The Natural Garden Coach

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Madame is Ailing

Madame Alfred Carriere

Something is ailing my Madame Alfred Carriere climbing rose bush. Can you see all those dead branches? I've never seen it act like this before. Sure, it's lost the occasional cane before, but never so notably. Perhaps it has a severe case of spider mites, but it's too high up for me to tell.

Our weather has been horrible - no rain (even when rain is all around us) for many weeks and extremely hot temperatures. I've been watering the madame at least once a week with a good drenching. I've had her in the ground for about three years now and she's been quite a trooper, growing fast and blooming prolifically. So I would certainly hate to lose her. If anyone has any ideas of what could be wrong, and how to fix it, I'd sure like some help!

This post was written by Jean McWeeney for my blog Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog. Copyright 2009. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My Underappreciated Crapemyrtle


Yesterday, the first official day of summer, I was driving home from work in my extremely hot car (must have been 150 F in there!), thinking about the heat (it was the third day in a row that it hit 100 F), and noticing the lawns and other plants that were crisping up (no rain for a long time). Then all of a sudden, I pulled into my drive and saw this lovely tree. This crapemyrtle, asking for nothing in return except a little appreciation. How can you not appreciate a plant that blooms like this when the rest of us are frying?!

I must admit that I seldom give crapemyrtles any thought as they're so common here (unless it's winter and I see people lopping their pretty heads off). But of course, the fact that they're common should clue me in to the fact that they can survive and even thrive despite our heat, lack of rain and other beastly acts of nature.


This lighter pink crapemyrtle is on the side of our house and definitely too close to it. But I enjoy it so much in the winter when the birds start eating the seeds out of the seedpods. My office window looks on to its tops. Many people don't realize how much food crapemyrtles provide, if only you'll leave the tops alone. For a rant about what some people do to crapes in the winter, here's one of my old posts.

And now for something completely different, a quick look at some of my 'maters. The larger ones are Caro Rich and the little ones are the sublime Sun Golds.

Caro Rich and Sun Gold tomatoes

This post was written by Jean McWeeney for my blog Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog. Copyright 2009. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Happy Bloomsday and GBBD

'Mother of Thyme' thyme

Well, I'm a little late (again) for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day so again on this June day I'll be posting a GBBD post on Bloomsday. I don't do it on purpose but I'm also okay with giving a tip o' the hat to Molly and Leopold.

A little bit about my thyme plant above, now in bloom (there's that Bloom again!). Several years ago I planted three 4" plants of the 'Mother of Thyme' variety in a corner of one of my 8' x 8' beds. In no time at all they took off and at times have filled a full quarter of that bed. I've been digging up and giving away parts of this plant for a couple of years now. My point? If you have trouble growing thyme, you should have no trouble at all with this one. Good drainage and sun is all it needs.

Purple coneflower and Verbena bonariensis

I have three different varieties of purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) in my beds but I can't remember which ones I planted where. So I have to wait until they all bloom before I can figure it out (hopefully). Seems like this year they all took a long time to start blooming.


I find the close up photos of coneflowers so interesting. Sometimes I find neat looking bugs hanging out on them, besides the usual bumblebees and butterflies.

Lanai series verbena, 'Bright Pink'

I can't say enough good things about this particular verbena. It's practically a non-stop bloomer and grower, as you can see by its attempt to take over the irises.

Nicotiana and rosemary

Some of the nicotiana, which seeded itself into the gravel paths, has decided to hang out with the rosemary, which has decided to start blocking the gravel paths!

No-name daylilies

These are daylilies that are not what the package named and described. When it comes to daylilies, I learned my lesson about buying them when not in bloom. If any of you daylily geeks know what this one is called, I'd appreciate knowing.

Since it's June, I naturally have a few more things blooming than just these plants. But I've had little time to take photos or blog. Still blooming for me are other daylilies plus Marie Pavie rose, pelargoniums, 'Patrick's' abutilon, dianthus, peppers and eggplant, agastache, butterfly bush, crapemyrtles and some salvias. Not blooming for me are the tomatoes - it's too dang HOT. About to bloom for me is the 'Goldsturm' rudbeckia, yippeee!

Be sure to check out Carol's blog, May Dreams Gardens, for a complete list and links to everyone who's posting about what's blooming in their yard!

This post was written by Jean McWeeney for my blog Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog. Copyright 2009. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Daylily Daze

This is one prolific bloomer

The month of May starts off the daylily craze in my neck of the woods. About mid-May they start their show and it will continue for another few weeks, depending on the type of daylily you may have. Until I moved to Louisiana, I never grew daylilies. Well, maybe I had a few of the wild daylilies (which I've heard called 'tawny', 'common' and 'ditch' daylilies). But they were never very showy and I felt they didn't really go with the garden I had at the time. Our current house came with an assortment of daylilies, although I have no idea what their cultivar names are, if they even had one. Since that first year when they bloomed, I've become smitten by them and I'm afraid I'm going to fall into the obsessed category soon. Someone save me! Without further ado, here are the ones that are currently blooming in my yard. There are a few more that haven't opened yet, but I think I better just stop here for now.

'Crimson Pirate' daylilies in mid-March

'Crimson Pirate' daylilies today; this is an old-fashioned variety from the 1950s that I bought at a big box store in a bag

Daylilies for sale at our farmers' market

These more flat, open ones are not really my favorite (but to each his own of course)

Very open with curved petals; again, not my favorite

I have a number of daylilies like this one scattered here and there

My latest purchase, 'Betty Warren Woods'; I like how the yellow ones brighten the landscape

How's this for a wild color? One of my Master Gardener classmates bred this.

A peachy one

This is my all-time favorite; I call it 'dreamsicle' although the folks I bought it from said it didn't have a cultivar name

I'll know if I've tipped over into the daylily obsession bucket when I start learning more about all the different varieties. I'm scared to go there though. :-)

This post was written by Jean McWeeney for my blog Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog. Copyright 2009. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.