More early Spring bloomers include this red Canna.
A surprise blooming plant for this time of year is Oenothera grandiflora or Evening Primrose that was collected by William Bartram in 1775 in Alabama and grown in his Philadelphia nursery. Normally, this plant blooms in the late summer or early fall. I think some of the seeds germinated early during this warmer winter. I found it blooming in three locations and the plant was shorter than usual.
The orange Tassel Flower, Emillia coccinea, has been maturing all winter and is now blooming. I thought I read somewhere that it was related to a dandelion, but it does not reseed like one.
A true Spring ritual in this part of the country is the blooming of Azaleas. I was surprised to see some opening already. All our big Azalea Trails are usually the second week in March, so hopefully they can hold off until then.
February is the start of Spring around here and a time to trim back Crepe Myrtles, Roses and start cleaning out beds. The trees that lost their leaves are budding out. And best of all the days are getting longer and evenings on the patio can be enjoyed.
I was in the garden earlier than usual one morning and was pleasantly greeted by the strong scents of my blooming gingers. This one is Hedychium hybred “Pink V.
My most reliable ginger that has been with me for many years is Butterfly Ginger, Hedychium coronarium, which I believe has the strongest scent and can be detected from across the backyard. I had a neighbor that told me she could smell it as she walked by the front of my house. The plants bloom in the Spring and Autumn.
Because it was early morning, I was able to catch the scent of the Four O’Clocks, which bloom in the early evening. These flowers have a wonderful fragrance and are great to plant near a porch or patio. Oddly, I have never seen hummingbirds or bees on them. Maybe some night I will stay up and see what pollinates them.
Another night bloomer, is Evening Primrose, Oenothera grandiflora, and was collected by William Bartram. It has an usual scent that is an acquired taste. I never really saw any pollinators on this Primrose, until I spotted what I believe to be a green bee, which I hope my reader that is a bee expert will let me know. Anyway, the bee was really working on the flowers and when I passed by later, it was still gathering nectar.
I look forward to my morning garden tour and being greeted by a scent, new bloom or a backyard critter.
So I came up with a plan to do stealth planting, strategically putting the Primrose among plants rabbits don’t eat. In the middle of the photo is one planted with Shrimp Plants.
In this photo a Primrose is planted with Salvia. I bet you can’t even find it.
Rabbits never touch the Gulf Coast Penstemon and neither do I as they smell bad, but make up for that fact by being pretty.
The Primrose in the front yard are the tall plants that were surrounded by the Penstemon when they were small. They look darn good.
Yup, I was feeling pretty clever thwarting those rabbits. As it turns out, deer like the Primrose too and they start eating at the top. The tall plants in the front yard were just about finished off by the deer (not the rabbits).
I guess I will have to count on the Evening Primrose I planted in pots, in a high planter, in the fenced in backyard.
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.
This Friday I am looking back at happier days for my Evening Primrose. It has done really well for the last several years, until the rabbit family moved in. As it turns out, the cute little bunnies love to munch on the Evening Primrose. Only a few have survived the hungry rabbits.
So, here is looking back at better days.
It is time to start collecting seeds to keep the Automatic Gardening growing. Autumn is the end of the flowering season for many plants, but also the beginning of next season in the promise of seeds.
As it turns out, Four O’Clocks, originally from Mexico, love it here and are very prolific. The seeds need to be collected to stop an over abundance of plants.
Bartram’s Evening Primrose no longer needs to be watched and coddled as it has come into its own. It has reseeded itself and made thousands, if not millions of tiny black seeds this year. An Automatic Garden success!
Balsam Impatients, otherwise known as poppers, have the habit of popping open and flinging their seeds as far as they can. It is always a good idea to collect some to plant where the human gardener desires. These came from George Washington garden. They were probably shared among many of the early colonists.
Wish Bone flowers make extremely small tan seeds that are difficult to collect. They are left to do their own thing and after the seeds germinate the seedlings are moved to beds.
These wonderful seed pods belong to the Philippine Lily. Each pod is stuffed full of flat seeds and are released as the wind blows.
Salvias are old garden friends. They are totally left on their own and never fail to reproduce and provide for the bees and hummingbirds each year.
Some seeds need to be collected to prevent reproduction. This wild and lovely little bean made it way into the garden. As with all wild things in a garden, it needs to be controlled, so as many seed pods as possible are collected. The pods twist open when ripe and send their seeds as far as they can.
One of the edicts of the Automatic Garden, is to grow tough plants that come back or reseed every year. Here are a few of toughest that survived two freezes without a bit of burn. Above is a Mexican Hat.
This Bartram’s Oenothera grandiflora hasn’t missed a beat. It germinated last summer and has just sat and not grown much. The fungus has found it though.
The Ligularia was not fazed at all. It is under some tree limbs that may have helped.
Peruvian Lilies are considered invasive by some. In other words, a darn good hardy plant!
This Toad Lily really seemed to like the cold. It wasn’t even noticeable a few weeks ago and some critter usually eats most of it.
A happy surprise from this blooming violet. It will be interesting to see which plants re-emerge from their frozen foliage. It will be a true test to see the plants that are truly worthy of the Automatic Garden.