Garden Show Scarecrows

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

I have waited until it was close to Halloween to post photos of the scarecrows from the New Orleans Garden Show which was two weeks ago. The scarecrows are made by local schools and garden groups. Here are a few to scare you for Halloween.


Happy Halloween


Eight Legs to Hold You


Belle of the Ball


Mistress Mary


Dr. Kleen-Jekyell and Mr. Erl-Slick


How appropriate considering how our summer was ruined by the oil spill in the Gulf.


4 and 20 Blackbirds Baked in a Pie


Horror T. Culture



I think my favorite was the last one. Both of these scarecrows were made completely with organic materials. The smaller one had a gourd head and pampas grass plumes for a body. The larger one had its head made out of a sunflower seedhead; its hat was made of mums; its hair was Spanish moss; the dress was made of palmetto fronds, rosemary, and globe amaranth flowers for decoration. This certainly showed a clever use of materials. Hope you enjoyed seeing these scarecrows as much as we did.


Botanical Gardens

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

Wow! What a busy week. I am certainly looking forward to this weekend. Maybe some garden work and a lot of rest and relaxation.

Last weekend was the garden show at the New Orleans Botanical Gardens. I’ll post about that next time. Tonight, I just wanted to show you some of the nice areas of the Botanical Gardens.

First, there was a wall of purple hyacinth bean vines. It was spectacular and made me want to grow this next summer.



While strolling the grounds, we suddenly turned a corner and were stopped dead in our tracks by this huge staghorn fern. It was at least five feet across. It was tremendous. I wonder where it is overwintered? It would have to be a very big space.



The flower beds were gorgeous this year. They were mostly blues and purples, a very nice combination for full sun since they tend to “cool” things down.







The Amaranth surrounded by the globe amaranth was a stand out.



And, finally, my favorite, a stand of Cosmopolitan grass. I would love to have this in my garden, but I have not been able to find it locally. I guess next year I will have to break down and buy it online.



One of the nice things about visiting a botanical garden is that you get ideas for your own garden. Next year, I will definitely have to have the purple hyacinth bean vine and the Cosmopolitan grass.

Fall Foliage

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

Here, just north of the Gulf of Mexico, we do not have the wonderful fall foliage that areas to the north of us enjoy. I guess we are too warm, and the trees that really fire do not grow here. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t have colorful fall foliage. When I plant my coleus in the spring, I always keep in mind that come autumn there is a need for some color that only a plant like the coleus can give, so I put in colors that will look nice not only in summer but also in the fall. This year, the coleus did exceptionally well, and I have huge plants which gives a nice display.








And finally, my new favorite for this year.



All of these plants are over three feet high and about two to three feet wide. They are making quite a statement in the garden. So, while I don’t have the lovely maples, aspens, and other fall foliage stars, I do have some very colorful foliage to get me through the season.

October Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day

“October 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. I didn’t think that there were many blooms in my garden this month, but I was mistaken. Once I was out and photographing, I was pleasantly surprised by the number of blooms.

There still are many tropicals blooming, such as the hibiscus and gingers, but the cold weather that is just around the corner will stop this.






Some other warm season flowers still showing up is the Angelonia, Mandevilla vine, plumbago, impatiens, and lantana.






Some fall bloomers joining the toad lilies and sedums are the Mexican Bush Sage, pineapple sage, and vanhoutte sage.





Miscellaneous plants blooming are the clematis crispa, Mystic Spires sage, Cat’s Whiskers, Blue Butterfly bush, roses, four o’clocks, weeping mary, and even the lorepetulum is starting to bloom again.






I think there are more flowers in the garden now then when it was summer. It is wonderful what a few weeks of cool weather will do to promote blooming late in the year.

Red Pine Cones

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

Pine cones and fall go together, but the pine cones I have been interested in lately are not your normal pine cones. I have been watching and waiting for the pine cone ginger (Zingiber zerumbet) to produce its “pine cone.” Finally, the red “pine cones” were visible.



I wrote about this plant last year about this time, but this year I have more of the ginger pine cones. I think this is such a neat plant. All summer long, there is the lovely, lush foliage, and then come autumn, these bright red pine cones appear.

The fragrance given off by these red “cones” is also very nice. The milky substance in the “cones” which is supposed to be a very good shampoo (hence the other common name for this plant, Shampoo Ginger) has a lovely lanolin smell, but I have never tried it as a shampoo as I would hate to ruin the pretty, red cones. However, I have squeezed them after they have aged and there is a thin, milky cream, which smells divine, that I could see being used as a shampoo. I know my hands liked the feel of that sweet-smelling liquid.

Last year when I wrote about this plant, I was hoping that it would spread and produce more “cones.” Looks like I have gotten my wish.

Toad Lilies Show Up

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

Fall and toad lilies go together. In fact, that is one of the reasons I planted toad lilies – their fall flowers. This variety is the first one I planted many years ago. At the time, I was afraid that this plant wouldn’t grow here in the Deep South, but my fears were unwarranted. These toad lilies have thrived.


