Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Gerardia purpurea is a member of the snapdragon family as you can see by looking at the flowers. It blooms in the fall and added to the colors of goldenrod, asters, and ageratum it is beautiful. It is also called purple false foxglove, or just false foxglove. It is parasitic on the roots of grasses, but judging from the roadsides, I would say it does not hurt the grass much. Each flower is about an inch wide. Once I tried to cut some for a vase, but they wilted right away.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Scheffield Mums

Sheffield mums are a staple of the south in fall. Their lovely pink daisy faces, a welcome relief from all the garish orange, yellow, and crimson this time of year, are a reminder of the glory that was spring. They are  perennial mums, and with only minimal care will reward you every fall. They do need to be divided every couple years to keep them at their best. In the spring, dig them out and replant the newest part of the clump. There will be more than you need, so you can divide with all the people who admired them so last fall. Throw away the older part of the clump. They grow in sun to part shade and like ordinary soil enough to give you a good show. Like all mums they last wonderfully in a vase. they are sometimes called Sheffield apricot, but to me they are just pink. This is another of the plants that was given to me by my mother and it has been around a long time.

Monday, November 4, 2013


Tibouchina produces flowers for me in late summer and fall. This photograph would lead you to believe it is a royal blue, but actually, it is a wonderful deep shade of purple. It has several common names- glory bush and princess flower.Unfortunately several other plants go by the name of glory bush, so you need the genus to tell which plant you mean. The leaves are fuzzy and  maybe that makes it unpalatable for deer as I have never had them browse it. The leaf veins are longitudinal, and it is a lovely plant even when it is not in bloom. It hails from South America, and some species have become invasive in some places (Hawaii, for example). But here is my zone 7b garden, it never sets seed. It does root easily though, and I usually try to root some pieces just in case the one I have in the ground does not make it through the winter. It is said to be a tropical plant, but it usually winters over for me.The sight of the purple petals laying on the ground around it as they petals shed and more open, is not easily forgotten. I do not know what species this one is, and will not hazard a guess, but will say it is worth growing, and is fairly undemanding. A place in full sun to light shade and ordinary garden soil, with an occasional fistful of fertilizer will produce a happy surprise when most of the flowers begin to fade. It is also easily grown as a container plant, and when I have grown it that way, it gets much larger and blooms sooner.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Variegated Impatience

This is a variegated Impatiens which I originally got from my mother who got it from a friend.  Some people call it Busy Lizzy. Note also that this one is not double. I have been growing it for several years, and it makes a plant about 2 feet tall and blooms all summer. Like all  Impatiens walleriana, it grows best in shade. I often have Impatiens reseed, but not this one and think it may not make viable seed. Never mind though. It is easy enough to root either is soil or water and carry through the winter to make new plants for setting out after the weather warms. Hot sun will scald and kill it. This is particularly true with this plant as it is variegated and this makes it even more susceptible to sun damage. Some people mistake it for Snow-on-the-Mountain, especially if it is not in bloom.  At this point, November 3, we have not had a killing frost and I have 4 or 5 of these that are still blooming beautifully.
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