Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bloomin' Alternanthera

I have entirely too many plants in my house, in pots and rooting in jars of water! I had not meant to have two glass-topped tables in my dining room covered in plants (they were meant for candles, a tea set and my beautiful Peruvian tray with bottles of Cognac and Benedictine in winter, and Vodka and Campari in summer . . .) - heck, I never even meant to become a gardener! - but c'est la vie! I'm totally into plants, gardening and all that good sort of stuff for the past several years and keeping plants alive indoors in winter, growing a "crop" to take outdoors again next April/May, has become a mission! The "Bloomin' Alternantera" (cuttings from an Alternantherea 'Gail's Choice') is in the bottom left of this photograph, there is a Begonia 'Bonita Shea' to its right, an Aloe in the top left corner and the others are all Coleuses of one variety or another. I know, too many plants - it's ridiculous!

Annuals that have had a great outdoor summer must be brought indoors (if they are not cast away) before the first frost of the season. That includes this Alternanthera. It grew on my front porch in a large clay pot, with a Coleus and some other plants, until two months ago. After bringing the entire ensemble indoors, the Alternanthera started a phenomenal growth (reaching for the light?) and its branches were two feet longer yesterday than they were in October, when I decided to cut them off, put them in water and begin rooting them. To my amazement, the thing was blooming! It's not much of a bloom, but see those little white fur balls as the tips of the cuttings? Cute, but not a competitor for my Christmas cacti!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Garden Benches

Gardens, I always think, must achieve a certain level of maturity before they merit a bench. After all, what is there to a 6 foot Maple that would throw off enough shade for a peaceful afternoon with a good book and a cup of tea?

My garden is getting closer! Close enough already last May that, upon my return from the Len Foote Hike Inn, I thought I should go looking for a bench in the fall. Then came summer (no time to be outdoors!) and a loss of clients and accompanying revenue, so the thought of a garden bench was banished.

Then, a few weeks ago, in a magazine piece about outdoor art (including a spectacular gate by Wendy Ramshaw), I saw two benches that made me linger on their images. The first one, in wood, was fairly quickly dismissed (I concluded it looked too much like left-over planks from Noah’s ark), but the other one . . ., oh my! Sleek, white (marble?) sitting on fresh-fallen leaves, surrounded by Ivy and small purple flowers, tall frees behind it - very pretty! The featured art had locations and prices with it and my beautiful bench came to $44,485. Oh, well . . .!

You will not see this one in my garden next year and who cares? It did not even have a backrest! :-)

Meanwhile, if Christina reads this, or Peter, or . . . .? You know when my birthday is!

Plectranthus too!

Having enjoyed several varieties of Plectranthus in 2008, both in my garden and indoors, I was interested in looking for more this year. So, when Gwinnett Tech announced its spring plant sale and I saw "Plectranthus" on the list, I rushed over.

"This is a Plectranthus?", I asked when I saw this huge, gray, leggy thing. I was assured that it was and that I should take cuttings of it before the first frost in the fall and I would have lots more of them - to put outside again in 2010. Advice followed!
Today, indoors, it is greener than its parent was outdoors in the summer, and I don't know its variety, but possibly argentatus 'Silver Shield. In any case, it's beautiful and if I can keep only half the cutting alive till next spring, they will make a great addition to my garden.


Grown from an accidental cutting (read: a small limb, accidentally broken off), this Plectranthus (variety unknown, I.D. help welcome!) is growing nicely and will soon be too big for this lovely English pot.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Ornament?

The Alberta Spruce I bought earlier in the year, in the belief that my garden needed another conifer, never yet made it into the ground (perfect spot not yet determined . . .), although I did put it in a bigger pot. Last week-end, I decided to move it from the patio to the porch, next to the front door, and not an hour later this Ladybug came calling. I hope she stays, as chances are only 50/50 that any "true" Christmas ornaments will make it out of the boxes this year. Christmas spirit? Yes, sure! Decorating spirit - not so much!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Bodhi Day 2009

Today is Bodhi Day. You may or may not care. It probably would have passed me by unnoticed, if I had not sat under the Bodhi Tree in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka, some years ago, which was grown from a shoot of the original tree under which Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha) had received enlightenment.

