Autumn Already?

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


The sweet autumn clematis has started blooming, and this got me to thinking about plant names.   This one in particular because it certainly doesn’t bloom in autumn around here.  Today’s high was 92 and that doesn’t sound like autumn or even the beginning of autumn, does it?  Anyway, the name doesn’t matter when it comes to such a lovely vine.


St Aut Clematis (redu)


It has just started blooming, and it has a ton of buds, so very soon this area will be covered in white flowers that have an unbeatable fragrance.  The flowers will be followed by seed heads.  Because so many seeds are produced, this vine can be invasive.  Around here, I just pull up the ones I do not want, but you do see these Japanese natives growing  and blooming in the woods around here.  This clematis can grow up to thirty feet, but since it blooms on new wood, cutting it almost back to the ground in February keeps mine in check.


St Aut Clematis 2 (redu)


In the above photo you can see all the tiny buds just about ready to start opening.   Maybe this will be in full bloom for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day.  Then, I’ll certainly have some great photos for you to see.

Changed Plans

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


Early morning rain stopped any garden work today.  It started raining about 6 a.m.  It has been rather dry lately, so the .22 inches of rain was welcomed.  This is my last weekend to work in the garden before going back to work on Monday.  The rain changed those plans.  It is so hard to find the time to garden when you work Monday through Friday as many of you know.  That is why I was looking to get a few things finished today and tomorrow, but even more rain is predicted for Sunday.

Even though my garden plans were stopped, the plants do need watering especially if I won’t be able to water as extensively any more since I won’t be home in the day time.  One plant that appreciated today’s morning shower was the blue butterfly bush.  It has thrived on our recent high temperatures, in fact it is one of the few plants that is blooming right now.


Blue Butterfly Bush (redu)


This is the third year it has been in my garden, and this year it has really grown.  It dies back to the ground in winter, but must be big enough now that it comes back early and strong.  It has done very well, and I am sure next year will be even better.  I certainly enjoy seeing those little blue “butterflies”.

Update on Pinecone Ginger

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

A few days ago, I posted about the first “pinecones” that have showed up on the pinecone ginger I planted in spring of 2008.  Today, I noticed that the flowers have appeared on the cones, which means it should not be too long before the cones turn red.

Pinecone Gin 2 (redu)

As the above photo shows, the flowers just pop out of the cone.  Since this is the first year I have ever seen these, I am not sure how many flowers will show up or how long they will last.  Everything about this plant will be a learning experience.

The flowers, while small, are pretty.  They are a dark cream or pale yellow and appear very delicate.  The petals look like tissue paper.  The flowers remind me a little of my yellow four o’clocks.

Pinecone Gin 1 (redu)

Now that the flowers have appeared, it probably won’t be too long before the cones turn red.  I’ll keep you posted when they do.

Butterfly Ginger

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


This year we haven’t seen as many butterflies as in previous years, and the ones that have shown up seem to have come later than ever.  But one butterfly that has shown up right on time is the butterfly ginger.


Butterfly Ginger (redu)


I have these now in three separate areas of the garden, and the clumps have grown enough now to make a nice show of flowers.  The almost tissue paper white flowers are so delicate and, of course, resemble the shape of a butterfly.  This dark green plant will grow to about five to six feet tall and make a nice summer screen for privacy or as a backdrop for other shorter plants.

But, it is the fragrance, which is strongest at night, that is the most wonderful thing about this ginger.  While the flower is only about three inches long, the perfume it gives off in the evening can travel all around the garden.   While aroma spreads over a fairly good distance, it is not overpowering or cloying.  Butterfly ginger (Hedychium coronarium)  has a sweet scent very much like a light gardenia fragrance, and when sitting outside on a warm summer evening, you feel as if you are in a tropical paradise with all this delightful air around you.

Somehow, the fragrance of this plant always reminds me of hurricanes.  It must be because when a hurricane comes through and we lose electricity, the windows are open and at night the fragrance drifts in the house.  This year I am hoping to be able to experience this ginger’s perfume only when outside because I am keeping my fingers crossed that no hurricane comes this way to make us lose the electricity.

Two Year Wait

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


When you get a new plant, don’t you hate having to wait for it to flower?  I know I tend to be impatient, but two years seems like a long time to wait for a vine to bloom.  Now, it is not all Mother Nature’s fault.  In the fall of 2007, my mother started rooting me a piece of her white mandevilla vine (Mandevilla sanderie).  She kept it through the winter, and gave it to me in early spring.  I waited to plant it until I thought the ground had warmed up enough in 2008 since this is a tender vine.  I also waited to plant it because I didn’t have a place to put it.  Sound familiar?

