Monday, December 31, 2007

Beautiful Bougainvillea Pergola in Florida Garden

I love this beautiful bougainvillea pergola in our friend's patio and pool garden in warm, tropical Florida. Left double click on this photo to enlarge this photo and note all the lovely architectural and landscape details.

Lovely Landscaped Garden in Florida

A photo of our Florida friend's lovely landscaped front garden which complements the beautiful Spanish Mission architecture.

Beautiful Florida House and Garden

A special friend since our childhood sent me this picture of her beautiful Spanish Mission style home in Florida.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Goldfish Pond...My Main 2007 Garden Project

Looking back on various garden projects this past year, I am pleased that I was able to install this goldfish pond myself, although moving and stacking 2,300 pounds of stones one-by-one was laborious. I have new respect for the slaves who built the pyramids. My goldfish and waterplants are thriving and seem very happy in their new home with just the right combination of morning sunshine and afternoon shade.

Cashmere Bouquet...Fragrant Flower..Stinky Leaves

This deciduous 6' shrub forms a dense thicket if not restrained. It has these beautiful and fragrant (like the old-fashioned soap with the name "Cashmere Bouquet") clusters of flowers up to 8 inches across in summer, but its leaves when crushed have a disgusting stench.

Monday, December 24, 2007

A Reindeer In A Florida Garden

My first cousin sent this photo of his reindeer yard art that he has in his Florida garden for a Christmas decoration. I much prefer his beautiful crotons in the tropical background over a snowy landscape.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Season's Greetings

I hope your Noel will be noteworthy and all the best to each of you in 2008.

Magnificent Medinilla

My first cousin told me that this may be his favorite plant in his Florida garden. It is easy to see why he selected it and the Latin name "Medinilla Magnifica" is most appropriate.

An Orchid With The Fragrance of White Chocolate

My first cousin said that this orchid in his collection has the incredible fragrance of white chocolate.

Huge Orchid Plant in my cousin's Florida Garden of Eden

My first cousin in Florida sent this photo of a huge orchid plant in his garden. It is hanging above his wife who is sitting in their swing.

Ginger in a Florida Garden of Eden

Another interesting pic from my First Cousin's garden in Florida. This is an edible variety of ginger with its beautiful red seed pods.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A Hat Of Chrismas Cactus on a Roman Lady

I have a pair of these terra cotta wall planters on the patio that were cast from Roman Era effigies excavated in London. The faces have very strange expressions and truly are "conversation pieces".

Another Christmas Cactus Photo

With your mouse pointer, LEFT DOUBLE CLICK THIS PHOTO to see details of these blooms.

Christmas Cactus Doing Its Thing Timely

For once my Christmas Cactus plants are actually blooming at the appropriate time. Some years they bloom at Halloween and other years at Valentine's, but this year they are right on schedule.

Peacock Kale With Its Feather Leaves

I am impressed with the Japanese horticulturalists' progress in developing amazing new varieties of ornamental kale and cabbage. Each year I see interesting new types of leaves and colors.

Yellow Pansy Singing A Solo Of Farewell To Peppers

Our first freeze of the season is forecast for tonight so by morning these red peppers will be mush, and then the yellow pansies will have room to flourish in this crowded terra cotta pot.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The ULTIMATE Pansy IMHO: Ultima Morpho

The cool nights and morning sun are making these pots of Ultima Morpho pansies perk up. I used to think the variety, Majestic Giants II, was the best for this climate but now my blue ribbon for "Best Of Show" goes to this one.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

