Monday, August 30, 2010

Some of my favorite plants

It's very overcast here in St. Gabriel and I think it may rain again today. Yesterday we got a little over 1/2 inch of rain. These are pictures that I took this morning.

This is a Rajin Cajun Ruellia (Ruellia elegans). I haven't put a picture of this plant on my blog yet. While I was looking at the plants this morning, I realized this and took a few pictures of it. Yes, I know the plant needs fertilzer, just ignore the yellowing leaves. And ignore the nutsedge. I hate nutsedge. It's the main weed in my garden and I can't get rid of it!

I love the bright red flowers! This plant blooms all summer long, no matter how high the temps get.

These are unopened flowers. They may open up later today or tomorrow.

And now for more pictures of Indigo Spires Salvia! I love this plant! The bees love it too. Every morning I see bees buzzing around the flowers. That is one of my Black eyed Susans in the picture too.

We've gotten a lot of rain lately and this salvia responded by putting out lots of flowers.

This is another plant new to my blog. It is a Chocolate Mint (Lamiaceae mentha). It smells like Junior Mints! I planted this in the corner of my garden 3 years ago. When I bought it, it was in a 4 inch pot. Since then it has tripled it's size(which is what I wanted it to do!). It does spread rapidly, but thats OK. Unlike other mints, it doesn't get very tall and it doesn't try to push other plants out of it's way; instead, it creeps along the garden floor.

It does go dormant in the winter, but when spring comes it puts out lots of new growth. In early summer it blooms and the bees love the flowers! After blooming, I cut it back to around 3-4 inches and let it put on more new growth.

Here is a close up of the leaves. I took this picture around 8:30 this morning and there was still dew on the leaves.

I love Butterfly Ginger (Hedychium coronarium). It smells just like a Gardenia. Give it shade and it will grow quickly. I've got mine under a big live oak tree and it seems to like it there.

Lastly, this is picture of a bluebird house that my dad built. The house is mounted on a live oak tree. I don't have any bluebirds around my house and I was hoping to attract them with this bird house. It didn't work! The only thing that lives in the bird house is spiders. I'm thinking about moving the house to my grandparent's camp in Clinton. They have lots of bluebirds there and they could make use of the house.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Salvias and Susans

August is winding down and it is still hot; no relief in sight until October. With temps in the high 90's, my plants aren't doing much. I've been thinking about things I could blog about, but I haven't been too inspired. My Salvias and Susans have done well, but not Veronica (more on that at the end of the post).

Two plants that have done well in the heat/humidity are Salvias and Black eyed Susans. I'll always have these in my garden. It seems nothing can kill them. I have several varieties of Salvias: Black and Blue Salvia, Victoria Blue Salvia, Autumn Sage (yes, still a Salvia even though it says Sage) and Indigo Spires Salvia. I love all of them! I don't have a picture of my Victoria Blue Salvia, but here are pictures of the others.

The above picture is my Black and Blue Salvia (Salvia guaranitica). I love the deep blue flowers! Hummingbirds love this plant too. I'm having trouble with leaf yellowing, but that can be solved with fertilizer. Other than that, this plant is care free. This plant can be invasive so give it lots of room!

Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii) has done well this summer. The flowers are a nice deep red which the hummingbirds love. It put on a bunch of flowers when I first planted it (end of spring) then I dead headed it, and now it is putting out fresh flowers. Autumn Sage is a slow grower, but I'm sure once next spring comes around it will grow nicely. It is also a short Salvia. Keep that in mind when planting it. You don't want this nice plant to get swallowed by a larger plant.

The above picture is Indigo Spires Salvia (Salvia farinacea). I've been so impressed with this plant. It grows very fast! It is now covered in light blue/lavender flowers. This salvia can get large, so I planted it in the back of my flower bed. I need to go out and take more pictures of it! Its a floppy plant, so be sure you have some sort of support for it to lean on. I have it leaning on my chain link fence and it seems to be doing well there.

My Susans have not stopped blooming! They are the toughest plant out there. Be sure you have one in your garden, you won't regret it! They keep multiplying, which is another thing I love about them.

The above is a Veronica or a Speedwell, it has several names. I took this picture in the spring and it was doing very well then. But when summer came along, it started to slowly die. I think the main problem is that Veronicas don't handle full sun well in south Louisiana. I got this plant at Lowe's and it was labeled for full sun, but it did not have the correct label for south Louisiana. If it comes back next spring, I may move it to a spot with more shade. Oh well. Live and learn. At least I got to enjoy it during the spring.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

New Plants

While I was browsing through the garden center at Lowe's yesterday, I found some nice plants for a decent price. The first plant to catch my eye was a Bat Face Cuphea (Cuphea llavea). Here it is below:

It was priced around $5 for a one gallon plant. Couldn't pass it up! I almost bought a Bat Face Cuphea last spring and I've been regretting it ever since. The flowers are supposed to look like a bat face, so that's where the name comes from. It's such a cute plant! Another good thing about this plant is that I can divide it into at least three separate plants! When choosing plants, I always look to see if I can divide the root ball. You get more plant for your money that way.

