Still More Daylilies

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

The daylilies just don’t seem to stop. I didn’t realize how many daylilies I have added to my garden in the last three years until I started taking photos of them as they opened. I wish I would have started with these lovelies years earlier.

This is one is I received from my sister who in turn got it from my mother. I just love having plants from relatives and friends. Every time I see one of those plants, I think about the generous gardener who shared their plants with me.

 

 

Here are some others that have bloomed recently.

 

 

I think this next one is the first daylily I ever bought. It is called Plum Tree and is a terrific bloomer. The flowers are on the small side, but the quantity of blooms makes up for the size.

 

 

 

All of my red daylilies are in the garden bed around our front entry. This is only the second year that I have had any red daylilies, but I can’t wait to add more. This is one I bought in 2010, and it was just labled “Daylily, Red”. It is too pretty to have such a plain name.

 

 

Finally, one of my newest daylilies, a miniature one called Pocket Change. I purchased this one at the New Orleans Garden show in April, and even though they were bare root, all four of the plants bloomed. These are planted in the very front of the garden bed since the flowers are small and the stems are short.

 

 

Just a few more daylilies left to post, but that posting will have to wait for another day since working in the garden today has left me so tired tonight.

Catching Up

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

Sorry I have not been posting lately. Work got very hectic a few weeks back and kept me extremely busy, and when I would come home, this recent drought only allowed me time to water the garden. Then family issues came up and needed to be dealt with, and lastly, my computer crashed and had to be replaced. Finally, I realized I was just exhausted and needed to take a break, so I have been resting a bit more and the only garden work I have been doing is watering (I think my garden has become a little too big since it takes soooo long to water everything.)

It will take me a few posts to catch up with what has or had been happening in my garden. This drought we are experiencing has finally entered the bad phase. So far we have had no rain in June, only 0.67 inches in May and only 0.64 inches in April. In a normal year, these three months average about 16 inches of rain, and all we received is 1.31 inches. With high temperatures in the mid to high 90’s, you understand that I mostly spend my time watering and trying to keep plants alive.

Even with the drought, the daylilies have continued to bloom. One that I am sorry I did not buy more of is Little Wart. This is a precious, small daylily that deserves a better name.

 

 

The red daylilies that have only been in my garden for two years or less are doing very well. The first one I planted is always the first to bloom.

 

 

One of my oldest daylilies is Rose Passion. This is another small daylily that I have placed at the front of the border.

 

 

One of the big, frilly daylilies that is a recent addition from last year, certainly put on a show this year. This is one of the most prolific in my garden.

 

 

I didn’t realize how many daylilies I have added to the garden in the last few years. There are still a few more photos of other ones I will have to post. Since I have started planting just perennials, I have learned to appreciate the daylily. I look forward to their increasing in size so that I can divide them for a better showing. One mistake I made when first buying daylilies was that I bought only one plant of a particular variety. Now, I buy at least three of one variety so that there is a nice display of flowers of a single color.

This just goes to show that you always have something to learn.

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.

Rain and Toad Lilies

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

A few days ago, I was complaining about the hot dry weather we had been having for over three weeks. Well, that has changed, or at least the dry part has changed. The rains have arrived, and I can’t believe how fast the garden has perked up. I had been watering the garden, but there is nothing like rain to make plants stand up tall and grow.

Of course, there was a big mistake made with watering just before the rains came. Wednesday, when I came home from work, I put out the sprinkler on the wilted hydrangeas. When I went upstairs around 8 that evening, dear hubby asked if I had the sprinkler on, and I was so thankful he said something about it because I had totally forgotten it was still running. Of course, he said he would go and turn it off. Unfortunately, he got sidetracked and forgot, and when I returned home from work on Thursday, the sprinkler was still running. (In the morning when I leave, it is still dark, so I didn’t see it was not turned off.) Needless to say, that area of the yard did not need the rain that came on Friday and today. You can bet we are not going to forget the sprinkler again. We’ve decided to put on a timer to remind us to turn the water off.

But the toad lilies are plants that are looking a lot better because of the rain. They are just starting to bloom and look like little jewels.

 

 

Whenever we get a lot of rain, the frogs and toads can be heard in the evening singing. After a couple of days of rain, it is nice to see these “toads” in the daytime.

First Time

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

No matter how many years you may have been gardening, there is always something new to learn or try. For me, this spring brought something new to try. Many plants that can be grown in other areas just will not survive our hot summer days and nights. It is not unusual for temperatures to not dip below 85 for days or nights. In fact, it is not uncommon for some nights that it will be almost midnight before we are out of the 90’s, so many plants that will survive in areas with at least cooler nights will not make it through the summer here.

I have always thought that Sedum Autumn Joy was such a lovely plant when it bloomed in the fall. I would see photos in magazines that just made me want to grow this for early autumn color when most of the garden was looking pretty shabby, but you just did not see it available around here. A few years back when Autumn Joy started showing up for sale, I was hesitant to purchase it because I was not sure if it would do well here. After all, I have seen so many plants for sale around here in early spring that will just die when the first big heat wave comes through (I am referring to peonies, lily of the valley, lilacs, etc all which I have seen for sale). Any way, since this sedum has been for sale for a few years around here, and even though I have never seen it grown in any garden around here, I decided to give it a try.

My three small plants have done fairly well and have rewarded my faith with their wonderful autumnal-colored flowers.

 

 

When I saw that the flowers were turning pink, I was very excited.

