Joyce’s Plants

Is there a person in your life that was influential in your gardening?  Joyce was that person  for me. She shared her plants or found new ones for me to try.  Now it is time for me to take care of her plants.  In taking guardianship, her legacy will continue and be shared.


This Staghorn fern is at least 23 years old.  It was always lovingly brought into the garage every year to winter-over.


Chocolate plant was always a staple in her yard.


Joyce searched high and low to find this Butterfly Vine like the one she grew in her garden.  These vines make seed pods that look exactly like a flying butterfly.


Shrimp plants flourished in Joyce’s garden and grew in abundance providing many bouquets for the house.


Joyce introduced me to my first Ginger plant.  She hunted down the “Ginger Lady” who occasionally sold plants.


Mussaenda luteol delighted Joyce with its unusual tropical flowers.  It is advertised as an annual, but by giving it a warm place in the winter, it will continue to survive.  This one is around 10 years old.


Joyce shared this Aloe with me and it has multiplied many times over.  Stories are still told on how Joyce soothed many burns with her Aloe.

And she also knew that 15 pounds of fertilizer was the perfect birthday gift!

Mulch Pile Iris


Sometimes gifts just appear.  Always on the lookout for a plant to work in the Automatic Garden, this Iris grew out of a newly delivered pile of mulch  17 years ago.  It was plucked out of the mulch, planted in a bed and has even been moved to a new property.  It certainly has met the criteria to stay in the Automatic Garden.


Pop, Pop, Pop

The trees and shrubs suddenly popped with flowers!  It seemed to happen over night.  Each morning in spring holds a new surprise to start the day.


The Fringe Tree opened its leaves and wispy flowers practically at the same time.


Nature does a great job timing the Weeping Bottle Brush blooms with the return of the Ruby Throated Hummingbirds.  The hummers would not pose for a photo!


This shrub popped full of flowers all at once.  Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow starts with purple flowers that fade to lavender and then to white.




In the Automatic Garden the plants are allowed to reseed for the next season.  William Bartram’s Evening Primrose (Oenothera grandiflora) prolifically reseeded this year and the plants need to be thinned, transplanted and shared.  It is important not to disturb the soil once plants have dropped their seeds.


The Swamp Sunflower has reseeded outside the wire fencing, but enough are in the bed so these can be removed.


Rocks are a favorite germination site for seeds.  These Salvias will be returned to their bed.


Some plants seem to be able to reseed in just the right places as these Johnny- Jump-Ups did.   Allowing plants to reseed on their own is an easy way to have a continuous supple of annuals for the garden.  A few are pictured here, but the Automatic Garden reseeds zinnias, mealy blue sage, black-eyed Susans, wishbone plants, blanket flowers, ornamental peppers, dancing lady gingers, columbine, and cleome just to name a few.

A Late Spring


Spring came late to the Gulf Coast.


The Azaleas are just beginning to bloom and are about two weeks late.


The Ancore Azaleas usually bloom a month earlier.


The Japanese Fern always returns and grow to full size in just a few weeks.


This Rudbeckia was a surprise bloomer and had continued to grow during the cold winter.


Bluebonnets have bloomed as early as February in past years.  The great thing about a blog is that it gives an instant diary of of the garden.


Moving Day


It is moving day in the Automatic Garden.  The tender tropicals spend the winter in the garage.  Usually, they come back outside as early as mid-February, but this year was much colder.  The Amyarillas were stored in the garage and deprived of water to encourage blooming.


These are two of the four Tropical Hibiscus that spent winter inside.  They are feeling a little peaked from low light.


The Coleus wintered over for the second year.  The houseplants that love the Gulf heat and humidity will need some work to get them looking good, but they always come back.  These are just a few of the plants being moved.



Pine Pollen


It is Pine Pollen season.  Loblolly Pine Trees drop tons of yellow -green pollen.  One must be prepared.


The pollen covers the porch tiles, the steps, the furniture, the window sills …


This is just a small pile swept up with some other debris.  All outdoor areas must be swept and powerwashed.


The pollen covers everything.  Every plant has pollen on it until the rain eventually washes it away.  Walking across the grass can release a puff of pollen into the air.


The responsible party.



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