What’s Blooming

Snapshots of Spring

Yesterday while working outside, we had a brief, lovely and much needed light shower of rain. It only lasted a few minutes, but I tool the opportunity to snap a few backyard shots while I waited.

This post is mostly for friends and family who are wondering how things are growing on for us in the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

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This concrete block bed has produced some tasty radishes this spring. Between the bed and the shed (were I am standing out of the rain), are three clumps of lemon grass. Yesterday I planted parsley, marigold, sage and yellow crookneck summer squash around the bed perimeter.  Intra-planted with the radishes are several volunteer tomato plants. I use last year’s pruned crape myrtle branches to support the vines.

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The bed above was amended with Happy Frog potting soil, but needs more in the block holes. Some of the block holes are planted with Swiss chard (seen here) and the bed itself is planted with two varieties of leaf lettuce.  Look how nicely the copyright shows up at the top of the image. Why? Because my white fence is filthy with mildew and needs a good scrubbing! (add to to-do list)

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One smokey fennel survived last year, planted from seed. Growing in a concrete block hole, I think its roots finally made it to the soil in the ground beneath the bed because it has really taken off this spring. In case it has been too long since I mentioned it, the original soil added to all of my raised beds was total CRAP. That was several years ago and I have been playing catch up trying to fix the soil since.

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Other plants which have done well in the holes of concrete blocks are lemon balm and oregano (featured here above).

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Yeah, I know, the carrots need thinned. To be honest, I did thin and transplant them once. I am the worst at thinning. I hate to do it. I hate to “waste” plants. I try to transplant when possible. Then, of course, the squirrels have dug them up several times. Grrrrr.

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In the rear of this bed (above) the confederate jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) is flowering profusely, perfuming the entire garden area. Pine straw mulch really made this area pop. I worked hours pulling up dewberry vines.

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I love this big old fountain, even without a “fountain function”, it works great as a fish bowl and bird bath. The gold fish eat the mosquito larvae.

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Gator don’t sweat! Sure doesn’t, because its made of resin, but he sure looks fine guarding the garden. (note to self, prune old palm fronds)

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The garden sweet peas are just coming on with the first harvested pea going to one of the wiener dogs a couple of days ago.

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Last year the hubby bought me a real bottle tree to replace the decrepit, rotting one I made out of  our old Christmas tree.  (free worked for about a year, but then the branches bent and rotted and the bottles fell off and filled with rain water and mud and it became a gross mess) These begonias are great and came back from last year. The rose bush blooms nearly year-round, taking off only about six weeks, give or take. The tiny garden fairy was given to me by my dear Grandmother.

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Look sister, we still have the patio fire pit! It was going strong all weekend as burned some old logs we had saved for a future gathering. Why? Because on Wednesday the Terminix man said, “they gotta go”. Basically that is what he said. ha. Can you smell the pine wafting through the garden?

Overall, these images are darker and greener than normal because it was cloudy and raining lightly during my little snap session with the cell phone (a very poor camera, but it is what it is).

That’s it for now. I have writing to do that actually PAYS and I have just a wee bit of “good light” left to take photos of the sweet and spicy smelling Calycanthus floridus (Florida sweetshrub/Carolina allspice) flowering discretely out back.

Cheers!

The Garden Maiden

 

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

Blooming in My Yard: December 6-12, 2015

Blooming in My Yard December 6-12, 2015. Copyright The Garden Maiden 2015

Blooming in My Yard December 6-12, 2015. Copyright The Garden Maiden 2015

One of the things I like best about living near the Mississippi Gulf Coast are the mild Decembers. Today our high is in the mid-70’s and while that doesn’t feel at all like Christmas weather, I much prefer it over ice storms and blizzards and slick roads.

Yesterday when I went out to gather the laundry off of the clothesline, I realized that there were a ton of things blooming that I hadn’t photographed this fall. So after collecting the laundry, I grabbed my camera and began snapping away.

Blooming in My Yard December 6-12, 2015. Copyright The Garden Maiden 2015

Blooming in My Yard December 6-12, 2015. Copyright The Garden Maiden 2015

All I could think was, wow, there really is a lot of exciting flowers this week. Plus the weather has been amazing and the soft afternoon light just felt like “winter light” even though the day was beautiful.  As I took photos I realized that I also have a lot of seed that I need to collect and get started indoors in the coming weeks.

Blooming in My Yard December 6-12, 2015. Copyright The Garden Maiden 2015

Blooming in My Yard December 6-12, 2015. Copyright The Garden Maiden 2015

The real show-stoppers right now are my camellias, but even the azaleas are tooting their horns, just a little. Although my impatiens have been put to bed till spring (I overwinter them indoors and take cuttings that I root in water to replace any that bit the dust before I could protect them), the vinca (Catharanthus) and begonias are still going strong.

Blooming in My Yard December 6-12, 2015. Copyright The Garden Maiden 2015

Blooming in My Yard December 6-12, 2015. Copyright The Garden Maiden 2015

It is hard to beat marigolds for brilliant fall color and I’m excited to collect a lot of seed from them which will save me money in the spring too. The yellows, oranges and burnt reds make them an excellent choice for fall and Halloween color.

