Please, No More Winter

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

Are you like me in hoping that this Groundhog Day’s prediction will be for an early spring?


Punxatawny Phil says yes, but Staten Island’s Chuck says no. I think I’ll go with Chuck because I want to garden.


New Growth

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

At this time of year, when winter is slowly fading away but spring is not here yet, it is always thrilling to see new growth. It seems as if new leaves just pop up overnight. The Easter lilies are already up and making a stark contrast with the dead leaves of palm grass behind them. I am hoping the palm grass comes back, soon.



The Triumphator lilies that were placed in the garden last spring, are coming up also, and they seemed to have multiplied. Yah!



Most of my daylilies are evergreen ones, but a few are not. The dormant ones, too, are now showing green growth. Misty Mayhaw daylilies are up and seem vigorous in their early growth and should look very good this year.



Finally, some of the shrubs are showing signs of life. The hydrangeas are opening their leaf buds already. This photo was taken a few days ago, and I am sure that by now the leaves are even bigger.



While we still will probably have a few days of cold weather yet to come, there are definite signs that spring will arrive on time.

A Year Later

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

What a difference a year makes!  Last year at this time we were covered in snow, something unheard of in South Louisiana in early December.  (We very rarely have the white stuff show up here at all.)  It was a glorious day with picture book settings all over the area.  It was so strange to see our Deep South home looking like it was set in a winter wonderland.



Fast forward to this year – nothing but rain, rain, rain, and more rain.  We have only had two non-rainy days this month, and this month is now officially the wettest December we have ever had – 7.21 inches – and it is only December 12th.  Because this is usually only a chilly month, I am still able to work out in the garden.  But with the last four weekends being nothing but rainy, nothing is getting done.   I haven’t even been able to rake up the pine needles I use for winter mulch.  Thank goodness we do not have many hardwoods because wet leaves on a lawn can be a real problem.  No weeding is getting done (yes, weeds and grass still grow here during the winter), no trimming is getting done, and no planting is getting done (yes, we still are able to plant many things in the winter).

Another problem with all the clouds and rain is that my winter annuals aren’t going to be getting the sun they need.  If something doesn’t change soon, I am going to have the lankiest violas  and petunias around.  I am starting to worry about my caladiums, too.  Because of our mild climate, I can leave them in the ground over the winter.  They are in a well-drainded area, but with all this moisture and cold temperatures around, I am getting a little concerned.  Oh, well, if they don’t make it that will give me an opportunity to plant something different.

All this rain is reportedly because of El Nino which brings in low pressure systems from the west, one after the other.  Since El Nino usually protects us from a severe hurricane season, I’ll take the rain over another Katrina. 

It would be nice, though, to have little snow instead of so much rain.

White Fog

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

Last Sunday morning, I was so surprised when I opened the front door to go out to pick up the newspaper.  Fog had rolled in overnight.  It is so unusual to get fog at this time of the year.  The garden looked so peaceful and serene in such an atmosphere.  I was immediately reminded of the poem “White Fog”.






White Fog

Sara Teasdale

Heaven-invading hills are drowned
In wide moving waves of mist,
Phlox before my door are wound
In dripping wreaths of amethyst.

Ten feet away the solid earth
Changes into melting cloud,
There is a hush of pain and mirth,
No bird has heart to speak aloud.

Here in a world without a sky,
Without the ground, without the sea,
The one unchanging thing is I,
Myself remains to comfort me.

Rainy Days and Shampoo

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


Do you ever get sick of having the same weather all the time?  It has been raining an awful lot lately, and today was no exception except it waited until I was home from work about five minutes before the rains started.  So far today, we have received just over an inch of rain.  I have a long list of garden chores that need to be done this month, but as of today, nothing has gotten done.  I mean nothing.  Either it is raining, just finished raining or about to start raining.  So discouraging.

But, on a lighter note, one plant that is doing very well with all this rain is the pine cone ginger.  I know I have posted a lot about this new plant (for me), but bear with me.  With all this rain, spaces on the “pine cone” have filled up with water.


Pinecone Ginger (redu)


The other day when I went to take this photo, I squeezed the “cone” and was surprised to find how fragrant the water was.  It had a honeysuckle aroma, and I could feel a lanolin-type softness in the liquid.  I understand fully now why this is also called shampoo ginger.  The liquid I felt would probably make a great shampoo for your hair as the people in Asia and Hawaii have found and use it for just this purpose.

I don’t know how much longer the red pine cone will last, but it does not seem to be fading yet.  I hope all this rain doesn’t bring about an early demise.

Blue Skies Again

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


Another early morning rain shower that left .28 inches of rain on the garden came through here, but after that, there were blue skies and sunshine.  After nine days of rain, seeing some sun certainly made for a cheerful day.  Day after day of cloudy weather can get you down.

More mushrooms are out after all the rain.


Mushroom 1 (redu)


Mushroom 2 (redu)


This last mushroom popped up next to a brick and has enveloped part of the brick and a stick as it developed.  I couldn’t remove the stick without destroying the mushroom which I didn’t want to do.


Mushroom 3 (redu)


Besides the mushrooms popping up all over the lawn and garden, one other thing has shown up because of the rains.  Fire ants!  Yes, the fire ants are trying to rebuild their home, and unfortunately they have chosen an area in the circle garden.  I guess because this area has raised beds, the ants think this will be the ideal place to get away from accumulating water.


