Friday, April 30, 2010

Sarracenia purpurea...

I have another unusual North Carolina native plant, in addition to the Lady's Slippers. Only this one doesn't grow wild in my backyard (figuratively) on its own. I had to build a habitat for it, but it seems quite content with what I have provided.

This is my Purple Pitcher Plant, also known as Sarracenia purpurea. Yes, I know. The new leaves don't quite look purple. As they mature and widen out into the pitchers they form, they will darken. You also might be interested to know that not all Purple Pitcher Plants are purple.

This is the first year it has bloomed, even though I've had it for two or three years. I always consider that a plant is happy with the care I am giving it if it is providing flowers for me in return. So I must be doing o.k. for my Pitcher Plants.

Last winter, the "bog" freezing heaved the plants, so this past winter, I put hay bales around the container to keep it from getting as cold. And it worked. The plants weren't pushed out of their "soil," which is actually a peat moss and sand mixture, by ice.

Have a beautiful day!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lady's Slippers...

This time of year, we get a rare, special treat. Native, wild Pink Lady's Slippers bloom in the woods. These are Cypripedium acaule, a type of orchid. In addition to the name Pink Lady's Slippers, they are also sometimes called Moccasin Flower.

The most prolific ones are on the Neighbor to the North's land. There are actually 3 blooms in this picture (one is almost hidden by the log), and, if you look carefully, you can see more of their leaves. This area has a couple other "colonies" of the flowers, too. They must really like it there.

They are truly amazing flowers.

Here are some of the young leaves coming out of the ground on my land. I don't think they will produce a bloom this year, but maybe next year. I like to see the leaves come up each spring because it encourages me that they are still content to live in my forest. There has to be a certain fungus in the soil for them to live on.

This is my one blooming Lady's Slipper. I don't think the other Cypripedium acaule plants in the vicinity are going to bloom this year.

It's color is a little darker than the Neighbor to the North's Lady's Slippers.

These Lady's Slippers are just over the property line to the south. Aren't they charming?

Have a beautiful day!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

White garden...

Julie has a white garden. The elegant, nuanced simplicity of a white garden suites her very well. Each spring, I buy her a Bacopa for her garden. (It is an annual here. Maybe this winter I will put it in my greenhouse to see how it fairs.) I think Bacopa is a sweet little plant.

I brought home some white bedding begonias for her, too. She has "scattered" them around and they look very charming in her garden. The color in their leaves also adds to her garden.

But definitely the reigning queen at the moment is the white reblooming iris I found for her last fall. This is the first time we have seen it bloom and it is absolutely gorgeous.

Have a beautiful day!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


So, what thrilling, action-packed, mile-a-minute, exciting adventure did I have in my garden today? I sifted ashes. Yep. That's right. I sifted ashes. A couple of months ago, I built a huge bon-fire to get rid of some old (smaller) structures, rotten lumber, etc., so I had a lovely pile of wood ashes. Which can be really good for the garden. Except, these ashes were full of the nails and other hardware from the stuff I burned. So today I sifted the ashes. Now I can spread them and dig them, along with some other organic amendments, into my exquisite red clay to make a nice bed for my vegetables.

And if you were hoping to see something pretty on my blog today, I won't disappoint you. This rose is blooming right next to my vegetable garden. I don't know the name of it, as it was given to me by a neighbor, who also didn't know its name, but it grows very well and I enjoy it. I hope you will, too.

Have a beautiful day!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tomato seedlings...

Well, I was going to start my tomatoes from seed this year, like I usually do. However, somehow it just didn't work out that way. I wanted to plant in January, but that was a little too early. I did buy some seeds, to add to the ones I already had. About the time I should have started them, life didn't slow down for me to get my tomato seeds started. (Can you imagine that?) Still, I thought, I have some time. Somehow it slipped away. And there comes a time when you just have to move on. Thankfully, New Garden Nursery had a very nice selection of locally grown tomato seedlings. Now, to get them in the ground...

Have a beautiful day!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Star of Bethlehem...

