A Little Lime

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

Lime green or chartreuse is now a very popular garden color. We’ve all added Marguerite sweet potato vines or lime green coleus plants to our containers and gardens. Growers have come out with lime green versions of many of our favorite plants – jewels of opar, geraniums, pineapple sage, and heuchera come to mind, but one lime green plant that has really made a splash recently is Limelight hydrangea. When this first came out a few years ago, I wanted this plant something awful, but never had the right place for it. Now, Little Lime, a smaller version of Limelight, has hit the nurseries, and as soon as I saw this plant, I grabbed it. When I purchased this, it was not in bloom, but now there are gorgeous lime-colored flowers all over this bush.

 

 

Little Lime is one third the size of Limelight which makes it a better fit for my garden. As an established garden, there isn’t that much space available for big shrubs. Little Lime is supposed to grow about 36 to 60 inches tall whereas Limelight grows 72 to 96 inches tall.

The big selling point of this shrub is the flowers. They have opened to the promised soft green and are lovely. I love this color. It is perfect for summer, and in autumn the flowers will turn pink and then burgundy. That should be nice to see also.

 

 

Hardy in zones 3 to 9 and not as water dependent as Hydrangea macrophylla all make this a very nice garden addition. Even with our drought conditions this little shrub is doing well. I can’t wait to see it in a few years when it reaches its mature size. It may be Little Lime, but it sure is a big plus in my book.

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Strange Hydrangea

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

Strange things seem to be going on in the garden. I’ve been growing hydrangeas for many years, but I have never seen this before.

My white lace caps bloomed as lovely and normal as ever earlier in the spring. About two weeks ago, I went around and cut off the spent blooms. There already were buds for new growth showing up farther down the stems. About three days ago, I noticed that new flower buds had sprung up on one of the new growth areas. Yesterday, I was startled to see the flowers starting to open, but they were not the normal lacecap ones.

 

 

Here is what the flowers looked like this May.

 

 

I am sure this has something to do with this being a second flush of flowers, but I don’t know why.

I guess this goes under the “you learn something new every day” category.

Can’t Have Enough

“Can’t Have Enough”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

We have had two days with afternoon showers. Very welcomed afternoon showers. Shrubs that are particularly happy to see this recent rain is the hydrangeas. In the past three years, I have been putting in more hydrangeas. They like my garden because of all the shade. I like them because of the flowers.

I have white lacecaps.

 

 

Pink lacecaps.

 

 

 

Oakleaf hydrangeas.

 

 

I also grow the mophead hydrangeas – white ones and pink ones.

 

 

After they finish blooming, I am going to take cuttings to make more plants. I need some more mopheads and white lacecaps (seems like I can’t have enough hydrangeas). Nothing like hydrangeas to make a summer garden seem complete.

In the Pink

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

 

Since I wrote yesterday about the pink cashmere bouquet in the side garden, I thought I would continue in the “pink” theme and show a few other plants that are now blooming there.  One of my favorites that is blooming right now is the pink vitex tree.

 

Pink Vitex (redu)

 

This is only the third summer that this small tree has been in the garden, but it is growing nicely.  (I do have the more common purple variety about thirty feet away from this pink one, but the purple flowers have not opened yet.)  I love the soft pink color of the flowers which offers a nice contrast to the nearby dark foliage of the lorepetlum shrubs.  This is also near the Blushing Knockout and Caldwell pink roses, and that placement helps repeat the pink color.

 

Blushing Knt (redu)

 

Caldwell Pink (redu)

 

Another pink flowering perennial a little farther down is the crinum.  Every year it gets bigger and puts out more flower stalks.  The flower clusters look like small amaryllis blooms.  There must be a dozen or more stalks already this year.

 

Crinum (redu)

 

And, of course, there are the hydrangeas.  The oak leaf hydrangeas are already a deep pink, and the mophead hydrangeas have just started showing their pink color.

 

Oakleaf Hydrangea (redu)

 

Hydrangea Bush (redu)

 

Just one of these large mophead hydrangea flowers would make a wonderful bridesmaid’s bouquet don’t you think?

 

Pink Mophead (redu)

 

There are still a few more of the pink-toned flowers yet to bloom in this area, and lest you think that everything is pink, I’ll be posting soon about the lavender and purple flowers that are interspersed to break up the pink.  But, for now, the pink garden is certainly coming into its own.

