The Natural Garden Coach

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

One December Bloom for Bloom Day

Viburnum mistflower, aka Joe-Pye shrub
If it's slim pickings in the bloom department now for my garden, I can't imagine how bad it'll be for next month's Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. This month I get to feature my oddball shrub, the viburnum mistflower or Joe-Pye shrub, Eupatorium viburnoides. This is NOT a Joe-Pye weed and it's NOT a viburnum. In fact, I have never been able to find out much about it other than it's native to Mexico. Regardless, I've had this for two winters now and it's always bloomed in late November through December. It has a very light fragrance and the leaves are evergreen. Sounds pretty good, yes? Well, it has one habit I'm not that fond of.


It's very lax and floppy. Not really like a shrub at all. But maybe that's because I don't know how to train it properly. Or maybe it needs more sunlight (it gets blasted by the sun in the late afternoon but has light shade before that). I plan to give it a very good pruning after it finishes blooming and hope for the best next winter.

Now, I'm hoping to see more blooms than this at Carol's website, where she hosts Garden Bloggers Bloom Day!

This post was written by Jean McWeeney for my blog Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog. Copyright 2010. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

As the Cold Wind Blows

Willow teepee met its match with the cold winds
A cold Siberian wind has been blowing since last night. We left for some Holiday parties while the temperatures were in the 60s. Fortunately we had watched the weather forecast and brought our coats! It's quite nippy today and that wind is still blowing. It's going to be fun trying to put some sheets down on tender plants this evening! They're predicting a low of 19 F tonight but if this wind doesn't stop, it won't get that cold.

Agave desmettiana variegata
I spent some time this afternoon ensuring my plants had a warm place to stay. This agave is not the cold-hardiest of plants, so it moved to the greenhouse with my husband's help.

Succulents in their winter hangout
My succulents have been in the storeroom/potting shed for quite a few weeks now. They seem to be doing fairly well although they're a bit crowded. Since I don't think the window provides enough light, I have two little growlights on this side of the shelves, just for a little something extra.

Camelot foxgloves
While my northern gardening friends have put all their gardening to bed for the winter, I'm still gardening on. Last week I planted these foxgloves, my first try at foxgloves ever. These are the Camelot series, designated a 2010 Louisiana Super Plant. I do hope they will look as gorgeous in spring as they do in my mind right now!

'Bloodgood' Japanese maple
This isn't the best photo I've ever taken of this tree but hopefully you can see the lovely red color my 'Bloodgood' maple finally has. It's been a great tree and it looks like it survived the early spring gnawing the squirrels gave it this year.

Frozen bhut jolokia peppers (aka ghost peppers)
I waited and waited for my ghost pepper plants to put on some peppers. I planted these guys in late March from seeds I collected from my brother's plants, they flowered several times throughout the growing season, but they didn't put on any peppers until mid-November! I'm surmising they weren't really meant for growing in Zone 8a! These peppers, also known as bhut jolokia, come from India. My brother sells an award-winning salsa made from ghost peppers, thought to be the hottest peppers in the world at over one million Scoville units! That's one way to stay warm!

This post was written by Jean McWeeney for my blog Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog. Copyright 2010. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Housing Plants Indoors - Envy

Bellamy plant collection
Now that we're fully in the season where some of our outdoor plants have settled indoors for a while, I've been thinking about how to show them off to their best. Right now my indoor plants are kind of plunked here and there. There's a few lined up at a window on an old family bench and the bigger plants (my lemon tree and bay tree) are basically hogging as much window space as they can. But nothing looks finished, as though they were meant for those areas.

Not so for these plants in this post. I took these photos at the GWA Symposium in Dallas back in September. It's obvious that these plants were meant for these spaces and these spaces were meant for enjoyment. I'm envious. Check out the beautiful square pots juxtaposed with the circular window in the Robert Bellamy home in the first photo.

Riser-Armstrong garden pavilion
The East Dallas private garden tour we went on was my favorite. One of the gardens we visited, the Rister-Armstrong garden, had a series of garden rooms, both indoors and out. Their garden pavilion, modeled on early 20th century English and American traditions, fit their home perfectly. These windows are stunning! Following are some more details of their garden pavilion.

Rister-Armstrong shelf detail
Rister-Armstrong ceiling detail - it's a high one!
Rister-Armstrong wallpaper detail
I found the Rister-Armstrong garden pavilion to be breathtaking although not really my style, but I can appreciate it nonetheless. However, here's the type of plant room that makes me envious:

Bellamy orchid window
There's something about these old windows and its casual arrangement of plants that I just love.

This post was written by Jean McWeeney for my blog Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog. Copyright 2010. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.