A Walk in My Garden

“A Walk in My Garden”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

Today was a perfect day to walk in the garden.  The air was dry and cool, and the sun was not the burning one of summer, but the softer one of autumn.  It gave a nice soft glow to everything.  If you came to take a stroll around my garden today, here are a few things you would see.

 

 

The Confederate Rose has just started blooming.  In a week or so, it should be covered with these double blooms.  The flowers open in the morning a very light pink and gradually darken as the day goes on.  This is one of my favorite fall bloomers.

 

 

The Autumn Sage has also started blooming.  The first time I saw this sage, I fell in love with the color.  It is not hardy here, so I make sure and overwinter some every year.

 

 

Blackie, the neighbor’s cat, has come for a visit.  She is such a sweet cat, but must be belled to alert the birds.

 

 

Here are some dahlias blooming.  I started these from seed a few years back, and they return every year.  Since we have mild winters, and these dahlias were planted in raised beds, I don’t have to lift them after the first frost.  These are small dahlias, not the big, showy ones, but I prefer this size for my garden.

 

 

Next, is a little tree frog on a coleus plant.  I wrote about all the tiny tree frogs that were in the garden after the hurricanes came through with all the rain.  This little guy has grown a lot since I first noticed them weeks ago.

 

 

The Pinapple Sage has just started to bloom and the hummingbirds are visiting it constantly.  I know in less than a week, the flowers will really be plentiful and should satisfy all the hummers and butterflies in the neighborhood.

 

 

The Mexican Sage is blooming now.  I am so glad I cut it back in June because it is not flopping over as it has in previous years.  The purple flowers with the blue-green foliage is so attractive at this time of year.

 

 

The butterfly ginger is still blooming and still sending out that lovely aroma all over the back garden.  I think this may be the longest it has bloomed, but that may be because I have more plants now that it has spread.  Next year, I will probably need to dig some up and move it since this ginger seems to be getting a little crowded.

 

 

Finally, we find Rusty sleeping just outside the back door on the generator.  Dear hubby was getting it ready to store for next hurricane season when Rusty decided it would be a good place to take a nap.

 

I hope you have enjoyed seeing the flowers blooming in my garden today.

A Pleasant Surprise

“A Pleasant Surprise”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

I was surprised to see that the Sasanqua Camellia that I purchased last fall already has started to bloom.  It has a very lovely flower, but it was not labled correctly.  I bought it as Yuletide, a brilliant scarlet flower, but it has bloomed white with very pale pink edges.  The tag said Yuletide, and the container even had Yuletide written on its side, but, alas, it was not.

 

 

 

Sasanquas are a little different from the better known Japonicas.  Sasanquas usually bloom earlier and have smaller flowers.  They also will tolerate more sun than the japonicas will and also tend to be hardier.  Smaller than the spring flowering camellias, sasanquas come in low growing as well as ones that reach five to seven feet. 

 

I planted this one in a large container because I had wanted to place it next to the front door when it was blooming.  Since it turned out to be a different variety, I probably will plant it in the ground next month.

 

At first I was very disappointed that this camellia was mislabled, but it was not long before I realized how lovely this one truly was.  I still will try and buy a Yuletide, but this time I will wait until it is flowering to be sure I get the real thing.

One of Those Days

“One of Those Days”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

Ever have one of those days?  Well, I have had one today.  Where shall I begin?  We have been having gorgeous weather lately, cool temps, low humidity, but it has been over three weeks since we have had any rain, and it is showing.  I have been watering, but with a cool front coming through today, I thought some rain would fall on the garden.  While I was at work, it poured over an inch, but at home – .005.  So, I guess it is back to hauling hoses when I get home from work.

 

Next, while getting a small step ladder out to be able to hang an autumn wreath on the front door, I came across a white plastic bag hanging on the wall.  I pushed it aside, and, when I did, I felt something that could only be bulbs.  Puzzled, I took it down, looked inside, and could not believe my eyes.  It was a sack of purple gladiolus bulbs I had bought in the spring.  I had looked high and low for those bulbs for weeks and finally had decided I had not really bought them that I must have just thought I had bought purple gladiolus bulbs.  I have a feeling I know who put the sack on that nail, and it wasn’t me.  Dear hubby is known for picking up things and not telling anyone he has done so.

 

In the grand scheme of things, I know that my little gardening annoyances are not that catastrophic, but I guess it was just one of those days.

 

I’ll leave you with a photo of a sweet flower – Mutabilis or Butterfly Rose – that did make me smile today when I saw it.

 

Toad Lilies, Too

“Toad Lilies, Too”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

The (Tricyrtis formsana) toad lily blooms have opened today.  These are a little different than the ones (Tricyrtis hirta) I wrote about yesterday.  This toad lily’s stems are much longer about two to three feet long compared to about 15 inches.  While the stems tend to lay on the ground, I use stakes to prop them up so that the flowers are more visible.