 

 

Favorite Gardening Pastime

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

 

Saturday turned out to be a very productive day in the garden.  It was a little on the warm side, but several glasses of iced tea took care of that.  I finally made some headway into planting all the new purchases plus some of the other plants in containers that I have been meaning to place in the garden.  But first, there was my favorite pastime which is walking around the garden in the very early morning and just taking everything in.

The Clematis crispa has started blooming.  If you remember, this was the vine I inadvertently broke in late winter while planting a Caldwell Pink rose bush.  I was so upset, but it turned out to be no big deal as this favorite vine started putting out new sprouts in a few weeks.  Now, there are flowers.  This is only the second year that this clematis has been in the garden, and it is blooming much earlier than last year.  I guess being established does make a big difference.

 

clematis-crispa-redu

 

Planted in front of this clematis is some gladiolus bulbs that are the same lavender color that should be opening in a few days.  Don’t think I planned this, though.  The glads were planted three years ago and keep returning.  It has turned out to be a lucky coincidence that the clematis and the gladiolus are similar colors.

Nearby this clematis is the oakleaf hydrangea.  This is one of my favorite shrubs because it has so much going for it – exfoliating bark, lovely flowers, and foliage that starts out a beautiful celadon green that moves from bright green to red as we go from spring to fall.

 

oakleaf-hydrangea-redu

 

Also showing its first flower is Cat’s Whiskers (Orthosiphon stamineus).  This is the first time I have planted this in the garden, and I am hoping that it will overwinter.  I have this placed in the “white” garden in front of the Easter lilies.

 

cats-whiskers-redu

 

Finally, the last of the new flowers is the light yellow daylily that my sister shared from her garden last year.  This is a pass along plant since she received it from my mother, who got it from a neighbor years ago.  I love the bright yellow color, but what really floored me was the size.  It is huge!  The flower must be about ten inches across.  It is the biggest daylily I have ever seen.

 

 

lt-yellow-daylily-redu-3

 

After seeing all these beautiful flowering plants, you can understand why I was so enthusiastic about planting all my recent purchases.  I can’t wait for them to be as established and blooming as these.  So, even though it was a hot day, I did enjoy the hours I was outside, finding a home for the newly bought plants.

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.

2008-0825-hydrangea-iredu-004

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.

2008-112-elva-amaryllis-reduced-v2003

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.

Lacecap Hydrangeas

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

When we moved into our home many years ago, the first neighbors we met were an elderly couple who lived across the street.  After we got to know them, they shared many of their plants that they had propagated with me.  They had a large wooded lot filled with azaleas, pine trees, and hydrangeas.  However,  they were not the hydrangeas I was used to seeing.  I had always thought that hydrangeas were the French or mophead types.  Percy and Ethel grew the lacecap ones.   They had huge bushes of them all around their back property line.  They grew pink, blue and the variegated foliage type lacecaps. 

This is one of Percy’s lacecaps.  After Percy and Ethel passed away, the new owners ripped out all the hydrangeas and azaleas for new landscaping.   They just dumped them in the back of the empty lot next door, and when I saw this, I had to rescue those poor plants.  Luckily, it was in early spring, and they transplanted well.  These shrubs now are filling in a large area of my back garden.  I have propagated them and given away cuttings to friends and family.  Now, Percy’s lacecap hydrangeas are in Virginia, Destrehan, Metaire, and Mandeville, LA.  I know he would be pleased.

Another lacecap I have is from my sister.  It is white and has become quite large.  This, too, I have propagated and given away.  This striking shrub always elicts comments when in bloom.

Lacecaps with their flat, round flower heads are a great addition to a garden.  I also grow the oakleaf and mophead types.  If you cut the flowers of any hydrangea for indoor use, submerge them completely in cool water for about an hour and then place in a water filled vase.  If you do not do this, the flowers quickly wilt.  But by conditioning them, they will last for days.  If they start to wilt in the vase, submerge them again, and they will revive.  I love having arrangements of them in my dining room.  It reminds me of Sunday dinners when I was a child.  Even just one flower makes a striking display.

Hydrangeas need morning sun and afternoon shade.  If you do not have a shady area in your garden, these plants can be grown in containers.  All they need is well drained soil and a container about 15-16 inches.  Growing them in containers gives some flexibility for placement where they can thrive.

So thanks to Percy and Ethel, I found a great plant that always reminds me of great neighbors, great gardeners, and great people.

