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Five for Friday 27 January 2023

In Alabama, the  days are lengthening and more signs of spring growth are appearing.  There are still some frosty nights this week but just a few degrees.  I have started some seeds but mostly these are some herbs and some perennials.

Today, my photos are from the Birmingham Botanical Gardens as well as my own yard and the Vestavia Hills Mens Garden

This first photo is of some winter interest.  This is a bank of muhly grass with limelight hydrangeas in the background near the conservatory.  This was very noticeable on a sunny day this week at the Botanical Gardens.  Notice how the hydrangeas keep the petals over the winter.

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The second photo is of a hardwood woodland at the Gardens filled with King Alfred daffodils.  This faces east and warms early in the day as the sun rises.

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The third photo from the Botanical Gardens is Spirea thunbergii which may be called Thunberg spirea.  It is also on an east facing bank.  These tiny blossoms are brilliant white.  I did not notice a fragrance but there must be to attract early insect pollinators.

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Next is a photo from my yard of a large cupped daffodil which I think is Orange Sunset.  It was in some shade when I took this picture so its brilliant colors cannot be appreciated.

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This next phots is also from my yard showing the first signs of recovery in my tea olives Osmanthus fragrans.  I am very pleased to see this.

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The next photo is from the Mens Garden.  Here is a beautiful violet hellebore.  This was a donation so I do not know the cultivar.  It was shyly drooping a little so I raised it up to take the photo.

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Another from the Mens Garden is an emerging fiddlehead of a Southern Shield fern Thelypteris kunthii.  They are deciduous and a little agressive but they are a great groundcover in woodland areas and even in sunny locations.

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Finally, here is also some sign of life in an oakleaf hydrangea Hydrangea quercifolia.  These Alabama natives are very hardy and are a welcome sign of the coming spring season.

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I hope your garden is also beginning to show increasing signs of life.  If you are able, join us Saturday morning for the Six on Saturday group.  See gardeners from around the world post photos of their gardens.

Jim Stephens is our host and you can find it here.

Until next time.

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Five for Friday 20 Jan 2023

It has been a month now since the record cold here in Birmingham.  The weather has been seasonal since,  which means warm days with rain and sunny days with near freezing temps.  A close watch on the garden continues to reveal many hopeful signs that plants are entering their late winter/early spring phase.  There is even a daffodil bloom to feature for this post.

First, is the first sign that the Southern Shield Ferns (Thelypteris kunthii) are beginning to rise out of the ground.  There is the characteristic fiddlehead.  img_3764-1

Second, is a chrysanthemum.  There are increasing numbers of newly emerging growth stalks.  These are hardy mums and they bloomed prolifically last fall.

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Third is a photo of Shasta daisy awakening.  It took a significant hit but prospects of a good summer bloom are increasing.  This is the ‘Becky’ cultivar.

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Fourth is Stoke’s Aster (Stokesia laevis).  It seems to be well recovered and in better condition than the Shasta.  It is a native which explains the  better response.

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Next are two other natives.  The resurrection fern which always freshens up after a rain and the leatherwood (Dirca palustris).  The leatherwood is now 5 years old and this is the first bloom that I have seen on it.

Finally, the prize goes to the first daffodil.  I am unsure of the cultivar but it may be ‘Ice Follies’.

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We will have rain this weekend with continued seasonal temps.  The hellebores are making good progress so I hope to have photos of them next week.

In the meantime, tomorrow, wander over to the Six on Saturday forum and see gardens from all over the world as our group shares.  Jim Stephens hosts our group here and it is a pleasant place to gaze as you enjoy a morning beverage.

Until next time, Happy Gardening.

 

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Five for Friday 14 Jan 2023

Here in Birmingham which is in Central Alabama of the American South, it is blustery and cool today. We are at the high for the day early this afternoon and it is 39F or 4C whichever pleases you the most. In addition, it is gray and dismal.

Severe storms came through at mid day yesterday and brought with them strong winds and some tornadoes. There was a lot of damage in Selma about 75 miles to our south and several people were killed in Autauga County also to our south.

Selma, Alabama at the home of a good friend’s relative. It is right across the street from the historic Sturdivant Hall which was spared.

Sturdivant Hall

 

In our location, we were spared the damaging storms. We will be warming up next week, although the expectation is for rainy weather.

There are an increasing signs of spring for you today.

First, I have to show you the blooming geranium in my greenhouse. It is so red that it blurred the picture.

 

Second, I have two hellebores. The first is a white which is just emerging.

Lenten Rose

The next is a lavender pink color. When the bloom emerges, it is more erect so that you can easily see its face. I do not know the cultivar. It may be Pippa’s Purple.

 

The third is the culinary ginger which I keep indoors. It thrives outdoors in the summer. It is great to just take a segment for cooking..

 

The fourth is the Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’. It is just beginning to peak above ground. As you can imagine from its naming, it is red.

Crocosmia

The fifth is daffodils beginning to appear. I think these are Barrett Browning.

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Finally, sixth, this is a camellia bud that looks like it will emerge soon. This is Professor Charles Sargeant.

Camellia

Join us on Six on Saturday https://gardenruminations.co.uk/ hosted by Jim Stephens and see the photos of gardeners from around the world.

Happy gardening!

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Five for Friday 6 January 2023

Here in the American South, I have had time to assess the damage from the Christmas freeze.  It is significant but there are definitely signs of hope.

The herbaceous annuals and perennials are showing signs of recovery.  The shrubs have a lot of leaf damage but the horticulture folks tell us to wait until spring growth before pruning.  That makes a lot of sense.  The hope is that we will still have the beautiful spring flowering from the azaleas.  The camellias are expected to bloom soon.  We shall see.  Short range, the weather looks favorable for plant growth.

Today, I am showing some before and after photos.

First,  these are holly ferns.  Fingers crossed here since they are favorites.

 

Second,  these are lenten roses.  A lot of damage but it looks recoverable.

Third, these are pansies.  They had been off to a good start but this is a significant set back.

 

Fourth, these are poppies.   I thought they were goners but maybe not so fast.

Fifth, these are the rudbeckia.  Once more, there is a glimmer of hope.

Finally, these are Shasta daisies.

 

There is hope.  There are buds on the camellias, the daffodils are rising and a cut through an azalea branch still shows the green cambium of growth.

Please join the Six on Saturday group hosted by Jim Stephens  Six on Saturday.

Happy Gardening.

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Five for Friday 30 Dec 2022

The New Year is upon us and as always I am looking upon it with great expectations.  In many ways, this has been a trying year and I am not regretting its passing.

The severe weather that we just experienced in Central Alabama has caused visible damage and to our plants untold damage yet unseen.  Here in the American South, there is still some color to show but also a glimmer of the damage done.

It was a flash freeze that we experienced here with the temps dropping 40 degrees F in just a few hours to temperatures we rarely record.

Here are my pics for today.

First, here is some of the color before the freeze.  The Majestic pansy and the kerria were so bright and cheerful.

Second, here were some other window box items that were doing so well.  The red sorrel and the curly parsley are now history.  The succulent may survive.

Third, here is the ageratum which had been surviving through several mild frost days.  It will have to wait until spring weather to see if it survives.  I am optimistic.

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Fourth, here is a sasanqua camellia.  It shows some leaf damage from the freeze that I have never seen before but there is enough green and a bud to hold out promise.

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Fifth, I show you a Rudbeckia ‘Indian Summer’ which I protected in my little vinyl greenhouse.  It is a survivor.

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Finally, there are a pair of other tender plants which I shelterd in the greenhouse and they will survive to bloom another day.

There is a geranium (Pelargonium) here and a shrimp plant.

 

There has been a lot of damage to water pipes in our area.  Many buildings do not have the insulation for the pipes to survive the severity of cold we had and so much of the distribution systems are aged and frail.  These problems will take time to fix and may result in more stringent building codes.

Happy New Year and Happy Gardening!

Thank you to Jim Stephens for hosting Six on Saturday  Come visit our merry band and enjoy the thoughts and labors of gardeners around our planet.

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Six on Saturday 23 Dec 2022

For us here in Central Alabama, the cold front arrived during the night and we will be below freezing for the next 48 hours. It is too soon to assess the damage so I have some photos taken in past 2 days.

We have not had any snow and there is no ice to close the roadways. The power is out in our neighborhood but our generator is functioning so thank God for that blessing.

First is a camellia bud. It is the Sea Foam that I showed you last time. These should have enough protection to be saved for blooming later.

Sea Foam

This next is another camellia. This one is Professor Charles Sargent. When it blooms, I will show it to you. It is unusual in color.

