Bud to Flower to Seed

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

With the garden winding down now that fall is here, there is the opportunity to study the remaining flowers that stand out because there is so little competition. One that caught my eye the other day was the Clemetis crispa flowers. Usually this vine doesn’t flower that much at this time of year, but I think that the cooler weather and moisture is encouraging it to make up for the paltry showing this summer.

One thing I like about this flower is how different the bud and open flower is. The slim bud reminds me of a chandelier drop.



The open flower is bell-shaped with curly edges. It reminds me of a little hat. Maybe something a fairy would wear in the garden.



The seed heads of clematis vines can be very interesting. This seed head in particular seems very appropriate for this time of year – Halloween.



The different each stages of this little flower amazes me.

It is nice to be able to take the time to carefully look at individual plants and flowers and to see the change from bud to flower to seed.


Happy Valentine’s Day

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

Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody. Aren’t these the cutest little roses?



I have already received my Valentine’s present from my sweetie – three clematis vines. So far, I have only grown clematis vines that are known to do well here – sweet autumn clematis and Clematis crispa. Since many of the large flowered ones are reported not to thrive here along the Gulf Coast, I have been hesitant to buy them. Now, I am going to branch out and try some of these clematis vines. The three I am now going to plant are Venosa Violacea, H.F. Young, and Nellie Moser. I am almost positive the first two are grown by my neighbor (she doesn’t remember the names) and do very well for her. I am hoping to post some photos of the blooms in early summer.

I hope everyone has a very happy Valentine’s Day and is able to spend some time with those they love.

Taking Good Advice

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

It takes some time for many plants to really get established. Three years ago, I bought a Queen’s Wreath vine (Petrea volubilis) on the recommendation of a nursery employee. He assured me it was a gorgeous, blooming vine, and since he had steered me to some wonderful plants before, I trusted him. The first year, nothing. I wasn’t concerned or disappointed because I thought that this vine would only bloom in the spring time. Second year, a few blooms. This year more blooms in the spring, but then it has also started blooming in the summer.



That employee assured me that this would grow into a showstopper, and I think my vine is finally on the right tract. It only needed a little time. I am so glad I took a chance on Queen’s Wreath and listened to that nursery worker’s advice.


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

Everyone seems to be remarking about the effects of the unusually cold winter we all had. Effects that are still being seen now. I lost a few plants that were tropicals, but I also seem to have lost a few plants that are hardy here and have returned in previous years. I haven’t given up entirely on some of these plants returning especially after what has popped up and was noticed this weekend.



Yes, the sweet potato vine, Margarite, has returned. I had this variety plus other sweet potato vines growing all around the garden, and they have reliably returned for about five years now. With the unusual cold, especially in January, I was certain that I would have to replace them this year. The thick layer of pine straw mulch must have protected the tuber enough so that it has survived. This is the only one so far that has shown up, but I am hopeful that others will not be to far behind.

I noticed a few of the caladiums in the front garden have started showing up. I didn’t think any would return after the cold, wet winter we had. They are in a well-drained area, but still, I didn’t think any would return this year. Maybe this winter wasn’t as bad as I thought. Some of these “survivors” certainly have surprised me by surviving.

Third Year

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

Third year must be the charm. They say that it is the third year that perennials are in the ground when they finally start growing well. It’s the old saying, “The first year they sleep; the second year they creep; the third year they leap.” Well, my clematis seems to be proof this old saying is true.

Three years ago, I planted Clematis crispa, and it did produce a few flowers that first summer. Last summer, it was better. But, this year is certainly a big improvement.



This year, even though we had a very cold winter that lasted into March, this clematis came back faster, bigger, and better. In the past, the flowers didn’t start showing up until June. Even though everything this year seems to be blooming at least two to four weeks later than normal (again, due to the late, cold weather), the delicate, blue, bell-shaped flowers have been showing up for over two weeks.



I had wanted this vine for several years before I finally found one at a local garden show. It has really been a nice addition to the garden, lending a delicate quality that was needed.


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

I have to learn patience. Whenever I buy a new plant, many times I have unrealistic expectations. I always expect plants to grow faster and bigger than is really possible. Perennials need time to get established, but I have a hard time accepting that fact.

