GBBD Part II

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

 

How could I forget?  On GBBD I forgot to post photos of the two best things in the garden.  I can’t believe I didn’t show a full shot of the cassia tree and the confederate rose.

 

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These are by far the two best flowering plants in the garden right now

Hidden Potential

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

At this time of year, when so much of the garden is dormant or going dormant, the hidden potential  of many plants become apparent.  As I walked around the garden this afternoon, I noticed many  latent signs that life is just waiting for the right time to burst open.

Flower buds at different stages

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Bleeding Heart Vine buds just about ready to open any day.

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Debutant Camellia bud will take more than a week to fully open.

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This camellia bud will take much longer.

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This hydrangea bud won’t open until spring.

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Not all hidden potential lies in flower buds, these toad lily seed pods hold future plants.

So, with winter often being associated with the dying back of vegetation, we see there are signs around that there is still life in the garden if we just take the time to notice.

November Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day

“Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

Thanks to Carol of May Dreams Gardens for coming up with GBBD.  This is the day (15th of the month) in which we post everything which is blooming in our gardens.

 

There are still a few things blooming here in south Louisiana even though it is the middle of November.

 

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Autumn sage, pinapple sage, mystic spires, coral nymph, Mexican bush sage, and lady in red sage are all the sages that are still blooming.

 

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Blushing Knockout rose and Butterfly rose are blooming as is the red knockout.

 

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A variety of different colored impatiens are still putting on quite a show now that the hot weather is over.

 

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Red bleeding heart vine is still going strong.

 

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Blue butterfly bush is blooming well.

 

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Yellow, white, and purple violas are starting to put out more flowers even though they have been planted only about two weeks.

 

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White sasanqua and the red Yuletide are adding color to the garden.  The white one has been blooming at least three weeks.  A long bloomer is appreciated.

 

Other plants blooming are:  Mexican heather, blue daze, plumbago, confederate rose, cassia tree, pentas, and the begonias (red, white, and the perennial one).

 

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A flat of Baby Duck petunias are awaiting their placement in the garden. 

Dusk

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

For the last few days, I have been coming home when it is dusk or completely dark.   Because we have gone off of daylight savings time, it is getting dark by 5:30pm, so just being an hour later means no working in the garden.  It also means that I can’t even walk around the garden and see what is going on.  However, that doesn’t mean there is not beauty to be seen.

As I was pulling up to the house late this afternoon, I noticed how pretty the evening sky was becoming.  With a cold front coming in, there were clouds in the sky that was washed with pink and golden colors.

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So, even when it is almost dark, there is still a beautiful scene to see in the garden.

Coffee Cups

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

 

 

Coffee cups aren’t just for drinking.  I am referring to a colocsia called “Coffee Cups”.  It plant name is Colocasia esculenta.  It is called coffee cups because of its cup-shaped leaves.

 

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This example is growing in my sister’s garden.  She has it growing near her pond under her queen palm trees.  The ‘cups’ formed by the leaves collect the flowers that drop from the bloom clusters hanging about ten feet above them.

 

 

This plant has striking almost black stems and can grow as tall as five feet.  The  leaves form a cup which can hold water.  Cold hardy to zone 7, a fast grower, dramatic foliage, great color, what more could a gardener ask for?  Maybe a cup of coffee while sitting among the coffee cup elephant ears?

 

 

 

A New Pink Diamond

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


In my effort to have more blooming perennials, for the last few years, I have been planting amaryllis bulbs in the garden.  These plants are hardy here and do very well growing outside.  Last year I added two new varieties, Elvas and Appleblossom to the ones already planted.  I have been looking to plant some pink ones and, fortunately, I have found some.  Wal-Mart had their bulbs out a few weeks ago, and for the first time they had something besides Red Lion and Appleblossom.

 

I picked up two Pink Diamond amaryllis and am hoping they are as pretty as the picture shows.  I plan on starting them in containers and then planting them in the garden in April.  When I buy amaryllis that are meant for forcing, I usually do not plant them until very close to Christmas or just after Christmas.  I do this because the house is decorated for the holidays, and these extra flowers are really not needed.  But, after all the decorations come down, the blooming amaryllis is a cheerful addition to those gray winter days that always seem to follow the holidays.  Another reason is that with the decorations put away, these flowers stand out and are not lost amongst all the holiday adornments.

 

 

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Pink Diamond should be gracing the dining room come January, and, then, next year it will be blooming in the garden.

A Sweetie

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

One of my favorite summer plants is the ornamental sweet potato vine.  I grow three varieties of this plant – Margarite, Ace of Spades, and Sweet Caroline.  It is getting to that time of year when these vines will soon be going dormant.  I am lucky that they have returned each spring from the roots and/or tubers.  The other day while watering the garden, the sunlight hit Ace of Spades, and this really made me stop and notice it.  I think Margarite gets more attention because of the bright chartreuse color, but Ace is just as pretty in its own way.

