day. Either way I hope you have a good time while you’re here and leave with a smile on your face. If you have time please leave a comment, I really loved hearing from folks who visit. Again thanks.

14 08 2011

Amsonia hubrichtii 3 plants planted in a triangle about 18 inches apart. It grows into one large shrub-like beauty. Here it's with it's spring blue flowers right before it really starts to get it's full size, around 4 feet wide and about 3 feet high.

I frequent a good many gardening blogs every chance I get cause I always learn something new and they usually have photos of their plants that are always beautiful and sometimes real instructive. Such is “fairegarden” You can check it out right here and believe me it’s well worth your time:  But what I wanted to bring to your attention in particular is this article on “How To Weed For Volunteer Seedlings” right here  Now I know about volunteers, I know about some volunteers with a vengeance, but the way Frances of fairegarden writes her articles it either reinforces what I already know or it propels me into doing something I forgot or like I said it might be something I didn’t even know. One thing for sure, her blog always has great photographs and great writing.

Now that’s what I spent doing this morning, weeding volunteer seedlings. How many Alabamian’s does it take to weed volunteer seedlings? Two in our garden. One digger, me and one potter, Linda…..:-)  This morning we were digging up and potting Amsonia hubrichtii whose common name is Arkansas Blue Star, just about my favorite plant. Low maintenance, I haven’t even watered mine once in 6 years. Fertilizers need not apply cause they don’t need any. Does it need really good soil? Well I think about any plant need good drainage unless it’s a water plant…:-) but the soil I got mine planted in ain’t nothing special cause the lady I bought my plants from told me they didn’t need anything special and I took her word for it and she was right too. If it likes anything its full sun or a good bit of sun, the more the merrier.

Now the first year I grew  Amsonia hubrichtii it died back to the ground from the 3 little plants I planted in a triangle about 18 inches apart that fall. Then come spring it came back but it grew up looking like mules tails. A feathery looking thing that just sprawled out on the ground horizontally!!!. I started to chuck it then but for some reason I felt like I needed  to have a little more patience and thank goodness I did. Cause the next year it took off and made a beautiful shrub-like plant with thread leaf foliage covered with little light blue flowers in the spring and then stays green all summer long and then in the fall it turns a beautiful traffic stopping gold. There just ain’t no downside to this plant fellow gardeners, well OK maybe one. Let me show you what it looks like growing in my garden with it’s green thread leaf foliage, only one problem with it, if you want to call this a problem, that’s keeping from running your hands through the foliage all the time, it’s soft, soft as anything you can think of…OK enough words, here’s a photo.

Amsonia hubrichtii growing right inside my rose arbor. Thread leaf foliage stays nice and green all spring and summer and then turns a beautiful gold in the fall.

Now Linda potted up maybe 20 or so plants and we’re going to use 3 of them triangulated  right behind my mail box when we build a new flower bed around and behind the mail box this fall. So that’ll leave us with a few extras, so if you’re in the neighborhood come by and I’ll give you one and you can grow one of you own but just try to keep your hands from running through it when you walk past it. Good luck with that fellow gardeners…..;-)

Paul From Alabama


Hope any of you that live around here and are interested in trying it will come by and I’ll be glad to give you an Amsonia hubrichtii till the last one is gone. Funny thing though about these volunteers, I’ve had this plant growing in the same place for 6 years now and this is the first year it’s volunteered for me. And then all the plants are growing right under edges of the plant or about a foot or so away. So it’s not an invasive type plant by any means, just a happy one that’ll make you happy too…..

