A Second Chance

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

Last October when I attended the N. O. Garden show, I was finally able to purchase a plant I had been wanting for years.  It was a white Confederate Rose (Hibiscus mutabilis).  I wanted it to put in our “white” garden.  I also wanted one to complement the pink Confederate Rose in our back garden.  I was so happy I finally had one.  Since it was October, I didn’t feel it was a good idea to plant it in the ground.  While they are hardy in my zone 8 garden, a severe freeze will cut a young one down to the roots, and I didn’t want to risk it, so I kept it in its container and protected it all through the winter.

This summer, however, was extremely hot and dry, and by August, my pretty plant was toast.  First, it got white flies, but I think by that time it was declining fast, then, it lost its leaves, but ever the optimist, I kept watering it.  Finally, I had to admit it was a goner.

You rarely see these hibiscus plants in garden centers; they are pretty much a pass-along plant.  Well, this weekend when I went out to several nurseries for a few fall annuals to plant, I was so happy to see several at a small one-person operation.   I bought one and immediately planted it in the garden.  I am hoping it will be well established before we have our real cold weather which is usually in late December/early January.  Since it is still rather small, I could always cover it up with maybe an tomato cage wrapped in plastic and blankets.

While my pink Confederate Rose starts out light pink and gradually turns a darker pink as the day progresses, this one starts out white and slowly turns a dark pink. 

Wh Conf Rose 1 (redu)

 

Wh Conf Rose 2 (redu)

 

Wh Conf Rose 3 (redu)

 

Once this plant gets a little height on it, I think it will be a great addition to the garden, and the fact that you will be able to see the white one with the pink one behind it in the distance should be an added plus.  I am just glad I got a second chance to have this wonderful flowering plant.

Fringes

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

 

Loropetalum blooms on the new wood, but I usually trim it back after it blooms in the spring, so I don’t get an autumn flush of flowers.  This year, however, I didn’t do the usual triming, and I have been rewarded with a very nice display of pink.

 

Lorepetlum (redu)

 

I keep the shrubs I have trimmed back to about four and a half feet tall, but they can grow up to six feet.  This means that this year I won’t be able to trim them back since trimming them back now will spur new growth that could be damaged by winter freezes.  But, this year won’t matter since I have such pretty flowers.  One of the things that make this plant so different is its blooms.  Instead of the usual big petals such as azaleas, hibiscus, or roses have, loropetalum has thin streamers which show its relation to witch hazel.

 

Lorepetlum Single (redu)

 

Seeing these flowers, we know why this plant is called “fringe flower.”

Seed Saved

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

 

A few weeks ago, I wrote about finding a seed on the sasanqua camellia I bought last year.  I had been watching the little seed until the shrub started blooming.  When it started blooming several days ago, I turned the container it was in so that more flowers could be seen, and in doing so, I turned the seed pod to the back and forgot about it.  That is until yesterday.

 

 

 

Here is the seed pod on September 12th.  Yesterday, when I went out to check how the seed pod was coming along, I fully expected to see it on the shrub, just a little larger than before.  But, instead, I found the casing brown and burst open.  I couldn’t believe it.  I had lost my one seed.  I quickly looked around, and found it on the ground next to the container.  It must have opened only recently because it was sitting on top of the grass.

 

I quickly picked it up and checked to see that it fit in the seed casing.  It was a perfect fit, so I know I have the right sasanqua seed and not some other stray seed that just happened to be hanging around. 

 

 

The seed ended up being about the size of my thumbnail.  I planted it in a container and will see if it comes up.  I am glad I was able to save that little seed because if it had started to grow where I found it, I am sure I would have just pulled it up not realizing it was a little sasanqua. 

 

 I know if it germanates that it will be years before I see any flowers bloom, but I think it will be nice, if not a challenge, to see if I can grow a sasanqua from seed.

 

Turk’s Turban

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

A new plant for the garden.

Last fall, when I attended the Garden Show at the New Orleans Botanical Gardens,  I saw this spectacular, towering herbaceous shrub.  It took a little detective work before finding out it was Clerodendrum indicum or Turk’s Turban, skyrocket, or tubeflower.  Luckily, (for me) they had some for sale and one came home with me.  It was in a gallon pot and about two feet high, so I felt I needed to wait until spring to plant it in the garden.

