Monday, May 31, 2010


My Abelia 'Edward Goucher' has started blooming. The flowers aren't lush and gorgeous the same way Hydrangeas are, but I think it has very charming little flowers. And bees like to visit them, too.

I like the lacy-ness, if you can call it that, of its leaves and branches, although they can tend to get jumbled as the bush grows larger. I also like the colors within the bush.

Several years ago, I planted two bushes, one on either side of the walk that leads to the back door. (The back door seems to be the front door around here.) They grew well and they bloomed well. But they didn't quite work for what I wanted in the beds.

I did like the bushes, though, so last fall I transplanted them further back in the garden where they will make a good back-drop as they grow larger. And now they are blooming.

Have a beautiful day!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day...

by Edgar A. Guest
copyright 1917

The finest tribute we can pay
Unto our hero dead to-day,
Is not a rose wreath, white and red,
In memory of the blood they shed;
It is to stand beside each mound
Each couch of consecrated ground,
And pledge ourselves as warriors true
Unto the work they died to do.

Into God's valleys where they lie
At rest, beneath the open sky,
Triumphant now o'er every foe,
As living tributes let us go.
No wreath of rose or immortelles
Or spoken word or tolling bells
Will do to-day, unless we give
Our pledge that liberty shall live.

Our hearts must be the roses red
We place above our hero dead;
Today beside their graves we must
Renew allegiance to their trust;
Must bare our heads and humbly say
We hold the Flag as dear as they,
And stand, as once they stood, to die
To keep the Stars and Stripes on high.

The finest tribute we can pay
Unto our hero dead today
Is not of speech or roses red,
But living, throbbing hearts instead,
That shall renew the pledge they sealed
With death upon the battlefield:
That freedom's flag shall bear no stain
And free men wear no tyrant's chain.

Have a beautiful day!

Friday, May 28, 2010

'Endless Summer' Hydrangea...

My Hydrangea macrophylla 'Endless Summer' is so lovely right now. I think this year it has the most blooms yet.

When I bought it several years ago, I put it in the ground where it is now, but the soil was just too dry (it is next to the Incense Cedars), so I moved the Hydrangea into a large pot and it does better now.

I still have trouble with it not getting enough water, so I am planning to plant it in the ground, just not by the Incense Cedars. This time, it will be under a Laural Oak.

On my table, I have a 3 cornered, three-footed beautiful glass dish in which I am floating 3 smaller blooms from a different Hydrangea bush. It makes such lovely centerpiece. I'll have to post a picture of it.

Aren't you glad there are such luscious flowers in the world for us to enjoy?

Have a beautiful day!

Thursday, May 27, 2010


For some reason, I wanted to call this post "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly," but I really don't know why. There is no "good" about this plant. I guess you could argue that its seeds provide food for birds. Or that it gives shelter for insects. BUT, there are LOTS of plants out there with seeds for birds that don't cause so much trouble for people and horses. And LOTS of plants that support beneficial insects. I'll just grow some of them instead.

Carolina Horsenettle (Solanum carolinense) is invasive. And poisonous. And painful. It is just wicked. And those vile thorns go all the way down to the soil. I think they get thickest right where you have to grab the plant to pull it out. How diabolical.

So, now that I have photo-documented this dreadful plant, I will go pull it up. Well, at least as much as I can. Its roots seem to go all the way to the center of the earth and spread throughout my entire garden. Nevertheless, I will not be daunted in my battle against this evil invader.

Have a beautiful, thorn-free day!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Stella de Oro...

The first Daylily opened this morning. And, as you can see, I am not the only one interested in it! At first I thought maybe the little praying mantis would get the little sweat bee, but it didn't.

I bought this plant, Hemerocallis 'Stella de Oro,' several years ago. It was in a small container, maybe a quart pot, but the plant was very healthy. I planted it out and it grew into a luxurious specimen with lots of flowers. Then I decided I didn't want it where it was and unceremoniously dug it up. It languished in its new container for over a year before I eventually decided where I did want it. I divided it and spread it out in its new location.

Shortly after I planted it the second time, I realized I would have to redo the soil that it was in so I dug it up once more and dumped it in a broken bucket, where it stayed for several months. It survived that. Finally, I got it planted, again, last fall and now it seems to have forgiven me for my harsh treatment and is sharing its blooms with the insects and me.

Have a beautiful day!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hummingbird visit...

A hummingbird came to visit today. I was working on building another stone wall and Kirstin was standing on the porch steps talking to me when we heard a little hummer. And then we saw it. It was adorable, but don't look for it among my photos because I don't have a picture of it.

These flowers are growing to the right of the porch, if you are facing it. They make such a lovely color combination. The hummingbird visited my Salvia guaranitica 'Argentina Skies.' 'Argentina Skies' is one of my favorites, but I'll tell you more about it some other day.

The little hummer had the most brilliant red neck I have ever seen. It was so gorgeous as it was flitting around and drinking nectar. And it didn't seem to be concerned that Kirstin was only a few feet away.

These pink Sweet Peas reseeded themselves from last year. They are amazingly fragrant. Almost overwhelmingly so, when you are "in them" to take pictures. Did they know they would look so nice with 'Argentina Skies' and Verbena bonariensis?

I love the little hummingbirds and am so glad they come to my garden. They are very welcome visitors.

Have a beautiful day!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Erigeron, etc....

So, this past week-end we went down to Atlanta to visit friends and when we got home, I discovered that my garden had taken the opportunity of my absence to get a little carried away. I think it should have asked my permission first, but, no. Plants just started blooming on their own, without my supervision. How audacious.

This Erigeron (I'll have to find the plant tag to remember the rest of its name) doesn't bloom for long and it looks a little raggedy, but I like it. Not front of the border stuff, but I'll keep it. (I looked it up; it's Erigeron 'Prosperity.')