Well, in late spring of 2008, I planted it at the base of an arbor that has a young white Lady Banksia  rose growing on it.  The mandevilla vine started growing, and then wham!  Cut down when dear hubby was weed eating around the perimeter of the garden.  I don’t know how he did that since the vine was behind bricks, but nevertheless, the new vine was reduced to about three inches tall.  Thankfully, it didn’t die, but it took all summer for it to recover.  Since this is not winter hardy in our area, when the cold temperatures started in early December, I dug it up and put in in a container that could be protected when the freezes came.  By early spring, I had forgotten all about it until one day, I spied a vine growing at the base of a parlor palm tree.  Sure enough, there was the little vine starting to grow.  This time, I planted it in the garden where it would be safe from weedeaters and yard tools.  It settled in fine, and quickly blended in with all the other plants until now.


White Mandevilla Vine (redu)


My first flower.  Finally a bloom.  I know I will have to dig it up again this fall, but for now, I think it is on its way to blooming until the cold weather arrives.  This vine is supposed to come back from the roots in my zone 8, but I don’t want to take the chance of losing it.  I love white flowers, and this one is special because Mom took the trouble to root a cutting and give it to me.  Worth the two year wait.


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


I love plants that change.  You know, the ones that look one way in the sun and one way in the shade.  Coleus is one of those plants.  In fact, some coleus can look so different depending if they are growing in sun or shade, that they could be mistaken for completely different varieties.  Sometimes, they do still look similar, just different colors seem to come out.

An example of this chameleon ability to change colors would have to be Lemon Twist coleus.  When I bought it, it was green with purple stems and leaf edges.  The one I planted in a container that stays on the shady front porch still looks that way, with the purple accents complementing the Persian Shield planted with it.


Coleus Shade (redu)


Another piece planted in the garden where it gets more sun, shows much more of the purple in its leaves.  Even the undersides of the leaves are a deep purple.  I think that as more new leaves emerge, they will display more of the purple color, and soon this sun planted one will look so different from its shady sibling.


Coleus Sun (redu)


Another coleus that does this is Solar Sunrise.  In the sun there is great color, but in the shade more green.


Coleus (redu)



Solar Sunrise Shade (redu)


Alabama Sunset is another plant that can look totally different depending where it is planted.  In the sun, it has big rusty colored leaves, and in the shade the chartreuse color is dominant.


Ala Sunset Sun (redu)


Ala Sunset Shade (redu)


Since it is so easy to root coleus and make new plants, with these sun/shade differences, if you plan the placement of these plants, it will seem as if you have more varieties of the same plant.  Also, if you want certain colors to come out, making sure that they are planted where they get the proper amount of sun will ensure you get the look you want.  I know I will be moving my containers of Solar Sunrise into more sun because I want the pink colors to come out.  I just find this sun/shade difference that many plants display to be fascinating.


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


The last few days we have had a short, summer shower every day.  Because they only last under ten minuets, they have been dropping only about .10 inches of rain, just enough to dampen everything and raise the humidity.  Late Friday afternoon, one of these small showers came through our area, but this one was a little different.  It was accompanied by a short period of very high winds and what seemed like a microburst.  We marveled at the swaying trees, and were annoyed with the plants that were pushed over and the tomatoes that were knocked off the bushes.

It wasn’t until Saturday morning that I noticed “something” in the back corner.  That’s right, a big pine tree limb was laying on top of my hibiscus plants that I have in containers.  This dead limb was huge!  It must be at least eighteen feet long and about nine inches in diameter.  All of this sitting on top of my precious hibiscus, hostas, and holly ferns after crashing through the magnolia tree.


Fallen Limb 1 (redu)


Fallen Limb 2 (redu)


Fallen Limb 3 (redu)


Because this was a dead limb, it wasn’t too difficult for me to pull it off the plants.  There has been some damage especially to my hibiscus, but with some pruning, I think they will be okay.  The limb was stopped by the containers, so the holly ferns and hostas weren’t too badly crushed as I had feared at first.  But what was so surprising was where the limb came from. 


Fallen Limb 4 (redu)


This tree is in a neighbor’s yard.  You can see where the limb broke off.  It is at least sixty feet up, and the tree is about fifty yards away from where the limb landed.  That was some microburst!

August Muse Day

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

Today is Garden Blogger’s Muse Day, day to post a poem relating to gardening.  Considering our recent weather, this old song came to mind.


Thermometer II (redu)




Hot time, summer in the city

Back of my neck getting burnt and gritty

Been down, isn’t it a pity

Doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city.

All around people looking half dead

Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a matchhead.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Lovin Spoonful


Thanks to Sweet Home and Garden Chicago for starting Garden Bloggers’ Muse Day.   Be sure to stop by for other great poems.

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