Gardens of Charleston

I didn’t know this first visit to Charleston would be our last trip for awhile. It was a spectacular city, and the gardens were incredible.

There were Holly Ferns, Cyrtomium falcatum growing from the brick walls everywhere. One can see why they are considered invasive. My husband Hal & I spent an entire day walking all around in the city. We left bustling downtown, walking along King Street full to the brim with commerce and shops. Then, onto the parks along the waterfronts. The Battery Park was interesting, but the gardens glimpsed through the gates along the way were magical.

The College of Charleston was otherwordly, and there were Resurrection Ferns-according to my friend Issac, covering every tree branch and trunk on the live oaks. The pictures I took don’t do justice to the spectacular gardens there. They’ve had some time to grow.

There were huge spectacular Fatsias down by the waterfront at the Battery Park.

Thanks to Sheldon, at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, for identifying this plant for me as Cassia Augustifolia. They were draped languidly (even in December) over the walls of gated courtyards, and along the cobbled sidewalks and streets.

I’ve chosen the Magnolia as the transition plant between the city and country gardens further inland.

Magnolia captured by Spanish Moss-not moss at all!

Camellias at Magnolia Gardens

This is the last Romantic style garden in the US. Romantic means wild and free feeling, and seemingly untamed in this context. They have the largest collection of camellias in US.

Ashley River

This is my 100th post! Next post will be about the spring raised bed and in ground vegetable garden planting!!!

Fall Rewind

I was extremely busy this fall, between my job at Cofer’s, and my new job at The Alice H. Richards Children’s Garden @ The State Botanical Garden of Georgia! I will continue to only focus on my backyard garden on this blog. I am including some highlights from the last few months-what a year it was.

Monarch Butterfly on Eupatorium bloom
Monarch butterfly on 
Eupatorium fortunei 'Pink Frost',
late October 2019.

There are a few links on some of the photo captions, for more info on some of the plants I got this year. I plan to focus more on writing in 2020!

Next post-Post #100!, will be about the amazing gardens in downtown Charleston, SC., as well as an incredible garden- Magnolia Gardens, a few miles outside downtown. My husband and I visited both a few weeks ago, for our 15th anniversary. My first time there, and I was stunned by the gardens in mid-December! The camellias!

Raised Beds & Herbs, Aug. 2019

Just a few quick photos for now, to show the progress these last few months. See my previous post for more details about the plants featured in my beds this year!

More info & links on all these plants to follow soon. I will find some time next month to write about all the great plants that grew in my garden this year. Also working on a post about my Shade Evergreen garden. I planted it this year, in the super shady front yard.

2019 Raised Beds

I planted only two raised beds this year due to time constraints. Some of the pics are from April at planting time, and I am including new pictures from the end of June to show how much growth has happened over the last month and half.

Repair and planting of the beds April 20th 2019

I planted some Bonnie plants from six packs along with some seeds that I bought, or already had. Bed #1 has Bonnie Jalapeno, Bonnie Homestead Toms, and Bonnie Yellow Bell Peppers. See links to those three below. I also planted for the first time Jalafuego plants from Papa Joe’s Naturally Grown line from Sunbelt Greenhouses in Douglas, GA.

I did a soil test and realized I was totally nitrogen deficient in the beds. I fertilized with an Organic fertilizer from Espoma called PlantTone about a week ago, and am seeing very good results. Updates to follow soon.

Next post will be about planting my Dad’s Memorial Garden in North Carolina.

Spring 2019 Photos

See below a few quick photo galleries of my Spring blooming plants from March & April this year. A few old favorites, and some new plants. I work at Cofer’s now, and I haven’t had much time to write, but will soon. My next post will be about the fifth year of raised bed garden planting-which I finally got done this past week.

March

Late March-Early April

mid April

late April

More info & links about these plants and new ones to follow soon.

Camellia Sasanqua, October Magic ‘Orchid’

Camellia Sasanqua, October Magic, Southern Living, Orchid, Zone 7b, Georgia
Camellia Sasanqua ‘October Magic’ Series Orchid

I received this very special plant as a gift from my Mother-in-law, Margaret. She is so thoughtful, and kind, and generous. She had this beautiful plant delivered to me, in memory of my Dad, Kenneth. He passed away at the age of 92, in early Nov. 2018. I could go on about him for hours. He was a teacher, a pilot, a gardener, a WWII Navy veteran, a great father, and a person of the highest possible honor and integrity. He loved gardening, growing vegetables, and canning and preserving them. And, he was really knowledgeable and skilled at it all.

The History of the Camellia is a very old, and quite magical story. I found a great wealth of information at the American society for Camellias website. They are located in Fort Valley, Ga.

Camellias like dappled shade, but will tolerate some sun. They hate wet feet. Plant them high, and keep them away from areas that are too wet.

This Camellia named October Magic ‘Orchid’ is from a collection by Southern Living. This camellia is a Camellia Sasanqua, in contrast to a Camellia Japonica. Japonicas are larger plants, with larger leaves, and much larger blooms. They bloom later in the winter and into the early spring. Blooming from about January- March. Sasanquas are smaller shrubs that have more profuse blooming, but not as large blooms. They also bloom earlier in the season-from say October to January.

Wow, what an amazing plant. My new favorite, and it will always remind of my Father, and of my Mother-in-law, and the love of family.