Last Sunday, after I visited the Botanical Gardens at UNC Charlotte, I called upon my brother and sister-in-law. I left her with some cuttings from the plants I had picked up at Trader Joe's and ... (you know, any time I go to any store that might possibly carry any plants, I have to stop to see what plants there might be.) Anyhow, and she gave me a little bulb that grows in her yard, as well as some parsley and some pumpkin seedlings.

I didn't know what the bulb was at the time and it wasn't blooming, but since it now has flowers, I was able to figure out what it is. (Don't you just love learning about new plants?) I believe it is Ornithogalum umbellatum or, which is much easier to say, Star of Bethlehem. I also told my sister-in-law that I had discovered its identity.

She let me know that she had thought that it was the Skunk Flower, er, Spring Star Flower (Ipheion uniflorum) that I blogged about earlier. When I was first trying to find out what the Skunk Flower actually was, Star of Bethlehem was one of my guesses. One way to identify the Star of Bethlehem is by the green stripes underneath its petals. I think they are very charming. Oh, by the way, the Star of Bethlehem is poisonous if ingested, especially the bulbs.

Have a beautiful day!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Dianthus gratianopolitanus...

After waiting impatiently, you know, fidgeting, tapping my foot, waiting impatiently, for Spring to get here, it is now racing along incredibly fast with me running very slowly behind, calling, "W-a-i-t -- f-o-r -- m-e-e-e-e." The weeds are huge, the tomatoes not yet planted (gasp), and a myriad of garden things that should have been done already, still not done.

I looked out of my window this morning to see a beautiful thing. A charming wood elf (dressed in more convention clothing, but a wood elf just the same) was enjoying my garden. What a lovely way to start the day.

These are my Dianthus gratianopolitanus 'Bath's Pink.' A neighbor on a nearby road has a huge clump of these that I take pleasure in seeing each Spring, so I decided to start my own clump. And I, along with the wood elf, are enjoying this wonderfully fragrant, delightfully attractive flower.

Have a beautiful day!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Chicken coop...

A building project has been going on in the garden this week and I have the blood blisters on my thumb from hitting it, my thumb, as well as the nails, with the hammer to prove my part in the construction. What is this great edifice, you ask? Drum roll, please. It is the chicken house. I designed it and helped to build it and now it is finished. Yipee!

The cute little chickie-dudes, who aren't so little anymore, have been living outside in a pen by day and then back into their cage in the living room by night. Needless to say, it has been getting a little cramped for them in their cage. But they have been very good little girls and have not complained. You should see them run and jump, though, when I open their door in the morning!

Anyhow, now they have a lovely, lovely home in which to live. I think they were a little unsure about the perch I built for them. But they'll figure it out.

I sat out in the chicken house with them for awhile after I moved them in to make sure they wouldn't be scared. ("Aawww. How sweet.") After they looked around some, they sat on my lap for quite some time. I finally had to stretch out my legs but they still wanted to stay with me. They are very warm and soft. I had no idea when I bought them that I would enjoy them so much.

Have a beautiful day!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Salvia pratensis...

You see, I have this addiction. That can be the only explanation.

{Salvia pratensis 'Ballet Twilight Serenade'}

The little voice in my head said, "Put down the plant. Step away from the bench. Leave the Nursery. Just go home."

I tried. Really. I did. But you see, I have this addiction...

Have a beautiful day!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Azaleas at UNCC...

So, more pictures of my trip to the Botanical Gardens at UNCC. Here are some of the azaleas that were blooming.

This small tree filled with deep yellow blooms was amazingly fragrant when I walked under it.

And here is a close-up of the flowers.

This is something I had never seen before: a Spider Azalea (Rhododendron "Linearifolium").

I love this yellow one.

Have a beautiful day!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Rhododendrons at UNCC...

I love visiting other gardens. (I love visiting my garden, too, for that matter.) And yesterday I visited, for the first time, the Botanical Gardens at the University of North Carolina Charlotte.

I took lots and lots of pictures, most of which didn't do the subjects of the photographs justice, but I will share some of them just the same.

