A Good Pair

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

Gardening experts are always encouraging us to place together plants with similar needs when it comes to water, light, etc. One pairing in my garden that wasn’t planned but worked out well, is based on time of bloom. In late winter/early spring the forsythia and quince start blooming. The forsythia started a little over a week ago and the quince quickly followed.



Both of these shrubs were put in the first spring we were in our home. Dear hubby bought them at a local hardware type store. They were quickly planted by two very inexperienced, young homeowners and have pretty much survived on their own. Except for a little watering in the summer, these bushes are pretty much left alone, but every year, as soon as the weather warms up a bit, the flowers pop out.

While I would never have thought to put these two colors together, I certainly do feel the yellow and and the light coral pink look great as a pairing of early spring bloomers.


More Camellias

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

A nice thing about my neighbors is that I get to enjoy the flowers on their property without having any of the upkeep. My next door neighbor has lovely camellia bushes along our common property line. These bushes must be at least 45 to 50 years old and have the peony type of flower, my favorite. Of all of the neighbor’s flowers, my favorite is the red and white flowered one.



I just love the frilly flowers, and the red with the white is so appropriate for February. As a matter of fact, this generous neighbor doesn’t mind if I pick a few of her flowers for inside display on St. Valentine’s Day.

Another one of hers that I especially like is a solid red camellia. This one will occasionally bloom around Christmas which, with the dark green leaves, makes for very nice holiday arrangements.



At the time of year when there are few flowers around, camellias are very nice to have. Having a borrowed view from a neighbor of these flowers just seems to increase the size of my garden. Two very nice bonuses courtesy of a gardening neighbor.


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

One definition of reliable is dependable. When it comes to spring flowering bulbs, many of the most popular ones will not repeat bloom or do well here along the Gulf Coast which is why I love to look at the photos on the blogs that feature scores of daffodils, hyacinths, tulips, etc. Because we warm up so quickly or have a short cold period, these bulbs are not widely grown here since they do not reliably bloom every spring. With garden space at a premium, only those bulbs that can be depended on to produce are allowed to remain. There are a few narcissus that will succeed here, and one of those is Tete a tete, a small, extra-early blooming jonquil.

Today, the first ones opened, and already my garden is looking a great deal more cheerful.



Yes, these little jonquils are reliable. I have had them in my garden for at least fifteen years where they have multiplied well and bloomed every year. Looks like this will be a year to divide them and spread them around.

While the Tazetta narcissus bloomed in late December and early January, the coming of these small, reliable jonquils certainly makes it feel as if spring is really here.

Flower Buds Are Now Showing

“Flower Buds Are Now Showing”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

Winter storm alerts stretch 1800 miles across upper United States. The pictures on the evening news showing cold, stormy weather from Montana to New England were just unbelievable. I feel so bad complaining about how sick I was of our cold weather, and now so many people are still dealing with winter storms.

Here on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana, we hit 80 degrees today, which tied an all time high set in 1980. Now everything seems to be coming up out of the ground. Everyday there is something new to see. So, for those of you still in the cold, here is a photo just for you as a reminder that the first signs of spring really aren’t that far away.



Our peach tree’s buds have swollen and are starting to show color. As I walked around the garden today, I saw so many buds starting to swell and show color either for leaves or flower buds. The fig trees are showing green indicating new leaves will be unfurling soon, and the Bartlett pear trees’ buds should be showing color any day now.

In New Orleans, the Japanese magnolias are already in full bloom. We are about 30 miles north of there, so ours are not quite ready to bloom, but it shouldn’t be too long before the flowers show up.

When we were having all that cold weather in January and early February, I was afraid spring would be late this year, but it seems that, all of a sudden, spring has even come a little early.

Working in the Garden

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

Today was a great day to work in the garden. It was sunny and mild with a high temperature of 73 degrees. It was great to get out in short sleeves and work in the garden.

I did a lot of clean up work – cutting back winter damaged plants, cleaning leaves out of entry garden, raking up fallen camellia flowers, etc. I also moved tender plants from their protected area and placed them around the garden. Most of these, I placed in semi shady spots until they get used to being outside then I’ll move them to sunnier areas.

I also used the sunny, dry day to fertilize the cool season annuals I had planted in the fall. When I planted them, I added a little slow release fertilizer, but it is used up by now. With the warm, sunny days we have been having, these annuals need a shot of fertilizer about now. Of course, I only fertilized the cool season annuals since it is too early to start fertilizing anything else.

One chore I had been wanting to get to for a few weeks now was finally accomplished. I cut back all my ornamental grasses. I wait to do this in the spring rather than the fall. I think the grass comes back from the winter better and faster when pruned in the spring. The purple fountain grass, that I grow in containers placed in urns, was looking wild and really needed cutting back.



