Showing Up Early

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

Warm weather has returned, and it has brought some spring flowers. Most of the ones that have shown up have come up earlier than usual. Considering the consistently cold temperatures we have had until just recently, it is surprising that they are blooming already.

The forsythia is showing a few flowers before its expected time, and a few of the small narcissus bulbs have opened flowers, but the one that really surprised me was the white Lady Banks rose. I pulled up in the driveway late Friday afternoon and couldn’t figure out what that white “thing” was on the rose canes. A quick walk over to that area, and I just couldn’t believe that a Lady Banks rose had opened up. This rose blooms in the spring, but never in January. Though it was only one small flower, it did lift my spirits because nothing beats spring flowers after cold winters. All these early flowers is just a teaser of things to come.



The first of the spring narcissus (paperwhites don’t count because they start blooming in November here).




Moving Day

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

I know I am going against conventional wisdom, but I don’t care. For several years now, I have been wanting to move my summer snowflake bulbs to an area where they will be in more sun. When the foliage dies down, that is the time to move bulbs, but by the time the foliage has died down, I never remember to move them since I am involved in other garden activities by then. Well, no more. Today is the day these babies get moved. They have just about finished blooming; the day is going to be perfect for gardening, and I have the perfect spot for them – what more could I ask?



There is also a clump of tete-a-tete daffodils that need to be divided, so I will probably do those at the same time.

I would like to move all my lycoris (Hurricane Lilies), too, but I don’t have a place for them prepared yet. Maybe I will get to them tomorrow and get one more chore that has been hanging over my head over with before the foliage is gone and the bulbs hard to find.

Yes, I think today will be a good moving day.

Garden Took a Cat Nap

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

With the warm weather we have been having for the last two weeks, plants have been growing by leaps and bounds. It seems like overnight the dormant daylilies go from just barely peeking out of the ground to being three inches tall. Every time I go outside I am greeted by something new.

Today as I rounded the house and went into the side garden, I was so surprised. Just two weeks ago, I took this photo of the calla lily leaves that were already about eighteen inches tall after being frozen back to the ground by the earlier cold weather. (In my garden, calla lilies can stay in the ground year round.)



I was surprised how fast they had recovered. Now, imagine my surprise when today I saw the first calla lily flower.



While I would have to go check my garden journals to be sure, I am fairly confident this is the earliest a calla lily flower has shown up here. This is just one more example of how all the plants seem to be coming back from winter earlier than ever. I am beginning to think my garden did not go to sleep this past winter at all; it only took a cat nap.


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

One definition of reliable is dependable. When it comes to spring flowering bulbs, many of the most popular ones will not repeat bloom or do well here along the Gulf Coast which is why I love to look at the photos on the blogs that feature scores of daffodils, hyacinths, tulips, etc. Because we warm up so quickly or have a short cold period, these bulbs are not widely grown here since they do not reliably bloom every spring. With garden space at a premium, only those bulbs that can be depended on to produce are allowed to remain. There are a few narcissus that will succeed here, and one of those is Tete a tete, a small, extra-early blooming jonquil.

Today, the first ones opened, and already my garden is looking a great deal more cheerful.



Yes, these little jonquils are reliable. I have had them in my garden for at least fifteen years where they have multiplied well and bloomed every year. Looks like this will be a year to divide them and spread them around.

While the Tazetta narcissus bloomed in late December and early January, the coming of these small, reliable jonquils certainly makes it feel as if spring is really here.

Hurricane Lilies

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

The peak of hurricane season is around the 10th of September. This is also the time that the hurricane lilies start to bloom. Hurricane lilies (lycoris radiata) or red spider lilies have started flowering. When my sister reported that hers were already blooming almost two weeks ago and mine were not, I was afraid that none of mine would bloom since these bulbs are notorious for being erratic bloomers. (Usually because they are overcrowded or the foliage is damaged by winter freezes) But, I shouldn’t have worried. Mine were just a little behind hers.



These tall, leafless flower spikes just seem to pop up from nowhere. I have several areas throughout the garden with these bulbs, but, so far this year, only one area is showing any blooms. Maybe the other areas are just a little slower.

I have been thinking that maybe I should dig up all my spider lily bulbs and plant them in one area. That way when they start flowering, it will make a better show. A large area of these red flowers with the long stamens would look better than just having them scattered about the garden. If I decide to do this, I will have to wait until spring when the foliage starts dying back. Gives me some time to prepare a bed for them.

