Walking Iris

This post, “Walking Iris” was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 


Several years ago, my mother gave me a small container of walking irises (neomarica northiana).  From that small container, I now have an area 12’x6′ filled with these plants.  They get their common name from the fact that after they bloom, the bloom stalk leans down and roots in place.  These are supposed to be tender perennials, but mine have survived very hard freezes with no damage.  Mine grow in partial shade.  I have some that get more sun, and the foliage is paler.  This sections needs a lot of water.  Everything about this plant is fascinating.   When the buds are just ready to open, they remind me of the onion domes in Moscow’s Red Square.



In just a few hours, they open completely.  These blooms only last a day, but there are many more that will open tomorrow.  Their blooms resemble orchids.



When a good size clump is formed, these irises make a spectacular show.



This is one plant that makes me think of my mom, and how much she loves these irises.  Thanks, Mom.



This post, “Knockouts” was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 


I know everyone has seen the Knockout roses, but not everyone has them in their gardens.  I was given two plants two summers ago, and I have really been impressed.  They really do bloom continuously for me, and I don’t have them where they get a lot of sun.  They do get several hours a mid-day, but it is barely four to five hours. One of the bushes was the original Knockout rose, which is a deep cherry red that gets a little lighter in the heat of summer.



The other one was the Pink Knockout. This, too, blooms profusely from spring to winter.



This past fall, I purchased two Blushing Knockout roses, which is a lighter pink.  This, too, is a little paler pink in the warmer weather.  This one is my favorite, and if I buy more, this will be the one I get.



These roses are supposed to be about 3-4 feet high, but I have to trim mine back to keep them that size.  I do not know if it is our long growing season which makes them bigger or not.  For someone who was afraid to grow roses, these have been a great choice.


There are the doubles now available and a Rainbow Knockout also.  These roses would make a great hedge.  They really are black spot resistant.  We have a very humid climate, and I have had no trouble with these roses.



Butterfly Rose

This post, “Butterfly Rose” was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 


Early this spring I trimmed back the Butterfly Rose (Mutabilis) because it had grown so much it was getting a little rangey.  Today, when I pulled into the driveway, I realized this is the best it has ever looked.



This is not the best picture because I had to take it very quickly since a shower was imminent, and it was thundering.  This rose is a China rose and does well in our hot humid climate.  The single flowers start out a light yellow and as the day goes on the blooms turn a pinky orange, and then finally they turn a dark pink.  Because it has all three colors on it at one time, it got the name of Butterfly Rose.  I guess people thought it looked like different butterflies were sitting on the bush.  It is a repeat bloomer (though it tends to bloom in flushes) and will bloom as long as it is not too cold.


I try and keep this robust rose to about five feet.  It has gracefully arching canes with dark green leaves that are a bronze color when they first emerge.  This is a very popular rose and after having this one for about three years, I can see why – pretty flowers, repeat blooms, disease resistant foliage.  What more could you ask for?

A Few More Blooms

This post, “A Few More Blooms” was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 


When I finally got home today, I only had time for a quick walk through the garden to check on things.  One hydrangea was a little wilted, so it had to be watered.  The things I had planted and transplanted Tuesday had to be watered also. 


A few new flowers were out today.  Stella d’Oro, that reliable little repeat bloomer, had its first flower of the year. These were among the first daylilies I bought.  They are probably about seven years old now.  I think their buttery yellow is so cheerful, and they blend in well with the Gold Mound lantana I have in that bed.



Another daylily was out today.  It is supposed to be Romantic Rose, but the flower does not look like the label.  I still like it though.  It is getting a little annoying that nurseries and growers are not accurately labeling their stock.  This is happening too frequently lately.  It isn’t always feasible to buy everything in bloom so that you can be assured you are getting what you want.  Are any of you having the same problem with mislabeled plants?



 Even though this daylily was mislabled, it is still pretty and the color is perfect for the section of the garden where it is planted.  At least that worked out OK.  It would really irritate me if it clashed with the other daylilies, and I would have to dig it up and find a place for it.


This post, “Coreopsis” was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 


I am posting very early in the AM today because I have to go out of town and will not be home this evening.  It amazes me how dry everything is since we have not had any decent amount of rain in over three weeks.  I have been watering the garden every other day because it has been so windy lately and things dry out fast.  I usually water one or two sections a day, but yesterday I had to water everything since I won’t be home tonight and will get back late on Thursday.


As I have written about before, I try to keep yellow-flowered plants in the circle garden.  I have mainly perennials such as daylilies and Louisiana irises there with a sprinkeling of other plants for a little color variety or to help the yellow pop.


Today, the coreopsis bloomed.  They are such cheerful flowers.  I have two clumps surrounded by Stella d’Oro daylilies which should be opening up any day now.  I still have the yellow pansies there, too, but they will soon have to be pulled out because of the heat.  Just about that time, the Gold lantana will begin to bloom taking the pansies’ place.



Look at what showed up today.

Bloom Day

This post, “Bloom Day” was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 


Well, the 15th of the month is here again, and it is time to tell what is blooming in our gardens.  Thanks to Carol of May Dreams Gardens for coming up with Gardenbloggers’ Bloom Day.  I guess I should have saved my daylily post from yesterday for today, but since I did not, I’ll just post a picture of a plant that is just now blooming.