The Bodhi tree, also called Pipul, or “Sacred Fig”, is said to be a symbol for good luck, happiness, prosperity and longevity. So, Happy Bodhi Day to everyone who reads this!
Photo credit: Chamal N, Creative Commons: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

Monday, December 7, 2009

Thawing Out

Only a few hours after the frozen picture, I snaped this shot yesterday of the rapidly recovering Viola in the Chinese pot on my patio's bistro table.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Frozen Roses

More experienced Georgia gardeners than I may take roses in bloom in December in stride; for me, they are a breathtaking marvel. This morning, they are covered in frost - and still beautiful!

Brrrrrr - it's cold!

An occasional frost has been with us since mid October, but last night was the first "hard freeze" and my poor Violas are showing its effect. Still, with the sun now popping over the horizon, they will soon perk up. It's 27F/-3C this morning, but expected to warm up to a "balmy" 48F/9C this afternoon. I have a few more Violas to plant . . .

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Too Early?

This Christmas Cactus has been in bloom for more than a week already and I hope it will still be in bloom by Christmas! No complaints, though; this one was a spur-of-the-moment buy at the local grocery store early this year -- an 'investment' of 99 cents!
Now that winter is insistently knocking on our doors, indoor plants are taking on greater importance. The green umbrella-like image behind the Christmas Cactus is a Coleus Duckfoot 'Midnight' (green as a result of being indoors; it will turn brown when I take it outdoors next spring) and in the top right corner is a Coleus Sibila, grown from a cutting received at the UGA trial gardens last July. It has grown so much that I've already had to take the top out, root it and provide it with a container of its own.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Old Pecan Tree

Whether you say "peacahn" or "peecan", my guess is that it's all the same to this ole tree! The local arborist tells us that it could well be 200 years old and is generally thought to be the oldest pecan tree in Georgia.

Imagine . . . ., this was Cherokee country then. There were no cars, no highway, no shopping centers or sub-divisions. It withstood the Civil War and witnessed the transformation from agriculture to industry.

It has endured, even if it has not always been loved, and its signs of age are obvious. It lost a very large branch a few months ago; I thought I'd better take its picture now and hope to show it again, with its full canopy, next spring.

Black Tulips - 2 - The "Beds"

Take that "beds" with a grain of salt. Unlike the acres and acres of flowers one sees at the Keukenhof and other famed Dutch bulb gardens, these "beds" hold five tulip bulbs each. The bottom photograph shows a spot in my original backyard border. Flanked on the left by garlic that shot out of the ground within days of the cloves having been planted and on the right by a sizable clump of Dianthus 'Bath Pink', I expect to see, and document, these tulips from my patio as they emerge, grow and bloom. The top photograph depicts the northern end of my western border, where the tulips will be accompanied next spring by Dwarf Nandina (spectacular color, this time of year!) on the left and an Azalea on the right. The Violas and Pansies that edge the bed now may or may not still be there when the Tulips show their blooms. Till March or so, then!

The Gaura That Won't Give Up!

Another plant that's got its seasons confused, although not as much as the Rudbeckia, this Gaura continues to provide cheer in one of my garden's favorite corners.

Confused by the Season . . . .

This Rudbeckia apparently believes it's time to send up a new crop of flowers; this is one of three fresh buds I saw in my western border last Saturday.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Coleus - Indoors

Before the frost was going to get them all, I brought a few annuals inside the other week (Alternanthera and Plectranthus as well as Coleus), even though I had so very little space for them . . . This one will have to be ditched before long, but in the meantime it has started blooming, and how does one throw something like this out?

Black Tulips - 1

The bulbs arrived today; as soon as the soil is dry enough I'll put them in the ground and then we wait, and wait, and wait . . . :-)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I Won!

What a surprise! I learned last night that two of my entries into the 2009 photography contest of Gwinnett County Master Gardeners won prizes. My Black Widow Spider got 2nd prize in the "wildlife" category and my "almost-open-sunflower" third in the "plants" category. See July 10 and July 21 posts, respectively.

Wow - I've got to take this photography stuff a little more seriously from now on . . . :-)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Favorite Colors

My preference is for a “cool” palette in my garden: white, pink, lavender, blue. But this time of year, a warm, bright splash here and there is a welcome addition. That’s why I like the Swamp Sunflower and the Pineapple Sage. This year, unfortunately, we had an early frost, which obliterated the latter and did the former no favors. Both have now dropped their petals and the only remaining color in my garden comes from 3 Gaura that don’t seem to want to give up. They have recently been joined by Pansies and Violas, all very cheerful (and mostly in cool colors!).

