Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Purple coneflowers are among my favorite perennials and I like this one swaying in front of my huge clump of Cabaret grass. When the wind blows, they are lovely dancing together.
In my backyard jungle I like the contrast in foliage of these Frydek alocasias with native ferns, Rice Paper plants, and my timber bamboo. It reminds me of my tropical gardens when I lived in Thailand and Laos many years ago, but I try not to think of tigers and pythons.
I have had this old Sago Palm for years and this season it has looked like me, about half dead, but it keeps on keeping on and this week is putting out its yearly growth spurt. By late summer this will be a massive cluster of evergreen fronds about 3 feet long.
The play of light and shadows in my garden's foliage turns me on more than flowers. I particularly like foliage when it is backlit by the morning or late afternoon sun.
This is a new variety of red mandevilla on the market called 'Haley's Comet' with the PPAF still pending. I like it better than the other red mandevilla vines I am growing called 'Red Riding Hood' because its blooms are darker red and larger.
These pictures of cicadas...or Katydids as we call them in Mississippi...are from the Internet, not my camera. For unknown reasons we are having an invasion this week and their very loud singing in the evening is music our two rat terriers dislike. The type of cicadas we have here usually emerge every 13 years or so and were last seen by the billions in 2001 and 2002. This brood is about 7 years early!
Friday, July 25, 2008
The rich golden yellow of these Rudbeckia "Indian Summer" flowers glows in late afternoon. This is my favorite variety of rudbeckias. Since we have no bees this year I doubt any seeds will be fertile so I fear I might lose these.
My clump of bananas is just starting to bloom, but this one is not making many baby bananas for some reason. You can see just a couple of tiny ones at the bottom of this stalk, but since they are not edible anyway I am not concerned. This variety like my Musa Basjoo bananas are ornamentals only.
This year I have only a couple of these "Fruit Cocktail" Shrimp Plants. They are not nearly as vigorous or as showy as my red and yellow shrimp plants and have been very slow to bloom this season. This one is just starting to show a little color. I think they are not happy with this awful heat unlike their red and yellow cousins.
My two small Meyer Improved Lemon Trees are going to have a decent crop of fruit this year. Here is a shot of 3 of the babies getting fat and happy. These lemons get very large and are quite sweet and will make wonderful lemonade and Whiskey Sours in the fall.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
My cousin Hunter sent this photo of another of his orchids currently in bloom in his collection in his Florida garden. Left double click on this photo to see the incredible details of this Pansy Orchid.
Two pictures my cousin Hunter sent to share of his huge G.S. orchid now in bloom in his tropical "Garden of Eden" at his home in St. Petersburg, Florida. This is what a guy with 10 green fingers gets as a reward!
Monday, July 21, 2008
Some states have banned importing or selling this extremely invasive floating water plant, and most fishermen hate it because it clogs their lines and hinders navigation. In my water gardens it grows and multiplies so fast I have to continually pull out thickets of it to keep it under control. Its roots are wonderful filters and keep the water clear, and when it sends up flower stalks like the one in this photo, I enjoy it.
This houseplant has grown by leaps and bounds on the patio and needs me to whack it in half before it collapses under its own weight. Some people call this Beefsteak Plant, another form I also have is called Chicken Gizzard plant, and then I have a yellow, white, and green leaf type. They are all in the Iresine family and I like them all since I am a nut for variegated plants.
I thought I had lost my pair of variegated Chinese Cooper hibiscus this winter, but they are finally growing back and putting out their interesting leaves of green, white, and pink. The hotter it gets the happier and prettier they become. It is 99 degrees today so they are jumping with joy. Sun and heat make their green leaves become variegated. By late summer they should be in their full glory and putting out bright red flowers, which are really insignificant amidst their showy foliage.
The glimmering metallic-purple sheen of these beautiful plants in the shade of my huge pecan tree really dazzles me. Their origin is tropical Burma (Myanmar) not Persia (modern day Iran) so whoever named them didn't know geography very well, but I say thanks to whoever brought them to America.
The unusual shade of chartreuse of the Lime Zinger plant zinged my eyes some years ago in a courtyard in New Orleans so of course I had to get a couple of clumps for my garden. I like how they glow at dusk. I have them next to purple Persian Shield plants and the combination is really striking...sounds gaudy but it works for me.
