Decisions

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


My pine cone ginger has finally turned red!  I was so excited when I saw this since I was waiting and waiting to have one mature to this color.

Red Pine Cone Ginger (redu)

I have only seen pictures of these so having a few in my own garden is a treat.  In case you don’t remember, I bought these in late October of 2007 and didn’t get a “pinecone” in the summer of 2008.  Earlier this year when this ginger put out two cones, I was thrilled and couldn’t wait to see them turn red.  Finally, I get to have the full pinecone ginger experience.

I haven’t decided if I should pick them for an arrangement or not.  They are supposed to last a long time as a cut “flower.”  Since these are also known as shampoo ginger because of a substance that can be squeezed from the cones that will suds up and wash hair, I don’t know if I should try that too.  For now, I am just enjoying the red cones and planning for next year when I will, hopefully, have even more.

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Firebush Blooms

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

 

My firebush has started blooming well.  I really like this plant, but, unfortunately, it freezes to the ground every winter and takes a while to come back every year.  Right now mine is about three feet high.  I wish mine would get big like others I see.  The ones next to the building where I work are huge; they are about ten feet tall, but then that area is a whole zone warmer than my home is so they rarely freeze to the ground.

Since the flowers are very attractive to bees, hummingbirds and butterflies, this is really a good plant for a garden.  I love the bright orange, tubular flowers and the deep green foliage on this shrub.  Mine is growing where there is a lot of shade, but still it puts out a great many flowers.  This is also an easy-to-care-for plant with no pests that bother it, drought tolerant after it is established, and can take clay soils.

 

Firespike (redu)

 

This is just one more plant that really brightens up the late summer garden, and makes the migrating ruby-throated hummingbirds extra happy, too.

Asters

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

 

The asters I received from my mother’s garden have started blooming in earnest.  These perennials have really done well this year.  I planted little seedings in 2008, and they did okay last year, but this year they have really grown and flourished.  I am hoping to get my own seedlings so that I can have even more for the circle garden.  That area of the garden has really suffered this summer.  It seems to need watering daily, which is surprising since I put out the sprinklers for about two hours at a time.  But, these plants have done so well even under hot, dry conditions that I am hoping to get little seedlings of my own to expand their planting area.

While taking a photo of these asters for this post, I was surprised how their color comes out so differently in the picture than in real life.  In the photo they are a lovely shade of blue which would be great in the garden, but, unfortunately, that is not their true color.  In real life they are a light shade of purple which is perfect for late summer/early fall.  I don’t know why they don’t photograph the correct color, but I have had other flowers do the same thing, my ageratum, for example, photographs pink instead of purple.

 

Asters (redu)

 

I just think these clusters of daisy-like flowers are so cheerful looking especially since most of the summer flowers are starting to fade.   After they finish blooming, I just lightly shear them back and soon there are new flowers showing up in the garden.

I just realized that it is the spring and fall flowering plants that I seem to concentrate on in my garden, and summer flowers don’t seem to get me as excited.  It probably is because I am in the garden just about daily in fall through spring.  Because of our summer heat, I am not out working in the garden nearly as much as when the temperatures are cooler.  I guess these asters thrill me because I know it won’t be long before the other favorite fall bloomers will be showing up.

A Real Beauty

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

 

After having such a hot summer, this cool spell that showed up the last two days has been very welcomed.  It has felt almost like October here.  This really has put me in the mood for fall and its pleasant temperatures.  With the cooler weather, the asters and other late bloomers really seem to be in season.  One of my favorite bushes is starting to put on its glory.  I am referring to American Beautyberry shrub with its bright magenta berries that are ripening now.

 

Beauty Berry Bush (redu)

 

Years ago, I admired a neighbor’s bush and wished I had them in my yard.  I looked around in the nurseries, but never saw any for sale.  This seems to be one of those plants you need to get as a pass along.  Well, in a few years, I guess the birds spread the seeds from the neighbor’s bush to my garden because all of a sudden I had a few of these bushes.  At this time of year, I am certainly grateful to those birds.

 

Beauty Berries (redu)

 

The berries are thickly clustered on the stems and are such an unusual color that they don’t seem real.   Such a vibrant color.  I have a few of these bushes spread around the garden, but I bet a whole row of these as a hedge would be spectacular in late August and early September when the berries are in there prime.

Seems like the ripening of the beautyberry is just one more sign that the year is winding down.

A Sign of Autumn

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

 

The wheel of time keeps turning.  It is not only that the days are getting shorter that tells us summer is slowly coming to an end, but it is also the angle of the sun that hints to us that autumn isn’t too far off.  Even though it is still very warm, it seems that more signs are showing that the hot weather won’t last forever.  One which I have noticed is the appearance of more and more spider and their webs.  While we always have a few little spiders out and about year round, come autumn, they really are all over the garden.

One of the ones that caught my eye while I was fertilizing the roses for the last time this year was a spiny orb spider.

 

Spider (redu)

 

I almost walked right into this web but was able to stop just inches away.  I always try to avoid tearing spider’s webs because it makes me feel so bad.  They work so hard to get their web up and usually something rips it, so I don’t want to add to their trouble. 

There are also a great many orb weaver spiders with orange bellies around, but I never could get near enough to take a photo.  I know that soon the big yellow orb weavers will show up.  Those are the ones that make huge webs that make the garden look like Halloween.

