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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.


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


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


Join us on Six on Saturday hosted by Jim Stephens and see the photos of gardeners from around the world.

Happy gardening!


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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.

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.


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


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.


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.




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.


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.


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.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

New Blooms Five on Friday. Friday 2022 Feb 11

New Blooms and A Successful Carpentry Project


This hellebore has been magnificent for several weeks now.  I don’t know its name but I do appreciate its persistence.  It was a donation of a few years ago from the yard of a Master Gardener in the area.  His widow allowed us to take a dozen transplants from their yard.  It is a fitting memorial to him.


This is Kerria japonica sometimes known as Japanese rose.  I have had it now for 3 or 4 years.  It is deciduous but solitary blooms can be seen throughout the winter.  It is a slow spreading shrub with long arching stems similar to forsythia.


This is Croton alabamensis or Alabama croton.  It is a low shrub endemic to Alabama. It can be called semi-evergreen.  I like to bronze leaves that linger in the winter.  In summer the foliage has a silvery backing which flashes when blown by the wind.

The daffodils are really beginning to emerge this week.  These are two varieties in the Mens Garden that stand out.


Here is a beautiful red camellia.  This double red bloom is so elegant.  I think it may be Professor Sargent.

This is a carpentry project that I participated in at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.  The area you see is a brick patio, surrounded on 3 sides by a 4×4 fence, and which overlooks the Bruno vegetable garden.  We took down one side which was leaning badly and salvaged the lumber to add a second railing to the fence portion that you see.  We replaced the fence by placing 4×4 posts and stringing steel cable through them and attaching the ends to the other 2 sections that you see.

I am mentioning a blog that I follow Globetrotting Grandpa.  He is featuring all 50 states as part of his travels and he posted one on Alabama today.

Follow the Propagator

Hope you enjoy.

It’s New Years Eve

The mild weather is encouraging blooming. The leaves are all down so the color is a welcome relief.

This dianthus has been a treat for several years now. It is winter hardy and blooms prolifically in the winter and early spring. Just needs a haircut in the spring after blooming is done. I have this one in a container and I feed it in the fall and again in the spring.


This is Japanese Kerria. It has a cane growth like forsythia. It is deciduous and blooms early like forsythia and quince. The canes are bright green. The blooms are multiple and all along the canes.


This is a paper bush or Edgeworhia. It is a deciduous shrub but the branches are shapely and so there is a wonderful winter interest.
This is tea olive. It is blooming and very fragrant now as it always is after a rain. This shrub is evergreen and now is about 10 feet tall.


This elegant camellia is Sea Foam. It is young and now about 6 feet tall.

We are expecting some frost nest week so time to offer some protection to the tender plants.

Dec 26 Stroll through Birmingham Botanical Gardens

It is that beautiful weather that teases us in winter. The temp is in the 70’s and the sun is shining. It is temporary but so wonderful. Today we strolled through the BBG and found bloomers and buds to enjoy. All these could be found in yards in Central Alabama.

This is a Hellebore commonly called Lenten rose. This one is called Joseph Lemper. It loves shade and goes well near ferns. This is about the time of year to see the Hellebores blooming.
This pink camellia is just perfect. I couldn’t find a tag with its name. This is a cultivar of Camellia japonicus which graces us in January and February. They seem to do best in light shade or with morning sun.
This is an eye catching snapdragon. Many people are unaware that if you plant them in fall you will get some winter blooming. Then by spring it will be multistemmed and bloom abundantly until July.
This small fern like plant was doing very well in a large container. I think it may be a button fern. It also prefers some shade and will do well in a container as a “filler”.
Another beautiful hellebore in a variety called Ice and Roses Red.
This plain faced yellow pansy lit up the little garden where I found it.

Merry Christmas

Just two days before Christmas and we just had our first frost this morning. I checked on the Mens Garden this afternoon and there seems to have been little frost damage.

Here are my Five for Friday one day early.

These beautiful camellia blooms are outstanding. These are the Camellia japonica type which just started blooming last week.
This lantana was not harmed by the frost. Sorry this shot is a little out of focus. This bush like plant will die to the ground in winter but grow to 5 feet tall by fall. It is a prolific bloomer.
This holly is full of berries. I don’t know the cultivar name but the leaves are smooth edged as you see.
This is Gaura. The blooms are pink. It has bloomed all summer and into fall. It is a very reliable perennial. Loved by the bumble bees.
This black eyed Susan continues to bloom. Rudbeckia is the genus and I think the species name of this one is fulgida. This is another hardy perennial.
Adding this shot of our sign. Many thanks to the woodworking group from Vestavia Hills UMC for this one and to Fred Dyess for finding the marble for this sign.

Merry Christmas to all and God bless us everyone.