Professor Charles Sargent

This is a succulent that is outdoors in a repurposed bird bath. It is very hardy and I think it will survive the cold.

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These are some bearded iris which should also survive. They are a deep blue color and are reliable early March bloomers. They should be protected by the Post Oak and Water Oak leaves.

Bearded Iris

This next is a Florida anise. It is in partial shade and has done very well for the past several years. It is also hardy and I believe it will survive. The buds are visible and look well protected.

Florida anise

Last, I have a Lenten Rose which will bloom next month. It is shade loving but with the leaves fallen, it is getting enough sunlight to encourage blooming.

Lenten Rose – Hellebore

Next week, after assessing damage, I will bring you up to date on the garden.

Wishing all my friends on this blog a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Be sure to follow us on Six on Saturday hosted by Jim Stephens. You can see it here .https://gardenruminations.co.uk/

 

 

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Six on Saturday 16 Dec 2022

The weather is forecast to be much colder but there are still some blooms to show you. There is also signs of new growth to come.

We are expecting a cold snap here in Central Alabama.  Temps will drop below freezing for several nights.  Looks like this will continue at least until Christmas.  Who knows!  We might have a white Christmas.

In the meantime, my photos today will feature some persisiting blooms and some signs of things to come.

First, here is a lantana to start.  It still has a few blooms despite the short days and cool temps.  I really like this gold color.  It will not survive the upcoming cold nights.

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Second is the Camellia japonica “Sea Foam”.  It is a little early but the double bloom is outstanding.

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Third is the second Camellia japonica.  I could not find the cultivar name but it is an unusual dark color.

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The next are two ferns.  The first is known as Southern Shield and it is evergreen.  The other is an asparagus fern which dies back with the cold.

 

Fifth is a bay (Laurus nobilis) which I use for cooking.  This has a hint of lemony flavor in addition to the expect bay leaf flavor.

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The next is a project that has succeeded.  These are leopard lilies that I have started from the seeds (bulbils).  I planted them last fall and they sprouted this spring.  They should be ready to plant next spring.

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Happy gardening!  Hope the cold weather does not cause the garden too much damage.

Follow the Six on Saturday group on this site Six on Saturday blog.  Jim Stephens has taken over hosting the group.

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Six on Saturday 10 December 2022

Here in central Alabama, the temperature continues to be warm and there are still some blooms to show you.  We are expecting some rain later this week with some near freezing temps next weekend.  So, in addition to the blooms I also show the plant world adjusting to the colder weather of winter.  Winter does not officially arrive for 2 weeks.

First up today is a container geranium (Pelargonium sp) which is about to bloom here in mid December.

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Second is a tea olive (Osmanthus fragrans) which is blooming.  It is expected after a significant rainfall such as the one we had last week.  The fragrance carries all across the yard so that you may not see them but you can certainly smell them.

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Third is a holly fern (Cyrtomium falcatum).  It seems to be enjoying the temps and showing signs of increased color.  This fern is evergreen for our climate.

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Fourth is of my fall winter vegetable gardens.  These are some beets (Beta vulgaris var Boldor).  If they succeed, intend to make some borscht or a beet and goat cheese salad.

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Fifth is some lambs ear (Stachys byzantina).  It makes a very pretty groundcover in sunny areas as well as part sun.  The have spike like stems in the summer from which the flowers emerge.

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Finally, I have a plastic jug in which I have started some milkweed (A. tuberosa).  As you can see they have begun to sprout.  I will harvest some of these and transfer into separate containers when it is reasonable to do that.

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Hope you enjoy these photos.  Join us on Six on Saturday which is now hosted by Jim Stephens here.  It is a place to see the work of gardeners around the world.

Happy gardening!

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Winter Approaches 2 Dec 2022

The days continue to shorten.  The recent rain has brought most of the leaves to the ground.  Orion is visible in the Southern sky.  Winter is definitely approaching.

We are still having mild enough weather to keep some of the blooms alive but their is color everywhere if you look.

First, the Alabama Croton continues to display.  It is definitely a four season delight.

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The dogwood (Cornus florida) has beautiful leaf color.  It will have some pretty red berries for the birds but most of them have already been eaten.

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This Japanese maple has dropped its red leaves onto this bed of pansies after the recent heavy rain.

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The blue mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum) is continuing to bloom  This native is another multiseason showpiece.

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The encore azalea is living up to its name.  It is still blooming even after a few light frosts.

These have become iconic in the American South since they bloom in profusion 3 times a year.  There are numerous cultivars in several colors from white to red to lavender.

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Finally, I thought you might enjoy the pointsettia tree at the Birmingham Botanical Garden.  The story goes that it takes 300 individual potted pointsettias to make this eye stopping beauty.

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That’s mine for this week.  I am still managing to find a lot of color for the blog.

Don’t forget to enjoy Six on Saturday which is now hosted by Jim Stephens.  You can find it here.

 

Happy Gardening.

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Thanksgiving 25 Nov 2022

We have had a reprieve from the freezing temps of last week.  It has been beautiful with warm days but that always brings the possiblity of stormy weather.  In fact, it may bring some thunderstorms tomorrow night.

There was a refreshing rain overnight and we are still overcast this morning as I write.  This is Thanksgiving weekend and this is a special beginning to the holiday season.  It is appropriate to give thanks for all things.  It is a good thing to pause, step back and reflect.  Yesterday, it was a feast day with turkey as the centerpiece and sides of traditional food at our house including cornbread dressing, squash casserole and cranberry relish.

It is also a time to look forward beyond the holiday season and to the upcoming year.  In the garden, there are signs of the past year but also signs of the year to come.

First, I have a lantana still putting out some blooms.  It seems to remind me of colored popcorn.

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Second, I have a Camellia sasanqua and a California poppy both with bright blooms.

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Third is a large hosta.  After the frost, the bright greens are replaced by this golden yellow which is so eye catching.

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Fourth, there is a Tuscann blue rosemary with its delicate blue blooms.

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Fifth, there is the seedhead of some garlic chives.  This is a sign of new life to come and also garden weeding in the spring.

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Sixth, there are the buds of blooms to come.  This is Viburnum macrocephalum and Edgeworthis chrysantha which will be glorious come spring.

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Those are my offerings for this week.

Follow Six on Saturday hosted by Jim Stephens on garden ruminations.  It is a gathering of gardeners around the world sharing their love for gardening.

 

Happy Gardening.

 

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Frost 18 Nov 2022

In our part of the American South the first frost date averages November 15.  It is 26 F this morning, so we are on schedule.  The air is crisp and clear with a forecast for a bright sunny day.  On this type of days, the light is so bright that it becomes a little difficult to see.

Garden tasks will be delayed today but they are few.  In fact, the most important task will be to check the LED lights for our outdoor Christmas decoration.

However, I have still been able to find some colorful items to show you.

First, here is a blue ageratum or mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum).   It is perennial with striking lime green foliage and the misty blooms that have been there for weeks now.

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Second is a kerria bush (Kerria japonica).  It had stopped blooming but I found this bloom down low in a protected area.  It mostly blooms in the spring but sporadically there have been blooms all summer long and now well into fall.

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Third, I have a photo of the pansies I planted as a fall/winter annual.  They do so well in windowboxes and containers on the patio or deck.  This cultivar is in the Matrix series.  They are able to tolerate cold down into the low 20’s.  The bright faces are much appreciated in the cold mornings we will experience the next few months.

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Fourth is a rhododendron that I found 2 days ago with a well developed bud.  It looks well wrapped to bear the cold.  Anticipate this will be glorious in the spring.

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Fifth is a Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides).  It is a native.  The name derives from the frond leaves which resemble hanging Christmas stockings.  I will leave that to your imagination.

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Sixth is an indoor plant but I keep them outdoors during the warm months.  It is a Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera truncata).  It is a succulent which is very easy to propagate.  It is sometimes called a Thanksgiving cactus which seems more appropriate at this time of year.img_3570

Be sure to follow Jim Stephens at Garden Ruminations

He is hosting the Six on Saturday group.  There is an abundance of great photos and dialog there.

Happy Gardening!

 

 

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Fall Colors 11 Nov 2022

 

The garden is continuing to ebb as the temperatures slowly decline.  It is a slow march into winter but this past week, the colors of the changing leaves have been unmatched.  It is made ever more noticeable because of the clear blue skies and the dry weather.

In addition to the leaves, I still have some persistent blooming flowers to show you.

 

Chestnut Oak (Quercus montana).  This tree stands near the Mens Garden along the side of the elevated roadway.  Last year, I found some acorns underneath it that were sprouting.  I took them home and I now have a chestnut oak in my own yard.

