No Bradford

“No Bradford”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 


More trees are starting to flower.  I have already posted about the peach trees, Japanese magnolias, redbuds, and now the Callery pear has started flowering, almost overnight it seems.  I know there are many who say that this tree should not be  planted, but come springtime and the appearance of the hundreds of small flowers it seems worth it.






Our tree has just started flowering, and it won’t be long before it is covered in white flowers.  The most common cultivar of Callery pear is the Bradford, but I don’t think we have a Bradford.  I think we have another cultivar.  Our tree does not have the dense, upward growth of the Bradford.  Our tree has a more open pyramid growth pattern.  When we bought this tree, it was just labled flowering pear, but it was also about the time that people were being discouraged from planting the Bradfords, so for all these reasons, I don’t think we have a Bradford.


With the temperatures reaching 80 to 85 degrees for the last three days, it does seem that spring is here to stay, and this blooming pear tree just seems to reinforce that belief.


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



Early, every spring, the pine trees start to shed their pollen.  If there is no rain, everything becomes covered in a light yellow dust.  It is just starting, but already there is pine tree pollen all over the cars; you can’t walk outside without your shoes quickly being covered in yellow; and even the cats are covered in yellow powder and leave tiny yellow footprints on the black slate floor.  With the weather turning warmer and pleasant, we won’t be able to open any windows or doors until this stuff stops falling.  The plants in the garden present a special problem.



Pollen-covered insect on pollen-covered rose leaves

Pollen-covered insect on pollen-covered rose leaves




The problem that occurs in the garden happens whenever water hits the pollen-covered plants.  When a light rain falls or when watering, if not enough water is used to completely wash the pollen off the leaves, the pollen puddles and sticks like glue.  There is simply no getting that stuff off.  There have been leaves on plants that still show signs of pollen at the end of summer, and that is after all our summer rains.  And, let me tell you, we get a lot of rain in the summer here.  After having this happen several years, I make sure to wash off the leaves of everything whenever I water, and if we only get a light rain, I make sure to rinse off the plants before they dry so that there will be no pollen residue sticking around marring the looks of the garden.
Luckily, pine pollen does not really bother many people. It might seem that pine tree pollen, which is produced in large amounts by a common tree, would make it a good candidate for causing allergy. It is, however, less allergenic than other plants, and a relatively rare cause of allergy. Because pine pollen is heavy, it tends to fall straight down from the tree and does not scatter in the wind, rarely reaching human noses. (  If your allergies are acting up, it is probably another plant that is blooming at the same time (oaks?) that is causing it.   

I know we need for nature to reproduce, and it is nice to have pine trees.  But it will be so nice when this pollen season is over because pine pollen certainly does make a mess of clothes, cars, animals, and houses.

Just Peachy

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




In other areas of the South there is very cold weather.   Yesterday there was snow in Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia, and it soon moved into the Upper South and beyond.  Here in the Coastal South, we had some cold, windy weather with temps almost reaching freezing last night. 

Today, the peach trees in the back garden started opening a few of their flowers with the promise of more to come.  It seems Mother Nature is not going to be deterred from bringing forth spring even though Old Man Winter is trying so hard to keep a strong grip on the weather.

Everybody’s Favorite

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


Judging from the hits on the posting I did last year, Japanese Magnolias must be everybody’s favorite flowering tree.  That entry has been my most popular one – over 3,000 hits so far since its debut on February 21st.  Everyday there is someone who looks at that particular one, and I still get questions about these very pretty and early-blooming trees.  I find this very surprising because while I think these are lovely, I didn’t realize how many people must really like this particular tree.


This year the Japanese Magnolias started blooming about two weeks ago, and in New Orleans, about 30 miles south of us, they have been blooming even longer.  There are many in the gardens of the houses that I pass on my way to work, and all the trees are covered in blooms.  When you see one of these trees in full bloom in late winter when most everything else is bare or dead, you realize that nothing could be more lovely, as these photos of my next door neighbor’s tree shows.








Showing Up Early

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


Yesterday, I wrote about a canna that has flowered already, and it is only the beginning of January.  Of course, I do believe that the plastic dropcloth that accidentally covered it is the reason for the early bloom.  But that dropcloth can’t explain what I saw in my next door neighbor’s garden.  (Gardeners suffering in snow-covered areas might want to look away about now.)  Blooming at least a month early is her Redbud tree.




