Observations from My Garden of Goods & Evils

End of May Flowers in My Garden

I don’t have much time this morning for details, but before May is completely gone, I wanted to post some images of what was flowering this week in the garden. We need rain! It has been very dry and there isn’t any hope of rain until perhaps the end of next week. Still, even without rain, most things are flowering on schedule. Although I’ve had to start watering from the hose a bit, which I do not enjoy. Number one, the cost to my wallet. Number two, the cost to the environment by using our natural resource. Number three, the mosquitoes and deer flies (to which I am allergic) which find you in short order when you are standing out there. Number four, time. I don’t have the time to stand out there and hand water, although it is more efficient that running sprinklers. The critters have, unfortunately, ate through my drip hoses for several years.

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The Clerodendrum bungei are flowering, much to the delite of many butterflies. Beautiful, but can be aggressive (the Clerodendrum, not the butterflies). I mow down or pull up the “volunteers”. I rather like the smell they emit when you are handling them to remove or prune. I do not fertilize or water this plant. I don’t recommend it.

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I am really excited that the blue salvia is getting very happy in a few spots in my garden. I dug up and transplanted more rooted volunteers this spring. I like the ones growing near the orange-flowering lantana for the “complimentary colors” effect.

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I nearly waited too long to share a photo of the flowering garlic and onions. In fact, one entire bed had already wilted down to the ground and I suppose I need to harvest some bulbs.IMG_20190530_071224

Batface cuphea is a new perennial addition as of last summer. I have been able to take one pot that I purchased and root stems so that I am enjoying it in several places this year.

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I am so happy that this one milkweed I grew from seed is thriving. Last fall the stem bent to the ground and I abandoned it all winter only to find that it had rooted and produced a ton of vertical stems, giving this single plant the appearance of a large area of milkweed.

IMG_20190530_071432 Below is my shrimp plant. It also reportedly roots easily along the stem. I have propagated one self-rooted stem successfully. This spring I took several more cuttings and I am trying to keep their soil moist to hopefully root them too. The original, which I ordered online, has been become very leggy, so taking cuttings should help to produce a more compact plant. The shrimp plant reminds me of of of my favorite plants to find at Disney World.

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My poor little rose has suffered with spider mites all spring. I think it will bounce back just fine, and hopefully when we start to get more rain from our “hurricane season” the population of mites will once again be under control.

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The Vitex is flowering and it one my favorites as it reminds me of my time as a summer intern at the Memphis Botanic Garden during my undergraduate years at the University of Arkansas. I love how it smells when it is pruned and I had to do a lot of pruning on a hedge of Vitex in the Sensory Garden. I also grew some at my rental house during graduate school at the UA in Fayetteville.

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Okay, yes, I agree, the image below is NOT of a flower. However, I am pleased that my native bigleaf magnolia tree is doing great this year with lots of new growth.

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I waited until the morning sun peaked through the tree canopy just right to snap this pix. I thought the soft light on the Hydrangea heads were pretty cool. Of course all of these would have been better with my Canon 60D, but given a lot of things going on with me right now, I have not been out to nurture my garden photography. Bad me. But also, snapping some with my cheap old cell phone lets me immediately edit and post on Twitter and then when I have a moment to post here on the blog pages, things go much faster. Follow me on Twitter for more frequent updates and photos, mostly horticulture related. (Plus these cell phone shots look way better on Twitter since they are usually viewed smaller…LOL)

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I am growing two colors of Gerbera daisy: yellow and red. I like them because they start flowering for me in winter when other garden plants are still waking from their winter nap. That means this plant has already been flowering for about 3.5 months!

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This begonia has been going strong for about four years. It is a little incredible because the soil is so terrible. I think it was last year that it finally took off. The flowers are a very soft pink, which you can barely tell here.

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I bought two Impatiens this spring that I put in pots of old soil. I like the candy cane look to the petals: red and white. I SHOULD be able to overwinter these easily.

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The final photo for this post is one of my Gardenia.  I have made one swipe through with the pruners to remove the yellow, fading blossoms. I planted this from a one gallon container about three years ago and have been pleased with the growth. The perfume permeates the garden and makes me very happy.

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Well, that’s all kiddos. I have other obligations to move on to and so I will bid you adieu. These photos represent perhaps 50% of what is flowering in my garden right now. This post will help me remember what was flowering and how it was flowering, in future years. It’s important to document your garden. Unless you are a robot and remember everything. Maybe you are a robot. If you are a robot and have found your way to my blog, thank you for stopping by.

Peace Lily Out!

The Garden Maiden

All images and text copyright The Garden Maiden, 2019

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

The Many Beautiful Azaleas Blooming Today in My Mississippi Yard

 

This post will be brief. It is azalea season throughout the South. Even ratty, unkempt, abandoned homes, boast some gorgeous flowering azaleas right now. In the rear of the above photo is a deep burgundy-colored azalea. I forgot to get a close-up this morning.

Right now I feel I should be hosting a garden party every day. The vast array of colorful azalea flowers makes my head spin on a good day.

 

Most of the azaleas in my yard were here when we moved into the home; however, we have planted perhaps another dozen. Two dozen? Maybe.

 

Early morning and evening as the sun goes down are the most breathtaking, especially when you observe the flowers with the light coming through the petals.

I even enjoy “plain” white. It provides good contrast to all the other colors and is brilliant in its own right.

My favorite by far is my native Florida flame azalea (Rhodendron austrinum). It is a deciduous azalea and has grown quite a bit in the last five or six years. I haven’t babied it.

