Category Archives: My Homeplace

Summer’s Surprise

Surprise lily

When I stopped by the Branson Candy Kitchen to visit Grandmother and Aunt Macy, it was a hot, clear Ozarks summer day threatening to reach 100 degrees again. Summer is the grand-daughter of Macy and the great-grand daughter of my grandmother.



Aunt Macy said “Summer, you remember your cousin, don’t you? This here is Patsy Kay, your cousin.”

“Hello Cousin”, Summer said. And then my cutest little cousin ran out the back door.

Grandmother and Auntie kept making pecan pralines while I sat in the company chair watching and talking. Every now and then, I was the beneficiary of an imperfect handmade praline.

You can’t sell the ugly ones. Everyone wants a beautiful praline. Yes, I ate the ugly pralines, the things you do for family…

surprise liliesSummer ran in the door with a hand full of Nekked Ladies and thrust them at me. “Surprise! Here cousin. Flowers for you!”

Oh! Thank you, Summer.

What are they cousin?

I’m sitting right in front of MY grandmother and I am not about to tell this cute little three year old that those flowers are called Naked Ladies.

You know the answer to that, Summer. You told me when you walked in the door: Surprise! They are Surprise Lilies.


Surprise lilies easily multiply creating more bulbs to share.

You mean Nekked Ladies?, said Grandma. We all burst into little girl giggles.

And so, sweet Summer, every year when these bold lilies pop up, I’ll always think of you. One more thing, Thank you for the Surprise Lilies.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day 8/2015

GBBD August 2015


Moonflower Ipomoea alba just before bloom

Moonflower Ipomoea alba just before bloom.

Moon flowers are blooming wildly on these hot August nights.

A harsh winter and long rainy spring took its toll on spring blooms and my roses. But now, in the peak of production and seed making, many flowers are blooming with endless enthusiasm.

zinnia and nicotimia

zinnia and nicotinia

My zinnias have been the show off flowers this summer. Using galvanized watering cans, I’ve fill bucket of the back with zinnia arrangements. All the flowers are from a few packets of seed from Renee’s Garden. You can also contact experts from to get your dream garden done with this beautiful plants.


The Neked Ladies or Surprise lilies have multiplied every year, becoming thicker and more beautiful.Surprise Lily

Since I am the only southerner in our home, okra seldom makes it into the garden. My husband, Mr TD&H, helpfully weeded all the okra seedlings out of the garden every year.

I love okra’s big, soft yellow flowers, so, I planted a few seed in the flower beds. The variety is over 8′ tall and steadily producing. Picked small, okra makes the best refrigerator pickles.

Make an extraordinary dish like authentic New Orleans Gumbo and even my California Dreamer will eat okra. Occasionally. Try my version of fried okra.

White Gladioli and purple Zinnias

White Gladioli and purple Zinnias

I was fortunate to meet Elizabeth Lawrence. In her book, she wrote: “We can have flowers nearly every month of the year.”
As she signed my much used copy of the book, she said she was pleased that someone was actually putting the book to good use.

Carol of May Dreams Gardens started Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. On the 15th of every month, garden bloggers from all over the world publish what is currently blooming in their gardens, and leave a link in Mr. Linky and the comments of May Dreams Gardens.

It’s fun. GBBD ends up being a journal of your garden’s year round floral display.

Nicotiana alata

Little white trumpet flowers, Nicotiana alata are popping up where they please. They have volunteered from last years plants.

The old faithful geraniums, marigolds and nasturtium just keep on blooming nonstop. Rose of Sharon’s, Hydrangea and hibiscus are all in full bloom.

There is more, but you have other blogs to read and I need to water my flowers.

Thank you for stopping by. My garden is in southeast Missouri, zone 6b. There are porch chairs on every side of the house. The sun tea is brewing on the patio.

Stop by anytime to sit in the shade and have a cool drink. Should you be so inclined, there is also a pruner, a weeder and a watering can o each side of the house.

