August 10, 2018

Shade Plants


 My internet friend, Mike McGroarty, posted an excellent article listing 25 plants that thrive in the shade. Many of these I usually have for sale at my spring plants sales. I was surprised that some of them are happy in shade.

Check out Mike's post here:


July 27, 2018


Mine have been blooming for a couple of weeks now. I have both  Mopheads (Hydrangea macrophylla) and Panicled (hydrangea paniculata). I think I prefer the Panicled because they are happy in sun, they bloom longer and don't need as much water as the big mopheads. Of course, those big mophead blooms are beautiful while they last.

Below are a few of the ones in my yard both Mophead, Lacecap, and Panicled. I honestly don't do anything to the ones growing in my yard except water them when we have a long dry spell. Several of my Panicled ones are growing in huge tubs so I have to give them a dring when it is really hot. Not only are they in tubs but most get full afternoon sun. The more I prune them the fuller they get. Those that bloom on old growth should only be pruned after flowering. Others bloom on new growth (most Mopheads) and should be pruned before they sprout in spring or as they are going dormant in fall. 

Here are some of my favorite blooms from my yard: 

Big Blue Mophead
Pink Mophead

Blue Lace Cap

Ruby Slippers Panicled (fall Color)

Phantom Panicled

Chantilly Lace Panicled

Summer Snow Variegated foliage

Tardiva Panicled

July 6, 2018

Bee Balm

Proper name Monarda... also known as Bergamot.  Earl Grey tea is flavored with Bergamot leaves.
The blooms make a pretty addition to a flower arrangement and last a very long time. I have pink and white varieties in my garden but I have seen bright red as well.

I found the following in my search for uses for bee balm, Looks like it is good for everything! I make a tincture of the leaves and flowers. I also love bergamot tea - heck, I haven't found a tea I didn't like.

 Bee Balm leaves and flowers and stems are used in alternative medicine as an antiseptic, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic and stimulant. A medicinal infusion is used internally in the treatment of colds, catarrh, headaches, and gastric disorders, to reduce low fevers and soothe a sore throat, to relieve flatulence, nausea, for menstrual pain, and insomnia. Steam inhalation of the plant can be used for sore throats, and bronchial catarrh (inflammation of the mucous membrane, causing an increased flow of mucus). Externally, Bee Balm is a medicinal application for skin eruptions and infections. Bergamot’s distinctive aroma, found in both the leaf and flower is wonderful for use in potpourri.

Bee Balm is easy to grow. They are happy in full sun or part shade and don't need any special care. The plants in my garden grow up to 4 feet tall and they spread to 3 or 4 feet wide. I'm sure they would spread farther if I didn't keep them pulled out when they get too think. They are easy to pull out so keeping them contained is easy. The bees and butterflies love them. I cut them back to about 6-8 inches when they are done blooming. I scatter a few seeds to be sure of plants the following year but most of the time they come back from the roots. 

June 29, 2018

The Amazing Night Blooming Moon Flower

Moon Flower Blooms
This is by far to most unusual plant in my garden. Everyone who sees it wants one. I have no idea what it's Latin name is (and quite frankly, I don't care). 😏 I think the common name is Evening Primrose - we just call it a Moonflower.

I got my first Moonflower from a friend who got it for me from his mom who lived in Alabama. It is a biannual (it doesn't bloom until it's second year) but it totally worth the wait. The plant gets pretty big, about four or five feet tall and wide, it is covered with pretty yellow flowers all summer. They literally open while you watch! No kidding, as you can see in the video below, it is like time-lapse photography! They smell good too. If they are happy, they will reseed and come back the following year. It doesn't take much to keep them happy either. They like full sun or part shade, I totally neglect mine and they just keep growing and blooming all summer. The blooms last all night and close around noon the following day.

We like to grab our yard chairs, sit around the plant and watch it bloom. Then we wait for the little hummingbird moths to come and pollinate the flowers.
Sometimes we bet on which bud will bloom next. I know, it doesn't take much to entertain us!

TheAmazing Moon Flower Video

June 22, 2018

My Favorite Daylilies

Alabama Jubilee
May and June are daylily months. Most of the spectacular ones start blooming in Mid-May. There are a few that actually re-bloom into July.

Daylilies are very easy to grow. They like full sun but will tolerate some shade. None of mine get a full day of sun. Some get full afternoon sun and the ones in my shady backyard only get morning sun and all are happy.

Unless you are lucky enough to have a friend who shares the lilies with you, you will probably buy bulbs at a nursery, a big-box store or online. You will start with one or two bulbs. Don't worry, most will bloom the year after planting and keep right on growing and multiplying for years to come. Soon you will be the one sharing bulbs with your friends.

If your soil is clay, amend it with compost or some good hummus. Water occasionally until they are established. Once they are established let God take care of them. I honestly don't ever water my 15-year-old plants. They might get water when I turn the sprinklers on to water the lawn in a drought but that's about it.

I even love what here in the south call "Ditch Lilies". I pick them and put them in vases, they keep blooming just as if they were flowers every day until all the buds on the stem are done.

Below are a few of my favorites from my yard. Some I know the variety and some names have long been lost.                                                                                                                               

Daring Deception

Unknown Yellow Ruffled
Unknown Red

Eyes of Fury
Another Unknown Red

Unknown Yellow Ruffled

June 15, 2018

Old Fashioned Gardening Tips

My mom found this is one of her old books. Fred's was one of our favorite bargain stores for years. They went out of business quite a while ago. There are some really good tips here. Molasses! Who Knew???