A garden is good for the body and soul.

 I live in Louisiana (zone 8b) and have been gardening in Covington since 1976, but I have really only done this seriously for the last 20 years – after child started high school, and I had more time.  I come from a long line of gardeners and have many plants from relatives.  In fact, I often refer to my garden as “Passalong Gardens” because most of my plants have not been purchased but given to me by generous family and friends.  It is nice to walk by all the plants and remember the people who have shared with me.

Over the years, my garden has slowly evolved. Tall pine trees dominate our property, but as some have had to be removed or fallen down (Hurricane Katrina removed several trees) more sun has allowed me to move from a shady garden to one with areas of sun and blooming plants.

I called this blog Always Growing because 1) I am literally growing things and always puttering around the garden, and 2) I am growing as a gardener and person.

 INTEREST:  Gardening, reading, yoga, birding, spiritual growth, cooking, anything Irish, nature, cats, and now photography.

Thanks for stopping by.



  1. Patricia Louque said,

    January 5, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    This is a great blog. I am so lucky to have come across it. Hope you keep it going for a long time. Thanks

    Patricia, I hope to keep this up regularly. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Bana Malik said,

    March 25, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    Dear Kim,

    This week Mother Jones magazine released the article Mulch Madness about Atchafalaya Basinkeeper Dean Wilson’s efforts to stop the illegal and unsustainable cutting of cypress for cheap mulch. Right now the cypress mulch industry is destroying wetlands that protect coastal Louisiana from hurricanes. The article is online at:

    Waterkeeper has been working with Dean and organizations across the Gulf Coast to save our cypress forests. We’ve made great progress. In June 2007, more than 200 Louisiana cities, universities, churches and other organizations pledged to stop using cypress mulch. Month later, Wal-Mart and Lowes announced they would stop or limit buying and selling cypress mulch from Louisiana. This is a great start but the threat remains. We have a long way to go to stop the mulching of the nation’s coastal wetland forests.
    Our gardeners hold the key. We believe that gardeners must know the truth about cypress mulch, and will stop using cypress mulch when presented with the facts.

    Again, thank you for your help spreading the word: Say NO to Cypress Mulch. I am also happy to provide more information for you.

    Bana Malik

    Bana Malik
    Communications Associate
    Waterkeeper Alliance
    50 S. Buckhout St., Ste 302
    Irvington, NY 10533
    914.674.0622 x23

    Thanks for the input. I know we have been waging a battle over the use of cypress mulch & it drives me crazy when I see it. I am lucky to have pine trees, so that is the only mulch I use.

  3. March 26, 2008 at 2:36 pm


    Thanks for your post on the cypress mulch issue. The method of clear cutting these companies are using to harvest the trees for mulch is truly disgusting and permanently changes the ecology and in many cases changes it from forest to what is essentially open water.

    Regardless of industry claims, the cypress trees are not growing back and cannot due to salt water intrusion and other changes in hydrology.

    Please have your visitors check the Save Our Cypress Coalition website at http://SaveOurCypress.org and tell all of them to Say No To Cypress Mulch!

    Thanks again and happy gardening!
    Internet Organizer
    Save Our Cypress Coalition

    Always happy to help, Jeffrey. I have known about this problem for a while now, and I am glad to tell more people about not using cypress mulch.

  4. Bill Stanley said,

    April 14, 2008 at 7:57 am

    Hi Jan,

    I really enjoy reading your blog posts. May I add your website https://alwaysgrowing.wordpress.com to my blog roll?

    My blog is at: http://www.home-gardening-tips.com

    Bill Stanley

  5. Jan said,

    April 14, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    Thanks, Bill. I appreciate the feedback. Of course, you may add my blog to your blog roll. It is nice of you to include me.

  6. cindydyer said,

    April 21, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    Hi Jan,

    Thank you for your comment on my snowdrops photo. I visited your blog and have added you to my “gardening blog” roll. I hope you don’t mind. I’ve just posted more garden photos from my recent visit to the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond this past weekend at http://www.cindydyer.wordpress.com. Happy gardening!

  7. Jan said,

    April 22, 2008 at 5:09 am

    Thanks, Cindy. I’m on my way to your blog to check out the new photos.

