Mother Was Right

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

Mother was right. It just took twenty-five years to show she was right.

Many years ago, my mother shared some of her Walking Iris (Neomarica gracillis) with me. She gave me a small container of them and said to protect them in the winter as they could be killed by a freeze. I put the pot of irises in the garden for the summer and forgot to take them in for the winter, but they survived with no damage whatsoever. They gradually spread around and covered a very large area. They survived short freezes and long freezes, and I thought my mother was wrong about their hardiness.

In fact, they became so crowded last year that I knew I would have to dig a great many up. Hating to just throw away good plants, I tried to find someone to take them, but was unable. Time got away from me, and these irises never got dug up. During last fall, I was lamenting the overcrowded bed and made a resolution to start removing plants as soon as it warmed up. It is a good thing I never got around to thinning out that bed because this winter – Mom was right.

I couldn’t believe the damage. I think I was left with about 20% of the plants. I feel that many of the irises that didn’t make it were the “babies” that didn’t get a chance to root because of the overcrowding. I still can’t believe that so many of these plants died this winter. They have really survived bad winters before.

I was not too upset to lose so many plants because it seems as if Old Man Winter just saved me the job of thinning out the overcrowded plants. I was disappointed that there were no blooms this spring. Usually there are scores of blooms, and it is such a pretty sight. Since these normally bloom in the spring, I was surprised to see one flower this week, the middle of June.



The remaining plants are starting to recover, but without flowers, there will be no spreading. You can be sure that I will be digging up a clump to overwinter just in case we get another winter like this last one since I would hate to lose plants my mother gave me that are so pretty. Besides, I just can’t stand to hear her say “I told you so” even if it took 25 years to prove her right.


Great Summer Flower

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



The hibiscus has started blooming.

All of my topical hibiscus plants are very old. These were among the first plants I had when I started gardening. I started out with container gardening and then, gradually started making garden beds.

I have been overwintering these hibiscus for years and years. The reason I take the trouble to protect these inexpensive plants is that I really only like the doubles, and they can be very hard to find some years. This winter, however, I lost three of my old friends. The ones that survived were knocked back pretty hard. One only started showing leaves about a week ago. After trimming back the dead wood, watering, and fertilizing, the first blooms have started. As I have written about before, so many of my plants are behind in sending out flowers. Usually, even with winter freezes, there are hibiscus blooms by late March. I have never had to wait until June for flowers. Only one of the survivors is blooming so far, and I think it will be a little longer before the others start flowering.

I feel it is time to try and take cuttings of these old plants since I don’t know how much longer they will be around. It will also be easier to protect smaller plants in the winter which will make dear hubby happy since he helps lug the heavy plants whenever a freeze threatens.

Hibiscus is such a great summer flower that I can’t wait for more blooms.

Forgotten Daylilies

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

I don’t know if it is because I have too many plants or that I am losing it, but I am starting to forget what is in the garden. Just the other day, when I was deadheading the last of the yellow daylilies, I was thinking, “Well, that is just about it for the daylilies. I need to get more to extend the bloom period.” What was I thinking? I do have more daylilies that are yet to bloom (which I found out when I went to get the morning paper today).

Custard Candy has started blooming though I don’t think it is a vigorous as it should be. I may need to move them.



Plum Tree, the first daylily I ever had, is joining in the new cycle of daylily blooms.



There still are a few more daylilies which should have open flowers by next week.

What is it that helps your memory? Ginko biloba? See, I can’t even remember what is supposed to help your memory.

Cry-baby Tree

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



Another late comer. Lately, I have been posting about the “blooming later than normal” plants. Well, I have one more to add to that list. Our Cry-baby tree (Erythrina crista-galli) has started blooming. This plant sports huge spikes of deep coral-red blooms throughout the summer. It is fast growing and, in our garden, quickly became a small tree.

This plant is only hardy to zone 8, and, in my experience, it does get knocked back a bit in the winter, but quickly recovers to show off these wonderful flowers which attract hummingbirds. Hummers are not the only birds who like this tree. Every year there is a bird’s nest in this tree. Birds must like the thick foliage which hides the nest.

