Friday, May 16, 2014

A Few New Flowers

New(er) flowers making appearances around the garden...

Daisy Gardenia

The "daisy gardenia" is blooming.  It has the same wonderful (and powerful) fragrance as a regular gardenia (I think), but the blooms look different and it stays relatively compact.  This one is more or less in the same spot as our full-size gardenia was, before we moved it.  (The other gardenia is doing well in its new home in a back corner of the yard.  Looks like it should bloom before too much longer.)

When I was looking up the daisy gardenia, I saw that it is also known as "cape jasmine".  In fact, it looks like "cape jasmine" and "cape jessamine" are alternative names for all types of gardenia.  "Gardenia" seems a little bit boring through over-use. "Jessamine" feels like a very old-fashioned name for a girl.  I prefer "cape jasmine", which suggests exotic locales, spice-scented sea breezes, and extravagantly colorful sunsets.  I doubt I'll remember to use that name, though, and more people would recognize "gardenia", anyway.

"Cape jasmine?  I've never heard of that before.  What does it look like?"
"Oh... It's... it's basically a... Well, it's a gardenia."
"Oh, a gardenia."
And you'll sense that they're politely refraining from asking why you didn't just call it a gardenia to begin with.  (g)

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I don't know if it's a difference in varieties or the weather or something we did, but whereas last year's blue morning glories didn't put out any flowers until late summer, the 'Granpa Ott' morning glories are already blooming!  In May!  There aren't tons of flowers,yet, but then again, the vines have only barely gotten started.  The flowers so far seem significantly smaller than those of the 'Heavenly Blue' morning glories we grew last year-- and from the little I've read, it sounds like that's to be expected.

They're a really deep purple-- kind of like the purple petunias we grew last year.  Here's a slightly out-of-focus photo of the first bloom we saw:

Early Grandpa Ott Morning Glory!

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And here's an even blurrier photo of verbena:


I don't think I've ever planted verbena before.  The blooms are pretty, but I'm curious to see how they hold up.  They were a little leggy by the time I planted them...  Probably ought to trim them down...

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Other recent(-ish) plantings:  
-- Lantana.  I remember Mom used to have one in the old yard, by the natural gas tank.  It was a good-sized bush, with flowers ranging in color from yellow to orange to pink.  I remembered it, recently, and I thought it might be fun to have one, here.  (They attract butterflies.)  But then I read that certain parts of them can be dangerous if pets (or people) ingest them, so to be safe, I planted it outside the fence. (I know that lots of plants already in the yard have poisonous parts, but... ~shrug~  At least I know that none of our dogs have poisoned themselves on those plants, yet.)  It's pretty small right now, and there are no blooms at the moment.  I'll be curious to see how it grows and if it can survive our winters. (It may not be the exact same type Mom grew.)

-- More seeds.  A mixture of cosmos, California poppy, zinnias-- and also some marigold seeds saved from last year's plants.  Many little seedlings have already popped up.  I hope some of them will make it!  If they do well, I'll plan to do more next year.   I'd already planted some of those marigold seeds, earlier in the year, and they're now blooming.  I was a little disappointed when the first blooms looked kind of small, sad, and insignificant.  I wondered if maybe these were plants that simply don't do well from home-harvested seed.  But no!  Now that they've had a little more time, they're looking great!  I'll definitely harvest more marigold seeds, this year.  Well worth the (small) effort for the satisfaction of growing something from your own stock. 

--  Ghost plant.  This succulent has not been doing very well for a few years, now.  It's just been barely hanging on, though I'm not sure what it needs that it's not getting.  I'm trying to get a few new plants started from dropped "leaves".  Succulents are really interesting plants.  I'd hate to lose this one entirely. 

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Other things:
-- We need to take photos of the peppers.  They're really growing!  

-- Also need to photograph the garage progress.  The storage is nearly completed.  Just a few finishing touches, then we'll be done.  (Hm.  Well, except for figuring out where everything goes...)  We put up a system to hold (most of) the garden tools, too, to keep them tidy.  I'm very happy about that!

--  We may do some burning this weekend.  There are piles and piles of trimmings waiting.  

-- I've been gathering pine straw for mulch.  There's still a need for much, much more.  Mucho mulcho.  ;o)  Still, every load helps!

--  I need to remember, for next year, that the impatiens I planted this year are doing better than the ones from last year.  I did a little research this time and decided to plant them directly in the ground instead of in pots.  At least a couple of them are doing really well (by my standards, at least), and though I think we lost one of the six to puppy-attack, I think they're generally performing better than last year.  If they continue to do well, we should try them again, next year.  I probably wouldn't even have gotten any this year, if Donald hadn't wanted them. 

--  Of the coleus we planted, there is a marked difference in hardiness among the three varieties we got.  The ones that are red with light green edging are doing best.  The darker red/burgundy ones are doing pretty well, still.  The ones that are mottled red and green aren't doing as well.  (One was eaten whole by something.)  So, mixed results, but not too bad. 

--  The begonias are wonderful performers, again, this year.  Definitely want to get more of them for next year.  Or maybe I'll see about keeping some of them over the winter.  (If that's possible with begonias.  I know you can with some annuals, by taking cuttings.)