Monday, March 30, 2009

Callas, petunias, and roses

Here's a picture of my lush calla lily. These things do great here. This one is growing between my azaleas on the north side of my house with virtually full shade.

Here's my Belinda's Dream bloom coming out more. Notice the whole plant shot!

These are my Easy Wave Mystic Pink petunias in a hanging pot. They look nice today.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

More full bush photos

Above is Gertrude Jekyll. You can see what appears to be stunted leaves. I've had lots of aphids on my roses this spring and have not sprayed them at all. This looks almost like the aphids stunted the leaves some, but I'm not sure what the actual cause is. This same thing has also happened to my Double Knockout. This one planted May '08.

Julia Child showing signs of blackspot on some leaves. I hope she grows out of it. Actually, it's still a relatively healthy little bush. Planted October '08.

One of my pet peeves

One of my pet peeves in regards to flower pictures on-line is that you seldom get a picture of the whole bush. Even though this is my pet peeve, I've already noticed that I'm not putting pics of my whole shrubs/plants on this blog. This must be because I'm not totally proud of the way they look at this point in time. This seems to be slightly mis-leading to people. So in the interests of honest blogging, I will begin posting pics of my whole plants. You can see them warts and all.

Above is my little white china rose, Ducher. Note how healthy this one looks. It's already got a bundle of buds too. I just planted it October '08.

Now comes Double Delight. Planted July '08 on Fortuniana rootstock. Who says you can't plant potted roses in the heat of the summer? Just keep them well watered. There were/are some mildewed and blackspotted leaves, but not enough to even phase this one yet.

This is Belinda's Dream with two beginning buds. It's also pretty healthy for this rainy time of year. Very few spots on the leaves. Planted October '08.

Archduke Charles is about to start another round of blooms. It also shows almost no disease. Planted October '08.

This is Abraham Darby. It's just starting to put out lots of new growth and you can see several blooms. None of the new growth shows signs of disease. This one was planted May '07. If I take some more pics next month, this one will look fabulous and full.

After the storms

The plants look pretty ragged after the horrid storms and hail we had yesterday, but this Homestead Purple verbena in my "pastel" butterfly garden is still going.

Here's my first Belinda's Dream rose bud of the year. I'm told this is among the best roses for our area. Disease resistant, bushy, and hybrid tea-looking.

Shades of red

Celosia's in my "flame" themed garden.

The first bloom on my Mexican Flame vine. This is supposed to be a butterfly favorite, plus it takes the heat well, is care-free, and covers ugly fences.

One of the first red Double Knockout blooms of the year. Pretty maintenane free rose, but I don't like the fact that it has no smell. To me roses are supposed to have fragrance.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

How about some cottage material?

Today's posting is all about some "cottage" garden favorites. These are some good choices for Louisiana.

First off, the first of my larkspur blooms this year. These come in all different shades of blue and pink and red. They are easy and often will come back the next year on their own. One thing I really like about them is how the hummingbirds love them. Their are different types, but the ones I have get pretty tall - 4'. They melt in the Louisiana heat around May. Plant them in October down here.

Next up, some Telstar Picotee Dianthus. These little rascals are prolific! They stay covered in blossoms and should bloom till around May. The Telstar variety is a Louisiana Select one and should do well all over the South. I think this would also be a perfect candidate for container planting. It gets about a foot tall.

Last, is a close-up of one of my Old Spice sweetpea flowers. Old Spice is supposed to take the heat better than other types. It still melts away around April down here. Right now I have a section of fence covered with these vines and the fragrance really wafts on a still day. Mine are all different colors from this wine red to lavender blue. If you deadhead the flowers when they fade, the vines will keep producing blooms longer. Plant them in late October / early November in the deep South. This is about the only cool season annual vine I know of for down here, but it's a good one.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mrs. B. R. Cant

The date on the picture is wrong, it was actually 3-23-09. This is a tea rose called Mrs. B. R. Cant. It makes huge, silvery pink flowers that actually smell like tea. The plant is supposed to get huge here, so let's see if I can get mine to be 8' x 8!' This bush is only a year old and we counted 16 buds on it the other day. Mine is too young for me to have experience with yet, but it's supposed to be very disease resistant and healthy in the Southeast.