Paul From Alabama

13 08 2011

I may not look "blessed" but I am .......:-)

I know it’s hot as Hades outside and I know that some of you fellow gardeners are dying for some rain, well your plants are literally dying for some rain anyways. My heart goes out to you, no joke and no LOL (laugh out loud), cause I been there and done that. I wish I could send you some rain like I’d send you some email but I can’t……Now I been pretty blessed here in Alabama this year, we’ve got some rain off and on and the ground isn’t parched like some years about this time and my flowers are looking pretty good and really healthy if I do say so myself and I do, say so myself that is….And I feel pretty blessed today cause I’m alive and healthy sitting here on the back porch writing this little story for you and me. You see I write these little stories cause I enjoy writing them and it’s fun and I write them cause I hope you enjoy them and I hope it’s fun for you to read them.

And I feel blessed cause I got so much done today in our garden on what I knew was going to be a scorcher of a day in August. Blessed cause there’s butterflies flying all around everywhere today…Blessed cause I got so many birds that come to our garden everyday but seems like there’s even more today….Blessed cause I look out over our garden and it’s so pretty all framed in the little bit of freshly cut grass I got left.  Freshly cut cause I got up at 4 o’clock this morning and sat on the porch till nearly 5 when it was barely light enough to see what I was doing and then I filled all my bird feeders up, cleaned and filled my bird baths, cleaned my hummingbird feeders and filled them up (well I’m going to fill them up as soon I finish this little story..;-)) and then while I was edging the borders of my flower beds, I turned on that irrigation contraption that my buddy Jack Spears gave me to use in my garden. I set it up and let it run a few minutes in the few places that usually need a little extra help this time of year given the amount of rain we’ve gotten here lately. And I did all that and deadheaded my flowers too before 9 o’clock. And now? Well I just feel blessed that’s all…

Speaking of being blessed, my wife came outside about 9 o’clock and helped me clean the porch. We blew it off first with my leaf blower that’s so loud it’ll wake up the dead up at the cemetery on the hill about a quarter mile or so away from my house. How do I know that? Mental telepathy I reckon, I just know when I turn it on that folks up there are saying to themselves, “Good Lord Paul From Alabama, it’s early on a Saturday morning and folks are probably sleeping in your neighborhood still and we know we’re trying to sleep up here on cemetery hill”……:-) I don’t often hear from the dead but when I do I try to pay attention to what they say so I hurried up and blew the porch off and the grass clippings from around the containers around the porch and then shut the darn thing off. Shut that thing off before that nice, reasonable fellow that lives right behind me, Hank, came out of his house and took a shot at me…..:-) Like I said, I listen to the dead talking to me sometimes but I ain’t scared of them, but angry, irritated neighbors, well I’m kind scared of them fellow gardeners…..:-) So then Linda sprayed off the porch with some water and sprayed off the furniture too. And when she was finished doing her magic the porch looked so nice I was ready to sit out here till the Moon Flowers start blooming about dark thirty this evening…..:-)

Now I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about today. I reckon I could have written another goofy story about something crazy I’ve done in the past, I seem to have a limitless supply of those fellow gardeners……:-)  But Linda said, “why don’t you just write about what you did today in the garden”.  A novel idea for a “gardening” blog I thought to myself ….:-)  But as always she was right. She sure seems to be right a lot. I used to wonder if that was a good thing or not but I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s just another thing to feel blessed about. Is your wife right all the time? Or is your husband right all the time? I hope so cause if he or she is you should  feel blessed too…..Now I ain’t kidding about feeling real blessed about my wife being right all the time. I’m serious about it, no joke.

Well she’s right 99% of the time anyways. And what about that 1% of the time when she’s not right? Exactly what are those things that she’s wrong about that 1% of the time. Well that fellow gardeners was what Linda asked me herself when I told her one time she was “right all the time, well 99% of time anyways” And what did I feel like when she asked me that? You know, feel like when she asked me what EXACTLY were those things she was wrong about that 1% of the time? Well fellow gardeners I can tell one thing for sure, I didn’t feel BLESSED……:-)

Paul From Alabama

Addendum: I just feel better when I catch up on all my “piddling” in the garden. Don’t you? But you never really catch up on everything do you?  Well not for long anyways, cause things change every single day in the garden….Cause of the passage of time, even one day, even just an hour sometimes….Cause of the weather….. Cause you see some things today you didn’t see yesterday and well fellow gardeners just “because”…..:-) And you know what else? Even if it’s hot as Hades today, I still feel good looking out over my garden and I feel blessed. And I feel really good and really blessed just looking over at Linda and just knowing that she’s my wife and I just love her and she loves me and well I feel good and blessed just “because”…. And if today, hot as it is, feels this good, this blessed, well just think how good and how blessed we’re all gonna feel when Fall gets here…..