If I buy a plant, I want it to flower the first year. I have such a hard time waiting for plants to mature. Case in point, two years ago I purchased an Queen’s Wreath (Petrea volubilis) vine on the recommendation of a nursery worker. He said when it bloomed, it was gorgeous. Since he had steered me to other wonderful plants, I bought this vine. I knew that it was too late for the vine to bloom that year, but surely it would bloom the next year. No such luck. Nice foliage, but no flowers. How disappointing!

This year, however, the first blooms have appeared. It seems that this vine only needed a little time. While not many blooms are appearing, at least I know what they look like and what to expect as it grows larger.



Many plants that I have been disappointed with have finally grown big enough to make a nice showing now when they bloom. I now know that the same is going to happen with the Queen’s Wreath. It is not the plants fault that I have been disappointed, it is my own impatience – something I need to work on.

A Lovely Sight

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

The Chinese wisterias are in bloom.



I have loved this spectacular spring-blooming vine since I was a child. This must have been a very popular vine in the 50’s and 60’s because I seem to remember seeing it growing in nearly every neighborhood. We had a next door neighbor who had a large arbor that was covered with wisteria flowers. I remember thinking that this looked so romantic.

I do not have any of this wisteria in my garden since it is just too rampant, but the neighbor across the street has it, so I get to enjoy it without worrying it will take over.



Every morning when I leave to go to work, this view is the first thing I see as I walk out the front door. Such a lovely sight.

Spring Yellow

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

A visit from my sister who lives in Virginia and a big birthday weekend have not given me much time to garden or blog. I will have a lot of catching up to do in the next few days. It seems like every day there is something new showing up or blooming in the garden. This is how gardening is supposed to be in the Deep South. Extended cold periods and just about everything brown is really unknown to us.

The Carolina jasmine has started blooming.



It is not only the bright yellow flowers that I like about this vine or the fact that it blooms so early. What I really like about this plant is how all of a sudden it just bursts into bloom. It seems like one day there is only leaves and the next day – Bam – flowers all over.



The only down side to this lovely spring-flowering vine is how short the bloom season is. I wished it would have those spring yellow flowers for a few months rather than weeks.



Ornamental Vines Entwine

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


Earlier this summer, when my sister and I went plant shopping, I bought several sweet potato vines.  I already grow Margarite, the chartreuse one, Sweet Caroline Green Yellow,  and Ace of Spades a dark black one.  On this plant buying outing, I bought three more – Sweet Caroline Red (maple-shaped leaf), Sweet Caroline Sweetheart Red (heart-shaped leaf), and Sweet Caroline Bewitched Purple (frilly leafed).  Of course, when I bought these tree new vines, I had no place in mind as to where I would put them.  (I know , I know, you are not supposed to buy plants without having a plan where they are supposed to go, but what can I say?  Like you’ve never done this.)  Finally, I decided to plant them in hanging baskets and hang them from a shepherd’s hook.  At first the plants were scrawny, but now that shepherd’s hook is a focal point in the back garden.


Swt Potato Vines (redu)


In the center basket is Sw. Caroline Bewitched, to the right is Sw. Caroline Red, and to the left is Sw. Caroline Sweetheart Red.  These three tend to be a little more compact than the earlier ornamental sweet potato vines such as Margarite and Blackie.  At the base of the shepherd’s hook is a container with Sweet Caroline Bronze and Alabama Sunset coleus.  I am certainly pleased with how these hanging baskets look.

It should be easy to overwinter these baskets, but come springtime, I think I will be placing them in the garden.  Maybe by that time I will have figured out where to plant them.

Autumn Already?

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


The sweet autumn clematis has started blooming, and this got me to thinking about plant names.   This one in particular because it certainly doesn’t bloom in autumn around here.  Today’s high was 92 and that doesn’t sound like autumn or even the beginning of autumn, does it?  Anyway, the name doesn’t matter when it comes to such a lovely vine.


St Aut Clematis (redu)


It has just started blooming, and it has a ton of buds, so very soon this area will be covered in white flowers that have an unbeatable fragrance.  The flowers will be followed by seed heads.  Because so many seeds are produced, this vine can be invasive.  Around here, I just pull up the ones I do not want, but you do see these Japanese natives growing  and blooming in the woods around here.  This clematis can grow up to thirty feet, but since it blooms on new wood, cutting it almost back to the ground in February keeps mine in check.


St Aut Clematis 2 (redu)


In the above photo you can see all the tiny buds just about ready to start opening.   Maybe this will be in full bloom for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day.  Then, I’ll certainly have some great photos for you to see.

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