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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Gardenias: A Fragrance That Captivates - Southern Living

My Gardenias

This is the only photo of my Gardenias I have, because...blah, blah, I lost all others on my last computer, of course!   And my poor bushes perished this winter in all of the ice and snow.  They are trying to come back, but, I don't think they'll ever be like this again.  They did flourish for about 5 years, tho.  I love mine would bloom, I would cut from 3 to 5 of them to bring in.  They had short stems, so I had to figure out how to display them effectively.  I had a shallow clear crystal bowl and would place 'ice cube-like' rocks in the bottom of the bowl.  Then I would strategically arrange light blue marble-shaped glass globes on top of the clear crystals.  I could then, carefully, place the 'Gardenias' on top in a minimal amount of water, and gently push the stems into the glass baubles to stay in place.  Thus, the 'Gardenias' had the appearance of floating, and you got the reflections of the clear glass cubes and blue marbles that gave a 'watery' look to the arrangement.  And I truly believe that the water kept the scent of the 'Gardenias'  fresh and longer lasting.  Oh, what aroma!

And it brings to mind an alltime favorite...
 Jungle Gardenia by Tuvaché
"The World's Most Exotic Perfume"

What a fragrance!  'Jungle Gardenia' was first introduced in 1932 by the Tuvaché Company in New York. When I was a kid, 'Jungle Gardenia' was a favorite on the "Queen For A Day Show".  All of the contestants would receive a bottle of 'Jungle Gardenia', and I had always wished to be able to have a bottle myself one day.  And then, in the 1970's sometime, I bought myself a small bottle. wonderful!  But I used it sparingly, since it really wasn't in my budget.  I just wore it on occasions, and only to work if I was wearing green that day.  How funny!  I think some of the game shows like "Truth Or Consequences" continued to gift 'Jungle Gardenia' for some years, and you can still purchase this lovely fragrance today, (by the way, it is more affordable now).  I haven't had any in years, and other 'Gardenia' fragrances just don't hold up to the original 'Jungle Gardenia'. 
You can find the whole story on:

Next, I want to share with you some garden tips.  This is where I have gotten a great deal of help for garden design and the care and raising of plants for my part of the country.   Southern Living magazine posts garden tips every month, and when I saw the article on 'Gardenias' in June's issue,  a sweet note struck home.  I know a lot of gardeners do love 'Gardenias', and this article offers a few good tips. 
Please click on the Southern Living link if you have a moment.

And, I want to thank all of my readers for your gracious AND funny comments and input to my blogs.  I know some of us are still having some trouble with our blogs...I have had trouble this week leaving comments on a few blogs, I hope you all know I am still reading and following and will continue to attempt my "hellooos" to you.  And I noticed that my list of followers has disappeared from my sidebar-I tried to revive it, but to no avail.  Sheesh!!!  I've already lost one whole this some kind of sign?

* Have a safe and pleasant Memorial Day weekend! *

Grandson Shawn on a verrry chilly April 1st, 2011

" Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are."
~Alfred Austin

Friday, May 20, 2011

Colossal Caladiums!

White/Red Veined Caladiums ~ Summer 2007

Caladiums are of my favorite blooms-I say blooms because I heard someone mention that they are blooms.  And I never thought of them in that way.  To me Caladiums are  flowing, fluffy leaves, whimsical and careless in the soft breeze.  But, when I really considered it-yes they are blooms!  My favorite Caladiums are white with red veins.  One lady mentioned, "They are curiously blotched with white and red."  It was early July, I remember, when I took this photo, and fortunately enough, because our computer 'KRASHED' and this is the only one I printed-AAGGHH!  See how the morning sun from the east comes thru the back of the blooms, causing the veins to really stand out.  If you look closely, you can see the morning dew, still resting and waiting for the ride in the breeze, before disappearing into the hot July day.


"AW"-the little fellow feels a presence behind him!

This garden is in front of my 'no-good-for-nothing-pain-in-the-keister' Mulberry tree.  The tree bears fruit in early spring, and you can't work under it until they're all gone.  Fortunately, the plant life doesn't suffer from the squirrels and birds playing 'catch' with the fruit.  But the berries do leave a splotchy mess, and usually I can lightly spray and wash the stains away.