Blooming in My Yard December 6-12, 2015. Copyright The Garden Maiden 2015

Blooming in My Yard December 6-12, 2015. Copyright The Garden Maiden 2015

As far as fragrance goes, I love to stop and smell my banana shrubs (Michelia figo) and sweet olive (Osmanthus spp.).  My sad, little Osmanthus is still surviving and trying to grow.

Blooming in My Yard December 6-12, 2015. Copyright The Garden Maiden 2015

Blooming in My Yard December 6-12, 2015. Copyright The Garden Maiden 2015

Blooming in My Yard December 6-12, 2015. Copyright The Garden Maiden 2015

Blooming in My Yard December 6-12, 2015. Copyright The Garden Maiden 2015

I have to get back to work and my doxies are begging for a walk, so here is a slideshow of everything I took a photo of that was blooming in my yard yesterday. It includes the above mentioned and azaleas, celosia, Mexican shrimp plant (Justicia brandegeeana), Lantana spp., zinnias and more.

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At work right now I am planting hundreds of rooted blueberry cuttings propagated by my boss in summer. The greenhouse is a great place to crank up the holiday music. If you think singing in the shower is great, try singing in a greenhouse!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2016

Yours in Gardening,
The Garden Maiden

All images and text copyright 2015 The Garden Maiden

Categories: What's Blooming | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blooming in My Yard: March 22-28, 2015

Late March flowers in my yard.  Copyright The Garden Maiden http://thegardenmaiden.com

Late March flowers in my yard. Copyright The Garden Maiden http://thegardenmaiden.com

There is a lot of bold color in the yard now with the azaleas taking center stage. The butterflies have been thick on the blooms, busier than I remember the past few years. The butterfly below is what I believe to be an Eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly (Papilio glaucus). Mississippi butterfly list. Click the image for a bigger view. This would be a great time for a spring party because the landscape does some of the decorating for me.

Late March flowers in my yard.  Copyright The Garden Maiden http://thegardenmaiden.com

Late March flowers in my yard. Copyright The Garden Maiden http://thegardenmaiden.com

But they  aren’t the only ones with magnificent color. For the last week the wisteria has been peaking. I’m hoping what I have is Wisteria frutescens (American wisteria), but I am not sure.  The American species is reported to be less aggressive than the Asian species.  Time to do some taxonomic work. Wisteria escapes from landscape cultivation. You can see it escaped into the wild, blooming high up into the tree canopies on the road sides, or you can find it with maximum blooms trained as a standard and trimmed to a 4′ shrub in people’s front yards. My own wisteria (which I dug up from under some shrubs in my yard and transplanted onto an arbor) is more of a loose vine that trails up and over an arbor and onto a nearly dead fruit tree. The dying tree makes an excellent structure for the wisteria to climb upon. This is the first year it has bloomed, having planted a volunteer sprout in the spring of 2013. I hope to train another “volunteer” into a standard that will be heavily pruned for a massive amount of flower clusters in the future.

Late March flowers in my yard.  Copyright The Garden Maiden http://thegardenmaiden.com

Late March flowers in my yard. Copyright The Garden Maiden http://thegardenmaiden.com

The wisteria has a very sweet perfume, that lightly scents the air. But if it is spring perfume you are seeking, then I am excited to share my new acquisition:  a banana shrub (Michelia figo). This member of the magnolia family easily perfumes a fifteen by fifteen foot area near my patio. It smells so delicious I want to eat it, or at least whip up a batch of banana daiquiris. It looked really awful at the nursery, but it was the only one. I hope to make it happy and fertilizer it gently all year with fish emulsion to bring it back to full vigor.

Late March flowers in my yard.  Copyright The Garden Maiden http://thegardenmaiden.com

Late March flowers in my yard. Copyright The Garden Maiden http://thegardenmaiden.com

 

Also blooming now in my front yard, is the native member of the Lamiaceae family: lyreleaf sage. I wrote a bit more about it in a March 2014 post. After it finishes flowering, THEN I’ll mow that part of the yard.

Late March flowers in my yard.  Copyright The Garden Maiden http://thegardenmaiden.com

Late March flowers in my yard. Copyright The Garden Maiden http://thegardenmaiden.com

Although it has been flowering for a while now, the Loropetalum is still quite striking. I guess its pretty easy to see why it has a common name of “fringe flower”.  Have I mentioned my Loropetalum are about 15′ tall? Huge, huge, huge. But you know, I like them like that because they provide a great screen for the rear of my home. Today I was happy to see that the lower area which has thinned out because the branches are so tall (this is what happens when you don’t keep them trimmed to 5-6 feet), now has a lot of new undergrowth. I plan to keep the under branches trimmed to about three feet to keep a good lower screen. Until then I will keep planting other lower shrubs and bulbs that enjoy the space and help to fill in the gaps.

Late March flowers in my yard.  Copyright The Garden Maiden http://thegardenmaiden.com

Late March flowers in my yard. Copyright The Garden Maiden http://thegardenmaiden.com

The final shot for today is a pansy blossom. I got these out of a trash pile that someone had thrown away in changing over from winter color to spring. I can hardly turn away from plants thrown in the trash.

Late March flowers in my yard.  Copyright The Garden Maiden http://thegardenmaiden.com

Late March flowers in my yard. Copyright The Garden Maiden http://thegardenmaiden.com

Your spry garden friend,

The Garden Maiden

All images and text copyright 2015 The Garden Maiden

Categories: Garden Insects, What's Blooming | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
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