Monthly Archives: January 2015

Blooming in My Yard: January 4-10, 2015- It’s carnival time!

The Christmas decorations have been put away. The Mardi Gras decorations box is in the front room. January 6 is the Epiphany, Three Kings Day, the first day of Carnival season!

Its hard to be gloomy and down when the sun is shining on the Gulf Coast and the temperatures reached into the 60’s. What a beautiful day to hang laundry, wash the car and see what’s blooming around the yard. “Oh well, its carnival time and every body’s havin’ fun.”

 

Blooming in My Yard, January 4-10, 2015.TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2015

Blooming in My Yard, January 4-10, 2015.TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2015

Though my camellias (C. japonica above) started blooming in November, they are really glorious now. I do need to fertilize some of the C. japonicas as many of the leaves are showing nutrient deficiencies. Watch an entertaining little video from Monrovia nurseries about the C. sasanqua and C. japonica. I still have much to learn about the different varieties. If you are really interested in camellias, check out the American Camellia Society. One challenge when coming into an existing landscape without plant labels or a planting plan, is that exact identification can be very tricky, heck sometimes getting the right species is tricky. Below is my other type of camellia. It blooms a bit earlier and I think it to be C. sasanqua.

Blooming in My Yard, January 4-10, 2015.TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2015

Blooming in My Yard, January 4-10, 2015.TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2015

Also blooming right now is my rosemary, a shrub rose and my purple shamrock (Oxalis spp.), all pictured below.

Blooming in My Yard, January 4-10, 2015.TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2015

Blooming in My Yard, January 4-10, 2015.TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2015

Blooming in My Yard, January 4-10, 2015.TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2015

Blooming in My Yard, January 4-10, 2015.TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2015

Blooming in My Yard, January 4-10, 2015.TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2015

Blooming in My Yard, January 4-10, 2015.TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2015

There are still a few flowers opening on my loquat tree (below) and hopefully if it doesn’t get too cold later this week, we’ll have fruit again. Last year the fruit froze and we didn’t get any harvest. MS State Extension has a publication on growing this tree in the landscape. Hmmm, that tree in the publication looks familiar?! 🙂

Blooming in My Yard, January 4-10, 2015.TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2015

Blooming in My Yard, January 4-10, 2015.TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2015

Never failing, even with neglect, tiny Dianthus have showy hot pink flowers, nearly year-round.

Blooming in My Yard, January 4-10, 2015.TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2015

Blooming in My Yard, January 4-10, 2015.TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2015

Okay, technically, the plant below isn’t FLOWERING, its in BUD stage. But I’m sure it will open by week’s end. Its my lovely Daphne odora. I’m looking forward to those fragrant, creamy flowers.

Blooming in My Yard, January 4-10, 2015.TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2015

Blooming in My Yard, January 4-10, 2015.TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2015

Speaking of fragrant flowers in January, this little rascal below was cut down in the spring of 2012 as I learned of its invasiveness. I was bummed because its citrus-flower-like perfume is so enchanting. I stuck a tiki birdbath on its stump and it has grown back and around the tiki, giving the tiki statue a hidden “in the jungle” appearance. I should cut its sprouts back again…I really should…HOWEVER, I just learned that the person who identified this plant and said it was invasive, was incorrect. This plant is apparently Osmanthus, tea olive or sweet olive. It has leathery, opposite, deep green, toothy-margined leaves and the shrub is/was evergreen.  I just had a feeling about that plant! So now what? Well, I’m going to move the tiki to the side, beg the plant’s forgiveness, and do my best to mother it back into a beautiful shrub. In addition to the link from Clemson University Extension above, the University of Florida also has some great information on Osmanthus. I cut down a 8′ beautiful shrub based on someone’s incorrect ID! I feel like Sally in The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown “What a fool I was!”  Well, that’s what happens when you are new to an area and aren’t familiar with all the plant material.

Blooming in My Yard, January 4-10, 2015.TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2015

Blooming in My Yard, January 4-10, 2015.TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2015

Finally, NOT a flower. A lovely fungi. I have a full-color mushroom identification guide on order. I find some of the most amazing fungi in my yard but I want to identify them all. Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to eat some of what I have growing in my yard! Do YOU know what this mushroom is?

Blooming in My Yard, January 4-10, 2015.TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2015

Blooming in My Yard, January 4-10, 2015.TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2015

 

I hope your winter is as colorful as mine. Mild Gulf Coast winters help make cooler months more beautiful!

