I Like Big Blooms!

A few of my favorite big bloomers from my own garden: Below Clerodendrum bungei

And now for something completely different: a bit of parody from one of my favorite dance songs of the 90’s: Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-a-lot. That song has been stuck in my head on repeat since 1992 and comes out at the oddest moments.  Last year was the song’s 25th year anniversary and it was featured on NPR. My parody lyrics below.

…”Oh, my God, Becky, look at her flowers, they are so big, I can’t believe they’re just so round…I like Big Blooms and I cannot lie, you other gardeners can’t deny. When a flower opens up and it’s as big as a plate, get your camera, do not wait! …I’m hooked and I can’t stop starin’… Oh flower, I wanna get wit ya and take ya picture…Other gardeners tried to warn me, but those flowers you got makes me so…HAPPY!” 2017 The Garden Maiden.

Newly added to my garden last summer, Confederate rose (Hibiscus mutabilis) is an old fashioned Southern garden staple.  I was surprised to find out one day that the blossoms change color from whitish pink to deep pink by evening.  I admired it in the morning, left for work, came home, looked across the yard and was like, WTH Dude?

Daylillies may be common, but their flowers are an uncommon delight.

I think I finally have enough moonflower seed saved to last me for many years.   I love to marvel at the flowers that open in late afternoon and fade by the next morning, adding drama to the evening garden.

Finally, and by no means is this the end of my favorite big bloomers, in my own yard or otherwise, however, this is a personal favorite…Aristolochia gigantea. I was first introduced to this plant while living in Hobe Sound, Florida (thank you previous renter).  I have also grown this vine in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and now in Mississippi. Previously I have grown the larger (yes, folks, even larger) flowering variety: Brasiliensis  There are some tropicals I don’t mind fussing over to bring indoors.  This is one.

Check out my Big Blooms board on Pinterest

Yours in Gardening,


The Garden Maiden

copyright 2018 The Garden Maiden





Categories: Observations from My Garden of Goods & Evils, What's Blooming | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

March Madness in The Garden of Goods and Evils

Just sharing a few images of what is flowering in the Garden of Goods and Evils this morning. I’ve got some other images of garden “winter survival” and miscellaneous work going on to share later.

It is a beautiful day along the Mississippi Gulf Coast region. Crisp, high in the lows 60’s. We started out in the upper 30’s and it was 40 by the time I got outside with the camera and phone.  It is still only 50, but that won’t keep me from hanging laundry on the line!

Here are a few images from my old phone to share. I love this time of year in the garden.

Good, old-fashioned, spirea. A standard for vintage gardens. I believe this old shrub is S. x vanhouttei, but it could be S. thunbergii.  Now, I could go back outside and get a better glimpse and key the plant out better, but at the moment, I’ve spent way too much time working on this post instead of projects that will actually show me a little money.

My husband has commented that these two azaleas which have nearly doubled in size since we moved here 6.5 years ago might need a good whacking back. But, I’m not much into whacking.  In general, especially for azaleas, I think the bigger the better. And they do provide a nice screening.

This lovely two-tone pinkish azalea was planted, like most of the azaleas in my yard, by a previous owner. I am lucky to have two of them. They really brighten up the darker areas under the canopy of a large oak. If I thought about it much, I’d probably fret that I have way too many lovely plants without any sort of scientific  name/label in the yard. (Bucket List) So, for now, I’m good with “look at all the pretty azaleas”.

What I love about this azalea is that for such a small size (I planted it a couple of years ago), it has great floral impact.

Perhaps the pride and joy of my early flowering azaleas is this fine, bright, yellow-orange, native azalea that I planted several years ago.  Rhododenron austrinum (Florida flame azalea). Bet you can guess how it got it’s name.

