April 30, 2010

Blossoms at the End of April

As I walked in a light mist this afternoon, I thought about what blooms at the end of April: Dianthus and Roses, Poppies and Larkspur, Salvia and Violas. The last hurrah of Camellias are not much of a show, but a delight to see the last ones lasting in cool weather. Hydrangeas show promises of a wonderful season to come, as do Lily buds and the first blooms  of Echinacea. Missing are Sweet Peas not planted last November. Rose Campion is a good companion with Laura Bush Petunias and with Lavender. 

We had tenth of an inch of rain early in the day, more drizzle since.

April 29, 2010

Flowers in the City

No pics, I didn't take a camera. I missed whatever was blooming around the old capitol building in Tallahassee today because I was watching the traffic which we have to keep with the flow which is pretty fast for right turns. I did see the corners across the street. On the west side were violas, big pretty clumps of violas in all shades of mostly lavender to purple. They are in shade and may last longer than mine which are in sun all afternoon.

On the sunnier east side that slopes are petunias in every shade one could imagine. He-who-mows likes the cacaphony of colors -- I know cacaphony refers to sounds, but you can almost hear these petunias they are so loud.

On the next corner as we go south is a wonderful bed of calendulas. Next fall I must remember to plant more calendulas in a timely manner. Yellows and golds and oranges, too beautiful.

No pictures today. A viewer from Gorakhpur on a NIB server (I know the IP address) spent 40 minutes on my site today downloading the last 15 photos I posted. My pics are not that good, people! Please leave a comment telling me why you need images from my garden and ask before you gobble them up if you are taking more than just a pic you need to remember a combo that I used or some similar use.

April 28, 2010

Blog Pictures from Prior Years; Helpful for Planning

August last, when the plants grew large and all my mistakes were obvious.

Too many purple Daturas, too much melampodium and no crisp edge in front of the Purple Heart.
Freezes in the winter took out the Daturas. Melampodium freely reseeds and can be pulled where it isn't wanted. Purple Heart has put out nicely again. Tonight I started it an edge of chartreuse alternanthera.

Alternanthera was tucked in behind the violas which will be
soon removed, just in front of the line of Purple Heart which was hardly
visible when this pic was made back in March.

A Mrs. Cox at Lake Seminole told me some years ago that if you had a good stand of Madagascar periwinkle to stir the soil the next year when it warms and you'd have a nice bed again. I stirred the soil today behind all the big stones everywhere there wasn't a poppy with pods or a larkspur standing.

Chartreuse alternanthera is visible along the edge of the far bed,
this also from last August. I have more pieces to root from two
good plants in pots that I held over the winter.

The other planting I did today was to prepare a line across behind the Esperanzas and Pride of Barbados for planting Castor Beans, the dark kind that do not grow very tall.

Pride of Barbados and Castor Beans from 2007. I'm so glad to see
P of B foliage emerging.

He-who-mows mowed today. "When all the weeds are the same height, it looks like a park," he said.
The upper garden has unmown islands of maturing daffodil foliage.

I didn't make a separate post today for Native Plant Day.
This is one of my favorites, Calycanthus floridus.
Common sweetshrub, uncommonly fragrant.

April 27, 2010

Heading toward Hydrangeas

Hydrangea macrophylla var. normalis 'Mariesii Variegata'

 Blue-gray leaves of 'Halcyon' hostas echo the same color in hydrangea leaves.
I can hardly wait until the blue blooms open.

The oakleaf hydrangea (H. quercifolia) is one of two Hydrangea species native to the U.S.
Oakleaf hydrangeas here are about to bloom.

Big blue mophead hydrangeas are getting ready as well,
 but not quite ready for photographing.

Since my hydrangeas are all blue or white,
many of my roses are pink.
Pink Roses of 'Gene Boerner' floribunda against loropetalum.

I like floribundas that make a big shrub. Gene Boerner is one of the biggest.
I didn't know the history of this rose and its hybridizer when I bought these.
Gene Boerner died before he named this rose.  It was posthumously given his name.

April 26, 2010

More Joys of Spring

Larkspur is blooming. More come up daily.

Pot Ghettos are hard to get planted out. This is one of 3.
Begonias are waiting for time for accompanying caladiums.
Soil in the shade just isn't that warm yet.