Paul From Alabama

11 08 2011

Cars riding around Piedmont 24/7 365 days a year. Town full of cars full of people with cash in their pockets. There's a fortune to be made with the right man with the right idea at the right time.

I’ve got a brilliant idea to make a fortune, wanna hear it? It’s not a pyramid scheme, stock swindle or a gold mine up in Borden Springs. Nope it’s a money maker if ever there was one and if my grandfather or even my father had implemented my idea (if they’d known it) well I wouldn’t be going through my wife’s purse to find money to buy Black Kow Composted Cow Manure I can tell you that……:-) I’d be so rich I could buy my own cows……:-) And it would all come from the fortune my grandfather and father would have made if they’d only had my vision, my foresight. But I must admit though my vision turns out to be a just a little bit late. You see my idea is a great one and a sure thing but its about 40 years too late…..Darn it!!!…..:-)

You see Piedmont at one time was a bustling little town. Cars parked all along the streets, cars riding around town constantly, from early in the morning till late at night. I know, instead of being inside working helping my father at the Fair Store I was standing outside on the sidewalk in front watching all the traffic go by….Usually all my friends riding by who parents worked 5 days a week and didn’t run a clothing store that was open on Saturdays, so while all my friends rode around town on Saturday I was “working” at the Fair Store, well in all honesty I was  ”working” on slipping out and riding around town with my friends for one round around town or if I was lucky and could get away with it, a couple of hours of rounds around town……:-)

But that ain’t your problem, that was mine and besides it has nothing to do with me being the richest man albeit from my inheritance in Piedmont, in Calhoun County, maybe the WORLD….:-) So before you fellow gardeners ask me to get back on topic and stop going on off on tangent after tangent that has nothing to do with the title let me just blurt out my idea for all of you to consider…..I don’t mind sharing a good idea with my fellow gardeners and I know you wouldn’t mind loaning me a small sum of money before the fall plant sales start at the plant nurseries this year but that’s a subject for another little story or a personal phone call or visit from me to you……:-) OK ready? Good.

Now Piedmont had cars riding around town just about 24/7 365 days a year. Am I right or am I right fellow gardeners? Of course I’m right. I’m always right except those few times that my wife might bring to my attention some slight thing I might by chance get wrong….:-) And now for my money making and sure thing if ever there was a sure thing idea. The Fair Store with a drive-in window!!!! (The Fair Store is a clothing store my family owned for over 80 years, from 1911 till 1995 or so.)

I know, I know what you’re thinking, “Paul From Alabama that is brilliant idea and we just can’t understand why you don’t live on an estate on Long Island next to Woody Allen or Carrot Top and drive a Rolls Royce with ideas like that, though that one is 40 years too late” And fellow gardeners I couldn’t agree with you more. I should be living on an estate even if it’s only on Second Ave. here in town. I could buy my neighbors house, tear it down so I could build a garage to hold all my garden tillers and Roll Royces.  Yes fellow gardeners I certainly deserve the good life and a drive-in window at the Fair Store would have been the ticket to my fortune. Even if I had to share a little bitty bit with my brother and sister and even had to buy my mother a one bedroom efficiency apartment two or three miles from the beach at Gulf Shores while I’m was luxuriating at my Second Avenue estate here in Piedmont…..:-)