'Tis The Season For Bright Red Flowers

The history of the poinsettia: The plant we know today as the poinsettia has a long and interesting history. The fact is, that lovely plant you place in your home during the holidays was once used as a fever medicine! Native to Central America, the plant flourished in an area of Southern Mexico known as Taxco del Alarcon. The ancient Aztecs had a name for this plant found blooming in the tropical highlands during the short days of winter:cuetlaxochitl. Not merely decorative, the Aztecs put the plant to practical use. From its bracts they extracted a purplish dye for use in textiles and cosmetics. The milky white sap, today called latex, was made into a preparation to treat fevers. Joel Roberts Poinsett: The poinsettia may have remained a regional plant for many years to come had it not been for the efforts of Joel Roberts Poinsett (1779 - 1851). The son of a French physician, Poinsett was appointed as the first United States Ambassador to Mexico (1825 - 1829) by President Madison. Poinsett had attended medical school himself, but his real love in the scientific field was botany. (Mr. Poinsett later founded the institution which we know today as the Smithsonian Institution). Poinsett maintained his own hothouses on his Greenville, South Carolina plantations, and while visiting the Taxco area in 1828, he became enchanted by the brilliant red blooms he saw there. He immediately sent some of the plants back to South Carolina, where he began propagating the plants and sending them to friends and botanical gardens. Among the recipients of Poinsett's work was John Bartram of Philadelphia, who in turn gave the plant over to another friend, Robert Buist, a Pennsylvania nurseryman. Mr. Buist is thought to be the first person to have sold the plant under its botanical name, Euphorbia pulcherrima (literally, "the most beautiful Euphorbia"). Though it is thought to have become known by its more popular name of poinsettia around 1836, the origin of the name is certainly clear!

Red Passion Vine Flower

Another nice photo from my first cousin in Florida showing a red passion vine flower in his garden.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Magnificent Blue Orchids

My Florida First Cousin has 2 green thumbs and great photography skills as evidenced in this photo he sent me which I am posting here to share with y'all. Please left double click this photo to enlarge it and see the subtle details.

Leopard Orchid

This is an orchid in my Florida cousin's collection and he describes it as gorgeous and fragrant.PUT YOUR MOUSE POINTER ON THE PICTURE AND LEFT DOUBLE CLICK IT TO ENLARGE IT AND SEE THE LEOPARD SPOTS IN HIGH DETAIL.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Freedom From Want on Thanksgiving 2007

"People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, People may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; Succeed anyway. If you are honest and frank, People may cheat you; Be honest and frank anyway. What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; Build anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, They may be jealous; Be happy anyway. The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; Give the world the best you've got anyway. You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; It was never between you and them anyway." Mother Teresa

Thanksgiving For The Four Freedoms

We have so much to be thankful for on this holiday including these famous icons by the great illustrator/artist Norman Rockwell showing 4 freedoms sacred to all Americans.

Florida Orchid

I am happy to share a picture my first cousin in Florida sent me of his orchid. I wish I had the truly tropical climate of Florida so I could grow plants like these.

Florida Ferns

My first cousin who lives in Florida sent me this nice picture of ferns in his backyard garden so I am proud to share it here. I am green with envy that he has the climate there to grow tree ferns outside year round but I can't here in Mississippi.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Pretty Pastel Pansies...Ultima Morpho

This fairly new variety of pansy really does look like the tropical "Morpho" butterfly. Last fall and winter I grew them and had to have two flats this season.

Cabbages and Cannas

Soon Jack Frost will take out these cannas and then pump up the purple color of the ornamental flowering cabbages.

Yellow Shrimp Plant and Peppers

For some reason looking at this plant makes me crave a bowl of gumbo and a tossed salad.

Vivid Violas

I like the colorful little faces on these violas..reminds me of children with face paint during Mardi Gras.

Ornamental Flowering Cabbage Combo Planter

"Thriller" is Mexican Feather Grass and the "Spiller" and "Filler" plants are asters and ornamental purple flowering cabbages.

Angel Trumpets Playing a Symphony

This is my second flush of blooms...counted 27 open today....last month there were 48 during the first round...overpowering fragance in the evening...hummingbird moths love these huge flowers.

Wagon Load of Weekend Work...Flats For Fall

Stopped by the local nursery for 8 flats of bedding of pansy mania??

Friday, October 05, 2007

Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?

This puny little Copper Plant is finally beginning to show some interesting color. I guess it has not had enough whiskey or sunshine or something to get happy this summer.

A Baby Variegated Yucca

This is my first year to grow this variety of yucca. Cold weather is supposed to make the yellow stripes change to partial red streaks, so I look forward to seeing if that happens in this climate with this odd plant.

Hodge Podge Gumbo

If ever I saw a mixed mess of a flower bed, this is it. The recipe is simple: just plant a few different things and let them run hog wild.

Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright...In The Forest of The Night..

The aggressive new growth of this Bengal Tiger canna is very rude and pushy against one of my sago palms and will have to be transplanted. However, I like its bright striped variegated leaves at times, but I really dislike the strange orange color of its flowers and always cut them off.

