Saturday, September 25, 2010

Saturday Garden Adventures

This has been a brilliant day. First a garden club meeting with an excellent program about soil, lawns and trees (need to talk with presenter; she should do some videos), then the Agri-Fest in Cleveland (bought some tomatoes from LoganBerry Farm and a Sedum from Full Bloom Nursery), then to Lula (bought planters at Wayne Wilson's), a stop at the Hall County Master Gardeners' Garden Expo (OMG - I got this gorgeous, gorgeous,almost 3-feet tall Hinoki cypress from Bannister Creek Nursery for $5; try finding it on-line, anywhere, for less than $25). Finally, I stopped at a local nursery for a bag of organic soil amendment stuff (peanut shells, chicken poop and cotton stalks, I have been told . . .) and a few bales of pine straw. Guess what I will be doing in the morning - until the rain arrives. And do we ever need that rain!

Friday, September 24, 2010

2010: A Good Year for Tobacco?

As in “Scented Nicotiana” that is. This is Jasmine Alata, grown from seed; I followed the packet’s instructions precisely, more or less, and nothing happened. The plants, tiny, just sat there all summer long. I watered and fertilized, moved the containers from one spot to another – nothing helped.

Now they are growing so rapidly that I can almost see them getting bigger as I spend a few hours in my garden. I think it’s because our summer has been brutally hot, which affected the growth of many plants. The days now are still very hot (91F today, expected to go down to 79F by Sunday), but the nights are much cooler. The question now is: will it bloom before the first frost of the season, which could come as early as four weeks from now, kills it. I hope so!

The Gaillardia did not like the hot summer either, but is now coming back nicely, and the Calibrachoa from Hort Couture is getting a new lease on life as well. Other plants in the picture: Coleus, Alternanthera, Basil, Yarrow, Blue Daze and a Dill that is determined to stick around till it can produce some seeds for next year. I love an eclectic garden - even on a patio corner!

Euonymus americanus or Strawberry Bush

I first saw this shrub on another Master Gardener's property and liked it so much that I went looking for one. As luck would have it, Elaine Kelley's Potting Shed that some for sale that autumn, so I bought one and took it home. Then I found out that it likes a shady spot in the landscape, of which I have very few. Nevertheless, I had a growing Maple and thought its canopy would provide adequate shade for my new Euonymous americanus, and it did! It has grown to 4 or 5 times its original size and even though I don't see much of it (my neighbors do!), it looked so beautiful this morning, after I had stepped over a Yarrow bed and moved a Maple branch out of the way, that I had to take its picture.

Since I planted it [in 2007, I think -- yes, I know, I ought to keep better records! :-(], it has not been watered, fertilized or otherwise cared for. Maybe that's the secret for a successful garden: plant it and forget it. Well, not really.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Jerry Hall a Gardener?

Why not? She's a Texas girl and Texans are famous gardeners.

She's also into cooking and on her way to become a chicken farmer.

It all sounds wonderful to me!

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Had I been in a doctor’s office this afternoon and been told I had “plumbago”, I would have thought I’d caught some dreadful disease – tropical maybe, perhaps infectious. Instead, I was in a garden, admiring a plant with blue flowers that surely had to be a Phlox. “No”, everyone else there said, “it’s a Plumbago”. It’s these kinds of experiences that can cut a Master Gardener down to size very quickly. I had never heard of “Plumbago”. But, sure enough, I did some research when I got home and discovered that this plant is a shrub, originally from South Africa, that can grow into a nice hedge, and that in the U.S. it’s suitable for zones 8 to 11. Well, last time I looked, I lived in zone 7B, so the three small specimens the garden’s owner gave me will need some special care if they are to make it into 2011.

“Plumbago” – odd name, but a beautiful flower. I hope the plants will survive the coming winter.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sedum in September

Despite the fact (or maybe because of it) that we have now not had rain for two weeks, the Sedum 'Autumn Joy' looks very good; the variation of color, from the palest pink to the deepest rose, makes this a wonderful garden plant this time of year.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Early Morning in the Garden

An hour after sunrise, the gigantic banana trees in the State Botanical Garden of Georgia (Athens, Georgia, USA) look spectacular.