Time for a Toast

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

 

STIR THE EGGNOG, LIFT THE TODDY,

HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERBODY!

 

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Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Auld Lang Syne
by Robert Burns

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and days of auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne

And here’s a hand, my trusty friend,
And gie’s a hand o’ thine;
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne

 

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year.

 

 

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Winter Interest

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

 

With all the warm weather we had last week, the leatherleaf mahonia, that was here when we moved in, has started showing its blooms.  It usually blooms in mid January, so it is only a little early in showing its flowers this year.  You can see in the picture below that it won’t be too long before the little yellow flowers open.  It is nice to have another flowering winter shrub around, and I am starting to appreciate this particular plant more and more.  It thrives on neglect, takes shade, and adds interesting texture and color.

 

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The flowers, borne on five inch racemes, quickly turn into frosty-looking blue berries which the birds adore.  In fact, the berries rarely last past ripening before they are devoured by hungry cardinals and blue jays.  The distinctive foliage is another plus – spiney, compound leaflets on horizontal stems.

 

Because of its coarse texture, this shrub is better as an accent plant especially in a shady area.  In fact, I am thinking about trying to root some cuttings to place in the side yard where I have some winter honeysuckle.  Having these two plants blooming in late winter might be a good combination, and the contrasting foliage would give extra winter interest to basically a green area.  I guess that is something to think about doing in 2009.

Three at a Time

 ”Three at a Time”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

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The recent warm-up has spurred the flowering of one plant in particular – the Butterfly Rose (Mutabilis).  The roses here in the Coastal South always bloom better in the cooler, dryer months of fall and late winter.  The past few days, my rosebush has been living up to its name, having all three colors at one time.

The flowers start out a pale peachy yellow then darkens to a orange-pink and finally turns dark pink.  This is typical of China roses which have colors that darken with age instead of fading.

 

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All three colors at the same time on one bush is supposed to resemble butterflies resting, hence the name Butterfly Rose.  I, personally don’t see the butterfly thing, but I do like the different colored single roses appearing at the same time especially at this time of year when so few things are blooming.

Teeny, Tiny

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

 

Being in the middle of winter with not too many new things blooming, I started noticing the tiny little flowers that are showing up.  Most of these are wildflowers that are starting to appear in the lawn, but some are garden plants that do not get noticed when the more showy flowers are in bloom.

 

First ones I noticed (with dismay) are the wild strawberries starting to bloom.  These have been a problem since Hurricane Katrina.  They are a sign of too much shade, dampness, and acidity.  Luckily they are easily pulled up and discarded, but unfortunately, I have been unable to get rid of them all (yet).  They do have cute little yellow flowers that are followed by a strawberry-like fruit.

 

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Another tiny flower that is making itself known in the garden is the sweet olive.  While the flowers are small, the fragrance is big.  This is one plant that when it blooms, it reminds me of home – my parents’ home.  My dad brought this big, old sweet olive from a job site where it would have been just tossed out.  He saved it, planted it, and it is still thriving today.  That bush must be at least 75 years old.  These plants with their small, inconspicuous flowers can really perfume a garden without being cloying.

 

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Last, on today’s tour, is the petite flower of Purple Heart.  The blooms of this plant are often overlooked because of the deep purple leaves and their tiny size, but when you pay attention to them, they are a very pretty pale orchid-pink flower. 

 

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So even though it is the middle of winter and there are not that many noticible flowers in the garden, there still are some around if we just take the time to notice the wee flowers that Mother Nature is giving us.

  

New Things Showing Up

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

 

A few new things have shown up in the garden in the last few days.  For about five days now, we have been having, hot humid weather, and this has caused some early visitors.  This morning while walking around the garden just to check thing out, I noticed this bumblebee still sleeping in a paperwhite flower.  As I moved in closer to take the photo, he didn’t even budge.  I wonder where these little guys go when we do have freezing weather.

 

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Close by the paperwhites, one of the small daffodils opened.  This is very, very early for them, but like I mentioned, we have been having  very warm temperatures – we hit 80 degrees for the third day today.

 

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We had another visitor right next door yesterday morning.  It was a deer.  I was out taking pictures, but didn’t get one of the deer.  I heard it crashing through the neighbors bushes, but when I turned to look, it was to late to snap a photo.  This is the first time we have seen deer in our neighborhood, and we have been here over thirty years.  It did move off rather quickly, and for my plants’ sake I hope it does not return.  A large area about three miles from us has been cleared out for a shopping center, and we figured with the loss of habitat, the deer just moved to the river, followed it down, and ended up in our subdivision.  It looked scared and disoriented, and I felt sorry for it.  I hope it made its way back to the river area where there is a wild area.  It seems such a shame that we are not taking wildlife into consideration when we start to build in forested areas.

The 2nd Day of Christmas

 “The 2nd Day of Christmas”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

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There has only been one Christmas – the rest are anniversaries.

W. J. Cameron

 

I hope everyone had a glorious Christmas Day, and that it was everything you expected.   Here, we had a great brunch with our daughter and son-in-law and later dinner with dear hubby’s sisters.  Sunday we will celebrate Christmas with my side of the family. 

 

I like it when the Christmas season extends past December 25 which is one of the reasons I do not decorate the house too early.  I am a firm believer in the 12 days of Christmas which do not end until January 6th.

O Tannenbaum

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

 

O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree
How loyal are your leaves/needles!
You’re green not only
in the summertime,
No, also in winter when it snows.
O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree
How loyal are your leaves/needles!

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O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree
You can please me very much!
How often has not at Christmastime
A tree like you given me such joy!
O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree,
You can please me very much!

O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree
Your dress wants to
teach me something:
Your hope and durability
Provide comfort and strength
at any time.
O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree,
That’s what your dress should
teach me.

 

I hope everyone has a happy, safe, and enjoyable Christmas Day.

Christmas Eve

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

 

Don’t forget to track Santa with NORAD  This is a great site for kids of all ages.  It is fun to watch the US-Canadian  military track Santa as he moves from the North Pole to your house. 

 

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‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
(A Visit from St. Nicholas)

by Clement Clarke Moore 
 
 

 

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a Good-Night!”

public domain

 

 

Pink Beauties

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

 

We have been having warmer weather this last week with temperatures in the low 70’s.  This has caused our big camellia bush’s buds to start opening.  This “bush” is about 18 feet tall and was here when we moved in.  We figure it must be about 50 years old, so this must be one of the old-fashioned ones.  It is still a very pretty winter flower.

 

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I will pick some to bring in the house which always brightens the inside during the winter.  If the flower is a single on a stem, I will put it in a vase, but usually the blooms are clustered in groups that do not open at the same time, so I take the open ones and float them in a bowl which are then placed on a table for all to enjoy.

 

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It is having lovely flowers like this in the middle of winter when other gardeners are experiencing frigid temperatures, that makes those high, humid temperatures of summer in the South bearable.

 

Red and Green

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

 

 

Even with all the hustle and bustle associated with the holidays, I still found some time to go out into the garden and find some seasona color – red and green.

 

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Pinapple sage is still blooming even after several light freezes.

 

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A red hibiscus, while a tropical not associated with a winter holiday, has the right color scheme for Christmas.  I just may pick this one to float in a bowl and bring just a little more red and green color inside for the holiday.

 

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Even these blueberry leaves are showing seasonal colors of red and green.  While not the traditional red and green of hollies and poinsettias, these plants are still showing holiday spirit.

 

 

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