"Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity. " ~Lindley Karstens

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My Favorites -- September 2010

I know I am very late for joining Susan and others to show my favorites of the month, but better late than never!  September is a month that I really don't want to miss to post my favorites. There are so many wonderful things are happening in the garden even this gardener has been hardly having time to take care of it recently.

When I just bought this cat whiskers (Orthosiphon stamenis), I did not expect this is such an easy grower by the look of the delicate flowers.  It grew so fast in our hot humid summer that I had to trim it to keep it in a good form.  The cuttings are so easy to root that I just stick those trimmed branches into the regular soil, and they just grow.  My friends will soon get this pass along from me.

Can you believe this plant was just a single plant in a one-gallon container three months ago?  This actually has been trimmed twice.

I have shown these ground orchids (Spathoglottis) for many times, and I think now they have reached their peak.  What a great performer!

I started this Plumeria rubra from the cutting early this year.  It has been growing leaves nicely, and finally it bloomed last week!  Are these flowers looking delicious?  This flower's Chinese common name is "鸡蛋花" (Egg Flower).  Hmmm, The white flower with the yellow center does look like the egg white and yolk!  Yummy! It also has the nice scent.

This Rose of Sharon (Althea, Hibiscus syriacus) was new in my garden.  Actually the pot contains two individual plants, one pink and one white.  When I bought it from one local nursery, the owner told me that I can twist both branches together, so when they grow bigger, I will have a nice bush with two colors of flowers.  The white one is much smaller, so I made its branches wrapped around the pink one.  Right now, only the pink one shows lots of flowers, the white only occasionally blooms.  Hopefully, next year, they can grow into a beautiful bush, or even better, a small tree. 

Love the effect that blue porterweed against the pink flowers too...

Orchids are always my favorites!  This Blue Fox Tail Orchid is blooming the second time of the year! 

This Dendrobium Orchid is a house warming gift from my friend last year.  I hung it on a palm tree.  It only gets the morning sun.  I only water it when no rain for a week, otherwise it just gets the regular rainfall.  I even stopped fertilizing it for months.  To my surprise, it now has six flower spikes on it!

Since I learned "Leave me alone" tip of growing orchids, I have gained more confidence.  I can see more orchids will find the home in my garden.  Here are two new orchid residents:

This Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha) was growing so big and it fell on the ground when I came back from China in July.  I trimmed it to one third of the length.  Now it came back better than ever.  The fresh flower is velvet and looks so dainty pretty!  I also found it is very easy to root the cuttings.  I think after it finishes the flowers for this round, I may take the whole plant out, and replace it with the young plants from the cuttings.  The flowers on the young plants just look so much better.

The tropical Lilac (Cornutia grandifolia) is also reblooming this year.  Since I put it in the ground, it has taken off so fast.  Not only the flower is pretty, but also I am loving the scent of the leaves.  Every time I pass by this plant, I can not help myself to rub the leaves between my fingers and smell it!  Seems not many people have seen this plant before.  I was hoping it producing lots of seeds, so that someday I can share it with my friends in the real life and the blogger world.  But for some reason, I hardly see the seeds out of it.  The few seeds produced often drop off prematurely.  Several attempts to root the cuttings also failed.   I really need to find a good way to propagate it.  Wish me luck, and wish someday I can share it with you guys!

 Firespike (Odontonema strictum) was also started from the cuttings this year.  I may start more cuttings later.  If it can survive this winter, I may use it to replace some of privacy hedges in my garden.  The flowers are so bright, and I wish someday it can attract the hummingbirds to visit them.

The last but certainly not the least,  my favorite zinnia in the garden!  This actually came from one volunteer from last year.  Now this single plant has grown so big that I have to stake it to support the heavy flower heads! 

Please also stop by Susan's place to see her and others' favorites of this month. 

I have been cutting my blog time recently due to my busy schedule.  I apologize that I have not visited your blogs and left comments as often as I wish.  I do hope I can find a little more time in the future. 


  1. Yay! Ami's back! I know how the busy stuff goes, and recently I've begun treating the rainforest garden as a part time second job. I've been posting almost every day, updating on facebook and my facebook page and doing that twitter stuff too. It really is a full time job if you let it get out of control!
    I really like your favorites, especially the ground orchids. I might try them again this year if I find them for a good price. Oh, and my orchids grow in bark and get no attention except an occasional watering and two of them are about to bloom! Congrats on the plumeria too! Don't feel bad about not commenting... it takes a lot of time once you've made so many great gardening friends! Glad to see you post again!