Snowed in with home grown tomatoes

My front yard.

My front yard. Photo by Jeff Hobson

When I say snow you might be thinking about the best ice scratchers accessories from Straightline Performance! But a foot of snow does not seem like a lot if you are living in the east. And we have only had a couple of snows so far. I was delighted to be snowed in, with heat, electricity and my sweetheart. We could have gotten out in an emergency. But it is fun to be snowed in.

Whole tomatoes were frozen while at the peak of ripeness.

I filled the crock pot with frozen tomatoes. It was so full, the lid couldn’t fit firmly. As the tomatoes cooked down, I skimmed off the peels and the cores.

To the thawing tomatoes, add a coarsely chopped onion and a couple crushed cloves of garlic. Add salt and pepper if you choose.

Next, decide where to go with the tomatoes. Mexican or Italian are my choices.

Turn the heat on high, leave the lid ajar to reduce the water content. Break up  tomatoes with a wooden spoon or a potato masher.

Stir two pesto cubes into the sauce.

Stir two pesto cubes into the sauce.

Later, when the tomatoes have cooked down by half, use and immersion to blend as much or a little as you prefer. I decided to go for an Italian spaghetti sauce. As the tomatoes cooked down, I added a frozen cube of roasted garlic* and a couple of cubes of pesto.*

This is where I get creative and make this sauce Italian, by adding herbs and spices.

Rich, slow cooked spaghetti sauce made with homegrown tomatoes, garlic, basil..

Rich, slow cooked spaghetti sauce made with homegrown tomatoes, garlic, basil.

*Cube of roasted garlic* and a cube of pesto.* In the summer when we had a huge harvest of garlic, I roasted the cured garlic, mashed it up with a little salt and olive oil. Then, I put the roasted garlic paste in  a silicone tray of mini ice-cube shapes and froze them.

*Homemade pesto, minus the cheese, was made and filled plastic ice-cube trays and frozen.

These little frozen cubes of gourmet delights are stored in ziplock freezer bags, labeled and dated.

Tomato triage for too many tomatoes

When there is no time to can tomatoes in the heat of summer, freeze the whole tomatoes individually and store in a freezer. When tomato overload gets too hot and hectic in August, chill.

Slow cooked pasta sauce made by cooking your home-grown tomatoes and herbs on a cold winter day, priceless. 

Happy New Year

Sunrise salute 2015

Sunrise over Saint Louis Photo PBH

Sunrise over Saint Louis
Photo PBH

January 2015 – Cape Girardeau, MO USA

How to celebrate the New Year.

Instead of trying to squeeze out every last moment of 2014, the celebration starts at sunrise January 1, 2015.

I’d rather be there at the beginning of the new year to greet the day and welcome the sun. Jeff and I will be in downtown Cape Girardeau by the Mississippi River. Bring a lawn chair and a thermos of steamy coffee, cappuccino, or hot chocolate. There are always a few folks who have braved the frozen morning to see the sun rise over the Mississippi.

If I weren’t bundled up like the Michelin Man, I might try the yoga version of the Sunrise Salutation. (Saving this idea for Maui.)

Just standing there, huddling in a blanket is OK. The sun rises precisely as predicted. In Cape Girardeau, sunrise is 7:12 a.m. It’s a pretty short day, only 9 hours and 38 minutes long, if you care to salute the day at the beginning and the end.

Get help to figure out sunrise at Sunrise and Sunset Calculator or Tomorrow’s Weather Forecast for Sunrise Or just Google it.


Ice floating on the Mississippi. Photo PBH

It is a rare few that show up. The celebration is quiet. So quiet in fact, I can hear my husband’s teeth chattering.

No cheering or party horns here. Everyone is left alone to offer a welcome nod of the head or a silent prayer. Greeting the new year at sunrise is a peaceful event.

As a gardener, it just makes more sense to start the New Year on a sunny note. If I weren’t at the river, I think I might be outstanding in my field. Or, possibly in the healing herb garden.

