Hanging On

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My huge Split Leaf Philodendron took a big hit from the freeze and lost nearly all its leaves.  It is the third time in its life that this has happened. The large Philodendron was put there to hide the utility pipes and boxes. But, once the leaves were gone, I noticed something interesting the plant was doing.  Take a look at the two aerial roots that have looped around the pipes, hanging on for more stability.

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The root didn’t stop there.  About four bricks up it continues along the wall and behind the utility equipment.

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Next, the root rounds the corner.

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And into a weep hole.  What next?  Plants always amaze me.


I Shall Have Lettuce

I had to give up my vegetable garden years ago, as the only ones enjoying it were the animals that came into the yard day and night.

I miss fresh lettuce and I’m determined to grow some.

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The first step was to elevate the lettuce to keep the rabbits out.  A tall planter was purchased.

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Next, squirrels had to be thwarted from digging by covering the plants with picnic tents.

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The tents keep lizards out too.

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Finally, the tents had to be tied down so they wouldn’t blow off.

Yes, I shall have lettuce!

 


Spring Clean-up

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A killing freeze descended on this part of the country and for the Automatic Garden, it was a blessing in disguise.  I had been away from the garden quite a bit last year and many chores went undone.  The Automatic Garden did what it was designed to do and kept on growing, propagating and reseeding, resulting in a interwoven tangle of plants.

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The freeze gave clarity to what needed to be pulled, transplanted and cut back.  I have been spending hours everyday getting the garden in shape.

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Other chores included filling in a hole dug over the winter by some animal, which was probably an armadillo.  It was much more work than it looks and the dirt is heavy clay. The extremely strong gingers were able to push their way through the pile of clay and the dirt had to be carefully removed.

Volunteers had to be rounded up and replanted into their places in the garden. There were many, but free plants are a good thing.

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A scant few flowers have begun to bloom in the garden.  Most years have flowers blooming all year around, but the freeze knocked back almost all of the winter flowering plants. This red canna is a welcome sight.

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Drimiopsis maculata unfurled its spotted leaves and sent out flowers in no time.  The plant is a great substitute for hostas in the South.

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The climbing rose is blooming and dripping from a tree.

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Pink Flamingo Celosia  usually stands three feet tall before blooming, but this one couldn’t wait.

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The Shrimp plant came back from its roots and the few blooms were welcomed by the Buff-bellied Hummingbird that has wintered here.

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The Bottlebrush has perfect timing providing food for the arriving Ruby Throated Hummers and the honey bees that are living near by.

Bit by bit I am seeing my hard labor paying off and I have high hopes for a beautiful garden this summer.


A Spring Celebration of Azaleas

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Nothing says spring like Azaleas. They come in many colors and can grow easily into six to eight foot high masses.  This year the Azaleas started blooming weeks earlier than normal.

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My second most popular post is Azaleas with nearly 300 views.  Take a look and help bump it up to number one!


Camellias, the Jewels of Winter

 

As snows blow across the northern parts of the country, Camellias begin blooming here October through March, catching the eye like beautiful jewels.

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This gorgeous huge flower is from the Royal Velvet Camellia.  It has had a rough start, as during its second year in the natural part of the yard, deer decided to taste it.  This year the Royal Velvet was able to put out quite a few 5 inch flowers.

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Shi-Shi Gashira is a tough little gal.  These Camellias are planted in full sun and have never disappointed with their abundance of blooms.  The Camellia has been covered in snow, taken heavy rains, drought and recently frozen.  The photo is of a bloom that was in bud during our recent heavy freeze.

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One of the oldest Camellias in the garden is White By the Gate.  It has been a reliable bloomer over the past 15 years.  This photo was taken against a cloudy sky.  The shrub has been making blooms in triplet. Notice the half open bloom and a bud behind the flower.

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As a test, I sent this photo to some friends to identify it.  They all guessed it was a rose. But no, it is Southern Secret Camellia.

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Southern Secret Camellia is new to the garden this year.  I purchased two of them to replace roses that died, probably due to the increasing shade from the native trees on the property.  Camellias grow well in shade and also enjoy the acidic soil in this area.  Pine needles are their friend.  So many needles drop from the trees, that I often have pick them off of the flowers before I photograph them.

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These Camellias with their 5 inch flowers should be stunning as they grow up to 10 feet tall.   They are planted along the back fence and can be seen from my kitchen window.  These beautiful Camellia jewels brighten the winter months.


Flashback Friday

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Restoring my garden beds from the freeze we had, has taken up all my time these last few weeks.  I realized I haven’t posted very much, so this is a perfect day for a flashback.  I did a series on trees and I thought this post on Bark would be a good addition. Click on “Bark” and hopefully it will inspire you to take a closer look at trees around you.


Self Healing

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I was quite surprised when I took a look at this Sweet Gum tree on my property.  It is close to my neighbor’s line and had a large hole in it.  The hold always seemed to be full of water and dripping liquid.  I was actually concerned it was rotting and worried it could fall on the neighbor’s house.  I had an arborist look at the Sweet Gum and he said it would be fine for now.

Apparently, it was healing itself with all that dripping fluid.  It went from a big hole to completely closed. If only I knew that was happening, I would have documented the healing.

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Another Sweet Gum on the property has a hollow hole and it has not healed itself.  It has provided refuge for opossum mothers and snakes.

The tree’s botanical name is Liquidambar styraciflua.  There was certainly a large quantity of liquid coming out of the wound.  The sap of the Sweet Gum tree can be dried and used for chewing gum. (Do your own research before trying.)  The sap was used for gum flavor into the 1920’s.