Soon, after clean-up is finished, the last bed has been mulched – and that one tree has been moved to a new location! – 2009 gardening will be finished and dreams of “next year” will begin.

I wonder how black flowers would do in my garden. I don’t have any yet (and, seriously, I am running out of space!), but after becoming acquainted with Karen Platt and her books, I am at least intrigued. So, I have just ordered 10 ‘Black Hero’ tulips. Check with me in five or six months and I’ll let you know what the results have been!

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Pesticide Lobbyist in the U.S. Administration?

That does not sound quite right, does it?

President Obama has nominated Islam ("Isi") Siddiqui, a top official from CropLife -- the pesticide industry's powerful trade group -- as America's chief agricultural negotiator for international trade. If confirmed by the Senate, Siddiqui, who has spent the past several years of his career fighting various restrictions and bans on environmentally hazardous pesticides, is expected to bring that aggressive stance on broadening pesticide use to the White House and influence trade negotiations with Europe and the developing world.

From the looks of it, I don't like it. Do you?

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Day in the Country

More than a month ago, a friend had asked if I would be interested in going with her to a "Les Dames d'Escoffier" event at Serenbe and I told her "yes" -- much more because I had read about Serenbe for years but never yet visited and this seemed like an excellent opportunity than as a reflection of my interest in the event.

So, we went, yesterday - and never saw each other! I wanted to be there early, so that I would have time to stop at Wilkerson Mill Gardens on the way home, and she arrived just as I was leaving, because she had had an issue to deal with at her place of business earlier in the afternoon.

In addition to actually getting a glimpse of Serenbe, the best parts of being at the event were . . . tasting a marvelous Cabernet Sauvignon from Wente Vinyards, listening to Drivetrain, and enjoying a wonderful creme brulee (from an establishment whose name I do not recall).

"Far From the Madding Crowd", my stop at Wilkerson Mill Gardens was the best part of the day. It's one of those renowned nurseries in Georgia that have become a "must visit" among Master Gardeners, but its location, 80+ miles away, on the other side of Atlanta, was not an attraction for me until this opportunity presented itself.

And, even though Wilkerson Mill Gardens is famous for its Hydrangeas, it's an Aster ("Fanny's Aster") that I, as the owner of a garden that is far more sunny than shady, purchased. I hope to get it into the ground today, joining a Georgia Aster and a Japanese Aster that are already there.

If I had more space left in my garden, I would also have bought a Welsh's Pink Beautyberry, but, alas . . . . I'm running out of room!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Advice to Myself:

Stick to writing. And gardening. A little photography, maybe. Painting? Not so much.

I had a great time last night at Masterpiece Mixers and I can’t wait to tell friends and neighbors about this unique establishment. Go on-line, pick a topic that interests you (“Fall Flowers” was last night’s), make a reservation and show up with $25 and a beverage of your choice. Yes, that’s right, if you like to have a glass of wine or a bottle of beer while you create your masterpiece, Masterpiece Mixers has a BYOB permit that makes this possible.

Then, you tie on an apron, put a stretched canvas on an easel, get a Styrofoam plate (uh, a palette . . .) with paint and a cup full of brushes and “follow the leader” – the instructor of the evening, who leads everyone through the process step-by-step. There were close to 20 of us last night; great group!

Two hours later, you take your creation home and hang it . . . . .? Well, I think mine may find a place in the garage! :-)

Here I am, with my less-than-masterpiece, flanked by instructor Kelli (left) and fellow-student (Nikki); it was great fun!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Fall Colors

This Lagerstroemia indica (Catawba Crape Myrtle) has now been in my garden for about 18 months; still small, but look at those colors! It's a splendid specimen in spring, with purple blooms, and now in fall, with this orange foliage.

As this Sweetshrub is beginning to shed its leaves, the Georgia Aster next to it continues to bloom at its most brilliant. An early frost and many rainy days have diminished my garden's appeal. The Pineapple Sage, for an example, barely had time to bloom before the frost, and that spectacular new pale pink Chrysanthemum now sports a prematurely bedraggled look.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rain Garden Authors

Also speaking last Saturday were Helen Kraus (left) and Anne Spafford (right), the authors of "Rain Gardening in the South: Ecologically Designed Gardens for Drought, Deluge, and Everything in Between". Conference M/C Mike Doyle (DeKalb Master Gardener) is in the photograph with them.

