Last year my eye caught this beautiful Rex Begonia at the local plant store. It cost much more than I wanted to pay, but I needed something bright and colorful for shade. I took one home for a test drive to see if the rabbit would eat it before I purchased more. The Begonia passed the rabbit test. I headed back to the store to find that others were willing to pay the high price and all the Begonias were gone.
Usually plants enjoy being planted in the ground, but this Begonia did not flourish, so I put it in a pot. It did alright, but it was not thriving. Winter came and the Rex Begonia was put in the garage in front of the only window for the winter.
Well, all I can say is that some are the indoor type. The Begonia spent the winter growing, in what I thought were not ideal conditions, and filled the pot. Who knew?
Now it is back outside on the covered porch basking in the afternoon sunlight.
The plant hunter would be me. There is nothing I like more than free reseeding plants. I find that most seeds prefer to germinate where they land and do better than when I plant them. A Chocolate Plant (Pseuderanthemun alata) is happily growing in the Moses (Tradescantia spathacea) pot.
A Polka Dot seedling is hiding in the Rex Begonia.
The Clematis pot is an especially popular area for seeds to drop into. There are a couple of Bartram’s Evening Primrose, a Polka Dot plant, a Jewel of Opar and a Wandering Jew vine.
Moss is host to Hardy Gloxinia seedlings. There is a proper flower bed right there, but the moss seems to be the place to germinate.
My favorite place to plant hunt is cracks. Somehow that small space with hardly any soil is a fruitful place to find many different plants.
Last year I needed something white to fill in my bed of mainly white flowers. I found this Polka Dot plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya), which I always thought of as a house plant. It did well outside in the bed until we were hit with a very hard freeze. Of course I thought, that is that. But to my surprise the Polka Dot started growing new leaves in the Spring.
And to top that, it reseeded and grew the cutest little babies with Polka Dots on its second set of leaves. This Hypoestes fits all the criteria for my gardening philosophy and is a keeper for the Automatic Garden.
I have been a bit worried about whether or not my perennials and reseeders would come back this year after all the harsh weather. Butterflies and Hummingbirds are starting to arrive and there was not much for them to feed on as the freeze took most of the flowers. I have been relieved the past week or so to see my plants returning. The following photos are of plants that have faithfully grown in the Automatic Garden for years.
I have a large collection of Amaryllis, but they have not bloomed over the last few years. I was thrilled to find this one blooming.
This little Coreopsis has started to put out a few flowers.
Clematis do not enjoy our climate, but this one is in a pot on the shaded patio. It really liked the cold spell and has put out several blooms.
The White Soldiers (Drimiopsis maculata) have been a prolific and are planted throughout the gardens. This patch sat in water for days.
Old faithful, my red Saliva (Coccinea), was completely mowed down from the freeze and is just starting to come back.
This small shrub was started by seed. The original Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (Brunfeisia) was accidentally cut down recently.
The red Canna was a passalong and I don’t think any amount of bad weather could kill it.
For nearly 20 years the Back Eyed Susan has been reseeding itself.
Bees and hummers are happy to see the Gulf Coast Penstemon flowers. This plant is also a passalong and does so well that it needs to be thinned every year.
The Columbine aquilegia has not done well lately, so it was good to see several plants blooming this year.
Speaking of faithful, the rabbits are back and appear when I am out in the yard to remind me to put some seed down for them.
Of course no good deed goes unpunished and the rabbits ate my new Coneflower down to the ground.
A beautiful ending to a beautiful day. A ray of sunlight hit the Tulip Magnolia, perfectly lighting the bloom.
One of my most viewed posts is Azaleas. This year has been a spectacular year for these flowering shrubs. It may have been the record breaking rainfall and also a cool start to Spring with cold nights causing the blooms to stay longer. I have taken pictures over several days to get the Azaleas at their best. Enjoy their splendor!
I was surprised to see two Azalea buds next to each other that were two different colors. Of course I thought another bush had just sent out a really long branch that got mixed in. But, no both buds were from the same bush and on the same branch.
I watched the buds over several days thinking the bud would change to the more orange color when it opened. As you can see, it stayed pinkish. So dear readers, does anyone have an explanation for why these two flowers on the same branch are two different colors?