My 'Moonbeam' Coreopsis - I guess it should be Coreposis 'Moonbeam,' but I always say it backwards. O.K., so technically Coreopsis verticillata 'Moonbeam' - anyhow - has started its cheerful blooms. It's kinda funny: in California, I could not get this Coreopsis to grow and now here in my North Carolina garden, it is the only Coreopsis with which I have had success.

Beautiful blue Bachelor's Buttons are blooming. How's that for alliteration? They reseeded themselves from last year. Hooray for reseeding annuals. Well, except for the weedy ones.

My primary clue that things had gotten a little out of hand while I was gone was when I looked out of the office window and saw the first Buddleia flowers. This Nanho Blue bush grows right outside the window. And if you read somewhere that it grows to 4 feet tall, uh, don't plan on that. Mine are at least 6 feet tall.

Have a beautiful day!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Roses, roses, roses...

Lovely, lovely roses. I wish my garden could be filled with rose bushes. I enjoy them so much. You've already met a few of my roses, including New Dawn on my arbor.

Fragrant Cloud was one of my favorite roses in California because of its absolutely amazing fragrance. I finally bought one last year to try here in North Carolina. I got it own root and it was small, but it has hung in there and this year it has a bloom. The flower is smaller than the ones I had in California and it is a little chewed, but I do have hope for it.

Molineux is a David Austin rose and Kirstin gave it to me last year for Mother's Day. It is still a young bush, but isn't this flower beautiful? I'd love to have enough of them to make a huge bouquet.

I don't know the name of this rose bush. A neighbor gave it to me and it was a bush her mother-in-law grew. Whatever it is, it does really, really well. It is one of the first to bloom in spring, it blooms all summer long and on into fall. I just wish I could share the fragrance of my garden with you.

Have a beautiful day!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Vegetable garden..

So, here's what's going on today in my vegetable garden. Twisty slim peppers are forming on this hot pepper. It is a Slim Red Cayenne. Uh, the red is the plant tag, not a pepper. A little to early for ripe ones. You can click on the picture for a larger view.

Sweet peppers are just starting to form, too. This one is Purple Beauty. I think I have grown this variety before, but I had the soil too rich, so it didn't do so well. I am hoping for lots of peppers this year.

My cucumber plants look lovely. I started these from seed and they are doing great. I do need to thin them out, though. They are Sweet Marketmore cucumbers.

And, very exciting, one of my tomato plants has little green tomatoes! This is a Marglobe tomato plant and this is the first time I have grown this variety, so I'll have to see how it does for me. So far it looks super!

Have a beautiful day!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mini Oncidium...

Several weeks ago, I found this cute little thing marked "clearance" at one of the box stores. It sits on my kitchen window sill, complete with the small blue saucer I added. I think that even if it doesn't bloom for me, it is still very charming. Oh, by the way, that's not my window sill in the picture, in case you were wondering; it is the beginning of another stone wall I am building.

This is my first orchid, unless you count my Bletilla, a ground orchid. The plant tag says it is a Mini-Oncidium, with no cultivar name listed. I really don't much at all about growing orchids, but you have to start somewhere, right? Even though I've read a little bit about them, if you grow orchids and have any tips for me, I'd be glad to have them.

Have a beautiful day!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Duck yard...

From my deck and sliding doors, you can see the duck yard. Verbena bonariensis has reseeded out there, near a compost pile, and I think it is pretty to see its flowers against all the other greens.

I went in the duck yard to photograph it and was promptly attack by Henry. Lest you be concerned, Henry is our male duck. This time of year, he becomes rather aggressive, so he was intent on nibbling me to death while I took pictures of the Verbena. He tickles more than anything, although sometimes he can pinch. And I have to be careful not to step on him.

Lily, the female duck, just looked on from a few feet away. She is funny because she "hen-pecks" Henry, but if Henry is upset in any way for any reason, she becomes very concerned. Yes, I am talking about ducks. Even though she has a curled tail feather, usually a male trait, she is female.

Well, back to the volunteer Verbena. Look what I found when I got close to the stalks of flowers. What a wonderful contrast, the yellow of the small crab spider with the purple of the Verbena. Click on the picture for a larger view. So many cool things live in my garden.

Have a beautiful day!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Incense Cedar...

It was rather startling to be poking around my garden, seeing what was in bloom and what else was going on when suddenly there were these sea creatures staring back at me. But, no that couldn't be. Sea creatures don't grow on trees.

These Things have appeared on my Calocedrus decurrens. They seem to be sort of jelly-like or rubbery. And they are rather disconcerting. Not at all what you would expect to see on an evergreen tree.

I've been told that they are the blooms for the Incense Cedar trees. But I am a little skeptical. I mean, really, have you ever seen a flower that looks like this? Maybe I haven't been around enough. (I call this one The Blob, though I've never seen that movie.)

And what about this one? Don't you think that it looks like it is hiding, lurking, waiting for some unsuspecting garden lover to walk by so it can attack?

Have a beautiful day!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Geranium 'Rozanne'...

What can I say about this beautiful plant? I bought 'Rozanne' last spring, just one plant, and sliced it in two. They both grew wonderfully for me in the two pots on either side of my rose-covered arbor.

I like 'Rozanne' so much that I have found several other places that I want it to grow. Today I dumped both plants out of their containers and once again sliced them. I ended up with seven or eight new plants.

'Rozanne' had already started blooming for the year, as you can see by my pictures, so technically it is a little late to divide it. I know I will have set their flowering back, but I think they will probably be o.k. They'll just bloom later in the summer, giving me more lovely blue flowers. And I don't think I can have too many blue flowers.

Have a beautiful day!