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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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’.


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.


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!

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.



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.


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


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


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


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.

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.

Five for Friday. It’s New Years Jan 8

We have had a cold snap and even some snow.  The tender plants are mashed.  But there is still some color and some cool snow photos.


This cool photo appeared recently and it is certainly terrific.  The colored lights, the snow covered branches and the street lighting all combine for a beautiful effect.



One more snow photo showing a covered azalea and the melted path.  The snow lasted just enough for me but it was a treat.  The last cold has been enough to knock off the tender plants so there will be some work now cutting off the frozen parts.


Very nice color from this flowering kale.


This hellebore or Lenten rose never fails to impress.  Early year color and cold hardy;  it is a real winner.


There were several banks with blooming daffodils that I found at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens this week.


Found this brightly colored mushroom on the lawn this week.  Haven’t taken the time to identify it yet but I posted it here as a bonus for you.