Blooming Kudzu and Flooding Rain

Did you know kudzu was in bloom? No you didn’t? Well, I probably wouldn’t either, but our neighbor must be such a fan of the kudzu flowers that he’s dedicated his whole back yard to growing it. You see the red spot in the photo below? That’s a convertible car. I think he uses it as an accent statue piece to grow his kudzu around.

Overgrown kudzu backyard

Overgrown kudzu backyard – can you spot the car?

And this is a pretty kudzu flower I picked from the kudzu attempting to engulf our fence. Didn’t know what kudzu flowers looked like? Well, now you do. They’re pretty purple flowers that smell sweet like honey.

Kudzu flower

Kudzu flower

So where did kudzu come from, and why is it so well spread? A quick history from seems to answer these questions:

Kudzu was introduced to the United States in 1876 at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Countries were invited to build exhibits to celebrate the 100th birthday of the U.S. The Japanese government constructed a beautiful garden filled with plants from their country. The large leaves and sweet-smelling blooms of kudzu captured the imagination of American gardeners who used the plant for ornamental purposes.

Florida nursery operators, Charles and Lillie Pleas, discovered that animals would eat the plant and promoted its use for forage in the 1920s. Their Glen Arden Nursery in Chipley sold kudzu plants through the mail. A historical marker there proudly proclaims “Kudzu Developed Here.”

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Soil Conservation Service promoted kudzu for erosion control. Hundreds of young men were given work planting kudzu through the Civilian Conservation Corps. Farmers were paid as much as eight dollars an acre as incentive to plant fields of the vines in the 1940s.

And with the torrential downpour we’ve had for the last 6 days the crawl space has flooded again. No wonder, considering Atlanta received 15 inches of rain in the last 24 hours! It makes the last flooding of 6 inches nearly seem harmless. Patrick walked through the water to move some items and we measured 22 inches of water!!! Needless to say our furnace and hot water heater are not working. We just have to keep our fingers crossed that once everything dries off both of them will turn back on.

Flooded crawl space

Flooded crawl space

Flooded crawl space

Flooded crawl space

In the meanwhile our wonderful neighbors are once again coming to the rescue by lending us their water pump – which we are actually using this time around. It’s pumping as I write…

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General Updates

I thought I would post some general updates…

Westview Bungalow

Front of our house

It seems like it’s been a while since I’ve posted an exterior house shot. We installed some hooks this spring so we could hang up ferns – and I’m loving them! Otherwise our house is still pink, still has that ugly tree stump, and still has that beat up path. At least one of them will get worked on soon…but I’m not going to tell you which one! :)

I’ve talked about our kudzu musings and frustrations in the past (See photos from May 2007, June 2007, July 2007 I, July 2007 II, and September 2007), and took a photo of the neighbors yard last October (2007):

Lost in kudzu field

Lost in kudzu field

Well I’m glad to finally be able to present some change! Our new neighbor moved in back in April. He’s fought unsuccessfully with the landlord to get the back yard cleaned up so his kids could play in it. He has finally decided to take matters into his own hands and look at how far he got! I have never seen the back of that backyard cleared up since we’ve lived here, so I’m just amazed at the view – I’m not used to it!

Kudzu field removed

Kudzu field removed

So in the meanwhile back to our garden…

Vegetable bed

Vegetable bed

…I think we have a vegetable garden buried under those weeds somewhere! This year we had planted tomatoes, beans, zucchini, bell pepper, hot pepper, and cucumber. Our tomatoes caught some disease so we haven’t seen any harvest from them. The beans seem to grow at a steady pace, so we’ve collected beans here and there and are freezing them until we have enough to make something with. We’ve harvested a couple of zucchini’’s and were a bit disappointed with how hard they were on the outside (any tips?). The cucumber has yet to deliver. The hot peppers have had a few that we’ve collected and dried. And the bell pepper had one of decent size that was ready to be harvested when we found a squirrel had gotten to it before us! (Next one is growing now.) The weeds have yet to be removed…we’re still not quite caught up from having gone on vacation, and the torching heat, killer mosquitoes, and “convenient” rain only on weekends has hindered us from tackling the bed. (The ever-growing grass has kept us busy in the meanwhile too.) Oh yeah, and don’t we look classy with our pile of crap on the driveway?!

