Monday, 23 August 2010

100 year old Amaryllis - 13 stalks : )

This Amaryllis is my baby. It was my great-great Grandmother's, and is well over 100 years old. It was handed down to me from my great Uncle Al, when he passed away in 2001.
I repotted it last year, at about this time, but it didn't bloom last December like it usually does.

Thought perhaps I'd damaged it, but the poor thing was so crowded in a cracked bucket that the bulbs were growing out the sides and so I had to do something.
I put it outside every summer, but this is the first time it's bloomed when I've done that.
I'm guessing it's thriving because it's happy. I sure am! : )
Funny thing is, this plant is a real living heirloom. It has passed through many generations of my family and is a real link to my past.
Thanks for visiting and Happy Gardening!

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Rudbeckia "en masse" - What's in a name?

When the garden becomes established after a few years of toil and patience, one can actually just rest on their laurels for a bit, ignore the weeds, and just enjoy being at one with the garden.
That's how I feel when witnessing flowers like these Rudbeckia's filling out en masse, and providing striking colour to the landscape. Of course, the food for pollinators they provide, especially the butterflies, doesn't hurt either!
So, these Rudbeckia certainly qualify, at least in my estimation!
Was never sure exactly which variety these are, but sometimes that's just not the most important thing on my gardening agenda. It's important to know names, but the world will go on if that doesn't always happen. ; )
A friend provided me with some roots from their plants a few years back, and the sight of them blooming every year in my garden overrides my lack of a label for them.
However, if anyone out their does know the variety, feel free to enlighten me!
Thanks for visiting!

Monday, 16 August 2010

Nasturtiums - Tropaeolum majus - #Edible & Blooming Now @ Wall*Flower*Studio

Well, the Nasturtiums are coming along nicely. I tried starting them earlier in the year indoors under grow lights, and nothing happened... : ( Thought perhaps that the seeds were duds,
however, when I planted them outdoors in the raised beds, they came along quite nicely. Wondering if they just don't like being started indoors, and I seem to remember other garden bloggers mentioning this same issue.
I really like the mixed jewell colours. So very vibrant, and a very welcome sight in the garden, plus, once they get growing, they're virtually maintenance free. A nice bonus!
What's really marvellous is the fact that slugs and snails don't seem to be interested in these lovely flowers, or their foliage. During a particularly wet summer, this is all important to a gardener, especially when witnessing one's Hosta's being attacked on a continual basis!
But that hasn't been the case this year. It's been a great growing season for me. A good balance, weatherwise.
Nasturtiums have a slightly peppery flavoured foliage, especially the tender new leaves. Flowers add a colorful, edible garnish in salads, herbal vinegars, and many other recipes.
So, if you haven't grown these lovely and useful flowers before, you might want to give them a try!
Happy Gardening!

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Bee Balm - Monarda En Masse

I just love the colour of this Bee Balm. My camera has not likely done these gorgeous flowers any justice whatsoever, however I'm giving my poor old camera an A for effort!
But seriously, this flower is very aptly named. The bees are all over it, all the time, and the Hummingbirds are too. No wonder! If I were a pollinator, I'd be entranced as well!
Bee Balm is a member of the mint family, so be warned, it'll spread... But seriously, why not when it looks so good en masse like this, and it's such a supporter of the beneficial insect world.
Plus, it makes a nice tea!
Thanks for visiting, and Happy Gardening!

Monday, 2 August 2010

Mint - Blessing or Bane in the Garden?

Mint. The very word can make a gardener shudder at the thought of it running rampant through the garden, which it will indeed do when left to it's own devices. But, I'm here to play devil's advocate. Mainly because when we bought our house, the garden was a disaster, and one of the only few things growing in the garden was Mint, along with some gladiolas, and some Japanese spurge.
So, I decided to embrace the mint since we all know the fight can be a futile one. Once established, it's pretty hard, if not impossible to get rid of. So, if you are thinking of planting this herb in the garden, and don't want it to take over, then I'd suggest growing it in a container, where it can be kept on it's own.
However, since I didn't have the luxury of a choice to grow it, I've found that Mint can indeed be kept in line, mainly by digging some of it out and trimming it back before it goes to seed. I say I've embraced it because it is one of the most useful herbs in cooking! Great on new potatoes, as a pesto, and of course, in a Mint Julep, (perhaps to be enjoyed best on a verandah!)
The variety I'm growing is Lemon Mint, (Lemon Balm, or Melissa officinalis, and not to be confused with Bee Balm).
I harvest it and hang it to dry in bundles where it keeps it's very lovely scent.
It's great for use in Pot Pourri, apparently makes a delicious tea, and is considered to be a popular antiseptic!
So, don't beat yourself up if it's in your garden. Use it and embrace it because what's the point of getting bent out of shape over a plant! Like they say, "If you can't beat it, join it!"
Happy Gardening!