It is also a good time to share your intentions for the year with the new sun. If you make resolutions, making the pact at the beginning of the day seems right. Tell that good old sun your resolutions. Or, even whisper them to that old Mississippi River.

Honestly, it’s over in a flash, I’m pretty sure no one has ever frozen to death in the few glorious moments of sunrise. There is a McDonald’s between our house and the river so the bribe of a breakfast sandwich and a cup of cocoa may be enough to get your partner out of bed. Or, in our case, the promise not to stop at McDonald’s is incentive enough.

That’s it. Jeff and I greet the New Year standing hand in hand at sunrise. Surely that’s Good Luck. Our year begins with gratitude. We pray for another blessed year.

The New Year’s launch party is complete. You can head home and put the black-eyed peas to soak. Or, go back to bed until the Rose Bowl Parade.


Print Rose Parade used to march right past the Hobson’s house in Pasadena, CA. All 11 Hobson kids got to see the parade from their own front yard years ago. In 2015, the parade begins at 8:00 a.m., PST. We watch it on TV and can almost spell the roses.

Access The 126th Rose Parade and the official ROSE PARADE PROGRAM or download the ROSE PARADE APP for mobile tablets in the Apples iTunes Store.


Black eyed peas for dinner

Our dinner is simple home cooked food and very nearly the same every year. Black eyed peas are the star of the table. Really, we’ll be having purple hulled peas from the local farmers market.

Ham is on the table, not chicken or turkey. We eat ham on New Years Day because a hog roots forward and a turkey or chicken scratches back. Learn why we eat this food every January 1st and why we feel lucky to have it. Just click below ↓.

Why black-eyed peas are good luck

These Black Eyes are purple hull peas grown locally

These Black Eyes are purple hull peas grown locally

Summer Office

Best coffee in town


Summer on the deck.

C. L. Fornari  posted a photo of her summer office on facebook that made me smile. She is the inspiration for the following photos of my outdoor office which is also the library.

My big backyard


Morning coffee is served on the patio.

Morning coffee is served on the patio.

I step out of the kitchen and onto the patio for coffee most mornings. A variety of mints and herbs grow around the patio. It is the ideal place to set the sun tea jar early in the day.

Hummingbirds love the flowers and hanging baskets. Some of the patio plants are trial plants from Proven Winners. They hang from the pergola on the patio so I can keep an eye on what’s new.

The flowering nicotiana and giant overgrown celosa attract the pollinators and bummers.

Morning coffee on the patio.

Privacy Screen of  purple morning glories.









There's always coffee or iced tea at the "office".

There’s always coffee or iced tea at the “office”.


On the deck, a drip irrigation system keeps the plants looking good. Every spring some bird of some kind will decide to make a nest and raise a family on deck.

My favorite coffee shop.

My favorite coffee shop.

A huge cypress tree provides shade and refuge for the songbirds and hummers.









Gardening and writing about gardening are always best done outside.

Gardening and writing about gardening are always best done outside.

Extended release fertilizer was added when the baskets were planted.

Extended release fertilizer was added when the baskets were planted.


The secret is to keep the plants well watered.

The secret is to keep the plants well watered.


GBBD 9/15/14

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day September 14, 20014

Finally, cooler weather.

Since the weather has cooled down, some flowers are busy blooming and making seeds.

Our house is nearly 170 years old.

Crape Myrtle are a bright spot in late summer.

Our house is nearly 170 years old. The one acre lot has plenty of room for experimenting with a variety of trees and shrubs. Birds will love as these seeds made from so many flowers this fall.

Last echinacea or coneflower of the year.

Bird food

Last of the sunflowers.

Last of the sunflowers.


I’ve been collecting vegetable and herb seed for next year. Flower seeds will be collected by the birds.


Night blooming Datura.

Night blooming Datura.







These Datura flowers will often self seed. The plants get huge and take up a lot of space.


Nicotiana are blooming nonstop.

Nicotiana are blooming nonstop.


Morning coffee on the patio.