This spring I planted it, and it grew slowly until about July and then it took off.  I see now why one of its common names is sky rocket.  It was hard taking a photograph of the flowers because of the height.  It is about ten feet high with these huge inflorescence (about 16 inches long) with wonderful creamy flowers.  The flowers are on short tube-like stems and droop down so they are very visible.  The sepals will turn a deep red and remain on the plant through winter, and the seeds are also supposed to turn from green to a metallic blue.  The plant I purchased had the red sepals but not the seeds, so I can’t wait to see the red and blue together.

These plants are only hardy to zone 8, and I think that it may freeze to the ground here.  Even though I am located in south Louisiana, we can get some killing frosts.  I plan on mulching it heavily, like I do some of the other clerodendrum I have.

Butterflies and hummingbirds are supposed to love this plant, but I haven’t seen any hovering around mine, yet.  I am hoping that it continues to bloom until frost.  For an absolutely stunning plant, this towering shrub can’t be beat.

Tropical Flowers

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

 

With the heat of August in full swing, the tropicals in my garden are putting on quite a show.  The hibiscus bushes are really putting out the flowers now that we have had more rain.  As I have written before, I only grow the double flowered ones.  The reds, peach, and yellow ones have been particularly pretty the last few days.

 

 

 

 

In our climate these will continue to bloom into the winter.  In fact, I’ve had blooms in December when it has not been too cold.  But, it is the summer when these hibiscus really shine.

 

 

Here’s an update on the long awaited Bird of Paradise flower.  It has finally opened up completely.

 

 

I am so glad I didn’t give up  on it when it took so long to eventually show a flower.

A New Blue

“A New Blue”, 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 a long vacation.  Of course, when I came home everything needed to be watered since it had been a hot, cloudless day.  As I was watering the plants in the back garden, I received two delightful surprises. 

 

One was a bud on the bird of paradise.  I have been waiting years for that thing to bloom.  I know I have had that plant at least four years and probably it is really more than that.  I have kept it root bound, and did everything I had read to get it to bloom and nothing, that is until today.  I can hardly wait for the bud to open and to share a photo with you.

 

The other nice surprise was the blooming of the Blue Butterfly plant (clerodendrum ugandense).  This is my second summer with this plant, and last year it did not bloom until very late in the fall, and then only sparsely.  Well, today I noticed the first blooms opening.

 

 

The flower is a lovely shade of blue and is supposed to resemble a butterfly.  This is a tropical plant, and here it will freeze but does come back from the roots.  Last year I covered it with about 12 inches of pine straw, and it did come back quicker in the spring which may be why it is blooming earlier this year.

 

 

I have this plant located about fifteen feet from a blue plumbago, and now that the Blue Butterfly plant is in bloom, it makes the plumbago stand out even more.  As I wrote in an earlier post, I just love the true blue colored flowers and wish there were more of them.

 

So, finding these two little presents in my garden made going back to work not so bad.  I wonder what surprise Mother Nature has for me tomorrow to reward me for going back to work.

Weeping Mary

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

 

Buddleia Lindleyana is an old-fashioned butterfly bush that was imported from China in the 1800’s.  It is also called Weeping Buddleia.  One common name is Weeping Mary.  This is a semi-evergreen buddleia and is not cut to the ground each year.  It makes a narrow shrub about six feet tall that has very graceful, weeping growth.

 

 

I first saw this plant in a school garden, and later found a small one to plant in my own garden.  One of the things I like about this particular buddleia is the individual little flowers which are violet red on the inside and purple on the outside.  The individual flowers form about a twelve inch cluster.  The flowers continue to open down the ever lengthing raceme which can grow to 24 inches.  Since it blooms on new growth, trimming the spent flower clusters results in more blossoms.

 

 

This drought tolerant shrub blooms on new growth from early spring through late fall.  It attracts hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees.  I have read where it is supposed to be hardy to zone 7 and some sources say zone 5.  Other nice features of this buddleia is its cinnamon colored shedding bark, and foliage which is a semi-glossy, dark green.  In searching for this particular plant, I have read that it is supposed to sucker somewhat, but I have not had a problem with that.

 

I have found this to be a great plant for the garden because it is drought tolerant, attacts wildlife, and blooms for a very long time.