Yours in Gardening!

The Garden Maiden 🙂

All images and text copyright 2015 The Garden Maiden

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Categories: Observations from My Garden of Goods & Evils, What's Blooming | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Aloha to Latitude 29: Tiki Inspiration for Backyard Patios and Luaus

Latitude 29 tiki bar and restaurant in the French Quarter. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2015_RStafne

Latitude 29 tiki bar and restaurant in the French Quarter. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2015_RStafne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yesterday I had the fortune of checking out the new tiki cocktail restaurant and bar in the French Quarter, New Orleans. My husband and I have been waiting forever for Jeff “Beachbum” Berry’s place (Latitude 29) to open, which it did in November.  Now, some of you may be wondering what in the world a tiki bar has to do with my gardening blog, so hold on to your seats as I try to weave a story for you.

Latitude 29 tiki bar and restaurant in the French Quarter. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2015_RStafne

Latitude 29 tiki bar and restaurant in the French Quarter. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2015_RStafne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For many years I have been getting into tiki culture. It began as a sideshoot interest from being both a parrothead and a big fan of Hawaiiana and Hawaiian travel.  That led to a great interest in Exotica music (both retro and modern), surf music, and Hawaiian traditional music. On and on into 1960’s backyard tiki culture and home tiki bars my love went. Everything from the furniture, colors, and fabrics used then to the renaissance and popularity of the retro MOD look. Antique and modern tiki artists found their way into my home, and especially the use of bamboo furniture.

My husband and I hosted our first tiki party in Fayetteville, Arkansas many years ago and carried that love of mainland Aloha everywhere we went.

One of the main motivators of this retro culture was the desire to bring a bit of Hawaii to the home for those who were not lucky enough to travel to Hawaii or to return to Hawaii as often as they liked.

Latitude 29 tiki bar and restaurant in the French Quarter. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2015_RStafne

Latitude 29 tiki bar and restaurant in the French Quarter. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2015_RStafne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It didn’t hurt my interests that I became completely mesmerized with everything Disney, especially The Enchanted Tiki Room. A visit to the attraction at either Disneyland or Disney World was more a of note -taking session in how to bring that “look” home.

One aspect of trying to keep tiki alive is creating a tropical-looking landscape or garden. Whether hiding tikis among the foliage of herbaceous perennials, or tucking cold-hardy palms among the cannas and castor beans. I even brought back Plumeria (frangipanis) from two trips to Hawaii and gladly move them in and out  of the house each fall/spring.

In addition to this, my husband and I began a great interest in classic, fresh, cocktail mixing. Fortunately a great history of tiki cocktails can be found in Beachbum Berry’s book, Potions of the Caribbean. Together, my husband and I wrote an article for State-by-State Gardening Magazine on the cocktail garden, back in May 2013 called Shaken or Stirred?

I am also a huge fan of Texas author James Michener and have read many of his books including Hawaii, Caribbean, Tales of the South Pacific and Return to Paradise.

At any rate, whenever given the chance, we seek out any remaining tiki culture (such as the Mai Kai in Fort Lauderdale) or new tiki. That brought us to Latitude 29.

Latitude 29 tiki bar and restaurant in the French Quarter. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2015_RStafne

Latitude 29 tiki bar and restaurant in the French Quarter. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2015_RStafne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It did not disappoint.

The food was great, the cocktails tasty and refreshing (we prefer to sit at the bar and chat up the mixologists), and the ambiance is SPOT ON with a fab music playlist by “Mrs. Bum”, who is as delightful as you could want in a tiki hostess.

We sampled the following drinks: Paniolo, Latitude 29, Nui Nui, Espresso Bongo, Lapu Lapu and an after dinner coffee drink. We also sampled the Noodle Bowl, Ground Filet Hamburger, Taro Fries, Crispy Sesame Green Beans and for desert the chocolate won tons. Tip: if you are on a low sodium diet as we are, request the fries and beans to be unsalted as they come with sea salt.

Check out the photos I captured with my old school “stupid phone”. They leave a bit to the imagination, but that’s what should pull you to pop in and let the tiki culture take you away to the South Pacific or other exotic Caribbean locale!

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Start planning now in these bleak days of winter how to bring some aloha spirit to your landscape or garden! After all inspiration could be as close as your nearest tiki bar!

 

Mahalo for stopping by!

The Garden Maiden 🙂

All images and text copyright 2015 The Garden Maiden

Categories: Other Inspirations | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment
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