Saturday, November 2, 2013

October Rains bring November Flowers

November 2, 2013

● October Rains bring November Flowers

Wow, with all the rain, anything that made it through the long hot summer is now thriving and in bloom!

My rose bushes in the porch bed are going crazy with blooms.  

The dwarf pomegranate has completely recovered and is now about two feet tall and is also covered in orange blooms!

And the old esperanza is over twelve feet tall! 

Every year, this plant gets taller and taller.  It totally dwarfs the porch bed, and is sort of a pain to walk around.  But seriously, how can you not love something this big and yellow!

The morning glories have taken over the my garden, the porch, and just about everything else!  They are a pain, but still really beautiful!

The obedient bush and the plant whose name I still don't know are in bloom.  The obedient bush has gotten very tall and leggy, and the stalks tend to fall over and make the bed look pretty disorganized.  I may be transplanting them at some point.

More roses!

The bees and butterflies love all the flowers!  Enjoy it while it lasts, because the frost is coming in just a few weeks!!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

May Flowers

May 18, 2013

● May Flowers

With the little bit of rain we have gotten, all of the flowers and plants that we planted a month ago are doing very well.  

My duranta on the porch has recovered from the winter, and has started to bloom!

And the mixed pots that my mom put together are absolutely gorgeous.  I am enjoying them now,  because I know the 100 degree days are coming!

Unfortunately, the one plant not doing so well is my Loquat tree.  I'm not sure if he has transplant issues, or if the porch doesn't have enough light, or maybe he doesn't like his big pot? But he is losing a lot of his lower leaves, and some of the smaller offshoots seem to have completely died.  Since planting him, I have seen lots of others in the neighborhood (though none in pots) and I really like the small tree.  If this guy bites it, I may buy another one to plant in the yard!

My north porch bed is all in bloom - and everything is doing well!  The roses have grown back from the third that I trimmed back in February... and they may need another trim soon!  My salvia has also recovered from its big cut back, and is in full bloom as is my Damianita!  Even the daylillies are still in bloom!

The bed that my mom and I planted is doing well.  Everything seems to be settling in and making roots.  I haven't had a whole lot of growth, but considering that the plants are only one month old, that isn't too surprising!  My Esperanza is in bloom and the canna seems to like its new spot!

And my garden continues to grow.  We have pulled off three zucchini, and have a number of tomatoes that are growing larger every day!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Song of Spring

April 25, 2013

● The Song of Spring

He's back!!  Those are the words that herald in spring, and give us hope for summer.  It is the magical song of the chuck will's widow.  Just after the sun sets, before the first start appears; while there is still enough light to see; when the world is at its most peaceful, softest time...  From the trees comes the loud clear tone of "whip-werl.. whip-wherl".   

I remember the first time Dave and I heard him.  His song sounds so much like "whip-poor-will", that we were sure that was what he was.  But after some internet searches, we learned that the whip-poor-will has an entirely different call.  Our friend was the Chuck Will's Widow.  

And now, every year, right around that time of year when the end of school is in sight, and it is almost the deep breath of summer, he returns.  Sigh.

Tonight, D and I stood outside and listened to him for a half of an hour.  He'd come closer, then move further away. At one point, I was sure there were two of them.  There may be.  I know in the past I've heard two songs - one from the front woods, and the other the back.  Tonight, if there were two, they were close together.  One or two, I don't know, but it was a night of magic. :o)

One day, I'd love to catch a glimpse of him.  But until then, I will enjoy his song of promise!

As if dusk weren't already the perfect time of day...

Monday, April 15, 2013

New Fence Bed

April 15, 2013

● New Bed
My mom is a far more skilled gardener than I; so when she comes into town, I know I'm going to get some spruced up beds!  

She came up with the idea of adding a side bed along the north fence.  It is a ragged area.  It doesn't get much water, as the sprinkler system doesn't get over there, and most of the grass is patchy or dead.  

So, we decided to put in some hardy bushes and cover the rest of the area with mulch.  

We purchased two knockout roses that were on sale at Lowes for $12!  One is a double red, and the other is called a Sunny Knock out, and it is cream colored with a yellow middle.    Behind that, we purchased a Bottlebrush also from Lowes.  That should grow up tall in time.  Behind that we planted an Esperanza.  I wanted to get the tall variety (like I have in my house bed), but I could only find ones that got 4-6 feet tall.  

I then took three Pride of Barbados plants that Dave had grown from seed and planted them on the posts between the bushes.  We thought the seedlings had died over the winter, but they have sprouted new leaves.  Best to get them in the ground before we forget to water them again!!

