June 30, 2011

Daylily Crazy

The first flush of daylilies is pretty much over here. Some daylilies are starting to rebloom. I went back through my pics since the end of April until the present and assembled collages of the various colors.

 Garden name "Old Red"

Brocaded Gown, my favorite yellow.
I like to use daylilies with daffodils alongside. When the daffodils are dying back
daylily foliage grows up to hide the maturing foliage.

Byzantine Emperor tends to 'melt' in hot sunshine. Note petal edges bottom right.
Some daylilies with thin, darker petals do not hold up well in heat. 

Sammy Russell, frequently used as landscape daylily.  Happy in the sunshine.

Bride Elect

Reds in my garden include Superlative, Kents Favorite Two and a seedling red.

Two yellows: the round one Could be Stella and the heirloom 'Lemon Lily'

Salmon Sheen

Pineapple Crush with yellow and purple companions

The daylily in the center and at bottom left has no ID, mislabeled at purchase.
Upper left is Siloam Ury Winniford.
Dr. William Hunt in his book recommends using Vitex with violet toned daylilies for a 'French effect.'

Close up pics of some of my daylilies are HERE.

Flowers and text are from the garden of Nell Jean blogged on Dotty Plants Journal in hot, humid Southwest Georgia.

June 28, 2011

Bat, Bat, Here's a Wool Hat

"Bat, Bat, Here's a Wool Hat" is what we used to chant as children when bats swooped around the yard late in the evening just before dark, catching insects. I never gave much thought about bats until I heard about a family down the road a ways who have thousands of bats roosting in a building now used for storage. The stench of bat guano was what first alerted them to the bats.

Bats in the Egg Cooler

The positive aspect of the bats is that they seem to have wiped out the mosquito population. The owner of the property says she would rather have mosquitos. Nothing was mentioned in the article about whether rabies carried by bats might be a possibility.

Spanish Moss on ancient Live Oaks
Photo and Text blogged on Dotty Plants Journal in hot, humid Southwest Georgia.

June 25, 2011

In Search of Butterflies

Rain is sparse. We got almost an inch the first part of the week. Today we watched the clouds on radar come our way and disperse in next county north. The day we got rain there was hail and winds.

A big old pecan tree blew down at woods' edge at the back of the patch on the west side of the highway behind the pump house. In the heat it doesn't take long for the leaves to wither and turn brown. Another tree to saw and haul on a cooler day.

The wild area where butterflies usually are nectaring on lantana has stopped blooming.
I found New York Ironweed and Dog Fennel on the north side but no butterflies. The pond is dry.
An area where Duckweed usually comes up in the overflow area is full of young Goldenrod.

A new brood of Pipevine Swallowtails has showed up at home on Tithonia and Lantana montevidensis. A few Sulphurs and a rare Gulf Fritillary visit as well and lots of tiny Skippers.

Two little videos for your delight in Butterflies. You may hear some birds, too.

Flowers and text are from the garden of Nell Jean blogged on Dotty Plants Journal in hot, humid Southwest Georgia.

June 24, 2011

Grandmother's Purse, a Crape Myrtle Story

Holley Garden posted about her Crape Myrtles. She hasn't heard the Grandmother's Purse story, so I'll tell it here.
Crape Myrtle Buds.
Imagine that we are in the garden and I tell you a story

"This is Grandmother's Purse."

Squeezing the bud, "This is Grandmother's Handkerchief."

Pulling out the handkerchief a little,
"This is Grandmother's Gold."

Oh, Grandmother, Do it Again!
This is Grandmother's Purse....
This is Grandmother's Handkerchief.

This is Grandmother's Gold.

Cluster of open crape blooms with golden centers.

There is often a question of whether these are Crepe Myrtles or Crape Myrtles?
My opinion is that Crape is a thin, crinkled fabric or paper.
Crepes are French pancakes, properly rhyming with 'step' and quite delicious
but not resembling a flower petal at all.

A last glance at 'Lilacina' Crape Myrtles in the front garden and a White Crape in the distance.
The Lilacinas in the near view at left and in the back yard are just coming into bloom.

Flowers and text are from the garden of Nell Jean blogged on Dotty Plants Journal in hot, humid Southwest Georgia.

June 21, 2011

Immortal Tithonia

One of my favorite reseeding annuals is Tithonia. The velvety stems and bright orange blooms make it a favorite and butterflies love it.

Tithonia is named for Tithonus, a legendary Trojan loved by Aurora, goddess of the Dawn, who turned him into a cicada when he continued to age after she asked  that he be made immortal but forgot to ask for eternal youth.

Tithonia rotundifolia with Mexican Hats Ratibida columnifera
and foliage of Duranta repens not yet in bloom.
On the other side of the bed is Lantana montevidensis.
Tithonia plants were left on this side of the bed last winter to compost in place.

The woods decay, the woods decay and fall,
The vapours weep their burthen to the ground,
Man comes and tills the field and lies beneath...
Tithonus by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Flowers and text are from the garden of Nell Jean blogged on Dotty Plants Journal in hot, humid Southwest Georgia.

June 18, 2011

Those Eyes! Those Ears!