Master Gardener Conference

This past week-end's conference, held at the George Busbee International Center for Workplace Development at Gwinnett Technical College in Lawrenceville (GA), included several prominent speakers, including Mike McGrath, the former Editor-in-Chief of Organic Gardening magazine, pictured here with Conference Registration Chair (and Cobb Master Gardener) Pam Bohlander.

Monday, October 19, 2009

What's with these temps?

It's the middle of October, and it freezes at night?

I came home late Saturday afternoon from the Georgia Master Gardener conference and the first thing I did was turn the heat on. This is not normal! It should be seventy degrees today. Instead, this morning I woke up to white lawns and white roofs. I've been outside the past two days, to take Coleus, Plectranthus and Alternanthera cuttings and I've brought four of my five Walking Irises indoors (the "mother" I put in a gigantic pot a few weeks ago, because it had outgrown the pot it came in last summer, but it's too big for any place in my house [at least, any place that is not a bathroom without windows . . .], so I've got to go and buy another, somewhat smaller, pot for another transplantation and then find a place for it . . . . where? The dining room, most likely. The four "babies", meanwhile, have grown enormously and my friend Pat tells me to keep an eye on them, because they will bloom in January or thereabouts - for one day only.

None of this should be happening now; it should have been possible for us to have another two or three weeks of "normal" autumn weather.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Another Gorgeous Arrangement

Now you have seen two of the truly beautiful flower arrangements conferees will encounter at their luncheon tables tomorrow. I suppose each table will have a lucky person who gets to take the arrangement home with her. Then again, who knows . . .?

Fall 2009 Master Gardener Conference

Not yet officially open, the informal kick-off of the conference has begun! The North Fulton group came to the Busbee Center this afternoon, to set up the luncheon tables. I would not have chosen the black table cloths (this is not a funeral), or made the floral arrangements for the tables 2 and 3 feet high, but my opinion was not solicited, so I am not complaining! The arrangements, of which there are about 20, are beautiful. This is only one of them - very attractive.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Mexican Petunia

Not only is the Mexican Petunia still blooming its heart out, even the Salvia 'Cherry Queen' still has blooms in it and the Sweet Basil still has big fat bumblebees descending upon its remaining few blooms. October gardens in Georgia . . . . not bad!

Not a Garden Plant

I share a house with Praline; she got me a few years ago, when I just happened to walk through a pet store, saw an "adoption niche" and took a good look at this cat. At least part of her early life must have been miserable. She and I got along just fine, from the first moments, but it took her months before she would come out of hiding (below the skirted sofa on which this picture was taken) and let anyone else touch her. The school bus, the garbage truck, the FedEx and UPS trucks would cause a frantic dash to her hiding place and the doorbell terrified her.

Little by little, it got better and yesterday we had a breakthrough. We both heard the UPS truck coming down the street; she sat up straight and looked to the front door. The truck stopped and she jumped from her bed on my desk to the floor, running toward the stairs. Soothingly speaking to her, she stopped at the top of the stairs and even when the doorbell rang, she stayed sitting there, returning to jump back on my desk when we heard the truck leaving. Wow - such progress!

Asters in my Garden

Robin Lane Fox, writing in today’s Financial Times, mentioned asters. He stays away from the novi-belgii varieties, he wrote, and instead prefers the novae-angliae forms. That made me think. I have only two Asters in my garden, a Japanese and a Georgia, and it made me curious about their official (Latin) names. Both still had their original tags, stuck in the ground next to them, so I went outside, pulled the tags out and now know that I am growing a Asteromoea mongolica and a Symphyotrichum georgianum. How “mongolica” translates into “Japanese” and how anyone could ever in a snap identify a “Symphyotrichum” as an aster is beyond me, but, needless to say, a serious gardener should know her plants’ Latin names. I’ll have to remember that, if I ever decide to garden for anything more than pure enjoyment.

Oh, and another thing, when I lived in England, I had never heard of asters. But I sure recognized Michaelmas Daisies!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Lemon Verbena

As if my garden needed another plant . . . ., especially a tender perennial in October . . . . Oh, well! I stopped off at the Hall County Garden Expo yesterday afternoon and this is the plant that came home with me. It will probably have to spend the Winter indoors (as if the inside of my house needed more plants . . . .), but as long as it makes it till next year, it will have been a good (modest) investment.