And, yes, I have things other than azaleas flowering right now. Like these lovely, perky, little gerbera daisies.  Fortunately, they are perennial here. If you read the Southern Living article from the link in the previous sentence, you may wonder “how did she do it, how did she get them to live?” Well, maybe it is because the soil is very poor (it was some nutrient-poor potting soil I dragged home to build raised beds with years ago), very dry and I never tried to get them to live after planting them three years ago. But they lived! This is their fourth year blooming, and in partial sun. Of course, that partial sun is more than partial in winter when the crapemyrtles have no leaves, imparting additional sunshine to the bed where they are growing.

Ahh, wisteria. I trellised my vine several years ago, but last year we came home to find the entire thing bent over on the ground after a big storm.  A neighbor has two that are grown as standards: one lavender and one white. The white flowering wisteria has the most amazing smell, making my current daily walks with the dachshunds much more enjoyable, especially when I am carrying a bag of dog poo (the dachshunds are elderly, so the walks are slow, and I don’t walk faster than the poo smell). So, here I am with only a half dozen flowering clusters, but they are still pretty.

The Osmanthus (fragrant tea olive) had more flowers before the most recent cold snap, but they are still there, filling my yard with an amazing perfume.

Speaking of perfume…the banana shrubs are really going strong with spring flowers. It is no wonder after working outside all day with two banana shrubs flowering, I end the day with visions of banana flavored cocktails. (yes, I have an issue on this particular plant…some kind of disease on the leaves, which may be why the previous owner cut it down…but no time for evaluation right now…I’m just glad it came back from being cut down to the GROUND).

Well, that’s it for now. Are you enjoying your spring garden? Are you ready for March Madness? Go GREEN! Go Razorbacks!!











I have two or three more blogs to post, but I really need to get an article submitted, bake some bread, hang more laundry, vacuum the carpets, care for a sick dachshund, you know…life.

Yours in Gardening,


The Garden Maiden


copyright 2018 The Garden Maiden




Categories: Observations from My Garden of Goods & Evils, What's Blooming | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Importance of Staying Active in the American Society for Horticultural Science and ASHS Southern Region

The Importance of Staying Active in the American Society for Horticultural Science and ASHS Southern Region

I originally presented this as an invited fifteen minute talk to graduate students at the American Society for Horticultural Science Southern Region Conference in Jacksonville last week.  Oftentimes graduate students find it difficult to justify paying for professional memberships to attend conferences post-graduation, especially when some of those monies come directly from your own pocket. Its easy to fall into the thinking that, well, I attended as a graduate student to compete because my Adviser made me.  As a returning graduate student, one may find themselves with one to five years of opportunities to attend professional horticulture conferences beyond their initial experience. This is especially true for Master’s students moving on to their PhD.  So, as a graduate student, you might ask, what’s it in for me? Here are some notes.