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Oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia).  This native shrub provides four season attraction.  The red fall coloration is beautiful.  This particular shrub is at the edge of a small woodland and really stands out since it is south facing.

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Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida).  This dogwood was planted several years ago and has taken some time to be established.  It performed well this year so I am expecting to see it bloom this spring.

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Sweetspire (Itea virginica)  This small shrub is another Alabama native which performs so well.  It has thrived in this location also on the south facing side of a small woodland.  It should also bloom well in the spring with its characteristic tassel.

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Obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana).  This native established itself near the fountain of the Mens Garden.  It is a fall bloomer and really shows out.

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Red mulberry (Morus rubra).  This is a well established tree, along the east facing side of my property line, which bears a lot of fruit in the  spring.  If you want some of the berries, you have to beat the squirrels and the birds to it since they really love them

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Sugar maple (Acer saccharum).  I planted two of these trees along my property line 40 years ago.  Each year I think they will show the rainbow of colors characteristic of this tree but each year it produces this brilliant gold.

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Zinnias.  These zinnias haven’t given up.  I am still seeing Monarchs, Gulf fritillaries and Clouded sulphurs coming for nectar.

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Well, that’s my lot for this week.  I enjoy this exercise of finding six photos (more or less) to keep up to date with the happenings in my garden world.  If it brings you pleasure to view them, then my job is doubly fulfilled.

Check out Jim Stephens Garden Ruminations.  He is hosting Six on Saturday where you can view gardeners from around the world who share in this exercise.

 

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November Blue Skies 4 Nov 2022

We have had some rain this past week.  Thank goodness for that.  The temperatures have been moderate with just a hint of coolness in the morning.  Long range there is not danger of frost for the next 10 days.  The most striking feature is the bright blue skies.  The summer haze is gone.  Colors just seem to pop in the landscape.

Speaking of pop, here are my photos for this week.

The fennel in the fall vegetable bed bloomed this week.  Very perky color.  Sorry for the bit of unfocused blooms but you get the idea.

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The Camellia sasanqua is at its peak.  It is loaded with multiple blooms.  I caught this one with just enough light to cause it to sparkle.

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The swamp sunflower (Helianthus augustifolia) is also at its peak.  It is set against the purple of the Japanese maple but the mid day sun has overwhelmed that color.

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The purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpura) are continuing to give a wonderful display.  This is one of our magnificent natives.  It shamefully self seeds but I do not protest.

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I found an intruder this week.  It is a Japanese climbing fern (Lygodium japonicum).  It is mildly invasive but it is exotic enough to be forgiven as long as it minds its manners and stays out of the shrubbery.

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Finally, I have purchased some fall annuals which will be planted soon.  The pansies are in the Mystic series and the poppies called champagne bubbles are a new candidate for the Mens Garden.

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Happy gardening.

Six on Saturday continues Garden Ruminations.  Check it out tomorrow.

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October Colors 28 Oct 2022

Even though we have had a dry month, the colors this week have been magnificent.  There is a forecast for rain this weekend which will knock a lot of leaves down so this week my be the maximum for color.

The grass is still showing some color but the growth is slowing.  There are still some blooms appearing to delight and surprise.

Here is this week’s efforts.

First is this patch of mums growing along the busy street.  Sunlight here is mostly afternoon so the stems stretch in that direction.  I do not know the name.  These are transplants from a volunteer patch.

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Next is the magnificent shades of a sweetspire (Itea virginica).  This is an Alabama native.

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Next is a cultivar of a camellia.  These are Camellia sasanqua.  It just started blooming this week.  It is a beautiful fall blooming plant.  It is covered in blooms.  It is usually smaller than its relative Camellia japonica which will bloom in winter.

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Next is the Sedum  “Autumn Joy”.  It is doing very well in a container that gets plenty of shade.  The blooms are now in the brown phase as they decline but this is their prettiest phase.

 

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Next, is the Rudbeckia hirta “Indian Summer” around the flagpole with the border of alyssum.  They are beginning to show a little end of season fatigue.  These have been prolific bloomers all summer and attract the pollinators.

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Last but not least is my best photo of the week.  This was shot at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.  This Acer rubra (red maple) is really showing out.

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As winter approaches with its drabness and wetness, it is such a joy to experience these displays of color in the landscape.

If you have a chance, venture to Garden Ruminations where Jim Stephens is not hosting Six on Saturday.

Happy gardening.

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Grasses and Such 20 Oct 2022

Since the garden is entering hibernation, I was searching for photos to post today.  I found some photos of grasses and such. We have visited the Alabama Gulf Coast often over the years and I have a selection of photos I have taken there.

First is a pampas grass against a backdrop of palm trees.  This grass is tall and stands out in the landscape with its plumes.  It is a native of South America but commonly seen in the American South.

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Second is a pink Muhly grass.  It is a perennial sedge like plant.  It is an Alabama native which blooms this time of year.  It is commonly seen along roadsides.  The feather blooms are noticeable from a distance.

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Third is sea oats.  Sorry it is a little blurry.  It grows on the sand dunes and is a signature of the beach and coastal areas.  It provides shelter for birds.

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Here is a close up of the sea oats.

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I am not sure of this next photo but my plant app suggests it is a goldenrod.  The Monarch butterflies seem to enjoy it.

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Finally, here is a magnificent sunrise.  The object above the sun may be Venus.

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So, there it is.  Hope this diversion entertains you.

Just a reminder, Jim Stephens of Garden Ruminations is hosting Six on Saturday now. You can find him here: https://gardenruminations.co.uk/   He has a good blog too.

Back to gardening next week.

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Frost is coming

In our area, first frost averages as November 15.  I was planning on beginning to winterize my garden the last week of October.  In fact, we have an out of town trip planned next week.  As luck would have it, next week we are forecast for 2 nights of below freezing temps.  I have had to step up today and begin that process.  Tender plants have been provided shelter.

In the meantime, here are my photos for the day.  I have been looking at succulents.  So here are some of my discoveries.

First,  this is known as a paddle plant.  It has appealing shape and color with a sense of modesty about it.  It will be an indoor plant.  Careful not to overwater.

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Second,  this another interestingly shaped succulent.  It may be a whisk fern although I am uncertain.  It is another indoor succulent.

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Third, and found at the Mens Garden.  It tolerates our climate in Zone 8.  It tolerates this partly sunny location nestled in a repurposed bird bath.  I am unsure of the name.

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Fourth,  this looks likea Euphorbia but I didn’t catch the name even though it looks like the tag was beside it.  It will also be an indoor plant.

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Fifth,  here is a mass of light blue pansies.  They will tolerate our winter and even bloom.  They will survive a light frost.  Careful not to overfertilize them in the winter months.

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Sixth,  here is a lingering patch of Sunpatiens.  It is a hybrid plant combination of traditional impatiens with the larger New Guinea impatiens which results in a plant that thrises in full sun in hot, humid weather.  These had a slow start this summer but are have thrived ever since June.  Hope they will survive this little cold snap and give pleasure for a few more weeks.

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That’s it for this week.  I wish you “Happy Gardening” and don’t forget to take a peek at the propagator’s blog.  He is the host of Six On Saturday.

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Fall Colors 30 Sept 2022

This week, it has been fall like weather with highs in the 70’s and morning temps below 60.  I have been able to complete many more fall tasks.  Most of the planting beds have been cleared and I do have a good start on a fall vegetable garden with radishes, carrots and beets.

It has been a little breezy from a cold front.  It is still very dry.  The hurricane did not bring any rain our way but it has been devastated to our dear brothers and sisters in Florida.  I have spent many vacations in central Florida and it is painful to think of the destruction and misery.  God Bless all those who are rushing in to help.

Here are my six.

First is this Inland Sea Oats that I started from seed.  It will do well in the shady areas of the garden.  It is beginning to show that golden fall color.  The seed heads are so unusual.

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Next is some boneset.  It is a Eupatorium species.  It is a common native.  I did not plant it but it is a delight of the fall.

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Next is a toadlily given to me by a friend.  It is Tricyrtis hirta.  It is a hardy, shade loving perennial.  It is low growing and has such beautiful lily like flowers.

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Next is another grass I planted this year.  It is a Carex known as Everillo.  Beautiful fall golden color.  It loves the sun.

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I was visited by this beautiful butterfly.  I think it is a Red Spotted Purple.

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Speaking of blue, here is a group of Ageratum proudly displaying their color.

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This Alabama Croton is beginning to show its bronzy side and the dogwood beside it is showing its red side.

 

At the last, here is a camellia showing that it will bloom in January when the days are dreary and that the spring will return.