  2. RFG: Thanks for your comment! It is always nice to know that people do notice when I am away for a while :) I am afraid to even touch facebook and twitter stuff because I know I just don't have that much time to play with it. But it certainly will bring you lots of friends!

    I am loving my ground orchids too. I may dig them up later so that they can go through the winter safely. It multiply itself quite fast, so if you want to buy one, just buy a small size to save some money. Then you can divide them later when it spreads. Good luck!

  3. Thanks! I'll give it a shot! I had them last year but planted them in a dry spot.

  4. Welcome back and i am so glad you did not miss posting this lovely photos - your orchids are so beautiful - the blue one is amazing. I have been thinking of moving my orchids into more sunlight as that is supposed to promote flowering. In the meantime I will just enjoy your photos!

  5. Good morning Ami ~ It is nice to see you posting again. All of your bloomers are so pretty. I think my cat's whiskers looks puny. I need to take some cuttings in case it croaks. Maybe mine doesn't get enough shade or water. Love your ground orchids.

    Enjoy the loveliness that is surrounding you.


  6. Ami-your orchids are beautiful! I,too,had to learn the "leave me alone" way of taking care of them.
    And,I,too, missed your posts.Welcome home!

  7. Oh, your cat's whiskers are so big! Mine are blooming but not nearly so much as yours. Everything in your garden looks so happy and healthy. The way you are training the Rose of Sharon is interesting. If it made a small tree that would be lovely. Even if you are busy with other things in life, whenever you share your garden with us, it is a treat.

  8. We have missed you, Ami! Don't want to start off too negative, but I must admit I am so jealous of your ground orchids and the epiphytic ones as well! Oh, and the P. pudica, which is blooming so profusely! You know, mine have all struggled this year. But we are catching up.... Anyway, the blooms are GORGEOUS!

    Love your cat whiskers! That is another I would love to grow, but I live just a bit too far north. I know because I tried once. Your "rose of sharon" looks A LOT like the Anderson crape hibiscus I once owned. So much so, I would swear that's what it was. What a beautiful, beautiful specimen that was! Lost it in the Freeze of 2009. I do see them around the area, so it was clearly the wrong microclimate.

    Have a great day!

  9. Hi Ami...So glad you joined it...you're right, better late than never. So many wonderful photos to comment on.

    Let's see...first of all I love the combination of the cat whiskers, yellow ground orchid and what looks like a couple of purple leaves...very striking. And your orchids and ground orchids look lovely, too. You're right the pink hibiscus and blue porterweed are a beautiful soft looking combo. What a great idea to combine two hibiscus together. I'll have to try that.

    I planted some of the tropical lilac seeds, but no look. I will try again. Keep you fingers crossed for me. And, lastly...beautiful shot of the zinnias. Your September garden is looking fabulous.

  10. Oh, Ami,
    It is always so nice to see your favorites and hear your enthusiasm for your garden. I was late, too, but I have figured out that blogging is 'personal'. If you let it become a master it will beat you up with expectation. I post when inspiration strikes me and I comment as time allows. "Post when you can. Comment when you can." Those of us who follow you will always be around and of course look forward to hearing from you when life allows. (That was my Mothering banter for the day:-)

    Anyway, all your flowers are such a pleasing vision. I've never tried cat whiskers. Yours have really done well for you. They are full and wow... easy to root, too... nice. All those orchids are just lovely. The zinnias... a favorite right now here, too.


  11. aloha,

    very nice monthly colors from your garden.

  12. Hi Ami, you have very vigorous and healthy plants there. The cat whiskers are also growing that fast in our place in the province and we really cut them often. I love most of your flowers and photos here, unfortunately many of them do not open, just turned X even if i click the "show the picture" button. Are they resized? I surely miss them as they are so beautiful.

  13. I marvel at your ground orchids.
    Mine never seemed to bloom for years. Any tips or ideas of what to do.
    1) Are they in shade or in sun.
    2) What fertiliser do you use?
    3) Or is it because of its hybrid -they bloom profusely?

  14. Hi
    I just stumbled upon your blog and I absolutely love it. I am a new gardener in south Florida and I hope my garden will one day be like yours. Its wonderful to see your progress and I get lots of ideas for what i would like to see in my garden as well.


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