Promising Signs

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

Approximately three weeks ago, I undertook an experiment. As I was cutting back my roses, I decided to try and root some of the clippings. My mother, who can root just about anything, has rooted roses several times, but I have only been successful once, and that time it was strictly by accident.

I selected several clippings and trimmed them back to about four to five inches, removed most of the leaves, dipped the cuttings in rooting hormone, and planted them in a large container. I have kept them damp, and if a freeze was predicted, I brought the container indoors, but mostly, they have stayed outside in a shady area. It wasn’t long before I started seeing tiny signs of leaves. Today, these cuttings, while they have lost their mature leaves, have started growing a lot of new ones.



I haven’t lightly tugged on the cuttings to see how well they are rooting. I figure, it is too early, and it is better to leave well enough alone. But, I do think that all this new growth is a promising sign that I just may be on the way to having a few more roses bushes for the garden – all for free.


Delayed Spring

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

Everyone knows spring arrives March 20th, but, here, spring usually arrives way before that calendar date. Redbuds are often blooming by February 1st and the forsythia is showing yellow flowers not long after Christmas. Last year the temperatures in early March were hitting the mid 80’s; today we were lucky to be in the mid 50’s. There are signs of life – dormant daylilies are showing foliage, freeze damaged plants are coming back, and summer snowflakes buds are appearing, but there hasn’t been the usual flowering of late winter/early spring. Most of the early flowering trees are barely showing any signs of blooms. In fact, the Japanese magnolias are just starting to bloom – a month or more late.



In fact, these are the first open flowers around here. Everyone else’s trees still only have the fat buds, but no open flowers. Right now there are still mostly buds, but with a little warmer temperatures by this weekend, many should be open.

I was talking with a friend who lives in the mountains of North Carolina who was lamenting this winter’s cold weather. She said if the Gulf South was not seeing any flowers yet, she was afraid she wouldn’t see spring until August. It certainly does seem that spring is very tardy this year in many areas.

One Tough Plant

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

Silver or gray colored leaf plants are always a great addition to the garden. Plants like lamb’s ears, dusty miller, artemisia, etc. are wonderful plants, but, unfortunately, here in the hot, humid South, they often do not do well and can die pretty quickly if we have a lot of rain and heat. In the summer of 2008, I found a silver-leafed plant that did very well in the garden. It was curry plant (helichrysum italicum). I only bought one to see how it would do, and, if it survived, I would try more. It did survive the summer and winter of 2008-09. It did so well, that in the spring of 2009 I bought six more to plant in the same garden bed with the original one. Only five were needed in the bed with the original, and so the extra one went in another area that was not quite as sunny.

Unfortunately, the June of 2009 was one of the hottest and driest Junes we have ever had, and the curry plants planted in the sunny bed ended up being toast. The lone survivor ended up being the extra plant that was in a less sunny area.

Fast forward to this winter, one of the coldest and wettest we have had in almost twenty years. How did the little curry plant do? Just fine. When other plants that have never frozen back before got nipped back badly, this plant which wasn’t even mulched very much came through just fine.



Now, it is a little worse the wear for having had a tough winter, but going on past experience, it should be putting out new growth as soon as the temps warm up a bit more and look even better in a short while. The next photo shows this same plant last summer, and I would expect it to do even better this summer.



I think I have found the secret to this plant. Here, in the Deep South, it probably cannot take full sun but needs a little shade. I will be buying more of this plant to add some of this lovely, silver color in the garden. Just goes to show that gardening consists of a lot of trial and error.

March GBMD

“March GBMD”, 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 , nature or whatever strikes you.

Thanks to Sweet Home and Garden Chicago for starting Garden Bloggers’ Muse Day.

Where the bee sucks, there suck I;
In a cowslip’s bell I lie;
There I couch when owls do cry.
On the bat’s back I do fly
After summer merrily.
Merrily, merrily shall I live now
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.

The Tempest, William Shakespeare


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