I acquired my tree from a seedling given to me by a neighbor. Every summer when I see these gorgeous flowers, I am thankful for that neighbor’s generosity.

Late, Later, Latest

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

Late, later, latest.

Plants have really been late to come back from this past winter. Many perennials that I had given up on have only now started to show signs of life, and we are in June. It has never taken this long for so many plants to recover from a winter.

Besides the ones that are showing up later than ever, some of the evergreens are late with new foliage. The latest one is the sago palm (Cycas Revluta). It is only now showing off the new fronds, at least six weeks behind schedule.



While the sago palm had a few cold damaged fronds, it really did escape bad frost damage which is why I am surprised that it has taken so long for the new growth to emerge. I always enjoy watching the new growth on sago palms. The newly emerged fronds are a lovely light green and so soft. It is hard to imagine when stroking these soft, spring-green leaves that in just a short time they will be dark green and hard.

Now, if only my blue butterfly (Clerodendron ugandense) will sprout some growth, I will be satisfied. I am, however, beginning to think that that particularly lovely plant will not grace my garden unless I buy a new one. But, I am still holding out hope that it will be the latest plant to finally show some growth.

Have you found that plants in your area are late coming back this year?

Red Duo

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

Downpours the last two days have put a stop to my working in the garden. What a shame, just as I was getting a rhythm going with my routine. Well, you know what they say, rain is God’s way of letting a gardener get some housework done.

Rain or not, flowers are still blooming, and two more daylilies that I just put in last year have started blooming. Mac the Knife did bloom last year after I purchased it. (It is a rebloomer.)



Next is Billye Red which was purchased with only a photo to recommend it, but it certainly is a beauty.



This red duo joins Scarlet Orbit which started blooming earlier this week. Here’s another photo of that one.



All three of these daylilies are in close proximity to one another, and when they are all blooming at the same time, they look just like I envisioned they would when they were planted last summer.

This Is A Vacation?

“This Is A Vacation?”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

I have spent the last three days working in the garden. Vacation time has started, and I can’t think of a better way to relax than being out in the garden getting projects completed that have been neglected for months. Don’t get me wrong, it is exhausting. While the weather has been hot, it has not been so hot that you risk heat stroke. I have been working from about 7 in the morning till about noon. Then, I have lunch and take a break until about 3 or 4 o’clock. No point working in the heat of the day. In the late afternoon, I have been working until about 5 o’clock. Then it is inside for a cold shower followed by a relaxing cocktail. If I could keep this up for about two weeks, I think all my long neglected garden areas would be finished. Of course, the question is will the weather cooperate. When the temperatures get in the 90’s, I just can’t work as long even when I stay in the shade.

Working to get the garden in shape is only worth it when you can relax and enjoy what you have worked on. After dinner, when the temperatures have cooled a little, is the perfect opportunity to walk around and take the time to appreciate nature. New blooms are always a high point. While the peak of spring blooms are over, the summer ones are just starting. New flowers that have just started blooming are the pink crinums.



The crinums really took a beating this winter. I had never seen them lose all their leaves before. Even though they are usually evergreen here, they have bounced back from the winter damage with a flush of growth, and it seems even more flowers than ever.

Seeing these lovely flowers makes the sore muscles a little less sore. So far, I think this vacation seems to be turning out fine.

First Glads

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

Time marches on. The gladiolus have started blooming; one more sign that spring has left and summer has moved in.



These are the first to start blooming. I do not lift my gladiolus bulbs in the fall; they can survive our winters with no problem.

The problem this year with the glads seems to be thrips. I have already had to cut down a few bloom stalks because they were damaged. With everything that was going on at work in late April and May, I didn’t get out in the garden like I usually do, so I didn’t see the early signs that thrips might be at work. The problem seems to be confined to just one area and one variety of glads, at least I am hoping that is the case. Another bed with gladiolus which is all the way on the other side of our property seems to be okay.

While I am enjoying these pretty, frilly flowers right now, it looks like I am going to have to put “thrip control” on my list of things to do next spring.

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