Spiderwort and more

What is this dimunitive little flower growing all over my yard every spring? It's tradescantia, otherwise known as spiderwort. It grows wild here in my part of Louisiana. It's cute and springy, so I try to mow around them till they are finished.

My purple bearded irises are going crazy again this year. I don't know what kind this is, they are just the old-fashioned purple ones and they are very fragrant. Jo has a bouquet in the kitchen right now that is smelling up the whole house. I've been told that other types of bearded irises don't do well here, but I'm thinking about trying some out just to see.

Why would I put a picture of such a boring little flower shrub? Well, this is a sweet tea olive or osmanthus fragrans (we call them sweet olives) and it's fragrance will fill an entire yard. It gets tall and full and it is evergreen. My mom has 3 huge ones that you can smell as soon as you get out of your car at her house. Everybody in the South should have at least one of these! I think they would make a good hedge too. Want another good reason to have them? Well, they bloom nearly all year, though late winter/early spring seems to be the best time. Don't try them if you live north of Arkansas because they can't take the cold.

March 25 roses

This is a Julia Child floribunda rose. Note that it has some blackspot. It fades to a lighter color after it's exposed to the sun for a while. Has a nice but light fragrance. Supposedly does not get very tall.
My first Double Delight bloom of the year. Extremely sweet and strong fragrance. This is the favorite rose of many. Down here it has much more red in the blooms when it's hotter. This one definitely needs to be sprayed or it will be a blackspot mess. The only reason I have it is because I found it on Fortuniana rootstock which makes for a far more vigorous plant. This plant has grown far more than normal for a one year plant, so the Fortuniana reputation must be true.

My little china rose, Archduke Charles. The flowers start out light pink, then get darker and darker till they are crimson. Light fragrance on a very healthy bush. I highly recommend this one for the hot, humid Southeast. You Yanks from up north should avoid it because it supposedly can't take the cold. This little bush is already a blooming fool for me, despite it's small size. It should get quite a bit bigger than this.

More azaleas, plus a beauty queen

Rhonda standing in front of the Red Ruffles azalea. The date on the pic is wrong - it was actually in March '09.
My big Formosa azalea. This is it's best year ever. The beauty of the picture is enhanced by Uncle Huey's nice boat in the background!

Some blooms from February

This camellia bloom was from earlier in the year. I've got 3 camellia shrubs. They bloom when not much else is going. This one is a Kramer's Supreme camellia japonica.

Here are some toadflax (spurred snapdragon) flowers from my "wildflower" bed. They are great - just throw seeds down on the ground and they are blooming in a short while.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Snapshots from March 24, '09

Above is my best Red Ruffles azalea bush. This must be the peak for it this year. It's so covered in bloom that you can hardly see the leaves. I have several of these bushes, but most are in full shade and so don't bloom as prolifically as this one that gets partial sun. I've heard that these can bloom more than once in the year, but mine bloom one good time and may put on some spotty blooms at other times of the year. I wouldn't call this a true re-bloomer. It sure puts on a show in March though. Gets about 3' high.

Next up is a bloom from my Abraham Darby rose bush. This time of year the blooms are a deeper shade of peach/apricot/pink than they are later in the year. The blooms on this rose are everything you can dream of in a rose: huge, full, and amazingly fragrant. In the late summer I always contemplate chopping this bush down because it gets blackspot badly and the leaves look ratty. However, when it comes into full bloom again, I forget all about that! The bush gets huge here in Louisiana and mine is growing on a chain link fence where I'm trying to make it into a climber. If you plant this rose plan on it getting blackspot, but it's worth the hassle because of the glorious blooms. Maybe later I'll post pics of the whole bush in full bloom.

Another shot of my Red Ruffle with some calla lilies. This one is just to give some context for the other photo.