Observations from My Garden of Goods & Evils

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

A Christmas Time Miracle! Snow in the Mississippi Gulf Coast

You just never know! We knew we had a small chance of flurries mixed with rain. We went to bed with a Winter Weather Advisory  and woke up with a Winter Weather Warning.  It has been several years since we had snow and that was just a light dusting one February a few years back. When you never get snow, even flurries cause excitement.

Yesterday I moved the final tender plants inside as we have lows predicted in the 20’s for several days. Aloe vera, semi-hardy Passiflora and Aristolochia gigantea were moved to the shed. A flowering bromeliade and another tropical were moved indoors to rest alongside the plumerias which were moved indoors in Sunday afternoon.

Today I covered the shrimp plant (Justicia brandegeana), firecracker plant (Russelia equisetiformis) and Bougainvillea with trash cans and large pots. I moved the spider plants (Chlorophytum spp.) indoors. I pulled up a couple dozen pepper plants from the garden, placed them inside pots, and put them in the garage until I place them back into the garden in spring. I also potted up one ornamental pepper and a few basil plants that were pushing out new growth on the lower parts of the stems and put those in the kitchen window. I disconnected garden hoses and attached the insulators, opened the drains on the rain barrels and put water wands and sprinklers into the shed. All of this with rain coming down and only a few areas with a a light dusting of icy snow.

Sometime after going inside to refill my coffee cup with USDA Organic (The Bean Coffee Company) Peppermint Mocha, it began to snow! Real flakes of snow!

It was beautiful! I’m a total kid when it snows! I mean the USDA ARS station and MSSTATE offices closed where we work, so it no less exciting than watching the school closings listed on the television screen in the early morning when you are a kid.

I grabbed my Canon 60D for some shots, but all of these were just quickies taken with my ATT ZTE phone. I began to shout and sing Alice Cooper’s School’s Out for Summer! (hope we get to see him in Biloxi, again, in 2018!) You know the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear (Yeah, we watched ELF last night).

The berries on the nandina shrub were looking extra festive with a little white on the landscape.

I’m glad I got my tender tropicals covered this morning. Sweet dreams shrimp plant!

It’s a winter’s dream in my Midnight Garden of Goods and Evils!

One thing I love about Mississippi winter is that it is full of flowering plants. These pink camellias brighten our special wintry day!

The azaleas have started flowering, and though they will keep flowering through March, they are particularly delightful on a gray day.

The palm fronds may be dropping with snow now, but they will be perky in 70 degree temps in another week.

I hope you are enjoying this December as much as I am.  In a few days I will re-pack my long underwear and sweaters (those which I sometimes never unpack all winter here) and count the days until shorts weather returns in a week. Until then I will bundle up, grab a hot toddy, watch some Christmas movies and browse my newest copy of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds catalog.


Yours in Gardening,

The Garden Maiden


copyright 2017 The Garden Maiden


Categories: Observations from My Garden of Goods & Evils | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment
Meadowmaker. Seed Man. Artist.

landscape restoration via seed, sustainable research based design

Easy Wildflowers

Wild flowers from The Forest of Dean

Fresh from Florida Plant Industry

We protect Florida's native and commercially grown plants and apiary industry from harmful pests and diseases -- check out http://www.freshfromflorida.com/pi/

Always Growing

A garden is good for both body and soul

In the Garden with Janet Carson

Welcome to In the Garden with Janet Carson, a blog about gardening in Arkansas.

From Lynn's Garden

An NWA Garden Writer's Garden Blog

Moonmeadow Farm

Bright blessed days and dark sacred nights

Day by Day the Farm Girl Way...

Simple life on a little piece of land.

%d bloggers like this: