Friday, April 30, 2010

If you are not already growing your own blueberries . . .

. . . . this report should be an incentive!

Not a pretty picture, is it? I do have blueberry bushes in my garden (and one lone blackberry) and would plant more, if I had more space.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Irises Are Here!

The white and yellow Dutch Irises are beginning to bloom (the blue ones have buds, not yet open), the Bearded Irises are also beginning to make an appearance, and then there is the Walking Iris . . . . gorgeous bloom, but an odd plant! Each bloom lasts just a day (a few hours, really), so if you want to see it . . . ., keep a careful eye on the plant several times a day.

Chaste Tree

When I first started gardening, I once came across a large shrub that looked like an odd Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii); upon investigation, I found out that it was a Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus-castus). Last Autumn I saw one - tiny - in a local nursery and bought it. In the ensuing months, it lost 2/3 of its growth (the guys who mow my lawn . . ., children running through the yard . . ., an animal?) and I was afraid the remaining 1/3 would not make it through the Winter. But, here it is! The bottom photograph was taken on April 8, the top one this morning (in the rain, hence the flash).

Spring Progresses

I should be north of Gainesville by now, approaching Cleveland, on my way to Blairsville and a gardening conference, but . . . . Mother Nature had other plans. There is no escaping the fact that North Georgia is "under the gun" for storms today - rain, wind, perhaps hail and tornadoes. So, I am staying home and consoling myself with this photograph I took the other day -- and some others. More to come . . .

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

We have a name!

Thank you, Marcia Winchester, for identifying the plant I posted on April 17!

"Hyacinthoides hispanica or Spanish Bluebells. It is an old fashion bulb that loves to multiply. It likes moisture in spring (not standing water). It has also been called Scilla campanulata."

I have already e-mailed my daughter to ask her to let me know when they start turning brown, so I can go and dig some up. If for no other reasons (and I think there are many!), the color alone will complement lots of other plants in my garden perfectly.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

What Is This?

My daughter Christina and her husband, Ryan, bought a 30+ year old house last summer/early fall, that had stood empty for three year, with a close to one-acre, overgrown yard. The original owners had installed lovely garden areas and we are now in the process of identifying some of the plants. There are Daylilies and Hostas everywhere, Bearded Irises, shrubs that include Rose of Sharon, Holly, Crape Myrtle, Hydrangea, Azalea, Camelia, and such trees as Dogwood and Japanese Maple, as well as old. old, old Maples and Oaks. This plant (pictured) is everywhere. It seems to be a bulb and the bell-shaped flowers are gorgeous. I know I have seen it before, I should know what it is, but . . . . I cannot think of a name. Do you know?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

"Bloom Day"

Today is April 2010 Bloom Day and my most spectacular bloomer is a huge Rosemary.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cherry Blossoms in Georgia

Say "cherry blossoms", and everyone immediately thinks of Washington, D.C. But, there's more to know about this Flowering Cherry of Japanese origin. After I photographed this specimen today, I went home to my computer to research it and - guess what! - I think I've made a "find".
According to the USDA Natural Conservation Resources Services' web site, the Prunus serrulata Lindl. is only found in California and Massachusetts in this country. But I know where there is one - at least one! - in Georgia.
Regardless, it's a gorgeous tree and this photograph only barely is an indication of its beauty.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

"Black" Tulips

The "puny" tulips (plants) are producing some mighty nice blooms! This morning I had to visit them with a watering can before I could take their picture (pollen!). Strangely enough, the ones in my backyard are darker than the ones in my front yard (same variety!), but who cares? They look good!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Yard Art - Garden Fairy

I am not a raving fan of yard art, and only have a very few pieces in my garden, but this fairy said “buy me”, when I saw it in an antique shop the other day. Now, with a bird poised on the tip of her foot, sitting on a marble ball atop a long pole, she watches over my Rosemary.

Viburnum carlesii

Another beautiful shrub in my garden is the Viburnum carlesii, a/k/a Koreanspice Viburnum, which this year is producing blooms and leaves at the same time. In previous years, the blooms came first. But then, in those years, we did not have 80 - 85F in early April, as we do this week.

Third Time's the Charm?

More like "Fifth Year"! Thursday is the fifth anniversary of this Viburnum (Viburnum plicatum tomentosum 'Mariesii') arriving in my garden. I bought it because I had read a description of it in my favorite gardening book: "When the flowers come in April, they emerge on top of each branch, covering it all the way to the tip. Then it appears the green cake has white icing - a spectacular sight!" It was not in bloom when I bought it, but it was a young shrub, so this did not bother me. Then it did not bloom in 2007 either, or in 2008 and I began to wonder if I shouldn't just dig it up and throw it out. I didn't, because even without blooms it was a spectacularly beautiful plant. When it still did not bloom last year, I sent an e-mail to the growers, asking if they knew what might be wrong with it. The answer that came back told me there are "many reasons" why a Viburnum might not bloom, the most common being that it does not get enough sun or that it has been too rigorously pruned. I wrote back that this baby gets plenty of sun and a pruning tool had never been within ten feet of it (something to that effect - a bit politer). Growers were not heard from again.

And now look - this Viburnum in early April 2010 is full of buds and it looks as if five years after I brought it home I will finally get to see that "icing on the cake" in a week or two!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

"Where there is a will, . . ."

On this morning's hike at Elachee, we saw hundreds of Toad Trillium (Trillium sessile), many of them already in bloom, including this one, whose roots are underneath two logs separated by a few inches of space, where sunlight and rain were able to penetrate.

Friday, April 2, 2010


Looking good - today in my garden!

Plant Sales

I remember so well the first spring of my adventures as a Master Gardener; I came close to visiting every plant sale within 40 miles of my house and bought everything I liked – especially the plants that were offered for $1 or $2 each. One of my purchases, at a sale in Grayson, was a “twofer”: the pot contained both a Daylily and a Maple (I think the Maple was the “volunteer”, but it could have been the other way around). That Daylily has now been split several times and can be found in three different parts of my garden. And that Maple . . . skinny thing, not even two feet tall. Well it is now a majestic tree (10 – 12 feet, I guess) and my favorite of the three Maples in my garden. All that in a time span of barely 5 years!

Today, I went to the Ag students’ plant sale in Athens and came home with 15 plants for $19 – Blue Daze, Gaura, Gaillardia, Echinacea, Begonia, Phlox and Petunia. The sale continues tomorrow and Sunday (at the greenhouses, corner of College Station and Riverbend Road).

Next Saturday, the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, also in Athens, is having its semi-annual plant sale. Always a great place to find extraordinary plants!

And, April 9 and 10, the Hall County Master Gardeners are having their expo (and sale) at the Chicopee Agricultural Complex in Gainesville. Always interesting, which copious offerings of numerous plant varieties from growers, wholesalers and retailers in North Georgia – not to be missed!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Everything's Growing Like Crazy!

The Sedums 'Autumn Joy' look as if they're ready to send up flower stalks already, the Thyme is gorgeous, the Gaura are all above ground, the Obient Plant, which was one last year is now more than a dozen, the Phlox (above) looks spectacular, the Lemon Balm (top) is bright green and three times as big as last year. Wow! As long as this hot weather does not last too long (low 80F, high 20C) and we get another few weeks of "normal" temps, my May garden will be delightful!

Puny Tulips

All ten of the tulip bulbs I planted last November have come up (I had feared that the fall and winter rains might have done them in), but they are pretty puny looking. The blooms should be open soon. This photograph was taken March 28, when it was still cool. Today it's 81F/27C and tomorrow's forecast is for 84F/29C. It seems as if we've gone from winter to summer with nary a pause for spring.