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.”
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.
Also blooming right now is my rosemary, a shrub rose and my purple shamrock (Oxalis spp.), all pictured below.
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?! 🙂
Never failing, even with neglect, tiny Dianthus have showy hot pink flowers, nearly year-round.
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.
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.
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?
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