Sunday, May 31, 2009

Flowering Pomegranate

Every year is different in the garden, but this is a very different year for the pomegranates. Usually they bloom all at once, the bushes covered in blooms. This year, they've bloomed off and on for weeks, never very many blossoms at once.

PhotobucketPunicas: flowering pomegranates

These are another of the plants that were here since before I first saw this place, more than 4 decades ago. I dug up the original plant from under an oak tree that had volunteered and overtaken the pomegranate, divided it and set the shrubs though the upper garden.

This cultivar is purely ornamental and bears no fruit. I've seen edible pomegranates growing in the next county west.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Colors of the Garden: Pink Shades

Finally blooming together: Spirea Bumalda, Echinacea and 'Byzantine Emperor' daylily. In front of the grouping is chartreuse alternanthera. I wonder if I'll wish I'd put pink begonias there. Maybe I'll have both!

The flat of begonias I bought this week is finally all transplanted into pots. They had either left two seedlings in each cell, or put two cuttings in each. Most had one pink and one white. A few were a light red with green leaves, not as vigorous as the pinks and whites. I separated the ones that were different colors, left most of the matches. Ended up with 27 pots from 18 cells. They were quite crowded, so they need to recover for a few days so they don't look so leggy. I may leave some in the best pots. I didn't intend to have a single container plant this year. Suddenly I have containers everywhere.

Shade Gardening

Shade here ranges from High Shade under Pines to Dappled Shade under Pecans to Dense Shade under Oaks.

PhotobucketRare blossoms on white Shrimp Plant, usually only seen in the greenhouse. Gingers that like a bit of shade work better than Hostas in this climate. Seen here: Varigated Alpinia and solid green. Curcuma is just emerging.

I call this the 'Aquarium Garden' because many of the plants have ocean names: Shell Ginger, Shrimp Plant, 'Minnow' daffodils have disappeared. Faux Fish line the edge. Ferns pretend to be seaweed.


PhotobucketTropical plants spending the summer in cache pots in edges of the shade garden include Heliconias and Bird of Paradise. Growing in the shade garden are Baptisia, Hydrangeas and Begonias, edged with Stokesia.Behind the Hydrangeas are azaleas and native hypericums.

Hydrangea Mariesii Variegata, great for shade even before blossoms; wonderful with Hosta Halcyon whose blue color is picked up in the blue striations in the hydrangea leaves.

Yesterday's post includes some plants in dappled shade.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Blooming Friday

PhotobucketEchinacea and Oakleaf Hydrangea

PhotobucketFairy Tale Pink and Oakleaf


PhotobucketSunny Knockout

PhotobucketBlackeyed Susans and Purple Heart; Gardenias in Background

PhotobucketBulbine and Purple Heart

Thursday, May 28, 2009

SCUTELLARIA Costaricana.

These are plants I found in a regular Big Box garden section when we went to Alabama:

The one on the right is Scutellaria costaricana. On the left is Duranta, which I will discuss in a later post.

From Curtis's botanical magazine By William Jackson Hooker, David Prain, Otto Stapf, Royal Horticultural Society (Great Britain) 1864.
"We have lately figured several handsome scarlet-flowered tropical American Scutellariœ,—for example, S. cordi/olia (Tab. 4290), S. incarnata (Tab. 4268, and var., Tab. 5185), S. Ven- tenatii (Tab. 4271), and 8. villosa (Tab. 4789); but the present one is quite distinct from any of them, and certainly much more beautiful, perhaps the most beautiful, of any of this now extensive genus, numbering as it does, according to Mr. Bentham, eighty-six species. Its beauty consists in the great size and the colouring of the numerous flowers : these measure two inches and a half in length, of a rich golden-scarlet colour, with the faux, or inside of the lips, a deep yellow. It is a native of Costa Rica and was introduced into Europe, we believe, by Mr. Wendland, to whom we are indebted for our living plants which flowered in a warm stove in 1863."

