Searching for Flowers

It was a hard winter here on the Gulf Coast and one bad freeze froze most of my plants to the roots. A few are starting to come back and I set out to search the garden beds for some blooms. The Cramoisi Superieur lost all of its leaves but made a big comeback with all new leaves and a few red roses.

The Japanese Jack-in-the-Pulpit shot up with vigor, many more stems, and has already made some of its green flowers.

The purple and white Oxalis Triangularis is in full flower and so are the invasive pink ones.

I have seen photos of snowdrops from bloggers up north and my Texas-sized snowflakes are now blooming clumps.

Because the weather has been so crazy and not long after the freeze, temperatures reached the 70s and 80s, the azaleas bloomed nearly a month early.

I love this little Snow Poppy or Eomecon Chionantha. While trying to find its proper name, I saw it listed as a weed. It is doing really well and reproducing. They all die back in the summer.

I have a couple of potted plants in bloom. The Kalanchoe was a gift from my kids many years ago. I stick any broken stems back into the pot and it doesn’t take long for them to root.

The Billbergia nutans have such unusual colors. It is from South America and blooms in the winter here.

I don’t have the usual amount of flowers, but I’m seeing many plants finally starting to grow with this recent heat wave.

Weed Bag

As many gardeners do, I always pull up weeds as I walk around my yard. I set up this empty fertilizer bag as an easy drop for the weeds. The weeds dried up and allowed me to continue filling the bag for an entire year. Now, these are only a handful of weeds at a time, when I do my real weeding, I use a bushel container. I just finished the first fertilizing of my 51 azaleas and camellias. I previously did the other 34 shrubs in my landscape in February. I now have a new empty bag to fill up with this year’s weeds and it looks like it will be a very good year for weeds.

Taking Back My Words – Azaleas

I had mentioned in a previous post that I was very disappointed in my new azaleas. They were looking scraggly and not blooming. I now have to take my words back as they suddenly burst out in bloom.

There are a couple that are struggling, but I will work on them and see if they can be coaxed back. I took a look at previous posts of my old azaleas and saw that they usually bloom a month earlier. The post Azaleas has the most views of all my posts.

Looking for Spring

We had another colder than usual winter this year although it was not as bad as last year’s. Nonetheless, the majority of my plants froze and they are finally starting to come back for the second or third time. Violets were the first to start popping up.

Other plants are finally pushing their way out of the debris-covered beds. The cold has kept me inside and unmotivated to do much, but the leaves do give some insulation so maybe it wasn’t too bad to put off cleaning the beds. Peeking out of the leaves are a Philippine Lily, Amaryllis, and a Hardy Begonia.

Other early bloomers are a crocosmia, one of the Black-eye Susan’s and just a few Snowflakes.

The replacement Azaleas are not doing well and my usual beautiful display is not happening. The sun is coming out and the freezes are going to stop. It is time to head out and whip the garden and me back into shape.

Around the Winter Garden

I forgot I had prepared this post and didn’t get it up before our nights of hard freezes. The new Azaleas I had just put in less than a year ago, decided to bloom early. The flowers did not survive the freeze, but hopefully, the shrubs that did not bloom early will put on a Spring show.

This amazing antique rose, which I believe is Cramoisi Superierur 1885, was not bothered at all by the cold weather. I have just let it grow as it wanted and over the years it made two more bushes.

The bees are busier than ever draining the hummingbird feeders. The hole in the feeder is just big enough to stick a bee’s head inside it.

It is a little tight for two bee heads. A winter hummingbird has shown up and I believe it is a female Rufous and she does not have the patience to pose for a photo. Most of the sugar water is consumed by the bees, especially since all the flowering plants have froze.

The Will to Live

Every year I post pictures of my beautiful azaleas. They are six feet tall and bloom profusely each spring.

Over the past summer something attacked and killed the center azalea.

One small bit of it rooted and is producing a flower. The azalea will not give up its will to live.

A Mountain of Azaleas

My azaleas have been slowly opening and I think they have reached their peak.  I have let them grow out over the years and now they are small mountains of pink.

The landscaper supposedly planted all the same color, but as you can see there are various colorations.

Including this one I can never figure out.  The pink one is on the same branch as the coral ones.

If you enjoy looking at azaleas, visit my most viewed post Azaleas.

Too Soon

We recently visited Bayou Bend gardens and mansion which was owned by Ima Hogg, a philanthropist, patron and collector of the arts.

Ms. Hogg also collected plants. The gardens are filled with azaleas, camellias, magnolias and other spring blooming plants.

Our winter has been so warm that many of the flowers have opened.

The garden’s Azalea Trail is nearly a month away.

None the less, it was an absolutely perfect day on the Bayou.


Update on Looking Like Spring

After posting today, I took a walk around the yard and found Azaleas blooming.  Normally, they do not bloom until the second week of March.

Back Home

I arrived back home to find wilted plants including this azalea.  My area had about seven days of temperatures in the 100’s.  The semi-tropical garden loved the heat and returned to a jungle-like state.  It is too overgrown to take pictures. I also pulled up a couple of bushels of weeds from the front yard before the neighborhood association came by.

I always leave my clogs on the back porch and one of them was missing.  I found it in the wooded area.

Later I found the sole insert that was all chewed up.  I blame the usual suspects, which are the squirrels, that like to use my stuff to build nests. I learned to put my chair cushions in the garage, now I guess I learned my lesson to put my clogs away.

It turned out that the story was not over.  I ordered a new shiny pair of clogs and was throwing out my old ones, when this big toad hopped out.  The toad was not thrilled to have his picture taken, but I managed to get one shot.  Not only do the clogs protect my feet, they also could make a nice addition to a squirrel nest and a cozy place for a toad to sleep.