What’s Blooming

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

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.

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.


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)

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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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)


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.


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.


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.


The Garden Maiden


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