Morning coffee on the patio.

Why does coffee taste better on the patio in the morning? For me, it’s the best time to write. It’s cool and quiet except for the beautiful soundtrack provided by the songbirds. My brain is not crowded with the with the activities of the day.


Privacy screen on the patio.

I tried to grow morning glories for a couple of years before I finally got them to grow. Grandpa Ott’s Morning Glories are now as out of control as dandelions and grass. Still the hummingbirds love the morning glories that create a privacy screen on the North side of the patio.

“We can have flowers nearly every month of the year.” ~ Elizabeth Lawrence.

Carol at May Dreams Gardens started Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. What’s blooming in your garden? Share with other garden bloggers on the 15th of each month. Leave a link in Mr. Linky and the comments of May Dreams Gardens.

 Thank you for visiting my blog: Oh Grow Up!

GBBD 6/15/14

June Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

I love July. Everything is green and growing. The bugs and drought haven’t gotten to everything yet.

This is ‘Going Bananas’ Daylily is a Hemerocallis from Proven Winners crowded into a patch of Black Eyed Susan . Others see how beautiful they are. I see more work. These daylilies already need to be thinned out.


Going Bananas daylily and Black-eyed Susan “Chocolate Orange”

Black-eyed Susan “Chocolate Orange” is a dark chocolate color outlined by bright orange. Strong stems and showy long-lasting flowers are perfect for cutting.


‘Going Bananas’ Daylily Hemerocallis hybrid

It is a lovely shade of yellow. There are three different yellow daylilies blooming in the garden now.


Miss Mary Mary Is blooming single blooms now. Next it will be double blooms on the same plant.



Black-Eyed Stella an old favorite for good reason.

Black-Eyed Stella an old favorite for good reason.







Black-Eyed Stella

Introduced in 1994 at Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s Botanical Garden. East of the city on U.S. Highway 50 in Kingsville, MO 64061

To introduce this flower to the public, they were giving away Black Eyed Stellas. We stood in line, a long, long line, for a long, long time to get that little dayllily.

Finally at the front of the line, I was handed a scrawny bare root plant. I figured it would die before I could get home and plant it.

It thrived and multiplied and multiplied. It wasn’t long before there was a 3-foot wide border along the back of the house. Plus, for 6 years, I potted up 25 clumps to sell for the garden club every spring.

20 award-winning daylilies have been selected for the coveted All-American title for their scientifically proven and superior performance nationwide by the All-American Daylily Selection Council (AADSC).

The neighborhood mailbox spot is a bit of a gathering place

The neighborhood mailbox spot is a bit of a gathering place.

“We can have flowers nearly every month of the year.” ~ Elizabeth Lawrence.

Carol at May Dreams Gardens started Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. What’s blooming in your garden? Share with other garden bloggers on the 15th of each month. Leave a link in Mr. Linky and the comments of May Dreams Gardens.

Patriotic Petunias, red, white and blue  flowers will only live as long as I remember to water them.

Patriotic Petunias, red, white and blue flowers will only live as long as I remember to water them.



Daffodils and Tulips


this is infront of the porch. You can see these when you walking  on the next street over..

This is in front of the porch. You can see these when you walking on the next street over.  Photo by Patsy Bell Hobson

Not all daffodils are jonquils but all jonquils are daffodils.

Daffodil, narcissus or Jonquil?

  • “daffodil” refers to the large-flowered varieties,

  • “narcissus” to small-flowered and early blooming types bearing clusters of blossoms,

  • “Jonquil” denotes N. jonquils, often with fragrant, yellow flowers

What is the difference between daffodils and narcissus? They are the same. Narcissus is the Latin or botanical name for all daffodils. Daffodil is the common name for the genus Narcissus.

Old House Gardens has heirloom bulbs and will consume hours of your time reading and learning about these rare beauties.

One of my favorite bulb buying sites because daffodils and tulips just need to be planted in mass Color Blends.



