Last Ones

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

There are only two varieties of amaryllis that are now blooming in my garden that I haven’t featured yet.  Here are the last ones.  The first is a soft orange-colored one that was given to me about three years ago.  Unfortunately, the giver did not know the name of this particular amaryllis.  I usually do not like orange flowers, but this one is special because it is not a bright orange.  The gardener who gave me these bulbs also gave me some seeds from her plants which germinated very well.  While I am not sure what flowers will come from these seeds, I now have many small bulbs which may bloom in another year or two.  I hope they are this soft color.  The photo below shows the flower a little darker than it is in person.  If you compare it to the red of the pineapple sage flowers below it, you will see it is more orange than red as it seems to appear.

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The last amaryllis to open its flowers is Elvas which I bought in early January of 2008.  I purchased three bulbs at an after Christmas sale when they were still in bloom.  In April of 2008, I planted them in the ground, and today, when I was checking out the garden, this is what greeted me.  The first Elvas bud had opened.  This is another double-flowering kind.

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While the Elvas and the white ones of Sunday’s post are just starting to bloom, and the orange ones still have many buds that have not opened, the other amaryllis are slowly fading away.  I hate to see these lovely, spring flowers disappear.  The amaryllis flowers have been especially lovely this year, and as these last ones finish blooming, I take comfort in knowing that there are other flowers waiting their turn to blossom.

Little Red

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

 

Two days ago, I wrote about the big red amaryllis flowers that are populating the entry garden.  They aren’t the only amaryllis in those beds that flank the front walkway.  I also have a few small red flowering amaryllis that my sister gave me several years ago.  While these flowers lean more toward an orange-red, I still like them because of their smaller flowers.

 

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I think that their smaller size indicates that this is an older variety since the newer ones have much bigger flowers.  My sister received the original bulbs from an elderly couple in her old neighborhood.  I bet that couple never imagined that their amaryllis bulbs would travel so far from their home.

 

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The amaryllis season is starting to wind down here.  There are just two more for me to feature here from my garden, and one variety has not opened yet.  Even though these little red amaryllis do not have the huge, showstopping blooms of the other ones I have shown you, I still like them and am glad they are in my garden.

 

 

At Last, the White

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

 

When my father passed away in early 2006, I decided to dedicate an area of the garden to him.  I decided to plant that area with all white flowers.  That spring, I planted an Iceberg rosebush, paperwhite narcissus, and white impatiens.  Late that autumn, I ordered white amaryllis bulbs so there would be white flowers for the early spring.  In the spring of 2007, only one bloomed, and it had a very short stem.  I wasn’t too surprised, since I had planted these bulbs so late.  In the spring of 2008, however, I was disappointed that none of the twelve bulbs bloomed.  Most of the bulbs had produced a lot of foliage, and they should have bloomed.  I guess they needed one more year to settle in because, at last, the white ones are blooming.

 

This year, there are at least eight bulbs that have produced flowers.  Only one has opened yet, and I guess these bloom a little later than the others I have.  With the first flower opening up, I am not disappointed with these amaryllis.  The flowers are pure white with a green throat, and go well with the white violas and wax begonias that are blooming at their bases.

 

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Last year, I added two more Iceberg roses, and all of the Icebergs now have buds, with many opening any day now.  With more amaryllis flowers yet to open, the roses, and the violas, this area of the garden should soon be a special place to remember my dad.

Big Red

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

 

The last two posts have been about the amaryllis (hippeastrum) that I have growing in the garden.  Well, here is another.  In the last few years I have really become a big fan of these plants.  Originally, about ten years ago, I started with Red Lion bulbs that I bought in the winter and then planted in the garden in the spring.  I liked Red Lion, but was never enamored with them because the color had more of an orange tinge to the red, and I like more of a truer red.  I stopped buying them after just a few years.  Then, about four years ago, the secretary at work brought me some amaryllis bulbs from her garden.  These were huge, big bulbs that put out huge, big deep red flowers.  These big red amaryllis got me started on the road to amaryllis addiction.

 

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These amaryllis (name unknown) are wonderful.  It is hard sometimes to capture the true color of red with a digital camera.  These are a deep red, almost a deep cherry red.  These bulbs are very vigorous; even in my clay soil, they are producing offsets quickly.  It is not uncommon for there to be seven blooms on one stalk, and several bulbs have produced two or more stalks.  One thing I love about these is the shape of the buds as they just about to open.   The petals always seem to puff up and then open.  They remind me of hot air balloons.

 

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 The lady who gave me these amaryllis was very generous.  I couldn’t believe she had so many to share, but she kept assuring me that she needed to thin out the bed they were in and she still had enough for her garden.  I even had some to share with my mother, daughter, and sister.  I am so thankful that I was able to get these wonderful, beautifully colored red flowers. 

 

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I have these in the gardens on both sides of the front walk.  The big red flowers make a welcoming sight as you approach the front door.  I am going to hate when they finish blooming.

I’ll Have a Double

“I’ll Have a Double”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

In checking my garden journal from previous years, it seems that many plants are blooming a month to six weeks earlier than last year.  Some of these early bloomers are the amaryllis (hippeastrum) bulbs.  I showcased Apple Blossom yesterday, and today I’ll feature a double flowered one.

I bought this one years ago, maybe six years or so.  I didn’t have many amaryllis then, and this was supposed to be a pink variety.   Of course, it was mismarked, as seems to be my luck, but it was huge when it bloomed.  It is a double flowering one, and from photos I have searched, it seems that this just might be Aphrodite.

 

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At first, I was very disappointed in this particular bulb, but it has grown on me and now is welcomed in the garden.  I particularly like the green throat this flower has.  The bulb has not made any off sets yet, even after all these years, but the bulb is gigantic and the flowers are still big.