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Hope you are enjoying the blue sky days of October here in the American South.

Take a peak at the propagator blog.  He is the inspiration for my efforts.

Happy Gardening.

 

 

 

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Friday Favorites

It is Friday.  Our beautiful weather continues.  It will be dry for the next week so some judicious watering is in order.  These tasks will have to be done today as you will soon find out.

Football season has begun so the wife and I will be watching college football tomorrow.

 

First off are two spider lilies.  They are sometimes called surprise lilies because they seem to just appear overnight.

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Second is the Sedum “Autumn Joy”.  It was really putting on a fine display today.

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Third is this trio of purple coneflowers looking so fine in the morning light.

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Fourth, here are these red knockout roses.  There is a new wave of blooms that have begun this week.

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Fifth, is this beautiful, large bloomed hardy hibiscus.  They were just planted two weeks ago.  I hope this is a good harbinger of things to come.

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Sixth, I encountered two visitors, one small and one large for you to see.

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The small is the tussock moth caterpillar and the large is one of two healthy bucks that came walking through the front yard a few mornings ago.

 

Happy gardening to all and remember to take a look at the Propagator.

His blog Six on Saturday is the inspiration for this blog.  He would appreciate you stopping by and giving him a like if you favor what you see.

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A Stroll In The Gardens

The weather here in the American South continues to be wonderful.  It has been just a little cooler each morning.  Each afternoon we have been having a little bit of rain.  The sky is a clearer blue each morning as the humidity has fallen.

It has been time to take on some fall tasks such as clearing the vegetable garden, pruning some of the spent perennials and planning some hardscape projects.

This weekend is the Fall Plant Sale at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.  I have volunteered for this sale for several years now.  I took the time to stroll through the gardens and took some photos for you there.

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I began my walk crossing this bridge leading into the area of the Bog Garden.

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Along the way, I found this Paw Paw tree (Asimina triloba) with plenty of hanging fruit.  The pawpaws have a sweet taste said to be a blend of mango, banana, berries and pineapple.  It is the host plant for the Zebra Swallowtail although I did not see any.

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A little further along, I found these seed pods of the strawberry bush (Eunonymous americana).  Its common names include bursting-heart and hearts-a-bustin derived from the image of the fruit I suppose.

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I then spied this flower of the jewel weed.  It is common along creeks and ditches since it likes bottomland soil.  It is just past its prime but there were abundant blooms remaining.

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This is the fall panicle of the oak leaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia).   It is a common plant in our woods.  The blooms linger after the spring and gradually take on a bronze color like this gem.

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I next found this inland wood oats near the water of the bog.  It is very popular as a low maintenance shade grass.  Its color transitions from green in the spring to ivory in the fall to a brown during winter.

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Out near the vegetable garden, I saw this cotton at near maturity.

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Next, I saw this eyecatching orange cosmos.

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Finally, as I exited the garden I saw this planting of a dwarf sunflower.  It was very happily showing off its bright yellow color in the bright sunshine.

I hope you enjoyed these glimpses of my stroll in the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

Happy Gardening.

Be sure to take a look at the efforts of the Propagator.

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September Blooms 2 Sept. 2022

The weather is moderate and the rainfall is adequate here in the American South.  College football season has begun and there will be a heavy dose of it this Labor Day Weekend.  College football stadiums will be in full throttle and the tailgates will be plentiful and abundant.  It is a great time of the year.

The gardens are still beautiful and the butterflies are plentiful.  The summer perennials are waning but the fall flowers are appearing.  I am beginning to plan fall and winter projects.

Here are my photos for the week.

The first is the beautiful dragon wing begonias.  It inhabits the window boxes and will be abundant until frost.  I have to remember to remove them before frost since they make a frightul mess if they freeze.

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The second is a solitary Shasta daisy.  They have been plentiful and healthy this year.  They will need some thinning this fall.

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Here is an obedient flower.  It is a native perennial and has just begun to bloom.  Physostegia species are so named because a flower pushed to one side will often stay in that position.  It is in the mint family.

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The “Indian Summer” black eyed susan and the Penta are still blooming regularly.

 

These garlic chives are blooming beautifully and attracting many Common Buckeyes.

 

The zinnias are attracting all manner of butterflies including the gulf fritillary.

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Finally, here is an autumn fern (Dryoperis erythrosora) that loves the container on the deck.  This beautiful fern is evergreen and hardy in our climate.

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Hope you have a memorable Labor Day Weekend and happy gardening.

Remember the Propagator.  He is our inspiration.

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More Butterflies 26 Aug 2022

Here in the American South, August is ending.  It continues to be a few degrees cooler than expected and we are getting some rain every day this week.  The foliage is green but the flowers are fading.  The butterflies, skippers and insects are very noticeable this week.

I have two feeders that the hummingbirds are keeping very busy.  The hummingbird “wars” are fun to watch.

Weeding has gotten a little ahead of me but perhaps I can catch up now with the moderating temps of the approaching fall.

First up today is a fiery skipper in my zinnia patch.  This patch has been a butterly magnet.  Sorry, it is a little fuzzy but that skipper is quick.

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Next up is a silver spotted skipper in that same zinnia patch.

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Just adjacent to the zinnias is my milkweed patch.  I have only seen a few Monarchs but these milkweed bugs are in abundance.  I will try some Neem oil spray on them.

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I have a Rose of Sharon blooming nearby with this noticeable white color with a white throat.

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The rain has brought out a lot of mushrooms on the lawn.  These are some vermillion waxcaps according to my iNaturalist app.

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In the sideyard, there are some roseglorybowers.  They are also called Mexican hydrangeas.  They are attractive to the bees but they are pushy and I have to keep an eye on them.

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This last one is a Seashore mallow in the genus Kostetetskaya.  It is a late summer bloomer and seems to shyly catch your eye.  As you can see, it does resemble the Rose of Sharon.

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I hope some rain and sunshine is coming your way.  Here’s to happy gardening.  It is a splendid way to keep your mind off trouble and worry.

Remember to take a peek at the the propagator.  Just click the link and see what he is doing this week.

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Butterflies and a Ginger Lily

In the American South, we are having more below average temp and some rain chance most every day.  It has been possible to get out and do some shrub pruning.  The garden is beginning to look tired and a little ragged but some fall flowers are appearing.

Butterfly numbers seemed to be below normal this summer but this week I have been surprised to find much more butterfly activity.

Here is the collection.

 

Here is a hardy mum.  Unsure of name but this is thriving enough that I have divided it and have it in three locations now.

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The vitex of  chaste tree is very happy and continues to bloom.

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The American beautyberry is beginning to show off its purple berry collars.  It is a very reliable native shrub.

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The “Katy Road” rose is showing some new buds with the let up in the heat.  It is such a beautiful pink.  The leaf beetles really get after it but I am trying to keep them at bay with some weekly Neem oil applications.  Sorry that it is a little fuzzy.

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The encore azaleas are really showy this week.  I just had to show them off again.  They really look good along this paver path.

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Here is a gulf fritillary on the profusion zinnias.  The host plant is a passionflower.  I would show it but the caterpillars have chewed it up.

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Here is a monarch.  These zinnias are right next to the butterfly milkweed.  I just had to stand between the two in order to get a good photo.

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The ginger lily bloomed this week.  I have them in some pedestal containers at the garden entrance.  I was not expecting them to bloom this year so it is a surprise.

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Hope you have some rain and moderating temperatures this week.  It makes the gardening such a treat.

Remember the inspiration of this blog,  The propagator blog.

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Summer Blooms are on the Wane

Here is the American South, we are enjoying some slightly less hot weather.  Soon, the weekends will be filled with the passion of our region, college football.  Fall practice has begun.

This week the Shasta Daisies have been all deadheaded.  Soon, they will be cut back and the compost bin will begin to fill.  The black eyed susans are still glorious but there is some one or something eating on them that I will have to sort out.

The encore azaleas are giving a fresh display of blooms.

There has been sufficient rain that the irrigation system has not had to be given extra duty.

Here are my photos of the week.

This is a lantana “Miss Huff” which usually attracts plenty of butterflies.

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The zinnias and the blackeyed susan looks great together.

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The container of sedum and agastache are also harmonizing.  The sedum “Autumn Joy” is beginning to show some fall color.

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These pentas have been laggard this year but this group looks like it is perking up a little.

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This milkweed is called Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) and was taken by an acquainance while visiting in Kansas.  It is showy indeed.

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Here was a visitor on my deck this week.  He was acting like he wanted to drill my chair but he eventually flew off.  The iNaturalist couldn’t completely identify him except to say he was a wasp.

