Scary Stuff

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

Scarecrows are useful for keeping birds away from crops, but the ones that schools and gardens clubs recently made for display were clever as well.

One that was just right for Halloween was Edgar Allen Poe-sy made by the Master Gardners of New Orleans.  They even added Lenore’s grave.

Edgar Allen Posey (redu)


Alligators are plentiful in south Louisiana, but I’ve never seen a gardening one.  Here was one called Ali E Gardener.


Ali E (redu)


Ali E sign (redu)


My favorite one and one I would love to have in my garden was made by a talented art class in a public elementary school in New Orleans.  With the wind blowing the strips of fabric, this bird would surely keep the birds away.


Bird Scarecrow (redu)


Bird Scarecrow Clsp (redu)


But, the cutest ones were little ballerinas in Hooray for Ballet.  While not scary, they certainly were adorable.


Ballet Scarecrow (redu)



I Want That!

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


The only bad thing about going to a garden show is that it creates wants.  Plant wants, garden decor wants, landscaping wants.  You get the picture.  I, too, developed the “wants”  at the garden show my sister, daughter, and I attended Saturday in the New Orleans Botanical Gardens.

I would love to have big statues in my garden.  Of course, I would also have to have a big garden to accommodate the big statues.  I remember as a young teenager going with my family to visit Zemurray Gardens during the spring azalea bloom time.  All throughout this large garden were placed large statues of mythological characters.  I was so impressed.  It looks as if I never got over my sense of grandeur.  While it is large, the sculpture below is simple, and I know would look so nice in the side garden.  Too bad I am not married to a Rothschild.


Statue (redu)


Another “want” of mine is a water feature.  Because of all the pine trees which seem to drop something (needles, cones, and small branches) just about all year, we have been very hesitant to put anything in.  A pond is just about out of the question because of all the pine tree roots (digging a large hole would be almost impossible), so an above ground water feature is the way to go.  After seeing sugar kettles outfitted with water and plants, I thought this might be a solution.  The one in the middle of the herb garden seems just about right even though it was about six feet across.  While this one is metal, I’d be satisfied with a fiberglass one.


Sugar Kettle (redu)


Finally, I spotted what I think may be a perfect solution.  A small fountain about four feet tall.  We want something that would make some noise to drown out the hum of traffic that has become more noticeable over the last few years, and while this fountain doesn’t make a huge amount of noise, it would be enough so that you would pay attention to the sound of the water instead of the sound of the cars.


Fountain (redu)


This just may be the solution to dear hubby’s Christmas gift-for-wife dilemma.

A Good Idea

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


One of the best gardening ideas to ever be developed was sun tolerant caladiums.  I have used “regular” caladiums in my garden for years, but always in shady locations.  Nothing brightens up a shady area like the green and white ones such as Candidum, June Bride, Aaron, and my personal favorite, White Christmas.  I have used Pink Beauty, Freida Hemple, and Kathleen under the magnolia tree to add a little color where nothing else would grow.


But, there are areas that receive short periods of intense sun and then shade for the rest day that those listed above just can’t take.  I had tried some in the entry garden, but by the end of June, they had faded and were struggling in the noon day sun.  Then, last year, I tried a sun tolerant caladium – Gingerland. 


It works well in shade.



I originally chose this one because of its colors.  Since that garden is mainly red and purple flowers, the green and white with splashes of red would be perfect.  These little tubers have worked out perfectly.  They get full sun at least four hours each day around noon time, and they can take it.  I do water the garden almost daily in this heat, but I do it more for the other plants than the caladiums.  And, if the other plants wilt, Gingerland never does.


It works well in sun.



This sun tolerant caladium has performed well where other caladiums just looked stressed and faded after a few weeks in the noon day sun.  While I would not try and grow them in a hot, dry area, these filled a need for a colorful plant that could take both shade and sun.




This post, “Inspiration” was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 



One of the nice things about going to a botanical garden is that it gives you many ideas for your own garden.  While most of us can not afford to do things on the grand scale that these gardens do, it does inspire you to try new combinations or placement of plants on a smaller scale.  At least I am thankful I do not have such a large area to tend.  I have enough to do just keeping up with my suburban garden.  Though to be honest, if money was not an issue, I think I would love to have the space (and the gardeners) to have something just like a botanical garden.


