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.

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!

 

How Does Your Garden Grow?

With lettuce leaves, and onion sprouts, and potted herbs all in a row!

That’s right, the garden is starting to go in! It’s very exciting. We started some lettuce from seed a couple of weeks ago, but clearly it is still tiny little leafy sprouts. Therefore, we set out a few lettuce plants as well, so that we can start eating it soon! We chose some red lettuce for our bigger plants.

ImageThey look a little wilted and squashed now, but they will perk right back up in no time. I’m sure the rain that has been coming down all afternoon will help!

The pieces of wood are sort of a gardening secret, but more just a sign of bad cat behavior (or, I guess really just normal cat behavior). It keeps them out of the boxes. They, of course, think this soil that we have worked up to be nice and soft is just for them. I am sure you can figure out why they like it and the reason we don’t want them in there!

We also put out our little baby onions. They look adorable sticking up out of the dirt! Hopefully they will become big onions this year instead of just the slightly larger onions we often end up with. We certainly put enough mushroom compost and home-made compost in there! Surely they will be happy and swiftly-growing little onions!

ImageThen of course we have the ever-crucial herbs! Food is always better with fresh herbs, so we make sure to have plenty!

ImageHere we have parsley, sage, thyme, tarragon, and basil. Also a couple of Don Juan climbing roses, which we will set out in the ground once we decide where to put them! The thyme and sage plants lived through the winter sheltered somewhat from the elements in the garden house.

ImageThe thyme did the best. It kept all of its growth from last summer and looks downright bountiful and artistic! You can see the parsley peeking up behind it, and the rather bedraggled looking sage to the right.

ImageHere’s the French tarragon. You can see the new plant we put in at the top, and at the bottom there is a tiny sprout of the old plant coming back. I want to be sure there’s plenty. Bearnaise sauce is completely necessary to put on steaks in the summer!

ImageLast, but certainly not least, is the basil! We use it more than anything else. I could eat pasta made from fresh tomatoes and basil every day! It’s also great for making pesto, which you can eat fresh or freeze to use in the winter. Pesto is great as an ingredient or to just eat as an hors d’oeuvres on toasted bread.

As much as I love nice spring weather, setting out all of the vegetables and herbs really gets me impatient for them to start producing lots of delicious food!