Work or Sleep?

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


We have had another day of rain.  Hallelujah!  Yesterday we received another .7 inches of much needed rain.  Not only is the rain good for the plants, it does help cool things off a bit which makes it a little more pleasant for the humans.  The rain, however hasn’t stopped the activity in the garden.  The birds, bees and butterflies are still very active even if this gardener isn’t.


Bee on Cash. Bouquet (redu)


The bees have been very busy visiting the cashmere bouquet.  I haven’t seen too many honeybees around, just bumble bees.  I mostly see the honeybees at the birdbaths during the peak of the day’s heat, but the bumble bees are out among the flowers all day long.  Such hard workers.  They love the pink vitex and the agapanthas, too.  Butterflies are all over the place now that the weather has warmed up so much.  It is so difficult to photograph them since they never are still very long.


Bee on Pk Vitex (redu)


Of course, with all the recent rain, the frogs have been singing almost constantly.  The little tree frogs are all over the place and are still staying inside any flower that will hold them. Here is one peeking out of a daylily.


Plum Tree Daylily w Frog (redu)


Not every creature in the garden is active as the bees, etc.  Rusty, the garden cat, knows how to deal with the summer heat – find a shady spot and sleep the heat away.


Sleeping Rusty (redu)


So with the rain and the heat keeping me from working in the garden, a mid day nap sounds awfully nice.






Desert Rose

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


My very good neighbors have been out of town for a few days, and I have been taking care their plants.  With all the heat and little rain, the container plants especially needs looking after.  Fortunately, we had a much needed rain shower late yesterday afternoon, and it dropped 1.7 inches of rain, the most we have had in months.  So, this morning when I went to check on things, I brought my camera to take a photo or two of their desert rose plant which is in bloom.  I just love the color of these flowers, a dark cherry red.  The camera just does not show the true color, unfortunately.  There really isn’t that much pink in the center when you see it in person.


Desert Rose (redu)


I would love to have one of these plants, but it is hardy only to zone 10 and would have to be protected during the winter.  I already have too many plants that I bring in or cover when freezing temperatures are predicted, and I just can’t add any more, so I will have to enjoy the neighbors’ flowers.  But, every time I pass by this container of gorgeous, red flowers, I want one of these plants.


Desert Rose II (redu)


The desert rose (Adenium obesum) seems to be an easy to care for plant, just very tender.  If I didn’t already have so many plants to take care of in winter time, this plant with the showy, red flowers definitely would be on my patio right now.

Second Time Around

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


Certain daylilies are blooming a second time around.  Of course, there are the dependable ones like little Stella d’Oro and Happy Returns.  They will bloom just about all summer as long as there is adequate moisture and fertilizer.  The old yellow daylilies from my mom have started their second blooming.  These daylilies must be from at least the very early 60’s because that is around the time she got them from a neighbor.  I’m thinking they must be one of the first reblooming daylilies.


Yellow Daylily (redu)


Another daylily which has just started reblooming is Eye Yi Eye.  This color is perfect for what is now our hot summer weather.  It is so nice to have the reblooming daylilies because now that the temperatures are so high, not as many plants are flowering.  The garden is starting to look a little too green.  Thank goodness for coleus and hibiscus flowers; at least, they are giving some color.


Eye Yi Eye (redu)


There is one daylily that is supposed to be a rebloomer, but, in all the years I have had it, it has never done so.  That daylily is Custard Candy.  I certainly wish that it would rebloom since it is such a lovely flower.  In fact, I wish all of my daylilies would rebloom.  I’d love to have them in my garden for a second time around.

New Daylilies

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


The daylilies I purchased on my last garden center outing have bloomed.  The first one is a double pink that did not have a label on it.  I did see a label on the ground next to it, but it only said “Pink Daylily”.  I really don’t like it when the correct name is not on a plant.  Even though it has no name, it is a lovely daylily and will fit right in that area of the garden which has mostly pink flowers.  I think with its ruffly edges and chartreuse green throat this is certainly a great addition to my daylily collection.  It was very reasonable considering there were three fans in the container.


Pink Daylily (redu)


The next daylily was labeled (correctly this time, I might add) and also is gorgeous.  It is Mac the Knife, a deep red flower with a bright yellow throat.  This one is going in the entry garden with all the other red flowers.