In the upper lefthand corner of my photo resides 'vinca major'-a periwinkle relative.  It grows EVERYWHERE!  And you can easily propagate it-it also climbs easily.  Karo built 2 ladders, one on either side of the tree for the 'vinca' to climb...and it did!  In the spring it will produce lavendar blooms, but only on the mature plant.  Any 'vinca' that you may transplant will not bloom until the following year.  It's a fun plant, that can be transplanted easily in most areas of the yard, and, or used in pots.

Isn't that a beautiful 'hosta'?  It kept coming back for about 4 years.  My mother sent me the roots from Kansas City, and it really took off-it got so big!  Behind the 'hosta' is, you'll never guess, 'gladiola'.  Not a very good spot for this plant because there was not enough sun to encourage blooms.  But it did make for interesting background foliage.  And there's a small clump of white 'impatiens' to the lower right.  

I prefer to plant my caladiums as bulbs.  I have bought them in pots before, but they don't last as long-they are usually already too leggy when you buy them and have a tendancy to fall over.  The only thing you can do then, is save the bulbs for next year.  AND-I remember reading that 'caladiums' and 'elephant ears' need to be in the ground after danger of frost, but by May 1st.  I have actually gone outside in the rain just to get them into the ground on May 1st!  Dedication, you say?  Sometimes we leave a few 'elephant ears' in the ground, because in Texas, the ground doesn't freeze too deep in the winter (most of the time).  And they can survive.  But 'caladiums' are not as hardy.  We try to dig up the bulbs-I sprinkle some peat moss on newspaper, wrap the bulbs up, and store them in paper sacks inside the house during the winter. 

On the other side of the 'hosta' are some other exciting plants which I will be showing later.  We really showed this tree up with the circular bed around it, and Karo used green, metal edging for definition.

Thank you so much for stopping by and reading today.

My previous post on this blog was lost in the shuffle of the "blogger dilemma" last week.  I have requested that blogger restore it, as they said they were restoring lost posts and comments, but, so far nothing!  So, I am in the process of re-writing, since only 2 paragraphs actually went to draft.  PHLUGF!!! 

And I want to welcome, and thank my two followers:
Susan from this n that
Nancy from Nancy's Arts, Crafts and Favorites

These two ladies are fine bloggers!  They share some of the greatest ideas, photos, and art around.  I am so grateful to have them as blogmates.  You can find their links on my sidebar bloglist. 

And I want to wish Laura at forestwalkart a speedy recovery from her surgery this week.  You can also find her blog on my sidebar.

Thank you Bonnie King Powers for reading my blogs and emailing me with your sweet and wonderful comments.  Bonnie and I met when we were four years old.  We grew up together in Kansas City and went thru all of our school years together.  We've only seen each other a few times at high school reunions, but recently have connected thru Facebook, and now, we stay in touch frequently.  It's really good to talk about the fun we had as kids.

"My green thumb came only as a result of the mistakes I made
while learning to see things from the plant's point of view."
~saying by H. Fred Ale


"I've been here before,
Tho I know not when.
And I hope I left my mark,
So I'll see you again."
~penned by Suzanne

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Precious White Roses!

photo by suzanne * march 2011

I've had a particular white rose bush for 10 or 11 years long, I don't even remember what type of rose it is. I do think it is some kind of 'tea rose' that most generally blooms twice a year and brings me much joy.  And I've not taken many pictures of the bush because the roses are so white, that it is hard to capture the exquisite details of the blooms.  At times, I have been able to cut and bring in a dozen roses at once.  One stem can house from 4 to 6 roses.  I cut the stems at an angle and put some chips of ice in the vase of water.  

photo by suzanne * april 2010

In order to receive a beautiful spring crop, I must prune the bush in October.  And, then in March, the buds start developing.  After the spring show, I must lightly prune again, and I can enjoy more blooms in the fall.  Last year I failed to prune (lazy), but this spring I did reap a favorable lot of roses.  However, the March winds this year were so strong and frequent, that the petals were blowing everywhere, and I lost quite a few roses.  I did get a few photos in April, just before Easter, when my little grandson was visiting for a few days.  The results below.