 

 

When they turned this lovely rust color, I knew these were keepers. With the garden reaching its peak in spring and early summer, it is nice to have some flowers to look forward to come autumn. Also, since we have so few trees that will turn those gorgeous fall colors, it is nice to have something blooming with colors that say, “Fall’s here.”

 

 

I know many of you will not think that growing Autumn Joy is a big deal, but it is a first time for me, and I am thrilled they survived, grew, and bloomed in the Deep South.

Night Time Bloooms

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

I finally am able to welcome an old favorite plant back into my garden. Years ago, my mother gave me a cutting from her night blooming cereus (Epiphyllum oxypetalum), and we enjoyed waiting and watching the gorgeous white blooming flowers for many years. Unfortunately, a few years ago, I lost my plant during a winter freeze. I was disappointed not only because I would no longer see these pretty, white flowers, but also because I had lost a plant that had been in my mother’s garden for so long, and there were so many good memories associated with the flower. The family staying up late to see the flowers, trying to freeze one of the flowers to preserve it (doesn’t work), kids excited to see such a strange flower, all these memories were conjured up every time I would look at the flowers.

Two years ago, I happened to mention to my sister that I had lost mom’s cereus in a freeze. She promptly spoke up and said she had mom’s plant and would give me a cutting. That cutting finally bloomed.

Part of the excitement over this flower is the anticipation. It seems as if the bud should open, and then, nothing. You keep checking night after night knowing if you miss the opening one night, the flower will be totally wilted by dawn. Here is the prehistoric looking bud.

 

 

The gorgeous white flower shows up very quickly.

 

 

 

It is so good to have this plant back in my garden and blooming.

One other night bloomer in my garden was given to me by a very generous neighbor. It is Epiphyllum hookeri. This flower, too, opens at night but will last until morning if protected from the sun.

 

 

While my neighbor gave me a plant, I have made numerous cuttings and have several plants around the garden. Both of these plants are very easy to propagate – just stick a leaf in soil and soon you have a plant. These must be protected in winter as they are tropicals, but these flowers are certainly worth that effort.

Never Say Never

“Never Say Never”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

Conventional wisdom says that after a freeze, if a plant has not returned by mid-spring, it should be considered dead. This has always been my experience, until this year. I have written before about plants not showing up until July which is so unusual for the Gulf South. But this weekend, I just couldn’t believe my eyes.

 

 

This is my coral bean tree (Erythrina herbacea). This is a deciduous tree, and because mine was only two years old, it has died down to the ground the past two winters, but coming back this late is just beyond my experience. It was heavily mulched, more so than in years past, and I was so surprised when it did not return by mid-May. In early July, I tried to pull it up out of the ground, and it didn’t budge. I just left it at the time (luckily) and figured it would just eventually rot away.

I am a little concerned with its coming back so late in the summer. Will it be able to survive this winter? I am thinking about digging it up completely, putting it in a container, overwintering it in a warm place, and then planting it out next spring.

When I first saw the blooms on this tree, I was so taken with the unusual shape and color that I just had to have one. This tree was growing outside of a stadium, and I even had thoughts of returning later to see if I could find some seeds to grow. Just by chance, about three weeks later, I found one to buy. Check out this post from Zanthan Gardens which shows the flowers, and you will understand why I wanted one so badly. Mine has not grown big enough to bloom yet, so I have no photos of my own.

It would be a shame to lose this plant after it has tried so hard to return. I know now, I will not be so quick to give up on a plant that appears to be dead after winter’s chilly temperatures. In this case, never say never is so true.

Canna Color

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

Rain has kept me out of the garden for many days lately. I sure miss being able to stroll around and see what the plants are up to. Family issues have also preoccupied me, and I haven’t been blogging like I want to, but I am trying to get back in the routine of gardening and reporting on what is going on in my garden.

The cannas have really been doing well with all this heat and rain we have been having lately. Tropical Sunrise is doing particularly well, sending up many new shoots. It is nice that this lovely orange canna is spreading. I can use the extra plants. This canna is planted next to blue plumbago, and the combination is a lot more attractive than I would have first thought.

 

 

China Doll, a lovely pink canna that I have had for several years is also blooming well. I always look forward to its blooming. I think this was the first canna that I ever planted.

 

 

Even though we are getting into late summer and fall color is just starting to show that it will be here soon, there are still enough bloomers like the canna to give a summer, tropical feel to the area.

All Ears

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

Today was my first day back at work after vacation. It wasn’t tough to getting up this morning, but I don’t know about tomorrow morning. The alarm goes off at 5:00 AM.

Anyway, when I arrived home, I immediately set out the sprinkler in the back garden since we didn’t get any rain, and it is so hot and dry. While outside, I noticed how well my new elephant ears are doing. This plant was a gift from my number one sister, who has generously shared so many of her plants with me. This one is called “Coffee Cups” because of its cup-shaped leaves. With the black stems, dark green leaves and unusual leaves, this is a very nice addition to my garden. The Latin name is Colocasia esculenta ‘Coffee Cups’.

 

 

There is also a “Tea Cup” elephant ear that has the same shape leaves only smaller.

Another elephant ear from this same generous sister is “Mickey Mouse”. She gave this one to me last year, and it took so long to come back after dying back during the winter that I thought it was totally gone. My sister gave me two more in mid-June, and I put one in a pot to overwinter and one in the ground. Just as I went to plant this second gift a few weeks ago, I saw a small leaf had appeared. My original plant was coming back. This was the latest I have ever had any elephant ears appear after a cold winter. Usually they are back up by April. Last year, I wrote about it here.

 

 

Glad that the dry, hot weather hasn’t affected these “ears”.

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