Swamp Sunflower

Among the first perennials I bought after becoming a Master Gardener, I have over the years been more than happy to "share the wealth" and give many of these invasive plants away. Last year, it even occurred to me that I should eradicate them all from my landscape. Now I am glad I saved a few of them; so cheerful on a cool October morning! Its neighbor, a Rosemary, is in bloom also (it's always in bloom!), but cannot compete with the Swamp Sunflower's showiness.

October Red

Although I prefer a "cool" garden, with whites, pinks, lavenders and purples, a Pineapple Sage, because it blooms so late in the season, is always a welcome presence, especially on days like today, when the morning air is a bit chilly and the fog lingers beyond sunrise. With a Maple tree to its left, a Pine tree and a huge Rosemary to its right and an Angelonia just below it, I hope this shrubby herb will come back this year (I'll have to find some new Angelonias again next April).

Autumn Blooms

This Chrysanthemum almost did not make it to make garden. A young woman selling a variety of plants at the Hoschton Farmers' Market earlier in the year touted this plant as an "old-fashioned, late-blooming heirloom" ("heirloom" sells, right?). When she said it had pink flower, I was convinced. It is, in fact, a delightful plant (prettier than shown in this early morning photograph) and the first thing I see every day when I open my dining room blinds. I think the seller's name was Kathy. So, Kathy, if you happen to read this . . . ., great recommendation! And, if you are at the market again next year, I may well buy a few more from you!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Smarter Planet

I'm going to IBM's "Smarter Planet" event in November. It's about technology, of course, but I was glad to see that there is also a section called "Water - It's Not Just for Drinking". With the floods of the past few days -- who can forget those pictures or not think about the people who were killed in this disaster? -- it's hard to think of water scarcity, but that is truly what Planet Earth is facing, so kudos to IBM for paying attention to that.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

How NOT to Grow Stevia

I could not help it – this title. Jeanne Grunert, who blogs from her farm in Virginia, just posted “How to Grow Stevia” and I simply had to take advantage of it.

Nothing wrong with Stevia, mind you. I just planted mine all wrong.

A friend had given me a lovely Salvia last May (about a foot tall and very skinny) and it did not grow much at first. So, when I brought a tiny Stevia home a month later, I put it about 15 inches from the Salvia and expected the two would happily coexist. Well, not quite!

That Stevia took off and hasn’t stopped yet. Today, after a week of rain, it is flopping all over the place and I finally put a few stakes near it, hoping not so much that it will survive (it will!), but that the poor Salvia will still have a chance.

So, my advice, in addition to what Jeanne teaches you, is this: if you are going to plant Stevia, give it plenty of space!


I hate turf grasses!

Why do we need to have imitation miniature golf courses in front of our houses?

There are better uses for the space. A vegetable garden, for example. Or a meadow, or a grouping of trees and shrubs.

I used to be rather lonely in this opinion, but the idea is spreading and there is now a "Lawn Reform" group, started by gardeners, writers and activists in different parts of the country. Brilliant! Let's hope it catches on fast and reaches far.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Bugs on Sedum

Now that the Sedum 'Autumn Joy' is in bloom all over my garden, the presence of insects has greatly increased. A clump like this is often visited by a dozen or more at the same time. I do not know the names of any of them. Some look rather innocent, like this one, while others are much more fierce-looking. Note a stem of the Obedient Plant to the Sedum's right. It attracts insects also, and hummingbirds.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Obedient Plant

Acquired last May at the Master Gardener plant sale in Dahlonega, I really had no idea what to expect from this "Obedient Plant" (so named, I have been told, because if you bend its stems, they will remain bent, rather then straightening themselves out again [or breaking] - I have not tried it!). My plant now has three large spikes with these lovely lavender flowers, and many more "baby spikes" below, on each of the stems. It grows in a border with Salvias.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

October 17 Conference

Public Invited to Garden with the Masters.

Atlanta, Georgia, August 17, 2009 – Announcing the celebration of 30 years of Master Gardening in Georgia and an October 17 conference, Planning Chair Regina Lorenz extended an invitation to the public to join veteran gardeners at Gwinnett Tech in Lawrenceville for “Autumn Harmony: In Tune with Nature”.