I have a permanent residence in the past. Today I reminisced about the history of this daylily, gifted to my MIL some 45 years ago by a cousin who had begun collecting daylilies, even hybridizing some of her own. This particular daylily was precious to MIL who thought the name, Bride Elect just so sophisticated. Katie Lou's crosses are long ago lost. Bride Elect turned up again when I saw daylily foliage where the old bed used to be and wondered if it could be....
Bride Elect, hybridized by Frank Childs, 1955 
I am particularly fond of daylilies with an eye.

Still feeling reminiscent, I went out to the corn field where Farmer Danny said I might find corn to eat.
My FIL used to go to the field with instructions to bring 12 dozen ears. He always brought 250 in case some were too hard. Usually they weren't. The shucks went to the cows. 
I picked not quite 3 dozen ears. By the time the kernels were off the cob, I could hardly believe I used to cut 20 dozen. There were more of us to eat corn back then.

Deer nibble at the ends.
Danny said raccoons also help themselves and
sometimes break the cornstalks over.

It's a long way to the other end.

Did I mention we had rain yesterday? Total for the week is 0.45 inches. We had wind and thunder and lightning, too.

Flowers, veggies and text are from the garden of Nell Jean blogged on Dotty Plants Journal in hot, humid Southwest Georgia.

June 13, 2011

Pride of Barbados -- Hot Colors for Hot Weather

Caesalpinia pulcherrima in my garden, seed grown.

According to Rugerrio:
"Northwest & Northeast cool colors look lush but delicate--
Hot colors look loud and obvious.
Conversely, hot colors hold their own in harsh light of the Sourthwest and Coastal South."

First blossoms, many buds. I can never wait until full bloom to show them.

Caesalpinia pulcherrima is a legume, you can see the pea-like foliage.
It also has fine hair-like parts that grow into sharp thorns along mature stems.

Esperanza Tecoma stans in front of Caesalpinia on the right. 
In the background is irrigation in a corn field.
Corn is 'as high as an elephant's eye' and has tassels but is not yet mature.

Back in  late winter, I planted seeds indoors. By summer's end the new
little plants should have blooms as these do. These returned from the roots
after dying to the ground at first hard freeze.

Pride of Barbados tolerates drought but appreciates some water.

Flowers and text are from the garden of Nell Jean blogged on Dotty Plants Journal in hot, humid Southwest Georgia.

June 11, 2011

Coping with Drought

As you try to catch a glimpse of a Dogface Sulphur butterfly you can hear the drone of a diesel engine in the background, pumping water to irrigate a field of corn just north of our house.

Dogface Sulphurs are the most plentiful butterfly right now. They and fiery skippers are all over Lantana and they spend some time among my tiny Senna alata plants.

It was 98 degrees midafternoon on Friday as I dragged hoses. We've worked out specialty watering devices that meet the needs of my plants. In addition to regular outdoor faucets, we have inground faucets.

Homemade manifold can feed four hoses. I usually use two
hoses and have the other pipes capped with access.
You can buy a brass manifold at the garden center.

An extension pipe makes the faucet in the ground more
accessible. A brass Y-connector feeds two hoses.
The green cover upside down here fits over the bucket
in winter so the capped faucet doesn't freeze.

A sprinkler on a metal pipe with an adapter welded on the bottom fits into a
3-ft. PVC pipe driven into the ground. Pipes are placed to give adequate
coverage to different parts of the garden. The mower can pass right over the
 inground pipe in a grassy path when the sprinkler is removed..
 Sprinklers can be adjusted to water various bed shapes.

In addition I have various sprinklers collected over the years that sit on the ground; the kind that have a round base, the kind that rotate back and forth. My favorite is a cast iron sprinkler that has no
moving parts that is regulated by water pressure, perfect for spot watering.

Cast iron sprinkler, inexpensive, very handy.

A dribbler gives a drink to thirsty hydrangeas.
I've blogged before about the PVC pipe dribblers, homemade.
In some of the beds I use black perforated soaker hose.

Trial and error has shown how many sprinklers we can run and maintain a pressure
that will keep the pump from cycling yet keep sprinkler pressure adequate.
The simplest way to measure 'rainfall' is to use empty tunafish cans.

Gardenias after they had a good drink on Thursday.

Fresh water for the birds.

Flowers and text are from the garden of Nell Jean blogged on Dotty Plants Journal in hot, humid Southwest Georgia.

June 09, 2011

Daylilies and a Torch Lily

Sent to me as 'Joan Senior' - Not.
Garden name Joan Pinkard.

Seedling -- garden name Saddle Oxfords.

Little Gypsy Eyes

Kniphofia, Red Hot Poker, Torch Lily
Grows from enlarged rhizome.
Mine seem to bloom later than everybody else's.

Daylilies are finishing up a great cycle of bloom.
I'm cutting back spent scapes. Some are already putting up new scapes for rebloom.
'Bride Elect' has scapes and blooms. It blooms late.

Flowers and text are from the garden of Nell Jean blogged on Dotty Plants Journal in hot, humid Southwest Georgia.

