Also, PECANS! I'll have pecans this year, as opposed to last year when I didn't get any due to dry conditions. The tree shed about 3/4 of its pecans a couple of months ago, but it looks like there'll still be enough that I can say, "I had pecans this year." So far I've only picked up a few dozen, but there's sure to be more once we get a frost and the hulls start cracking open more readily.
So, this is my native pecan tree. As you can see when compared to my car, the tree is HUGE. See the cut off limb low to the ground on the left side? (you should be able to click the picture to enlarge) Because of this, we're able to date the tree to about 100 years. We're able to do this because that particular limb was grafted onto the tree. It was papershell pecans.
Here's the story: We had a family friend named Rex who died several years ago when he was in his mid 80s. That papershell limb was grafted on by Rex's father when Rex was a young boy. The pecans from that limb were never very good and when a storm severely damaged the limb, we cut it off. We left that "stump" as a sort of reminder.
The tree was badly damaged again about nine years ago when we had a horrible freezing rain. Several rather large limbs were broken from the tree, mainly on the right side. Luckily my car was not in the drive at the time. It's taken all this time for the tree to recover but the damage can still be seen during winter when there are no leaves to provide camouflage.
Once upon a time, my grandmother had several rose bushes at her house. When she decided to have a new house built at the same site, the roses had to be moved. Most were moved to my house and one still survives. My mom originally planted it out in the yard. When I moved into this house, I hated mowing around the rose bush and about three years ago recruited Mom to come over to help me move it. At the time, it was very large at the base of the plant. We talked it over and since Mom wanted some of the bush in her garden at my stepdad's house, we decided to attempt dividing the bush. It worked rather well. Mom took the main portion of the bush to her house and I kept two smaller pieces here. I'd estimate that the original part of the bush is about 30 years old. I love this rose, not only for the memories of my grandmother. The scent is sort of lemony. We do have one problem with this rose, though, and any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Some sort of bug is always ruining the blooms. Right before the bud opens up, this bug comes along and chews the tip of the bud off. It doesn't eat the entire bud, just the tip. It makes the blooms look ragged. We've tried all kinds of sprays and such, but nothing really seems to help. Amazingly enough, whatever is eating the buds from this rose don't bother the other roses.
I learned something important this spring. It is a monumentally bad idea to fertilize oregano. I planted this Greek oregano and the rosemary behind it in spring '08. This spring, the base of the oregano was about 12" across and the plant was about 8" tall. Since I was going to put other plants into the bed, I tried to help the soil along by adding a bag of compost/manure to it. I worked it into the entire bed and was rather pleased with myself. Then before I knew it, the oregano was twice it's former size at the base and nearly three feet tall! The stems were woody, the leaves were tough, and the whole thing was becoming very leggy. I did notice several young shoots coming up at the base and finally took the pruning sheers and gave the whole plant a flat-top, cutting off anything that had gotten woody. Since then, there has been more new growth and the leaves are nice and tender. So, lesson learned. No more fertilizer for the oregano. Soon the whole thing will get covered with leaves from the pecan tree and it'll be happy for the coming winter.
The gaillardia (I can never spell it right) is putting on one last show. I got this plant this year and have big hopes for it next year. I harvested some seed from it earlier in the year and plan to give them a start next spring.
Now for the plant ID. I got this plant/shrub about three years ago. I know it's some type of sage because of the scent the leaves put off. Right now it's a little over 2' tall but I've seen others in the area that are about 3' tall. Oh! LOL Since I know someone will ask, I'm in zone 7.