Posts Tagged With: mississippi

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: , , , ,

Early Spring Walk at Sandhill Crane NWR in Gautier, Mississippi

 

For the first time in a year or more, I was able to spend a couple of hours at the Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge in Gautier, Mississippi.

I’ve been going there for six or seven years. They have a wonderful visitor center with educational displays and a gift shop. Hubby bought me a new pair of earrings from Jabebo. I love their recycled earrings and own several. The site has some areas for picnics too.

On this day, a viewing platform was located out behind the visitor center to enable guests to view several of the Sandhill Cranes were are being acclimated to their new home. Unbelievably, it was my first time to actually see any of the cranes at the refuge. Unfortunately, it was too far for me to photograph, even with a telephoto lens.

It was a lovely day to take a hike on the trail which winds through the pine savanna.  Longleaf pine savannas are endangered ecosystems and harbor many wonderful native plants and provide habitat for countless wildlife species.

We have hiked the trail at this location many times with our dachshunds, but not since losing our male last summer to cancer.

Our female was not feeling up to the walk and she preferred to ride in her backpack. Heck, at nearly 17 years old, she is certainly entitled to off days.

I always appreciate signage of the plant material. Identified here is rattlesnake master. I love that name!

Notice the different colors of the carnivorous, pitcher plant flower heads!

The pitcher plants were showing well-formed flower heads that will soon open.

Many dried flowers were to be found. Some with interesting character that would be beautiful in dried arrangements.

Chaptalia tomentosa (wooly sunbonnets) were in full bloom.

 

 

Parrot pitcher plants, sundews, and other carnivorous plants were to be found. I think parrot pitcher plants are my favorite. They look like little parrots laid over in the grass. They have ten carnivorous species in their refuge.

Be sure to walk slowly and look closely so you don’t miss the tiny sundews!

As a horticulturist working for a blueberry breeder, I also enjoy observing the native Vaccinium species when we are hiking.

Again, thanks for the signage!

Could anything be cuter than a root named candy? Orange candyroot/milkwort flowering here: Polygala lutea

Even the simple, delicate coastal violet gets a sign!

I think this is a southern fence lizard?

The native longleaf pine has giant pine cones.

 

“In the wild Mississippi sandhill cranes can only be found on and adjacent to the Mississippi Sandhill Crane NWR. There are only about 100 individuals remaining.” Stop by if you are even along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Check out their calendar of events or sign up on their email list to stay up to date with future programs.

 

The Garden Maiden

All text and images copyright 2019 The Garden Maiden

@thegardenmaiden

Categories: National & State Parks, What's Blooming | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Do You Know the Muffin Man? New Mississippi Blueberry

Early last week I was out in the blueberry plots at one of the research stations collecting samples. I was instantly enamored, if not surprised, by the outstanding pink ambiance given off by a few large blueberry bushes.

Muffin Man blueberry

 

I was not out to collect from this selection, but I was drawn to it. This blueberry was without a doubt the most gorgeous in the entire field.

 

PINK! So much pink. Pink flowers, pink buds, pink calyx, warm pink hues on the stems, pink color on the new, emerging leaves. Perfect for Valentine’s Day. As you can well imagine, I meant to do this post last week on Valentine’s Day, but time got away from me.

 

As a horticulturist with a background in ornamentals first, I was impressed with the idea of what a wonderful edible hedge this would make in someone’s yard. Not to mention that at this time of year, when things are just beginning to get going in south Mississippi, it makes a grand ornamental entrance into the landscape.

 

This blueberry was recently released as ‘Muffin Man’ from the Southern Horticultural Research Laboratory in Poplarville, MS. You can read a bit about it on this USDA ARS page. Members of the American Society for Horticultural Science who subscribe to the Hort Science Journal can also read more about this blueberry in Volume 53 issue 10

To promote fruiting, you’ll need a pollinator, rabbiteye blueberry that also flowers early. In ornamental design, I would suggest planting a smaller, early flowering, rabbiteye blueberry behind the hedge, or flanking the ends, so that ‘Muffin Man’ in all its glory is not obstructed.

If you are looking for the perfect Valentine’s gift for next year inquire, then do as this little honey bee did, seek out, and find ‘Muffin Man’ to give to your sweetheart.

 

 

Congratulations to the team for traditional, old fashioned plant breeding!

What does this mean, traditional plant breeding? Select potted blueberry plants are brought into the greenhouse in winter and “crossing” begins by a biological science technician when flowers open. That is to say the pollen (collected from the anthers of the male part) of one desired flower is used to fertilize the stigma (the sticky end of the female reproductive part) of another desired blueberry flower.  This takes quick work to be sure that no insects happen to be pollinating the flowers in the greenhouse and the greenhouse is checked almost daily. Fertilized flowers are protected while the fertilized flowers develop blueberry fruit, and after fruit set and maturity, the fruit are collected, cut open, and the seed harvested and stored in refrigeration. In summer, seed are planted out in trays in the greenhouse. When seedlings reach several inches tall, they are transplanted into individual peat pots. Those little babies are nurtured in the greenhouse and the following spring/early summer, they are planted out into field plots (generally by this time they are 12-24″ tall). The young plants are closely monitored by the breeder over several years for a variety of desirable traits. (Just imagine that when two humans procreate, every baby the same two humans produce is different. Right? The same is true here.) Those that make the cut are transplanted out to long term fields for continued observations over several more years. The plants may be propagated and then planted at several sites to test their desired traits, growth, cultural habits, fruiting, qualities, etc.  Then if all has been successful, after many years since cross pollination in the greenhouse, that selection may be released for public use or plant patented. Technically, traditional plant breeding is genetically modifying plants (organisms). It is however, not genetically engineering plants-GE (basically something which could never occur naturally- a fish will never make love to a tomato). An unfortunate use of the term GMO, that is now commonplace and causes confusion.

Man, I must have had some good coffee this morning!!!! Oh, wait, I did. Three Peckered Billy Goat. I love Raven’s Brew Whole Bean Coffees. USDA Organic. Roasting facilities: Ketchikan, AK and Tumwater, WA.

Yours in Caffeine-Induced Writing & Gardening,

The Garden Maiden

All images and text copyright 2019 The Garden Maiden
@thegardenmaiden

 

 

 

Categories: Fruit Crops, Research, What's Blooming | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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