The dark heart-shaped leaves twining through the garden makes for a nice contrast with the usual green of other plants.  Mine grows where it only gets about two hours of sun, so the leaves stay a nice dark burgundy almost black color.

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While watering the area where these plants are, the stream of water from the hose exposed the underside of the leaves.  The lighter purple that was shown was so pretty, it made me wish that there was a variety this color, too.

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So, while just doing a routine task like watering, an opportunity presented itself to notice a little more closely a very ‘sweet’ summer vine.

Mellow Yellow

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


At this time of year, yellow is the predominant color showing up.  Here in the Gulf South, there is a lot of yellow, but not always because of autumnal leaf change.

 

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Flowers on the cassia tree are a bright golden yellow

 

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Yellow Caterpillar in a folded up agapanthus leaf.  This caterpillar was at the base of the cassia tree.  Could this be one that uses that tree as a host plant?

 

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Satsuma ready to be picked.  We had a good crop this year.

 

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Variegated shell ginger is showing its yellow for fall.

 

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And, finally some yellow leaves.  The forsythia shows off its yellow in both early spring and in autumn.

It’s Never Simple

“It’s Never Simple”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

 Yesterday, I thought it would be a good idea to dig up the Easter lilies in the white garden.  I planted them in the spring of 2007, and these lily bulbs exceeded expectation.  These were the first lilies I have ever planted, so I am not that familiar with what to do to take care of them.   (Experience is better than just reading about something.)  Anyway, I waited for them to go dormant in the fall of 2007, but that never happened, so I was advised to cut the foliage off, which I did.  Almost immediately new growth started even though it was December and cold weather was coming.  When we did have a freeze, I just covered up the newly emerging growth.  In the spring, growth really started and abundant flowers were produced again.  The only problem was so many of the stalks came out of the ground at an angle that most of them needed staking. 

To prevent the leaning stalks, I thought I would dig up the bulbs now (new growth is just starting) and reposition them so that the stalks this year would be straight up.  First, I had to remove and replant a hydrangea that needed to be in a bigger area.  After doing that, I carefully lifted the lily bulbs up and was surprised to see so many offsets.  That is why last year so many of the stalks came out at an angle, they were coming out of the offsets.  I planted 20 bulbs in 2007, and I dug out about 5 dozen.  I couldn’t believe it.  Now not all the bulbs were big, but at least 36 were the size of large oranges.  The rest were the size of lemons or eggs  with about 15 even smaller. 

I replanted about twenty of the biggest bulbs in the original bed after adding some new soil, and then had to find a place for the rest.  That’s where the simple part ended.  Here are the left over bulbs that had to have a new home.

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  Gardening under huge pine trees limits the areas with sufficient sun for flowers, so finding an area where these lilies would do well prompted a search around the garden.  I finally decided to place them in an area around the back patio which is getting a lot of sun since several big trees came down in Hurricane Katrina.  I had already decided that several holly ferns had to come out because they were getting too much sun and the foliage was being burned.  I had thought to wait until spring to move them, but now they had to go.

Years ago, I had dug out a huge holly fern and vowed that I would never do it again.  So much for vows.  After struggling with these ferns, I finally wrestled them out of the ground.  I removed about five big ones which will go in a side garden area where there is more shade.  This photo shows them lined up and ready to go to a new home.  

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The bed without the ferns had big holes that had to be filled with good soil and a lot of it was needed.

 

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Finally, the soil was added, the bulbs planted, and the entire area mulched.  Looks finished, huh?

 

 

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Well, this bed is finished, but there are still about 18 smaller lily bulbs that did not fit here, so tomorrow I have to find a place for them.   I also moved the ferns to the side garden but could only plant two before the daylight was becoming too dim to work.  So, tomorrow will find me still trying to finish what I thought would be a simple garden task – for the third day.

A Few of My Favorite Things

“A Few of My Favorite Things”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

A few of my favorite things at this time of year are plants which have reached their peak.  For example, this coleus, lemon verbena, torenia combo at my sister’s house.  It is a great color combination and has reached a large enough size to really stand out.  We should be able to keep our tender plants at least until December, maybe even longer.

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And then there is this pink lantana, covered with blooms, butterflies, and bees.  This pink has an apricot tinge to the pink and is so pretty.  Lantanas are usually hardy for us here in the Gulf South.  If it gets in the mid twenties, they may freeze back to the ground, but will return from the roots.

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And finally this Tilt-a-whirl coleus is spectacular.  Both my sister and I bought this in late July, and our plants are now huge.  I am going to try and overwinter some of this one.

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With colder temperatures right around the corner, I am starting to reflect on what plants did very well for me this year.  These plants will definitely be in the garden next year.

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