Corn Poppies are making a big splash as P. somniferum sheds.

Cannas have started to unfurl.

Rose de Rescht has bloomed against a
backdrop of Knockout red.
You notice the fragrance before you see the roses.
Rose de Rescht is a little rosier hue than
Reine des Violettes.

I saw a black snake on Saturday and again today. Saturday he was sluggish when I poked at him with a shovel. Today he saw me about the time I noticed him and quickly disappeared underneath leaves.

April 25, 2010

April's Favorites, from Daffodils to Roses

I learned about Simply Susan's 'My Favorites this Month' by way of Kimberly's blog, Garden in Paradise. Susan and Kimberly are probably 3 or 4 hundred miles south of me, so their favs are much more tropical in April than mine. April here is more like the Northeast in May or June.

Left to right, from top:
Orange roses, orange violas and California poppies; Azaleas, Poppies and Spiderwort; Daffodils
Left to right, second row:
Dogwood, Wisteria and Boxwood; Violas with 2 colors of California poppies; Swallowtail butterfly on White Azaleas.

It's a real challenge to keep to a half dozen pics. I started with 17 that I thought you must see.
Roses are opening daily; azaleas are almost gone. Perennials are preparing for bloom.

We had a whole inch of rain last night with wind, thunder and lightning. Water and nitrogen has turned everything bright green in the sunlight today. We got up to no electricity. It came back on at 11 am.

To take part in 'My Favorites this Month' visit here:

Simply Susan

April 24, 2010

Special Spots for Tomatoes; Spotlight on Roses

Sometimes it is just impossible to ignore tomato plants for sale. A six pack of ordinary plants came home with me when I went for groceries. Lacking a proper veggie bed ready for them, I planted 2 under the cedar tuteurs in what was once the Red Bed and one on the end in a sort of raised bed arrangement where butterfly plants grew last year. When I was gathering my tools and the gin trash and compost, Buffy noticed the 3 remaining plants in their plastic holder and they went for a wild ride across the back yard. Play, play, play, play, play, play, play, play, play, play, play. Buffy looks on everything as a game. Amazingly the tomato plants survived being used as a game ball. I put them in some gallon pots and they look swell today.

Reine des Violettes; pink and red Knockouts.

Belinda's Dream and Knockout

He-who-mows mentioned again today that there are bright red roses and some purple in front of the equipment barn. I asked if he noticed how good the purple smells? Rose de Rescht has an open bloom or two now, adding to the delicious fragrance.

I meant to mention for Glenda about Reine des Violettes. Those long, limber canes need twining around supports so they have areas that are nearly horizontal so that new growth comes out along the canes. If they go straight up, they will have growth only at the tips. Bending them over and pegging nearly to the ground will encourage breaking buds the whole length of the cane if you aren't growing them on a trellis. They are easy to work with because there are no thorns.
We had only a little more than a tenth of an inch of rain this morning. Evertually the sun came out and the day was steamy. We have a chance for a quarter to a half inch or rain tonight and tomorrow morning. Every little bit helps. I watered roses and newly set plants over the past three days. Everything else was waiting patiently and gratefully for a drink.

I moved some Blackout lilies to the front walk bed where I'm adding maroon to the blues.

April 23, 2010

How much Bling will Your Blog Boast on Blotanical?

We're anticipating changes soon on Blotanical. Among the changes will be "...post condensing will strip the .xml content and parse that only..." If that means what I think it means and if it works like RSS feeds, we'll see new Picks as text and pics from within the post body.
The Bling will not be seen. If it is a new-to-you blog the option will be to click on the title and go see it in all its glory. If it is a familiar blog you may remember how it looks. What we won't be viewing each visit via Blotanical Picks is sidebar items, large graphic headers, audio players and other widgets, gadgets and bling that slow loading.
Among the advantages: hard to see-to-read blogs will be read like everybody else's blog as black letters on a white background, or whatever easy-on-the-eyes combo the programmer chooses. . You won't have to scroll, scroll, scroll to get to the text of a post. The only blogs that won't load quickly will be those posts boasting a large number of photos.

Objects that take up space and little knickknacks, trinkets and tchotchke should be placed in cabinets, if possible. - Mark Michael Ferrer, Tips in Decorating Small Spaces.