Think of it, all those cars riding around in a circle around town all the time, every day with every car full of people with pockets full of money just hankering to wear the latest fashions from the Fair Store.!! And when a few selfish, self-centered people like my little brother Ralph parked their cars all day from morning till night in front of the Fair Store so you couldn’t even get a parking place to park to come in and shop, well they’d be this convenient drive through window and you’d pull up and yell out what you wanted, what size, what color and how many of each and I’d go get it, bag it up for you or even wrap it if it’s a gift (at a small extra charge of course..:-)) You’d stop at one window to order your clothing and pick it up at the next drive-in window and at a third drive-in window you’d pay for your purchase. Why if it’d help increase sales I’d have a ATM machine at fourth window for you shopping convenience….:-)

Fellow gardeners I can smell all that cash in the bags as I carry all them night deposits to the Farmer’s & Merchants Bank every night. Yes that’s my idea and it’s like all my ideas, brilliant. Well all my brilliant ideas that are brilliant except those few ones that aren’t, you know, aren’t brilliant…..:-)  Sorry what’s that you say? “Paul From Alabama what use is an idea to make a fortune when you have it 40 years too late?” A fair question fellow gardeners and well you have a valid point and the more that I think on it the more I think my idea won’t ever come to fruition and I’ll never live on an estate on Second Ave. or tear down my neighbor’s house for a garage to house all my garden tillers and Roll Royces. But here’s my other idea and it can be implemented right now and before you know it I’ll be rolling in cash and Black Kow Composted Manure. Ready for my idea? Here it is. Phone booths. Yes that’s right, little booths with a folding door in it and maybe part metal and part glass so you could see out of it. And what you do is when it rains or it’s cold or its hot as, well it’s hot. You’d be in an air conditioned or heated, dry, comfortable environment all the time during your phone call!!

Prototype of my "brilliant" idea for a phone booth for cell phone users. Pretty good idea huh?

“But Paul From Alabama, there has already been phone booths with phones in them but they’re out date now, passe’, old technology, a thing of the past”…….Good Lord fellow gardeners, I know that. I’m not stupid. I’m crazy but not stupid. I don’t mean phone booths with phones already in them. Of course not. I mean phone booths without phones so you can step inside and use your cellphone in comfort, air conditioning in summer, heat in winter and out of the rain in inclement weather……I tell you fellow gardeners I can smell the bags of cash now as I take them down to Farmer’s and Merchant’s Bank for my night deposit. Wait a minute. That might not be the cash I smell, darn it fellow gardeners. It’s the Black Kow Composted Cow Manure……Never mind…..

Paul From Alabama

11 08 2011

The Most Beautiful Flower In Our Garden

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9 08 2011

Chris Vancleave "The Redneck Rosarian"

I’m about the luckiest guy I know, well I feel like it anyways and I’ll tell you why fellow gardeners. I got lots of friends. Now I got friends I’ve known for 60 years, been through thick and thin with’em too. They’ve had my back at times and I’ve had theirs too. Now you got friends you see everyday and you got friends you don’t see as much anymore as you’d like but that doesn’t mean you don’t like them as much as you used to, you know what I mean fellow gardeners? I know you do, especially you fellow gardeners that are kinda long in the tooth now like me…..:-) Life kinda gets in the way, folks move, you move, folks are busy, other folks are not so busy and just looking for something to do and wondering, “hey where did everybody go?”…:-)

And then, well then you got friends you ain’t never seen before. You might have seen a picture of them or maybe not, they’re you’re friends and you think of them that way and they treat that way too. But you wouldn’t know them from “Adam’s house cat” (as my granny used to say) if you saw them on the street. And for about as long as folks have sent and received letters or phone calls you can have a friend you ain’t never seen. Now in the internet age, the age we’re in now we’re really lucky, we can make friends that we’ve never see in person, up close and personal. But we can chat online with them as we get to know them better and better, we can instant message each other till the “cows come home” (as my granny used to say), we can email each other till our “inbox” is overflowing with little missives to one another and now we can video conference each other as long as we comb our hair first and put the camera at an angle that is the most complimentary to us. I can just about get my video cam on my computer setup to where I look just like Brad Pitt but it takes me awhile to do it, you know just the right light and focus…..:-) And after all that we still can’t shake hands with each other or give each other a hug but we can become friends and we do. In fact I made a good friend online here lately and his name is Chris Vancleave and he’s from Alabama too.