 

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The nine inch blooms certainly stand out even when all the other spring flowers are opening up and showing their new colors.  After growing this bulb for years, I would like to have even more double amaryllis.  I guess this means I need to look into finding a good company that stocks double amaryllis.

Apple Blossom Time

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

I remember my parents playing an old song from WWII called I’ll Be With You in Apple Blossom Time.  Of course, the lyrics were referring to apple trees blooming in May, but our apple blossom time has nothing to do with apples or May.  The only apple blossoms around here are the Apple Blossom amaryllis that are blooming now.

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Apple Blossom has been one of my mother’s favorites for years, but I was never, somehow, that impressed with it.  I tend to like the ones that are vividly colored.  However, when I started putting in more perennials and was looking in particular for something pink to go with the azaleas and lorepetulum that would be blooming together, I decided to try some Apple Blossom bulbs.  I started out buying two from Wal-Mart one year and then gradually added a few bulbs each year.  I have a nice little grouping now.

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We are lucky to be able to plant these bulbs outside in the ground.  I usually wait until April to plant outside the ones I purchased in the fall for winter blooms.  The next year, these planted amaryllis start to bloom in early spring.

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Now, when I look at these beautiful flowers, I can not believe that at one time I was not impressed by them.  Now, if I can only stop humming I’ll Be Seeing You in Apple Blossom Time whenever I pass them.

A Purple Cascade

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

 

The neighbor’s wisteria is blooming.  A sure sign of spring.

Mine is not blooming yet nor does it bloom as profusely – a little too much shade.  Theirs is growing up a huge pine tree which is really not such a good idea.  These rampant growers can strangle a tree by girdling it. 

While they may be invasive, come spring time they are spectacular when in bloom, and it is understandable why they are so popular.

 

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The showy, sweet-smelling flowers is what sells this plant.  I remember when I was a child, our next door neighbors had a large pergola covered with wisteria.  When it was in bloom, with the delicious fragrance perfuming the air, that arbor was to me the most romantic and fairy tale-like place to be.  Every time I smell the wisteria blossoms, it brings back the memory of that pergola.

The reason that this plant is not welcomed in many areas is because it is such an easy to grow plant and when it escapes the landscape into the wild, it spreads very aggressively and chokes out native trees and shrubs.  When driving down the highway where there are still wooded areas, you can see large areas blanketed by the purple and white wisteria flowers.  While this is a very lovely sight, you have to wonder what plants this vine may be smothering.  There are two native wisteria vines that are better behaved and not considered invasive.  These are really a better choice in many areas.

I am trying to grow mine as a single trunk or tree form.  This is how my dad grew one years ago.  Since it doen’t require any support and is kept trimmed back, it doesn’t get out of hand.  I hope mine starts blooming soon because I just love those purple cascades of fragant flowers.

Proven Wrong

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

About three years ago, dear hubby planted an avocado seed.  I told him it wouldn’t last the winter since this is a semitropical fruit at best.  He nursed that little seedling all winter, and it did survive the cold, proving me wrong.

The next summer, the little avocado seedling grew to about three feet tall, and he transplanted it into a large container.  Since he was moving a plant from a six inch pot to a twenty-four inch pot, I told him the new container was way too big, but he ignored me.  The little avocado tree grew to about five feet tall.

The next winter was spent trying to cover a five foot tree in about a three foot tall pot off and on as the temperature dipped and rose above freezing.  Dear hubby kept talking about having avocado fruit maybe the coming summer.  I just laughed and told him that avocado trees didn’t bear fruit here, besides it sometimes takes years for one to fruit according to what I have read.

Last summer the tree grew to about seven feet and was too tall to cover this winter.  DH just moved it to a rather sheltered location and hoped for the best.  It made it through this winter even though there were several hard freezes.

This spring, I couldn’t believe my eyes.  The tree had flowers.

avocado-flower

Now, I have read that avocado trees usually need another tree to be pollinated, but after being proven wrong that this tree would even survive, much less grow and flower in three years, I won’t be surprised at all if there are avocados on the tree by summer.  At least DH has not gloated.

A Rose is a Rose – Not

“A Rose is a Rose – Not”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

When is a rose not a rose?  When it is a rosebud azalea. 

Just about the time that the Indica azaleas begin to fade, the rosebud azaleas start up.  These shrubs are called “rosebud” because their opening buds really do resemble a rosebud.  Even the double flowers seem to look like an opened rose.  The first one I bought was a lovely pink.  The first photo shows the bud stage, and the second an opened flower with a tiny tree frog tucked inside trying to keep warm after a cool night.

 

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Two years ago, I bought a purple rosebud called Amelia.  It, too, has the same rosebud look in a lovely spring color.

 

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Because of their unique flower shape, I think these azaleas are best planted where the flowers can be appreciated.  I planted mine in the front of the border so the flowers are noticed as soon as you walk by.  These azaleas are not very common yet, and they should be because they extend the azalea season and have lovely, different flowers.

Already Here

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

 

Today was the first day of spring, but it was not our first spring day.  We have been having mild weather for weeks now.  So much is blooming and more is coming.  Today I noticed the first buds on the Stella d’Ora daylilies.  Even I was surprised to see the small stalks with buds.

 

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This first calla lily flower showed up yesterday.

 

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These are some of my favorite flowers because of the sculptural quality of the blooms.  They always seem so cool and elegant.

 

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Finally, another sign that spring has sprung extra early here is the reappearance of the sweet potato vines.  Margarite has shown up in several areas, and Ace of Spades, which always comes back late, is also pushing up a few leaves.

 

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So, even though the calendar says that spring arrived today, here, in the Gulf South, spring didn’t pay attention to any calendar.

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