June 07, 2011

No Berry like a Blueberry

A study at Tufts University concluded that blueberries have the most antioxidant capability of 60 fruits and vegetables studied. The 'magical ingredient' is called anthocyanidin, a compound which gives the berry its beautiful blue color. Blueberries should not be eaten to the exclusion of other fruits, but part of a varied diet.

Blueberries in my neighbor's garden.

We in the lower south in the Coastal Plain grow Rabbiteye blueberries as do gardeners in north Florida. Gardeners farther north grow Low bush and High bush blueberries.

Here are links to growing blueberries in the lower southern states, GA, FL, AL. Your state's Extension Service will provide similar information for the area where you grow.  When searching, I always check neighboring states for additional info.




Blueberries need acid soil, sunlight and ample water. They are sometimes compared with azaleas for care with the exception being shade for azaleas, sunshine for blueberries. I grow mine in full sun and use trickle irrigation.
Late-maturing blueberries in my garden up close.
We planted 5 different cultivars. The best have 'Tif' in their name.
Farmer Danny in the truck on his way to start irrigation on his corn.

Blueberries are native to North America.
These extracts from the Journals of Lewis and Clark speak of the charms of blueberries 200 years ago:
On August 14th, 1805, Meriwether Lewis wrote: "I now directed McNeal to make me a little paist with the flour and added some berries to it which I found very pallatable."

The following day, August 15th, 1805, he added, "This morning I arrose very early and as hungary as a wolf. I had eat nothing yesterday except one scant meal of the flour and berries except the dryed cakes of berries which did not appear to satisfy my appetite as they appeared to do those of my Indian friends. I found on enquiry of McNeal that we had only about two pounds of flour remaining. this I directed him to divide into two equal parts and to cook the one half this morning in a kind of pudding with the burries as he had done yesterday and reserve the ballance for the evenig...on this new fashioned pudding four of us breakfasted, giving a pretty good allowance also to the Chief who declared it the best thing he had taisted for a long time. "

From the NC Blueberry Association:

Five Quick Uses for Blueberries
  • Sprinkle over hot or cold cereal
  • Use as a topping for ice cream
  • Mix with cottage cheese
  • Add to fruit salads
  • Serve in a cantaloupe half topped with yogurt

Blueberries are the perfect choice for a fun, flavorful and healthy snack. Blueberries contain vitamins A & C, iron, potassium and magnesium. They are a good source of carbohydrates and fiber, yet they are low in sodium and cholesterol free. One more piece of good news...blueberries only contain 42 calories per half-cup serving.

The dog and I are wild about Blueberry Crisp:
Sprinkle 3 cups of blueberries in a baking dish with  a tablespoon of cornstarch and 1/4 cup sugar. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of water.
Mix together 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 3/4 cup of dry oatmeal, 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon. Cut in 1/2 stick of butter.  Sprinkle mixture over blueberries.
Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees or until topping is browned.

We pretend that the oatmeal offsets the butter. We use minimal sugar. Your taste may differ.

My late brother believed that eating blueberries raised his glucose levels. We do not know if it was natural fruit sugars in the blueberries, or the quantity that he ate that did so.

Current studies are made around the world to determine further effects on health. Some researchers believe that blueberries help the eyes, prevent urinary tract infections, lower cholesterol, protect against macular degeneration, aid the cardiovascular system, reverse aging and combat E. Coli. Many of these studies have not arrived at a conclusion, and no single food is a cure-all. The antioxidant properties are a fact.

Three of my blueberry bushes.
The arbor behind holds two varieties of Scuppernong grapes.

June 04, 2011

All June in the Garden

"Wisteria woke me this morning,
And there was all June in the garden;
I felt them, early, warning
Lest I miss any part of the day.
- Ann McGough, Summons

Wisteria bloomed abundantly here in April. I hacked at the vines all through May.
Despite my prunings wisteria is blooming again. It grows up through a box hedge so
mowing keeps it from spreading along the ground, but the vines grow longer and longer.

Gloriosa Daisies or Black Susans Rudbeckia hirta have taken the stage with Purple Heart.
 Madagascar periwinkles just coming up with take the place of BES as they fade. You can't see them, nor the purple Daturas. I'm gathering seeds of Larkspur barely seen at right.
I've pulled most of the Larkspur.

 Daisies have taken over the Yellow Rose Bed while the roses rest.

Persian Shield with a small lavender Pentas.
Pentas are slow to get started blooming well this summer, or is it just early?
I kept some cuttings through the winter and bought two new red recently.
Butterflies find them a real treat, once they get going.

 Red Hot Poker Kniphofia is finally starting to bloom.
Lantana and Purple Heart are good companions.
Brugmansia cutting isn't very big yet and wilts from too much hot sun.
I never cut back all the Vetiver grass. The tan canes make good place markers when
I'm making plans. I just cut them as I need them.

Yesterday I planted out some salvia farinacea cuttings to bring the number of plants back to
last year's 18 I think. Today after we had 0.3 inch of rain last night I scattered some
orange dwarf marigold seed among the salvia.

Flowers and text are from the garden of Nell Jean blogged on Dotty Plants Journal in hot, humid Southwest Georgia.

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