I keep it mulched and have fertilized it maybe twice since I planted it. I never water it, other than when I first planted it. A great return on the investment of a one gallon plant.

A lot of people here cut their azaleas back, I guess to renew them. It isn’t necessary, but to each their own. I’ve seen folks cut back 8′ tall plants to a foot or so. The horror! But eventually they leaf out, produce a lot of new growth, and flower again.

Maybe some of mine could use a whacking. But even my leggiest azaleas grow to their own heart’s desire.

I do have two plants that I prune back a bit every other year or so but that is because they are planted in a bed and have thinned out to the point where you can “see under their skirt”. And they are planted with other ornamentals that have suffered when they are shaded by the straggly and rapidly growing azaleas which tower above. So I give them a little chop chop, after they finish flowering in April.

I have quite an “investment” in azaleas now.

Many of them I received for free from a friend. So I do not know “varieties”. Sometimes that is a bit irksome. Indeed, I do have a few young plants with the tags still attached and I need to write those down and transfer the names to a metal sign.

Some of these larger azaleas are so commonly seen around, I figure they must be old varieties that were very popular in the 70s and 80s.

One color I am lacking is lavender. But I’m okay with that.

Well, what do you know. I found a photo of the deeper burgundy azalea from yesterday! See below.

One nice thing about the azaleas is they grow easily here. My soil is pretty terrible for trying to grow a vegetable garden. But the azaleas? Other than those I watered at planting, fuss-free. I don’t do anything and they reward us every year.

I hope you are enjoying your own azaleas, or perhaps planning to take a spring Sunday drive around the South to view others flowering azaleas. There are some real showstoppers out there.

 

Yours in Gardening,

The Garden Maiden

All images and text copyright 2019 The Garden Maiden

@thegardenmaiden

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

There is a Fungus Among Us: Fungi in My Mississippi Garden

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One of my favorite pizzas to order just for myself is Fungus Amongus at Tiny Tim’s Pizza on the beautiful square in Fayetteville, Arkansas. GO HOGS! It was a staple during my undergraduate and graduate school years (especially after I met my husband to be), whenever I could afford to eat out. Now, when I make a visit to town and pop up to the square, I head into the West Mountain Brewing Company (connected to Tim’s), belly up to the bar, and order a fresh pint and my favorite pizza. On occasion old friends and UA Alumni stop in to visit and break bread together.  But I digress…

I love mushrooms. My husband does not. A few years ago I purchased some identification books on edible mushrooms to help me out. All That The Rain Promises and More by David Arora and Edible Wild Mushrooms of North America by David W. Fischer and Alan E. Bessette.  Beautiful books.  The problem is that I believe I mostly have NON-EDIBLE fungi in my yard. So those two books are not really the help I need.  Or are they? And well, to be honest, when it comes to harvesting wild and not 100% identified items from the yard to ingest, you don’t want to mess around. The other mushroom book that I have was given to me by someone (let’s be honest, it was my Mom, always thinking of me) who rescued it from the trash dumpster of the grade school in my home town. A nice hardback copy of The Mushroom Handbook by Louis C.D. Krieger, copyright 1967. It has a few color plates, but isn’t exactly laid out in a taxonomic key fashion.

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What I really need is a mushroom class with an expert where I can take notes and photos and become more confident. Then I can reap the rewards of eating what I find, but also being able to correctly identify even the non-edible fungi.

I have a relatively shady yard and garden. Throughout the year I am greeted with a wide array of fungi, or mushrooms of all sorts. I imagine that after dark my garden is filled with pixies and sprites dancing and having a delightful time.

With a few years having passed since my book purchases, I had supposed I would have identified nearly every fungi/mushroom growing on my one acre. I have failed. Therefore I am going to go ahead and start posting photos of what I find! Because either I will eventually get them identified, or someone who sees this will help me out. I still don’t think I would eat anything identified over the internet unless it was by an expert, someone with considerable experience. You know, I just don’t want to spend my mushroom-eating years DEAD. 😉

Photos taken Saturday August 18, 2018. (We had been receiving some rain, finally.) I attempted to take two images of each mushroom for identification, one with side view of caps and one with top view. In some photos I used a garden trowel or my hand for scale.

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Next:

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Next:

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Next: We have watched squirrels, harvest these and just go to town on them while sitting on our porch. I’m pretty sure it was this one anyway…. I took photos last August, but I’d have to go and dig into my hard drive to be certain. So to quote from one of my favorite movies, “Hey, Dr. Jones, No time for love”.

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Next:

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Next:

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Next:

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Next:

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Next:

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Next:

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Next:

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Next:

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Next:

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Next:

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Next: (I think this is the same species as one of the first sets of images I included)

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Next: (huge! my hand and then my husband’s hand for scale)

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Next:

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Well, that’s it. All of the images here were just in my front yard. I didn’t even make it to the backyard before the next round of rain started.  My location is Mississippi Gulf Coast, about a half hour north of the beach zone, but closer to Louisiana. If that helps with identification.

I found a pretty cool site Saturday:  The Western Pennsylvania Mushroom Club. They had a nice page on species found in Mississippi. I think at least one set of the larger mushrooms are Bolete genus?

So while my husband does not like mushrooms, he does enjoy making pizza, even when I hand him sliced mushrooms for my half. Hopefully someday I will be able to harvest edible wild mushrooms for my own tasty pizza at home.

Your Shroomy Friend!

The Garden Maiden

 

All images and text copyright 2018 The Garden Maiden

Categories: Crazy Plant Things I See, Fungi/Mushrooms/Mycology, Observations from My Garden of Goods & Evils | Tags: , , , , ,
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