As you can see from the above picture, Saturday’s garden show at the N. O. Botanical Gardens allowed everyone to see how lovely the gardens are at this time of year.  Even with the crowds, we were able to stroll around the grounds and see everything without people obstructing the view.  While I will not be placing such a large statue in my garden, I am thinking about a smaller statue or a large pot for the center of my circle bed.  Instead of water sprays, I may try sky pencil hollies.  I am still mulling over some changes to that bed, but I think I may do something to give a similar feeling as this picture shows.




Because I am in a suburban area, and Louisiana is flat and doesn’t really have rocks or boulders, I have always felt that if I put in any kind of water feature, I would want to have a reflecting pool.   Something akin to the above photo since I am not wild about the ponds most landscapers put in because those ponds would look great in a rocky or mountainous area but not in flat Louisiana.   I have found all kinds of great ideas at the garden show, but, unfortunately, did not find the financing for them.


I did get inspired by the show, and today I was able to put in a full day in the garden.  I continued cleaning out the overgrown property line area and was able to do about another twelve feet.  In that section I  planted a white lace cap hydragea that I had rooted and about six pieces of varigated shell ginger that a friend gave me. 


I also planted the daylilies I bought at yesterday’s garden show – Vanilla Fluff and Misty Mayhaw.  I planted the pink salvia and the red million bells I bought over the Easter holidays, the clematis crispa I bought about a month ago, and Tropical Sunrise canna that my sister just gave me.


Today I realized, that every now and then, it is nice to take a tour of a large public garden for ideas and inspiration.

Garden Show

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

We had a great time at the Garden Show that was held in the Botanical Gardens at City Park.  The Rose Garden (pictured above) was gorgeous.  Even I was surprised at how many plants were in bloom.  New Orleans is only about 30 miles south of us, but it is a zone higher.  Their Louisiana Irises were in full bloom, and ours are just showing buds.  Lilies were blooming, and ours are hardly showing buds.  There were many more examples of their being ahead of the northshore when it comes to bloom times.

The picture below shows a spring flower bed in all its glory.  The timing of the show could not have been better.  All the visitors got a great view of what can be done in the fall to make spring spectacular.

This is a picture of a bed backing up one of the many beautiful statues that are in the Gardens.  Even with all the thunderstorms we had last night, the gardens were wonderful. 

I did restrain myself and didn’t buy too many plants like I did at the fall show.  I just bought two rex begonias and some daylilies.  I’ll show pictures of them and other sections of the Gardens on another post.  Right now it is off to take a hot shower and then do some reading in bed.  It has been a long day.



This post, “Arbor” was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

The winter time really shows where improvements need to be made in a garden.  It is said that one of the most important elements to an attractive design is the garden’s “bones”.  When people first start designing their gardens, they often do not think so much about the permanent things like evergreens, benches, arbors, etc.  I was no different.  The first spring and summer everything looked great.  There were a few perennials and many annuals to fill in the empty spaces.  Then the autumn and winter came, and there were practically empty beds with just mulch and a few small evergreens.  I quickly realized I needed “something” – especially for height.  One solution was an arbor.  My daughter gave me a cedar one for Christmas.  We put it up in the early spring on the side of the house in an opening between a row of azaleas and a yew.  It was just what was needed.  The next year I planted a white Lady Banks rose on it, and placed two urns with purple fountain grass in front of it.


This lasted about two years, and then in 2005 Hurricane Katrina came through.  I had moved the arbor up next to the house to try and protect it.  This proved to be ineffectual.  A pine tree was knocked down and hit the arbor.  It was crushed, and I was crushed.  With all the more pressing things going on after Katrina, replacing the arbor was low on the list of priorities. 

In the spring of 2006, the quest for a new arbor began.  I never could find one I liked, or the ones I liked were very expensive.  I searched all the garden and big box stores.  I went on the Internet.  Still no luck.  Then for Mother’s Day 2007, my daughter came through again.  She found one on the Internet identical to the one she had given me earlier.

The new arbor is pictured above.  Soon the rose was tied to it, and the urns were placed in front of it, just like before.  Now, that side of the yard looks even better than before.  After getting the first arbor, I realized how much I had to work on the bones of my garden.  After about four years, things are looking better. I’ve put in more shrubs, small trees, benches, and paths.

Now, if I can just find a replacement for the arbor in the back yard that Hurricane Rita took out…..