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That is my lot for the week.  Hope your gardening is successful and brings you joy.  The day light hours are shortening and soon we will have some cooler temps.

Remember to check out our British friends on the propagator’s blog.

 

 

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Summer Bloom 5 Aug 2022

The glory of the summer is still with us here in Beautiful Alabama.   We are having a minor amount of relief from the heat along with some refreshing rains.

My tour around the property revealed  full summer blooms.  A recent three day vacation to the Northeastern portion of Alabama revealed two other additions to my group of photos today.

First up is a pretty pink butterfly bush.

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Next is the remnant of a cicada.  This one was the size of my thumb.  Those compound eyes can be creepy.

Back home, I will begin with a majestic white blooming Crepe Myrtle.  You can see the brown bark which makes it a show in winter.

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Here are two cultivars of butterfly bush.  No butterflies in these pictures but they have been there.

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I scattered some zinnia seeds where my little potato patch had been this spring and they are beginning to bloom smartly.

The caladium and coleus containers are full and at their peak now.

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Finally, here is the first of the Brown Turkey figs.  I hope to get my share before the birds and squirrels find them.

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Happy gardening!!  Be sure to check out the propagator.  He is the inspiration for this blog

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The bloom continues 22 July 2022

The weather has cooled today after thunderstorms last night.  No significant damage at home or in the Mens Garden but there is a lot of small limbs and leaves down.   It was humid this morning but it was overcast so some tasks could be done without excessive perspiration.

The Shasta daisies were deadheaded.  They have almost finished their season but the Blackeyed Susans are magnificent.

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The Crape myrtles and the limelight hydrangeas are in full regalia now.  Unsure of the name of this beauty.

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This limelight is in part shade and it is really thriving.  It is filling in this space and will need some pruning since it is hiding a camellia behind it.

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This looks like a mulberry tree protruding through the fence.  It is past fruit stage which kept the squirrels very busy.

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This milkweed is past blooming and now carries these unique pods.  The milkweed is the host plant for so many butterflies including the Monarch.

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Another versatile native is the purple coneflower.  I leave the seedheads on as a food source for the birds.

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Hope your weather has been favorable for getting in some summer gardening.  Keep hydrated and keep a measured pace.

Don’t forget about the propagator

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Summertime

The song says that the living is easy.  It is hot here so its easy if you are indoors.  Rain is forecast tomorrow which will break the heat for a while.  In the meantime, it is sufficient just to keep the outdoor plants watered.  Had to take care of the vole problem today.  Applied a newly acquired treatment suggested by the local hardware store.

 

This pink spiderwort stood out today.  I see it is also called Purple Heart.  It loves the heat and spreads every summer and self seeds as an added bonus.

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The rose campion has started to bloom again.  It seems undefeated by the summer heat.  Its delicate nature is beautiful.  It is also self seeding but it is welcome.

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The Rose of Sharon is also enjoying the summer heat.  It is an old time favorite and I can see why.  The blooms are magnificent.  There is also a white bloom with a red throat.

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The white caladium “Candide” loves this shady spot.  It does get enough morning sun to keep it healthy and looks spiffy in this urn.

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This old recycled fountain looks great set back amongst the Limelight hydrangeas and sports some thriving succulents.

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The voles are inhabiting most of the lawn at the Mens Garden.  The hardware store recommended this remedy.  It attacks the Japanese beetle larvae which are the main food source for the voles.  In addition, I have applied some repellent that was also recommended.  Hope this works.  All the runways in the lawn are unsightly.

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Meanwhile, be careful in the heat.  Seek shade whenever possible and remain hydrated.

Remember the Propagator

Happy Gardening

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Bird Project 1 July 2022

This past week, I noticed a pair of goldfinches feeding on the liatris in my perennial bed.  The male was that bright gold color.  They came out of the thicket along the edge of my property where there are some pine trees and a mulberry.

I have had them come to my bird feeder in the winter but I have not seen them in the summer.  It made me think about what I could do to keep them around all year.

My research showed that their diet is mostly seeds unlike the majority of  songbirds.

Here are goldfinches on liatris spicata which is also known as gayfeather.

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The goldfinches will also feed on the seeds from purple coneflower which grows as a native in our area.

The purple coneflower will last until frost.  You can keep the seedheads on through the late fall and into winter for the finches to feed on.

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Another summerlong flower that they will feed from is a zinnia.  Zinnias here will bloom all summer long.

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Gold finch on zinnia

The sunflower is another good food source.  Sunflowers can be left standing into the winter and the goldfinches will come to them.

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Goldfinch on sunflower.

The goldfinches will feed on native grasses in the winter in our area.  These will contain seeds to support them in the winter.

Thought you might enjoy seeing these limelight hydrangeas in full bloom.  The goldfinches do not use birdboxes.  This one is for the bluebirds.  It was erected in the spring but is not presently occupied.

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Switching themes, here is a photo of this colorful canna.  I am not sure of the name but I think it is Tropicana

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Ending today’s photos with the agastache and a Stoke’s Aster which are both showing beautiful colors in the summer.

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It is Independence Day here in the USA on Monday so it is a weekend of celebration and little gardening.

Be sure to check out the propagator

 

 

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Reds and Oranges 24 June 2022

It is now officially summer and the hot weather is continuing.  Highs in the upper 90’s (35 to 38 C) here in the American South.

Adequate hydration and avoiding the mid afternoon sun is the order of the day.  I am a morning person so I do not mind getting out early.  It helps to finish any outdoor work after 5 pm to avoid the searing overhead sun.

The plants are faring much better than us mortals.  Today, I am offering some red and orange hues for you.

The first is this Hibiscus coccineus.  This is the scarlet rosemallow also known as the Texas star although it is not found naturally in Texas.  The leaves resemble cannabis  It is a hardy hibiscus native to the Southeast USA.  The large blooms are really striking.

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This begonia is the red Dragon Wing.   It has been a winner for me in window boxes.  It thrives in the heat and prefers to be a little bit dry.  This year I propagated all I needed from a plant that I protected over the winter.

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This crocosmia is the Lucifer cultivar.  It is a hardy plant in the iris family and is very reliable.  It does have a tendency to muscle out wards and needs to mind its manners every year.

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Dahlias can be a little fickle in the heat but I have found one successful bed that gets less afternoon sun and I have been rewarded with reliable blooming.

 

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This rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) is a reliable bloomer.  It does have the red throat.

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This shot of my backyard shows the progress I have made in this shady area.  More on that in future blogs.

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We are expecting some rain over the next few days which will lower the temps soon.  That will be welcome.

Happy Gardening.

Don’t forget the Propagator  who is the inspiration for this blog.

 

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Heat Wave 17 June 2022

Greetings from the sweltering Southeast USA.  We have been in a heat advisory for the past few days.  It is expected to continue for another week.  Highs are in the upper 90’s and heat index is topping 100 every day.  My plan is to limit outdoor work to early morning and just before dusk.  Plenty of liquids are also in order.

The plants are flourishing regardless.   They have an ample supply of water after the heavy rain of a few days ago.  I am watering the newest plants from this spring.

I did do some volunteer work in the native plant area of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens so I am including a shot or two from there.

The first shot is this beautiful tall Tiger Lily.  The plant identifier is calling it an iris.

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This next is a Prairie Coneflower.   Ratibida sp.  I started these from seed a few years ago.  They had a tendency to sag when in bloom but this year they are strong enough to stand tall.

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The hybrid daylilies are beautiful.  So many vibrant bright colors.  This one stood out.

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This garden cherub is shaded in the fern garden amongst the Natchez crepe myrtles.   The fern is a Southern shield (Thelypteris kunthii).  This stately fern is slowly covering the shaded area but it is deciduous and allows the daffodils to come through in the late winter and spring.

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The blephilia is blooming again.

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Thought you might enjoy this native hydrangea (Hydrangea aborescens)

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Another native hydrangeas showing off is this oakleaf with the red tinted flowers of the pannicle. Hydrangea quercifolia.

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It is hot this week but these floral displays are grand.  Hope you are able to get out and do some gardening.   Mine will be limited the next two weeks.

Don’t forget the the propagator

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More Summer Blooms 10 June 2022

There was a heavy rain here on Wednesday.  I recorded more than 9 inches at my house.  That was a little scary since I did have some water enter the house after a heavy rain last spring.  Good news!!  All my efforts to divert water from entering the house worked.  We remained dry.

The days are long and the temperatures are high enough that the summer blooms are magnificent this week.  The daisies and black eyed susans are a joy to behold.

The heat of summer is upon us so gardening tasks have to be limited to early morning and late afternoon.

