Easter Flowers

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

Lilies are expected at Easter, but my traditional white Easter lilies (lillum longiforum) are not quite ready to bloom. But, we were not without lilies. The little red lilies were blooming in time for Sunday.



The more seasonal white was represented by the oakleaf hydrangea. The longer I have this bush in the garden, the more I like it. I am thinking I just might add a few more.




Another Easter arrival was the blooming of the walking iris. Last year they did not bloom that well because of late freezes, but this year promises to be a good flowering year for them.



Since I have this week off, it has been good to be out in the garden. I worked all day yesterday, but rain this morning prevented me from being outside. I guess Mother Nature knew I needed a rest. Tomorrow morning should be a good day to finish planting everything I bought last Friday. I’ll have to post about that later.

Not a Bad Idea

“Not a Bad Idea”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

Busy, busy, busy. The cool, sunny weather has continued here the last few days and with daylight savings time, I am able to get a few things done after work and before it gets dark. Monday and Tuesday, I trimmed back the azaleas. I do not trim them back with hedge clippers. Instead, I cut each branch which gives a neat appearance but still keeps a more natural look to the bushes. Today, it was the loropetalums’ turn at a trim. Well, to be honest, it was more than just a trim. I do not believe that I got around to trimming these bushes last year which probably accounts for the lanky growth that needed to be cut back more than normal. I cut these back the same way I do the azaleas – no hedge clippers. I want the natural shape of the plant to show, so that means just cutting back the height somewhat.

On another note, the blueberry bushes have started blooming.



I think these are the prettiest, little flowers. These bushes are really dear hubby’s domain. He loves blueberries and was so disappointed that these did not bloom last year. Their blooming this year is, I am hoping, a sign that they are established and will bloom more each year. Hubby may like the berries, but I like the blooms better.

Usually, all I am able to do in the early evening is take a few photographs of what is new in the garden, but getting some gardening chores done this week has been very nice. I never thought I would say this, but after being able to work in the garden after work, daylight savings time may not be such a bad idea after all.

An Early Spring

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

A full time job, two sets of out-of-town guests, and great gardening weather equals no time for blogging. I can’t believe it has been so long since I last posted. The warm, spring weather has really sent the garden into warp speed. Everything seems to be blooming all at once. This is so different from last year.

The Kwansan Cherry tree bloomed better than ever this spring.



The azaleas were gorgeous this year, but now they are just about finished. Here are some photos of them at their peak.




The white Lady Banks rose also had its best year. It is finally big enough to make a nice showing. Also, this was the first year since I planted it that I could smell its fragrance. I guess before this year there were simply not enough flowers to have an aroma waft around.




The pink snapdragons that I planted last fall are also enjoying the warm weather and rewarding me with big, bunches of blooms. This color has worked out nicely with the azaleas blooming nearby and the Blushing Knockout roses behind them.



Flowers aren’t the only thing showing a great deal of growth. All of the hostas are up and seemed to show up overnight. This Blue Cadet hosta is a perfect example of tiny growth to big plant in hardly any time at all.



The Japanese maple also seemed to leaf out overnight.



We had a rather cold winter here for the Gulf South, but in the middle of February, winter went away for good, and it has been wonderful for the garden. Easter may be late this year, but an early spring was definitely welcomed.

Leprechaun’s Pot of Gold

“Leprechaun’s Pot of Gold”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Being of Irish ancestry, this is one of my favorite holidays. Even though this is not one of the major holidays, I still like to decorate. This year I thought I’d have the proverbial leprechaun’s pot of gold for the front entrance.



I used two black cauldrons from Halloween and planted them last fall with gold pansies and violas. Two little leprechaun’s completed the Irish theme. I put these out the first of March with a St. Patrick’s Day garden flag. This really put me in the mood for this “great day for the Irish.”

March Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day

“March Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

Thanks to Carol of May Dreams Gardens for coming up with GBBD. This is the day (15th of the month) in which we post everything which is blooming in our gardens.

More flowers are showing up this month, but even more are showing signs of getting ready to bloom in the next week or so.

The ornamental pear tree (Cleveland Select) started blooming a while back, but it still has flowers opening up.



Our Bartlett pear tree is also blooming with flowers that look almost identical to the ornamental pear’s flowers shown above.

