Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hey!  I was featured on Pocket Change in their "Best of the Web" post!  Check it out here.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Crinum Lilies

Crinum Scabrum bud
A garden staple of mine for the last few years has been the crinum lily.  It has been crinum time in the garden lately.  Blooms have been popping up in the corner garden.
 The crinum ("cry-num" I only just realized had been mispronouncing this for years) is related to the amaryllis, but is rarely seen in your typical garden center.  It is the quintessential pass along plant.  You almost have to be chummy with an old gardener in order to get some.  I received mine from a friend of my mother who cleans them out of her beds from time to time. The huge bulbs sat in the corner for months until they started to sprout leaves.  I planted them not having a clue what they might be and soon they bloomed.  Since then I've been pretty enamored with the crinum lily. 
The Crinum Scabrum bloom always reminds me of peppermint.
Crinums in the Corner Garden
The crinum scabrum comes first, their red striped white blooms opening up around mid to late May.  I got these from a master gardening sale with only "White crinum with red stripe" on the tag.  I had to figure out the rest on my own.  The next to bloom are the original crinums I got from my Mother's friend:
I still don't know the type, but they seem to be very common in older neighborhoods around town.  They do very well with our sometimes drought/sometimes flood weather, and have been known to outline long gone homesteads, far out lasting the homes they were meant to adorn.  
Crinums by the shed this morning.
A cluster of crinum blooms.
Most crinum originated in Africa and it is thought that many were brought over during the slave trade.  While I don't know if this is true, I kind of like the humble origin story of families passing these plants down from generation to generation in the South. 
The crinum lily seems to be the Miracle Whip of the plant world:  you either love them or hate them.  While not in bloom the plants can be ungainly and their huge bulbs can be difficult to transplant.  But I like them, and I hope this post gave you something to like as well.  If you are interested in learning more, here are some sites I recommend:

Monday, June 13, 2011

Tersa Sphinx Hummingbird Moth

I've been enjoying my pentas this year.  Massive butterfly attractors, these plants grew back wonderfully from the plants I put in last year.  They also do well from cuttings.  Penta cuttings seem to be sensitive to humidity and do not like to dry out.   I added several to my propagation station, a large clear plastic tub that creates a high humidity environment for my new cuttings.  Yesterday, when checking on these plants, I found this:
It did not go into the tub this way.  There were plenty of leaves when I cut it.  I've seen this sort of thing before.  After checking the rest of tub for the culprit, I felt it before I saw it:
Tersa Sphinx Hummingbird Moth
There he is!  I did some research this year and found out it is a Tersa Sphinx Hummingbird Moth caterpillar, also known as a hornworm.  Here are some good sites for more info: Hornworm and Hummingbird Moths.  While this little guy is no longer with us, they are pretty harmless, excluding their taste for penta salad.  I'll have to keep an eye on the rest of the pentas to make sure there aren't any others hiding out.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Update: Front Garden

Wow - This update is overdue!  The winter annuals have peaked and been torn out.  The summer annuals are already coming along.  This is what the garden looked like in March:

I loved the Double Petunias from Kenny's Place.

They almost looked like carnations.

Here is what the garden looks like today:
I can't believe how big the philodendron has gotten in just a few months.  I didn't realize it changed much at all until I looked at these pics.  In front are some rain lilies that have been sending up single blossoms one at a time.  I wish several would bloom at once.  Also in this bed are baby pentas, coleus and vinca.  In front are some lily-of-the-Nile. They didn't bloom last year, so here is hoping for blooms this year.
One of my favorite spots in the garden is under the philodendron.  I poke my head down there when I weed and it seems like such nice spot for creature much smaller than myself.  Kitty sleeps there all the time and I'm so jealous.  
On the other side the summer annuals are coming along.  I'm pretty proud that the only flowers I've had to buy were some vinca and the pink/green coleus up front, and their numbers have increased due to cuttings.  Everything else came back from last year.
 1. Pentas. Grew back nicely from last year.

2. Persian shield
Doing well in the back, but struggling in the foreground.

3. New coleus.  No name on the container.  Damn big box store . . .

4. Coleus "Stained Glass"
More on these in a later post.  Hope to have the garden filled with these soon!

5. Various Daylilies

Looks like this garden is also attracting visitors.  Check out this butterfly I found there.  I have no idea what it is, but today I found a cool website that might help me find out.  It is called Project Noah.  You can upload pictures of wildlife and the community there will help you identify it.  This little guy will be my first submission. 

Monday, June 6, 2011


Finally!  A good solid rain!  My plants will be happy and I have freshly manicured nails.  Whoo-hoo!

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