My original plant was eaten earlier this summer by those cute little bunnies that I saw in the garden a few months back. They completely wiped out the toad lilies that were growing under the Kwansan cherry tree. I couldn’t believe that not one shred of toad lily was left, and it was a huge bed of lilies. In fact, I was just about to divide the plants, when all of a sudden, they were gone. Luckily, I had a few that I raised from the original plant’s seeds, and these were spread in other parts of the garden which the rabbits have not discovered. I’ll have to save seeds this year to replace the eaten plants.

Toad lilies grow and bloom in shade which makes them very valuable here at Always Growing. With all the large pine trees, there is a great deal of shade, and it is a challenge to find blooming plants that thrive in the shady areas. Add the fact that they bloom in early autumn when color is often needed in the garden, and you have a wonderful, easy to care for perennial, just watch out for hungry rabbits.

Cool Weather Brings Forgetfulness

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

While we have had unseasonably but lovely cool weather lately, it has been very dry. There is a burn ban in effect for just about all of the state, not that we burn anything, but it does go to show how dry everything is. This past weekend, I divided some of my daylilies. I watered them well on Sunday, and then promptly forgot about them until this morning about 3:00 AM. (Why do we wake up in the middle of the night and remember things like that?) I left a note for dear hubby to water this morning, and when I returned from work, the daylilies were not wilted, but I did notice a few yellow leaves. I will be so mad at myself if I lose these daylilies. I just can’t believe I forgot all week to water them. At least it has been cool weather, so I am hoping they did not dry out too much and will be okay.

This must have been my forgetful week because I also forgot to water until this afternoon two big containers of coleus transplants I recently potted up. Luckily, they were very dry, but not wilted yet. I am going to have to start writing myself notes to remind me of things like watering. I think I forgot because with the cooler weather I haven’t had to water every day like I did before this cool spell came through. It is amazing how quickly we can forget a routine.

Another nice thing about this cool weather is that when we leave the windows open the fragrance from the butterfly ginger and night blooming jasmine drifts inside at night.



Both of these plants release fragrance only at night time. On second thought, could it be this aroma that drifts inside on the cool night time air that is the cause of my forgetfulness? Or, maybe it is just that I am enjoying a lovely fall season so much it justs puts every thing else out of my mind.

October Roses

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

Here on the Gulf Coast, October is one of our nicest months. One of the reasons I love this time of year is that our roses start blooming again. Because of our intense summer heat, most roses bloom only sporadically, but with the first cool spell of October, the garden is again filled with roses. When the real cold weather shows up, roses will again slow down but not stop completely until spring.



The Knockout roses are the first to start blooming again as the above pink one shows, but others, such as Iceberg, a lovely white, are also starting to flower. In the next few days, I should have several photos of all the roses that are already in bud.

There are some chores that have to be done for a late year bloom period. A few weeks ago, I did a light pruning of all the roses in anticipation of autumn flowering. I also very lightly fertilized them since our first frost is around December 1st or after. Most years we don’t have our first frost until mid-December, so a light fertilizing won’t hurt. This month is also one of our driest, so that means making sure these shrubs stay watered so there will be more roses.

With all the other fall flowers starting to show such as Mexican bush sage, having the roses flush out just makes everything so much nicer. This spring, I did not plant many flowering annuals, instead relying on foliage plants for color. After a summer of few flowers, it is nice to have so many fall bloomers show up.

Out in the Garden

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

Glorious weather. The weather this last week has been absolutely glorious here on the Gulf Coast. Perfect gardening weather. Cool, crisp, sunny days just can’t be beat especially after months of heat, high humidity, and blistering sun. I was able to get so much accomplished.

One of the chores I was able to do was cutting back the bamboo stand on the north side of our property. This is not running bamboo, but it still spreads slowly. I cut back the canes that were leaning over and shading the lower plants. I think this will help the hydrangeas bloom better next year.



Even though I have cut back seven large trash cans worth of bamboo, there is still a big stand left to give us privacy from the neighbors. Later on in the winter, I plan on taking out the dead canes, but right now there are too many other pressing jobs to get done.

One other long put off task that got accomplished this weekend was the dividing of my Stella d’Oro daylilies. I was able to spread them out so that they make a nice border in the circle garden. I am hoping to be able to divide the other daylilies either this week after work or next weekend. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the “feel good” weather will last that long.

There is still a great deal of work to do in the garden before the cold weather arrives. I am still debating about planting more daffodil bulbs. I know I can’t wait too much longer to decide. Down here in the South, fall is a very busy time for gardeners. The cooler weather certainly makes me more energetic and willing to be out in the garden working.

October Gave a Party

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


October’s Party

by George Cooper

October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came.
The Chestnuts, Oaks and Maples,
And leaves of every name.

The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.

The Chestnuts came in yellow,
The Oaks in crimson dressed;
The lovely Misses maple
In scarlet looked their best.

All balanced to their partners,
And gaily fluttered by;
The sight was like a rainbow
New fallen from the sky.

I remember this poem from an English textbook I had in elementary school. The illustration that went with the poem showed leaves of different colors with human faces, arms, and legs all dancing around in a forest. For a child who had never seen fall color in person (here on the Gulf of Mexico coast we never really get the beautiful colors you northerners see) it conjured up such wonderful images of fall color. I am determined one day to see in person the splendid fall color I have only seen in photographs.

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. Be sure to visit Carolyn’s blog for other poems.