Apple Blossom Time

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

I remember my parents playing an old song from WWII called I’ll Be With You in Apple Blossom Time.  Of course, the lyrics were referring to apple trees blooming in May, but our apple blossom time has nothing to do with apples or May.  The only apple blossoms around here are the Apple Blossom amaryllis that are blooming now.

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Apple Blossom has been one of my mother’s favorites for years, but I was never, somehow, that impressed with it.  I tend to like the ones that are vividly colored.  However, when I started putting in more perennials and was looking in particular for something pink to go with the azaleas and lorepetulum that would be blooming together, I decided to try some Apple Blossom bulbs.  I started out buying two from Wal-Mart one year and then gradually added a few bulbs each year.  I have a nice little grouping now.

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We are lucky to be able to plant these bulbs outside in the ground.  I usually wait until April to plant outside the ones I purchased in the fall for winter blooms.  The next year, these planted amaryllis start to bloom in early spring.

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Now, when I look at these beautiful flowers, I can not believe that at one time I was not impressed by them.  Now, if I can only stop humming I’ll Be Seeing You in Apple Blossom Time whenever I pass them.

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Hello/Goodbye

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

 

Right now, when we are on the cusp of spring, there are many winter flowers that are telling us goodby till next winter, and there are many more flowers that are telling us hello.  I hate to see the last of some of our winter bloomers.  Today, I took a photo of the last Yuletide sasanqua camellia.  This little camellia has been blooming since the first of November when I bought it.  You can’t beat almost four and half months of blooms.

 

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The Lady Clare camellia has also been blooming for a long time, but it, too, is coming towards the end of its bloom cycle.  While this is not the last one, it looks like there won’t be many more blooming.  Probably by the end of this week, this camellia too will be finished blooming until next winter.

 

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But, spring time is a time of renewal, so what is now just starting to bloom as the ones above are finished?  The first of the amaryllis plants opened its flower today.  This particular variety is always the first to open.

 

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Along the road, outside our subdivision, is an area that is left wild.  The Cherokee roses along this road have just started blooming.  This is a spectacular sight when you see the area covered with these large,white roses.  This is a very large rose bush with canes 10 to 15 feet long.  It does take a very large area since it can grow so big.

 

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So, just as Mother Nature has slowly taken away our winter bloomers, she thoughtfully has provided new ones to take their place.

Happy for Warm Days

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

After what seemed like a winter of endless cold, cloudy days, the weather certainly has changed.  It looks like warm weather has finally pushed Old Man Winter on his way.  Today it was 76 degrees, and the forecast for the next seven days show highs of 78 and lows of about 60 degrees.  Yea!!!

With all this warm weather, more and more signs of nature waking up from winter are appearing.  Today, I noticed that the first of the amaryllis blooms will be opening any day now.  These amaryllis are planted in the ground and bloom in the spring.  We are able to grow these bulbs in the garden because we do not have severe winters.  Even though I know what these amaryllis look like, I can hardly wait for the buds to open.

Opening any day now.

Opening any day now.

The purple freesia has started blooming and is joining the yellow ones that I wrote about last week.  The area of the back garden where they are planted certainly smells wonderful with the scent from these flowers.  That is one of the things I miss during winter – the aroma of the flowers in a garden.

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In early February, the boxwood started sending out new shoots.  At that time, I sheared this hedge back thinking that this would be enough until maybe a light trimming in the summer.  Today, I notice that the whole hedge has leafed out in that lovely spring green that I love so well.  Maybe I ought to trim back these plants every year in late winter.

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Finally, one more photo of the azaleas that are now just about in full bloom.  These are the ones in the side garden where I can sit for quite a spell enjoying these lovely flowering shrubs.

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I know when the dog days of summer are here, I will be longing for cold weather, but, right now, I am so happy finally to see warm, sunny days.

Valentine’s Day

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

 

 

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Sonnets from the Portuguese, XIV

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

 

If thou must love me, let it be for nought

Except for love’s sake.  Do not say

“I love her for her smile – her look – her way

Of speaking gently, for a trick of thought,

That falls in well with mine, and certs brought

A sense of pleasant ease on such a day”-

For these things in themselves, Beloved, may

Be changed, or change for thee, – and love, so wrought,

May be unwrought so.  Neither love me for

Thy own dear pity wiping my cheeks dry, –

A creature might forget to weep, who bore

Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby!