One large, woodsy area was planted with rhododendrons and azaleas and ferns and low-growing natives and cool, glenny stuff like that.

So, what you are looking at, if you don't know, and if you are indeed looking at the pictures, are some the rhododendrons.

They were incredibly gorgeous. And in some places, their fragrance filled the air. 'Twas so lovely.

Have a beautiful day!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A gamble...

So, what would you do if you were in your small, neighborhood grocery store, and you walked around the little plant stand that they have, like you always do, just looking to see what kind of plants they were offering, and a plant with blueish-purplish flowers caught your eye, but it looked, let's just say, not at its peak? What would you do? Would you take that chance?

Well, last week I did. This is Campanula carpatica and the plant tag assures me that it will grow for me outdoors when it is finished blooming indoors. I did ask the store to reduce the price for me since the plant looked rather shabby, which they did. I think that the plant probably dried out and wilted and then was given too much water to compensate. I do hope it will be o.k. because I love Campanulas. Now, I will just have to wait and see if my gamble will pay off.

Have a beautiful day!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Ipheion uniflorum...

I first met this flower years and years ago in California when we moved into our first house. The lady who lived there previously had done a number of clever things with the yard that I didn't fully appreciate until much later. However, this was one little bulb that I liked as soon as I saw it. The back yard had a flagstone patio, and this blueish star-shaped flower would come up around its edges and in the cracks. And, of course, over time, it spread and spread. But I would never consider it weedy. It was just too charming and not intrusive at all to me.

I didn't know the name of it. Its leaves had a rather strong odor when crushed that made me think of a certain animal, so I called it The Skunk Flower. In fact, I still call it The Skunk Flower even though I know its name is Ipheion uniflorum or Spring Star Flower.

It grows here in North Carolina, too. My neighbor has tons in his backyard grass and has kindly shared with me. I trust it will spread around my garden, filling in nooks and crannies, and coming to greet me every spring.

Have a beautiful day!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bloom Day April 2010...

Thank you for stopping by my blog on Garden Bloggers Bloom Day! O.K., so as I started to work on this post, I realized that some of the loviest things blooming right now are already on my blog. Therefore, I will very kindly, with a "pretty please," ask you to view these plants through the links provided. And enjoy!

{Convallaria majalis}

Meander through my garden:

Ajuga reptans 'Chocolate Chip'
(How could a chocolate addict not grow a plant with that name?)

Cornus florida
Iris (a short one - maybe pumila?)
Iris germanica'Loop de Loop'
Muscari armeniacum
Myosotis sylvatica
One red tulip
(That's not the botanical name, in case you were wondering.)
Phlox divaricata
Rhododendron prinophyllulm
Veronica 'Waterperry'
Veronica peduncularis 'Georgia Blue'

My white Muscari botryoides has finished blooming, but I am so excited that it actually bloomed that I wanted to let you know.

The plants I reported as blooming in the greenhouse last Bloom Day are still flowering, only more so, as would be expected. Maybe by next Bloom Day, I will have moved them out.

Three of my rose bushes are starting to bloom. A pink double Knock Out is still in its winter protection of a 5 gallon bucket. ( The cats are Tiger and Luca.) The rose above is 'Old Blush' and below is 'Marie Daly.'

I have 3 different colors of Creeping Phlox blooming right now, but this one is my favorite because Julie gave it to me from her plant.

Do new acquisitions, still in their pots, straight from the store, count on Bloom Day? I just bought this Dianthus 'Coconut Surprise' a couple of days ago. It's scent is wonderful!

And I bought Achillea 'King Edward' at the same time. You can see some of my yellow Johnnies with it. Did I mention that my adored Johnnies are still blooming?

I don't usually like to admit to the darker side of my gardening life, but I thought the contrast created by the Violets with somebody's "treasures" made a very interesting picture.

And I discovered that the Violets have a variegated leaf.

Thank you to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting Garden Bloggers Bloom Day!

{Allium schoenoprasum}
Have a beautiful day!