photo by Suzanne * April 16, 2011

My grandson Shawn * April 16, 2011
"He wears the rose of youth upon him."
~William Shakespeare

So, for now, this is it.  I'm having a dilemma with posting.  After having written a post and published it on Wednesday nite, Thursday came and I couldn't log in to my blogs.  I kept getting a message that "blogger" was unavailable.  When I got home from work Friday, I was able to log in to my blogs, but my new post from Wednesday was gone-VANISHED!-I know it posted, because I saw it Thursday even tho I couldn't log into the blog.  And one of my blogmates had left a message, but I when I tried to publish her comment another message told me the comment did NOT exist.  Don't know what the deal is, but I will try again, and within a few days I hope to rewrite and publish the previous post. 

So-what do you think my chances of a successful post are?


~ Charlie Sheen from 'Two and a Half Men'
The quote on my sidebar above the rippling water rose picture is by: 
Emily Dickinson * How beautiful!

I look forward to hearing from you, my readers!  Have a safe and happy week!


"And she was fair as the rose in May"
~Geoffrey Chaucer

Monday, May 9, 2011

* May 8, 2011 * Easter Sunday *

More Dianthus and 'Dusty Miller' photo by Suzanne in Spring 2004

I found a good combination for color and brightness to be 'Dinathus' surrounded by the silvery 'Dusty Miller'.  I took this photo at night and was pleasantly surprised at the outcome.  It appears to be illuminated by the 'Dusty Miller'.  If you look closely a little to the right, you will see a frog face poking out of the 'Dusty Miller', and to the extreme right is red 'Dianthus', which is not as showy as the fuschia and white.  But if you can get the red to cluster heavily and border it with lighter colors (like yellow), you can get it to show up.  And, of course, my backdrop is 'Iris' in yellow and blue.  At least when the 'Iris' blooms disappear, the foliage makes a good background for most other bedding plants. 

Now, remember, 'Dianthus' is kin (I mean relative) to the ever lovely 'Carnation', as is the 'Sweet William'.  The "Sweet William' has somewhat taller stems than 'Dianthus', and I have not seen it in a variegated state as the 'Dianthus'.  I have had 'Sweet William' in lilac-purple, and pastel pinks.  It is a beautiful plant.  Since I have problems raising 'Carnations', which are a most aromic and lovely flower, I do the next best and stick with 'Dianthus', the most hardy of the two, and also fragrant.

As for the 'Dusty Miller' is a most hardy plant in my area, and does come back for at least three years, whether you want it to or not.  AND, you can pop of a top and root it to propagate.  It gets ugly when a stem comes up with sticky-yellow looking blooms.  I don't know what to do then.  I try to break them off without damaging the plant.  But it is a wonderful contrast to purple petunias, red begonias, and other dark colored bedding plants...and they are usually cheap!  Just be careful-'Dusty Miller' can get big, although it is not invasive.  You just don't want it to overpower your smaller bedding plants.

* May 6, 2011

Althea "Zebrina"
A few years ago we came across a plant called Althea 'Zebrina' and Karo thought we should try them out.  At a previous home of his, Karo had some Althea trees, much like the "Rose of Sharon", and, or "Crepe Myrtle".  But these were small plants, so we bought two of them.  One died pretty quickly...the other-POW!!!  It took off and a couple of years later it's ALL OVER our yard.  It goes to seed everywhere!!!  We almost never got rid of it...every year more would sprout itself strategically all over the yard.  Well, we finally got rid of it-but, guess where it went?  Why, yes!!!  Next door!!! Our neighbor is now the proud owner of Althea 'Zebrina'! 

