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.
This time of year it is hard to tell if it is late winter or early spring. The temperatures are going from 80’s to 30’s depending on the day. Thankfully, there are some blooming plants cheering up the season. The Nasturtiums, started from seed, have done really well in the strawberry pot and can be viewed from my kitchen window.
The Purple Oxalis Triangularis prefers to bloom on cool days and takes its rest in the summer.
Kalanchoe’s electric colors joins the other two potted plants on the patio to brighten up the day.
I bought these Ageratums one deary flowerless winter and have been surprised that they keep coming back. They start putting out growth in the fall. I didn’t bother to learn what kind they were, as I thought they were annuals and would die. They are reproducing on their own and maybe I’ll eventually have a bed full of them.
Firespike, Odontonema strictum, is another passalong that grows really well. I did some gardening no-no’s and threw some cuttings around my wooded area and they rooted. Now I have several clumps around the yard. They do attract my winter hummingbirds and add color to the season.
Kalanchoe daigremontiana or Mother of Thousands, probably Mother of Millions, really put on a show this year. Mother can grow in just a bit of soil and reproduces like crazy. I pull up hundreds or thousands every year. It is from another part of the world and likes to bloom in the winter. This year with no freezes, the plant reached its potential. There are 13 flower heads blooming. Its unusual flowers with many subtle shades of color is what makes me keep it around.
This pink and blue beauty has always amazed me with its striking color combination. My Aechmea gamosepala has had a long but difficult life. It lived in the ground for a while until the rabbits found it. Its life in a pot has kept it alive, but not totally thriving.
This past summer it had to live in my wooded area and as luck would have it, the Aechmea loved it and put out more flower spikes than it has in years.
Now it is positioned next to my backdoor, so my cat and I can enjoy it all day.
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.
I found it surprising that Spring seems to be on the way. Maybe it is because I have not done my Fall clean-up. The first two photos are two different salivias that are holding on to old growth while the new stems are already quite tall. The other photo is rosettes of the cardinal flower well under way.
It has been an unusually warm winter and the cannas, gingers and drimiopsis seems to be coming up too early.
The native onion grass is popping up in the leaves along with corocosmia and snowflakes.
Even the Rose of Sharon seems to have had a short rest. As always, there is good and bad with all this growth. The good part is looking forward to a wonderful early blooming spring, but winter is not over and a hard freeze will knock all this new growth back to start over again.
Our unseasonably warm and sunny January days prompted me to do long neglected yard work. I pulled a bushel or so of weeds from the front yard and filled the big container in the picture 3 times with spent annuals and cuttings.
After all that work, I rewarded myself with tea and cookies on the porch swing. A cold front is on the way that will provide me with a much needed rest.
Lobolly Pine Trees, Pinus taeda, surround my house and grow in my yard. They grow up to 110 feet and drop their lower branches leaving bare trunks with the branches and needles at the top. They are found in low, swampy areas (or my yard) and their name means mud hole.
The long needles fall on everything and give trees and shrubs fringes.
They bury plants.
And pierce leaves and flowers.
Pine needles fall on the ground, sidewalks and roofs. But they are very useful as mulch. They cover the ground in my natural areas and help keep moisture in. I collect the needles and use them to mulch my beds, as they do a good job keeping weeds and fungus down. And best of all they are very light and easy to gather.