The roses have also started showing a few blooms with many buds promising more flowers in about a week or so. The Butterfly Rose (Mutabillis) has just started blooming. The Knockouts (Red, Pink, and Blushing) have shown one or two flowers, and White Out, a rose very similar to the Knockouts, has really started blooming.



Our citrus trees are in flower and these blossoms along with the Bufford hollies, are perfuming the whole back yard. The satsumas and lime flowers look the same. Here are the lime tree’s. When you smell these flowers, it becomes apparent why orange blossoms were so popular as wedding flowers years ago.



The white petunias, that I planted last fall, have started blooming profusely since the weather has warmed up. The white petunias make a good combination with the red gerbera daisies. These gerbera daisies have been in my garden for about three years now, and this is the most blooms I have ever gotten. Most of the plants are putting out five to six flowers with more buds waiting at the base of the plants. I was afraid the cold would damage or kill them, but they do not seem to be fazed by the winter cold we had.



The shrimp plant that overwinters every year is flowering. It always amazes me that this plant survives freezing temperatures. I just never considered this a hardy plant at all, but it is for me.



The last of the camellias are hanging on, just as the first of the azaleas are showing up.




The flowers I have written about recently that are still blooming are the summer snowflakes, violas, calla lilies, lorepetelum, and a few tete-a-tete daffodils.

This month certainly seems to be kicking off the spring flowering that reaches a peak around here in April and May.

Be sure to see what is blooming in other gardens by clicking on the link at the beginning of this post.

A Queen’s Bouquet

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

I always associate early spring with daffodils and violets. I guess this is because I grew up in the New Orleans area, and Mardi Gras comes in early spring. As you probably know, Mardi Gras is an important holiday in this area. One of my favorite memories of Mardi Gras is seeing the presentation to the queen of carnival of a huge bouquet of violets surrounded by daffodils and fern. Today, being Mardi Gras, will see this tradition continued. As a small child, I always wanted that eighteen inch bouquet, and even as an adult, I would love to have this bouquet sitting on my dining room table.

While I do have small daffodils in my garden, the violets are only the wild ones that pop up in the lawn, so I won’t be having an enormous table arrangement. However, that is okay as I do enjoy seeing the flowers outside.

The pale purple and the white violets have just started showing up.




But, the daffodils are just about finished.



I wish I could find a photo of this gorgeous bouquet to share with you. It is truly spectacular. This large, colorful, queen’s bouquet is the first thing I think of when Mardi Gras and springtime come to mind.

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.

A Good Pair

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

Gardening experts are always encouraging us to place together plants with similar needs when it comes to water, light, etc. One pairing in my garden that wasn’t planned but worked out well, is based on time of bloom. In late winter/early spring the forsythia and quince start blooming. The forsythia started a little over a week ago and the quince quickly followed.



Both of these shrubs were put in the first spring we were in our home. Dear hubby bought them at a local hardware type store. They were quickly planted by two very inexperienced, young homeowners and have pretty much survived on their own. Except for a little watering in the summer, these bushes are pretty much left alone, but every year, as soon as the weather warms up a bit, the flowers pop out.

While I would never have thought to put these two colors together, I certainly do feel the yellow and and the light coral pink look great as a pairing of early spring bloomers.


“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.

Flower Buds Are Now Showing

“Flower Buds Are Now Showing”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

Winter storm alerts stretch 1800 miles across upper United States. The pictures on the evening news showing cold, stormy weather from Montana to New England were just unbelievable. I feel so bad complaining about how sick I was of our cold weather, and now so many people are still dealing with winter storms.

Here on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana, we hit 80 degrees today, which tied an all time high set in 1980. Now everything seems to be coming up out of the ground. Everyday there is something new to see. So, for those of you still in the cold, here is a photo just for you as a reminder that the first signs of spring really aren’t that far away.



Our peach tree’s buds have swollen and are starting to show color. As I walked around the garden today, I saw so many buds starting to swell and show color either for leaves or flower buds. The fig trees are showing green indicating new leaves will be unfurling soon, and the Bartlett pear trees’ buds should be showing color any day now.

In New Orleans, the Japanese magnolias are already in full bloom. We are about 30 miles north of there, so ours are not quite ready to bloom, but it shouldn’t be too long before the flowers show up.

When we were having all that cold weather in January and early February, I was afraid spring would be late this year, but it seems that, all of a sudden, spring has even come a little early.

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