Hydrangea

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

 

As a child, I always was fond of my mother’s hydrangeas.  She had the big mophead type from cuttings that my  grandmother had made for her.  Even on hot summer days, the big, green leaves always felt cool, and the large clusters of pink flowers reminded me of bridesmaids’ bouquets.

 

Today, in my garden, I have not only pink mopheads but also white.  I also have pink, blue, and white lacecaps hydrangeas, as well as an oakleaf. 

 

 

This afternoon, I saw where one mophead is starting to show color.  Mophead hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) is the most popular.  Except for the white ones, a hydrangea can be blue or pink depending on the ph of the soil.  Some of mine are showing up a light purple as I try to move their color from pink to blue.  My hubby likes the blue ones, and I like the pink ones, so I try and have some of each.  If you are interested in how to change the colors of hydrangeas here is great info.

 

I have easily propagated hydrangeas.  In the summer, after they have bloomed, I usually trim them back.  I use the trimmings to make more plants.  I take about a five inch cutting (cutting just below a leaf node) and remove all but the top two big leaves.  After dipping the end in rooting hormone, I place it in potting soil and place in the shade.  Now some people place these in plastic bags and keep moist, but I think that may get too hot in the plastic bag down here in our hot summers.  So, I just water well and make sure they stay moist.  Last time I did this, I used the mist setting on the hose nozzle and misted the cuttings about twice a day.  In about three weeks or so, the cuttings should be rooted.  I keep the cuttings in pots and protected in the winter, and then just plant them in the ground.

 

Another way to propagate hydrangeas is to lay a branch on the ground and cover it with soil.  If kept watered, it will root in place.  When it is about one year old, it can be removed from the mother plant and placed elsewhere.  I have had this done when a workman stepped on one, and the branch just started rooting on its own.  I just added some soil on top, Mother Nature took over, and soon I had a two foot plant for free.

 

Hydrangeas do best with morning sun and afternoon shade.  They need moist, well-drained soil.  I usually have to water mine often esp. in the summer because of our hot climate.  In the south, the more sun they receive the more water they will need.

 

When my lacecaps start blooming, I’ll post about them, too.

Planting Accomplished

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

 

The last two days I have been really working hard in the garden.  Yesterday, I planted five white lacecap hydrangeas, a least a dozen asters and transplanted a Stella d’Oro daylily. 

 

The hydrangeas were ones I had rooted two years ago and had kept in pots until they were large enough to plant into the garden.  When I had trimmed back my mophead & lacecap hydrangeas in late June, I made about 40 cuttings to try and make some more plants.  I used the mister setting on the hose nozzle to mist the cuttings about twice a day.  I know that professional nurseries use misters to propagate cuttings, so I thought I’d try it since I had nothing to lose.  I never expected all of the cuttings to take, but they did.  I had pink mophead & lacecaps as well as the white lacecap.  I have shared these with my mom, sisters, and daughters.  I think this year, I will try some white mophead cuttings (but not as many) to see if these will be as successful.

 

The asters were from my mom.  When she went to clean out a bed last fall where she had planted asters the year before, she found that the original plants had sent out babies.  She plucked them out of that bed and put them into two large pots and kept them through the winter.  She said she could not use them all, so I got to take some home.  I planted most in the circle garden and a few in the entry garden.  Hers did well in her garden, and I regretted not buying some when she bought hers.  I am looking forward to having them make a nice fall display.

 

I transplanted a Stella d’Oro daylily that was being shaded by the Louisiana Irises.  It wasn’t doing too well, so I moved it where it will get more sun.  The other Stellas are blooming their little hearts out, so I am hoping this one catches up.  Speaking of the circle garden, I noticed my Texas Bluebonnets have set seeds.  Maybe I won’t have to buy seeds this year after all.  They look great in combination with the yellow of the Stella d’Oro daylilies.

 

Today, I started redoing the patio garden.  That meant digging out lirope that had encroached too much into the bed.  It was crowding the hostas and ajuga and a few other things.  I also started cutting back the holly fern fronds that have yellowed.  Leaning over that much wasn’t so great for  my back.

 

Finally, I had to watch dear hubby clean pine needles off the roof.  We have a two story house, and I’m afraid he’ll fall if I am not there to watch him.  I picked weeds while he worked.  After he dumped the pine straw, he and I picked it up.  We finished just as the rains started.  A hot shower was welcome relief after all the exercise of the last two days.  I think tomorrow will definitely be a day of rest.

 

No pictures today, I can’t seem to upload them & can’t figure out why.