This is another plant that I bought at Lowe's. It's a Porterweed (Stachytarpheta mutabilis). Porterweed is available with blue or red flowers, and I picked red because I already have plenty of blue flowers. This was also priced around $5 and in a one gallon pot. Like the Cuphea, the Porterweed can be divided into several plants. Butterflies like Porterweed, so that's an added bonus.

In the back of the garden center, I also saw several carts with chrysanthemums! Seeing the mums reminds me that fall is on the way!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Loving the Rain!

This past week has brought buckets of rain to St. Gabriel and I love it! My plants look 10X better and the grass is green again. Yesterday we got almost 3 inches of rain! I'm also able to get lots of use out of my new rain gauge. I got it at Lowe's for a few dollars. It's so cute!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Summer days

Its been so hot down here in south Louisiana! We got some rain a few days ago and that helped to cool things down some. As I'm writing this blog post, I can hear thunder and I'm hoping that we'll get some rain this afternoon. Here are some of my plants that have held up to the hot/humid summertime!

In my opinion, Black eyed Susans are the best perennial for Southern flower beds. There is hardly another perennial who: 1)blooms all summer 2)takes the heat 3)doesn't mind periods of drought. Here is another grouping of Black eyed Susans who have a solid yellow face. I like these the best!

Coral Nymph Salvia is doing great too! The bees love the flowers and I think I've seen hummingbirds dart around this plant too.

I took this picture in the afternoon, so the color is washed out but it has very pretty pink and white flowers! The heat doesn't bother this plant either. It bloomed non stop since spring. I'm definitely adding more of these next spring.

This is another new addition- Indigo Spires Salvia. I love the soft purple flower color. The flower spikes are fairly big, around 4-5 inches. I'm going to start some of these from cuttings and give away to friends.

I love the foliage of Purple Heart! Its such a tough plant too! I dug a small clump from my neighbor's yard and planted it in my garden! My neighbor didn't mind that I took some Purple Heart from his yard...he didn't even know it was there! This plant looks so nice in mass plantings.

This picture serves as an update on my progress in rooting a Pride of Barbados. I took this cutting several weeks back, and it is growing! Soon it will need to be transplanted into a bigger pot.

Finally, this is my dog Max. He is part Akita, which means he has very thick fur! He tries to stay cool by digging a hole in the dirt and laying in the shade all day. He also sheds alot when summer rolls around. I guess he is just trying to stay cool.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Coral Nymph Salvia

This is a new plant in my flower bed. I was browsing the clearance plants at Harb's Oasis and I came across this salvia. I'm a huge fan of salvias, but I've never planted this particular one, so I wanted to give it a try.

I bought the Coral Nymph salvia (Salvia coccinea)a few months ago. It has done great! It blooms constantly and the Louisiana heat doesn't bother it one bit. I'm going to get several more of these salvias in the spring. They are such a great plant!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Autumn Sage

Autumn sage (Salvia greggii) is a new plant in my garden. I picked it up at Lowes for $3! Thats really cheap for a one gallon pot and I couldn't pass it up. I planted it a few months ago and its doing great, despite the awful heat and humidity. It is fairly drought tolerant, which is a characteristic that I always look for in plants.

This plant is actually a member of the Salvia family. Most salvias are somewhat drought tolerant and Autumn sage seems to be one of them. I've got it planted in full sun and it hasn't wilted once.

Salvias should be included in every butterfly and hummingbird garden. They are good nectar sources and they bloom all summer long!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Bear's Paw

A few weeks ago I went to Lowes and found this cute succulent! It's called Bear's Paw (Cotyledon tomentosa). The name comes from the shape of the leaves.

Another succulent that I have is Hen and Chicks (Sempervivum tectorum). I planted it a few weeks ago in a clay pot that Dave and I painted.

The pot is painted with the colors of the Italian flag (Dave is Italian). We got the idea to paint clay pots when we visited St. Louis, Missouri last year. We spent alot of time in the Hill district of St. Louis which is a section of town that is densely populated with Italians. Even the fire hydrants are painted the Italian flag colors! There were so many good Italian restaurants there! Mama Campisi's was so good and very affordable!

So thats where we got the idea!