Thursday, June 25, 2009

Roses In Bloom

The hot, dry weather doesn't seem to have stopped my roses from blooming. Most of them are still going full swing.

Archduke Charles still has these lovely little blooms that are darker than normal since it's so hot. In cooler weather, the blooms start off a lighter pink. Still no sign at all of any sort of disease on this plant. It loves Louisiana.

My little Ducher is blooming like crazy still and is going wild with growth and health. I love this little rose which to me acts a lot like a polyantha rose. The bush is staying pretty compact and bushy and the flowers are petite. I detect only a very light fragrance on the blooms, but the number of them makes for a wonderful shrub. Another rose that loves our weather.

Yet another beautiful bloom from my Earthsong rose. This rose makes me want to try some more of the roses that Griffith Buck developed. I'd say the Buck roses are a nice fit for the South.

My Madame Alfred Carriere climber hasn't been getting much publicity from me lately. It lost about 40% of its leaves to blackspot, but seems to be recovering nicely now. Despite the blackspot, MAC has bloomed almost continually since early spring. The other day I caught a strong whiff of fragrance coming off this plant from over 10 feet away. The blooms are so profuse that the wafting scent is natural.

For those of you who are interested, I've got a few comments on what roses take the heat and humidity best based on observing my own roses. All three of the China roses that I have are thriving. The China's I have are Archduke Charles, Ducher, and Cramoisi Superieur. My Buck rose, Earthsong, has never looked better or healthier. My shrub rose, Belinda's Dream, acts like this must be paradise because it's blooming better now than in it's first spring flush. Mrs. B. R. Cant, a tea rose, must also be made for this weather because it's growing like crazy. To be honest, nearly all my roses are taking the heat well with the exception of my David Austin ones, Abraham Darby and Golden Celebration. This heat must not be very conducive to blackspot since I have very little of that disease showing on my roses. In fact, only 3 of my roses are showing any blackspot at all right now! The ones with some blackspot are Madame Alfred Carriere, Abraham Darby, and Golden Celebration - and they seem to be recovering from it now (without spraying!) My other David Austin rose, Gertrude Jekyll, doesn't have any blackspot this year.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Another Couple of Butterfly Magnets

I don't think I've shown any pictures yet of my red penta. This baby is so bright that the butterflies and hummingbirds just can't miss it.

I also planted a small chaste vitex tree last fall. It's already blooming! This is a great hummingbird tree that takes drought like a champ. It also has a sweet smell for humans to enjoy. A wonderful little tree.


Do you like pansies? Well, here's a "pansy" for the summer. It's a Torenia. They grow in partial shade very well and are a wonderful potted plant. They thrive in the heat and bloom till frost. It's not a very big plant, so you need to plant them in a large group if you want them as bedding plants. Mine stay in profuse bloom continually. I think their best use is as a filler in a pot with other plants.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

It's Four O'clock Somewhere

The lowly Four O'clock doesn't get much positive press these days. It's just too easy to grow, often becoming quite invasive. However, in the right conditions, it's a wonderful plant. Anyone can get it to grow, it comes in many different colors, most varieties are fragrant, and it comes back every year. It tends to come up all over, but the small seedlings are easy to pull up and either throw away or give to friends. Cut them back so they will be bushier and not flop over. Not to be missed if you have a fragrant garden, but be sure you get a variety that has fragrance. I think the white-flowered kinds would look wonderful in a moonlight garden. The blooms don't open until the evening, but they should be called Seven O'clock's down here because that's when they open up in Louisiana!

Companions and Friends

I like planting complementary plants together. Some plants just seem to make nice companions. It's fun to experiment and see just what will make the neatest combination. Here are a couple combos in my yard.

This is a Sensation Yellow cosmos growing at the base of my Mexican Flame vine. They are both brightly colored.

This second is quite the unusual combo. It's a Ducher rose, a plumbago, and a white four o'clock growing all next to each other in a neat little patch. I think they look great together. Feel free to click on the pictures to get a larger image.

A Few of My Vines

Some of my annual and tropical vines are really coming into their own in the heat of early summer. Here are some pictures to make your mouth water.

This first one is my Mexican Flame vine. It has a beautiful flame orange color that really stands out. The butterflies like it too. A very easy vine to grow with daisy-looking flowers that are so appealing. Give it a try if you want something different.

Next up is a bloom cluster on one of my hyacinth bean vines. These vines are so vigorous and healthy looking! If you want something that grows VERY rapidly, has gorgeous tropical foliage, and makes profuse blooms like this one, then plant some hyacinth beans. This is one of my new favorites that I intend to plant every year.

Last up is a low quality picture of my Grandpa Ott morning glory. I don't plant this any more - it just comes up voluntarily every year from self-seeding. This year some of the seeds landed in the perfect spot where I water them a little more frequently. They are looking very healthy. I'm never up before the sun gets to shining brightly in this spot, so the low quality of the picture. This particular morning glory is a dark purple variety. I also have some Heavenly Blue, but they are not blooming yet because of the last start they got this year. These Grandpa Ott's seem to self-seed much more readily than my other varieties.

Friday, June 19, 2009


My Earthsong bush is still going strong in the drought and heat down here. Here are a couple of photos to show just how healthy this plant is. First up is a whole bush shot to show how disease free it is - and I haven't been spraying at all in the last month.

This is a close-up of a bloom. This color is amazing. It fades some after being in the sun for a day or so.

