The journey begins with the first gardenias, seen here in the distance past ancient boxwoods that await my next whim of pruning.
We could have taken a longer stroll around past pink Crape Myrtles already in bloom or circled in the other direction down a laneway where Fiesta plants like Tecoma stans are already blooming.
Laneway is a new garden word that I learned on Pinterest. When I saw the photo that was described as a laneway, I thought, “oh, that’s what we call a field road. I had not thought of it as a desirable feature, just ruts where the tractor tires run. It does add an horizontal element.
The laneway runs along a tree line that used to be a pasture fence. On the other side grow pears and blueberries.
The view from my kitchen window looks past the birdbath to blueberries just visible at upper right.
A stroll garden demands a destination. What better place to end than where there is something good to eat? We’ve already had one pie and have blueberries enough for one for tomorrow’s lunch.
I’ve forgotten the names of the different cultivars but the best ones end or begin with ‘Tif’ for the University Gardens where they were developed to thrive in the sandy soil of the Coastal Plain.
I am re-reading ‘The Inward Garden’ by Julie Moir Messervy. It has given much inspiration for elements of a stroll garden.
Most romantic of flowers, my sister Mary had them in her wedding bouquet. More romantic than Camellias because of the heady fragrance, Gardenias are one of the most longed-for plants.
Hardy in more temperate zones, I grew them in zone 7 near Atlanta but knew that during the coldest winters they might be killed to the roots.
One of the most frequent questions from someone who has planted a Gardenia is about the yellowing of leaves.
If the leaves have dark veins, the plant is trying to tell you that it needs feeding, or more water. If the leaves are an all over dark yellow, it either got a little dry or commonly in the springtime old leaves are making way for new.
This is a a senescent leaf, about to shed.
Note the all-over dark yellow leaf color. The leaves around it are dark and healthy.
Epsom Salts are frequently advised for Gardenias. If the plant is small, it doesn’t need a half cup of Magnesium Sulfate. A teaspoon might be more than necessary.
Here are some links to great advice on choosing and growing Gardenias.
I grow an old cultivar that might be ‘Mystery’ or ‘August Beauty.’ It was here when I first visited here more than fifty years ago. The old plant remains and I’ve rooted dozens of which I kept 15 for
my own garden and gave away the rest.
I have a florist’s gardenia from my brother’s funeral. I repotted it last summer and it still wilted without twice daily watering. I put it in yet a bigger pot and kept it through the winter in the greenhouse, where it languished. Come warm weather, I fertilized it, gave it a sprinkle of Epsom and planted it outside where it is now blooming and the leaves are beginning to green up.
Needs feeding, chlorsis of the leaves indicate deficiencies.
White flies and the ensuing sooty mold are sometimes a problem. I use a bit of olive oil and soap – real soap, not detergent – in water to make a little spray. You can buy oil emulsion spray and the experts recommend a systemic, which I don’t use.
Almost forgot propagation. The way my Mother-in-law and others did it was to put a cutting in a Coke bottle, usually beginning as a cut flower and then keeping the stem and leaves when the flower faded. It takes a few weeks sometimes, but eventually there is a good rooted specimen if you started with a good cutting. They will root in soil as well without special attention. I’ve done both. If you want to use hormone powder and a misting set-up,that would be nice but they’ll root without it.
Gardenias make a nice evergreen hedge in Southern gardens. I usually just use three to link taller shrubs and trees. Pruning is best done as they bloom, taking flowers for bouquets or to float in a bowl of water.
The walk to the mailbox is pleasant when Gardenias bloom.
If you live in a climate where Gardenias grow, they are easy to grow if you don't love them to death with too much attention.
I joined the Fertilizer Friday meme at Tootsie Time this week. Gardenias point up the importance of fertlizer.
Some garden vignettes take years to evolve. I started out with a Red Cascade rose, just a rooted piece from Janie's garden, sent by mail. I planted it where it could scramble up one of my Improvisational Carpentry pieces which had a tiny bench incorporated at the time.
Eventually the arch evolved into just some posts and I took down part of it. The rose grew and preferred to spread horizontally. I forced it upward with some side pieces on the structure.
Bottle tree with a Ductile Iron Monkey.
My original bottle tree rotted off at the ground. I made a new bottle tree using an old pitchfork. I didn't like it much. One day I realized that the Rose trellis could hold bottles.
Red Roses for Mother's Day.
They don't bottle Arizona Tea in glass bottles any more. I found one of those new blue beer bottles on the roadside recently. I'm watching for more.
This is as close as I've come for daylilies to edge Knockout Roses.
Most of my red daylilies look too scarlet or lean toward brown when I place a Knockout beside them. 'Little Business' is short enough to act as an edger and rosy enough to blend with the roses.
There is Knockout, pink Knockout, and Belinda's Dream in the bed. The pinker roses are fine with Little Biz.
This red seedling will be fine when the pink Brugmansia behind it blooms.
It took on a brown tone when I held Knockout next to it.
This one looked sallow beside Knockout.
'Olive Bailey Langdon' -- officially a purple.
Here's a curiosity: when I watered overhead the bed where this Brug
grows, the buds were not open. Later in the evening, they opened WHITE.
This morning they're back to their lovely pink selves.
I'm pacing the transplanting of the rest of my cuttings and seedlings and potted delights.
Today I managed to plant 2 Gerbera Daisies and four pale pink Pentas, after I dug enough liriope from the bed to edge the front of the bed where the red Pentas grow. No wonder progress is slow!
After I cooled a bit, I went back to transplant echinacea seedlings from one of the paths after I dug out grass behind the daylilies where they were to go. I managed to get one moved, went to water where two Purple Datura seedlings are to go and never got back to my first task.
A man in a camper broke down in front of the house. After it cooled down and he added water to the radiator they journeyed on, his significant other following behind in a little car. They had 10 miles to go to get home. She and I talked flowers and I gave her rosemary cuttings, oregano sprouts, and some gardenia cuttings to try to root.