Mac the Knife (redu)


These seem to be late bloomers.  All my other daylilies have finished blooming, and the repeat bloomers have already started their second flush of flowers.  I won’t mind if these are the latest of all the daylilies to bloom.  It just prolongs the colorful daylily season.

Favorite Lilies

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


I haven’t been growing lilies very long; this is only the third summer that I have had them in my garden.  I started growing them by accident.  I only noticed lilies after I had to find an alternate route to work because of road construction, and I started going through an older neighborhood where there were many gardens that had blooming Easter lilies.  After seeing them do well in so many older gardens, I just had to have some.  These are about the only true lilies that are grown around here.  About the time that I put in the Easter lilies, I bought a child’s watering can to use in a wreath.  In the watering can was several bulbs – liatris, some glads, and some Triumphator lilies.  These lilies looked bad.  Long, leggy, yellowed stems.  I planted them and quickly forgot about them.  They did nothing. The next spring, I noticed lilies coming up, and it took me several minutes to figure out where they came from.  To say I was surprised these poor lilies had made it to sprout up is putting it mildly.  I couldn’t believe how lovely the flowers were, so this year I ordered some Triumphator lilies from Beck and Becky’s Bulbs, and again success.


Lily Triumphator (redu)


This is how the flowers looked when they first open – big trumpets with dark pink centers and a green throat.  I planted these near the pink vitex and a Blushing knockout rosebush.  The colors work so well together especially as the lilies age since the pink fades slightly.


Lily and Vitex (redu)


Lilly and Blushing Knckt (redu)


Even when the lily flowers fade, the soft pink is still lovely.


Lily Triumphator Older (redu)


One more thing that makes thes lilies so fantastic is the fragrance.  While it does carry a distance in the garden, it is not overpowering or cloying.  It is a delightful, fresh scent.

As you can see, I have really fallen for these lilies.  Now, the only problem is do I order more of these next year or wait a while until they multiply and then spread them around the garden.  If they multiply like the Easter lilies did, I won’t have to wait long to have more.  I don’t think I can have enough of these lovely pink and white beauties.

A Few Bright Spots

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


The heat is becoming unbearable.  Last night at 10:30 PM, the heat index was still 98 degrees, and this morning at 6:00 AM the heat index was already at 88 degrees.  I don’t even want to think what it will be by this afternoon.   It does look as if by next week we may get some relief and a more typical summer weather pattern may be established.  I sure hope so because those afternoon summer showers are really needed after almost a month of no rain and high temps.

But, I am not going to dwell on the heat (it just seems to make it worse anyway) or the plants that are really suffering right now even with all my watering.  There still are some bright spots in the garden.

The Friendship gladiolus are still blooming and look so good next to the small pink vitex tree and Blushing Knockout rose.  These gladiolus have done so well that I probably will add a few more next year.


Friendship Glad (redu)


The Yellow Jessamine has started blooming again.  It had bloomed earlier in the spring but stopped as it put out new foliage.  Now it seems ready to continue blooming through the summer.


Yellow Jessamine (redu)


My favorite lantana has started blooming.  This one is always the last to return after the winter, and this year I cut it back early to make it bushier.  This photo doesn’t show the flowers at their best, but you get to see the color, which adds another dimension of color to the “pink” garden.


Lantana (redu)


So, until we get some rain or cloudy weather, I looks like my gardening is on hiatus except for the daily watering.  I will have to get my plant “fix” by visiting the more northern blogs and enjoying their plants and flowers.


Night Bloomer

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

I missed the first one.  I had been watching the buds develop on the night blooming cereus in the side garden for several days.  Sure enough, on Saturday night the first one bloomed, and I forgot to go outside that night and check.  But I did check on Sunday night and was rewarded with five blooms.  This was a perfect way to celebrate the Summer Solstice – tramping around late at night taking pictures of flowers.  I hope the neighbors didn’t see me.

I could have gotten more sleep last night because the photos I took at first light this morning turned out better than the night shots.  This plant is just about the most unattractive and gangly plant around, but the flowers it produces are about the loveliest.