The Pink Flowered Indigo (Indigofera amblyantha) has just started blooming.  This plant has blooms that resemble a pink wisteria, but is not climbing.  It makes a shrub about three to four feet high & is covered with these long pink clusters.


Also blooming here right now are the following:  pansies, Knockout roses, amaryllis, daylilies, climbing Blush rose, Iceberg rose, Mexican sage, Louisiana irises, flax lily, woodland phlox, calla lilies, coral nymph sage, petunias, tropical hibiscus, and ageratum.


It will be interesting to see what will be blooming on the 15th of next month.

Daylilies in Bloom

This post, “Daylilies in Bloom” was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

The daylilies have started to bloom.  The Stella d’Oro and a few others have buds, but some have opened up on one of the coldest spring days we have had in a long time.  Even though the temperatures are unusually cool for us at this time of year, the daylilies think it is early summer.


This one was supposed to be Night Beacon, but it evidently was mismarked.  I think I already have this one, but I can’t find a tag that would tell me so.  It looks so familiar.  Well, I’ll have to see when the others start blooming if I do, indeed, have this daylily.

This is a daylily my mother gave me years ago.  It is a little more rusty brown than the picture shows.  Sometimes I just don’t understand why digital cameras do not always show true colors.  This is a very reliable daylily and is one of the first to bloom.


This is Rose Passion.  It, too, is a tad off color.  It has a little more of a dusty rose tint than it does in the photo.  This is a new daylily I just got in late winter.

This last photo is from two days ago.  It pictures one of the Oakes daylilies my sister sent me after I had blasted it with the hose.  I had forgotten to take a picture of it before I watered so hubby graciously took the photo while I continued to water.  (Note to self: Take photo first, then water).

This is just a small sampling of the daylilies that are in the garden.  There are more that will soon be in bloom.  While you northern gardeners are welcoming crocuses, down here, the daylilies are telling us early summer is almost here.

Hosta Overnight

This post, “Hosta Overnight” was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 


The hosta didn’t really appear overnight, but it sure did seem like it.  Just a few days ago, I saw the first leaves emerge and they were only about three inches long.  Today.  Pow!  I’ve got an almost full grown plant.


I have not been growing hostas too very long.  This far south, people just didn’t plant them.  A few years back, I started some from seeds I bought from Parks Seeds, and they did very well.  Since then, I have added more hostas, and nurseries around here are carrying them now.  Since I have a great deal of shade, they are a great addition.  I have been surprised how much sun they can take this far South.  I thought that they would need complete shade, but after losing several large trees and having areas with more sun, the hostas in those areas are doing just fine.  Of course, I keep them well watered which probably helps.


My hostas have not grown as large as some I have seen in cooler areas.  I would love to have the big, blue ones I’ve seen.  I remember seeing hugh ones in North Carolina when we were on vacation in the mountains.  Even though mine are not that big, they do fill a nice niche in the garden, and I am happy to see them return.

Nun’s Orchid

This post, “Nun’s Orchid” was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 


The Nun’s Orchid’s (Phaius tankervilliae) blooms have opened.  The stalks are about four feet high, and the flowers gradually open from the bottom of the stalk to the top.  The flowers are rusty-chocolate brown on the inside and white on the outside with a pinkish-purple trumpet.



 This is a terrestrial orchid.  I have mine growing in a large pot.  I have had it for about four years now, and grow it outside most of the year.  In the winter, I bring it onto the front porch, and if a freeze it predicted, I cover it with plastic.  This orchid likes to grow in partial shade.  The leaves are large but are not that attractive.  In the warm weather after it flowers, I put in the side garden where it is not too noticeable.


As you can see from the picture this is a striking plant.  The flowers are fragrant, too.  These are fairly easy to grow.  They need fast draining soil, a deep container for good root developement, and protection from the hottest part of the day.  They only need to be repotted every two to three years.  I haven’t repotted mine yet, though I probably will do it this year after it finishes blooming.


Such beautiful flowers, fragrance, and ease of care, makes the Nun’s Orchid a great plant to have.

Still Too Early to Plant

This post, “Still Too Early to Plant” was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 


It is hard to have to wait for some plants to emerge in the spring.  Every year I worry when the hidden ginger isn’t up even though we have warm temperatures for weeks.  This year is no different.  Many plants need warm soil to grow.


Last weekend when I was planting in the garden, I was surprised that the soil was still fairly cool, especially the areas that remain shady.  This past week, we have had high temps in the 80’s, but I still think it is too early to plant warm-weather plants like caladiums.  You have to be careful and not plant caladiums too early because if they sit in damp, cold soil they can rot.  Very often I will start the tubers in containers.   I usually start them in gallon containers and then put them in the ground when it warms up enough.  When leaves start showing, it is easy to gently lift them and plant in the garden.  In certain areas of the garden, under a tree for example, I will just place the container of caladiums in the garden rather than try to dig around tree roots.  These containers are placed behind low growing plants or in ground cover so that the pot does not show.  This also makes it easy to lift the tubers in the fall.


Caladiums need well drained soil, and filtered sunlight.  Plant the tubers with the eyes up and about two inches deep.  The roots and leaves form quickly in warm soil.  Water well during the summer.


This year I bought some more Gingerland caladiums, and I want to plant them now, but I know better.  With the warm spring days and flowers all around, it is hard to have to wait to plant some things, but sometimes we have to learn to be patient.


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