The blooms are lovely!
It traveled all the way up the fence-I had to tie it off!
photos taken by Suzanne in April and May 2007

* Easter Sunday * April 24, 2011

Little English Garden * Spring 2000
I'm not real sure just exactly what an "English Garden is", but this little garden is my perception of what my 'mind's eye' would see as an "English Garden".  The statuary is a peasant girl, actually, a water feature.  But I have never hooked her up to water.  She is carrying two baskets that I planted "sweet allysum" in, and, as you can see, the allysum is planted within the bed around my peasant girl with bright colored "Petunias".  Directly behind her baskets looms a "Kale" plant that got rather large, but was attractive to me.  The small bordering blooms are yellow "purslane".  Of course, in the corner my "elephant ears" are coming up, and that's "mexican petunia" up against the house that grows wild-you can't get rid of that stuff!  I also have "iris" in white and blue, although no longer in bloom after early spring.  And, too, there are some red "canna" plants.  Up on the house is a terra cotta pot filed with "petunias".  I love "petunias"...they are so bright and refreshing.  There are also a couple of tiny "gnomes" standing behind the "purslane".   I constructed a brick walk to separate the larger plants from the "peasant girl's" private garden, and I re-painted them a darker brick color.  This small walk enabled me to step through and water everything without stepping on the dainty plants.  I have since moved the "peasant girl", will share her new spot at a later date.

* April 17, 2011

Oleander "White Beauty" 
The Oleander is very common in my part of the country.  I see them in at least 65% of the neighborhoods while driving all over the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.  I've also seen them while traveling thru West Texas and South Texas.  Most of them are red or pink-but "me"-I had to have a white one!  The Oleander for the most part is evergreen, but sometimes a freeze will "bite" them back and they have to be pruned, however, any branches that are still green can be left to grow new leaves.  You just have to get the dead leaves off and cut back what looks burned from the freeze.  It's not likely to get blooms from the new growth in the same season, but it has happened.  The plant is hardy and can handle lots of heat and sun (it's a good thing-Texas gets up into the 100's during the summer).  And these plants can grow to be 10' high and 4 to 5 feet wide.  We moved our white oleander a few years ago from the north side of the house, to the south side and reaped glorious results.  And just a few cuttings make the most beautiful arrangement in a vase!

These photos of our "White Oleander" were taken June 30, 2009

* April 13, 2011
Dianthus, Frogs and Knick Knacks

This little garden is at the southwest side of the yard in a shaded area.  I tried to build it up in levels since the property goes downhill from South to North. There are Iris planted on the top layer and "variegated Monkey Grass" (Liriope). I used "Dianthus" for some color and strategically placed some Knick Knacks throughout the bed.  If you look real close, to the far left, there is a small yellow ceramic snail.  These plants thrive in this spot, and return for me the next year.
Sometimes, I have to replenish the Dianthus.

* April 12, 2011

Zinnia Garden in 1950
I guess I can call this my garden-afterall, I'm standing in front of it!
My mother LOVES Zinnias and always planted them at home.
She shot this picture of me in September of 1950 when I was just a few months shy of 2 years old.

Periwinkles and Canna in the fall of 1997
See the little girl statue talking on the phone!

Mom's Pink "surprise daylillies" come back every year

When Karo and I were dating, he built this arbor in my backyard using the headboard of a twin bed for the top, and lumber for the climbing ladder. This was in the spring of 1998 and we planted some "Carolina Jasmine" at the base of each ladder.

And when we got married on September 20, 2000, I bought some pots of mums, covered them with colored tissue paper and ribbon to decorate around the arbor.  The Jasmine had by then grown to about 4 1/2 feet.  Our neighbor Lee came over and took our wedding picture.  The arbor looks like it is leaning some, but maybe Lee was leaning when she took the picture-ha-ha!  And my dress is way too short!  But, we love the picture.

My son brought this Yucca back from a trip to Arkansas in 1990-we moved it from our former house, transplanted it, and look how large it got!  I garnished it with Stella D'Oro Lillies and "Sweet Allysum".  

Can you see the terra cotta sun watching over the "Elephant Ears" that hover over more "Periwinkles" and St. Francis, as he hides amongst the canna?

Gnome Garden ~ October 2005
This was fun!  An odd-shaped bed around a tree (I don't know what kind of tree).  I can't keep "airplane plants" alive in hanging baskets, so I plant them in the ground-and they come back every year!  When they make the little parachutes, I just stick them in the ground and they grow for me, thus creating more plants.  These airplane plants adorn the small birdbath.  There are red and white "Begonias" and some kind of purple jew that was given to me in just pieces grows up and around the trunk of the tree.  Around to the right of the picture are a couple more Gnomes and more begonias.