This is a photo of a Camellia Sasanqua October Magic Orchid variety with delicate pink and white petals.

I found a bit of folklore from Japan regarding the Camellia. It is said the spirits, and Gods come down from heaven to make their earthly home inside the camellia blossoms, when they visit those on earth. I hope that Dad and Mom will have many Camellia blossoms to choose from should they ever come to visit me. Their spirit lives on also in my love for gardening, vegetables, and all the astounding gifts nature provides.

Ga Native: Woodland Sunflower

Now, for a touch of summer sunshine to warm up these cold, grey days of January. It took a good bit of searching online to finally identify this particular sunflower growing under one of my huge white oaks as, Woodland Sunflower or ‘Helianthus Divaricatus’. I knew it was some type of sunflower or aster, but wasn’t sure exactly which. I was able to identify it thanks to the multi branching blooms, the size of the plant,  the appearance of the blooms and leaves, and photos of different varieties online at the USDA’s plant ID website. 

This plant has a spreading habitat, and fills the shady area under the great oak. It does get some afternoon sun here, and the plant seems happy to take over the whole area. The long lasting summer blooms make the lackluster foliage as it dies back bearable. This sunshine yellow perennial returns early every year, and since it grows about 2-3 feet tall it makes a great plant for height at the back of a shady bed or border.

I saw many of these native Woodland Sunflowers while visiting the mountains at Black Rock Mountain State Park, in Mountain City, GA. I will write more about that amazing adventure in an upcoming post. I visited 10 state parks in Georgia in 2018, and am working on articles about hikes at those parks, and the plants I found along the way.

Purple Coneflower

The summer garden work is over, and this crazy fall heat wave has broken. Now, I have time to catch up on writing about the plants that bloomed for the first time this year.

Georgia Native Plant, Zone 7b, Echinacea Purpurea, Giant Purple Coneflower,
‘Echinacea Purpurea’

One of the spectacular native plants I bought at NightSong Native Plant Nursery’s Plant Sale last year, the Giant Purple Coneflower or ‘Echinacea Purpurea’, bloomed from June through August. There were five blooms total, and I recently cut off the dried seed heads to save for planting next year. I planted it in a 6 inch container last year, and am transplanting to in ground location today! (October 12th, 2018)

I found some fascinating info at my favorite wildflower site, US Wildflowers. The photos on this site are fabulous, and this site is an incredible free resource for plant identification.

Also, Southern Living has a great article by Gene B. Bussell on Purple Coneflower, detailing new hybrids being created, along with their uses in the southern garden.

I moved the plant from the container to the in ground location, where it will get good southern sun exposure. I will also be able to see the blooms through the deck railing. I transplanted on October 12th. All the leaves are gone now, but hopefully it will return next spring! I sprinkled one seed head all around the base of the plant, and saved the other four for planting next spring.

Organic Raised Bed Veggies

The three raised beds have produced more this year than I hoped! I harvested many beans, peppers, and herbs. I will give descriptions & details, with links, for all plants soon. Here are a few photo galleries & brief info for each month from June through August, 2018.

June

July

August

I planted new fall & winter seeds the week of Sept 19. See my previous post for detailed information about the raised bed building process, seed starting, and garden harvests from earlier this year. Also, my next post will feature some of the gorgeous, Georgia native plants that finally bloomed in my garden this year!

Organic Veggies* Feb-May

Most seeds this year were started in the mini greenhouse on Feb 22. I had lettuces and radishes growing since January in the greenhouse.

Kentucky Wonder Bean Blossom

Below is the link to my chart of the seeds I planted this year, and how many of each, and the date planted.

Seed Planting Master Chart 2018

All the seeds I planted this year came from my favorite seed company that has the best organic, non-gmo seeds- Lake Valley Seed Company.

Some of the seeds also came from Burpee.

Garden Beans

  1. Cherokee Wax 2. Italian Flat 3. Kentucky Wonder

Tomatoes-Yellow Pear, Okra, Baby Sugar Pie Pumpkins,
Peppers- better pictures of later harvests to follow in my next post which will cover the progress from June-Aug.

1. Jalapeno 2.Habanero 3. Sweet Italian 4.Tabasco

Herbs-

Basil- 3 varieties 1.Thai 2. Cinnamon 3. Genovese

1st Basil Harvest. Many more to follow!

Borage, Dill, Fennel, Caraway, Cucumbers. Details to follow in next post.

I moved the Rosemary, Lemon Balm, Peppermint, Oregano from Raised Bed #1 to in ground locations very early in the spring, because I wanted to make room for more veggies in the bed, and those herbs are perennials which survive the winter here.

February

The garden area in early August! So much growth this year.

March

April-May

I really needed a new third bed, given how many seeds I started this year. I finally got it built in mid April-, but then didn’t get it filled and planted, until first week of May.

I’ve been needing a large Strawberry Pot, and I finally found the perfect one at

Cofer’s – my absolute favorite garden center of all time!

Below is a link to my transcription of my handwritten, in a hurry seed starting notes. Not very interesting, but I’m trying to record my data to improve my yields and timing for the future.

Seed starting notes 2018

First Dill Harvest

I will post the details of the garden progress from the months of June, July & August very soon. I have already harvested many beans, herbs and peppers! The garden work finally slowed down enough, and the weather is too hot to be outside working much anyway, so I am finally catching up posting.