Beautiful autumn weather has me out digging up fern leaf yarrow and black-eyed Susans from a friends garden so I can plant them behind my Mom's condo where there really isn't any need or room for them. It's un-necessary effort, but they will look pretty there and my gardening urges are satisfied. I hope you're enjoying nice fall weather were you are too and that you'll visit us often - and bring your friends. Get out and garden and be good and grow. Jack
This white flowered sasanqua (Camellia sasanqua) is a popular cultivar called 'White Snow ( is is 'Mine-no-yuki' in Japan where it was developed). I have a small grove of them at my place in North Florida that come into bloom around this time of year. Click here to download and enjoy 'White Snow' on your desktop.
At around the same time, the 'Pink Snow' sasanquas are also blooming! I have them planted beneath the canopy of a live oak tree where they probably get more shade than they like, but smother themselves in flowers anyway. The sasanqua camellias bloom in autumn and early winter, while varieties of their more famous relatives, the japonica camellias (Camellia japonica), bloom winter to early spring. Click here to download.
Steve harvested several kinds of (Vigna unguiculata) last week and sent us pictures and a profile of these southern staples. This species goes by many common names: cowpea, southern pea, black-eyed pea, Jerusalem pea, field pea, yard-long bean, asparagus bean, etc, depending on subspecies and variety. They are drought tolerant, grow in poor sandy soils and like hot weather. Read more » about this important species, an important forage and food crop in warmer climates around the world (USDA Zones 5-10).
These are 'Sir Winston Churchill' daffodils. Plant spring flowering bulbs like tulips and hyacinths are planted in the fall. Those living in the Deep South and similar warm climates have best success with the daffodils (Narcissus spp., includes jonquils, narcissus, etc.). Read the article and then check out Floridata's Narcissus spp. Profile.
The orchid cactus (Epiphyllum spp.) is a tropical epiphyte whose genus is comprised of more than a dozen species and hundreds of hybrids. At my place in Tallahassee, Fl (Zone 8), I had one growing outdoors on the porch. It sheltered indoors during hard freezes but otherwise took care of itself. I miss my orchid cactus (it's found a good home growing down the side of a friend's barn).
A favorite pass-along plant in The South and other warm climate regions is the pinecone ginger (Zingiber zerumbet), called awapuhi in Hawaii). It is known around the world as the "shampoo ginger" for the milky substance in the cones - it is actually used as a shampoo in Asia and Hawaii, and as an ingredient in several commercial shampoos.
The Spanish chestnuts (Castanea sativa are ripe and ready to eat around this time of year. A friend gave me a bagful of nuts with the spine husks already removed. Then all I had to do was to score each with a knife and then steam them for 30 minutes. They were delicious - maybe even better than roasted! Click here to download a large version of this image.
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Look for mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum), a North American wildflower, blooming along roadsides, ditches and fencerows at this time of year. Mistflower native range extends from New Jersey, west to Wisconsin and Kansas, and south to Texas and Florida.
In late summer the orange cosmos (Cosmos sulphureus) in my garden will have a sudden growth spurt (some get 7 feet tall!). They then burst into full bloom creating a colorful mini-jungle of yellow and orange. This annual is very easy to grow and attracts swarms of bees and butterflies for food and fun.
Spotted horsemint (Monarda punctata) is another native American wildflower that you can see blooming at this time of year. It is native to eastern North America from Vermont to Minnesota and south to Florida, eastern Texas and Mexico. It grows on road shoulders, in old fields and thin woods, and in disturbed areas. Click to download a large version (800x600) of this image for a closer look at the actual spotted flowers hidden beneath the pretty purplish bracts.
Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) is a handsome North American native that tolerates a range of soil conditions (including wet conditions), is seldom bothered by pests, and its leaves make a colorful autumn display - even in the Deep South. However, the spiny dangleball fruits are a bummer to clean up and even worse to step on in bare feet.
Depending on weather, the little southern turkey oak (Quercus laevis) will have brilliant scarlet leaves one autumn and dull red-brown leaves the next. But there are many other species that gardeners in the Deep South can plant that will produce spectacular fall foliage displays most every year. More tree species with colorful autumn leaves for The South:
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