Enjoying Nature

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


I think it is important to beautify all our surroundings, not just the area around  our homes.  I work in a suburb of New Orleans which is about thirty miles south of where I live, and it is one zone higher than my zone 8.  Today was a bright, sunny day (the first one we have had in almost a week), and I noticed what was blooming in the gardens where I work.  The first flowers I noticed were the Blanket Flowers (Gaillardia x grandiflora).   I swear they were not there yesterday, so I don’t know how they got so big overnight.  Seriously, I get to work about 6:50 AM, and lately, with the cloudy weather,  it is still fairly dark, so that must be the reason I had not noticed them before.  With the bright sun, they looked so cheerful that I just might put some in my garden.  They have to be extremely easy to care for because no one tends these gardens at all.  Rarely are they weeded, watered, or fertilized, so these are very tough plants to make it on their own next to a hot parking lot.



Around the courtyard area, the Fashion azaleas are in full bloom.  These are among the earliest blooming azaleas, sometimes blooming at Christmas.   These salmon-colored flowers add a great deal of cheery color to this area.




Outside the main building, the pomegranate tree is in flower.  I know this has just started blooming because there is not many flowers on this bush yet.  I have often thought of planting a pomegranate tree in our garden, but haven’t so far.  The one at work has delicious fruit that no one picks but me.  I guess no one really notices or knows that it is edible.  It is amazing how little most people know about or pay attention to the natural world all that is all around then



Whenever there are plants around businesses, schools, or government buildings, these plants seem to make the world a little nicer.  There seems to be other benefits as well:  health benefits (enjoying fresh air), psychological benefits (less job stress when enjoying nature), social and personal benefits (enjoying green spaces and interacting with others).  It would be nice if in addition to homes, other areas were landscaped.



  1. January 29, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    I always enjoy it when I see flowers and shrubs while I’m out. Such as a shopping center or doctors office, places like that where there are lots of parking but enough grassy areas that some plant-life can be put in. If I take just a minute and look around, it’s amazing what I’ll see. Usually I’m in a rush to get into and out of the store, or am running late to the appt., etc.

    I had gaillardia in another house I lived in and it thrived, although it gets covered in brown seed heads when the blooms fade, and it’s not as attractive. I tried to grow it at my current house but didn’t have success.

  2. Norwood said,

    January 29, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    I agree with your posting. It is so much nicer to go to work with a pretty landscaped area. In fact, I think that communities should insist on public buildings having some kind of landscaping. It just makes an urban area have a more human scale.

  3. andré said,

    January 30, 2009 at 3:21 am

    I agree that areas outside our private gardens also should bloom. The Blanket Flower you show is really nice!

  4. Jan said,

    January 30, 2009 at 5:39 am

    Jan, I agree with you about how nice it is to have landscaping around business and especially parking lots. I think it helps put us in a better frame of mind.
    About the Blanket Flowers, I know what you mean about the foliage not being that attractive. It almost looks weedy, but mixed in with other flowers, I don’t think it would be too bad if you deadheaded the flowers.

    Norwood, it always has bothered me that areas that are more prosperous gets landscaping, but areas where poorer people live and work get none. Lady Bird Johnson had the right idea about beautifying America, but we need to remember that not just our highway system needs to be pretty.

    Andre, thanks. The Blanket Flowers certainly adds a spot of color at this time of the year. I was rather surprised to see them blooming already.

  5. Jon said,

    January 30, 2009 at 7:54 am

    Jan, Nice shots…I particularly liked the Blanket Flower, which I have never tried to grow here. You are lucky to work at a place with a courtyard and pretty landscaping…..plus its location in Zone 9….which I envy. For many years I really enjoyed the wonderful plants in the courtyard of our apartment we used to have in the French Quarter….especially since it contained tropical plants growing outside year round that I could not just 4 hours north up here in Vicksburg. I really know what it means to miss New Orleans (but not the current crime situation) as I have such happy memories of those days. Thanks for dropping by my blog for a visit and leaving your nice comment.

    Jon at Mississippi Garden

    • Jan said,

      January 30, 2009 at 7:32 pm

      Jon, New Olreans has a bit milder climate than I have, and gardeners there are able to grow more tropicals without having to worry about protecting them than I can. While I can and do grow many tropicals, I don’t have as many tender plants as my mother and sisters have. It is so nice to visit old areas like the French Quarter and see the lovely, established courtyard plantings. It seems that every year they get better.

  6. tina said,

    January 30, 2009 at 8:21 am

    Yes, sometimes folks take the sights for granted, such a shame as they miss out. Lovely flowers you have there close by. I’ve been to New Orleans a few times and I have always, always loved the city. I found the Sago palms and cute little fences and of course the beignets to be wonderful, plus the tropicals. One of my dearest friends lived in Diamondhead and I had fun helping her with her small garden-it is SO different from my area

    • Jan said,

      January 30, 2009 at 7:36 pm

      Yes, Tina, I am very fortunate to live in an area that is mild enough to garden year round. In some ways it is so easy to garden here, very little has to be dug up for the winter, unlike other places. I really admire the gardeners in more northern climates. Yes, it is a shame that people often miss the beautiful things around them. I guess we all need to take the time not only to smell the roses but sometimes we need to look at the roses.

  7. January 30, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    Ditto! Flowers around a business will make you spend more money and complain less. And even those who aren’t shopping there will benefit. Very fun subject today.

    • Jan said,

      January 30, 2009 at 7:38 pm

      I agree Anna. Everyone likes to be around nice areas, and a little landscaping goes such a long way. I hope with the economy changing so rapidly lately, that businesses and governments don’t forget that.

  8. dawn said,

    January 30, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    I love the pomgranate tree, it’s beautiful. I had a neighbor who ate them, gosh I haven’t seen one in years! The blanket flower has always been one of my wants. Too bad every business didn’t take the time to beautify their space, more birds, bees, and butterflies.

    • Jan said,

      January 30, 2009 at 7:41 pm

      Dawn, I’ll have to post a photo of the pomegranate tree when it has the mature fruit on it. Isn’t that Blanket flower just precious? It seems to be everyone’s opinion here that bringing in a touch of nature is important in commercial areas. I know I would love to see more green spaces around.

  9. Pam Kersting said,

    January 30, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    Lucky girl to have things blooming in January! Any good gardener should be able to incorporate blooming plants in each month of the year! Thanks for sharing these with us.

  10. Jan said,

    January 31, 2009 at 6:31 am

    Pam, Seeing these plants blooming where I work certainly puts me in a gardening mood. There are several things blooming in my garden, but nothing really tender like these flowers yet. I expect it won’t be too long though before we see flowers like these.

  11. Brenda Kula said,

    January 31, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    I love that blanket flower. You are right about people in general just not noticing. I point things out to my husband. But he seems oblivious of the natural beauty in his surroundings. I don’t get it. He loves his TV though! Different strokes for different folks, I guess. But I’d bet you my outdoor beauty is more healthful that that loud box he watches!

  12. Jan said,

    February 2, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    Brenda, I think you are right about the outdoors versus TV. It is a shame that more people don’t notice nature all around them. There is so much to see.

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