Swaying In The Wind

One of the interesting features of Purple Fountain Grass is the way its tassels and leaves catch the slightest breeze and then the whole plant starts dancing.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Graptophyllum Is Graphic And Will Grab You!

Many years ago when I lived in Laos my yard there had these beautiful variegated plants growing in the form of large shrubs. Of course, here in Mississippi these tender tropicals must be kept as houseplants during the winter. For now, my two types of graptophyllums are basking outside and thriving in the summer sun and humidity.

Grappling With Graptophyllum

I never tire of the unusual variegated leaves of what some call the "Cariacature Plant". Each leaf is always a completely different random pattern.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Tah Dah....Look at me!

Bougainvilleas are so vain and always want to be noticed and be the center of attention. When variegated bougs like this one start to bloom, they certainly do catch your eye. In full bloom they are dazzling...almost like flashing neon lights at casinos.

Who spilled the bucket of white paint on my ginger?

This variegated ginger from Texas is new in my garden this year, and I look forward to its peachy flowers with gold throats. I think the professor, Dr. Moy, developed or found a real winner when he introduced this variety. No wonder he gave his own name to it.

Moss Roses....Not a rose is a rose is rose is a rose

It doesn't bother me that this old-fashioned plant is as common as pig tracks because it can flourish in the poorest soil with total neglect and nothing takes the wind out of its sails. I admire people and plants that triumph under adverse conditions.

Bougs are Blushing!

I like how the new growth on these variegated bougainvilleas are blushed with pink, which means blooms will soon follow.

Golden Sedum

I am so very pleased that this minature golden sedum from Japan flourishes in this hot and humid Mississippi climate. It looks great year round and I like it so much that one day I plan to have big pots of it in every bed and border here. From one tiny pot I bought two years ago, I now have ten. I wish my investments had a ROI like this!

Tango in the Tangle

Late summer always seems to find my beds overgrown. I need to tango into this rampant growth with a machete and/or pruning shears real soon.

Good morning to you!

These ladies are wilder than some floozies sashaying on Bourbon Street, but they do have good manners and always politely say "Good Morning" to me as I walk by.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Lily Rose...A Southern Belle born Sept. 5, 1887

Tomorrow is the birthday of my beloved grandmother, Lily Rose, called "Mammy" by her grandchildren. She was born 120 years ago on 9-5-1887 and in those days I suppose it was fashionable to name girls after flowers and jewels with names like hers, Lily Rose, and others such as Violet, Opal, Ruby, Pearl, etc. This old and faded photo was taken about 1925 under a magnolia tree at the home my grandparents built on their Hope Estate Plantation near Wisner, Louisiana. It is one of my favorite pictures of my grandparents and reflects the happiness of those days when times were really, really good for them before the Depression hit. They were in "High Cotton" and it was the "Roaring Twenties". Mammy lived to be 101 years old and when I think of all the "firsts" she witnessed during her long life such as the first cars, the first electric lights, the first airplanes, the first time women got the right to vote, first radios and television, etc., etc. it boggles my mind. She was the wise and wonderful matriarch of our family and I am blessed to have known her and grateful to be her grandson.

Red Hibiscus....Need a Shoeshine?

Once while vacationing on Isla Mujeres, an island off the coast of Yucatan, Mexico, I saw a shoeshine boy on the street with a basket of hibiscus flowers plying his trade by polishing people's shoes with the blooms. I tried it and it really works! What a clever and cheap way to make a peso, and considering that the hibiscus flowers last only a day and are so plentiful in the tropics, I think using such a resource as hibiscus flowers to shine shoes makes a lot of sense. I have often been amazed by the incredible beauty amidst dire poverty you sometime see in the tropics.

Red Hibiscus Shouting Right In Your Face!

I love any and everything tropical including all the loud and hot colors of many tropical flowers. Nothing says "tropical" better than a plain ole red hibiscus, which I first fell in love with as a small boy in my grandmother's yard in Florida.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Dusty Miller Trying To Grin and Bear It During This Heat Wave

I like to grow certain plants, as well as planting trees, in memory of people special to me. Both my mother and grandmother loved Dusty Miller so this one's for them. Seeing it gives me happy flashbacks to my childhood.