  8. Eve said,

    August 19, 2008 at 11:45 am

    Okay, I have cats, am on a spiritual journey, live in zone 8b, love to garden, reading, cooking, I’m half Irish, but you lost me with the yoga. I am not putting my legs behind my head at my age. I do bicycle. So glad to find the blog of a next door neighbor. I will have fun reading your older post and seeing what you grow.

  9. Jan said,

    August 19, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    Eve, I will be checking out your blog, too. I really like reading blogs of gardeners who are in the same area as I am. By the way, I’m not quite at the legs behind my head stage in my yoga practice. LOL.

  10. September 4, 2008 at 11:08 am

    Hi Jan – glad you made it through the storm okay.

    Just wanted to give you a heads-up that some of your posts have been stolen. Send me a note and I’ll email the information back to you – don’t want to give the thieves any links!!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  11. Jan said,

    September 4, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    Thanks for the info, Annie.

  12. Joely Campbell said,

    September 22, 2008 at 8:31 am

    Hi Jan,

    I Googled and found your blog. Love it! So much interesting info here.

    In the late spring and early summer, I took on a project of translplanting my new little growths from my Blue Lacecap Hydrangea, as I had a need for landscaping in a newly remodled area in our backyard. It was a huge project, from gently plucking them up, to preserving them in water, and finally, planting them alongside our drive to my husband’s shop. They have taken off! I am concerned as to why they have not taken a more upward turn, to form as the bush they came from. Is it such that I need to “train” the growths to grow upward? Also, here in the upper midwest, the winters can be harsh. How can I protect them? Did I plant them too soon – should I have kept them potted for quite some time until next year? There’s probably 100 in the ground, doing exceptionally well, and digging them all back up is not an option. What I can I do to prepare for winter? I know there is a chance that I will lose them, but I’m willing to do whatever I can to try to preserve them.

  13. Jan said,

    September 22, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    Thanks, Joely, for the lovely compliment about my blog. I really appreciate it. Wow! One hundred little hydrangeas – now that’s a project. Okay, here are my thoughts on your questions. As to the plants not being more upright, I wouldn’t worry about that. The same thing happens to mine, but as they grow taller, they will make a more shrub-like form. If you just put them in the ground this year, I think they are just too little to show that form yet. Now, as for winter protection. If you planted them in early spring to early summer, they probably have a better chance than if planted in late summer. It doesn’t matter now if you should have waited to plant them. You don’t say what part of the upper mid-west you are in, so I am not sure what your low temperatures are. But, what I would do is after the hydrangeas drop all their leaves, I would mulch them heavily. I mean like 10 to 12 inches of pine straw, leaves, etc.even if it covers them completely. If hydrangeas in general survive your winters, then I think you need to protect these more only because they are so small. You could also cover the mulched plants with weighted down newspaper if it gets really cold where you are. When it gets to be close to spring and the cold weather is not such a threat, start checking the hydrangeas for growth and uncover as soon as the weather allows. I hope this helps. I have tried to offer ideas that would not be too expensive or time consuming considering the great number of plants you have. Just write if you have any more questions, and I’ll try to help.

  14. machelle said,

    October 27, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    Thank you for stopping in for a visit, now I have discovered your garden as well. It is amazing how much we learn from just visiting other gardens. I hope you don’t mind if I add you to my blog roll. You have a beautiful garden.

  15. Jan said,

    October 28, 2008 at 4:30 am

    Machelle, learning from other gardeners is one of the reasons I love reading garden blogs. Thanks for the positive feedback on my blog. I appreciate your kind words.

  16. Becca said,

    March 4, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    I enjoyed reading your blog today. You have a very nice site and some nice photos. Keep up the blogging. One blog leads to another and another and oh I just love it. There is so much to learn from others and I love the landscape photos to get ideas for my yard.

    • Jan said,

      March 4, 2009 at 5:53 pm

      Thanks, Becca for the nice feedback. I do love reading gardening blogs, and you are right, you learn so much from other gardeners who blog.

