~~ Notes on the February 2011 Garden ~~
You never know what kind of weather to expect in February. While, it's still officially wintertime for us, spring can show up early...as it has this year. Hurray! With a low temp of 38 degrees in early February, the last two weeks of the month have produced unseasonally warm temps into the upper 80's.
But, unlike January, it's been a dry month...having received only a scant 1.36 inches of rain for the whole month...a total of 5.61 inches for the year so far.
There's lots of cleanup work to do this month...and, of course tons and tons (or so it seems) of Oak leaves to rake into the beds.
The warm weather is waking up plants and trees, as well as our local wildlife...who are enjoying soaking up all that warm sunshine.
The cool season flowers are still going strong adding lots of color to the garden. But everyday our traditional spring flowers are making their presence known as they burst into bloom one by one. A BIG thanks to Meems at Hoe & Shovel for writing about the Paperwhites in her neighbor's garden. I planted a few bulbs and voila'...gorgeous (not so great smelling though) blossoms (lower right photo) for the past six weeks. I hope they will make a return appearance next winter.
I noticed the paper whites have seed pods developing.
Does anyone know if the seeds develop into bulbs once planted?
I planted this new variety of South African daisy (sorry, but I failed to keep the tag...so I don't have the exact name) in my island bed. The center is such a dark purple that it almost looks black. I debated whether to buy it because, while I liked the bright white daisy the dark center...well, wasn't that pretty. But, I needed something next to the purple stokesia, so I thought I'd give it a try, and I haven't been disappointed by the end result.
Either the center looks more colorful in the bright sun or the purple stokesia has helped the dark purple center of the daisy look more purplely...I know that's not a "real" word, but my daughter would love it! :-)
Now on to those traditional Southern spring varieties. The Japonica camellias are taking center stage with their large and exquisite flowers. Over the last couple of years of "very cold" winters I've planted more and more of these beauties and their cousins...the sasanquas...in my garden. The pink beauty below makes for a "lucky" 13 camellias bushes in all.
A garden wouldn't have that true southern feeling without azaleas. When they start to bloom I always want MORE of them, but I do have to remind myself that their bloom period is short. Spring would not be spring without a good smathering of them in the garden though. Three dwarf White Ruffles (check out the large white bud in the photo below - it's located in the lower right corner) and 4 Duc de Rohan were added beneath our young Live oak as it continues to expand its reach.
Pictured below: Purple formosa, George L. Tabor and White Ruffles
And, a new spring bloomer that was added last year was the Loropetalum chinense...fringe flower. This plant plays a dual role in the garden...interesting dark burgundy foliage year round, and tons of breathtaking dark pink flowers in spring. Gorgeous!
The orange blossoms are filling the air with a sweet fragrance. Everytime I'm in the garden I get a whiff of them, and I automatically move closer and linger a bit to enjoy this memorable scent from my childhood. I can't wait until the nearby groves are covered with flowers, and the scent hangs heavy in the evening air. Wonderful!
The orchids are happy (and so am I) that they are back outdoors enjoying the warmth. And, speaking of warmth...this sunny yellow cattleya is looking very "spring-like." At first, I thought the yellow cat that bloomed in December had another stalk coming into bloom, but after closer inspection (and a quick glance back at my photos) I realized the other orchid didn't have the red-dotted center.
Another free rose was discovered when I moved Sea Foam...a vintage rose...to a better location. The next week I returned to its old spot and discovered this perfect little baby rose growing there.
The same thing happened last year when a low branch on the Louis Philippe rose rooted and produced a new plant. So, if you want a free vintage rose (not sure how it works on hybrids) place a brick over a low hanging branch...forget about it for awhile...then check back later for your new rose (this works for azaleas, too).
Life's Simple Pleasures
Ripe tomatoes in February!
This tomato bush spent a good deal of time in the garage this past winter...and, while the tomatoes continued to grow they didn't turn red. Apparently, a little bit of warm weather was all they needed.
The new spring gardening season...the best time of the year...is well under way. For the next couple of months...you can find me in the garden. I'll worry about cleaning the house later! :-)