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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!


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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

Remember the Propagator.  He is our inspiration.


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.



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.


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.



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



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


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.


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

Remember the Propagator

Happy Gardening

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.


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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.


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).




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



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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.

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.


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


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.


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.


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


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.

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.



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.



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.


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.


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


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



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.


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.

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.


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


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


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.


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


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



Happy Gardening!!


Don’t forget the Propagator

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.


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


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.


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.


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.