And more gardening…

Front yard landscaping

Front yard landscaping

This bed looked so cute last fall, but isn’t quite as cute this year. We haven’t planted anything new, but I was excited to see the fern overwintered since it indicated it wasn’t supposed to. The yellow annuals obviously didn’t make it, but I’m glad to see the mum’s have made a return. In the meanwhile I’ve been really disappointed with the boxwoods. I was really fixed on having them as the evergreen backdrop in that bed, but they’re not doing well at all. I think they may not be getting enough water – whenever it rains the water doesn’t go on the boxwoods due to the houses overhang. I was sooo determined to have them there! We already replaced one of the plants in the spring, but now only two of the plants have survived. Anyone know anything about Japanese Boxwoods? Is it worth replanting new ones? They only get morning sun and like I mentioned hardly get any rain water. I’m simply determined to have an evergreen that doesn’t grow above approximately 3 feet in that spot that will survive in Zone 7.

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Garden Updates

Since we were going on vacation for a little while Patrick’s mom volunteered to come by the house to water our plants so they wouldn’t die while we were gone. Naturally other items continued to grow as well though…

The neighbor’s unstoppable kudzu managed to get all the way to our house!

Invasive kudzu

The Hosta’s look like they grew quite a bit – one of them even grew flowers! And the Red Fountain Grass must have gotten somewhat of a beating from thunderstorms – usually it perks back up, but this time it appears to be permanently down. We’ll have to tie them together or something so they won’t stay so droopy. (Compare to pre-vacation photo)

Fountain grass

The sunflowers were such a success. Yeah…well…or not really. Next time I’ll know better than to plant sunflower seeds on a west-facing wall. Those sunflowers took one beating after another. Some of them were doing alright in the beginning (See photo), but every time it rained those poor fragile little plants were beaten to the ground. Plus the ones facing north must not have received enough sunlight because they slowly but surely shriveled up. The only ones really going anywhere where the southern-most ones…and even though a few of them are at least blooming they’re not exactly standing up tall and strong! Like I said, I’ll know better next time…


Aaaaand the lavender. My sweet, sweet lavender. We’ve gone through a bit with these little ones too. Originally we had planted them in our “pond” spot where the Hosta’s are now located (See photo). We transplanted them to this (above) location because the area is much, much drier. The one on the left was the “Hidcote” variety that I had picked out; the one on the right was the “Sweet” variety that Patrick had picked.


Now that we returned from vacation I was sad to see that my poor lavender didn’t make it. Perhaps we had transplanted it too late? Unfortunately it had to go to plant heaven.


They still had some lavender’s left at Lowe’s, so we planted the “Province” variety that we also have at the front of the house.


We added some more flowers at the front of the house. Earlier we had planted the Japanese Boxwoods and some yellow annual flowers. Patrick’s mom forgot to water this flower bed, so one of the boxwood’s isn’t doing to well and we’re considering replacing it (the others seem to be doing ok after watering). Funnily enough the annuals grew bigger than the boxwood’s – perhaps because the rain still hits them but not the boxwood’s behind (See previous photo). We’ve added these white “Mum’s” because they’re quite beautiful and because they’re perennial’s. That way when the yellow annuals die the Mum’s will be there to keep the flower bed green.

Foundation plants

And lastly we have a new buddy around the house. To our shock our right-side neighbors had moved out while we were gone. They had only moved in in April, so we didn’t expect them to be gone when we got back. Unfortunately they have abandoned their two cats – momma cat and her teenager (born right around the time when the neighbor’s moved in). To make things worse we discovered that momma cat is expecting again. We are considering keeping the little teenager (above) around, but are not up for the task of keeping mom and her soon to be family additions. We’ve tried to contact animal rescue place after animal rescue place, but they are either full or claiming they can’t accept cats and to go through the city’s animal shelter instead. We’ve been hesitant to call the animal shelter because we know they put cats to sleep if they don’t get adopted within a certain time frame and we can’t bear the thought of that. So we’re in somewhat of a dilemma about what to do with this abandoned pregnant cat. :(

Neighborhood cat

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Repair To The Shed

We haven’t done too much interior work recently, but we did fix the shed…

Since we bought the house the back floor in the shed has had a rotten floor and has limited our storage space.

Repair shed floor

So we cleared out the shed (which was too full to even set foot in) and fixed the back area. We tore out the old rotten wood, built new framing out of 2×4’s and put down new plywood. So now we were able to organize the shed and are able to actually walk inside of it again.

Repair shed floor

Kudzu Update:


Watching the neighbor’s kudzu has almost become a game for us…”where will it go next?” It had already climbed up the electricity meter to the fascia board and had engulfed the non-existing gas meter. Or at least until recently when the gas company came out and actually hooked up the neighbor’s gas (and in the process removed some of said kudzu around the gas meter). The most recent excitement was that one plant was heading towards the window fan. I think it actually started to wrap itself around some of the fan!

So ironically we decided to go to Lowe’s recently to buy some Round-Up kudzu killer. When we left the kudzu was there. When we came back with the kudzu killer it was gone! Apparently while we were at the store our neighbor had decided that the kudzu on the side of the house was getting too much (maybe they started noticing the kudzu attaching to the window fan?) and chopped it down a good amount. Of course we were also surprised by the chopped off kudzu that was now covering our driveway. We weren’t sure whether to be ecstatic that the kudzu was gone or upset that our driveway was covered with the remains. So while doing yard work the other day Patrick took the liberty of going over the area with the lawn mower to ensure the kudzu was cut even shorter.

In the meanwhile the backyard is still covered waist high in kudzu and we attempted to spray some of it with the kudzu killer along the property line. Our neighbor has also informed us that they would tackle the back of the yard in the winter/next summer, so we’ll still have to fight it until then.

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We’re Proud Parents…

We’re Proud Parents…


…of tomatoes! So this may not be as exciting to some out there as it is to us, but as first time gardeners it’s pretty exciting when you find your very first tomato growing! Not only that, but yesterday we found a second tomato on the same vine. And this morning I was also very excited to find a tiny green bell pepper growing. Woohoo, we’re going to have some of our homegrown veggies before long. For good measure I took a picture of our first tomato with the port-a-potty in the background. Patrick put it on Craigslist, so hopefully we won’t be owners much longer?

Further Updates in the Garden…

A bigger view of our vegetable garden shows that the scrawny little squashes that we planted about a month earlier have nearly taken over the entire vegetable bed! (View photo from a month ago) In the far left we have the “Bigger Boy” tomato that has yet to create any tomatoes. In front of that is the green bell pepper, as mentioned above. Of course it wasn’t until after we planted the bell pepper next to the tomato’s that I read not to plant them next to one another – oops. In front of the bell pepper are the six squash plants, and in front of that (closest to the camera) is a honeydew melon. On the far right is our champion tomato that my parents gave us. In front of that is a zucchini plant, and in font of that (about to be overtaken by the squash) is our grape vine.


After planting the rose the yellow flowers turned brown and I made my first attempt at pruning. Initially I was scared I had done something wrong – nothing was happening. But about a week ago I started to see tiny growth, and before I could blink the tiny growth had grown some 6 inches on one particular branch! It looks like it’s getting ready to develop a new flower bud, so I’ll be pretty excited if it does.


Patrick likes the decorative grasses, so we planted these red fountain grasses by the back door stairs. They’re not super bushy and round, but when we planted them they were only about two cinderblocks high – now they’re a good four cinderblocks high with a ton of the little fuzzy “cat tails.”

Red Fountain Grass

On the morning of Independence Day we decided to plant the bulbs we bought at Sam’s Club. While we were shopping there the other day they sold a variety pack of 250 bulbs for $13! We just couldn’t resist and only thought about the fact that it wasn’t really planting season until we got home. What was even more confusing was that we then also realized that it said these bulbs were for the spring planting season. If anything I would have thought they were going to be for the upcoming fall? In any case, we decided to plant 110 of them underneath the Yoshino Flowering Cherry tree we had planted this spring. We planted 60 Dutch Iris (“Blue Pearl”) that are supposed to bloom between May and June, and 50 Acidanthera that are supposed to bloom between August and September. Now the question will be if they will ever bloom at all since we planted them smack in the middle of the hot summer. We still have 4 different bulb varieties left to plant in the next few days.

Planting bulbs

The sunflowers seem to be doing ok. I had planted them in three different sections and only a few were dug up by squirrels. The southern most plants seem to be doing the best. I think the rain really took a beating on them, so the majority of them are kind of mushed against the ground, but the one batch seems to be holding strong even after the rain. We also planted some cute annuals in between the sunflowers to add some color until the sunflowers will bloom.


Kudzu Update…

And lastly I thought I would display an update on how the neighbor’s “garden” is holding up. The kudzu has now completely encompassed the gas meter (if there were one that is – but there is not). In addition it has crawled up the electricity meter and is presumably touching the fascia board by now. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the kudzu in the back yard was waist high! (View yard about 1.5 months ago)


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