Blue Skies Again

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


Another early morning rain shower that left .28 inches of rain on the garden came through here, but after that, there were blue skies and sunshine.  After nine days of rain, seeing some sun certainly made for a cheerful day.  Day after day of cloudy weather can get you down.

More mushrooms are out after all the rain.


Mushroom 1 (redu)


Mushroom 2 (redu)


This last mushroom popped up next to a brick and has enveloped part of the brick and a stick as it developed.  I couldn’t remove the stick without destroying the mushroom which I didn’t want to do.


Mushroom 3 (redu)


Besides the mushrooms popping up all over the lawn and garden, one other thing has shown up because of the rains.  Fire ants!  Yes, the fire ants are trying to rebuild their home, and unfortunately they have chosen an area in the circle garden.  I guess because this area has raised beds, the ants think this will be the ideal place to get away from accumulating water.


Fire Ant Mound (redu)


I don’t use pesticides as a rule.  I find I really don’t need to, but I do use something to kill these ants.  They can be vicious.  If you have never been bitten by  fire ants, then you have no idea how painful it can be.  I usually get a welt which will often become infected.  These ants are nothing to fool around with as anyone from the South can tell you.

I sure hope today’s blue skies stay around and that the rain, mushrooms, and ants don’t.


Hail, Yes

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


Sunday night a thunderstorm roared through our area and in twenty minutes dumped .82 inches of rain and hail the size of dimes.  The rain was needed (of course, at that rate a great deal just ran off), and we are used to getting a lot of rain at one time, but the hail is a different matter.  This is only the second time we have had hail here since we moved in about 30 years ago.  It wasn’t too bad; nothing like poor Annie at Transplantable Rose had to endure a few weeks back.  But it was bad enough considering I had just finished planting several containers of rex begonias and coleus.  Nothing was severely damaged, thank goodness.  The red banana got the worst of it.




The newly repotted rex begonias have a few holes.




Several of the amaryllis leaves were damaged.  I hope more start showing soon so that there will be flowers next year.




Some of the hostas were damaged, but not too badly, and the same could be said for the elephant ears.  I was disappointed to find the first gladiolus bloom was snapped off.  It would have been so pretty if it had not been cut off.




What seemed to be the most damaged was the daylily, Misty Mayhaw.  It has just started blooming, and this bud was just waiting to open Monday.  The damage doesn’t seem to bother the little tree frog that was resting inside.  I am happy to report there are more buds, so this was not a big loss, either.




Considering the bad weather that many parts of the country has been experiencing in the last few weeks, our little hail storm was not so bad.  A few things were damaged, but with it being so early in the season, no permanent harm has been done to the garden, or more importantly to our roof or automobiles.

Remnants of Fay

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


Today we started getting the remnants of TS Fay though it is not as bad as the weather people thought it might be for us.  But, this meant no garden work because it was raining when I woke up, and it rained steadily but lightly all day.  There are puddles all over the yard since we had had so much rain earlier in the week that the ground is not absorbing it fast enough.  Even though it was windy, at least we didn’t have high winds.




Having periods of a lot of rain is typical for the Gulf Coast, and it can make it difficult to garden.  Plants that can’t take the high rains just won’t make it and that is why drainage is so important here.  It is best to build up the garden beds and/or plant things high.  Earlier in the summer, we were having a drought with weeks without rain.  We have had over seven inches of rain since August 1st.  Of course, that is nothing compared to what poor Florida had from Fay, so I’m not complaining.


Since going back to work, I only have the weekends to garden, and I would have liked to have been able to spend some time doing that today.  Well, maybe next weekend will be better.  After all it will be a three day weekend, and I should get some time to garden.

More Rain

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


After my first full week back at work, I was looking forward to being out in the garden today.  But, it was not to be.  I woke up this morning to more rain.  We have had only one day in this past week when it did not rain.  Today we received 1.10 inches of rain, and the garden is getting a little soggy.  Where was all this rain in June and July when we really needed it?


I did go out in between showers to check things out and besides finding puddles all over, I found this mushroom that had been shredded by the rain.  From a distance, it looks like a frilly flower.



The Plum Tree daylilies are starting to rebloom.  This is the latest I have ever had them start to bloom again, but, since they are among my favorites, they are most welcome.



As you can see from the photos, things were pretty wet around here today.  However, I am not complaining, because we really have been below normal with the rain fall, and it is this weather and the accompanying high pressure system that is keeping TS Fay away from us.  Another benefit of all this rain is that the cuttings I rooted and planted last week don’t have to be watered and are doing well.  I guess things are working out for the best.  Maybe this is Mother Nature’s way of telling me I need to rest and take it easy this weekend after working late this past week.

