After a full week indoors the plants went back outside today. This really is better for them and will give me a second chance to get new saucers and other protective devices so that they do not drip over the floor. One thing I am going to try is the watering globe. These not totally unattractive objects are suppose to water the plant as it is needed without giving ann excess amount. The only problem that I can see with this is that there may be a build up of residual salts in the potting material. As a general rule it is necessary to water the plant well so that the water comes out the bottom, and this flushes out any salts. Too much reliance on the perfect amount of water, may, in the long term, be more harmful than the trial and error version.
Still, it is worth a try and I will see what happens.
Camellias are one of the classic shrubs of the south and they are all the more beautiful when they start to bloom. My earliest camellia is a pink that started blooming just 2 weeks ago and is now in full bloom. This one is a standard mid-pink color with a double bloom.
Camellias are evergreen with leathery leaves, that have tiny serrations along the edge. The c. sasanqua, that I have blooms in fall, whereas the C. japonica blooms in late winter. There are so many camellia varieties though that you can get one that will be in bloom every week of the short southern winters.
Last week I was at the Georgia State Botanical Garden which has an extensive collection of camellias. They also have many other gardens there such as the new flower garden, an attractive formal knot garden and trial gardens.
Oh boy did it get cold last night, and the forecast is for even colder tonight. It is not as if I didn’t know a frost was going to arrive at some stage, but being a gardener I was in denial throughout October. The result of course it that the remaining plants had to be rushed in at 5.30 this morning when a cool night suddenly went from mid 30’s to frost warning and I had left one or two still outside.
This week they have to stay inside, so they will be secure from the weather but the cats are rather curious – it is as though they think we brought the conveniences inside for them.
Fortunately they will be back outside by the end of the week.
The tender plants take shelter from the first frosty night indoors.
It was inevitable, I suppose, but optimistic gardeners are frequently in denial, so when the frost warning came across the newscast the other night I was left scrambling around, dragging plants inside. As I was lazy this past spring, most of the tender plants were not put into the ground, but they were left in pots. So the chore was not too bad, but even so it took some time to drag ten heavy pots through the nearest doorway.
I do have a handy Potlifter, which helps make the job easier, but that requires two people and there was no one else around.
I will try that this weekend when the plants go back outside for another week or two. I am a firm believer in keeping plants outside for as long as I can. They go into semi dormancy when cooler nights return and daytime temperatures moderate, and that seems to make them more capable of surviving my neglect inside.
Finally October is over and I can get back to some sort of routine for more than a day or two! In the past 5 weeks I have been to one 5 day conference, two 2 day conferences and organized one single day garden event.
By attending these events I have been inspired by people, made new friends, met old friends and attended a heap of fun lectures, not to mention seen amazing gardens both private and public. I also found myself talked into serving on just one committee.
Hopefully some of the topics will appear on the blog in the next few weeks. So here are just two pictures that show the range of gardens – from a floriferous Rose Garden (Left) to a simple and elegant Japanese Garden (right). Both the gardens are in Portland, Oregon)
The Flower on a Hardy Banana
Last year at a garden sale, I picked up two little hardy banana cuttings. They grew and grew and gave the tropical look that I wanted. Hardy bananas plants are not fruiting bananas and if I find time this winter I may well determine if these are the ones grown for twine or something.
But… there I was walking round the garden yesterday, and I noticed something strange on the ground. I looked up and the hardy nonfruiting banana had a flower on it, and two rows of little bananas!! I doubt that we will get enough 80 degree days to ripen these little guys but boy what a treat to see.
- My first crop of Bananas
There are some shrubs that seem to do nothing and have absolutely no redeeming values to them. One such beastie in my view is the elaeagnus. It is coarse and grows like a weed. I am told it has admirable berries in fall and winter, but thus far I have not seen them. The one at Barrington encircles a tree and I think it was purposely put there when the shrub was popular in the Victorian era. Victorians liked some strange things and elaeagnus might well have suited them. As far as I was concerned it earned the informal name ‘Ugly Agnus”.
So imagine my surprise on finding a new smell in the garden. It was a strong and sweet smell and not from honeysuckle so I had to hunt around to find it. There in the overgrown hedgerow was an elaeagnus with white fragrant flowers!!! I was stunned. Nowhere had I heard that it bloomed in fall, and was heavily scented. So I looked it up in Dirr (Manual of Woody Plants) and online, and I am fairly convinced that this is what I have. Dull green leaves on top, silver underneath and little white flowers.
So yes, it is coarse, but sometimes a shrub will surprise you!
The plant swap and event went well yesterday. Not as many people as I would like, but enough to be friendly, and I met a bunch of new people too.
I picked up a white ginger from the swap, plus some Egyptian Walking Onions and a dianthus (pinks/carnations). The ginger will get to about three or four feet high which will help hide the water barrel and downspout.
Today is the day of the Fall Affair in the Garden. I have arranged for speakers to come, one author is going to be signing books, and then we will have the first annual Old Fashioned Plant Swap.
I am taking some rooted cutting from the sedum, a few Society Garlic, and some of the dark elephant ears.
I have no idea what is going to happen, or how many people will show up.
The rain continued through the day Wednesday. A good solid rain, not heavy downpours, and the total in the rain gauge was 2.5 inches. As this was the first rain in over a month, the whole garden now looks refreshed.
No further rain is in sight.