Savannah Garden Diary

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 15, 2008



Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ is in flower, the pretty little thing. Although the young leaves are a gorgeous purple, the color fades by midsummer in our heat.

On I-81, somewhere in Virginia (at least I think it is Virginia), there is a straight stretch of road between hillside cow pastures where they have planted forsythia in the median. One year, the forsythia flowered at the same time as redbuds bordering the forest above the pasture. The complementary colors were breathtaking.

March 10, 2008

Zephirine Drouhin and Climate Change

Zephirine Drouhin is in full bloom. What an amazingly saturated color. And what a fragrance. I brought one into the house and it perfumes the whole living room.

So you might think spring has really sprung, but climate change bites again. We had an unadvertised frost last night and I lost half my pepper seedlings. Curses.

The daffodils are nice this year. I didn’t plan to pick them for the house, but they keep getting blown over by really strong winds. There’s no point in leaving them lying on the ground, so I have several vases full scattered about the house.

January 22, 2008

Roses and Rain


We have had more than 3 inches of rain in the past week. And here is the new rain gauge to prove it. On a post in the veg garden.

I’ve planted several roses from the this month. Two ‘Zephirine Drouhin’: one to climb up the yaupon holly and onto the pergola, and I don’t now remember where the other one is! One ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ by the small live oak in front. It can grow up the tree as the tree grows. I know ARE doesn’t recommend letting either of these get as tall as they will have to in these locations, but I fell in love with John McEllen’s ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ at the Ships of the Sea Museum, which drips down from a fairly large tree. The other climber is Thom’s favorite Cherokee rose, which is at the base of the big pine in front and I hope will grow up it among the confederate jasmine. I shall have to keep an eye on this, because the confederate jasmine is well established and liable to smother a baby rose.

The smaller roses are ‘Blush Noisette,’ ‘Champney’s Pink Cluster,’ ‘Ducher,’ and ‘Mutabilis,’ which I’ve planted around the pond. I am not real fond of the color(s) of ‘Mutabilis,’ but it does have the great virtue of flowering over an amazingly long period in this part of the world.

January 3, 2008


Filed under: Design, Patio, Pond, Weather — karen @ 1:36 pm

Very cold weather over most of the country last night. The bird bath was frozen and so was half the pond. No sign of the fish, which have doubtless disappeared to the bottom. That was our 5th freeze of the year. It was supposed to go down to 15°F but I don’t think it did.

This is also a nice view of the esferas, fiberglass spheres, which are a tiny, lightweight tribute to the stone esferas we so much enjoyed in Palma Sur.

It appears that I have done a nice job of trimming the boxwood on the right, but that the one on the left is in sadly shaggy shape.

It looks here as if the bird feeder is falling over. I think we had better check that, but since it is Thom’s erection, it is doubtless bedded in masses of concrete and won’t be easy to right if it has got a list to starboard.

December 31, 2007

Podranea ricasoliana

Filed under: In bloom now, Patio, Vines, Weather — Tags: , — karen @ 4:46 pm

Podranea ricosaliana still has a few flowers. This one is behind the shed, but there are some on the pergola as well. All my plants were cuttings from ones Jane had growing up telephone poles at her B&B in Homerville. I now know that growing them up telephone poles is not a good way to go, since they have no climbing mechanism, so would need to be tied in all the time. Also, they are much too aggressive for such a location.

(which is where I first discovered what this was) says “Plant in sunny site with well-drained soil and allow ample space to grow.” True, I’m sure, but this gives no idea of what a friendly vine this is. Yes, it gets big. But it is not invasive, in that it doesn’t spread underground. Now that it has reached the top of the pergola, it doesn’t need to be tied, but just sprawls over the pergola. I never water it, and the only maintenance is chopping off the branches that come drooping down between the rafters. And the flowers are very showy. All in all, an excellent vine for a big pergola. (Of course this may be famous last words and it will turn out to be a wisteria-mimic, eventually tearing the pergola down.

December 26, 2007

Egret Fishing in the Pond

Filed under: Animals, Pond, Weather — Tags: , , — karen @ 12:33 pm
egret in pond

This is an amazingly bad photo of a crested egret fishing in the bog garden this morning. It caught at least one goldfish. It is hard to photograph because when I open a window, it flies away and it is too cold to leave the window open.

We have had great blue herons fishing in the pond before now, but this is the first egret I’ve seen. One glorious afternoon, I came home and found 2 great blues displaying at each other on our small back lawn. The winner hung around for a few days and caught a few fish, but eventually it went away and didn’t come back.

We’ve been in Ithaca for Christmas, where the weather is exactly as it is here today–gray and chilly.

Everyone thinks we’re in the middle of a drought, what with dear Sonny praying for rain and all. But here on the coast, we’ve had plenty of rain. I just looked it up in the paper. Normal precipitation year to date is 48.65″ and this year we have had 48.93″. Including about 4″ while we were away, which is excellent. In fact, it’s a damp December. I need to plant the pimientos de Padrón this afternoon.

Despite good average rainfall for the year, however, we have had long periods with no rain and I have lost several plants. My longleaf pine is dead, as well as 3 camellias I planted last March. Of course you should never plant anything in March in Savannah if you don’t have irrigation. Which means you have to buy camellias when they are not in flower. Better, however, to have to rip out a perfectly healthy camellia you don’t like than to have 3 that you do like die on you.

December 18, 2007

Weather Chronicles

Filed under: Weather — Tags: , , , — karen @ 8:32 am

It is December 18, and we have now had 2 nights of frost. The bird bath had a few ice floes last night. Some meteorologist, pontificating in the paper, says that is the last frost we shall have this winter, but I doubt it. Simone Van Stolk kept records for years, and we averaged 6 frosts per winter.

There is no sign of frost damage to bougainvillea, bananas, Brugmansia, or anything else I think of as tender, but I suppose the damage may show up later.

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