Here are the Shasta Daisies.  I think these are the “Becky” cultivar.

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The black eyed Susans are the “Indian Summer” cultivar I think.  They looked defeated by the end of winter but they are truly gorgeous now.

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The purple coneflowers are a very reliable flower in the Mens Garden.  They have reseeded in numerous places.

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The swamp milkweed Asclepias incarnata or rose milkweed has also fully shown up now.  It is a winner.  It has not attracted many butterflies though.  I am hopeful that it will.

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The white caladiums in the big planters are filled in.  They are so welcoming.

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This vitex or chaste tree is now in its third year at the garden.  It is a striking bloomer.  This variety is one of the temperate zone species of vitex.  It does resemble butterfly bush.

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This canna which I think is Tropicana is doing well in its new location.   It was showing signs of leaf roller damage but it seems to be rid of that now.  We will see.

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We took a day trip to see the Cahaba lilies near us.  They are endemic to our area.  They are said to bloom between Mothers Day and Fathers Day.  We missed the best days but found a Red-spotted purple butterfly, Pipevine swallowtail caterpillar and a native leatherflower (Clematis).

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Those are mine for this week.  It has been a wonderful week.  I wish you happy gardening and beautiful flowers.

Don’t forget the Propagator

 

 

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Five for Friday plus One 3 June 2022

As the weather continues to warm and the days lengthen, the garden continues to fill in.

I did some travelling this past week including a visit to a watercolor art show in a nearby town.  So, I am including a beautiful photo of a winner from that show.

Hope you enjoy this week’s photos.

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These profusion zinnias are in the men’s garden.  They are a wonderful splash of yellow and are quickly matching their name.

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This grouping of alyssum and snapdragons is also at the men’s garden.  The alyssum is a spring planting and the snapdragons are a fall planting.  The snapdragons will dwindle soon and a replacement will need to be found.  As for now, they look good a long the brick walkway.

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This old fountain has not been functional for a long time but it serves as a planter for these succulents.  The Limelight hydrangeas surrounding it should soon be blooming.

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The sweetspire “Little Henry Virginia” is showing off now with the racemes of white flowers.  This shrub is new to the men’s garden but it is thriving in the dappled shade.

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The rose campion is invasive but can be forgiven because it is so beautiful.  It is easily removed if it becomes overly intrusive.

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I mentioned the art show.  Here is one of the winners.  It is truly a stunner.

Enjoy your gardens this week.  I hope to have some tomatoes to show by next Friday.

Remember the Propagator.  He is the inspiration for this blog.

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Shade and sun

We have been through a few rainy days brought on by a tropical depression coming off the Gulf of Mexico.  The sun has returned today and the garden will now burst forth.  The trees and shrubs are fully arrayed in their leafy glory so there is plenty of shade.  The shade will protect the more tender of plants from the intense summer sun which is coming.

This is a beautiful time in the American South.  Here are my photos for the day.

This is a mock orange planted 3 years ago.  It has had a slow start but lots of beautiful blooms now.  It is a glorious sun lover.

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This is a Rudbeckia (Indian Summer) that I started from seed.  They are planted in a mixed bed with some dahlias that I also started from seed.  They are doing well in this sunny location.

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This daylily is one of a group that is thriving in afternoon sun.

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The oak leaf hydrangea is in morning sun and some afternoon sun.  It has been in this location for many years.  It is particulary glorious this year.  It is an Alabama native.

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This hosta thrives on the shady side of the house protected by a lorapetalum.  It used to suffer from slug damage but a little diatomaceous earth has stopped that this year.

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The majestic caladium Candide proudly sits in this planter at the entrance to the Mens Garden.

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Hope you enjoyed the tour of the sun and shade.

Be sure to check out the Propagator

 

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Summer blooms and visitors 20 May 2022

The summer heat is here this week with temps in the low 90’s.  It is breezy at times which provides a bit of relief but being outdoors in the afternoons makes me weary from the heat.   Garden work must be done in the mornings.  It has been dry but a welcoming rain is forecast for this weekend.

The summer bloomers are appearing but there has also been some unexpected visitors.

My first picture today is morning sunrise on the beautiful Alabama Gulf Coast.  The dunes are magnificent.  This shot is overlooking the Bon Secour Wildlife Refuge.

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Next are the “Nikko Blue” hydrangeas.  They are on the shady side of the yard where they have been happy but the last two years with drought and then excessive rain there have been no blooms.  This late spring though they are coming out.   Joy.

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Third is the astilbe.  I also have these in the shady portion of the yard where they add needed color and contrast.  They grow slowly but they are now coming into their own after several years.

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The butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is now mature enough that it will be attracting the butterflies.  As a host plant, it is a needed food source for many caterpillars including the magestic Monarch.  It is a beacon in the sunny perennial bed.

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This blanket flower (Gallardia) is another beacon in the sunny perennial bed.  It also attracts butterflies.  This one has a skipper visiting.

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A surprise visitor the other morning was this guy.  He had flushed two female deer and was trying to run them down.  He was outclassed in speed so he took a break on the driveway and had a scratch.

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Enjoy the weather.  For us in the southeast USA, it is time to stay hydrated and seek shade at mid afternoon.

Happy gardening and don’t forget to look at the Propagator.

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Some Gulf Coast Photos 13 May 2022

I have been away at the Beautiful Alabama Gulf Coast.  It has been marvellous weather.  I am including some photos from there as well as some from home in Central Alabama.  No matter where you travel in Alabama, you will be blessed with natural beauty.

 

This first photo is a Solomon’s Seal in bloom.  It doesn’t bloom for long so you have to be watchful, especially so since it is in the shade garden.

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I found this luna moth hanging out on the Encore Azalea.  Its host plant is the tulip poplar which is in bloom just across the street from the Men’s Garden.

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I found this iris on my walk at the Gulf Coast property where I have been staying.  It resembles the Iris virginica at the Mens Garden.

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Found this skink hiding in the iron plant.  It must think I can’t see him.

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Here is some cucumber leaved sunflower and sea oats framed against the beautiful Gulf waters.  Makes you want to put up a sun umbrella.

 

Don’t you like this walking iris?  It is sad that the bloom only lasts a little more than 24 hours.  I have been able to propagate it easily.  Just put the new growth that appears after the bloom fades into a small pot with some potting soil.

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Found this magnificent Great Blue Heron lurking in the lily pond near our rental property on the Gulf Coast.  He was probably feasting on some fish or crustacean found in the brackish water.

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So, a mix of flora and fauna for you today.

Don’t forget to follow the Propagator.  He is the inspiration for this blog.

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Native Plants in the Garden 6 May 2022

It is steamy here this week but a front came through last night bringing some fresher, cooler air.  The steamy air will soon return so it is wise to keep hydrated and rest more often.  This is the kind of weather that makes me think of the beach and not the garden.

This week, I have been noticing the native plants in the garden amongst the nursery plants.

First, here is the elegant Golden Alexander.  There is only one of these but it catches my eye often.  Looks good with the macro lens feature on my iPhone.

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The next is the native Columbine.  Again, I just noticed this one last year, but I expect to see more soon.  They do tend to reseed.  The macro lens picks up the details and you can see the Japanese painted fern in the background.  This is in a shady area.

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The next is a pagoda plant.  I bought this one at a native plant sale a few years ago.  I think it is in the mint family.  It loves the shade.

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Next is the Alabama croton.  It is a hardy shrub.  It bloomed several weeks ago and has completely leafed out.  These seed pods caught my eye.  The leaves are waxy with silvery undershides that flash when the wind blows.

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The gallardia just started blooming yesterday.  It will soon get unruly but for now I am enjoying the beautiful flowers. This plant seems to tolerate dry conditions so it does well at the back edge of the perennial bed.

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I have been watching my blueberry patch daily.  These berries look like they should ripen soon.  I hope I get them before the birds and the deer find them.

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The cool spring is almost over here in Beautiful Alabama.  The warm and steamy spring is beginning.  Soon, it will be hot and humid.  It will soon be time to garden early in the morning and keep busy with indoor tasks in the afternoon.

Happy Gardening.

Be sure to enjoy the Propagator.  He is the inspiration for this blog.

 

 

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Natives and Butterflies 29April2022

The glorious weather continues here in Beautiful Alabama and the yard tasks are numerous.  There have been a lot of butterflies this week and I did manage a good photo of a Tiger Swallowtail.

My tomato and pepper plants are in the ground and growing.  Soon, I will be replacing the daffodils in containers with caladiums I recently purchased.

Here are my efforts for this week.

Here is another beautiful amaryllis.  I am getting better with the macro lens on my iphone13.

