Monday, October 25, 2010

Garden happenings

I love Coral Nymph Salvia! When I look at this plant from my kitchen window, it looks like a pink cloud! It has tons of flowers and the bees love them. It has bloomed non stop since I planted it in early summer.

The above picture is a seed pod of Butterfly Ginger. I've never had any of my Butterfly Gingers produce seed, so this was an interesting sight!

The above is my mum that I bought and planted at least a month ago. I bought it with tons of unopened flower buds and expected it to bloom shortly. I was wrong. Its been at least a month and the flowers are just now opening. I think the temperature had to drop a little for the mums to bloom. I love the color! Its a deep red/maroon.

Cosmos are one of the super plants in my flower bed. They bloom constantly and don't require any additional water (other than rain). The flowers last for several days and then produce seeds. I've been taking the seeds and spreading them in my neighbors abandoned garden! I'm hoping to make that entire forgotten garden full of cosmos!

Pink impatiens brighten up my back patio. They bloom all the time and don't need any maintenance.

Here is an updated picture of my volunteer coleus. I'd say its about one foot tall.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Oak Alley Plantation

This weekend was the Oak Alley Fall Festival at the Oak Alley plantation in Vacherie, LA. The festival features arts and crafts from mostly local vendors. The vendors bring handmade jewelery, paintings, crafts, and food.

Here is a picture of the plantation. It has an alley made by Live Oak trees planted in two long rows. These oaks are huge and are over a hundred years old.

This is one of the oak trees that make up the alley way. Can you see Dave at the bottom of the trunk? I wanted him to be in the picture to give you a sense of how big the oaks are.

This is a close up of the front of Oak Alley. Its such a beautiful place!

Side view of the front. You can tour the inside of Oak Alley, but it is expensive and they don't allow pictures inside. The ladies that give the tour dress up in clothes that people from the 1800's wore. You can see some of them in this picture.

I love this picture! Live Oaks are huge trees with long draping branches. This picture shows how the tree grows up, then, when it is very old, the branches drape to the ground.

Here is Dave kneeling down by trunk of a live oak. This tree is very old!

Here is what I bought at the festival:

I love Louisiana swamp pictures.

This is a very special picture because it is made from MUD! Can you believe that? The artist travels around Louisiana and collects different types of mud (all mud had its own unique color) and he uses mud to paint with!! The white parts of the picture are unpainted canvas.

I love black and white paintings! This is a swamp scene and thats why I love it. There is a houseboat in the background and two people on small boats collecting moss.

This is my most unique purchase: a crab shell painted in LSU colors. Its a Christmas ornament! I couldn't pass it up. This is a Christmas present for my in laws. They are huge LSU fans. They've had season tickets for 20 years and never miss a game. I know they will love it!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Three for Thursday: Favorite Plants

Bat Face Cuphea is one of my favorite plants! It blooms non stop all summer and into the fall. I suspect it will keep blooming until frost. Thats fine with me because it is a perennial and will come back next spring and continue to produce flowers. Bat Face Cuphea loves full sun and doesn't need much water---a perfect plant for south Louisiana.

This is Coral Nymph Salvia. The picture doesn't do this plant justice. The flowers look much better in person. It has been blooming continuously since I planted it and the bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds love it! I'm hoping that it will reseed by next spring so I can transplant little Coral Nymph Salvias all over the garden.

Last, but not least, is another Salvia...Indigo Spires Salvia. This plant is more like a small shrub--mine is around 4 feet across and 3-4 feet tall. Indigo Spires is another plant that blooms non stop, loves full sun and is a perennial. Every gardener should have Indigo Spires Salvia in their collection. Bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds flock to this plant. The plants in the background are yellow cosmos and purple wandering jew in the far left corner.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Firespike (Odontonema strictum) is a great plant for light shade. In Louisiana, Zone 8, it is herbaceous (dies to ground in winter, comes back in spring) and blooms in late summer. Usually this plant would be loaded with flowers, but mine only has one flower. The problem? Too much shade! I planted a few of these under the eave of my house, but that spot turned out to be too shady. I need to move it where it will get some morning sun.

Here is a close up of the flower spike. Hummingbirds love Firespikes! My first encounter with Firespikes was at LSU (I went to LSU for graduate school for horticulture). One day I decided to take a break from thesis writing and walk around the horticulture building. The entire building has landscaping around it and its a mixture of native and tropical plants. Because of their showy red flowers, the Firespikes stood out from the surrounding plants. They look great in mass plantings!

That evening I got a handful of Firespike cuttings. They are very easy to root! Now, 2 years later, they are just now starting to bloom. Hopefully next summer they will bloom while the hummingbirds are here to enjoy them.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sweet Olive

Sweet olives (Osmanthus fragrans) are a very Southern shrub. I haven't met a gardener who didn't love Sweet Olives or have them in their garden. Most people plant them because they enjoy the fragrance. Its one of the few plants that can fill up your garden with its wonderful smell.

They are evergreen and grow well in sun or part shade. Sweet Olives are slow growers, but have the potential to grow tall. In my backyard I have an old Sweet Olive that is 7-8 feet tall.

Sweet Olives are big shrubs with tiny flowers. The above picture is a close up of a flower cluster. The flowers haven't quite opened up yet, but they still smell great! They have a strong fragrance that can be smelled from quite a distance. Because of their nice fragrance, plant Sweet Olives near a window, back porch, or walkway. In these locations you can capitalize on their fragrance.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tuesday update

This is an update on my volunteer coleus. Its growing big! I don't have the pot in enough sunlight so the coleus is bending toward the light. Oh well. I can't move the pot because the bottom has crumpled away and all the soil would spill out if moved. I'm just enjoying the coleus, bent or not.

My butterfly ginger is doing very well. Here is a close up of an unopened flower bud. These flowers have a strong fragrance, similar to a gardenia. Plant them in a shady spot and they will take off. Every year my butterfly gingers multiply more and more. I'll have to divide them soon and share with others.

This is a plant that I haven't blogged about yet--Turks Cap (Malvaviscus arboreus v. drummondii). Turks Cap should have bloomed a few weeks ago, but mine is in too much shade. I need to move it to a spot with more sun. Its just now putting out buds and I hope it will bloom sometime next week. I hope the hummingbirds are still here to enjoy it.

I love cosmos! They bloom spring till frost and reseed well. I have cosmos popping up all over my garden. Cosmos love full sun and don't need any extra maintenance. See the bug on the right side of the flower? Thats a spotted cucumber beetle! I don't know why I have a spotted cucumber beetle in my garden because the only vegetable I have is a tomato.

Here is an updated picture of Agastache 'Heatwave'. Its got a ton of blooms! This is an easy plant to grow because it hardly needs any maintenance. It does fine in drought so I rarely water it. I did water when I planted it, but only so it would get established. I got this Agastache at Lowes and I'm going to look for more of them in different colors!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Its been awhile

I haven't posted here in a long time. Last week, I got a job at Cabelas! Since I've been hired, I've been so busy during the day and really tired at night. Plus not much has been going on in my garden.

This is a volunteer vinca. Last summer I planted a few of these vincas and this summer I have some volunteers. I love the color!

I love Bat Face Cuphea! This plant holds up so well to the heat and doesn't need much water. Plus its a perennial!

A few weeks back I cut my Black and Blue Salvia down a good bit. The top portion was looking awful, so I took it down to half its size. It had some new growth coming from the bottom and now its looking nice! It even put out some new flowers. I love the deep blue color.