Early Daffodil

This Daffodil is blooming early even for Georgia. I can’t remember seeing blooms on these before February. Hoping frost doesn’t kill them. Daffodils, aka Narcissus or Jonquils, have been my favorite flowers since I was a child. I would watch the dull hillsides for their fast growing green tips to burst through the fallen leaves. My Mom called them Easter Lilies, as many people do in the mountains of Western North Carolina, because they usually bloomed there at Easter.


If you get close enough, most have a fantastic sweet smell. I love to cut and bring them inside to enjoy their beauty and scent. Truly a lovely plant, I am excited to get more for my landscape and containers this fall.

Mother of Pearl Plant or Ghost Plant


Mother of Pearl plant, Ghost plant, Georgia, Zone 7b
Ghost plant or Mother of Pearl Plant

My husband brought home cuttings of a mystery plant 5 years ago from a friend’s porch. I had trouble identifying it at first. I found a similar plant called Jewel Leaf Plant in a random indoor gardening book I had from my bookstore employee days. It listed the scientific name Graptopetalum Amethystinum. I think this one is Graptopetalum Paraguayense. I have heard it called many things, but most commonly the scientific name GraptopetalumMother-of-Pearl Plant and Ghost Plant.

Those few have grown, and I have transplanted cuttings from this mother plant for my friend. I cut the longest pieces with scissors, put them in this cup of water for a few months-adding more water as necessary, and planted them in the new pot after they grew roots.

JLPTransplantAn amazingly hardy plant, roots will even sprout from fallen petals. A member of the Jade family, the petals are soft, but don’t like to be rubbed too hard. Pale green will turn to dusty purple coloring this summer. It lives on the shady back deck until temps. drop below freezing, then moves to a south facing window inside. I think it needs more sun this season, as it’s never bloomed. I hope to see flowers this year.




My friend is coming to visit this weekend. I have been promising to transplant cuttings for her for years. Mission finally accomplished.

I hope it will do as well on her front porch in Raleigh.


Spectacular Loropetalum

Loropetalum, Georgia, Zone 7b, Shrub

I was shocked to see my huge, 10 ft tall by 6 ft wide, Loropetalum in full bloom so early. The extra warm weather a few weeks ago may have brought this about. I jogged back up the driveway to get my camera and captured this.

Also called Fringe Flower, this beauty is related to Witch Hazel. There are many shapes, sizes and varieties of this great plant. On the left, the 10 ft. monster, badly needing a pruning when finished blooming. The other is a 10 inch tall dwarf, weeping variety. One of my few purchases, I planted it under the Crabapple Tree this past spring. It should only get 2-3 ft. tall.





The drab landscape is spotted with bright color thanks to pretty, red-berried Nandina.

nandinaNo maintenance, deer resistance, and drought tolerance allow Nandina to thrive in Georgia. Growing well in the normally dense shade of the front woods, winter sun caught this one showing off small, red berry bunches and multicolored leaves. Commonly and misleadingly called “heavenly bamboo”, it’s not a bamboo. The only member of it’s own genus, Nandina, the plant is toxic to some animals. While “generally classified as non-toxic to humans”, care should be taken to keep them away from high traffic areas where pets or children could ingest them.

Snake Plant

This beautiful Snake Plant was passed down to me and I shared it with a friend. It has grown amazingly well by the front door window, with little care. Mine has bloomed before, but not this year. I visited my friend a few weeks ago and her plant was blooming. The tiny white flowers along upright stalks remind me of honeysuckle blooms.

Snake Plant or Mother-in-law's tongue
Snake Plant



Now about 4 ft. tall, it was started from a small bunch of cuttings 8 years ago. Steadily multiplying blades have filled the clay pot.  Many older blades have been cut off at the base to keep the plant looking new and compact.

Winter Blooming Mahonia

Leatherleaf Mahonia, Northeast Georgia, Non-native plants
Leatherleaf Mahonia

Leatherleaf Mahonia is considered invasive, but I was delighted to find this one blooming in the woods near the driveway. Looking around, there are several more-birds love to eat the dark purple berries and have distributed the seeds nearby. The berries are tartly edible and rich in vitamin c. The holly-like leaves pop of green and delicate, creamy yellow flowers are welcome in my winter woods.

Update Dec. 2016Dave’s Garden website talks in detail about the pros and cons of using Mahonia in your landscape. The ones I discussed a few years were already here on my land, and I certainly don’t want to encourage planting invasive, non-native species in your landscape, but this one seems to be acceptable in some situations. It also seems to be a useful plant to some bird and insect species, so it does have some redeeming qualities.

Hen & Chick, Sempervivum calcareum

Hen & Chick, Sempervivum calcareum, Zone 7b, Northeast Georgia
Sempervivum calcareum

Happy Hen & Chick soaking up rare rays of sun due to rainy, overcast early January.

They have lived in this salvaged strawberry pot for 5 years. The clay is falling apart and I haven’t dared move it.

Sempervivum calcareum, Hen & Chick, Northeast Georgia, Zone 7b

These are third generation plants given to me by a friend. There are many, in containers and the yard, thanks to amazing hardiness and multiple “babies” from the mother plant. They love sun and take the heat of Georgia summers. The rosettes are interesting even in winter. While dark purple now, they will change to vivid green this summer.