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Here is  roof iris.  It is so delicate.  These plants are now about 3 years old and well established in the Mens Garden.

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Another beautiful one is this Iris virginica.  I love the blue shades in this one.  I got these from the Birmingham Botanical Gardens and they have thrived in the Mens Garden.

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Here is the native that I promised.  This is a Golden Alexander.  It is a native perennial.  It is widespread in the eastern USA.  I bought this one at a native plant sale a few years ago.

It is a host plant for the Black Swallowtail butterfly.

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I have seen many butterflies this week.  Here I captured and Eastern Tiger Swallowtail getting nectar from this red azalea.

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Those are mine for the week.  Happy Gardening.  We have one more month before it begins to get really hot.  I have several projects to complete before then so wish me luck.

Don’t forget the Propagator.  He is the inspiration.

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Irises, Columbines and More 22 April 2022

Greetings from the sunny Southeast USA.  The weather is definitely warming and the days are lengthening. The flowering plants are responding with glorious displays.  The work in the garden is never ending since the weeds enjoy this weather too.  The tree canopy is now filled with leaves that are a darker green.  I hope you have a chance to garden this weekend.

Here are my pictures for today.

First are two magnificent bearde iris.  The blue, white and peach varieties are my favorite.

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The second set are the columbines.  They have been blooming for a couple of weeks now but there is a blue and a pink now blooming.  They reseed and I have many around the yard.

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The hosta “Avocado” is fully displayed now.  It is in the most shaded part of the yard.  It is behing the hydrangeas and the paperbush which is probably the reason the deer have not found it.

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The Gerber daisies have appeared this past week and quickly began blooming.  They seem to have had little frost damage this year so I expect some abundant blooming.  This yellow is very striking.

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The Gaura is kept in a container just beside the car port.  It showed some green all winter but the last two weeks the blooming stems have appeared and now the blooms are emerging.  I love the way they “nod” when the bees land on them

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Lastly, here is a beautiful amaryllis.  There are several blooming this week.  These started out as a Christmas gift but I planted them in the yard.  Now, the reward is amaryllis in April

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Happy gardening y’all or as I heard in Texas last week – “Howdy”.

Don’t forget to look at the Propagator tomorrow.  He is the inspiration for my blog.

 

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The Project and Fort Worth 15 April 2022

As the weather warms and the days lengthen, we are blessed my more green leaves and more blooms.  It is such a grand season.  The spring rains have been ample and thankfully not excessive.  Today is Good Friday which the locals say is the date to begin planting the tender types.  I have already set out some tomatoes.  I couldn’t wait.

The paver project has taken another step forward.  It is on hold this week as we have travelled to Texas to see my daughter and family in Fort Worth where we will spend Easter.

Here are my pics for this week.

The first is another of daffodils.  This is Barrett Browning on the left and a Poet’s Narcissus on the right.  There still are a few other daffodils appearing.

 

The second is a spiderwort.  These are native to Alabama and do reseed in the yard but their beauty prevents me from saying that they are a nuisance.

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Third is the next step in the paver project.  The circle of bricks has been installed.  The rains this week will clean off the sand and a few new plants will complete the inner area.

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The fourth is a flag iris.  They are near the front parking area and certainly add a splash of bright color.

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The next is another native that the iNaturalist app identifies as in the buttercup family.  It is pretty with the silvery leaves.

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Finally, here are a couple from the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens.  They are a grouping of beautiful California poppies and a flowering dogwood.

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From the beautiful SouthEast USA and Beautiful Alabama, wishing you Happy Easter!

Happy Gardening!

Don’t forget the Propagator.  He is the inspiration for this blog.

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A Taste of Spring 8 April 2022

We are having a couple of blustery days but warming temperatures are coming next week.  Good Friday is the day for setting out tender plants so next week the tomatoes will be planted.

The Birmingham Botanical Gardens had the Spring Plant Sale this week.  Beautiful plants  were available.  I volunteered in the trees and shrubs section.  There were beautiful native azaleas, hydrangeas, an ample variety of ferns and many others. This spring there seems to be a sense of expectancy.

Here is my picutres for the week.

First is this beautiful red azalea.   This is  the Indica  type.  I do not know the cultivar.

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Number 2 are these beautiful bluebells.  I like the way they clump.

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Found another project that will need attention.  This shed has some weather damaged wood that will need replacing.

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This Creeping Jenny is alive and well.  It is also called moneywort because of the small coin like leaves. It makes an excellent shade area ground cover.  Soon, it will be spilling over the edge of the container.

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Next is this striking Heucherella.  It is related to the Tiarellas also known as foamflower.  This is a favorite shade plant.

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Finally, we are making progress on our paver project.  The base is ready and we will be laying the bricks tomorrow.

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Happy Gardening!!

 

Don’t forget the Propagator

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What a glorious day!! 1 April 2022

It’s like magic.  There are so many plants returning to life that it is impossible to remark on all of them.  The air is almost still with just a faint breeze.  The temps are warm and comfortable for a walk.  Only disturbing things are the gnats.

We started a new project at the Mens Garden.  It is a memorial brick paver ring which is around the flagpole.  We had some hardwork marking it out, excavating, setting metal edging and adding crushed paver stone.

We did have some nasty weather here in the Southeast USA on Wednesday.  A warm air mass from the Gulf of Mexico was meeting cold air coming from the west.  It brought high winds with 50 mph gusts and rain of about 1 inch but it did not spawn any tornadoes.

Here are my photos for you this beautiful Friday.

First is this gorgeous “Red Emperor Tulip”.  I like to use pine cones to keep the squirrels from using my containers for acorn storage.

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Second is our paver project.  Our next project will be laying the pavers.

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Third is a project of completing our mulching with pine bark nuggets.  I usually like pine straw but the nuggets do give everying  a fresh look.

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The Virginia bluebells are beginning to appear.  Blue may be uncommon in nature but these are uncommonly beautiful.  They are looking so fresh and majestic now.

I cannot let you not see some azaleas.  If you are a golf fan or not, tune in to the Masters to see the azaleas at Augusta.  The top photos shows the effects of the frost from a couple of weeks ago but the bottom picture shows the beauty of the azalea.

Finally, here is a blooming trillium.  This native shall go unnamed but it is of the sessile variety.

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That is it for this week from Alabama the Beautiful.

Don’t forget to look at the the propagator this week.

Happy Gardening y’all.

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Frost and Spring

Five for Friday March 18, 2022.

The cold snap did some damage.  The plants that were gloriously blooming are damaged.  Those that were destined to be later, are beginnng to emerge with the rain and warmer temps as Spring approaches.  As always, Mother Nature has ways of recovering.  I am sure that the azaleas will still be beautiful in Augusta for the Masters.

Today, I have some photos of the damage in my yard and some of the beauties in my yard and from the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

 

First, here is the damage.  The pink azalea and the paperbush took a hit.  They were really beautiful for several days.  Better days are coming and there is always next year.

 

 

Second, here is the Johnny-jump-up violas.  They were protected enough that they continue to dazzle.  Just another reason to keep planting them each fall.

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Third, here are some newly planted Oak Leaf Hydrangeas.  Hydrangea quercifolia.  It is a native here in the Southeast USA.  It is a great woodland shrub.  The left picture shows the new growth of the spring while the picture on the left shows the coloration of the fall.

The blooms are in the form of a large pannicle with numerous white blossoms.  Very striking.

 

Fourth is Alabama croton.  It is a marvelous shrub.  Now, the small but bright yellow blooms are quite striking.  You can also see the small leaves which have a silver color on the reverse side.  When the wind blows, they shimmer.  The leaves become a bronze orange color in the fall.  All this makes this small shrub nothing but a winner.

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Fifth is a Carolina spring beauty.  This is a Spring ephemeral which can be found on small woodland meadows.  You have to look closely for it but it is worth the effort.

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Sixth, as a bonus, I found this little gem near the edge of the yard which borders on a woodland.  This is partridge berry or Mitchella repens.  Linnaeus named it after his physician friend John Mitchell who used it to treat yellow fever.

I am unsure of its value for the fever but once its established it is a hardy perennial which the deer seem to love.

Here’s to the return of Spring and here in the US the Senate has passed a bill to make Daylight Savings Time permanent.  I like that since it seems harder to adjust to time change with each passing year.

Don’t forget about the propagator.

Happy gardening.

 

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A birdhouse and new blooms

Friday March 11

It is beautiful today. Warm, with some overcast cloudy conditions are wonderful but we are expecting a cold front and the temps will be in the low 20’s in less than 48 hours.