My red shrimp plants flourish in this awful summer heat and humidity and are very cold hardy here unlike the tender yellow shrimp ones, which must be brought inside in winter. Seeing these odd brick-red flowers this morning reminded me of the delicious shrimp gumbo I had last night. Shrimp is my favorite seafood and gumbo is my favorite soup so this combination is a winner for me...it doesn't get any better.
My tree has long sharp thorns but not the huge curved claw-like thorns of others I have seen. Perhaps as it ages it will develop those monsters. I grow this as a novelty and the fruit is not edible; it is as bitter as gall. If I ever have a burglar, I do hope he falls into this vicious tree because he will learn crime doesn't pay and he will not come here again.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Saturday, July 12, 2008
This wonderful plant has always won the Gold Medal in my garden Olympics. I first grew it 40 years ago in my garden in Vientiane, Laos, and I have loved it ever since. It is a traffic-stopping plant people beg to have a cutting of. It is absolutely my favorite plant of all time and if a hurricane came I would evacuate with it, my two dogs, and other valuables! Left double click this photo to see the amazing details of its variegated leaves and their red stems. The nasty and disgusting (to me) dessert tapioca pudding is made from the tubers of the common green-leaf form of this plant.
This hard-to-find double-flowering form of this vine from Asia is new in my garden this year, and is just starting to bloom. It is an exceptional clone grown from a cutting of the mother plant...not seeds... in order to maintain the double-flowering trait.
After searching high and low for years, I finally found this rare plant for sale at a wonderful nursery in Oklahoma. Now it joins my other Purple Heart clumps and puts them to shame with its interesting and lovely variegated leaves. Notice the contrast with the common solid Purple Heart it is nestled in. I'm in LOVE!
Friday, July 11, 2008
The lemon flowers were plentiful this year and are my very favorite fragrance in the garden. Despite having no bees here because of the alarming CCD problem, I have many baby lemons coming along for a good fall crop.
Two of my favorite ornamental grasses: Miscanthus "Cabaret" and Stipa "Mexican Feather Grass" make for an interesting contrast of foliage. This combination is very interesting when they are swaying in the wind.
Friday, July 04, 2008
Soctt sent these pictures of his pomegranate with its lovely red-orange flowers and the interesting view from his balcony. They also grow tomatoes, hot peppers, scallions, aloe, strawberries in their balcony garden. Mint is grown as well to keep away insects he said.
I was so pleased to receive this photo from my cousin, Scott, who is a businessman in China. He said this healthy looking portulaca (called "si-bu-liao" translated as "never-can-die" by the Chinese) is a volunteer that found a home in a vacant pot on his balcony. Proof positive of how tough and drought-resistant these plants are and that is why folks like them. Several years ago I had some portulacas that came up from seed in a crack in my driveway. I transplanted them to a hanging basket and they flourished on their own.
Thursday, July 03, 2008
This precious signed Declaration of Independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain is like the "birth certificate" of the United States of America. A REMARKABLE IRONY IN AMERICAN HISTORY IS THE FACT THAT BOTH THOMAS JEFFERSON AND JOHN ADAMS DIED ON JULY 4, 1826 FIFTY YEARS TO THE DAY AFTER SIGNING THE DECLARATION. On July 4, 1776 our Founding Fathers signed their names declaring the 13 colonies now were 13 United States of America independent from Great Britain. These leaders put their lives and the future of America on the line by signing and adopting this revolutionary document of indictment against the Kingdom of Great Britain. Thomas Jefferson, the greatest genius among the Founding Fathers, spent many days and nights writing drafts of the Declaration of Independence before he was satisfied it was ready to be presented to the Congress to be adopted and signed. The indictment against the King of England may look like a simple list of grievances, but it contains a virtual roadmap of the requirements for good government. The abridgement of government by consent, the continual frustration or abolition of the colonial executive, legislative, and judicial powers, the establishment of a military power superior to the civilian, and the continual revision or annihilation of many of the colonists' consensual attempts to regulate their affairs an ocean away-these were not simply the complaints of an annoyed populace sick of paying taxes. The indictments of the King were meant as a petition to a "candid world," an appeal to reasonable people everywhere and meant as a justification for that most extreme but often most necessary of acts: the right of revolution.