Savannah Garden Diary

May 23, 2008


Filed under: In bloom now, Pond — karen @ 9:15 am


The lotuses have burst out all over (Nelumbo lutea). They are bigger and more beautiful this year. You can even see the seed pods clearly. They are impossible to photograph because you need an aerial view. Thom says I can borrow the 17′ ladder.


I am slightly concerned that the lotuses are taking over the pond. They were supposed to stay in the deep end and leave the shallow end to water lilies. But I have had only 2 water lily flowers this year and there are lotuses in most of the pond. I shall have to get rid of some of them. They are native, and obviously happy. I believe there is also a more yellow version, but I like this creamy one.


And in the lawn by the compost piles, the ground orchid Spiranthes vernalis. I am so happy to see it. We had it at our old house, but this is the first time I have seen it here. That’s what you get when you seldom mow the lawn. (The wildflower book calls it “Spring Ladies’-tresses.” I don’t think much of that for a common name.)

May 21, 2008

May Flowers

Filed under: Animals, In bloom now — karen @ 7:58 am

‘ notion of “Bloom Day” is really impossible at this time of year. There is too much in flower to document it all. I strolled round the garden yesterday and found more than 30 things in flower.


Here’s a last look at the Easter lilies. They have been truly spectacular this year, but they are beginning to wilt in the heat.


This is native Canna flaccida in the bog, looking beautiful for the first and only time this year. Mary Waitzmann yanked this, or its ancestor, from a ditch near Darien. I love cannas, with their fine flowers and decorative leaves, but in this area they become riddled with pests, from leaf rollers to things that eat the flowers, so you just have to plant them where they can be admired from a great distance.


I picked up this Stokesia a couple of years ago for its really magnificent purple color. It is flourishing.


Here’s ‘Mutabilis,’ which is so tangled up in a Verbena bonariensis that it is hard to photograph. While weeding the other day, I discovered that V. bonariensis has seeded itself all over the place. I don’t remember it doing that in my previous garden.


I bought some Salvia greggii after admiring it on . I had no idea it was so sprawly. I think I rather like it, as a change from all the very vertical salvias.


I am becoming very fond of ‘Ducher.’ It flowers a lot. I really like white flowers, and, at least so far, it has a fairly compact form.


The ruckus the frogs have been making every night is bearing offspring. There are tadpoles in the pond!

May 16, 2008

May Bloom Day

Filed under: In bloom now — Tags: , , — karen @ 8:29 am

Easter lilies are out. In a surprising twist for 2008, they haven’t yet all fallen over. Do they lack calcium in their diet of something that they are usually so weak-kneed?


This is really just me fiddling around with my new camera. It’s going to take a lot of work. Never can remember the various effects of aperture and exposure.


I’ve seen some criticism of Zephirine Drouhin among the blogs, but I am still enamored of the spectacular color and her classic rose form. I’m not really smitten by most single roses (except Rosa laevigata). And the fragrance is lovely.


I really love this tradescantia with purple flowers and chartreuse leaves. I can’t remember where I found it. And whatever filter I’ve got on this camera really does do a better job on blue/purple shades than the old one.

May 7, 2008

Purple and Blue


My favorite Lobelia, ‘Crystal Palace.’ Unfortunately, it won’t take the heat of our summers, so it is with us only briefly.


The bog has turned from yellow to blue because the Iris pseudacorus is over and the purple pickerelweed (Pontaderia cordata) is in full bloom. It’s not really purple. It’s a clear blue. A few deep blue Siberian iris add to the blueness.


And the bees love it.

Verbena bonariensis in full blow. It will soon get untidy and need trimming. It’s a pity more of the California poppies behind it are not still out. That’s a pretty spectacular combination.

May 6, 2008

Sweet Peas

Filed under: In bloom now, Vines — Tags: — karen @ 9:57 am


Sweet peas in full flower. And they are VAST–about 10 foot tall. I don’t think I have ever seen them as tall as this. It must be the cow manure I dumped on the veg garden last fall.


April 29, 2008

Spring Colors

I finally finished this over the weekend. This dragon guards the entrance to the vegetable garden. It was once much bigger and it was once a fountain (long story). Now, it merely guards the water feature. (What do you call one of these overflowing pots with a reservoir under the gravel?) I’m not sure whether the colored aquarium gravel tastefully echoes the color of the dragon or is merely tacky. There a still a few bits and pieces I need to tidy up.
Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ will fade to a fairly ordinary green by midsummer, but it is a lovely color at the moment.
The first water lily blooms in the pond, surrounded by white nymphoides. It’s a bit early this year. We don’t count on water lilies until June.
Pontaderia has burst into flower in the last week. As usual, the blue color is washed out compared withe the original. I also have a few white pickerelweeds. The bog is supposed to be full of purple irises–Siberian irises and Iris pallida. I think, however, that I. pallida doesn’t like to be as wet as that. It doesn’t look happy, so I have hauled it out of the bog and planted it as a marginal and we’ll see how it looks next year.
‘Souvenir de la Malmaison.’ This is my idea of what a REAL rose should look like. All those cabbagey overlapping petals.
I simply love this chartreuse variety of Tradescantia, which I acquired over the winter. I don’t remember the cultivar. It looks particularly good with the turquoise cinder blocks of the yaupon holly planter! This photo doesn’t do justice to the very deep purple of the flower.

