A Monarch Butterfly Visit

Yesterday we had the good fortune to witness a Monarch butterfly stopping by our 'Clara Curtis' mum for a fill-up.  Monarchs are on their way south now to find their winter homes and have to stop for nourishment along the way.  We usually see them a couple times a year passing through looking for places to lay their eggs or just stopping by for nectar from the flowers.  They love to use Aclepias purpurascens as a host plant for the larvae which is also known as purple milkweed.  It grows native near us but so far we don't have any in our garden.  We do have Asclepias tuberosa or Butterfly weed which is also another viable food source for Monarch caterpillars. Is it a Male or Female Monarch? If you look carefully in the above picture you will notice two black dots or splotches near the back of the Monarch…

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Flowering in Fall

Fall is well known for its colorful foliage that paints the country each year but there's still lots to appreciate among the flowering plants!  Here's a few of our current blooming flowers from the garden.  Some don't have much longer to go until the frost declares an end to the show. The 'Clara Curtis' mums put on a spectacular show by our front walkway each year.  They get a little large and spread via rhizomes so make sure you have space for them before you plant.  These are one of the last blooms in our garden to show off every year. Sure makes for a good finish! The 'Sheffield Pink' mums look so similar to the 'Clara Curtis' that the only reason I know the difference is because I know where I planted them! Gaillardia or Blanket Flower is a great repeat bloomer that keeps going thorough out the summer…

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More Mums and the $50 Lowe’s Giveaway Ends Today!

Today I'll show you a few more pictures of the mums but I also wanted to remind you that today is the last day to enter the $50 Gift Card Contest to Lowe's!  The folks at Lowe's Creative Ideas are providing anyone who comments on the mums project posts this week an opportunity to win that $50 gift card.  All you have to do is comment on this post, or my wheelbarrow planter mum post, or my October 1st mum post!  Share an idea about using mums in the garden in the comments and you are entered to win! Here's another look at the mums in the wheelbarrow planter. Some red mums from the garden up close.  These are in the birdbath garden. I actually like the daisy flowered mums more than regular mums.  Here's a lavender colored one: This one is called Jessica Louise.  I don't know who Jessica…

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Mums and a Mailbox Garden Meet a Wheelbarrow

Is there a flower more typical of fall than mums?  Probably not!  There are definitely some flowers worthy of autumnal appreciation but the mum is the most common one you'll find this time of year.  I put together a little project for Lowe's Creative Ideas that uses mums and reuses my dad's old wheelbarrow.  The project was easy and I'm very pleased with how it's turned out. The wheelbarrow already had some drainage holes in it courtesy of some natural iron oxide action around the bolt holes. I filled the wheelbarrow with compost and some soil conditioner then I added several similarly tinted shades of mums together inside.  This time of year I'm very partial to the fiery fall colors.  The reds, reddish-browns, oranges, and yellows just scream fall to me.  So that's what I picked! To blend the wheelbarrow with the rest of the mailbox garden I put a…

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Reusing an Old Wheelbarrow and a $50 Gift Card Giveaway to Lowe’s!

A couple weeks ago I saw a picture posted on Facebook with a display of sedums all planted in an old wheelbarrow.  It was a pretty creative idea to re-use a wheelbarrow that may have just been discarded and turn it into something of interest.  This gave me an idea for my latest project for Lowe's Creative Ideas.  The theme is mums!  As I'm sure you're aware chrysanthemums are one of the most popular plant purchases this time of year.  The look great and offer a bushy burst of color which blends well with the Autumn season.  Today I'll show you a few of the items I'm using for the project.  The mum planting has all been completed but I'm waiting for a couple of the mums to break from their buds. Before I show you what I'm using for this project here are a couple tips for buying mums: When buying…

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‘Winter Snowman’ Camellia in Bloom

Last year I planted two 'Winter Snowman' camellias in the front garden. I was hopefully that they would bloom last year but alas it was not to be! But they have started blooming this year! The first of the white camellia blooms opened today.  It wasn't fully open when I snapped the picture but I just couldn't wait to share it.  There are quite a few other buds on the same plant that soon will turn the front garden into a feature garden!  Well, it would if the weeds were gone, the mulching done, and the stars were aligned correctly but you know how that goes...there just isn't enough time in the day to get everything done. 'Winter Snowman' camellia is a hybrid of Camellia sasanqua and Camellia oleifera. It's hardy in zones 6-10 and gets about 12 feet tall.  Because of where this camellia is planted it will definitely…

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‘Sheffield’ vs. ‘Clara Curtis’

No this isn't some heavy weight boxing fight over on pay-per-view.  This is a garden blog after all!  This is a comparison between two very similar fall flowering perennials that really are heavy weight garden stand outs!  This battle is between 'Sheffield Pink' and 'Clara Curtis' - the pink mums!  In this corner we have 'Clara Curtis' sporting pink petals and yellow centers. Her blooms rise on long stems high above her 4' wide mounding frame. And in this corner her opponent, 'Sheffield Pink' is armed with tightly formed pink petals with yellow centers. 'Sheffield Pink' stands at 2 feet tall by 3 feet wide with clusters of long stemmed flowers tightly packed together. What's the difference?  Not much really!  At first glance you would think they appear the same but look a little closer. 'Clara Curtis' has petals that have a little more space in between where the 'Sheffield…

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The Ultimate Fall Flower

Is this the ultimate fall flower? Yellow Mums According to Robert Bornstein via Twitter and Stephanie via Facebook Or is this it? Goldenrod (Solidago) According to Suzy via Twitter Or is this it? Shasta Daisy According to Joyce via Facebook Or is it something else? What is the ultimate fall flower? Bloggers please remember the Fall Color Project!!!

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Surprised By the Red Spider

Red Spider Lily that is!  This Saturday I was mowing and passed by one of the garden beds on my riding mower when this bright red flower jumped out at me.  Did it really jump?  Nope but one day it wasn't there and now here it is. Spider lilies (Lycoris radiata) are also called a variety of names like Naked Ladies (which are actually Lycoris squamagira), hurricane lilies, and surprise lilies. You can see why the last name fits but the other names have their logic too. If you examine the picture you will note that there are no leaves.  Those come later on after blooming but for now this lily does look rather naked!  These lilies also appear during hurricane season which is why the hurricane lily name has become attached to this beautiful flower. I don't know how this spider lily came to grow in my garden. There…

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The Salvias of Fall

I have repeatedly written about how awesome salvias are.  I hope you're not tired of that kind of talk because your about to get another dose!  Salvias are one of the easiest to care for perennials around. During fall they bloom profusely. They aren't bothered terribly by heat and in many cases thrive in dry environments where other perennials may falter. This year, if any, can attest to that. We received a decent amount of rain before July then completely dried up.  Here in Tennessee we went for weeks without a significant rainfall then finally the rains returned in September.  That's when the salvias began to burst forth with blooms. Let's start by examining the salvia that is just beginning to bloom. The other day I mentioned that my pineapple sage (Salvia elegans) was not yet blooming, well it's almost there as you can see in the photo.  The recent…

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