I am really pleased and think the new bed came out looking really pretty and turned an eye sore into a color spot!!

But what to do with the back of the bed??  

Two years ago when my mom visited, we purchased a very pretty bird bath to put in the corner, and then added a Plumbago and two TropiCannas.  The plumbago and one of the Cannas died on me last spring, so I purchased replacements.  The new Plumbago is still hanging on (barely), but the other Canna died.  

We realized both of these plants require more sunlight.  So we moved the one remaining Canna and the struggling Plumbago into the new bed - but further from the corner, where they will be in full sunlight (until 3pm).  In the then empty spot in the back corner, we planted a Beautyberry.  I love the purple flowers on these bushes.  

They require shade or part shade and should grow up to 6 feet tall.  Eventually, if it lives, it will fill in the area behind the bird bath.  (I actually purchased the Beautyberry before this whole side bed plan came up -- and didn't know where to put him - so it was perfect)  I also had purchased two white Phlox, so I added them to the corned bed as well.

And isn't this plant pretty??  When we first moved here six years ago, Dave threw down some holly hock and larkspur seed outside the fence.  Six years later, the larkspur is still coming up.  I'm thinking maybe next year I will transplant it to inside the fence... since it is so pretty.  I just don't want to kill it!!

New Patio Plants

April 15, 2013
● New Patio Plants

My patio needed some sprucing up after the winter.  Since my mom was in town, we went shopping for some plants to add some color.  

Mom had the idea of adding some permanent foliage to my concrete pad by potting a small tree.  We went to the Natural Gardener, and found this Loquat tree.  

It is very unusual, as it blooms in the fall and winter, and then grows edible fruit in the spring.  

If the tree really grows, I may have to transplant it in five years or so... but I might kill it before then as well ;o)  And until then, I will enjoy it!

While shopping for groceries last week, I found this really adorable ant holding a pot.  I fell in love, and purchased a small plant to go in it.  Unfortunately, it is somewhat top heavy, and has been knocked over many times.  I may need to place it somewhere else, or figure out how to keep it stable.  I'm also fairly certain that no plant that small is going to make it through the 100 degree summer days, but it looks really cute right now!

My mom is an amazing flower arranger.  So, we went to Wal-Mart and picked up a bunch of annuals.  Anything that caught our eye.  The two beautiful gray pots are her arrangement.  

My mother-in-law gave me the orange plant - kalanchoe.  She took a piece of plant from her own bush, planted it, and says it will root and grow.  How awesome is that??

And the last pot is some left-over snapdragons from last year.  My mom helped me to divide them into two pots.  We'll see if they grow!

And the Nandina and Duranta plants from last year in the bench planter are doing well.  I'm hoping the Duranta will bloom again all summer - because it was so pretty last year!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Peaches and Blackberries

April 14, 2013

● Peaches
The Dward Belle of Georgia and Dwarf Hale Haven peach trees are now 5 or 6 years old.  We have never gotten fruit from the front tree, but usually get a few from the back one - but only if we are vigilant enough to keep away the birds and the squirrels.  We weren't sure if the back tree would produce fruit, but it already has some baby peaches on it.  Yay!!

April 14, 2013

● Blackberries
We planted the blackberries 5 years ago - and have never gotten any fruit off of them.  They always seem to wither on the vine.  We also don't take good care of them, and often forget to water them.  I dug in the bed, pulled up tons of weeds, and found that some of the blackberries had sprouted new plants.  i would love to actually get some blackberries this year.  Maybe if I keep on top of watering them and fertilizing???

North Front bed

April 14, 2013

● North Front Bed
Lost the blackfoot daisies last year.  I think the sage took it over.  Other than that, I think everything I planted has come back,  And look at that, the Day Lilly I planted last year is blooming!!!  Yay!!

Flame sage - 5 years Had to trim back as it was taking over half the bed!!
Ruellia - 5 years - these need some serious dividing
Red Knock out Rose - 4 years
Orange and White roses - 3 years
Dwarf Pomegranate - 3 years
Dwarf Coreopsis - 2 years and spreading like it means to stay!
Fall Aster - 2 years
Damianita - 1 year - still alive, yay!!
Stella De Oro day lilly - 1 year and blooming!!
Obedient plant - 1 year - spreading - I'm still thinking I might regret planting these!

