Friday, January 28, 2011

My Best Buds Are Waiting for Warm

Sunny and warm this afternoon, a fine day. I tugged at errant Centipede grass in the beds and raked back mulch that covered emerging bulbs too well.  On the sunny side of a boulder a daffodil that just can't wait has a fat bud surrounded by spiky leaves.

I remembered to look up. Sure enough Taiwan cherry buds are ready to pop in the next two weeks or so. Fuzzy buds of deciduous magnolia look like pussy willow catkins. Little Dogwood trees not yet five years old and grown from seeds have tightly folded buds awaiting the right time to bloom.

Dreadful cold the past few weeks have kept camellias from yet blooming. Tight buds wait for warmer days. The old camellias seem to have fewer buds this year than last. One seedling camellia has many buds, this being the fourth year that it will have bloomed.

Easily distracted, I didn't do much work. I strolled the Azalea Walk and the Upper Garden, remembering what Tara Dillardwrote today about planting more shrubs, fewer perennials.  If you garden in the south and don't know Tara, you might want to follow her blog. I do.

I tugged at some layered limbs that have self-rooted and decided we needed more long azalea beds starting where the bench is in this pic; maybe more hydrangeas, too. Oakleaf hydrangea suckers are plentiful. I am going to limb up the biggest, oldest oakleaf to make room for a white camellia it is crowding. I got that idea from Tara's blog.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Polls Are Likely Skewed

A small sampling reflects only the opinion of the few. Here are the results of my recent poll on blogging and such, with 37 readers responding.

Eighteen percent are blogging more, a little more than half are blogging about the same and 24 % have cut back.

A little more than a quarter are reading fewer blogs. (I'm reading blogs, but fewer of them are about gardening. Did you know there are people who blog about makeup? One of the frequent questions is how many lipsticks do you carry in your purse. Lipsticks? In my purse?)

Sixty four percent of those taking part are on Facebook. (Suddenly there are gardeners all over Facebook in addition to kinfolks, old school chums, and work-related friends.)

A general trend is toward spending less and growing more food.
Ten percent are spending more time on Blotanical, 62% are spending less time there and only about a quarter said they were looking forward to new changes there. (What new changes? some asked. Those might be the same who said they didn't know Stuart had a blog in last year's poll.)

I would like to see Blotanical Awards again in 2011. It kind of stirs up the competitive gene in us and gives reason to seek out new members. How about you?

Oh, and how many lipsticks in YOUR purse? Lip balm in your pocket is not the same.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Bloom Day Follows a Hard Freeze

Temps in the low twenties the past two nights left very little to bloom. Just north of us was snow and ice early this week. We just had rain followed by cold winds. I did find a blossom or two on some hardy plants.

Camellias are our winter staple. Cold will turn open flowers brown. Tight buds survive extreme cold to bloom when the temperatures rise again as they will by next week. This is Mathotiana in a sheltered corner by the house. The other Camellia japonicas have tight buds.

A single narcissus braved the cold to bloom early underneath an azalea bush.

Not a flower but a stunning fungus on an old stump.

Fringes of Loropetalum are apt to bloom anytime, year 'round.

Alyssum is a tough little plant with a delicate appearance.

Buffy shows off my new garden truck which replaces the golf cart
that I've used for many years for garden chores.
Ike the Cat invites you to come into the greenhouse to see what blooms there.

White shrimp plant has not stopped blooming.
White shrimp plant has not yet bloomed.

Begonias that I brought in because I couldn't bear
to see them freeze cuddle up with striped airplane plants.

White pentas potted for winter.  I took cuttings and dug several.
Pentas are a butterfly fave in summer. Potted, they bloom all winter.

Pink Pentas 'Miss Julie's Favorite' potted for winter.
There is Persian Shield in the background.

Like Carol of  May Dreams, my Christmas Cactus is past its prime and I took a late start with Amaryllis. I hope for Valentine bloom from the hippeastrum. Thanks to Carol for hosting GB Bloom Day. Visit her site to find links to many winter blossoms displayed from across the country. Add your link to show your blooms. See you there!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Poll: Blogging, Gardening, Facebook and Blotanical

First poll of the New Year. Isn't it time for Stuart to come off Holiday and back to Blotanical? Can we look forward to changes for the better? Will there be another popularity contest? These questions are not the Poll -- see it on the sidebar. Choose as many answers as are appropriate.

I am tired of Winter already and it just began. We even had snow flurries on December 26 here where it never snows. You had to be outside to be sure it was snowing. The ground was too warm for any accumulation.

I found a narcissus blooming outside in a sheltered spot today. Spring will come again.

Don't forget to take part in the poll, please.