Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Jean Lafitte National Park

This park is one of a few national parks in Louisiana. Jean Lafitte Park is not just one park, but many park sites across Louisiana. We visited the Jean Lafitte National Park: Barataria Preserve located in Marrero, LA (south of New Orleans).

This park is a great place to see wildlife, especially snakes. We saw many different types of snakes. One snake was crossing the path and David came close to stepping on it! Here are the snake pictures:

Dave found the snake skin on the porch of the visitor's center! I believe skin belonged to the last snake picture (a water moccasin, poisenous!) since it was sitting on a log next to the visitor's center. I'm glad we didn't come into close contact with a moccasin; they are poisenous and aggresive!

The visitor's center has a boardwalk trail leading into the woods. We saw the first two snakes on this trail.

The trail went through a section of woods that sometimes has standing water. The trees you see are bald cypress (state tree of LA) and they have knees! The cypress knees help with stability during periods of high water. If the cypress tree is old, its knees will be tall. The knees in the picture were about one foot high (average height).

These purple flowers were everywhere! I wish I knew the name of them. I know the white floppy flower is called lizard's tail, not sure about the purple one.

Now we left the visitor's center and are one another trail, Bayou Coquille trail. This trail follows the bayou and goes into the marsh.

This is Spanish Moss hanging from cypress trees. Spanish Moss can be found all over south Louisiana hanging in many different trees, but mostly oak and cypress.

On our way back, we came across this alligater! He's a small alligater, probably no bigger than 4 feet long. I'm glad we saw him, this was the one animal we really wanted to see.

Monday, April 18, 2011

April Flowers

April is the month where everything in my garden starts blooming. Here's some of my favorite flowers.

This is Cleome and it is a new addition to my garden. I bought this a few weeks ago at a nursery in Prairieville and have been pleased with my purchase. It has lots of blooms and new buds emerging.

I love the blue flowers of Victoria Blue Salvia! I've had this salvia for two years. The first year it didn't bloom much and stayed small, but this year its blooming more and growing bigger! You can't go wrong with salvias. Here is a close up of the flower.

The above is Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha). It is also a new addition and I love it. The leaves and flowers are fuzzy. Here is a close up of the flower.

One of my new favorites is Gaillardia or Blanket Flower. It started blooming a few days ago and has plenty more flowers buds about to open. I like this plant because it doesn't need much water (drought tolerant). Any plant I buy must be able to tolerate the hot Louisiana summers.

This Milkweed (Asclepia tuberosa) is the only host plant for Monarch butterflies. I planted two in hopes of attracting Monarchs. So far I haven't seen any....

We found this beautiful Hibiscus on clearance at Louisiana Nursery for $2. I couldn't pass it up. I love the solid yellow flowers! I always check the clearance racks when I'm at plant nurserys. You can find good deals, especially at Lowe's or Home Depot.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

LSU Azaleas

I hope you enjoy the beautiful azaleas on LSU's campus!

A Southern garden wouldn't be complete without a few azalea bushes. They are very popular in the Baton Rouge, LA area and are in full bloom in late March or early April. Azaleas are easy to grow, they like parital sun and acidic soil (low pH).

The azaleas pictured in this post are Formosa Azaleas. Of all the azalea varieties, the Formosa are the largest growing and are what people normally think of when you mention an azalea bush. They come in a few different colors, as you'll see in my pictures.

This is a view down one of LSU's streets. I've walked down this road many times on my way to class.

I believe this solid white azalea is a G.G. Gerbing.

I'm pretty sure this is a George Tabor azalea.

The above picture was taken from the Quad, its a gathering area that connets several different buildings and people relax here when they don't have class.

Monday, April 4, 2011


Wisteria is one of the most popular vines to grow in the South, especially Louisiana. Most everyone has a wisteria vine in their yard, but some underestimate the size a wisteria vine can grow! I've seen mature wisteria vines that cover an entire oak tree. If you're thinking about planting one, give it lots of space!

The wisteria pictured in this blog post belongs to my neighbor. The vine covers her entire chain link fence, I'd estimate the fence to be around 30 feet long. In some spots the vine is so big that it draps down to the ground!

Wisteria grows well in most any spot. They can take full sun or some light shade. No need to fertilize because wisteria takes off growing as soon as it is planted.

Wisteria is infamously know as an aggresive grower, but there are plenty of good things about wisteria. If you look closly in the above picture, you'll see a bee buzzing around the flower. Bees love wisteria. When I was taking pictures of the flowers, there were so many bees buzzing around me that I couldn't count them.

I love the smell of wisteria! Its a lovely light scent that reminds me of summer. The flowers are around 6 inches long and are a beautiful shade of purple. Wisteria blooms in early spring, but doesn't have a long bloom period. They bloom for about 2 weeks and as I'm writing this post, my neighbor's wisteria has already stopped blooming.

I found a bird's nest tucked away inside the wisteria, but I didn't see any eggs in the nest.