What’s the Story, Morning Glory?

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It may seem strange to think about flowers blooming in October, but morning glories bloom until they’re killed off by frost. Since we are having the hottest fall on record, they are still going strong! (There has to be at least some sort of silver lining to all this hot weather, right?)

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Morning glories bloom in the early morning, so you have to get out before the blooms are spent in too much sun if you want to see them. (Note: Morning glories do need a lot of sun to grow well, so trying to extend the blooming time with a shady area probably won’t work.) These were already starting to wilt by the time I got to them.

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As you can probably tell from the tall grass, weeds, and overgrown lettuce, these morning glories are wildflowers growing over a spent section of the garden. No one planted them; they showed up all on their own. A lot of people might say that this looks like a mess, but I’d say it’s a good argument for not over landscaping; if you leave a few wild areas, you’re sure to get some interesting wildlife that you might miss out on otherwise.

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Want to know more about morning glories? The Old Farmer’s Almanac has an information page about them, and Southern Living’s The Grumpy Gardner has tips for growing these easy care flowers on The Daily South.

May Day

Today is one of my favorite holidays: May Day! Beloved of the cavalier poets, I always think of May Day as a time to revel in nature and seize the joys of life. I always make sure that I spend part of May first outdoors every year, feeling the sunshine (or wind, or rain) on my face, and reading some of my favorite carpe diem poems. Their message – live life to its fullest, because sooner or later death comes to us all – is a great reminder to make time for the pleasures in life, and, though bad things are often unavoidable, not let them obscure everything else.

So go outside, take a deep breath, and remember to look for the beauty all around you. Maybe even take a few minutes to read some Herrick!

Pansies & Tulips

Remember those pansies with the tulips planted under them? Well, here they are, with the tulips blooming above them. These red tulips are particularly gorgeous, and I love the way the bright red and yellow look together. It looks like this experiment was a success!

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Getting Ready For Spring

It may still be winter, and it is definitely still cold, but there are a few signs of life starting to emerge from the recently frosty ground.

Crocus are one of the first flowers to appear at the end of winter. Here is a bright yellow one, defying the dead brown around it.

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The hyacinths are just starting to sprout out. Before too long, these will show delightfully fragrant deep blue blooms.

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Tulips are starting to show up, too. There are lots of bulbs down there, so hopefully there will be a good spring show.

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Buttercups are always early risers. They are quite cold-hardy, so even if there is more cold weather to come, they should be fine.

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While I can’t deny that a large part of the carpet of leaves covering these flower beds is from my own idleness, it’s not an entirely bad thing. This winter was so cold that it easily could have killed some of the plants back. Fortunately, these hydrangeas were protected somewhat by the leaves covering them. We’ll see if they bloom this year; a really cold winter can wreck their blossoms for a season, even if the plant isn’t killed.

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Here is an experiment: there are tulips planted underneath the pansies in this pot. You can see them peeking out. Hopefully, there will be bright tulips above the pansies soon!

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I  hope you’ve enjoyed seeing the first bits of spring venturing out of the ground. It’s nice to think about the season changing after our unusually cold winter! I’ll be looking forward to showing more plant life when it is really spring!

 

Tennessee State Facts

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Tennessee State Facts

Here is a lovely example of the Tennessee state wildflower, the passionflower. These extraordinarily exotic-looking flowers grow on small vines pretty much anywhere you will let them. This is one of a few vines growing along the side of the driveway.

After the blooming period ends, these vines will produce small green fruits with a smooth, tough rind that are mostly hollow inside. They are shaped a bit like watermelon, but obviously much smaller. You can usually find these pretty wildflowers in the same places each year.

A Bouquet of Beautiful Blooms

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Like most girls, I really love flowers. I’m picky, though. Not only do I want my flowers to look beautiful, I also want them to have a beautiful fragrance. This is why I think peonies are the perfect spring flowers. They produce big, extravagant blooms with a gorgeous fragrance that washes over you whenever you come near them.

These particular blooms grow on plants given to us by my great-aunt. That’s one of the reasons that these plants have so many blooms: they’re old. The older the peony, the better they do! One of the best things about them is that they can be split as they grow to make more and more peonies! That way you can expand your beds or give them as gifts. And really, what could be a better gift that a peony root?

It’s Almost Here!

The first day of spring isn’t until March 21st, but the signs of the season are popping up everywhere – and I’m not just talking about ordering seeds!

Yesterday, it was starting to feel warm. Not too warm – I still had to wear a jacket and hat – but warm enough to enjoy sitting in the sun on the back steps and walking around the yard looking for new growth.

We had rain, then sun and warmer weather, which is a good combination for grass to start greening up. Yes, it is patchy and not the most attractive yet, but it feels great to see that patch of lush greenness, however small it may be.

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That’s not all I found. Growing on the edge of the patio is a cute little weed that drives my mother crazy, but that I always find so cheerful: the year’s first dandelion! I understand that they are pests that spread their seeds everywhere, but I can’t help but love them. The bright yellow is just such a happy color!

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There are also some flowers that we actually planted. The hyacinths are starting to bloom, gracing the yard with their fabulous perfume. They seem to be making a strong appearance this year.

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Continuing with the blue theme, this ground cover has also come out already:

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As you can see, this is pre-weeding. I will try to get around to that tomorrow, around the horseback riding excursion I have planned for the afternoon.

It is absolutely exhilarating to see a beautiful day like this after the winter, and especially having a week of rain and cold like we have just had. It’s even nicer today, and it is supposed to be almost seventy degrees tomorrow. It feels wonderful to be back outside!

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