Rain Effects

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


After almost two weeks of high temperatures and no rain, we have had five days of rain.  It has been wonderful having cooler temperatures and not having to water every day.  Some of the effects of this rainfall has been that everything in the garden has perked up and has had a growth spurt. 


Another effect has been the blooming of the rain lilies.  I only had one or two blooms before the rain, but now, there seems to be a bloom every day.  These little bulbs seem to bloom only after first being rained on.  Watering with a hose just doesn’t seem to start them blooming.  After a rain starts them off, then watering will induce blooms.  Funny, huh?  These sweet little flowers do brighten up a rain bedraggled flower bed.



Mushrooms are another sign we have had a lot of rain, and many are showing up now.  They seem to be where large trees were before Hurricane Katrina knocked them down.  I guess some of the roots are only now decaying.



Some showed up in a container of The Fairy rose.



And, this tiny red mushroom showed up in the middle of the lawn.



There have been many effects from having finally received rainfall, but the one I appreciate the most is not having to drag hoses around all day long.  Thanks, Mother Nature.

Rain, Rain, Go Away

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

It was rainy and cold again today.  The kind of day when all you want to do is stay indoors curled up in a blanket with a bowl of hot soup. The ground is awfully soggy.  I could only take a quick walk around the garden this afternoon.  There is going to be another freeze here tonight.  Even though it is not supposed to be a hard freeze, I did cover up most everything again.

The temperature today was not that low (42), but with the rain and the wind, it felt like it was much colder.  We have had almost 5 inches of rain in the last two weeks.  I know that come July, I will be wondering where all the rain is.  But, right now, we have had enough.

When the weather is as rainy as it has been lately, you really understand about good drainage for plants.  I garden where the soil has a lot of clay.  As I have started garden beds, I have added garden soil to raise the beds and also add compost.  Each year after that, I add compost, and lately I have started adding a thin layer of soil.  Since south Louisiana tends to get a great deal of rain at once instead of a little all year long, I’ve learned drainage is a must.

The drainage also helps with fungal diseases.  When the occasional deluge does come down, I have lost some plants to “the rot” as I call it.  I now plant things that are more adaptable to this climate.  Louisiana irises and calla lilies, for example, are plants that can take the water.  If it is a plant that doesn’t like sitting in water, like dahlias, I make sure to plant them high in a raised bed.  So far I have been lucky, and have not lost any since I have been doing that.

Powdery mildew can also be a problem here.  After a few bouts with this, I realized I needed to make sure there was good air circulation around the plants.  Also, esp. in the summer, overhead watering is to be avoided.  I found that out the year my hydrangeas had a severe powdery mildew problem.  Since I do not like to use any sprays, the plants looked pretty poor for a while.  To help combat this, I use soaker hoses now.

Tomorrow is not looking too good, but Saturday does hold some promise of better weather.  So to try and put a positive note on this cold, rain day – I can look at gardening books and dream, I have a good excuse for not weeding, and at least there are no mosquitoes.

Cold, Rainy Day

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

Today it rained most of the day, and tonight it should be freezing by midnight.  We are expecting a low of 27.  The rain gauge shows 1.29 inches of rain fell.  It was a slow, soft rain which means that there was no run off, and all the rain has to soak into the ground.  There are still puddles in the yard tonight, and it stopped raining around noon.

With the low temperatures that are expected tonight, I had to protect the tender vegetation.  I had not moved very many plants since the last freeze, so I just had to cover them again.  There is supposed to be a light freeze again Sunday night, so I won’t really uncover anything until Monday.

Because of all the rain and the ground being so wet, I hated walking around the yard when I was trying to protect the plants.  Of course, I had no choice, but it is annoying.  The ground gets compacted, and it doesn’t help the grass any.

I guess I am finding everything about the weather today annoying because with a three day weekend, I was looking forward to being out and working in the garden.  I may still be able to work on Monday, at least I hope that things will dry out enough that I can do something.  There is still a great deal of yard work to do.  Winter weeds need to be dealt with, some pruning needs to be done – you know, a garden is never finished kind of things.  The kind of things that a good three day weekend would allow to get done. 

Because of our mild winters, Gulf Coast gardeners never really have to stop working their gardens.  It is during the hot summers that we don’t do too much.  I don’t know if I could live in the northern latitudes.  I can understand how anxious those gardeners must be to get outside and work in their gardens.  Our long growing season allows us to garden almost year round. After working inside all week, being able to garden or just go outside and walk around the garden is important to my mental health. I guess I miss that, and that is why I am so grumpy tonight.

I know I won’t be able to work outside tomorrow, so I am planning on starting all my seeds.  If I am able to do that, I’ll post an update on what I plant.