Night Blooming Ceris Profile (redu)

Night Blooming Ceris Five (redu)

I don’t think I have ever had five blooms at one time before, and was excited to see so many.  When it is night time and you see these flowers standing out in the darkness, it is a spectacular sight.  As this plant gets bigger, I am hoping for even more blooms.

I remember my mother had a night blooming cereus, and we would often go outside on a warm summer night to see this mysterious flower.  So beautiful, yet no one around at night to appreciate its beauty.  It does deserve its common name of Queen of the Night.

This is supposed to be hardy only to zone 11, and while I do bring this particular one inside if a freeze is predicted, I do have several around the garden that make it through the winter in my zone 8b garden.  These are pieces that have broken off the main plant that I just stick in the ground here and there in protected areas.  These may be nipped back by the cold, but they put out new growth in the spring.  I have lost very few of these “inground” cereus.

The plant pictured above was a gift from a neighbor.  My mother gave me cuttings from hers which has a different shape flower.  That one isn’t blooming yet, so I have something to look forward to.  These night bloomers certainly show that a garden can be interesting even after the sun goes down.

Finally, A Correct Label

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


A few days ago, I was complaining about mislabeled plants and how I was not going to buy anything that was not blooming to insure the plant was what the label said it was.  It is sometimes so difficult to pass up packages of bulbs or plants when they are being sold at such a good price or when this is the only way you can get a plant you want.  And then, there are the times when the label is accurate.  Such is the case with the white crinum I bought in early 2008.

One of the plants I have recently started to appreciate is the crinum.  My sister has given me some pink ones, and once they started blooming, I wanted more.  MS of Zanthan Gardens very generously offered me some seeds from her Milk and Wine crinum when she read that I would love to have some of those in my garden.  While those are doing well, it will be a while before they are bloom size.  So, last year when I saw a package of two white crinum bulbs for under $6.00, I grabbed them to put in the “white” garden.  I planted them and hoped for the best.  I figured it would be a few years before they might bloom, and when I saw a bloom stalk five days ago on one of the plants, I was thrilled.  Two days ago, I could tell that the flower was going to be white, and I gave a sigh of relief since I have been having such bad luck with mislabeled plants.


Wh Crimum (redu)


While the foliage and flower shape is very much like an amaryllis, something about the flower reminds me so much of Easter lilies.  I am surprised that this has bloomed so soon after planting the bulbs; I thought it would take about two to three years at least before a flower emerged.  Now, it only remains for the other bulb to bloom, and hopefully, it will also send up a white flower, too.  Because this time the bulbs were labeled correctly, I hope my resolve to only buy flowering plants in bloom will not weaken.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads.  I hope you have a great day.

Butterflies in the Making

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


My butterfly bush (Asclepias currassvica) has been blooming for weeks, but only flowers, no butterflies showing any interest in them.  I was starting to worry that I wouldn’t have any butterfly larvae showing up this year, but that fear was allayed yesterday when I spotted this.


Catepillars 1 (redu)


And this.


Catepillar 2 (redu)


These are the only caterpillars that don’t bother me when they show up in the garden because they will turn into beautiful butterflies.  They only stay on the butterfly weed bushes that I have growing in several places in the back garden, and I have never found them on any other plants.  They certainly can do a number on the butterfly weed though, as the next photo shows – plant stripped bare.


Butterfly Weed Stalk (redu)


But, I don’t worry about the butterfly weed.  Even when it is stripped bare by the caterpillars, it isn’t very long before they put out a new flush of leaves waiting for the next round of “butterflies in the making” to start munching.

No Rain = Rain Lily

“No Rain = Rain Lily”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 


Today, I am going out very early to do some garden work before the heat gets too bad.  As soon as I finish this post, I’ll be starting. 

But before I start, I had to share this unexpected flower.  For many years now, I have had rain lilies in the garden, but lately most have not been blooming.  I don’t know it they are overcrowded or what, and being such small bulbs, I guess they have been overlooked.  Imagine my surprise when I saw this yesterday.


Pink Rain Lily (redu)


What’s so surprising?  Well, we haven’t had any rain in weeks.  These lilies need a good rain shower to start blooming.  So, why, with no rain, are they suddenly blooming?  I have been watering, but I have done that in the past, and they haven’t bloomed.  I can’t answer this, so I’ll just enjoy this pretty, petite, pink flower. 

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