Fire Ant Mound (redu)


I don’t use pesticides as a rule.  I find I really don’t need to, but I do use something to kill these ants.  They can be vicious.  If you have never been bitten by  fire ants, then you have no idea how painful it can be.  I usually get a welt which will often become infected.  These ants are nothing to fool around with as anyone from the South can tell you.

I sure hope today’s blue skies stay around and that the rain, mushrooms, and ants don’t.

Too Much of a Good Thing

“Too Much of a Good Thing”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

The old saying, be careful what you wish for, has certainly proven very accurate for me.  Just a few days ago, I was remarking that the little, much-needed rain we had was wonderful and more would be welcomed.  While it has been extremely dry this summer and especially the last three weeks, we certainly have started catching up.  So far this week we have had 4.75 inches of rain, and right now, it just started pouring again.  I wouldn’t be surprised if we make five inches before midnight.  Five inches in one week is a lot of rain, but what is troublesome is that rain is predicted for every day next week.  The gods must be laughing at me right now and saying, “Well, you wanted rain.”

After our first rain shower, I posted a picture of a pretty, pale yellow mushroom that popped up in a container.  Yesterday, when I pulled into the driveway I couldn’t believe my eyes when I spied a huge, reddish brown mushroom the size of a dinner plate (and we had only had 3.25 inches of rain by then).

Lg Mushroom (redu)

Look at the stem on this fungus.  It’s huge!  With all the rain, I guess it became top-heavy and just toppled over.

Lg Mushroom stem (redu)

This morning, when I ventured outside between showers, I found puddles all over the lawn.  One good thing was that all the plants looked hydrated and happy.  Of course, if the rain keeps up like they say it will, things may get too water-logged.  Seems like there never is a happy medium.

The back corner of the garden had about two inches of water, which is about what other low areas of the property had also.  It will drain off fairly rapidly, but with more rain, there may be more standing water tomorrow.

Water-logged back corner (redu)

Right now, I am still being cautiously optimistic that all this rain is good for the garden.  I just hope I don’t get too much more of a good thing.

We Got Rain

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


We have been so dry lately, over 9 inches below normal.  I was just thinking to myself yesterday morning as I was putting out the sprinklers on the garden beds that I was awfully tired of watering.  It seems that that was just about all I have done this summer.  Thankfully, yesterday about mid morning, the rains came and left about half an inch.  Just one little half an inch and look what showed up in the container of purple basil.


Mushroom in purple sage, p.01, ed., reduced to 15%


Dear hubby snapped this picture of a perfect mushroom, something we haven’t seen around here in a very long time.

Late this afternoon, we  received another 1.45 inches of rain.  A good shower that was badly needed.  I can’t believe I am writing this, but I would like to see a little more rain tomorrow, too.

An Early Fall?

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


Winter comes late in this part of the country.  It is not at all unusual for our first freeze to be in January even though our first freeze date is November 15th.   This year, however, may be a different story.  Just yesterday one of our local TV weathermen was predicting an early fall and winter.  We have been having cool fronts move through here throughout the summer bringing at least drier air if not a tiny drop in temperature.  This is very much out of the ordinary.  Usually it is late September or early October before the first one makes it through this far south.

I have started noticing a few plants seem to be thinking it is fall, too.  The blueberry bushes are already turning, something they didn’t do until November last year.


Bl Berry Fall Leaves


Of course, we will have to wait and see if the weather does actually cool off extra early this year, but I do see signs that it just might be happening.  While I look forward to cooler temps, I don’t want an extra long, cold winter.  How’s it looking where you are?  I know many areas had a much cooler summer than normal.  Do you think you will be seeing an extra early fall and winter?


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


The last few days we have had a short, summer shower every day.  Because they only last under ten minuets, they have been dropping only about .10 inches of rain, just enough to dampen everything and raise the humidity.  Late Friday afternoon, one of these small showers came through our area, but this one was a little different.  It was accompanied by a short period of very high winds and what seemed like a microburst.  We marveled at the swaying trees, and were annoyed with the plants that were pushed over and the tomatoes that were knocked off the bushes.

It wasn’t until Saturday morning that I noticed “something” in the back corner.  That’s right, a big pine tree limb was laying on top of my hibiscus plants that I have in containers.  This dead limb was huge!  It must be at least eighteen feet long and about nine inches in diameter.  All of this sitting on top of my precious hibiscus, hostas, and holly ferns after crashing through the magnolia tree.


Fallen Limb 1 (redu)


Fallen Limb 2 (redu)


Fallen Limb 3 (redu)


Because this was a dead limb, it wasn’t too difficult for me to pull it off the plants.  There has been some damage especially to my hibiscus, but with some pruning, I think they will be okay.  The limb was stopped by the containers, so the holly ferns and hostas weren’t too badly crushed as I had feared at first.  But what was so surprising was where the limb came from. 


Fallen Limb 4 (redu)


This tree is in a neighbor’s yard.  You can see where the limb broke off.  It is at least sixty feet up, and the tree is about fifty yards away from where the limb landed.  That was some microburst!

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