Now Chris is kinda like me in that not only is he Chris Vancleave but he’s “The RedNeck Rosarian” too. ( I love that name) Kinda like I’m Paul Daniels but when I sit down at this computer I miraculously become “Paul From Alabama”, I tell you fellow gardeners will “wonders never cease?” (as my granny used to say, you might be beginning to think my granny used to say lots of things, and you’re right, she did….:-)) So we got a Chris Vancleave that’s “The Redneck Rosarian” and a Paul Daniels that’s a “Paul From Alabama”.  We live in amazing times fellow gardeners…..:-) Now who or what in the world is the Redneck Rosarian? Well let me let Chris tell you himself from his website….

He’s what Chris has to say “About” the Redneck Rosarian:

“The term Rosarian is used loosely, redneck, liberally. Roses are for everyone! If I can do it, anyone can! This blog began as a hand written journal of my garden activities and was transcribed into an online journal of my roses and my life…. Full time banker Husband and Dad. Sometime short term missionary and gentleman Gardner. My life is filled with a wonderful family, great friends, beautiful roses, and God’s richest blessings. He has allowed me to travel the globe on short term mission trips. He has opened my eyes to a million wonders, including the awesome beauty of the rose.

I have been growing roses for years and about 4 years ago joined a local Rose Society to learn a “more excellent” way to cultivate our nation’s “National Floral Emblem”. It is fun and exciting to be a part of a group of individuals who are committed to excellence. I strive alongside them to grow the best roses I can. Many of my blooms do not end up on the show table, they end up on the dinner table and on the front doorsteps of friends and co-workers. Either way, I feel I am doing my part to expand the general interest and knowledge of the beautiful gift we have in the Rose.”

- Chris VanCleave aka “The RedneckRosarian” 


So we got us a “Redneck Rosarian” that not only grows his own beautiful roses and shares his knowledge of growing them with others but now he’s the President of  too. The more I learn about this guy the more I like and admire him. Now he wrote an article a couple of weeks ago in the  and I liked it so much I wanted to share it here with you fellow gardeners. If you’re like me and have had a father you loved but is not with you anymore or if you are lucky enough to still have your father with you, well either way. Or if you’re a gardener or even you aren’t and if you’re father was a gardener like Chris’s was or even if you father wasn’t a gardener like mine wasn’t, well you’re gonna enjoy reading this and I hope you get as much out of it when you read it as I did. Well I reckon I’ve talked enough fellows gardeners, but don’t feel like you have to agree with me too quickly….:-)

Garden Walks: The Journey of a Lifetime


I never thought of myself as an early riser. Actually, I used to cringe under my pillow as a boy when my dad would rise at 4 a.m. to prepare for the day. He always rattled around in the kitchen making a goliath-sized bowl of grits and a simmering pot of fresh brewed coffee. The rattling was his way of trying to rouse me up to spend some time with him. Sadly, more often than not, I would remain in bed.

His morning routine was predictable in the months of summer: a full pot of coffee, breakfast, a garden walk, and then he was off to work. My dad loved his vegetable garden. He grew big juicy “Better Boy” tomatoes, sweet smelling cantaloupes, crisp cucumbers, dark green zucchini, spring lettuce, radishes and carrots. He would walk the garden performing any number of tasks that the circumstance demanded; gathering the harvest, pulling weeds, suckering tomato plants, applying SEVIN dust, watering, fertilizing, etc. He cared about his garden. He loved to watch things grow. These garden walks were essential to the health of his garden and a key to his own happiness. He was a better person for having walked his garden each day.

