A Star

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

I have written before about how white is my favorite flower color, and one of my favorite white flowering shrubs is just now in full bloom.  It is a large white lace cap hydrangea that I received from my sister as a small plant.  I have it placed in a fairly shady area of the garden, and its white blooms just brighten up that spot so well.

Lg White Lacecap Bush (redu)

While I usually prefer the mophead hydrangeas, this lacecap is a standout.  It is about four feet high and about four feet wide and stays covered with flowers for months.  The flower clusters tend to be large on this bush, about eight inches across.  This is one of the few flowers that I cut and bring inside.  An arrangement of these on a dining room table just means summer to me.

Wh Lacecap (redu)

About three years ago, when I cut this shrub back to control its growth, I tried rooting some of those cuttings.  Just about every one of them was a success.  I planted about eight of them on the opposite side of the property in the front of a shady area which gets morning sun and bright shade the rest of the day.  This year is the first time that they have all bloomed with multiple flowers.  They are only about two feet high now, but it they are anything like their parent, they will soon be a very nice size.

Sm Wh Lacecap bush (redu)

Hydrangeas are such great garden plants, and lacecaps (Hydrangea macrophylla normalis) should be planted more often.  They have the same growing requirements as the mopheads – some afternoon shade and moist soils.  I also find the lacecaps are a little easier to site in the garden than the mopheads because the lacecap’s growth is more open, graceful, and subtle.  Just like the oakleaf hydrangeas, the lacecaps fit in well into “woodsy” locations (where I have mine) and fit in well in front of trees or around other shrubs.  In the right location, you just can’t beat a lacecap.  I am so glad that my sister introduced me to this white lacecap because it has become a star in the shady areas of my garden. 

White or Pink?

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

The white Confederate Rose (hibiscus mutabilis) that I bought at the Garden Show Saturday has been blooming non-stop.  I have the pink one growing in the back garden, and I knew its blooms start out pale pink and gradually darken as the day progresses.  But, the vendor, who sold me the white one, was not very clear about it changing color, so I wasn’t sure if it stayed white or would change.  Well, Sunday morning, I found out it definitely changes.  There was a bloom on the bush that was still open, and it had turned a dark pink.  Here is a progression of color changes.

30 AM

Confederate Rose at 7:30 AM

43 PM

Confederate Rose at 12:43 PM

15 PM

Confederate Rose at 5:15 PM

By having the colors of the flowers change, it is almost like having two different flowering plants in the garden.

Finally Getting Things Planted-Part III

This post, “Finally Getting Things Planted-Part III” was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 


Today was the third day that I worked on putting the plants I have purchased in the ground.  I thought I would finish today, but instead of a trilogy this is turning out to be a series.

I decided that the winter honeysuckle and sweet almond shrub should go in by the property line on the southeast side of our lot.  The only problem with that was the amount of overgrown material that needed to be pulled out.  When we moved in, there was a row of large gardenia bushes.  These gradually died because of a lack of sun from growing trees (at least that is my hypothesis).  About seven years ago, I put in sword fern to fill in bare areas and give the area a more woodland look.  It did very well, but by two years ago it was doing too well.  It was taking over something awful.  Well, fast forward to this year and the cold weather we had really helped get rid of the excess.  As you can see from the picture below, there is a great deal of dead fern fronds.  (At least the leaves added to the soil.)  So I decided today was the day to start pulling it out to plant the shrubs.


2008-324-se-garden-before-reduc-v2-008.jpg  Before


I started pulling out the dead fern clumps, and most came up easily.  I also had to cut out some oak, maple, and cherry tree seedlings, blackberry vines, and briars.  It is amazing how much unwanted plants can grow in a year or two.  I cleared out about a fifteen foot area. 

Next came the digging of the planting holes.  We have hard clay that is filled with tree roots.  I have learned from planting shrubs before that a shovel just won’t make it.  I use a post hole digger.  That way I can cut through tree roots and can make a big enough hole with less effort. I did hit tree roots for every hole I dug.  This makes slow going.  I planted the Winter Honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima) first, and then about four feet down I placed the Sweet Almond Bush (Aloysia virgata).  Finally, I dug up a white lacecap hydrangea that had rooted when a branch had been bent to the ground.  It had rooted last summer and now was too big to do well next to the mother plant.  I placed this about four feet down from the sweet almond shrub. 

 Already things are starting to look better.  I want the area to have a semi-wild, woodsy look.  The next door neighbor has some azaleas on her side which makes a nice backdrop for my side. There are some Beautyberry bushes here, and I am thinking of adding some more hydrangeas and maybe some holly ferns.  Parts of this  area do not get a great deal of sun, so I am going to have to figure out what should go into the rest of the area.


2008-324-se-garden-after-reduc-v2-026.jpg After


Even  thought I did not get to plant everything today, I do feel that I have accomplished a lot.  An overgrown area has started to be cleared out, plants are in the ground, and I have a better vision of what to do with the overgrown area on the property line.  So all that’s left is a soak in a warm Epsom salts bath to soothe my aching muscles.