Takes a Lickin' and Keeps On Tickin'

This bright flower is a Tithonia - better known as a Mexican Sunflower. This beauty is nearly indestructible. It takes drought like a champ. It has huge, lush leaves that look very tropical and attractive even when not in bloom. Butterflies flock to the blooms. I recommend putting this one at the back of the border because it gets over 5 feet tall. It reseeds quite well on its own, or you can collect seeds from it for next year. One of the best annuals to plant in a forgotten corner that you won't be watering.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Stop and Smell the Fruit Loops

Clerodendrum Bungei ("Cashmere Bouquet") is a plant that is hated by many. It is invasive and thuggish if given the right conditions. Little suckers will come up all over about a 10 foot radius around the original plant and it can rapidly form a grove. This is just the trait that I want in a back corner of my yard where nothing but weeds prevail. There are just times when invasive is what you want!
Here is a succession of pictures taken over several days of my Cashmere Bouquet.

The buds form a deep red cluster

The first blooms burst forth giving off the distinctive Fruit Loop smell that I love.

Some of the clusters have reached full bloom.

The whole plant in full bloom. Incidentally, butterflies and bees like this plant right well.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Something New is Blooming

There are some new things blooming in my yard this week. Thought my viewers might like seeing these beauties.

First up, a cluster of Super Dorothy blooms. This is actually not a new bloom, but I haven't posted any pictures on this site of Super Dorothy yet. This is a very easy-to-train rambler rose that is purported to have some repeat blooming capabilities. I decided to try it since most ramblers are only once bloomers. It makes huge clusters of these frilly, pink blossoms. The branches of this rose are very pliable and with fewer-than-normal thorns. There is no fragrance that I can detect.

Second, is the first bloom of the year on my Jacob Kline monarda ("Bee Balm.") This is supposed to be a mildew resistant variety. I planted it because it's supposed to be a favorite of hummingbirds, plus I love the deep red coloration. Maybe I'll have further reports on monarda in the future.

This third picture is of a red Turk's Cap that I have planted in a large pot. It's another hummingbird favorite that loves heat, but can't take freezes. Another semi-tropical that may survive the winter with adequate protection.

Fourth up, is a cluster of blooms on one of my hyacinth bean vines. This rascal is thriving on my chain-link fence in an area where it is getting no supplemental water or other help. Highly recommended for covering a fence with little hassle. I really like this vine. It is an annual in Louisiana, so needs to be re-planted each year.

Last, I present to you my first Malva Zebrina bloom. This plant is also known as French Hollyhocks. It grows much better in the Deep South than true hollyhocks. I refuse to put a picture of my pathetic true hollyhock because it looks so bad. In contrast, this malva is healthy and thriving in a very dry area of my yard.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Garden Blogger Bloom Day for June

The 15th of every month is Garden Blogger's Bloom Day. Here is a sample of what is blooming for me today. I have other plants blooming, but this is a nice sample.

Red Double Knockout rose. Blooming as prolifically as ever.

The little China rose Ducher with some plumbago behind it. This rose loves our Louisiana heat.

Julia Child rose. Healthy and cute!

Gertrude Jekyll. Much more repeat bloom this year than last.

Pink crape myrtle. Just beginning the summer flush of bloom.

Westerland rose. Orange and fragrant.

Belinda's Dream. What a wonderful rose variety!

Telstar Picotee dianthus, still blooming into the heat of summer. I sheared them back a few weeks ago hoping to keep them going till next fall.

Rose penta. This plant seems to get better as the weather gets more miserable. It loves heat and humidity.

Incense passiflora. Such a unique bloom.

Luna Swirl hardy hibiscus.

Thunbergia alate - Black-eyed Susan vine.

Susie's Flowers

My sister, Susie, has her own share of beautiful flowers and shrubs. I went to her house yesterday and took some pictures of a few of them.

This is Susie's hardy hibiscus. The picture would be much better, but the heat and drought has the blooms wilting a little on her shrub. It's still glorious though, isn't it?

Susie has one of the most striking beds of verbena around. I believe that this variety is known as Sissinghurst. Makes me want to plant some of my own sometime. They are perennial for her and make it through the winter with no problem. They continually bloom like this.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Just a Couple of Rose Pictures

Cluster of Julia Child blooms.

Abraham Darby


I am a huge fan of LSU sports. Right now LSU is in the baseball College World Series. With that being said, a nice flower in LSU's colors of purple and gold will always get my attention. So you can imagine my delight in this gladiola that is a perfect match for LSU's colors. Geaux Tigers!

Another Favorite Shrub

I've got a new favorite shrub. It's the not-so-common, lowly hardy hibiscus. This wonderful shrub makes a lovely, tropical-looking plant that has HUGE blooms from early summer till frost. The blooms can be the size of a plate and come in many different colors. It's only weakness is that is can't take drought, so don't plant it in a place where you can't water it. It doesn't need rich soil or much pampering. It will die back to the ground each winter, then come up in the spring (it can come later than most other plants, so don't give up on it too early!) It can be grown as far north as zone 5. Above is a picture of mine that is a pink blend known as Luna Swirl. You should see my sister Susie's plum-colored one.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

More Bloom Close-ups

First up is my wine colored daylily.

Next up, Chicago Apache daylily.

Third, my Niko Blue hydrangea

Fourth, is Clerodendrum Bungei (also known as "Cashmere Bouquet.") This bloom smells just like Fruit Loops to me. More about this plant in a later blog update.

Last, a gardenia bloom. My gardenias are almost finished with their flush of blooms. I will sorely miss them.

Rose Bloom Close-ups

I took a bunch of close-up photos of different blooms this morning. Here are some of the roses.

This first one is Belinda's Dream

This second one is Double Delight. It's still got a lot of cream coloring because it just came out and hasn't had much sun yet.

This third one is the cabbage-like bloom of Mrs. B. R. Cant.

Last, is a close-up of Dublin Bay.