Tragically, my dad never lived to see my gardening endeavors. He was killed in a senseless automobile accident when I was 12. His departure left a gaping hole in my life and for years we struggled to piece our lives back together. Our garden and our gardener were gone. But you know, life has a way of turning around. I grew up, married, had children and now have a garden of my own to tend. Now, I am the one up each morning at 5:30 a.m., rattling around to make coffee then grabbing my camera and pruners. I am out the door each day for my morning garden walk. We don’t grow vegetables. We grow flowers, in particular roses. We now cultivate over 60 varieties. The roses are all mixed in with an assortment of annuals and perennials that enrich our lives in many ways. My walks, like my dad’s are filled with activity. I blog weekly about my rose gardening adventures, so I snap pictures of the best blooms, deadhead spent ones, pull weeds, spray for pests or disease, pray for rain or my favorite activity, collecting blooms to share with friends and family.

When I look back at those years with my dad, I remember our final garden walk together, just two days before he was taken from us. We talked about how next year we would plant pumpkins and that it was time to turn the garden under for its winter rest. His words were filled with promise and hope. Gardeners live on the promise of “next year.” It’s the hope of things to come. This spring, my son and I worked in the garden together. He helped me construct three raised beds for new roses. He’s not much of a gardener or an early riser, but I’m working on him. Life has come full circle.

Instinctively, I think some people are drawn to the earth. For many Alabama gardeners, the decision to get out in the garden, put your hands in the dirt and grow something is as much a part of who we are as what football team we cheer for. It’s an essential part of life. Gardening feeds us physically, mentally, spiritually and without our gardens, we would fail to live up to our full potential.

Chris VanCleave is the President of the Birmingham Rose Society. 

Addendum: I knew you’d like that, that’s why I wanted to share it with you folks. But how did I know you’d like it? Cause I know everything that’s why and how do I know that I know everything fellow gardeners? Why that’s what my granny used to say…..:-)

Paul From Alabama





8 08 2011

Welcome To Paul & Linda's Garden All You "Novice" Gardeners

“Though an old man, I am but a young gardener.”- Thomas Jefferson

Now I bet I read that quote from Thomas Jefferson a thousand times in gardening articles in magazine, books, online on gardening blogs and websites. It seems everyone and his or her brother was quoting old Tommy Jefferson. Even to the point where I thought Geez Thomas, enough is enough of you’re being an “old man and but a young gardener” already. But you know what fellow gardeners, I just didn’t get it. But I do now. And no matter how many times I see that quote now I just smile and think to myself, “That Thomas Jefferson, this guy was pretty smart, not just about politics and helping launch the greatest country on earth, not just writing the Declaration of Independence but if all that wasn’t enough, this guy was one hell of a gardener if you’ll excuse my French…:-) He knew what it was to be a gardener.

He knew, he wasn’t like me, who when the first year or so I was gardening and I’d read all these books on gardening and magazines on gardening and knew the names of all the latest cultivars of the latest and greatest plant introductions that paticular year and I thought that made me a good gardener who knew everything. Nope, that boat ain’t sailing fellow gardeners. I had lots of knowledge and I’d read the experiences of OTHER GARDENERS, seen the pictures of beautiful flowers of OTHER GARDENERS, read how OTHER GARDENERS took care of their plants but until I had took care of my own for a few years and watched them the first year “sleep”, the second year “creep” and the third year “leap” and then and only then was I just scratching the surface of really becoming a gardener. Jefferson knew that. He knew lots of things but he really, really “got” gardening. Know what I mean fellow gardeners?….

Now yesterday I had a nice chat with this nice lady who is a friend of mine and she’d come over to my house earlier this year to see my garden with some other folks, friends of mine from my home town, Piedmont. And this is the conversation we had more or less. I know she won’t mind me using her chat with me in this little story. It doesn’t contain any national security secrets or embarrassing things about me, cause I done told  you about almost all of the embarrassing moments in my life, well most of them, you know the ones you can retell on a G-Rated blog….:-) And she didn’t reveal anything about herself in our conversation that would qualify her to be on the Jerry Springer Show or on the Dr.Phil show, no just a nice conversation about one of my favorite subjects, gardening. So if you’re ready fellow gardeners I am…….Here goes…..

