Tuesday, January 27, 2009

First Daffodils

0127Daffodils 7, originally uploaded by nell jean.

The earliest daffodils that bloom here were planted in this space prior to 1973 by my late sister in law.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Coming Attractions

The Christmas Cactus has sweet little new leaves that start out pinkish and turn green as they mature. It seems happy in its new home.

Calla lilies are a heap of foliage right now. I hope for blooms soon so I can do my Kathryn Hepburn routine. The stragglers on either side are lemon grass, the only plant in here that Inky bothers. He adores lemon grass: to chew, to shred, to bat about.

Tulips look promising. I spied a bud yesterday, deep in the tallest foliage. The holiday catalog from White Flower Farm is open to pots of tulips and other pretties, imagining what I might grow next year inspired by their photos.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Lunch in the Tropics

Inky and I had lunch in the Greenhouse, where it was 78 degrees in the sunshine. It was 41 degrees outside. I had a sandwich and hot Chai tea. Inky had crumbs of Monterey Jack cheese from my sandwich. He chewed lemon grass for dessert, drank from the smallest watering can and then took a nap.

I made sure no plants needed a drink, checked that the electric heater is set to come on, misted to raise the humidity and moved some tropicals nearer the center. Hard freeze expected tonight. Much warmer out there than in the house, while the sun shines.

Pentas and fibrous begonias continue to bloom, as does pineapple sage. I’m hoping for calla lily blossoms soon.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bloom Day, January

Blooming today: vinca; paperwhite narcissus planted outside after 2007 forced bloom; violas and nicotiana:

Lantana montevidensis, magnolia 'Leonard Messell':

Eclipse and Knockout roses picked on Tuesday, and the first hyacinth to bloom:

I work hard at blossoms and fragrance all year 'round. That little hyacinth showed up just in time for January fragrance. Tea olive is blooming, too. Tea olive is for catching the fragrance, not viewing the teensy flowers.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Favorite Purples

If I had bought or started plants and planted at the right time, Purple pansies would be again blooming in my garden as they did in 2004:

Purple tulips were a real show in March of 2004:

This year I planted orange tulips, in pots. Tulips require chilling and are treated as annuals here.

Purple Heart still grows at this corner, dormant for the winter now:

Cuttings of Persian Shield are in the greenhouse, as is the dark 'Black Magic' elephant ear. I've kept these plants going since 2005:

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A New Take on the Red Bed

After I failed to create the Red Bed I'd envisioned, it evolved into a more or less hybrid between a butterfly garden and a tropical plant plot.

Helen Yoest describes her Red Bed, which is a bed between her gardens and her neighbor's immaculate lawn, as a composite of not only red foliage and flowers, but red berries, fruit, stems, pods and fall color. "There is also a slash of yellow, purple and orange."

I'd already added those last colors, in the form of tropicals like Pride of Barbados, Tecoma stans and Castor Bean. From her list, I added to my roster Dogwood for red berries and Society Garlic, of which I have a two gallon bucket of starts. I was thinking to add a bottlebrush (callistemon rigidus) as well, from her list, but further research indicates that bottlebrush are allelopathic. Okay, Dogwood and Society Garlic.

Dogwood has not only red berries in winter, but red leaves hung on forever this fall on some of my smaller seedlings. I have just the one to move to the Red Bed. Dogwood branches grow in beautiful horizontal layers in part shade; this bed is in full sun. The tree will still be beautiful, like the one in my picture.

A Look Back

I had not meant to review 2008 in the garden, but Sue mentioned a little structure and I thought to show how it looked, new.

Click to see the whole picture.

Cypress vine volunteered. I decided to leave it for the delight of the hummers. Four rebar posts and some trimmings off a redbud tree that I keep for cutting whips for various uses, along with some twine, fashioned a trellis of a sort. When the vines went to seed, I pulled them up and scattered them around the stick house you can see in the background. Maybe it will be covered in green, come summer.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Think Pink

Taiwan Cherries are blooming! They are one of the earliest ornamental fruit trees.

Dogwood berries are still bright red, not yet eaten by birds. Robins usually arrive mid-February.

Closer and closer views of the cherries:

This Decidious magnolia is visible in the distance in the first photo above.

'Leonard Messel' magnolia blossom

More pinks: Pansies in burgundy and magenta shades; Camellias in pink: double and formal

Loropetalums are blooming, too. Right now it's a pink garden, except for newly planted yellow violas, soon to be joined by daffodils.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Plans for 2009

Stay healthy, spend wisely, find purpose.

'Little Gem' magnolia in the Upper Garden 12/20/08.

Much of this cold day was spent on organizing my pictures. Lots more to do, including backing up 2008 on a Flash Drive. They seem to pile up, photos. Tags are helpful in finding things.

I'm resolved enough to have a 12/20/08 photo from a vantage point for every flower bed. Some have multiple pics. When a bed makes a momentous change, I'll record it. No need to record the azalea walk again until the show in late March. Portions of the azalea walk have other showtimes, like gardenias in June. The pics are tucked away by garden area. I hope to find them again.