I love to go out early on an autumn morning and look at all the webs covered with dew.  When the sun hits them they are so gorgeous.  We have a lot of spider webs in the garden on the north side of our house.  I think this must be a fairly protected area from the wind.  There is the house on one side and a stand of bamboo on the other.  Usually the webs are found in the azaleas near the house or strung along the bamboo.  I guess it won’t be too very long before all the autumn spiders start adorning bushes and trees with their lovely weavings.   It is hard to believe that summer is just about over.

Parking Lot Flowers

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

 

This morning when I pulled into the parking lot at work, right in front of my reserved space, were the prettiest flowers growing out of the concrete.  They brought to mind Tennyson’s “Flower in the Crannied Wall”.  I guess they are a wildflower that just found a good spot to grow.  I have not seen any plants like this growing around, and I don’t recognize them, but they sure are sweet.

 

Blue Parking Lot Flwrs 3 (redu)

 

There are three clumps, all close together, growing in cracks in the blacktop.  I checked at the bases of the plants and couldn’t even see where there was any open space for them to grow.  If they weren’t so tightly stuck in, I would dig them out to plant in the garden.

 

Blue Parking Lot Flwrs (redu)

 

If you recognize these flowers, let me know.  I’d certainly like to know what they are.

 

Blue Parking Lot Flwrs 2 (redu)

Mickey Mouse Ears

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

 

My generous sister has come through again.  Today, she shared some more plants with me, and I am particularly impressed with the Mickey Mouse elephant ear she gave me.  It is called Mickey Mouse because from a distance, this variegated elephant ear resembles the silhouette of that famous Disney character.  It even has a tail.

Xanthosoma sagittifolium albo marginatum is its botanical name, but I think Mickey Mouse plant is so much cuter and easier to remember.

 

Mickey Mouse E. Ear Lg (redu)

 

This is a fairly cold hardy elephant ear as elephant ears go; it will survive zone 7 winters.  The tip forms a cup with a tail sprouting forth from the end.

 

Mickey Mouse E. Ear (redu)

 

Unfortunately, I did not get a very good picture of the tail, but if you look closely at the above photo, you can see a tail coming off the tip of the plant.

I like the variation in the leaves because it is such a contrast.  Dark green and crisp white leaves are rather thick and have an almost velvety feel.  I will be planting this in the ground this weekend so that it will be established before cold weather comes around.  According to my sister, this one plant should spread and make a nice clump.  I can’t wait.  This is one mouse I won’t mind having in the garden.

August Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day

“August 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.

This August there just aren’t as many flowers around as in past years.  The blooming plants really seemed to have shut down early with all of the heat we had in June.  Thank goodness for some colorful foliage plants, or there would be very little color in my garden right now.

A few daylilies are reblooming.  Besides the ones I posted about a few days ago, Plum Tree, always a reliable rebloomer, has started flowering.  The flowers are a little smaller than the ones that showed up earlier in the summer.

Plum Tree Daylily w Frog (redu)

Some roses are still blooming, with the white Iceberg being the best, but the Knockouts have started a new flush, too.  The unnamed rose from a friend is also doing well.  Once we get a little cooler weather in late September, they should start flowering really well.

2008-0715-bl-kn-rose-redu-v2-006

2008-0913-iceberg-redu-007

Shelia's Rose (redu)

The hibiscus bushes, of course, are still blooming, but after being hit by the falling pine tree limb which damaged several branches, they are still recovering and have not put out as many flowers.

2008-106-peach-hibiscus-reduced-v2-020

2008-0611-red-hibiscus-redu-v2-019

The salvias are still blooming (Lady in Red & Coral Nymph) as are the gingers (butterfly, peacock), and the occasional pink rain lily pops up.  Sweet autumn clematis and the swamp clematis are two vines that are still blooming.

2008-0825-s-a-clematis-redu-005

Clematis Crispa (redu)

That seems to be about it for August Bloom Day.  Kind of disappointing, isn’t it?  Here’s hoping that September will bring more rain and cooler temperatures which in turn will bring more flowers.

White for Night

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

 

I have often mentioned how white flowers are my favorite, and right now one of the few rose bushes that is blooming better than ever is Iceberg.  I do have to admit that the flowers are a little smaller than usual, but what the flowers lack in size is more than made up for by the numbers.  This is the best these bushes have bloomed.

 

Iceberg (redu)

 

It amazes me how fast the sun is going down now.  After being on vacation and not having to watch the clock, now that I have to be aware of how the evening is slipping away, the white flowers are really appreciated.  The last two days I have been getting home much later than normal because I was attending a technology conference.  When you come home and dusk is just about to fall, it is very nice to have these white flowers waiting for me, standing out in the  slowly darkening garden.

Worth the Money

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

With all the hot weather we have had, there are not as many plants blooming right now.  Usually, at this time of year, most plants are still flowering.  I think the extremely high temperatures we had in June has a lot to do with so many plants not blooming.  Maybe when things cool off a bit later on in September, the flowers will show up again.

Three daylilies that have really proven their worth are starting on their third bloom cycle.  I can’t believe how well these have done this year.  This third flush of blooms is not a paltry few flowers; it is as prolific as the first.  An unnamed pink, Misty Mayhaw, and Mac the Knife certainly were worth every penny I paid for them.

Pink Daylily (redu)

misty-mayhaw-redu

Daylily Mack the Knife (redu)

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