Freda, “Morning Paul, I get up early every morning. not up all night. (I’d asked her if she was an early riser cause I’d been up all night rewriting text for my new blog and photo captions) Hope you’re going to share those photos. I’ve been googling “container gardening”, I have big plans for retirement in a few months and may be calling on you for help because I define NOVICE when it comes to gardening—but I so want to learn.”

And then I chimed in  -  ”Girl, have I got a quote for you this fine morning,”Though an old man, I am but a young gardener.”- Thomas Jefferson. Now I’m an old man but a young gardener and every gardener young or old is but “a young gardener” themselves cause we all learn everyday something new piddling in our gardens. From our first day of even thinking about a garden, to planning it, buying the plants, planting the plants and taking care of the plants in sickness and in health to death do you part. We’ve all been novice gardeners and only experience gives you perspective of knowing just how much you got to learn but my goodness at the fun you have learning as you go along. You’re going to do fine and if you need any help I’m available most all the time except when I’m loading the dishwasher”…..:-)

I don’t know if quoting Thomas Jefferson helped her or not or what I told her, but it sure couldn’t hurt her, well not much…..:-)

And then she said:

Freda: “Love the quote…Can’t wait to get started. Last night we had dinner with an old friends…everything we ate (other than the steak) was fresh from their garden…it was awesome…and I certainly may be calling on you, so get the dishwasher loaded.”

Fellow gardeners I love “novice” gardeners with lots of enthusiasm, cause when I had first started gardening whatever I lacked in experience I made up in enthusiasm and optimism, , like my friend Freda here. And when she came over I could tell she wanted “to get it” about gardening.  Sometimes you just know some folks either “get it” or they don’t. Now you might not “get it” one day but “have it” the next. I mean look at me. A few years ago I wouldn’t cross the street to look at a flower or a plant or a rose arbor or a flowering shrug or tree. I just didn’t care about’em. Even when I saw’em I didn’t really “see’em” not really. And now? I stop in the middle of road and cause traffic jams looking at climbing roses climbing on anything I can see out the window of my car…..;-) It drives my wife nuts, not because she doesn’t love them too but because she’s smarter than me and doesn’t want to get hit from behind but someone who doesn’t appreciate climbing old fashioned roses in bloom and doesn’t automatically slow down to see them or for sure doesn’t stop in the middle of the road for them……:-)

So I reckon what I want to say in this another in a long line of overly long, very confusing little stories of mine is this….Everyone is either young, a little older, and then a little older, and even still older.  And some of us, like me and old Thomas Jefferson when he wrote “Though an old man, I am but a young gardener.” are a lot older. We’re old men but young gardeners and we learn something new about the plants we grow everyday. And tomorrow we’ll learn even more about them and tomorrow we’ll learn about new plants we want to try and the next year we’ll learn still more about them.

And along the way, well if you’re gardener, I mean if you put a plant in the ground to see if it’ll grow. You’re going to kill some plants, they’re going to die on you. But don’t feel like a failure. Even old men with lots of experience like me kill plants every now and then and I sometimes I don’t even have a clue why they die. But the process, the process of learning about your plants by growing them yourself, by experience, by successes and failure is such a rewarding thing for young novices and old novices alike like me that I reckon I just want to leave you with one thought. A good one. One that will make you feel better when a plant dies on you. Dies on you one day for no reason that you can figure out. And here it is fellow gardeners. Something to make you feel better in that situation. One day, well one day you’re going to die too…..:-) So cheer up, enjoy gardening while you can and learn all you can by growing as many different plants as you can. The more the merrier. Cause you only live once fellow gardeners and NOT FOREVER……