 

 

 These plants were given to me by a neighbor just before she moved away to Houston.  This was one January about three years ago and the weather was very cold, but these toad lilies must be tough little plants because once they were planted in my garden, they settled right in with no problems.  In fact, it wasn’t long before they began to spread and make bigger clumps. 

 

For me, the Tricyrtis formsana are evergreen though the Tricyrtis hirtas are not.  Another difference is that the flowers are not along the stems like the hirta but are on small spikes at the ends of the stems.  Like the toad lilies from yesterday, I have them planted in front of holly ferns in a shady area of the garden.

 

While I have grown the hirtas from seeds, these have not produced any seeds that I have seen, so I am dependent upon the plants spreading which they have done but not to the point of being invasive.

 

I have seen toad lilies online that have yellow flowers and maybe I need to add those to the ones I have.  Since these are such easy to care for plants with pretty little flowers, I am beginning to believe that you can never have too many toad lilies.

Another Fall Bloomer

“Another Fall Bloomer”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

The toad lilies (Tricyrtis hirta x miazaka) have started blooming in earnest now.  Earlier in the summer, I had a few blooms which was unusual and surprising, but now these little plants have really started flowering.  Years ago, I had seen pictures of toad lilies in garden catalogs but didn’t think they would grow here in the deep coastal South since they are native to the Himalayas and the mountains of China and Japan.  One late summer day about six years ago, I saw some at a country nursery about 30 miles from my house and purchased one.  It was a small plant in a four inch pot, but it did thrive and bloom that fall.  This type of toad lily dies back in winter, but I didn’t know that at the time and was so disappointed thinking that my long awaited plant had died. 

 

The next spring it was back and grew even bigger.  When it bloomed in the fall, I collected the seeds and planted them the next spring.  Just about every one of those seeds germinated, and soon I had all the toad lilies I wanted and was able to give the rest away.  Now, I have them all over, and, at this time of year, they are needed as most other flowering plants are shutting down after a long growing season.

 

 

There will be flowers all along the stem of the plant.  If you look carefully, you can see the buds farther down the stem.  The flowers last a long time, and, as everyone always points out, make a great show at the edge of the border.

 

Toad lilies need moist, well drained soil and shade.  They do very well in the shade in fact.  I have some that get very little sun, at most an hour of direct sun, and bloom profusely, though they do best, in general, in partial shade.

 

These little orchid-like flowers are lovely additions to a shade garden, and if they thrive down here with all of our heat, I’m sure they will do fine anywhere.

Good Color Companions

“Good Color Companions”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

Earlier this spring, my mother cut back one of her plants, gave the two foot cutting to me with instructions just to stick in in some soil and keep it moist.  I followed her instructions, waited while the cutting lost most of its leaves (skeptical that such a large cutting would survive), and finally was rewarded with the above healthy, bushy plant.  I will admit I was surprised that this cutting survived, much less thrived, but here it is today a lovely plant.  I have placed it in a corner of the entry garden, and to pick up the pink color of the leaves’ edges, I planted a coleus with the same color on its edges right in front of it.

These two plants really set each other off and make good color companions.

Candelabra Plant

“Candelabra Plant”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

Here is another plant that I remember from childhood, the candelabra plant or cassia alata.  It gets its name from the bright yellow flowers that resemble candles.   I remember this plant blooming in my mother’s garden as well as the public landscape areas of New Orleans.  I particularly remember going to the orthodontist’s office in the late fall, and these plants were in bloom all over the city.  Few people grow these any more, and I don’t know why they fell out of favor.

 

 

I was able to get a plant from my sister.  It is not very large, but I really wanted it this year for the seeds.  I am hoping to have seeds to plant in the spring so that I will be able to have this fall bloomer in several areas of the garden. 

 

 

Mine is three to four feet tall but I have seen some that are much bigger.  It should be covered with upright flower buds soon.  The leaves are very attractive, too, and will close up at night.  While this is hardy only to zone 9 or 8, it grows quickly so even when treated as an annual it will grow large enough to bloom in one season.

 

As I try to have a longer blooming period in my garden, cassia alata helps achieve this.

October’s Garden Blogger’s Muse Day

“October’s Garden Blogger’s Muse Day”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

Today is Garden Blogger’s Muse Day, day to post a poem relating to gardening or nature.

Thanks to Sweet Home and Garden Chicago for starting Garden Bloggers’ Muse Day.

Gathering Leaves

Robert Frost

Spades take up leaves
No better than spoons,
And bags full of leaves
Are light as balloons.

I make a great noise
Of rustling all day
Like rabbit and deer
Running away.

But the mountains I raise
Elude my embrace,
Flowing over my arms
And into my face.

I may load and unload
Again and again
Till I fill the whole shed,
And what have I then?

Next to nothing for weight,
And since they grew duller
From contact with earth,
Next to nothing for color.

Next to nothing for use.
But a crop is a crop,
And who’s to say where
The harvest shall stop?

No piles of leaves yet, so this is the best I could do.

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