"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

Saturday, May 21, 2011

May Flowers

Just realized that I have not posted for quite a while, although my May garden has been growing by leaps and bounds. 

I have been working on a new raised bed in my garden, which will also be served partially as a vegetable bed.  Will show you some photos when it is more presentable.

For now, let me just show you some new flowers in the garden.

Tropical Liac (Cornutia grandifolia) lost majority of leaves during the cold weather in last December.  It grows so fast after the weather warmed up.  Now they are shooting their  lavendar colored flower spikes into the air again.

Just love the scent of this plant when walking by and brush against the leaves, or when hand-watering the leaves.

Since this plant is not seen in the nurseries, I have tried several times to start more of this plant from seeds, or cuttings to share with friends,but with no luck. I heard it should not be too difficult based on what I read from the Internet. So, I will keep trying.  Maybe I just did not do it in the right way.

I picked up this Salvia 'Black and Blue' at the clearance rack in last December after the cold front visited Florida.  The plant had bad frost bites.  Now it looks so happy in a full sun location of my garden.  I love any blue flowers in the garden, and the almost black sepals contrast the blue flowers so nicely.  Oh, wait a minute.  Is that a spiderweb?  Often when I intend to capture a spiderweb in the picture, it hardly comes out good.  It is either out of focus, or invisible in the photo.  Seems this spiderweb that I caught by accident in the photo  is my most successful shot!

Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'

 Another blue flower: Blue butterfly. It has such beautiful flower, does look like a blue butterfly.

Clerodendrum ugandenseCommon name: Blue Butterfly

This Penta plant was started from several cuttings from my friend's garden.  It now becomes my favorite Penta plant.

Yay, Medinilla started showing lots of flowers again after a dormant period!  Remember how I got it?  See the story behind this plant, read here.
Medinilla cumingii
Crape Jasmine in full blooming...

Love the combination of Crape Jasmine and the pink Ixora.

My friend gave me this bush daisy.  I love its airy leaves, and risen cheery yellow flowers.  The flowers come in waves, one flush after another with a short resting period in between.

Bush Daisy (Gamolepis chrysanthemoides)
Remember I mentioned that I only have one green branch left in my Hybrid Tea Rose 'Peace' in my Rose Update post?  That single green branch recently had one bud developed, and it is blooming now!

Look what I found in the garden!  A Calla Lily bloom!  Yes, you can tell I am excited.  My friend gave me a bunch of seedlings from her Calla lilies, which were originally bought from a big box store.  She said every year the leaves emerge in early spring, but never re-bloomed for her.  Last year, the leaves grow so nicely, but no flowers, and then leaves disappeared in the winter.  This spring the leaves grow again, and I did not expect much from them although the leaves alone are beautiful.   My friend called me a couple of weeks ago and told me that she saw one flower from her Calla lily, and sure enough, one week later, I saw one from mine!  Yes, it only has one flower, but better than nothing, and it is a good start!

Here is another surprise from garden. When I just started my garden almost two years ago, one of my coworkers gave me one bromeliad with dark purple leaves, and no name.  He only told me that the leave will burn if put in a sunny location.  So I kept it in a container located in a partial shade area.  For two years, it did nothing except shooting out of the pups.   It started looking messy, and working around it becomes a dangerous job since the edge of the leaves has saw blade like spikes.

I am that close to toss it away.  It seems knows what I am thinking, almost like all of sudden, two flower spikes shot out from the middle of leaves, and The flowers are orange-red color, and have wax like texture.  Anybody recognize this bromeliad?  I think for the time being, it will be a keeper.

What have been flowering in your May Garden?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Daylily Disappointment and Other Things in April Garden

Ever since I learned that we also can grow Day Lily (Hemerocallis ) in South Florida, Day Lily has been on the top of my wish list.

Unfortunately, I have not found any good sources for it locally.  Last June, I found one (Day Lily 'Stella') for sale at HomeDepot and immediately bought it.  It only lasted about three weeks, and disappeared completely after finishing blooming.  I think it might not be the right foliage type for South Florida.  There are three foliage types for Day Lily: Dormant, semi-evergreen, evergreen.  For south regions, Evergreen is the one that will thrive.

A couple of weeks ago, I saw two types of Day Lilies for sale at Lowes.  I asked the store staff and was told that they are "Evergreen".  Imagine how excited I was when I brought these two home!

Daylily (Hemerocallis ) 'Black Eyed Stella'

Daylily (Hemerocallis ) 'Fooled Me' 

They were labeled as Daylily 'Black Eyed Stella'  and Daylily 'Fooled Me'.  After I came home, I did more reading on these two daylilies, and only found they both are dormant foliage type!!!  I also looked back the Day Lily 'Stella'  picture I took last year, and found it is identical to 'Black Eyed Stella'.  How disappointing!  I bought them expecting they will bloom for me year after year, not just for short a couple of weeks!  I returned them immediately.  