I have had two urns of purple fountain grass for years marking the entry to the side garden. This year the containers seem overgrown and will need to be divided. That job will have to wait until we have had a few more weeks of warm weather. At least they look neater with a “hair cut.”



After I finished with the clean up chores I had planned to do today, I went on to planting my White Out rose. I had bought this last fall and decided to wait until spring to plant it since I wanted to place it where another rose was and that rose should be dormant to transplant. Well, today was the day, but before I could plant it, I had to dig up an Iceberg rose first. Then, of course, it is where to plant the Iceberg? I finally decided to put the Iceberg in a large container, and then planted the White Out rose. By then, I was tired and ready to call it a day.

I love days like today. Nothing can be better than sunny, bug-free, pleasant days spent outside in my garden.

Spring Has Arrived

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

After a week of temperatures in the high 60’s to low 70’s, it certainly feels like spring has arrived. But, now I know that winter is over. For the last few weeks, I have seen so many plants that died back in the winter showing signs of life. I have been seeing trees leafing out, and while I was driving to work today, I even saw one tree that had white flowers all over it. They had to have popped out overnight. While walking around the garden early this evening, I was surprised to see this.



The hydrangeas have broken dormancy. Yes, that is a branch of a white lace cap hydrangea showing the leaves beginning to open. I checked the other hydrangeas, and they all are showing signs spring is here.

Even though the daffodils are not blooming yet, I think Old Man Winter has definitely retreated from the Gulf Coast. This has been a cold winter even way down here in the South, and I am glad to tell it good bye. This weekend will be perfect to start planting. It’s about time I was able to get out in the garden.

February Garden Bloggers’s Bloom Day

“February 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.

Well, probably like most of the gardeners in the Northern Hemisphere, I do not have too may flowers to show for this January. Thank goodness for the violas and camellias.





The sweet olive is blooming and sending its lovely aroma all around the patio. It always amazes me how such a small flower can send its scent over such a large area.



The grape mahonia is blooming, and, in fact, I even saw two bumble bees feasting on its flowers.



Finally, a few little soldier orchids have popped up in the circle garden. Usually, they show up in the lawn, but at last a few have shown up in the flower bed. While they are only about three inches high and are not that noticeable, I think they are cute additions to the late winter scene.



This February has a lot fewer flowers than in previous years. I have a feeling that everything will start blooming all at once instead of over a few weeks.

Happy Valentine’s Day

“Happy Valentine’s Day”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody. Aren’t these the cutest little roses?



I have already received my Valentine’s present from my sweetie – three clematis vines. So far, I have only grown clematis vines that are known to do well here – sweet autumn clematis and Clematis crispa. Since many of the large flowered ones are reported not to thrive here along the Gulf Coast, I have been hesitant to buy them. Now, I am going to branch out and try some of these clematis vines. The three I am now going to plant are Venosa Violacea, H.F. Young, and Nellie Moser. I am almost positive the first two are grown by my neighbor (she doesn’t remember the names) and do very well for her. I am hoping to post some photos of the blooms in early summer.

I hope everyone has a very happy Valentine’s Day and is able to spend some time with those they love.

Ten Days Late

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

Every February 2nd I have not written about ground hogs predicting an early spring. I have written about my neighbor’s red bud tree which around here is a better predictor of spring’s arrival. Usually, by the 2nd of February, it is in full bloom, but not this year. I could hardly believe there were no bright, pink-purple flowers greeting me. I had to wait until this morning to see what for us is the harbinger of spring.



The sun streaming through this lovely tree made taking photographs difficult, but, for me, it lifted my spirits. Surely, spring will be here soon. (We are predicted to hit the 70’s next week. Hurray!)



Even though the flowers of this lovely ornamental tree were a few days late, I am still sure that spring will come to the Gulf Coast on time. Around here, I think the plants, as well as the people, are just tired of winter. Come on spring weather!

New Gardening Year

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

January 1st starts off a new year, but for gardeners, it is the coming of spring that starts a new gardening year.

While there are signs showing up more and more each day that spring will return this year (I had my doubts a few cold weeks ago), there have been few flowers to show. That should change as the weeks go by, and we have more consistently warmer weather.

One shrub that has started to show off its lovely fushia-colored flowers is the loropetalum.



These shrubs usually start to bloom just before the azaleas, but that won’t happen this year. I checked the azaleas, and their buds are shut tight. They won’t be opening for a while.

The loropetalum’s blooming is a sure sign that it won’t be long before all the spring bloomers will be showing up, starting a new gardening year.

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