April 18, 2018





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(Congratulations to the winners of my recent book drawing. Shirley at Rock-Oak-Deer won a copy of "Shakespeare's Gardens," and Carla at The River won a copy of "Vegetables Love Flowers." Thanks to all who participated.)

April 11, 2018

'Low-Country' Azaleas to Brighten the Day

2 floral mix

Those who live in and near the Low Country or the low country, please correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that lowercase "low country" includes the coastal area between Charleston, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia, as described in this TripAdvisor entry (see link). "Low Country," when capitalized, denotes a specific region in South Carolina. (In my blog post title, the words are capitalized because it's a title, but I'm referring to the "low country").

In any case, the Azaleas and some Rhododendrons (both belong to the genus Rhododendron) were at peak bloom in this part of the U.S. when we were there in mid-March. I'd been aware of their prevalence in the Southeast, but the multi-color display really exceeded my expectations. We have Azaleas and Rhododendrons (and even some native ones) here in the Midwest, and I've seen them in other parts of the country, but they're certainly spectacular in the "low country" in early spring.

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3 magnolia plantation

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The highlight of the Azalea blooms, this trip, had to be the explosion of beauty and color at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens in Charleston, but they were also lovely at the Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, and throughout the region.

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Among the beauties were several deciduous native species, including Piedmont (R. canescens), Flame (R. calendulaceum), and Florida Flame (R. austrinum) Azaleas.

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Most we saw, however, were Asian hybrid Azaleas, which obviously love the growing conditions of the region. Most weren't marked, so I'm unsure of the cultivar names. I went overboard with photos, and I'm including just a few here--some native species and hybrids, and some Asian cultivars.

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The butterflies obviously appreciated them, too!

For more Azalea images, visit this post's Flickr album, which includes a small sample of the Azalea photos on my camera memory card. (Ooops, I snapped too many.)

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Note: There's still time to put your name in the hat for two garden books: "Vegetables Love Flowers" and "Shakespeare's Gardens." To read about them, check the "Products" tab at the top of this blog. Then, simply leave a comment on my previous post and let me know which book you want. I'll draw two names: one for each book. I'll announce the winners in my next post. Good luck!

April 02, 2018

The Window Boxes of Charleston

azaleas and moss

As we face the reality of a very cold start to April here in the Midwest, I'm remembering our recent trip south. We spent the middle of March in Charleston, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia. We pretty much hit the peak of Azalea bloom, and I've never seen healthier, larger Azaleas--blooming just about everywhere we traveled. More about that later.

Of course, the camera and the mind are full of photo and blog post ideas, but I thought I'd start with a quick look at a few of the window boxes in Charleston. They were bright, pretty, and inspirational, and they complemented the city's unique, and mostly historical, architecture.

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It was a fabulous vacation, and I wish I was back in the South. Thinking about it warms me up a little. More to come on both Charleston and Savannah.

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On another topic, I'm offering readers two great gardening books: "Vegetables Love Flowers" and "Shakespeare's Gardens." To read about them, check the "Products" tab at the top of this blog. Leave a comment on this post, and let me know which book you're interested in. I'll draw two names: one for each book. Good luck!

March 28, 2018

'Subtle' Signs of Spring: Inside and Out

bubble gum
Overwintered Supertunia Vista Bubblegum

Zinnia seedlings (Z. elegans hybrids)

Overwintered Gerbera Daisy hybrid

Lettuce seedlings under the coldframe

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Hellebore buds (Helleborus orientalis)

Daffodil buds (Narcissus spp.)

Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis 'Flore Pleno')

Unknown (Allium?) ... What did I plant here?

More Hellebore buds (Helleborus orientalis)

Rhubarb (for future pie :) )