I’d rather have hurricane lilies than hurricanes, and so far this year, it looks like we will only have the flowers.

Blooming Like Normal

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

This past winter, my agapanthus foliage was frozen back. This was the first time that this has ever happened. Usually, the agapanthus comes through the winter just fine in my zone 8 garden. In late January, when I saw the dead foliage, I was panicked. I was afraid there would be no blooms this summer. Fortunately, several readers told me not to worry that theirs freezes back and still blooms. I shouldn’t have worried; mine are blooming like normal.





With everything so topsy-turvey around here (i.e. oil spill), it is so nice to have some things that are normal.

Big Flowers

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

Spring is not my favorite time of the year. Autumn is my preferred season, but the garden does look its best in springtime. One of the reasons I think that that my garden looks so good at this time of year is the abundance of big flowers. Right now the big guys showing up are the amaryllis. In the last few posts I have featured the red, salmon, white, and Appleblossom amaryllises. Well, recently two more have opened to add to the show.

The first is an old-fashioned red that my sister gave me. While the flowers are a little smaller than the other more modern amaryllis, it still is a lovely flower.



The next one is a lovely pink amaryllis. When I bought this in the fall of 2009, it was labeled “Pink Diamond” and should have a white star center. As you can see, no white center in this one, but I don’t mind because I really wanted some pink amaryllis, and this one is so pretty. However, it is frustrating when things are mislabeled.



Small flowers that show up in abundance, azaleas, for instance, make a great showing, but having fewer large flowers also is good. The big guys really stand out on their own. After the amaryllis fade, the lilies take over. As a matter of fact, the first Triumphator lily opened yesterday. Looks like I will have a few more weeks of the big flowers making an appearance before summer’s smaller blooms take over the show.

Better Late Than Never

“Better Late Than Never”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

Just as most other bloggers have noted, spring-flowering plants here are at least two to three weeks late in displaying their blooms. Usually, by this time, the amaryllis that are planted in the garden have almost finished blooming. But, not this year. The first of the garden amaryllis finally opened up.



All the other amaryllis varieties are just showing buds or buds on short stems, so it will be a few more days or a week before we see those flowers.

I didn’t buy any amaryllis this fall for winter blooms, and I have regretted that decision. Since these flowering bulbs are just about one of my favorite flowers, I always eagerly look forward to seeing their blooms in the garden. Looks like I finally will be enjoying a few weeks of of their beauty.

Spring Snowflakes

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

Spring arrived yesterday at 1:32 pm (EST), and today, the first full day of spring was so unspringlike. The last week has consisted of warm, sunny, mild days, but now that spring is officially here, it is cold and windy. Today seemed like a late November day. Our low was an unseasonably 37 degrees, and the highs never got out of the mid 40’s. Combine that with the wind, and today felt as if the temperature was in the high 30’s. What a first day of spring!

Even though it was an unusually cold day, there still is proof that spring has not retreated – the summer snowflakes are blooming.



These little flowers are among my favorites. I love the small white flowers with the green dot at the end of the petals. We often think of daffodils as being the spring bulb, but for the Gulf Coast, where many bulbs will not repeat bloom because of our mild winters, these are great, dependable bloomers. A sure sign of spring around here.

First Spring Flowers

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

After record cold, record rains, and record cloudy days, the last few days have been a great improvement, and to top it all off, the first spring flowers showed up. The camellias have been blooming, but they are really winter flowers. The forsythia, quince, magnolia and peach trees are just starting to bloom, but those are trees or shrubs. It is when the first garden flowers show up that it really feels as if winter is over.

For me, that means the Tete a tete narcissus have started opening. I checked the garden Thursday, and there were no little yellow flowers showing. Then, on Saturday, I saw clusters of them. To say I was elated to see them is an understatement.



The last few days, while still being in the low 30’s overnight, have warmed up to our more normal temperatures, and I am sure this is why the flowers have so quickly popped open.

I have stayed with the small flowered narcissus because the large flowered ones do not always repeat bloom well here, and I don’t feel it is worth the effort to prepare a bed, buy the bulbs, and plant them if they will only give one year of good blooms and just a few in subsequent years.



The small ones suit me just fine especially after a long, cold, dreary winter.

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