Paul From Alabama

8 08 2011

A Hummingbird Favorite Monarda didyma 'Jacob Cline'

Well fellow gardeners, I did it again. What did you say fellow gardeners?  ”Paul From Alabama did you fall asleep in the middle of the road up in Borden Springs again? Did your Jeep catch on fire going down the old Borden Road again? Did you drive off with the gasoline pump hose still in your gas tank up at Young’s again? Did you…….” Enough already fellow gardeners, I’ll tell you what I did again if you’ll give me a chance and not rehash a few of my “little” mistakes, minor “glitches” I might have been been responsible for in the past but no matter what you say I’m telling  you it wasn’t ME asleep in the middle of the road, I was asleep ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD IN SOME TALL GRASS like any normal person would be up in Borden Springs at 4 a. m. in the morning…..:-)

And as for my Jeep catching on fire on the Old Borden Road, why that could have happened to anybody.  Anybody that rode around with a gasoline can full of gas, a chain saw full of oil and gas, a stack of newspaper, limbs and sitcks that had fallen in my Jeep riding down pulp wood roads, and  then throwing a cigarette out that you thought might be dead but wasn’t into the back of your Jeep going down the road with all that flammable material in the back of your Jeep. Now if you did that, anybody did that, you might catch your Jeep on fire too!!! I mean it could happen to somebody else too, couldn’t fellow gardeners?…..”Sorry Paul From Alabama, absolutely NOT, only you”…..Well fellow gardeners, thanks, after hearing you say that I feel, well I feel kinda special…….:-)

Now today I wrote some new introduction for some photos from June of 2008 in our garden. Some tips for you fellow gardeners that are new to the game of gardening. If you play the game the right way, well mostly the right way, you win, if you don’t, well you win too I guess but you’ll get kinda tired of all the plants you plant in your yard dying off just about the time they’re supposed to bloom……I got a couple of suggestions for you that might help you enjoy your gardening and your gardens more. Don’t worry I’m not asking you to go Jeep riding with me up in Borden Springs in the middle of the night, I’m just trying to help along you’re gardening journey. I mean what could be so bad about that?  What could be dangerous about that fellow gardeners?  ”Paul From Alabama, well nothing we guess but let us read your new little story first and look at your pictures before we commit to anything”……Fellow gardeners, that’s all I ask, read today’s little story, look at the pictures and descriptions and if your garden don’t look a 100% better by following my advice that I give to you in excruciating detail in the story, well I’ll reimburse you for any and all costs you might incur. Now how fair is that?….”You will reimburse us for any money we might waste following your gardening advice?” Fellow gardeners you have my word as a Gentleman of the South and if it becomes necessary to reimburse you for any out of pocket expenses you might incur following my advice well I send you immediately a post dated check on an out of town bank that you may cash at your convenience anytime after banking hours, I promise…..:-)

OK, here’s the today new story link and with all the free advice you’ll be able to stand from one person for one whole day….And today fellow gardeners IS YOUR DAY……:-)

And here is that link again fellow gardeners for you folks who have trouble following directions the first time, like me….:-)

Paul From  Alabama

7 08 2011

June 2008

My little story for today, August 7, 20011, is a page I put revamped last night from my “old’ blog photo gallery for June 2008. Now I’m not lazy, ain’t no “lazy moonshiners”…:-)   But I stayed up all night last night labeling old photos and new ones too and updating (read here “retelling old lies..:-)) text. And this is about the only little story old Paul From Alabama is going to be able to stay awake long enough to post today….Here is the link and I hope you enjoy the old photos, some new ones I found, the new photo labels and the fascinating, informative, cogent, reasoned, ground breaking introductory new text I wrote about 4 a.m, this morning. If you can make any sense out of it, well you’re a better man that me Gunga Din…..:-)

Here’s the link again to the new little story for today and the new and improved photo gallery all for the price of just the photo gallery…..:-)


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