  1. Student Member
    1. Professional research organization listing for CVs (professional resume), social media, applications for graduate school and jobs. (…is a Member of ASHS and ASHS Southern Region…for example)
    2. Discounted conference registration (hey we can all use  little break, and Members get one!)
    3. Student travel grants (my husband and I were both fortunate enough to receive these as graduate students)
    4. Paid to assist Dr. David Reed at SR registration desk (yes, even smaller opportunities such as this exist and I was able to assist Dr. Reed one year which helped pay for my costs)
    5. ASHS online resources: jobs, assistantships, journals (Members receive an early email notice of new positions!)
    6. Practice Oral and Written Communications in a professional setting at conferences (practice makes perfect and these are two essential skills you will need in the future)
    7. Source for peer-reviewed journal publication opportunities
      1. Take advantage of publishing at least one or two articles plus abstracts from your graduate research for each graduate degree, before leaving the University (trust me, it is much easier to do this while you are still on campus)
    8. Networking (some say it isn’t what you know, but who you know-this can be very true!)
    9. Early Notice of Job Opportunities
      1. In person at conferences & online (you’d be surprised of tidbits of juicy news for upcoming opportunities that may present themselves if you network!)
    10. Post CV online at ASHS (you have to put yourself out there on the most reputable sites for potential employers to find you…for horticulturists…look no farther than ASHS)
    11. Assistantship/Scholarship opportunities (I’ve got my mind on my money and my money on mind…let’s face it…those departmental potluck dinners are only going to get you so far and graduate school can be expensive)
    12. Letters of Recommendation (you’ll need both solid letters of recommendation from professionals who know you and your work, as well as professional experiences from which they can write glorious letters on your behalf)
    13. PAX Photography contest at ASHS (photography skills will help you in promoting and disseminating information about your research as a student and as a future employee…improve your skills and have a little fun with your peers in this contest-I have been!)
    14. Mentoring
      1. graduate student/faculty  (these mentors should guide you through the thesis/dissertation process, getting published, becoming active professionally, and making that student to employee transition) (if your own adviser isn’t up to par, seek out positive, active mentors from professionals at ASHS)
      2. peer-to-peer (fellow graduate students you meet in ASHS can be life long friends, supportive colleagues, and may provide you with helpful tips from their own experiences)
    15. ASHS SR-smaller, more family-like
      1. Not every US region has ASHS representation (that means that for those who can be intimidated by the larger ASHS conferences, Southern Region -for example- is smaller, close-knit group to interact with)
  1. Faculty/Employee/Employer Member (think to your future, graduate students!)
    1. Professional research organization listing for bios and bylines (social media, articles, speaking engagements, websites) *Your credentials!
    2. Discounted conference registration versus non-members
    3. ASHS SR-smaller, more family-like
      1. Not every US region has ASHS representation
    4. Awards/Recognitions (I received a Blue Ribbon Extension Communications Award…CV building!)
    5. International Research Opportunities
    6. Colleagues that lift each other up
    7. Mentoring: new faculty members
    8. Collaborative Research (this is extremely important)
      1. Institution to Institution
      2. Grants (multi-organizations)
    9. CV building (ASHS provides opportunities through presentations, awards, and volunteerism to build your CV)
      1. Annual evaluations
      2. Promotions
    10. Networking
    11. Early Notice of Job Opportunities
      1. In person at conferences & online
    12. Post CV online ASHS (not many professionals stay with the same company (or at the same location) forever-those days are gone…for some this is THE way to get significant promotions and increases in salary)
    13. Nominations Awards/Committees (I have served on several committees and have also volunteered to be a poster and oral competitions judge…all rewarding experiences)
    14. Letters of Recommendation (I have been a letter writer and received letters for/from folks via ASHS)
      1. Promotions
      2. Awards
    15. PAX Photography contest at ASHS
    16. Connect with students for Assistantship, Post-Grad, and Faculty Exchange research positions
    17. International speaking opportunities
    18. Disseminate Research Activities: Oral and Poster
    19. Promotes Personal Research, Department/Organization, Field of Study
    20. Annual Giving: Endowment, Scholarships, Awards
    21. Continuing Education Units (CEU’s) for certification programs such as the International Society for Arboriculture and the ASHS Certified Professional Horticulturist programs and some jobs
    22. Opportunities to Serve and Give Back
      1. Office Board & committees
      2. Judging Oral and Poster Competitions
      3. Advisors for ACB
    23. Publication opportunities in peer-reviewed journals
    24. Reasons to be an active Member though not employed directly in Horticulture Science as Scientist at the PhD level?
      1. Educational opportunities, collaboration and interest groups
        1. Stay apprised of what is new in horticulture
      2. Extension, Industry, Ag/Hort/Garden writers & communicators, Ag Education, Public Gardens
        1. We are stronger when we are together! Get inspired.
      3. May be in temporary position, not in Horticulture, but maintaining horticulture track/interests (I used to joke I was longest running ASHS Member who was not actively employed in Horticulture for many years!)

I hope this information can help you or a graduate student you may know in Horticulture or a horticulture-related field.

Yours in Gardening,

The Garden Maiden


copyright 2018 The Garden Maiden


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