But love me for love’s sake, that nevermore

Thou mayest love on, through love’s eternity.

 

I hope everyone has a very happy Valentine’s Day!  Enjoy it with a loved one.

Mid-Winter Pick Me Up

“Mid-Winter Pick Me Up”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

As I have stated before, I don’t buy Amaryllis bulbs for Christmas blooms.  I wait and pot them up just before or just after Christmas so that they will bloom in mid-winter when a dash of color is really needed.  The last two weeks have been extremely deary days around here – clouds, rain, cold temperatures.  Down here in the Gulf Coast, we are used to warmer, sunnier days.

The Pink Diamond amaryllis I bought months ago and planted after Christmas already had a bloom stalk showing.  It quickly grew and displayed its buds which soon was showing a hint of color.  It wasn’t until last week that I could tell it was going to be pink.  (I have had several instances of a plant’s bloom not being what it was labeled.)  The recent cold weather slowed the opening of the buds to a crawl.  Finally, last night when I checked on the flowers, one flower was almost fully opened.  Today, it was open enough to show its true beauty.

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This flower, with its gorgeous, dark pink blooms, certainly lifts my spirits.  I am glad I waited to plant these bulbs since they now give a much needed mid-winter pick me up.

Update:  I don’t think this amaryllis is Pink Diamond.  After looking at the label that came with it, there should be a white star in the center.  I have a feeling this is Pink Surprise instead.  I guess I may have to wait until it blooms again to be sure because sometimes the first flowers of a plant is not exactly like they will be when it is better established.  Either way, I like the color of this amaryllis and am not disappointed if it turns out to be something besides Pink Diamond.

Only Three

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

In reading several garden blogs today, I found that many were discussing a Desert Plant Challenge hosted by Shirl’s Gardenwatch.  This got me thinking.  What three plants would I take to a desert island?  Only three?  How do you decide?  This is tough.

After much thought I know I would definitely take flowering plants.  The first one would be a hydrangea.  That is among one of my favorite blooming shrubs.  I like not only the big clusters of flowers which last a long time, but also the foliage.  The leaves are so cool to the touch in the middle of summer.

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Next, I think I would have to go with a large camellia shrub.  Again, it would be because of the flowers.  Camellias bloom over a long period of time, so there would be flowers for weeks if not months.

Last of all would be an amaryllis.  If I only could bring one, I know it would make seeds or bulb offshoots and then there would be more.  I think the amaryllis flower is one of the prettiest.  So tall and stately.  Long lasting, too.  A perfect companion on a desert island.

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Think about which three plants you would take to a desert island, and then stop by Shirl’s blog to leave a link or a comment about your selections.  It will be interesting to see what three plants people can’t live without.

A New Pink Diamond

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


In my effort to have more blooming perennials, for the last few years, I have been planting amaryllis bulbs in the garden.  These plants are hardy here and do very well growing outside.  Last year I added two new varieties, Elvas and Appleblossom to the ones already planted.  I have been looking to plant some pink ones and, fortunately, I have found some.  Wal-Mart had their bulbs out a few weeks ago, and for the first time they had something besides Red Lion and Appleblossom.

 

I picked up two Pink Diamond amaryllis and am hoping they are as pretty as the picture shows.  I plan on starting them in containers and then planting them in the garden in April.  When I buy amaryllis that are meant for forcing, I usually do not plant them until very close to Christmas or just after Christmas.  I do this because the house is decorated for the holidays, and these extra flowers are really not needed.  But, after all the decorations come down, the blooming amaryllis is a cheerful addition to those gray winter days that always seem to follow the holidays.  Another reason is that with the decorations put away, these flowers stand out and are not lost amongst all the holiday adornments.

 

 

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Pink Diamond should be gracing the dining room come January, and, then, next year it will be blooming in the garden.

Big Red Trumpets

This post, “Big Red Trumpets” was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

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I have many amaryllis growing in the garden.  The March 15th posting showed the red and white ones in bloom, and today shows the first of the solid red opening up.  I am not sure of the name of these because they were given to me by a co-worker who didn’t learn the name from the neighbor who gave them to her.  I do not think that they are Red Lion because they are not the same color as the Red Lions that are in the garden from years ago.  These seem to be a bit more blue-red than the Red Lions I have.  They sport very big flowers.  These red beauties are planted in the circle garden, the entry garden, and the patio garden.  As you can tell, I was fortunate to receive many of these bulbs from my friend over the years.  I must have a total of about 75 bulbs in those three places, and when they all bloom it is a very nice spring display.

