Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Contingency of Plants

Purple Heart:

I had seen this plant in several different places and had been thinking about it a lot as we are considering ideas for landscaping, but it had really been a fleeting thought until we went to the "Gotta Be NC" festival. As we traversed the grounds, we wandered slightly off course and found some awesome plants...that were labeled.

[Side note: I love labeled plants because then when I think they are cool, I can just read the label and know what I want. I adopted this obsession after the first time Jason took me to the NC State Arboretum; it is full of awesome plants and most of them are labeled. This is how we discovered we wanted Flying Dragon trees (pictured below) and began to grow them.]
Back to Purple Heart...Upon seeing what I now know as Purple Heart, I told Jason it would be a great potential plant for our ditch-line. We want a plant to fill our ditch line so dogs aren't drying to use the bathroom in it and so that we don't have to worry about cutting it; neither of us are in favor of lawn maintenance. Then before I know what has happened, I am touching the Purple Heart and find out it has a soft, luxurious feel; now I am addicted.

Time for the research to begin.

Hmm...according to Purple Heart are... "Grown for it’s thick, succulent like leaves, the flowers are totally secondary. Amazing purple color on a tropical looking plant. Purple Hart is a herbaceous perineal in the metro Atlanta area, but an annual any farther north. Grows to about 14” tall, unless planted close together, then it will start growing on top of itself and could get as high as 24”or more. Spreads to around 24”.

Plant in full sun, in moderately fertile soil. Drought tolerant, once established"

Words I like: perennial, annual, drought tolerant, moderately fertile [they] makes some interesting points, stating the Tradescantia pallida is "quite an invasive plant, that will fairly quickly take over an area, smothering out other plants in the process..." Invasive is definitely a word I approve of. We are looking for some self-sufficient plants for our ditch-line; we want plants that can withstand neighborhood dogs and serve as a border between our yard and the road without looking tacky. They also state that it can "tolerate...frost;" I assume this is a positive trait for NC weather issues. It also says the plant "prefers a rich moist soil, but...will grow in many types of soil," and "will rebound quite well if over-watered," which is similar to our Flying Dragons. The main negative that I see here is that it apparently needs to be "pruned periodically,"otherwise it will take over; however, the fact that it is great "in rock garden[s]" could work well for the stone we want while the stone can also keep it in check!

Loving it more and more!!

I want to find a small, green, bushy plant to border the Purple Heart: It will look tailored and will possibly stay somewhat contained without too much physical exertion. The only suggestion I have found so far is that it may grow well with the asparagus fern (, but I will have to do more research into what that is and what it looks like.

Elephant Ears

The other plant that I am most interested in right now is called "Elephant Ears." They actually come in several different colors and patterns, so they add a lot of flair to a flower bed! I still have a lot of research to do on these, but I think they are a lot of fun...There are several pictures below!

Well I haven't looked up too much so far...but at this moment, it does not seem to promising. According to the ASPCA, elephant ears are "Toxic to Dogs, Toxic to Cats." Now the likelihood of Jasper eating a random plant from the flower bed, low, but the toxicity is rather disappointing because I don't particularly want to be the cause of someone else's pet dying either. Now I have to find out more...

According to, elephant ears can also be black and are then referred to as "Black Magic"-way cool!...perennials in warm climates, annuals in cold climates. They are a little needy compared to the other plants we are looking at; they need more acidic soil and prefer wetter areas. The nice part about this is that it means we could probably plant them around the HVAC or where the gutters drain for a good use of the soppy soil, without trying to plant something that will drown in excessive water and they need to be planted 2-4" below the surface.

Well- it looks like we won't be growing elephant ears. As beautiful as I think they are and as much as I really want them, they are not worth the hassle or the danger to our son.

Goodbye Elephant Ears :'(

The Feat of Landscaping

1420 from the front:

(Better pictures soon, but this is from online)

Jason hates the idea of cutting grass, and I hate the prospect of a yard with no flora or fauna. There begins our task. We will boldly bring the rocks of Arizona landscaping to rural Raleigh, NC. We will seduce the bees with sweet scents of color. We will cut down many trees. Okay, so the last part doesn't sound quite as cool, but this does sum up what we are going to attempt to do.

We are currently seeking awesome landscaping ideas (the less-than-awesome need not apply) for our front yard. Some of the following ideas are striking our fancy (or really just techniques that I think are cool.)

I definitely like rock borders around the beds; this gives an organized, yet natural look, and I really like rocks.

We both also like the idea of very low maintenance. I am looking for plants and flowers that I can throw in the ground and not touch.

Like this:
...or like Purple Heart (I love purple heart)
...and maybe some elephant ears-love these too :)

I think that Jason want's some rocks everywhere...if there are rocks, he can't use a mower :)

I actually got an awesome idea from the picture below; I am thinking that instead of pretty red mulch that will turn brown soon, we can get red stone that will stay red longer :) Color=yay!

Comments and suggestions are welcome! We are so excited about our new home!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Let the StReSs Begin

It is official.

We (Jason) have signed the official paperwork for a house!! We (us) decided to accept the bank's counter-offer, and we are in our "Due Diligence" period: The time we get from the seller (a bank) to decide that something is wrong enough with the home to legally back out. At the end of this week, we will no longer be able to back out and still get our Due Diligence money back. So we (our realtor) met the inspection guys this afternoon so that we could be assured our home is of the quality we wish to purchase.

Well, it looks like our inspections have been great so far and we are working on securing our loan for the home; this should be done by the end of this week, but in the mean-time, we (Jason) is searching for the best loan as we (I) learn what all the terminology actually means, for example, points, PMI, APR, closing costs, etc. Once all of this is solidified, we can begin the actually closing for our house. Yay!

EOCs :)
The current bane of my existence. Are my students going to pass? Are my students going to study? Are my students going to remember what I taught them? Am I going to properly read the Test Administrator booklet? Ha!

What if they don't pass? What if I have to go to Portfolio? What am I going to do???

I refuse to give EOCs a larger space than what is above. I will not let them override all that am...


Packing my classroom...
Do I pack my classroom? Should I pack my classroom? When do I have to accept that I may not have a job next year, so I need to pack my classroom? I don't want anything to happen to my school belongings. Please don't steal what belongs to me. Please don't think what belongs to me actually belongs to the school-it doesn't; it is mine.

Ah. That was a nice stress relief. Now I can go to bed next to the incredible man that decided to love me. I have an absolutely amazing life: I love my job, I love my husband, and we are supremely blessed.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Undertaking of Eternity

One month.

I have been married to Jason Scott Edwards for one month (and one day). We have been busy people; I thought that once we finished with the wedding, and all the planning that went with it, that our lives would slow down. WRONG!

So far the list has consisted of...
~Moving in with Jason, which entailed packing all my junk, cleaning out space to store all my junk, and not knowing where any of my junk is now that I have moved it.
~Both of our jobs picking up-Jason with summer coming and me with EOCs fast approaching
~Searching for a house, putting offers in on houses, and as of today...possibly buying a house. YAY!
~Jason impaling himself with a hammer and needing surgery
~Having the official married life which requires me to actually do things like laundry and dishes!

I love married life! Jason and I are incredibly blessed to have such amazing families; great jobs; stable finances; an amazing pup, Jasper; a belief in the one true Gospel; and so many other incredible people and small blessings received on a daily basis.

I hope that as we embark on a true adventure that I will actually keep track of it all. Partly for entertainment and partly for posterity's sake. Our engagement story and photos are all located on our wedding website:

We will be updating it soon with wedding photos for all those who are following it.
More exploits to come.
Cassie Dennison Edwards