If you haven’t read about the coming changes, you can see the latest post Here at Blotanical News
A little Blog Bling may go a long way. What is on Your Blog besides Posts?
I put a Poll on the Sidebar concerning the Bling we put on our Sidebars and beneath our Posts. Please check all that apply to your blog, if you choose.

April 21, 2010

New Growth Appearing Daily

After the prolonged cold of February, I wondered what would return. Suddenly I'm finding new shoots everywhere. Esperanza has lots of new growth. It will reach six feet by midsummer with lots of yellow blooms. The Duranta that I doubted would return has good growth as well.  I have some little pieces of Duranta rooting. They should be good with Esperanza.

There is growth just barely visible coming from my Pride of Barbados. I am always so excited to see it return. Butterflies love it. Tiny shoots are coming from my Mandevilla vine. This is it's fifth year in the ground I think. Persian Shield has new shoots on all except the one Buffy dug up because she obviously thought they were planted too close.

Buffy and I sifted compost this afternoon. We put it into the wheelbarrow, sifting through a piece of 1/2 inch hardware cloth. Buffy jumped into the middle of the screen. When she jumped out, the wheelbarrow turned over. Then Ike the cat turned up playing Ike of the Jungle in the scrub oaks, and Buffy got in trouble for giving chase and had to go to time out in the dog pen while I made sure that Ike had not been harmed. Ike enjoyed the drama of being hunted and gave out little meows to make sure I fell for his ploy.

I leave any blue blossomed weed. Venus' Looking Glass is one of my favorite wildflowers.

California Poppies in white and orange, Violas and Salvia farinacea.

All of the above plus red Poppies.

We still have no rain. I have a dozen hoses hooked up here and there and dribble water all day on individual plants.

April 19, 2010

I'm an Old Woman and I Shall Plant Purple

I'm an Old Woman and I Shall Plant Purple and a red Flower that doesn't go.

Double Larkspur and a Red and Purple Poppy

Today I planted cuttings of purple alternanthera
around Reine des Violettes rose. Last year
the alternanthera grew huge, really
complimenting the rose.

In bright sun, the alternanthera gets really,
really dark, this from last summer.

I planted 4 rooted boxwoods, rooted by layering. I really don't need any more box to prune, but in winter, bright green box really makes a boring bed more interesting. Two were a bonus when I dug another. Life in the garden is frequently full of surprises. I moved a redbud seedling that was too close to the front walkway. Redbuds are such nice little trees.

Violas are starting to die from the heat and sun. I pulled all the wilty ones that didn't perk up after I watered them on Saturday night. I'll need lantana to go there. It would be quicker to buy plants, cheaper to start dig some pieces from the front of existing lantana and grow on in pots for a few days so the roots are stronger when they are planted out.

Poppies are shedding petals quickly. We are hopeful of at least a shower of rain tonight or tomorrow.  

April 18, 2010

White Eschscholzia

I was afraid they would not thrive planted so late so I held back half the seeds that Carolyn of Rose Notes sent. I will use the saved seeds for fall planting. What an exciting surprise when the first one showed up!

That looks like pure sunshine in the center, and it is.

All Poppies are beautiful this year. Corn poppies are just starting, no pics yet.

Roses are starting -- did I say that yesterday?

Reine des Violettes is one of those you can smell before you see it, a peppery rose scent that
carries on the breeze. It has few thorns and long canes.

I have to get the purple alternathera planted beside it and around the end.
I hoped the purple would sprout out from the roots but I think it is dead.
It was really a strong grower. I'm glad I kept cuttings.
I have some chartreuse alternanthera cuttings to plant out and some bits of red.
They do better in sun. The best show comes in the fall.

April 17, 2010

Hot Pink Blooms All Over

It is the time of the year when it seems like the whole garden is turning fuchsia. Besides all the Azaleas blooming now, much of what I plant for butterflies at this time is some shade of pink.

Sweet William Dianthus, spicily fragrant.

Hot Pink Pentas and Bath's Pinks.

Poppies are short-lived, new Pentas planted below
them for the delight of butterflies will bloom
all summer and be joined by Muhly Grass in fall.

Laura Bush petunias, below are Rose Campion
in the same bed.