I was not expecting such a history. The plants were labeled as annuals; they are tender perennials blooming from spring to fall. I hope to take cuttings to save over the winter.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Most Romantic Blooms

From my garden yesterday. Gardenias are sometimes called 'Cape Jasmine' because the first cultivated plants were found in South Africa by a sea captain. They are actually native to China. Linnaeus named them 'Gardenia' for a Dr. Garden who often sent plants to his friend Mr. Ellis who forwarded them to Linnaeus. Dr. Garden received two of the plants named for him, one dead and the other died shortly after. Fortunately for us, Gardenias were introduced to the American South, where they bloom faithfully every June.

Easily grown, if one does not panic when their leaves turn yellow, nor love them to death with too much of everything. Propagate in a bottle of water when a long stem is cut with the flower. Leave the stem and leaves to root after the blossom turns yellow and falls.

I wish you could smell these.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

How to Garden, in 25 Words

Stroll the garden daily.
Weed as you go.
Look at your plants.
Remove what's dying or overcrowding.
Water as needed.
Postpone planting until cooler days.

Monday, May 25, 2009


Persian Shield



Parrot Glads, or Natal lily

According to Floridata, Parrot Gladiolus or Natal Lily (G. dalenii) is a common gladiolus species in the southern U.S., often persisting in abandoned gardens or roadsides with no care at all. Its beautiful orange and yellow flowers are borne on 3 ft (1 m) spikes.

These have persisted at an old house site on the property for more than 50 years that I know of. Mowed or plowed, they now grow inside and outside of an old fence.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Colors of the Garden

The Front Islands have a color scheme -- sort of. I read about a famous designer who renovated her garden using darkest Purple, palest Yellow, Chartreuse and all shades of Orange. Mine is loosely based on her choices, except that other colors keep sneaking in.

Kniphofia and Livin' Easy

These are snapdragons from seed. I hoped for a darker bronze foliage and an even darker red color that I could pass off as purple. They will be pretty with the chartreuse alternanthera.
Black Prince

These pink snapdragons must be moved. Mixed seed last year, most of which were white or dark. These are perfect for another area, just not here.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sunny Knockout

Sunny Knockout, added to my garden yesterday in the Yellow Rose Bed. I only bought one. I'd like to have a Carefree Sunshine, from the same hybridizer.

Violas are on the way out in this bed. Late daffodils are still maturing. Moonbeam Coreopsis and Shasta daisies will add summer color as the big nicotianas seed out and are cut back.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

South African Plants in Southern USA Gardens

Agapanthus were planted in long borders outside an industrial park that we passed this morning when we went to the city (Tallahassee, FL). Huge blue spheres of florets on tall stems, they were beautiful. To break the monotony, there were short stretches of yellow daylilies which were not nearly as eyecatching as the blue blossoms. Last year, I saw the same plants blooming in huge beds on the lawn of a downtown office building in Dothan, AL.

Agapanthus comes from South Africa, as do a number of bulbs and perennials that we grow here.

Other South African Bulbs and Tubers in my garden include:

Calla Lily
Elephant ear

Non-bulbous South African plant favorites include Gerbera daisy, Begonias and tall Marigolds.

Epidemiology in the Garden

This comes from the blog of Brooke Edmunds at Colorado State University. She posts monthly reports of problems that are being seen in the Hort industry.

Host-> Problem diagnosis
  • Bigflower Coreopsis -> Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus (TSWV)
  • Butterfly bush -> Environmental stress (undetermined-possible high salt level)
  • Calibracoa (Million Bells) ->Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV)
  • Gerber Daisy->Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV)
  • Osteospermum->Environmental stress (undetermined)
  • Pepper transplants -> Pythium root rot
  • Pepper transplants ->Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV)
  • Petunia->Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV)
  • Tomato transplants -> Environmental stress (High soil pH and salts)
  • Tomato transplants ->Environmental stress (undetermined-possible phytotoxicity)

    If your plant wilts and falls over, or gets suspicious spots, you might do a search for these diseases.
  • Wednesday, May 20, 2009


    MIL used to call it 'dirt blowing' and it usually happens in March when fields are first plowed. Newly planted or plowed fields give up the loose sandy soil. It looks as if we're in the desert in a tan fog, as an East wind at 25 mph with gusts up to 33 blows the field behind us toward the house and the field north of us into the tree line for which our neighbors should be grateful we left.

