Tuesday, September 2, 2014

If you like pink

then this post is for you!


Pink everywhere! August is the month for seashore mallow and at the beginning of September they are still in full bloom. If any white ones are left (same species, different color) they will begin blooming later this month.

After an amazingly cool week (in the 70s! with low humidity!), both the humidity and the temps have risen again. We're expecting mid 90s today and are in need of rain, so I've been watering. Seashore mallow need a rich diet to attain their full size and plenty of water or they will turn into brown potato chips. They are worth it though.

The bees agree. Every morning dozens of little bumblebees forage among the pink flowers. The garden sounds like a giant hive. The vast majority of the seashore mallow, if not all, originate from packs of seeds from the NC Botanical Garden. Seashore Mallow is easy to start from seed; no pretreatment is needed and all the seed requires is heat in order to germinate.

The white flowers are those of Hibiscus coccineus alba. As much as I love the red hibiscus for its flashiness and vigor (it has seeded itself all down the ditch behind the big bed and next to the old house site), I love the white hibiscus even more.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Cool Rain, Butterflies and Purple Tobacco

Where am I? It's late afternoon, raining, and in the upper 60s. This can't be central NC on the 2nd of August. Fell into a wormhole? The garden is going to love this. I took a chance last week and advantage of the beautiful weather we've been having and planted out some heat-loving stuff that were outgrowing their 1 gallon pots (chiefly summer phlox and daylilies) so I am extra grateful for the rain.

I have been gardening a lot, but at night have not been interested in going through pictures. Now I have so many pictures! lol Some day I might get through them.

Someone wondered aloud once why I would plant butterfly bush next to my house (since it can be gawky and lanky). Because butterflies, that's why. I can walk right out onto my front porch and enjoy butterflies while remaining in the shade after a hot day in the garden. The two best butterfly attractants in my garden are butterfly bushes and Joe Pye Weed. The Joe Pye Weed is still in the bud stage but the buddleia are a-flutter with butterflies on a warm sunny day.

One morning the butterfly bush by the house was covered with Silver-spotted Skippers

and American Ladies.

Later in the afternoon Tiger Swallowtails

and Black Butterflies joined the party. There are always a lot of Tiger Swallowtails around due to all of the tulip poplars and red maples, but I don't see Black Swallowtails as often. The only native host plant we have here is water hemlock (and very little of it -- I pull it whenever I see it, since it's such a highly poisonous plant), so we've been planting a lot of parsley plants the last couple of years. A caterpillar chewed down one of them last week. Golden Alexander (Zizia aurea) is a native host plant I've seen at the NC Botanical Garden. Next year when the Garden sends out its seed list I'll have to see if it's available, or check to see if the plant is for sale at the Garden.

There used to be butterfly bushes all around the southern and western sides of the house but all have died out over the winters, mainly due to the fact that they were too close to the roof dripline. It's OK. I grew them from cuttings and they were put there to provide quick color. I had to take down three buddleia in the gardens below the house this year because they were not aging well and looked out of place anyway. I've started to root more cuttings from 'Potter's Purple' to plant elsewhere because the butterflies love them so much.

Speaking of purple, I have purple flowering tobacco! I saw some at the garden at the Fort Fisher Aquarium 2 or 3 years ago and have wanted some in the garden ever since. The first year I tried to grow it the seeds didn't germinate, but this year, success! The color is a deep rich purple. The cultivar name is 'Perfume Deep Purple' so supposedly it's fragrant too.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Postcards from April

There's only a few 'Hillstar' daffs blooming now, but there's been narcissus blooming for about 6 weeks now.

These early daffs were finished by the end of the first week of April, and I miss them. Every year I think I need more, hundreds more. I wish I could order more of these, but these are passalongs. I can always divide them though and there are so many beautiful narcissus to choose from.

Very early April

My latest daffodils are Thalia, Curlew, and Hillstar. Thalia has a unique sort of graceful reflexed star shape.


I want to get some very late-blooming daffs to go with the Baptisia.

Henbit is just a naturalized weed but pollinators appreciate the early blooms and I love the bright colors.

Winter Honeysuckle bloomed a very long time, from December or January through early April. Even when there were just a few flowers the shrub was as fragrant as ever on a warm day.

So many shades of green.


Iris leaves

Neighbor's pasture and horse. I am particularly enamoured with this horses color. He's a seal brown and white paint and about Prince's age.

Looking across old house site

April 9th

New leaves on trees edging the neighbor's field.

Woodland Phlox

Florida azalea buds

FINALLY. This is the first time in 7 years that this azalea has had this many flowers.

April 13th

Not sure which year this picture was taken, as the date isn't printed on the back, but
here are the Florida Azaleas before in the house was moved out of the floodplain in 2007.

Native Jacob's Ladder



Pink Piedmont azaleas in bud

White piedmont azalea

The wisteria managed a few blooms. I cut it back last May or June, too far apparently.

This common lilac has continued to surprise me with how well it has done here. I expected a one cane wonder, maybe 3 feet, with lots of dead twigs. Instead it's about 5 feet tall and covered in flowers (although I never did get a good picture of the whole bush). I love the fragrance.

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