April 21, 2008

Pretty in Pink

Amaryllis ‘Apple Blossom,’ one of Coz’s leftovers. I have all too many red amaryllis, so I cherish the pink and white varieties. Of course, if I didn’t move most of the bulbs every year, they might have a chance to multiply. I find that when I buy a new bulb, it takes a year or two to get established and bloom. Some of the red ones have 6 flowers on a stem. My newer white ones are lucky if they produce three.
The sweet peas are very sweet this year, but what I want to know if why they are all pink? At first I thought the blue and purple ones must be later bloomers, but it’s been a month now and still no sign of them. Maybe I inadvertently bought 2 packets of the same variety. (From Territorial Seeds?) It’s a mystery. Better luck next year.
I think this is Tulipa clusiana. It has pink stripes outlining each petal, which don’t show up properly in this color-challenged photograph. It is exceedingly gorgeous, with the disadvantage that the flowers are very short-lived, perhaps because our springs warm up too rapidly.
I think I am finally getting the hang of pruning Knockout roses. This is Pink Knockout. The surprising thing about this particular plant is that it never gets full sun. It is in dappled shade under the pergola. It is doing much better than Red Knockout which is in full sun in the jasmine bed. When I realized how little sun this one was getting, I decided to move it into the sun, and then it puts on this show… What to do?

April 2, 2008


Filed under: Annuals, In bloom now, Roses, Weather — Tags: , , — karen @ 8:07 am

‘Blush Noisette’ is in flower. Here it is at daybreak absolutely dripping with dew. Such high humidity is unusual for early April. You can feel it in the air, even though it’s not particularly warm at this moment.
I cannot get over the health and vitality of the California poppies that have seeded themselves all over the gravel and elsewhere. This is a single plant with the flowers all closed up for the night.

March 29, 2008

Amaryllis Colors

Filed under: Bulbs and such, Design, In bloom now — Tags: , — karen @ 7:39 am

amaryllis, Hippeastrum
I love having enough amaryllis to pick bunches for the house. This red one is one of two varieties that have gone native in our suburb. They are in essentially every garden. These I picked from in front of a camellia in front and they need to be moved. They don’t show up against the dark camellia leaves. Moral: plant pale-colored ones there and move the red ones to a sunny area in back.

March 16, 2008


It is lovely to have some splashy color in the garden after a gray winter. Whenever I get really depressed about climate change or the end of cheap oil (or rather about our government’s completely inadequate response to same), I go into the garden and it cheers me up. We had a tornado last night (the first in Georgia in 80 years, I believe) which knocked out our power (and that of another 150,000 people) for 12 hours.

I don’t really like this Bignonia ‘Tangerine.’ Although I think that is mainly my fault for putting it on a trellis that is too small for it. I have seen it look quite fine on arbors and on a chain slung diagonally across a space.


This California poppy seeded itself in the gravel beside the path to the pond, and luckily I recognized it before weeding it out. It doesn’t matter how many and what sort of poppy seeds I plant, these are the only ones that come back year after year. The color wouldn’t do in the back in summer when we are all white and pink and purple, but in spring any splash of color is welcome.


The wildlife is in full throttle. Brown-headed nuthatches have stolen the bluebird box in back, wrens are nesting under Richard’s dinghy. Goldfish are laying eggs in the pond, frogs reappearing, and here’s a gecko sunning on the trunk of a crape myrtle.


Here’s Lonicera sempervirens (or maybe it’s not sempervirens?) with Lady Banks on the pergola.


Scylla peruviana flowers for the first time. So-called not because they are Peruvian but because they were shipwrecked on the coast of Cuba in a ship named SS Peru. I’ve had them for 2 years. They must have been getting their strength back after traveling from Oregon or some such. They are of course a much more intense blue than you can tell from this.


I am very fond of these Thunbergia alata on the little trellis. I threw in a handful of seeds some years ago, and they just keep on coming.


This is a color combination that really appeals to me–purple viola and silver lamium.


And here is an amazing jumble of color which could only please me in early spring. Zephirine Drouhin, assorted yellow and blue violas, a species crocus (clusiana?), and alyssum which has seeded itself all over the patio, in the gravel and in ever bed for miles around. I see this color scheme is going to the even more bizarre when the California poppy in the foreground blooms!

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