    It's been bad enough to keep us in the house this afternoon. The wind has been with us all week, but just today did the soil dry out enough to take to the air. Thunderstorms are predicted. I hope the rain reaches us.

    DH was able to get the truckload of vines and overgrown shrubbery I cut yesterday hauled away. I started edging beds, with Buffy's help. (Buffy's great with trenches, but they're not exactly even.) I even attacked some Bermuda grass that had sneaked into the front bed. It came up easier than I expected. Mulch matters.

    Tuesday, May 19, 2009

    Pride of Barbados Returns

    I've been almost holding my breath for fear it was dead. Actually there are two, this is the bigger one. The little one put up a tiny shoot first and this one just sat there for a while before deciding to put out growth.

    Caesalpinia pulcherrima is a member of the pea family (Fabaceae). It is referred to by other names including Peacock Flower, Mexican Bird of Paradise, Dwarf Flamboyan, Caesalpinia, and Dwarf Poinciana. I can hardly wait for blossoms, a butterfly favorite.

    This one is planted with Esperanza, or Tecoma stans. The pink Silene will soon seed out and be pulled.

    More Lilies

    Algarve bloomed for the first time today.

    I don't remember the name of this LA lily, it's been here for several years.

    Blackout is an Asiatic. This is its second year here. The daylily is Sammy Russell, an old, old landscape favorite that makes a good edger.

    Not a true lily, Kniphofia is sometimes called 'Torch Lily' or 'Red Hot Poker.' The stems curve down into interesting configurations as they mature. I divided this one several months ago; two of the divisions are putting out small buds. The literature says they don't like to be disturbed, so I just took pieces off the sides with two spading forks.

    Sunday, May 17, 2009

    Consider the Lilies

    I can never wait until they open completely before I starting taking pictures.
    From Collages

    These are some white LA that I have had for years and a red called 'Black Out' that was new last year. Many of the LA lilies have no name, either were from a mixed package or have been divided and moved around over the years.

    Saturday, May 16, 2009

    Sweet Shrub

    I wrote one month ago about Calycanthus floridus, known some places as Carolina Allspice, blooming then. It is still blooming; I didn't realize the bloom time lasted so long. Did I mention the fragrance?

    There is a pale cultivar that is popular in collectors' gardens. I really prefer the old species. The maroon color is unusual and adds to the garden, especially pretty when the oakleaf hydrangeas behind it come into bloom.

    Bright Lights: When the Bulbs Come On

    This LA lily, above, coordinates perfectly with 'Silver Veil' daylily below
    Bulbs are more fool-proof than seeds. Newly planted bulbs don't wash away easily like seeds. Most can stand a bit of drought, or extra water if it drains away. Most are perennial, if care is taken to chose those hardy in your climate. There are bulbs for every season, if you count Amaryllis and Paperwhites inside in the dead of winter.

    Right now I'm eagerly awaiting blooms on lilies. A few early ones have opened, Gladioli, too.

    The down side of bulbs: the foliage of spring bulbs and lilies takes a long time to ripen, so you have to either disguise them or direct the view elsewhere. Placement is important; some gardeners forget and dig into bulbs when the foliage is withered away.

    Friday, May 15, 2009

    May Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day

    You would be here for a long visit if I showed you every little blossoming perennial and shrub, so I made two collages: one with roses, some coming into the second flush of bloom, and some of the daylilies just getting underway with some of their companions.

    1st row: Rose des Violettes, Carefree Delight pruned as standard, & White Dawn
    2nd Row: Livin' Easy, a little wild rose, and Red Cascade

    Daylilies include Kent's Favorite II and an ancient red with no name; Brocaded Gown and Inner View, both shown with Stokesia. The close up of Inner View was an FFO.

    Fat buds of true lilies are about to burst into bloom along with more daylilies. Please do come back later to see them.

    Thursday, May 14, 2009

    Favorite Combos

    A dark daylily and yellow lantana bloom together all summer.

    White Dawn Rose and a lavender Clematis. Oakleaf Hydrangea in the background goes with everything.

    California Poppies and Larkspur

    Ratibida and Salvia farinacea

    Carefree Delight Rose and Kniphofia