Sunrise shines on these big Darwin tulips, especially beautiful in the early morning sun. photo by Patsy Bell Hobson

 In the catalog, blue tulips are advertised but the tulip that arrives on you front porch will be lavender.

There is no such thing as a blue tulip. Some look blue and are described as blue, but they are lilac or violet.

You won’t find truly black tulips either. Some tulips are very dark, like eggplants. They can look black in certain light, but black tulips do not exist.

Tulipa is a genus of bulbous flowering plants in the family Liliaceae.

Plant tulips anytime October through December – any time before the ground freezes. Feed tulips in the early spring, before they bloom.

 Stroll GardenIMG_6814: Grape hyacinth, some wild tulips, late daffodils.


Yellow tulips and daffodils, front porch.

Morning tulips2


Spring flowering bulb collection named Aladdin’s Carpet, The wild tulips blend of six of these beauties with three muscari and a dwarf daffodil. Tulips from Colorblends.


Get ready for gardening season

potato bloom

These potato flowers are such delicate little lavender flowers. Photo: Patsy Bell Hobson

Gardeners Get In Shape

Getting in shape for the rigors of the upcoming garden season will prevent muscle strain and other injuries. I am neither a physical therapist nor a fitness trainer, but this works for me:

Start now so you can begin your fitness program slowly. Three days a week will yield results.

potato plants Strengthening arm and shoulder muscles: begin by standing outside on a level surface, and with a 5-lb. potato sack in each hand… extend your arms straight out to your sides and hold them there as long as you can.

After a few weeks, move up to 10-lb. potato sacks and then 50-lb. potato sacks, and finally get to where you can lift a 100 lb. potato sack in each hand and hold your arms straight for more than a full minute.

Next…start putting a few potatoes in the sacks, but be careful not to overdo.

dig potatoes

Dumping the soil out of the potato planter and discovering the potatoes is a lot easier than digging. Photo: Patsy Bell Hobson

The golden lawn

A lawn of gold.

A lawn of gold.



When I woke up to this view this morning, I was delighted. My front yard is golden and bright on this  grey drizzly day. The yellow leaves seemed even brighter this rainy day.

All the leaves were on the tree last week when we left home. The lush green lawn was  loving the cooler weather. We came home last night in the darkness of the time change. So, my first view of the front yard was this rainy morning.

I love leaves and when the weather gets drier, they will be moved to a huge pile of chopped leaves by the vegetable garden.   The raised beds in front of the house will eventually get a layer of  the chopped leaf mulch in a few weeks.

But first, there are a couple hundred Darwin tulips to be planted in front of the porch. These raised beds get the benefit of the morning sun and the blessing of afternoon shade. There are hundreds of daffodils already in these beds.

The daffodils thrive here and, because there are so many varieties, we will have weeks of early blooms. Some are fragrant and some have multiple flowers.

stone furniture

Stone furniture, center left, is already for a spring tea party.

So, in the next few weeks, there is still plenty to do. Planting tulips and raking leaves are the perfect way to close down the gardening season.

Oh, yes, in the vegetable garden, there is still more garlic to plant. Every bed will get leaves dug into the soil and a layer of chopped leaves to cover the whole bed. The spring soil will be ready for planting a few weeks earlier than usual thanks to the investment in time this fall.

In a couple of days, I’ll wake to a brilliant sunny day. There will be a pot os slow simmering stew or chili either on the stove or in the crock pot. We will spend the day(s) raking leaves and getting ready for winter. When we are weary from a good days work outdoors, it will be time to come inside. We will step inside to a warm, fragrant kitchen and a simmering pot of vegetable soup.




Next Spring will include theses daffodils.

Daffodils are already planted. They are great naturalizers and ready multiply.

Daffodils are already planted. They are great naturalizers and ready multiply.




Colorful Darwin tulips are big and sturdy.

Colorful Darwin tulips are big and sturdy. This is the 2013 display.  A few of these tulips may come back for a second year. We still need to plant the 200 bulbs for 2014.

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