Archive | June 2013

The Beautiful Chaste Tree

chaste1

Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus-castus)

I’ve been admiring the lovely chaste tree for some time, but only planted my own last summer. It was about two feet high and had only two stems on it at that time. This year, it has branched out like crazy and is close to five feet tall. The flowers are a wonderful shade of lavender, and to me, this little tree makes up for the fact that we can’t grow buddleia (butterfly bush) in central Florida worth a diddly. 

The chaste tree is so named because in medieval times, it was believed you could make a potion from it that would curb the libido. Oh, those medieval husbands! Apparently, they were always worried about what their wives would get up to while they were away crusading or jousting or whatever the heck they were doing. This would have been another tool in their arsenal—along with the infamous chastity belt, I guess—to control their women-folk. (It’s totally erroneous, of course! As if!!) Seems to me, it would have been easier just to stay home and be good husbands, but what do I know of those times? I’m old . . . but not THAT old! 🙂

I particularly like how my tree’s lavender blooms look next to my Abraham Darby rose. And when the plumbago between them is flowering, I have a nice little pink and blue bed going there. So far, the tree seems to be easy to care for, although it is deciduous and loses every leaf in winter, so you would want to keep that in mind when you decide where to plant yours. (You will be getting one, won’t you? How can you resist?)

Here are some closer views. 

chaste3

And one more. Notice the monarch butterfly? I never saw it until I opened the picture at 100%. I knew bumblebees were fond of these flowers. Now I know butterflies like them as well. What could be better?

chaste4

My plan is to limb the tree as it grow, so I get a nice “umbrella,” and can grow smaller plants beneath it. These trees usually top out at ten to twenty feet, though I’ve never seen one around here more than twelve or so. I’m looking forward to watching it grow. 

Do you have a chaste tree in your yard? How has it done for you? Do you have one of the lavender or blue varieties, or do you grow the pink or white ones? Inquiring minds wanna know!

Advertisements

Bits & Pieces

 

crispa1

Clematis crispa

Just a couple of pictures from my bedraggled, weedy, overgrown and now soaking wet, garden.  The photo above is a native clematis that I just adore. Yes, I know the bloom is tiny, and pretty tame when you compare it to the cultivated varieties you can grow in the north, like this:

clematis

 

Or this:

clematis_dr_ruppel

Or even this:

clematis etoile violette

But it is dainty, and sweetly shaped, and just look at how those raindrops hang from the tips of the “petals!” I’m sorry the picture isn’t sharper, but it was raining, and I was rushing a bit. 

crispa2

Last month, I replaced my hanging baskets in my front bed. I didn’t want to pay $25 or more for established hanging baskets, so I bought six 99 cent plants and made my own. Each basket got a Dipt In Wine coleus, a bright red New Guinea impatiens, and a Margarita sweet potato vine. They started out looking like this:

basket2

And three weeks later, they look like this:

basket

Not bad for $3.00 worth of plants, eh? And I fully expect them to get much larger before summer is over.

And finally, I was all excited a few weeks ago when I found a really cool blue planter to put my coral “drift” rose in. I’m happy to report, it is thriving, and is on its second round of blooms. I’m still loving both the planter and the rose. And the Purple Showers ruellia behind it has begun to bloom again, after I cut it back severely in May. Tomorrow, maybe I can get a good picture of my little chaste tree, which has started to bloom nicely. 

blue planter

You’ll notice I’m only taking close up shots, here. A wide-angle view of what’s going on out there would make you run screaming! Ha. But I can only do so much in a day, and my days are pretty well booked right now, until I finish my novel. (Get it? Booked??? Oh, ha, ha, ha. Sometimes I crack myself up! *snort*)  So, that’s about it for Granny’s Garden right now. What’s new in  YOUR yard?

Love Shared!

dulcemaria2

“Dulce Maria”

What better way to express your love for a friend than to share flowers from your garden? My good gardening friend and fellow Urban Fantasy reader, Felix, gave me a rooted cutting of a rose he received as an unidentified cutting from a relative, and now it is growing in my garden. It’s still a small plant, but it produces really big, sweet-scented flowers that are a wonderful shade of coral pink. That is an over-sized mug next to the rose, so you can see how large it is. I love this rose, and I think of Felix, my generous friend, every time the rose blooms! Starting my day with a rose and a cup of Earl Grey tea is my idea of heaven!

And just look at how truly beautiful the bloom is! If anyone recognizes the real name of this rose, which Felix calls Dulce Maria (or Sweet Maria), please let me know. I will still think of it as Dulce Maria, of course, but it would be nice to know how to find another one, should I ever want to add more to my garden. 

dulcemaria1

My Poor, Neglected Garden…

…and my poor, neglected blog! I’m so sorry to have been AWOL yet again! My only excuse is that writing a book is a major time-suck beyond all imaginings. I am in the revision and editing stages, and it seems like I’ve been sitting at this computer at least 8 to 12 hours every day.  The house is full of dust bunnies the size of small ponies. Some of them are asking to be fed, now, along with the real animals. And the garden? Well, let’s just say it’s best not to go out there  without leaving a note indicating what part of the yard you’ll be in and when you expect to return—just in case search parties become necessary.

Okay, you get my drift, here. No time in the garden tends to mean not too many posts on Who’s Your Granny. But I did go out there yesterday and take note of the most offensive areas, hoping I might be able to do some yard work over the weekend. My granddaughter is coming to see us next weekend. She’s 8. And not very tall yet. I don’t want her to get lost amid the rampant horticultural overgrowth. And while I was walking around making notes on what should be done, but probably won’t, I found that my volunteer gloriosa lilies (Gloriosa superba) are blooming. Because they have popped up in various places, I have little control over where they wander, and their tiny tenacious tendrils (how alliterative!) cling to neighboring plants as well as any supports in the area. Thus, their spidery red flowers are dripping off of bushes, trees, and weeds, instead of being neatly organized on the supports I offered them, but never got around to tying them to. 

I cut several for vases, and have discovered the fragile looking flowers last quite a long time in water. It’s raining today, (oh, no…no yardwork for me, darn it!) so I’m sharing a picture of the ones inside my house, instead of outside. If you have never grown these wonderful vines, you really should. They grow from tubers that you can buy as you would other bulbs, and they die back to the ground every year. But they multiply underground, like many other tubers, and soon you will find them popping up in the warm months to cover an entire trellis with their wonderful blooms. They come in yellow and a few other shades, but none so truly worth of the name “gloriosa” as the red one, which is sometimes sold as the variety “Rothschildiana.” 

Without further ado, I present to you, the gloriosa lily! Enjoy!

gloriosa

If you notice, the top leaf in the picture has a curled tip. That is the tendril. This is the only vine I’ve ever seen that clings via leaves that modify themselves into curling tendrils. Maybe some of you know of another that does, but I don’t. And that little curl can extend to wrap around and around a support stem.

gl1

Another angle. BTW, that “Green Anthology” you see lying there is a great little book of collected poems, short stories, essays, and book excerpts, all featuring the theme of “Green.” I was very lucky to have been asked to contribute, and have one of my poems in the book. And June 15, the “Summer” anthology comes out, in which I will have three of my poems. I’m really excited about having some of my work published, and can’t wait until I have a novel out there, too. I guess it’s been worth neglecting my garden for a while. The book is available here, should you want to check it out.