April 14, 2013

● South Front Bed
I am not planting anything new in this bed this year.  Ruellia - 5 years
Lantana - 5 years
Flame Sage - 5 years
Esperanza - 4 years?
Blackfoot daisies - 4 years
Tropical Milkweed - 3 years I found a bunch of seedlings that may be baby milkweeds.  I have planted them in a circle around this bush.  We'll see if they really are!
Forgotten plant - 3 years
Pride of Barbados - 2 years a seed transplant from Dave and doing great!!
Dwarf Coreopsis - 2 years and spreading!
Stella de Oro Day lilly - 2 years and blooming for the first time
Fire bush - 2 years.  Didn't really bloom last year.  Hopefully it will this year
Fountain Grass - freebie from a plant that died - 2 years
Fall Asters - 2 years
St Johns Wart - 1 year and spreading!

April 14, 2013

● Peaches
The Dward Belle of Georgia and Dwarf Hale Haven peach trees are now 5 or 6 years old.  We have never gotten fruit from the front tree, but usually get a few from the back one - but only if we are vigilant enough to keep away the birds and the squirrels.  We weren't sure if the back tree would produce fruit, but it already has some baby peaches on it.  Yay!!

April 14, 2013

● Blackberries
We planted the blackberries 5 years ago - and have never gotten any fruit off of them.  They always seem to wither on the vine.  We also don't take good care of them, and often forget to water them.  I dug in the bed, pulled up tons of weeds, and found that some of the blackberries had sprouted new plants.  i would love to actually get some blackberries this year.  Maybe if I keep on top of watering them and fertilizing???

April 4, 2012

● Other
My mom took this picture of our live oak.  It is a truly beautiful tree, though it needs some serious trimming.  And I need to clear the area out below it.  A project for another day...

April 4, 2012

● North Bed

We have had such a mild winter that everything is coming up early this year!  Of course, last year's draught also means that a lot of what we planted last year didn't even make it to the winter.

I have only bought one new plant for this bed this year, since so much has grown up.  The Stella D'Oro daylilly under the frog is new.  I am also looking to put some native Damianita along the border between the ruellia and dwarf coreopsis.  But Natural Gardener was sold out... 

Everything else is a hold over from last year.  The flame saliva is in its fourth year, and doing wonderful!  And my roses are in their third year and blooming like crazy.  I shaped the Knock out rose a little differently this year, cutting the leaves around the bottom to make it more shrubbly shaped, and I like it.  My fall asters were originally three, but two fell to Dominos paws last year :o(  But the dwarf coreopsis from last year has made it to round two!  A first for me with coreopsis!  I'd really like to get into the ruellia and divide it up some, it has gotten so big!

Because of the mild winter, the dwarf pomegranate didn't freeze over, and so it is already bigger this year than it was last! 

I transplanted a bunch of stalks of Obedient Plant from my front bed to the back beds.  We'll see how they do. 

I put three of the stalks in the far left corner, near the Dwarf Pomegranate and the other five stalks in the middle of the south bed.  The book says they spread agressively, so I may rue this decision, but I thought I'd give it a try for some fall color...

● SouthBed

This bed is always a little bit later and smaller than the other bed - I think because it has more deciduous plants.  
So to try and combat that, I bought one new plant for this bed: St John's Wort (an evergreen) to put in the middle, hopefully that will grow up and fill out the middle with some foliage until the other plants come up.

Other than that and the transplanted Obedient Plant, I did not add anything else to the bed. 

As in the North bed, my Dwarf Coreopsis from last year came up again!  So did the Pride of Barbados that Dave grew from seed and we planted last year!

And mid summer, I purchased a potted fire bush for my front porch.  Last fall, I decided to plant it in the garden - and so far, it is coming up.  I'm excited to see what it will look like this year. 

Also, oddly enough, my Nierembergia Starry Eyes are still hanging on.  They spent all last year looking half dead, and they continue to look that way, so we'll see if they make it through another winter.  Funny enough, hidden deep in the pot of one of these flowers was some sort of fountain grass.  Well that has grown up and it really pretty.  It isn't a really good placement for it, but since it is intertwined with the Nierembergia, I am afraid to move it.  I'll just wait for the Starry Eyes to die, then put it somewhere else :o)  The only other holdover plant from last year was the Stell D'Oro daylilly. 

The Ruellia, Esperanza, Tropical Milkweed, Lantana, Salvias, Black Foot Daisies and Fall Asters are all now multi-year repeaters.  I still haven't remembered the name of the other shrub beside the Tropical Milkweed, but it is also in its third year and looking strong!

May 20, 2011

● North Corner Bed

I have always felt the back corner was a bit of an eye sore.  The grass never really grew there, it looked barren and unhappy.  The week before Mom came, Dave purchased a plumbago for me for Mother's Day.  He knows I absolutely love the plant, but have killed so many of them, that I refuse to buy anymore.  We thought about where a good partial shade spot would be, and decided the northern back corner might work.  It gets a couple hours of morning sun, then the overhanging trees shade it. One little plumbago didn't do much to improve the eyesore however.  

