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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New Gardening Year

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

January 1st starts off a new year, but for gardeners, it is the coming of spring that starts a new gardening year.

While there are signs showing up more and more each day that spring will return this year (I had my doubts a few cold weeks ago), there have been few flowers to show. That should change as the weeks go by, and we have more consistently warmer weather.

One shrub that has started to show off its lovely fushia-colored flowers is the loropetalum.

 

 

These shrubs usually start to bloom just before the azaleas, but that won’t happen this year. I checked the azaleas, and their buds are shut tight. They won’t be opening for a while.

The loropetalum’s blooming is a sure sign that it won’t be long before all the spring bloomers will be showing up, starting a new gardening year.

A Beauty

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

There are signs that summer is slowly coming to an end. We are not having daytime temperatures in the high 90’s, the sun is setting a few minutes earlier, and the lowering angle of the sun is already noticeable. I’ve also noticed that other bloggers are starting to post pictures of beauty berries. Beauty berry bushes (Callicarpa americana) display gorgeous magenta berries in late summer. The berries on my bushes have almost completed the color change.

 

 

Besides the color, I like the way the berries tightly pack around the stems.

This is just one more sign that fall isn’t too far away.

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.

Gardenia Time

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

Around this time, every year, I become very nostalgic. It is what I like to call “Gardenia Time”. You see, years ago, this was the time that we were looking to buy a house. We had found out just recently that we were to become parents and needed to move out of an apartment. When we came to tour the house we eventually bought, there were many gardenia bushes, and they were in full bloom. These old, established shrubs were covered in white flowers, and the aroma was incredible. I am sure all those flowers had a big impact on our decision to buy this house.

Through the years, unfortunately, we have lost many of those original shrubs, but there are still a few around, and replacements have been added. All of them have started blooming and bringing with those blooms, memories.

 

 

 

 

One of the gardenia bushes that has been added to the originals is the Daisy Gardenia, a single-bloom gardenia. This one, my mother rooted for me from her bush. This makes it twice as nice.

 

 

It is said that the sense of smell is the most evocative and brings back memories the quickest. Whenever I walk out into the garden at this time of year, I am immediately brought back to a time when dear hubby and I were embarking on new adventures – home ownership and parenthood.

Marching Onward

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

Even with the small setback of colder temperatures this past weekend, spring is still marching onward. The first azalea flower has popped out.

 

 

Now, this is the only one so far, but the azalea buds are swelling, and it should not be too very long before there is that gorgeous burst of color that only azaleas can give. This year they are going to be blooming a little later than normal, but that’s okay. Maybe they will be around for Easter this year.

Unknown Beauty

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

 

There always is a bit of excitement when a new flower shows up, and it doesn’t even have to be a new purchase plant either.  Those that bloom only once and don’t appear again for a year also cause a bit of a stir when they start flowering.  Now is the time of year when the sasanqua camellias start blooming, and I have already shared my favorite, Yuletide, in a post just a few days ago.

Well, when I pulled into the driveway late this afternoon, I noticed a single white flower on another sasanqua which means that it too is starting its annual show.

 

Unknown Sasanqua (redu)

Unfortunately, I do not know the name of this particular sasanqua.  I bought it when it was not in bloom, and even though it had a tag and the container was labeled “Yuletide”, it turned out to be something else.  At first, I was very disappointed, but after only a few of these white flowers with pink edges showed up, I quickly made up my mind that I liked these one too.  I just wish I knew its name, because now I’d like a couple more since it is a fast grower and a prolific bloomer.  This particular sasanqua camellia certainly did turn out to be an unknown beauty.

A Second Chance

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

Last October when I attended the N. O. Garden show, I was finally able to purchase a plant I had been wanting for years.  It was a white Confederate Rose (Hibiscus mutabilis).  I wanted it to put in our “white” garden.  I also wanted one to complement the pink Confederate Rose in our back garden.  I was so happy I finally had one.  Since it was October, I didn’t feel it was a good idea to plant it in the ground.  While they are hardy in my zone 8 garden, a severe freeze will cut a young one down to the roots, and I didn’t want to risk it, so I kept it in its container and protected it all through the winter.

This summer, however, was extremely hot and dry, and by August, my pretty plant was toast.  First, it got white flies, but I think by that time it was declining fast, then, it lost its leaves, but ever the optimist, I kept watering it.  Finally, I had to admit it was a goner.

You rarely see these hibiscus plants in garden centers; they are pretty much a pass-along plant.  Well, this weekend when I went out to several nurseries for a few fall annuals to plant, I was so happy to see several at a small one-person operation.   I bought one and immediately planted it in the garden.  I am hoping it will be well established before we have our real cold weather which is usually in late December/early January.  Since it is still rather small, I could always cover it up with maybe an tomato cage wrapped in plastic and blankets.

While my pink Confederate Rose starts out light pink and gradually turns a darker pink as the day progresses, this one starts out white and slowly turns a dark pink. 

Wh Conf Rose 1 (redu)

 

Wh Conf Rose 2 (redu)

 

Wh Conf Rose 3 (redu)

 

Once this plant gets a little height on it, I think it will be a great addition to the garden, and the fact that you will be able to see the white one with the pink one behind it in the distance should be an added plus.  I am just glad I got a second chance to have this wonderful flowering plant.

Fringes

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

 

Loropetalum blooms on the new wood, but I usually trim it back after it blooms in the spring, so I don’t get an autumn flush of flowers.  This year, however, I didn’t do the usual triming, and I have been rewarded with a very nice display of pink.

 

Lorepetlum (redu)

 

I keep the shrubs I have trimmed back to about four and a half feet tall, but they can grow up to six feet.  This means that this year I won’t be able to trim them back since trimming them back now will spur new growth that could be damaged by winter freezes.  But, this year won’t matter since I have such pretty flowers.  One of the things that make this plant so different is its blooms.  Instead of the usual big petals such as azaleas, hibiscus, or roses have, loropetalum has thin streamers which show its relation to witch hazel.

 

Lorepetlum Single (redu)

 

Seeing these flowers, we know why this plant is called “fringe flower.”

Firebush Blooms

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

 

My firebush has started blooming well.  I really like this plant, but, unfortunately, it freezes to the ground every winter and takes a while to come back every year.  Right now mine is about three feet high.  I wish mine would get big like others I see.  The ones next to the building where I work are huge; they are about ten feet tall, but then that area is a whole zone warmer than my home is so they rarely freeze to the ground.

Since the flowers are very attractive to bees, hummingbirds and butterflies, this is really a good plant for a garden.  I love the bright orange, tubular flowers and the deep green foliage on this shrub.  Mine is growing where there is a lot of shade, but still it puts out a great many flowers.  This is also an easy-to-care-for plant with no pests that bother it, drought tolerant after it is established, and can take clay soils.

 

Firespike (redu)

 

This is just one more plant that really brightens up the late summer garden, and makes the migrating ruby-throated hummingbirds extra happy, too.

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