My mission to search for right Daylilies shall continue...

On the bright side, my garden has been happily singing the spring song.  It is May already, and I found I have missed posting some beautiful April bloomings.  Here are some of them.

First Matchstick bromeliad bloomed...  Looks so beautiful in the early morning sun.

Aechmea gamosepala
MatchStick Bromeliad
Opening more...

Aechmea gamosepala
MatchStick Bromeliad

Other Neoregelia Bromeliads in the garden are also blooming.  Their flowers are hidden in the center of the leaves.  The blooming usually means it is the time for the mother plant to produce the babies, or pups.  Yay!

April is the month for Jasmine and Gardenia.  The fragrance made the garden walk even more pleasant.

Arabian Jasmine
(Jasminum Sambac 'Maid of Orleans')

I also like to bring them indoor to enjoy more...

Needle flowers or Augusta rivalis has set out so many buds, and looks like May will be their peak time.

Neomarica Caerulea 'Regina' has been flowering on and off since early March.

Neomarica Caerulea 'Regina'
 (Giant Apostle's Iris)
The warm weather also brought early blooming of frangipani (Plumeria).  I checked last year's record, and it did not flower until last September.

Last year's Caladium bulbs have been emerging from the ground one by one, adding different colors into the shady corner.  

What May will bring for the garden?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Rose Update

I love roses, but with no growing experience at all.  

Last year I dedicated one  corner of my flower bed to be "Rose Corner", and planted six roses there.  Four of them are those bare root roses sold at Costco every spring.  One is 'Double Delight' on Fortuniana rootstalk, and another one is "First Prize".  Along with another two roses in other area of my garden, I had total eight hybrid tea roses in my garden one year ago.  For those experienced Florida gardeners, you may  already see the problem when you read to this point.  

Yes, tea roses usually do not agree with hot humid weather of Florida, especially Central and South Florida.  In this environment, they develop black spots so easily, and are subject to nematodes in the soil.  Only hybrid rose could survive in this weather are those that grafted on Fortuniana rootstalk.  So, out of eight roses, I really only had one that meet this criteria.

Before the weather got really hot, all my roses grew beautifully, and bloomed one by one.  Here was a collage I made with all those rose excitement last year.

From top left clockwise: First Prize, Paradise, Double Delight, Queen Elizabeth,
'Burgundy Surprise', Perfume Delight and Peace (Click to enlarge to see detail)
Now one year later, I lost three out of four bare-root roses.   Their leaves lost and eventually died.  I am still not very sure what exactly caused their death. The one bare-root rose left is "Peace", but only has one branch green, and I have the feeling that it won't last long either.

The  remaining four are: 'Double Delight', "First Prize","Queen Elizabeth", and "Perfume Delight".  They continue producing the flowers sporadically through out the year, but never have more than three flowers opening at the same time. 

I have learned from other Florida Gardeners that some Old Garden Roses or Antique Roses can thrive in Florida very well.  

Here is one Antique Rose called "Josephine Land" sold by one Nelsons' Florida Roses retailer locally. It was recommended by the owner for its fragrance. For me,  the fragrance is nice, but since the bush is still low and the flowers are not prolific yet, I need to be close to enjoy the scent.

I love how delicate looking of the flowers.  They start simple and small...

gradually reveal their beauties...

After fully opened, they only last two to three days before their pedals fall off themselves.

Since I could not find much information about Josephine's Land over the Internet, I don't know how well it will react to Florida's summer yet.  We shall see. Anybody grows this same rose, please share your experience with me.

Here is the other rose that lots of Florida gardeners are raving about:  Belinda's Dream.  I have been searching for this rose for quite a while, above Josephine's land was discovered by accident when I went for Belinda's Dream.  Finally, recently I found it from Bah's Nursery, my favorite nursery.  I guess "Dream" does come true!

The flower has the look of Tea roses, and quite fragrant and big.

I heard it is a prolific bloomer.  Looking forward to it...

Just lovely!

I have not put it into the ground yet.  One candidate spot I am considering for it got the full sun, almost from sunrise to sundown, which means 12+ hours in Summer.  Will it be too much for it?  I know Roses love full sun, just don't know if it also loves South Florida summer's blazing full sun.

While I am enjoying my new roses, here are some old roses recently flowered.  They look so pretty with rain drops.

Hybrid tea rose 'Perfume Delight'

'Double Delight'

'Double Delight'
I love roses, and wish can gain some experience to be successful growing roses in South Florida.  Next on my wish list is: Louis Phillipe, or Florida's Cracker Rose.  Can not wait the day I find it!
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