Saturday, August 28, 2010

Moon Vine

Last year, I had a moon vine and a pink morning glory sharing a trellis. At the end of the season, I found seven seeds on the ground, which I collected, kept indoors over the winter and put in pots last May, not knowing which they were. Now I know: they are moon vine! At least the 3 I kept. This is a fabulous flower, 5 inches (12 cm.) across and splendid even in front of a white fence.

August = Bugs

Whether it's a Monarch in the Rosemary, a bumblebee getting covered in pollen in a Canna, or a spider trying to hide in the Nicotiana, "bugs" are everywhere. And, I hasten to add, they are very welcome in my garden. Even the grasshoppers that eat as if there were no tomorrow. Well, I guess their "tomorrows" are pretty limited as we approach the end of summer.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The season is not yet ending.

Both the "old" Rose of Sharon (top) and the newer one (below it) are still producing new blooms. The gorgeous Canna, which I bought for $2 last May and expected to produce red flowers, surprised me with a final bloom this week when I went to cut off the parts with the leaf rollers. At least, I think it is the final one of the season, but who knows?

Not a Hummingbird

Do you see it? Just below the far right bloom, between the soft green leaf in the foreground and the darker green of the Viburnum? I wondered if this was some sort of miniature hummingbird, but research tells me it's a Hemaris thysbe, a Sphinx Moth. Never heard of it before, never seen it before and apparently not all that common in Georgia. It certainly liked my Phlox this afternoon and also visited the Angelonia and a Mexican Petunia. I wish it had "sat still" for a minute, so that I could have taken a better picture (or that I were a better photographer with better equipment :-)).

Monday, August 9, 2010

Baptisia, anyone?

This morning, I collected a huge bag of Baptisia seeds, from just one plant. I still have a collection of plants in pots from 2009 seeds, to be planted in a border when the weather gets cooler (will it ever?). Baptisia is a beautiful plant, with gorgeous flowers; its only drawback is that, in typical perennial fashion, it does not bloom long enough. Well, small price to pay for the few weeks' enjoyment -- and all those babies coming along for the future.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Plant "Marriages"

"What's your favorite plant marriage this year?" is a question recently posed by Alice Joyce of San Francisco in a discussion by garden writers.

Hers is a blue and gold combination of  Trachelium caeruleum & Crocosmia 'Solfatare'.

From Seattle, Christina Salwitz responded with: "The Santolina 'Lemon Fizz' with Blue trailing Verbena and Cocosmia 'Lucifer'".

In my case, I have long loved the combination of Coleus and Alternanthera 'Gail's Choice'. This year, I have a collection of Coleuses with the Alternanthera and added a Creeping Jenny and Hosta for effect. They have grown so well (north-facing porch), despite Georgia's brutally hot and humid summer, that one of my sons, taking a look at the collection the other day, wondered out loud if I had gone and "robbed the local nursery". No robbing required -- they've all grown from small cuttings, a practice I will continue to follow.

Liriope - so much more than an edger.

When my family first moved to Georgia and began making friends with other families in our new neighborhood, it seemed that every garden had a border or pine island edged in Liriope. Nice, but nothing to brag about. When I, much later, became a gardener, Liriope was not on my list of desired plants - or even a "maybe" list.

Then, a few years ago, I received a Daylily clump that had Liriope so much intertwined with it that it was impossible to separate every tiny root. This caused me to have a few Liriopes that I happily planted in different places in my garden. This clump (above) grows under a Loropetalum, where it attracts all the attention while the shrub above it is, in the middle of the summer, rather ho-hum.

So, welcome to my garden, Liriope!

And, oh, as a sheep in the flock, I always called this plant "LEE-ree-ope", just like everyone else did. It took a course in watersmart gardening for me to discover that its name is pronounced 'luh-RYE-opee". Education is fabulous!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Favorite Plants and Insects

The bumblebees and the butterflies love Joe Pye. A spider has made a home between an Alternanthera and a Coleus. It is fascinating to observe their behavior.