Thursday, April 29, 2010

Color Conventions and Blog Social Conventions

I'm calling them 'conventions' rather than rules. How did you decide on color pallettes for your gardens? I've been working on mine for years.

Pictures show some favorite colors in my front gardens. Sometimes a little pink slips in, intentionally or not. All the roses are orange or yellow or both, except that one Carefree Delight... It does have yellow stamens. Pink and reds go to the upper garden and the back.

Yellow and Orange show well from the highway, starting with daffodils in early spring and progressing to fall when purples are quite prominent accompanied by some yellow like melampodium and the beautiful reds of fall. I'm very fond of Chartreuse.
I've added some maroons and browns, including Dominique daylillies and another buff colored daylily, and Mexican hats.

Salvia leucantha and butterflies from 2007. It returns reliably here.

The blog poll on my sidebar has to do with Blog Conventions. This is a fun poll, not to be taken too seriously. There are no wrong answers. Please choose all with which you agree.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Secrets of a Magician

A Garden Blogger is much like a Magician. Here are some of the qualities of their work that are similar.

A magician, like a blogger, performs for a specific group of people, who look forward to the show.

He tells a story that matches the audience. He doesn't try to persuade them that they don't know enough about his art or teach them a lesson. He makes the show easy to enjoy.

He creates an illusion that delights the viewer as more of the story is revealed.

A blogger, like a magician maintains a generous attitude.

Gardening, like magic, looks easy because of planning and practice that goes into preparing the show.

There's a riot of information racing by in each presentation. We magnify little bits into what we embrace as the full picture. Like the magician's art, garden blogs are meant to entertain and delight.

Do you find magic in blogs? Does your blog delight the viewer with sleight of hand in the garden?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Dianthus: Carnations, Cheddar Pinks, Sweet William, Annual Pinks

Dianthus are ancient flowers, the Gillyflower to which Shakespeare referred. Dianthus translates to 'divine form.' Among the different forms of Dianthus are Carnation D. caryophyllus which grows in dry climates, Cheddar Pinks D. gratianopolitanus, the annual China Pinks and Sweet William D. barbatus. China Pinks are cool season annuals in my climate, growing along with violas and snapdragons in the winter garden to bloom in early spring.

Bath's Pink has a strong, sweet scent.

My favorites are Cheddar Pinks, particularly Bath's Pink which tolerates our humid summers if they have excellent drainage. I root new pieces frequently as some of the older plants may melt out in our humidity when the sun is hot. Tip cuttings or heel cutting root easily. Their spicy scent carries on the breeze when they are in bloom. When bloom finishes, cutting back by a third encourages new growth but seldom do I see rebloom. Out of bloom, the bluish foliage lends color interest in a bed.

My other favorite, perhaps the one I love best is Sweet William dianthus. The name William comes from the french oillet  for eye which became Sweet Willy and then William. Colors range from white through pinks and lavenders to darkest red. The darker colors have the stronger fragrance.

Red Sweet William here with Pineapple Sage and Violas.

Pinks bridge the gap between the azalea show and May's perennials in my garden. I added pinks to a bed with pink roses. In a bed that will have blue flowers later, foliage of Bath's Pink makes a good front edge. Kept deadheaded, Sweet William lasts into the summer. They're called pinks not because of rosy colors, but because of the jagged edges that look as if they were 'pinked' with shears.

Does your garden feature Dianthus?  

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Blogs with Bling or Plain Text with Pics?

There's a new Poll on the Sidebar concerning what you have in your blog's Sidebar and following your posts. This  relates to coming changes on Blotanical. A similar poll is on my daily Dotty Pants blog with a post about the soon-to-come changes on Blotanical concerning how we read posts there.

I read blogs that are not on Blotanical in an RSS feed. I enjoy reading simple black on white text with blue titles and the accompanying photos.  I know how much trouble it takes to assemble a stunning blog. I get tired of my own blog and frequently trial some new colors, a new header, bling for the Sidebar. I get more tired of waiting for blogs to load.

Photos will still load, if I read correctly. I do so look forward to new pics on everyone's post.

I have new pics: Cecile Brunner rose has finally commenced to climb the Stick House.

Little Sweetheart Rose buds are so sweet.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Visitor to a Green Cathedral

Hey! That's a lot of lawn there, lady. Shouldn't you be ripping it out and replacing it? Oh. You never water nor fertilize it? How does it survive? It goes dormant when the weather is dry? But in California -- oh, this isn't California, you are correct. What kind of grass is it, anyway? Centipede and Bahia and weeds and wildflowers and whatever comes up, like those pastures surrounding you?  Snake! Where? Oh, you have wide paths on account of of rattlesnakes being common in the south.

"I know a green cathedral,
a hallowed forest shrine. Where trees in love join hands above
to arch your prayer and mine.
Within its cool depths sacred, the priestly cedar sighs.
And the fir and pine lift arms divine
unto the clear blue skies.

In my dear green cathedral
there is a quiet seat.
And choir loft in branched croft
where songs of birds hymn sweet.

And I like to think at evening
when the stars its arches light.
That my Lord and God treads its hallowed sod
in the cool, calm peace of night."
-- song popular in the early part of the last century.

