Welcome to another addition of “Blooming in My Yard”: a few rock stars for early April. This week I begin with a flower that many will see blooming along highways of southern Mississippi. Tung tree (pictured above). Beautiful spring flowers. Not a native. The history of this tree in Mississippi and the Gulf Coast is fascinating! Read more on this Biloxi Historical Society website. Purdue Horticulture has some good information on this tree. The tree seeds sprout readily just about anywhere down here, making this escaped exotic somewhat of a pest, if not invasive. But darn the flowers are nice! Grown for their oil, tung tree plantations and processing plants were found everywhere along the Gulf Coast until Hurricane Camille in 1969.
Gaura blooming in my yard. TheGardenMaiden_2014_RStafne-003_WEB
I planted two Gaura last year. One of them struggled and appeared to have died out over the winter, but it came back from the roots and is already about seven inches tall. The other is now blooming and what sweet sprays of flowers it boasts! The Missouri Botanical Garden has a nice information page on Gaura lindheimeri ‘Siskiyou Pink’, a very popular variety of this fine perennial.
I was really excited to find this fine, native shrub (Calycanthus floridus) blooming near the shed in my backyard. Its actually not planted in the best location, squeezed up next to the shed between a camellia and bridal wreath spirea (see last week’s post). In fact, I didn’t find it until year two living in my new home. My sweetshrub has several nice suckers and I plan to relocate all of them to shady areas under the mature tree canopy in my yard where they will get bigger and bloom more profusely. The fragrance is very pleasant, but not overwhelming, though the plants I have are so crowded there are few blooms per plant. Until I found the first bloom last year, I had no idea what the plant was or that it was hiding back there. Since it has just opened its first two flowers, I hope to get some better images in the next week.
Rose blooming in my yard. TheGardenMaiden_2014_RStafne-003_WEB
This rose bush was propagated locally by a gardener and I inherited one of the plants. It is trouble-free, blooms nearly all year (seriously there was only about 2 months this past winter with no blooms). I’m going to have to have a heavier hand in pruning it soon because it is planted inside my herb garden and starting to elbow its way around. But its a beautiful, sweet, red-pink color and a nice addition. Propagating and gifting plants from your yard is an inexpensive and rewarding way to create your own gifts for friends and family.
Goodbye to Romance (Ozzy Osbourne) is exactly how I felt over the weekend. My rhododendrons have peaked and made it Over the Mountain (Ozzy Osbourne). It was a great couple of weeks and while there are still many blooms to be found rockin’ it in my yard, their peak season is over; the week or two when they nearly poke your eyes out with brilliance and color so outstanding you want to drop to your knees and throw your hands in the air.
This member of the Asteraceae family looks very similar to a common lawn dandelion, except the flowers are borne on stalks about 12-15″ (in my yard). Pyrrhopappus carolinianaus (Carolina desert chicory) is a native flower. I think the images on Southeastern Flora are better for this species versus the images linked to the Wildflower.org site above, but they have better taxonomic and cultural information. It is growing under the semi-shade canopy of mature (not crape murdered) crape myrtles along the sidewalk. This is one of several native wildflowers I allow to bloom before mowing.
Last week I included a photo of fringe tree (image above), but it was just beginning to flower. The image above shows this excellent, small, native, flowering tree in its prime in my yard with more of a closeup of the flowers. Read more about Chionanthus virginicus from Wildflower.org.
So that wraps it up for last week’s blooms. I was working Friday and unable to make a post over the weekend. As far as kicking it in the garden goes, I can frequently be found rockin’ out while working in my yard/garden. Whether it be a selection of Hawaiian CD’s (IZ, Don Ho, Jack Jackson, Martin Denny, Henry Kapono) in the stereo, a jazz playlist I created in my MP3 player or tuning in to Radio Margaritaville, Lithium, or Ozzy’s Bone Yard on satellite radio, music moves me while I groove in the garden. Gardening can be a quiet, serene time for reflection and inner peace or it can be a rockin’, kick ass party to help you de-stress and have fun. Do you “kick it” in the garden?
Keep on Growin’, Finz Up, Hang Loose and (insert devil horns…K.I.S.S. Rocks!)
The Garden Maiden
All images and text copyright 2014 The Garden Maiden