When Mom was here, she offered to buy me a bird bath for my birthday.  We went to Natural Gardener (waaay to expensive) and the Home Depot (three concrete ugly ones) and then Lowe's.  Lowe's had by far the best selection, and we picked out an awesome bird bath.  It was very large, which is necessary for the hot summer temperatures here (so the water doesn't evaporate in an hour).  While shopping, I also purchased two Cannas of a variety called Tropicanna.  This is a new variety with orang-ish varigate leaves.  We put all of these in that same bed, and transformed it from an eye sore to a really peaceful corner!  I am so thrilled with the results!

● Porch Bed

All of the plants in my porch beds are perennials.  Many are just a year or two old, so they are small, but I know they will eventually grow (unless I kill them first!).

I asked Mom was she would do to the bed this year, and she suggested adding some annuals to fill in the places where the perennials would eventually grow.

We went shopping at Lowe's and found very few annuals.  We did pick up six or so of an annual variety of red salvia.  But since there were so few annuals, we also purchased some more perennials.

We added a Stella de Oro daylilly (a plant I have been wanting for awhile), one small Rudbeckia called "Becky Mix" and another called "Yellow Becky" (I don't think we realized we picked up two different varieties)  These are both low to the ground plants with a daisy like flower.  We also added two Arizona Sun Blanket Flowers.

With the addition of these plants, my bed looks really beautiful.  (the wire fencing is to keep Domino from eating my plants!)

May 1, 2011
● It's alive!!
Every year in mid-April, I look at all my beds with the green spikes of all the returning plants optimistically poking their heads through the ground.  And then I look at my Pride of Barbados, and it looks like a dead stick.  And I think, oh no, she didn't make it through the winter this year.  Even Dave was suggesting I dig it up and put a new one in.  But right around May 1st, I saw the first green shoot appear.  And a few days later, a new shoot appeared.  And by mid-May, it looks like a real plant.
It just needs a little patience.  Don't we all ;o)

April 1, 2011
 There's something 'bout the Southland in the Springtime!
I love this time of year, when everything is just starting to come back.  The temperatures are wonderful, so the heat isn't yet a threat to plants.  This year, we had some late snap cold fronts.  I am pretty sure that everything that was going to come back has come back, but you never know...

Back beds - Old Favorites My true workhorses are the lantana, ruellia, flame salvia, esperanza and black foot daisies.  These are all in year three, and they look wonderful.  All three roses are alive and flowering!  My knock-out rose will have to be severely trimmed, as it is taking over the bed!  My dwarf pomegranate is just starting to put out new shoots also!  It seems to me that it took much longer to return last year, as I feared it was dead for awhile.

Unfortunately, my Jethro Tull coreopsis seem to not have made it through another year.  I have purchased two new, to replant, as they are a favorite of mine.

Back Beds - Second Years A whole lot more died last year then came back, but a few have perservered.  My whirling guara has returned, and looks pretty healthy!  The tropical milkweed and other plant beside it (will have to get Natural Gardener to identify it once it blooms, as I mislabeled it originally.) have both come back.  And my $0.50 fall asters are returning.    I truly just bought them because they were cheap and brightened up my fall garden, but all six have returned.  If they can just make it through the hot summer, these may just make it into the old favorites.
Not sure if it counts as a second year, or old favorite, but the ruellia I transplanted (first attempt), has come back!  So, I think I will try and separate a few more this year.  This is one tough plant,  in my south bed, one even survived a Domino dig up!
Some goners that I tried last year, but didn't make it to round two include the Nierembergia Starry Eyes (I bought replacements to try again this year), the verbena, and, of course, my plumbago. I have decided to give up trying to grow plumbago... as much as I love it, I just don't seem to be able to keep it alive!Back Beds - Newbies
So far, I have bought two dwarf coreopsis to put in the south bed, two Jethro Tull coreopsis to put somewhere, three small Starry Eyes, and I am going to plant two of Dave's Pride of barbados.  (I planted two earlier, and Domino dug them up within an hour.  This time, I am going to put temporary fencing around the beds for a month or so.)  I would also like to purchase some pretty bush for the South bed.  The north bed is starting to really fill in, and look mature, but the South bed is still pretty empty.  I also may try and transplant some of the lantana, as it seems to be a little lantana heavy... and I'd like some variety.  Not sure yet.

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