It evidently has been blooming for a few days, but coming home late when it is almost dusk, I just didn’t see it until this morning.   This tree is one of the earliest Redbud’s to bloom in the neighborhood, and it usually means spring and warmer weather is here, but I just can’t help thinking it is too early to count on not having any more cold weather.  I have daffodils that are just starting to pop up, and this tree is already blooming – unreal.  We have had warmer weather lately, but it hasn’t been that warm.   Last January was very cold and maybe that is why it didn’t bloom until February, but I really don’t remember this tree blooming so early before.

I am just not going to worry now about a late freeze, I am just going to enjoy what nature is giving us even if it is extra early.

O Tannenbaum

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


O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree
How loyal are your leaves/needles!
You’re green not only
in the summertime,
No, also in winter when it snows.
O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree
How loyal are your leaves/needles!


O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree
You can please me very much!
How often has not at Christmastime
A tree like you given me such joy!
O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree,
You can please me very much!

O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree
Your dress wants to
teach me something:
Your hope and durability
Provide comfort and strength
at any time.
O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree,
That’s what your dress should
teach me.


I hope everyone has a happy, safe, and enjoyable Christmas Day.

Finally Fall Color

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


A few weeks ago, I was grousing about not having any pretty fall colors here in the Gulf South while all the more northern bloggers were displaying absolutely gorgeous photos of trees in all their autumnal glory.  Well, we finally got some color for Thanksgiving.  We have had enough cool weather to finally start the color process.


The Bradford pear tree went from green to orange in just about two days.






With the bright blue skies that seemed to really set off the colors, this made up for not having the colors show up earlier.


The crepemytle tree has turned a lovely golden color.  We don’t have many trees that change color as you can see from the green in the background, so the ones that do change are extra special.




I know that most bloggers farther north have already moved on to winter photos and are probably tired of the autumn colors by now, but come springtime, we southern bloggers will have a head start on spring flowers, so I guess it all evens out.

It’s the Berries

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

Now that winter is just around the corner and there are few plants flowering, there still are other things to bring a little color to a garden on dark, cold days.  Berries.   There are many plants around with colorful berries and as I walked around today, I was surprised at how many plants have berries still on them.



 The Bradford pear is sporting ‘berries’ with autumnal colors.  Very appropriate for Thanksgiving.



The Beauty Berry bush still has some magenta berries left though the birds should devour these soon.  The bushes farther away from the house have all been stripped clean.



The pyracantha growing along a nearby road is loaded with bright orange-red berries.  It won’t be long before the cedar waxwings come through and feast on them.



The white berries on the tallow tree, which is finally showing some fall color, show why this tree has the nickname of popcorn tree.



The wild privet has thousands of these black berries.  While the berries are attractive, the numbers show why I am constantly pulling up seedlings of this invasive tree.



The glossy, black berry of the lirope reminds me of jet beads. 




The white berries of the Night Blooming Jasmine bring an unusual colored berry to the garden.  Too bad they don’t grow low to the ground like the lirope.  The glossy black and white combination would be nice.



Now to move on to the red and green combinations which are an anticipation of the Christmas season.   This Christmas Ardesia (above) keeps its red berries all year.  And, this holly (below) has just started showing its little jewels.





Nandina is another common plant but its red berries are welcomed come winter.  There still were a few berries around that I didn’t photograph – ligustrum, Bradford holly, and the rose hips which are just starting to turn colors.   All these berries prove that flowers aren’t the only thing that brings color to a garden.



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


How could I forget?  On GBBD I forgot to post photos of the two best things in the garden.  I can’t believe I didn’t show a full shot of the cassia tree and the confederate rose.






These are by far the two best flowering plants in the garden right now

Hail to the Queen

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

While visiting my sister’s home, I was impressed by her Queen Palms which were in bloom and also had large hanging fruit clusters.  Queen Palms are hardy to at least 20 degrees, so they do well in the New Orleans area.  Hers are about twenty feet tall and could get as tall as forty or fifty feet.  As with all palms, these are so graceful with their fronds swaying in the breeze.

The first thing I noticed was the large flower cluster.  It was bright golden yellow, about three feet long, and buzzing with bees.

Also, on the trees were the huge hanging clusters of fruit.  They must have been at least four to five feet long.  There were hundreds of green oval fruit which made for a spectacular showing.  My sister has three palms around her pond and each one had at least two of these long, pendulous bunches of palm fruit.  The green dates will soon turn orange which should make for an impressive sight.

I don’t know about having all that fruit dropping from above, but with the beautiful flower clusters and the huge hanging date clusters, at this time of year, I think I could put up with their falling.

Tonight, we are having our coldest night so far (low in the mid 30’s) which is just the beginning of cold weather for the next few months.  Anyway, it is nice to be reminded of tropical palms, the warm weather they symbolize, and that winter won’t last forever.

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