Monday, December 31, 2007
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.
A photo of our Florida friend's lovely landscaped front garden which complements the beautiful Spanish Mission architecture.
A special friend since our childhood sent me this picture of her beautiful Spanish Mission style home in Florida.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
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.
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
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
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.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
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".
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.
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.
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 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
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!
Friday, November 30, 2007
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.
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
"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
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.
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
Friday, October 05, 2007
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.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
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.
Friday, September 07, 2007
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.
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.
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.
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!
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
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.
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.
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
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.