I am protecting the new tomatoes, peppers and black eyed susans that I started from seed. They will be in the house. Other container plants that I think may be vulnerable will be in the shed or the vinyl greenhouse where they will have sufficient protection.

While they still look their best, here are my 5/6 for Friday.

This azalea is the most advanced of those in my yard. It is well set back amongst other shrubs so I hope it will tolerate the cold well.

This is a redbud (Cercis canadensis) which emerged this week. It is a reliable harbinger of spring. The arching branches are so graceful.
This is a red cedar bluebird house which I installed last Saturday. It was purchased at Pepper Place which is a local farmer’s market. https://pepperplacemarket.com/. This is dedicated to one of our garden club members who is recently deceased.
Here is the plaque.
This is a little would-be gardener we found today. It is a DeKay’s brownsnake. It looks like it may have eaten a slug or a snail recently.
This is bloodroot or Sanguinaria canadensis. It is a native growing in the woodland nearby. If you dig it up, the root does have a reddish juicy liquid if crushes and thus the name. It has no medicinal value so just enjoy the beautiful blooms.
I found this watercolor recently. I do feel for the land of my ancestors.

Don’t forget the Propagator. He is the inspiration for this blog. https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/

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Blooms and Buds

March 4, 2022

It has been a very warm week here in Central Alabama with daytime highs reaching 80.  The forecast is for several more days like this before some rain and cooler temps arrive in a week.  We may get some freezing temps then.  It is tempting to plant tender plants now but I am avoiding that action.  I have potted up my tomatoes and peppers yesterday.  I have some rudbeckia and daisies that I hope to pot up today.

Here is the Five for Friday.

This is a holly fern with the large fiddle head visible.  This is part of a group of hollies at the entrance to the Mens Garden that was transplanted a year ago.  They are very happy and sheltered enough that they have stayed green all winter.

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This is a star magnolia.  It is Magnolia stellata which is a native of Japan.  The blooms are small in comparison to the massive Southern magnolia.

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This is an early blooming azalea.  I hope it doesn’t get stung by next week’s colder temps.  I do not know the name of this variety.

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This is Veronica prostata or prostrate speedwell.  It is native to Europe and unlike its cousins, it forms a nice groundcover and is everygreen.  This one is in an open area and may have to be transplanted.  It is forming a slowly spreading mat of foliage.

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This is Trillium cuneatum.  It is a native to the eastern US.  It will open up to a reddish tinted bloom.  The trillium natives are spring ephemerals so after blooming, they will disappear until next spring.  We are glad it hides out in the Mens Garden for the year.

 

The last two are a late blooming Camellia with an unknow name and a sedum.  I believe this sedum is Autumn Joy.

Happy gardening and enjoy the weather wherever you are.  Don’t forget to follow the Propagator.  He is the inspiration for my blog.

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Ferns and Colors

A cool Friday

Its been cooler today. The rain came in early this morning. Waiting on an early delivery of pine bark mulch at the Vestavia Hills Mens Garden, I could feel the temperature dropping. It will be in the upper 30’s tonight but gratefully it is not as cold as weather further to our west. This past week the temperatures have been in the 70’s so a lot of new growth is emerging.

I especially like to see the ferns emerging but there is more color to report this week.

Here we go:


My asparagus fern is beginning to show its new growth in lime green color. Its a slow grower but its beginning to fill this styroam box. It may be full enough to display on the deck this year. This variety is cold hardy and does well in the yard for the winter.
This is maidenhair fern. This variety is the northern maidenhair or Adiantum pedatum. It is native to eastern North American forests but is very adaptable to shady gardens in the South. Here, I have it draping over some rocks on a slightly sloping hillside beside a pathway.
This is Southern shield fern. It is very adaptable in the yard. It will grow in shade and will even tolerate sunny locations. It dies back completely in the winter but it is beginning to reach out of the ground this week. It looks great in the summer and here in the spring it is patiently waiting for the daffodils to finish their thing. It will later in the year completely drape over the daffodil shoots.
The paper bush is now showing the fragrant, golden blooms. There is still little evidence of leaf formation but that will come soon. It seems to be doing well on the shady side of the yard.
The hyacinths are really doing well in the containers where I planted them in the fall. This beauty is Jan Bos. It is fragrant even in this early stage of blooming.

 

This is a native that I bought last spring. It is a toothwort called a two-leaved toothwort. Its scientific name is Cardamine diphylla. The native peoples of North America used it as a medicinal. It will have a cluster of white spring flowers on a stalk about a foot high. The plant likes woodland conditions with an acidic soil so it seems to like the pine straw I spread around it.
One more for you today. This is pennywort. It is strictly speaking a weed in shady areas.. It grows low to the ground and spreads. Seems to make a good ground cover amongst my hydrangeas so I don’t plan on trying to eradicate it.

Don’t forget to check out the Propagator who inspired this blog https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/?s=propagator

I also like Dotty Lovelady Rogers. https://dottieloveladyrogers.com/2022/02/15/hunger/

 

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Daffodils and Winter Projects

Five for Friday

Feb 18, 2022

 

We have had some fine weather last week but as is typical winter reared its head again.  Yesterday, it was blustery, thunderstorms and some heavy rain.  This unsettled air will persist into next week but its time to look at the beautiful growth in the garden and finish up some winter projects.

 

 

The daffodils are pushing up and blooming this past week.  It has turned colder these next few days after the rain and blustery weather yesterday.

From left to right, these are Orange Sunset, Barrett Browning and KIng Alfred.

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These majestic pansies have struggled some this winter in the cold spells.  When it turned fair last week, they were truly “majestic”.

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This Autumn Fern remains evergreen.  It shows some signs of winter damage but it will soon be glorious again.  It tolerates enough sun that it is a wonderful garden companion.

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This tea olive also known as Sweet Osmanthus is well established in my garden now.  It is evergreen and delightful with the fragrance that comes from these tiny blooms.  It is reliable to smell the new blooms after every measurable rainfall.

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The compost bin has been very productive this year.  We spread almost a yard of it around the shrubs and perennials this past few weeks.  Added more leaves and fern prunings this week.  Should be some grass cuttings before long.  Don’t bag up and discard your grass clippings and fall leaves!  There is garden gold in those bags.

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Last week, saw the male bluebird bring his intended to this house.  She did enter it and look around.  Hope she liked it.  Last year, it was used at least twice for fledglings.

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This camellia is Sea Foam.  It has such a beautiful and delicate shape.  It is just a few years old, but it has been prolific since December.

Don’t forget to check out the Propagator tomorrow.

You might also like Globetrotting Grandpa.

In the meantime, enjoy the post and Happy Gardening.

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Another cold day in January

27 January 2022

These are Johnny Jump Up violas in my carport window boxed. They have easily persevered during the cold nights we have had in January. I am hoping they will do the same for the next couple of cold nights. I am using my new iPhone 13 for these photos. The portrait mode gives these wonderful close ups with bokeh effect.
My “Jon Bos” hyacinth are beginning to emerge from the containers in my carport. I also have several containers planted with daffodils. Sill waiting for them to emerge.

 

These are dried luffas. If you don’t know these, listen up. The mother plant is a rapidly growing vine like squash. Young luffas can be eaten like yellow squash. If you leave them on the vine, they eventually will dry out. Then, you can peel off the outer skin and you have these. They will replace a sponge and are great in the shower for scraping off areas of dried elbows, knees and heels.

 

Lone daffodil bloom seen at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens this past week. It is a south facing slope planted amongst some clumping grasses. Very beautiful trumpet as seen on a bright sunny day.

 

These are some benches we have been working on at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. They are dedicated benches that have become weathered and covered with mold and lichen. First, we will wash them with a solution of dishwashing soap, vinegar and water. This is about a one hour job. This is followed by sanding with a power hand sander and also some manual sanding. This also takes an hour. I will show you a finished product soon.
A bonus for you today. This is a spotted salamander. Found this photo today on an email that came from Ruffner Mountain. I have been to where these creatures live in the Homewood Forest Preserve. I haven’t seen one but this was fascinating. I have included some text from the email.

The annual Spotted Salamander migration is an incredible sight, as well as the first sign of spring in Alabama – and you don’t have to travel far to see it. A large population of Spotted Salamanders undergoes this migration each year in Homewood, AL, and there is even a festival hosted by the Friends of Shades Creek celebrating their emergence each year! This year’s festival will be hybrid, with a virtual component starting on January 29, 2022, and running through February, and in-person hikes on January 29 and 30. If you love salamanders, I highly recommend attending and asking Friends of Shades Creek how you can get involved in preserving this amazing Alabama amphibian!