I planted out Lemon Grass, Cymbopogon citratus
today. Divided it into 7 pieces. Every time I planted
a piece, I had to throw a dog toy 9 times to keep
Buffy from eating it. She and the cat both like it. so
we had this big pot of it in the greenhouse all winter.

April 16, 2010

Surprises for a Seed Scatterer

Some time back I started parsley in a six-pack tray to plant out in the Butterfly Garden as a host for Black Swallowtails. Only two cells grew plants in a nice warm environment. Today I found parsley seedlings in the last daffodil bed I planted and overseeded with various annuals. I don't remember scattering parsley seeds; maybe I thought they something else.

They have to be transplanted to the Butterfly Garden, or I have to start a new butterfly garden on the south side where the daffodils will die back later.

More surprises. Solid purple Salvia leucantha abounds in the Garden. There is one plant with white florets inside the purple calyces that Janie sent me a couple years ago. These seedlings came up about 2 feet away from that plant, beside an echinacea -- there's an echinacea seedling there too. I'll be eager to see if they bloom with white florets or solid purple. These are the first seedlings I've seen.

I've shown what I believed to be the very last daffodil twice before. Today I found two more blooming, from a batch of mixed daffodils that were planted late in the season. They should be back on track next spring. This is the same patch where I found the parsley.

It is dry. I started dragging hoses this afternoon to spot water newly set plants and the roses. No sign of rain before Monday and then just a chance.

April 15, 2010

A Mixed Bag of April Blooms

Bloom Day is hosted by Carol of May Dreams Gardens, where you'll find links to many other gardens filled with blooms on April 15.

The rest of my Bloom Day offering is on my Seed Scatterer Blog featuring Azaleas in the Deep South.

April 14, 2010

Butterfly Gardening Must Last from Spring thru Fall

Butterflies showed up right on schedule with the opening of the azaleas. Azaleas are going to be wide open for Bloom Day.

Pinks and Sweet William will extend the nectar season until late Spring and Summer perennials and annuals open.

Bath's Pinks, super fragrant.

Today I planted out some red and some purple Porterweeds and more than a dozen Pentas in pink, fuchsia, hot pink, pale pink, red and white. Susie brought Porterweeds and some Pentas plants. I had small rooted cuttings. I planted everything that had a blossom. Some are having to sit it out until I can identify my colors. Yes, I know that mine should all have been labeled.

Someone asked who is Susie? Susie goes to my Church where she sings in a clear, beautiful voice. Among duties at her job, she maintains Butterfly Gardens. Her boss is an expert on Native Azaleas and other native plants.

Now that I have the stamp set that Tina told us about I won't have an excuse not to label cuttings. Did I say before that I cut open Diet Coke cans and cut little labels to stamp using the unpainted inside of the can?

I asked myself what difference it made if I didn't plant like colors together. Actually it doesn't matter, but I like to clump them together.

I found sprouts on Persian Shield today, so they are going to return. I planted out some rooted cuttings with Licorice Plant. I thought last year that made a good combo for shade. I have more cuttings to plant with the old Persian Shield, now that I know they're returning.
Persian Shield and Licorice Plant from last July.

Don't forget tomorrow is Bloom Day. Azaleas are the big show here.
Lots of little side vignettes to see as well. Among my favs are
Laura Bush Petunias blooming with Rose Campion, soon to be joined by Larkspur.

Reine des Violettes roses are opening. They need purple alternanthera again. I have cuttings.

April 13, 2010

I Never Expected a Rose Garden

We stopped by the Rose Garden in Thomasville, GA on our way elsewhere.
The Rose Show is in two weeks. The Gardens look great, even with only a few open blooms.

I have Pentas and Porterweed to plant, inspired by Gardens I saw today.

April 12, 2010

Blue Eyed Grass and other Small Joys

Native Sisyrinchium.
I first found this plant at the edge of the pasture, years ago.
 I use it as a little edging.
The other day I dug and divided one clump to edge orange roses.

The last Daffodil, really. Very fragrant.

A seedling Gerbera Daisy. Old-fashioned type.

Poppies, large and small according to when I scattered more seed.
Larkspur is late this year. At the base of the poppies, is this:

A seedling viola from last year's purples, shaded by poppies.

This time of year there are small joys to be found all through the garden.
Keep your eyes open. I'm hoping for a strawberry out of the groundcover soon.

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