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 outside...new 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???


June 8, 2018

Oriental Poppies!



Large Red Oriental Poppy


These beauties have moved with me twice. I first planted them in the country and when I moved into town, I brought them with me. They have multiplied a little but not as much as I wish. They certainly are not invasive. I'm going to try to save the tiny little seeds this year and plant them in pots in the greenhouse. Maybe I will get more poppies for next spring.

I did buy some yellow California poppy plants to sell next year at Mimi's sales.

Sign up for my mailing list to be notified of the first sale date.
California Orange how to grow california poppies











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June 1, 2018

Are You A Rock Hound?

Fossil Rock found on Sulfur Fork Creek, TN
 I am! I cannot go to the creek without bringing home a load of rocks. My Honda Civic thinks it's a pickup truck. I've hauled trunkfuls of stones in it. When I go in Bill's truck it's crazy what I can bring home. I came by it honestly, My dad traveled in his work for years and almost every week the trunk of his car would be full of rocks when he returned home.

I've recently promised myself not to rescue any more stones. But, needless to say, last weekend I went to the creek with grandson Tad to skip rocks. That boy can skip rocks farther than anyone I've ever seen! Anyway, I didn't need any rocks, told myself no more rocks. We were in the John Deer Gator, there was room in the bed, and of course, there were several lovely "flowerbed size" stones that called my name. I only got 4 big ones though, that's a record for me.

I am always repurposing rocks. I'll move them from one place to another, decide to get rid of them in one place and they end up in the "rock pile" way back in the backyard. One never knows when a good rock will come in handy.

My Little Goldfish Puddle
I cleaned out the little fish pond last week and I could not believe how many stones were in there! Of course, I used some of the pond rocks to make a border for the cleaned up pond. The goldfish are very happy now that they have more swimming room and a deeper puddle.  I even put a rock "cave"" in there for them to hide in.

The other rocks from my little puddle never made it to the rock pile. I decided the old wooden raised herb beds near the pond were in real need of updating. Replacing the sides with wood again seemed counter-productive so of course, the pond rocks were the answer. I worked all day, sometimes in the rain (yes, I'm crazy). I reduced the beds from four 4x4 foot beds to two 8x4 foot beds. I love how they turned out and no more rotten wood to contend with!  Bill sawed the old wood pieces into 15-inch lengths. We have enough wood for the chiminea to last all summer! Now if the grass seed I planted on the side will hurry and come up, it will be finished.
New Herb Beds