  17. Raffi said,

    May 27, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    Hi Jan, I have a site that is also always growing, because it’s a wiki. Please check out my wiki gardening and plant encyclopedia project – it can use all the help it can get! Thanks! Raffi, http://www.plants.am

  18. poetryinpictures said,

    June 16, 2009 at 8:50 am

    Hello Jan,

    Thank you so much for your help identifying my new found plant from up north. It truly was very helpful. I just started my blog and it is so very eclectic at the moment. I love learning so much about blogging at wordpress but I am glad now I know about your blog. I love reading your blog. It is wonderful and so much information. I particularly love all your flower pictures. May I add your blog to my site?
    Best Regards,
    Jocelyn @http://poetryinpictures.wordpress.com/

    • Jan said,

      June 16, 2009 at 1:14 pm

      Of course, Jocelyn, you may add my blog to your blogroll. I am glad you stopped by, and thank you for the kind comments about my blog. I know you will enjoy blogging here at WordPress.

  19. Ursula said,

    November 17, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    i am reading your lovely blog when I should be working! I thought you might like to see the work we do on our garden in the UK http://www.eastonwalledgardens.co.uk I hope you enjoy it.

  20. December 31, 2009 at 8:47 am

    Hi Jan! Thanks for your comment on Gardening by the Book! I’m wondering which book you’re looking for that’s your favorite. Maybe I already have it, but maybe not and maybe I’d like to read it too! Tried to find a place to e-mail you, but couldn’t find it. 😦 You can e-mail me at gardengeek57 at gmail dot com if you don’t want to post it and have everyone in the world looking for it, too. LOL.

    Thanks, and Happy New Year!


  21. Krista said,

    May 3, 2010 at 8:21 pm


    I am planning a wedding for next spring and would love to use pansies for centerpieces. I googled “light blue pansy” and your post titled “Updating” dated March 9, 2009 came up in my search. Do you know the variety/specific name of the light blue pansy images numbers 1,3, and 5 in the post? In order for my gardener to find the right pansy variety, I need the exact type for him to buy. These flowers are becoming more of a problem then I imagined.

    Thanks for your help,

    • Jan said,

      May 4, 2010 at 4:19 pm

      Krista, the pansies pictured were my neighbor’s, and I don’t know the names. I did some research and found this site which had pansies that looked like the ones pictured. You could browse the site and find some similar and then have the names to give your gardener while there is still time to find the seeds or plants in time for next spring. Hope this helps.

  22. Eric said,

    May 26, 2010 at 5:44 pm


    I live in central MS and due to construction I must relocate a japanese magnolia. Jane I believe it is. Can you tell me when would be a good time to move it without killing it. I will hold off on the construction if I need to.


    • Jan said,

      May 27, 2010 at 4:11 am

      My understanding is that it is best to move trees in the late fall or early winter, Eric. The trees are dormant and transplant better then. It is too late to transplant it now with hot temperatures already here. You don’t say how large your tree is, but the smaller it is the easier it is to move and the better the success rate. You might want to check out this site http://landscaping.about.com/cs/shrubsbushes/ht/transplanting.htm and see tip #4. Hope this helps.

  23. August 19, 2010 at 12:55 pm


    Let me start off by introducing myself. My name is Melissa Arteaga Marti and I am the Communications Manager for Costa Farms. Nice to virtue-meet you J I’m so glad you got back to me. One of my main initiatives is to establish relationships with bloggers and fellow green thumbs who like our plants. I just started reaching out to bloggers who I follow on Twitter and like their voice/blogs. With that said; I wanted to chat a bit and see what kinds of plants you currently have in your garden, especially Costa Farms’ ones. If they aren’t, that’s OK too.

    • Jan said,

      August 20, 2010 at 3:47 am

      Hi Melissa,
      Like all gardeners, I am always ready to talk about plants.

  24. Asha said,

    December 22, 2010 at 5:46 am

    Hi Jan,

    You have a lovely garden and a blog! Those flowers are pretty!

    I was looking for tips to revive my Rexes, and the search engine listed your blog site. Yay, here I am! 🙂



  25. saila said,

    December 27, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    Does Sweet Almond bush receive frequent serious attention from medium or large butterflies?

    • Jan said,

      January 1, 2012 at 7:18 pm

      Sorry, I did not get back to you before now. In answer to your question, yes it does attract butterflies.

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