“Georgia began the Master Gardener program in 1979 in response to the need of county extension agents to respond authoritatively to homeowners’ everyday gardening questions, “ Lorenz commented. “Master Gardener Conferences provide us with education and networking opportunities. The conference on October 17 is not just for Master Gardeners or even experienced gardeners; it’s for everyone who wants to plant and grow… trees, bulbs, perennials, vegetables…in a manner that preserves the earth for future generations.”

During the conference expert speakers from across the region and the country will address topics of “birds in our landscapes”, “organic gardening”, “rain gardens” and “garden pollinators”. Vendors will offer gardening tools, plants and books. The conference fee is $75 per person and includes Continental breakfast and a buffet luncheon. A “meet and greet” with the speakers and organizers will be held the evening before the conference, at the Hilton Garden Inn in Duluth.

“We look forward to having more than 300 enthusiastic amateur and professional gardeners with us at this conference,” Lorenz concluded, “and urge everyone to register as soon as possible.”

The 30th anniversary conference of Georgia Master Gardeners will be held October 17 from 8:00 AM to 3:30 PM at The Busbee Center at Gwinnett Technical College on Sugarloaf Parkway in Lawrenceville. Registration information is available on the organization’s web site, http://www.georgiamastergardeners.com/ or may be requested from the Master Gardener coordinator at County Cooperative Extension Offices.


About the October 17 conference
The 30th anniversary conference of Georgia Master Gardeners will be held October 17 from 8:00 AM to 3:30 PM at The Busbee Center at Gwinnett Technical College on Sugarloaf Parkway in Lawrenceville. Registration information is available on the organization’s web site, http://www.georgiamastergardeners.com/ or may be requested from the Master Gardener coordinator at County Cooperative Extension Offices.

About Georgia Master Gardeners Association
Georgia Master Gardener Association, Inc. is a non-profit organization that acts as an umbrella for local Master Gardener groups across the sate. Its mission is to stimulate interest in and increase knowledge of gardening, and to voluntarily, enthusiastically and responsibly share this knowledge with others. GMGA’s 2009 President is Brenda Beckham of Clarke County.

About the Master Gardening program
In 1972, a Cooperate Extension Agent in Washington State came up with the idea that trained volunteers would be able to respond authoritatively to many homeowners’ everyday gardening questions and thus free him and his colleagues up to deal with more difficult or technical questions. The program caught on, first appearing at land grant universities across the country and has since spread all over the United States and Canada. Georgia became part of it in 1979; it is a program of the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, coordinated from its Griffin campus. (770-228-7243).

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


This 'Cherry Queen' (left) is making its second appearance in my garden. It is twice as big as last year, but it's not a robust plant. Still it blooms very well and I'm glad I've got it in my landscape.
The mystery Salvia on the right is a gift from Cheryle Maddox, who told me it had unexpectedly shown up in her garden one year and spread. "I don't know what it is," she told me, "but it's got pretty blue flowers." She sure was right! It's found a place next to a Stevia and complements it nicely. I hope it comes back next year.

What was sold to me as "hot lips" in March -- I think it would better be called "warm lips" or maybe "peach lips", because of its gentle color -- has been in bloom for months. Just in the past few days the "black and blue" has begun to open up also. Even though I have declared Yarrow my favorite perennial of 2009, Salvia is hard to ignore.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Bugs in the Garden

It was Barb Giamanco, who first encouraged me to submit articles to SelfGrowth.com and I have been doing just that for a few months now. Today, SelfGrowth accepted my submission about bugs and if you would like to read it, here is the link:


Oakleaf Hydrangea

If, in the next few months, you come across a gardening DVD in which you hear Pat Bowen (Master Gardener - Cherokee County, Georgia) speak about the oakleaf hydrangeas in her garden, you will see a specimen she is discussing, as well as a stem cutting with a flower that has finished blooming and is now a very attractive dried flowerhead.

That's this one!

Not a "twin" from the same shrub, or a cutting from another oakleaf hydrangea, but the exact same material she has in her hands in the DVD. I'm determined to make this cutting famous! :-) For now, and until its appeal disappears, it keeps company with a bouquet of mint on a side table in my dining room.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Weeds, I learned in Master Gardener training, are plants that grow where hey are not wanted. That was the case with this one; it popped up in my lawn and instead of pulling it out and throwing it away, I dug it up, cleaned it up a bit and put it in a small clay pot. Its leaves are a healthy green (they look like mint) and the flowers are a pale, pale blue. I don't think I'm going to form any particular attachment to this plant, but it looks nice enough to keep it until it's finished for the season.