What's that fluttering along the ground? What! A Zebra?

Oh, a Zebra Swallowtail butterfly. Nectaring on yellow wood sorrel Oxalis europaea? Imagine seeing that so early in the spring. I guess you wouldn't see it on a lawn that was sprayed with pesticides, would you? Oh, look, there's wild geranium all in your lawn too and some violets!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

When Whippoorwills Call

Whippoorwills are calling if you are outside to hear them after dark. Daddy Mack always said when he heard a Whippoorwill, "Time to plant peas."

when Whippoorwills call and evening is nigh,
i hurry to my blue heaven.

White California Poppy. The center shines like a light.

a turn to the right, a little white light,
will lead me to my blue heaven.

Roses on a trellis of discarded porch supports.

i'll see a smiling face, a fireplace, a cozy room,
a little nest that nestles where the roses bloom

The only baby around our house, Buffy napping. Yes, that is her tongue.

just molly and me, and baby makes three,
we're happy in my blue heaven.

The peas we planted when Whippoorwills called were field peas: Purple Hulled Crowders, Black Eyed Peas and in the southern part of the state, White Cream Peas or Lady Peas.

Early garden peas were my FIL's favorite, LeSueur canned peas. I'm not fond of canned peas nor canned asparagus, but found that eating them cold they are more palatable. I was about to chop celery for tuna salad today when I thought of the half can of peas not heated for last night's supper. (Leftover canned veggies are better if you save them unheated, just heat half the can and save  the other half in a plastic container.) Tuna salad made with dill pickles and cold canned peas was a tasty lunch.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Looking Good for Ten Years Old

Knockout Roses were introduced to gardeners ten years ago, after years of testing and trials, so you could say they are over twenty-one and have come of age. I'm pleased with them this spring. Sunny Knockout has buds not quite ready to open. All the yellow roses are later than the others this year.

Knockout and visible at right, Pink Knockout

I can't remember if this is Heirloom or Angel Face.
I love the color.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Native Azaleas Deep in a Forest Clearing

I stopped off for Bloom Day before continuing showing the Native Plants I saw on Susie's and my visit to the garden of the Butterfly Expert and the Longleaf Pine Consultant. Going back and forth between Evergreen Azaleas and Native Azaleas is making my head bizzy. They are all so beautiful.
R.flammeum, orange to red and R.austrinum, yellow to orange.

R. canesens, pink

R.alabamense, white with yellow blotches. The Native Azalea Expert shows how to transfer pollen to set seeds for crosses.
Dogwoods are still visible in the forest, Live Oaks nearer the garden, evidence of daffodils just past.
This is one of the finest garden experiences I have had.
It was a privilege to visit and be allowed to take pictures to share with all of you.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bloom Day in the Deep South

It's the time of year in the Deep South when every humble dwelling becomes a Fairyland behind loads of Azaleas the size of a minivan, mine included. Dogwoods that usually accompany at the height of Azalea season bloomed early and have almost all shedded their petals.

Pink Pearl and George Tabor, with Pink Ruffles in background.

The secret path to the Upper Garden

Poppies have popped everywhere.

View from the Upper Garden side.

Younger Azaleas at the north side of the Upper Garden.

Calycanthus has bloomed, adding spicy fragrance.

Baptisia with spikes of bloom in front of Pink Ruffles.

I have many more pics, but I know you need to hurry on to the next Garden Bloggers'
Bloom Day blog which you can find linked at May Dreams Gardens, hosted by Carol.

You can find today's Blooms that were not Azaleas on

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Butterfly Gardening, Native Azaleas and Blogging

Tuesday I visited a private garden deep in a pine forest where there is a certified Monarch Way Station, a huge garden of native azaleas, other native plants, a bird window for viewing from inside the house and many other features for the benefit of wildlife and viewing pleasure of the owners. I'm dividing the pictures into groups because there are too many for one post.
From a relatively small sample, here are the results of my latest informal poll:
Eighty four per cent of us link to the blogs of others.
Less than half blog about family.

About three quarters include pictures of public gardens on their blogs.
Fewer than one in five use public domain photos.

Guest posts are invited by only 13 %.
Almost half blog about plant nurseries.

More than a third blog about personal events like accidents or illnesses.

Fewer than a third blog about other gardeners -- I should have worded this differently and said 'the gardens of others.' I meant their gardens, not the persons.
Here is a preview of what we saw in the private garden we visited on Tuesday:
The cross hatches are netting outside the window to keep birds from flying into the window.
See the Cardinal? Drippers at three points keep fresh water flowing into the little pool.

How is this for a rustic garden shed?

Our hostess on the left, a visiting native azalea hybrider, and
in front of him, my friend Susie. We were heading out through the azaleas.

Evergreen and native azaleas at the forest edge.

Clematis on the Butterfly Garden Shed.

Trillims were everywhere.

Looking out from the threshold. On the right, asclepias and other plants await planting.
At right, Pentas and Porterweed that Susie brought for the Butterfly Garden.
Passiflora vines grow up through the shrubs in the background.

If you missed what I wrote above, this is not my garden. I visited here yesterday,
in the company of  experts on Native Azaleas and Butterfly Gardening.