Lake Fred

Lake Fred is an actual lake located in the flat pinelands of southern New Jersey. It is also one of my knicknames acquired while I was at college. There is (or was) a Lake Fred Folk Festival in the springtime.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Tres Bon - Katrina Casualty

Here are three different faces of the hibiscus cultivar Tres Bon. The First is a cool weather one taken in March 2005. The second bloom was taken in late May 2005 and is more typical. The last bloom is a sun bleached faded bloom. Tres Bon was one of my favorite blooms. It is another Bobby Dupont variety. The Katrina floodwaters were too much for Tres Bon to survive. I'll miss this pretty bloom.

C'est Bon - Katrina Victim

This hibiscus bloom in my garden was snapped on 3-29-05. The cultivar is named C'est Bon and is one of Bobby Dupont's creations. It doesn't always look like this. The summer pattern is a thin white outer border with the body filled with lavender. This bush is a good bloomer and will set seed pods, but I have not been too successful in creating seeds with C'est Bon. This bush had been threatening to die on several occasions over the past two years, but Katrina's flood waters were the last straw. I brought a disc with a lot of hibiscus photos from my garden back to Houston, so I'll try to post a lot of blooms on this site.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

June's Joy

This 2004 bloom is June's Joy. It was hybridized in Australia by Bob Gray. This photo is a bit out of focus, but it clearly shows June's Joy's strong points of its rich colors. The yellow border edging highlights the bright red center. In the Hibiscus competions, a tally is taken of all the gold ribbon blooms and the person with the most gold ribbons within their category is awarded the Sweepstakes ribbon for that category. For the 2004 New Orleans Hibiscus Show, we were fortunate enough to win the Collector Sweepstakes ribbon. At this point you are allowed to select one of your blooms to be displayed next to your ribbon at the head table. We selected June's Joy to represent our entries. This picture is of the last bloom this bush ever produced. Shortly after the show, the bush started wilting and was dead within a month's time. Hibiscus are very particular about the temperatures they like and their watering conditions. They like temperatures no higher that 80 degrees. For water, they like water every day, yet they don't like wet roots. They need well drained soil. In New Orleans, summers provide steady high heat, usually in the 90's and lots of rain...or no rain. In New Orleans, they like the spring and fall the best, and if you can avoid a freeze, they like winters, too!

Jane Cowl - 2004

This bloom is from the same Jane Cowl hibiscus bush that provided the ribbon winning bloom in 2002. This bloom was entered in the 2004 New Orleans Hibiscus Show and won the Best Collector Double ribbon. This is a better bloom than the one entered in 2002. It is bigger and has a richer color. The irony is that on that day it was only the second best bloom on the bush. The rules allow only one bloom per cultivar per person. I brought three blooms and one was clearly the best. It was bigger and fuller than the other two. To display the bloom, you need to impale the bloom underneath onto a sharpened stiff wire. When I tried to stick the wire into the bloom, the bloom got damaged and lost a number of petals near the base. I had to enter one of the other two smaller blooms and it won the Best Collector Double Ribbon! Go figure.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Jane Cowl - 2002

This bloom was picked in June 2002 and entered in the New Orleans Hibiscus Show where it won the Best Amateur Double ribbon. It is an ordinary garden variety found growing in many southern landscapes. The bloom is a light peach color that darkens to a purplish crimson color where the petals are attached to the stem. This bush is planted in the ground by my garage. It survived Hurricane Katrina, although it needed to be heavily pruned as it was blown over in the storm. This past weekend it had new flower buds. It blooms better in cooler weather with bigger blooms and stronger color. You can root this cultivar from cuttings.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Rest in Peace Miss Liberty

One of my hobbies is growing Tropical Hibiscus. This is a 2002 picture of a two day old bloom of the cultivar "Miss Liberty", hybridized by Joe Ludick of Florida. We had bought the plant at the Dupont Nursery in Plaquemine, Louisiana. We entered this bloom in the 2002 New Orleans Hibiscus show and it won the Best Amateur Single ribbon. It has bloomed many times since this picture was taken, however, none have matched the full crimson color and the white spots of this bloom. The plant itself is a sprawler, preferring to grow in a horizontal rather than a vertical upright fashion. We had the plant through Hurricane Katrina, when it was submerged for a time under floodwater. Most of its branches died in September 2005, with the final branch giving up the ghost in the first weeks of October 2005.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Where I Worked Before Katrina

This is a picture of the building where I normally work in New Orleans taken shortly after Hurricane Katrina. The picture is taken from the Superdome. The plywooded windows on the fifth floor are the windows of the studio of WWL-AM Radio 870, the clear channel radio lifeline of the Gulf South Region. I work on the ninth floor in an interior office.

Sunday in Houston, Texas

I am a Hurricane Katrina evacuee living in Houston, Texas for a while. Actually, I am a double evacuee, having left Houston for Baton Rouge for Hurricane Rita. I had to work in Houston over the weekend, so I found a local church to visit this past Sunday. The Galveston-Houston Archdiocese has a cool feature on their website. It's a map of Houston with crosses denoting the location of their churches. When you click on the cross, another page comes up with details about that particular church including the Mass schedules. Using that, I discovered St. James the Apostle Church in Spring, Texas as being the closest church to my apartment. I attended their 9:00 AM Mass. It was very nice. St. Paul's epistle talking about helping others when they are in need really hit home. The pastor asked if there were any Katrina evacuees in church. When I raised my hand, the people applauded. I was asked to fill out some form for Archbishop Hughes of New Orleans after Mass. People talked with me after mass. It was very emotional for me.
It seems that this storm has brought out the best and worst in people. That has been the real religious experience for me, from the people that helped me and my family (the good) and seeing the bad stuff on television. This struggle of good versus evil is very evident in the Katrina aftermath with both the selfless volunteers helping people to the looters helping themselves. Evil will continue in the use of restoration funds. Will evil politicians skim funds for themselves? Will restoration companies defraud the government and/or their customers? Will people scam their insurance companies and the government to get more than they deserve? Will insurance companies screw their policyholders to help prevent their losses? The looting that will go on now will not be on camera for the world to see.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

How to Avoid Poverty

I have heard that the way to avoid poverty is to do a small number of things in a specific order. First one should graduate from high school. Next one should get a steady job. At this point it is not important to worry about how much one is being paid. One must first establish a good work ethic. Monetary improvement will come naturally with a good work ethic. Next one should not have (or create) children before marriage. Married people are less likely to be in poverty, so the next step is to get married and stay married to the same person. If you do these things in the proper order you will most likely avoid poverty in your lifetime.