 

So now I am waiting for the Appleblossoms that are planted in the garden to bloom, but it will be a while – the stalks are only about four inches high now.  Also there are some white amaryllis that are not even showing buds, but those are always the last to show up.  The soft orange ones I received from a friend last year should be the next to open.

 

Amaryllis can be grown in the ground if you are in at least zone 8 or higher.  They need well-drained soil and should be planted with about half of its nose out of the ground.  They need sun but do best with some afternoon shade.  Space about a foot apart and don’t forget to mulch esp. in fall and winter.  Those potted bulbs we use for the holidays can be planted in the garden in the spring.  If you live in an area that is too cold to plant them in the ground, then check out this site from the North Carolina Extension Service that explains how you can have them bloom again.

Winter Blooms

This post, “Winter Blooms” was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

It has been cold all day, but these pictures I shot certainly brighten things up.  Thanks to Carol of May Dreams Gardens for starting Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day.  So these are my first pictures for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day.

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2008-112-elva-amaryllis-reduced-v2003.jpgElva Amaryllis

copy-2-of-2008-112-red-gerbera-reduced-v2-019.jpg Gerber Daisy

The red Camellia is part of the “borrowed” landscape.  It is in my neighbor’s yard, but, because of its placement, I get to enjoy it more than she does.

The Elva amaryllis is the same as I posted earlier in the month, but now, with some cooler temperatures, it is pinker.  I like it this way better.

Last spring I planted red Gerber daisies in the entry garden, and they have not really stopped blooming.  In fact, I can see that they seem to be putting out a new spurt of blooms.  By the end of the week I should have flowers on just about every plant.  Also, I can see where a few have multiplied.  This has really been a success story.

Amaryllis Bulbs

This post, “Amaryllis Bulbs” was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

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With the weather warming up into the low 60’s, my sister and I just had to strike out and see if we could find something to buy to satisfy our “gardening habit”.  We went to a local nursery, Half Moon Gardens, where I bought three Elvas amaryllis bulbs.  They were on sale.  I’ll enjoy them now and then later plant them in the garden around the first of April. 

I also purchased three apple blossom amaryllis bulbs earlier in the fall.  I did not plant them up until recently, and they are just starting to show the buds.  When they finish, I will plant them next to the two I planted last year.  I’m slowly trying to put more and more perennials in, so that I won’t have to do so much annual planting.  Here in south Louisiana amaryllis can survive in the ground and usually do not lose their leaves until late winter.  Before you know it they put out leaves and start blooming.

Last year a very generous gardener gave me about 15 soft orange-colored amaryllis bulbs.  They were in bloom when I received them, and I just planted them en masse in the garden.  One of them went to seed, so I sprouted the seeds in water in a shallow dish.  When they had two leaves and a root, I planted them in pots.  They have slowly grown, and I think that this spring they can be repotted to bigger pots and by next year into the ground they go.

2008-105-amaryllis-seedlings-reduced-size-v3.jpgAmaryllis seedlings

Last year I ordered about a dozen white amaryllis bulbs from Easy To Grow Bulbs.  They were on special.  I planted them in early February and two did bloom.  I wasn’t expecting any to flower then, so that was a nice surprise.  I am looking forward to them blooming in March or early April.

About three years ago, the secretary where I work gave me a ton of large deep red amaryllis bulbs.  They multiply very quickly.  I have them in two beds.  One is the entry garden, and the other is a circle garden on the south side of our property.  When they are in bloom, they are spectacular – huge and deep crimson.  Now that I have a digital camera, I can’t wait to get photos of those.

I have a few Red Lion bulbs, but after getting those deep red ones, I am not so wild about Red Lion – too “orangey” red. 

I would like to get some more pink amaryllis bulbs.  I have one, Best Seller, that I bought years ago that is very pretty, but unfortunately it has not multiplied.  The price, of some of the bulbs I would like, is too high to buy enough to make a show in the garden.  But, maybe I’ll be lucky and find them on sale one day.

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