Tag Archives: white flowers

Planting a Night Garden

Night gardens are are bright and pretty in daylight, and ethereal and romantic at night. If you ever plant one, you will never want to be without one again. These Florida Sunrise caladiums are the beginnings of my new night garden; and they will brighten up a dark corner of our back yard. This is part of the overall design of our back yard. As you can see, the turf grass in this spot is not doing very well because the area stays very damp because it wasn’t graded properly, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.  So I am filling this spot with plants that don’t mind  having wet feet. Caladiums are in the same family as elephant ears, and they need lots of water. What better place to put them?

Rear Caladium Sweep - mlm c@

By next summer (2016) the sweep of caladiums above will look like the ones below.

Sweep - mlm c@

This photo was taken in the late-afternoon, so the sunset has cast a yellow-ish light on the mostly white leaves.

A night garden is a flower garden that shows up well at night. On a moonlight night, it can appear to be almost iridescent. There are some very simple steps to having a night garden. They are usually made up of white, bright yellow, and/or very light-colored flowers:  pale  yellows, pinks, and lavenders. Some people prefer to use only night-blooming flowers.

Moonflower

Moonflower - mlm c@

I prefer flowers that bloom both day and night. I have not had a night garden since we relocated, but I plan to have one by next summer. I love my hot pink flowers, and other bright, cheerful colors. So when I decided to plant a night garden again, I knew I would simply tuck the white flowers in among my foliage and brightly colored flowers.

Peppermint Vinca

Pepperming - mlm c@

This vinca is not a true white. It is more of an off-white with a slight pink tinge, and then there is that gorgeous rosy-pink center that gives Peppermint Vinca its name.

Vinca , impatiens, and petunias will bloom all summer. In fact, here in central Florida, they bloom year-round; and you can never go wrong with a white mandevilla.

Mandevilla

Behind Starbucks 2 - mlm c@

It is absolutely NOT necessary to limit your garden to only white or pale flowers. They will show up at night when the darker colors will simply recede into the background. So you see, there really are some very simple steps to having a night garden.

Here are a few more of my favorite white flowers:

Hollyhocks

White Hollyhock - mlm c@

Hollyhocks are great for the back of a border, as they grow quite tall — sometimes as high as 15 feet. For that reason, they also make a great “living fence” to separate spaces, or to block an unsightly view. They have large leaves — plants with large leaves require more water than the average plant/flower.

Shamrocks

Shamrock Flowers - mlm c@

Shamrocks bloom profusely in spring, but will bloom sporadically throughout summer and warm autumns.

Vinca

Vinca - White mlm c@

 

 

Lovely Multi-Colored Lantana

Bridget's Lantana - bkl c@

Last night I received a text message from my cousin. She had attached two photos of lantana. This is one of them. Her message read, “These two flowers grew on what I thought was a weed! They are about 2″ wide. I love them. Do you know what they are?”

Of course I knew. I have a yard full of this easy-to-grow plant. I especially love its variety of colors, and the fact that it is drought-tolerant. Of course, that hasn’t been an issue around here this summer. Usually, drought-tolerant plants suffer with too much rain, but lantana seems to keep on going, no matter what.

Lantana is usually a mounding plant. Some types, though, are more vining, although they don’t climb (see the lavender/purple one below). Here in Florida, there is also a wild type of lantana that is extremely invasive. Stay away from that one. The only color wild lantana I have seen is an orange-red. It can be seen growing on the roadside. It will climb fences, power poles, and anything else it can find. If it gets into your yard, rip it out.

 More Lantana Photos, But First a Warning

If you live north of Zone 8, however, you will need to cut it back before cold weather arrives, and mulch it heavily. This is what happened to mine after eleven hours below 32 degrees Farenheit in February, 2015. It bounced back quickly, but if it had to endure a whole winter of those conditions, it would have been toast.

Frozen - mlm c@

Cutting lantana back and mulching before the first freeze is helpful because its stems are hollow. If it is cut back a few weeks before the first freeze is expected, it has time to seal off the opening created by the cut. If it is cut back too late in the season, cold air can enter the hollow stems, and get into the base of the plant. If this happens, it will likely die. When living in the Charlotte, NC, area, I cut mine back & added about 4 inches of pine needles in mid-to-late October. It was usually late November before the first extremely cold weather arrived.

 More Lantana Photos

Lantana comes with multi-colored flowers as shown above and here. It is also available in solid colors (shown below). It even grows with both solid colors and multi-colored flowers on the same plant.  Lantana is one of many sun-loving flowers that will add beauty to your yard and garden.

Lantana - mlm c @

 Solids

Lavender - mlm c@

This lavender creeping type can be seen at Colony Plaza on Hwy. 466-A.

Yellow - mlm c@

One of my favorites. Note those gorgeous deep-green leaves.

Purple - mlm c @

Multi-Color - mlm c@

Multi-Colors AND Solids on One Plant. Pretty cool.

 

 

Mandevilla Leaves Turning Yellow

Another Mandy - mlm c

Ann S., a neighbor and friend, described her Mandevilla to me last week. It’s leaves had begun turning yellow and falling off. This was an easy one. We’d had so much rain already, and have had  about 5 more inches since we talked. This is a plant that requires good drainage.

My suggestion was to dig up the plant, and rake more soil into the bottom of the hole, or to use a garden fork to lift the plant up, push more soil underneath it, and set it back into place. Then to build up the entire planting bed, creating a raised bed. This should provide enough drainage for her beautiful vine to flourish.

More Mandevilla Vines

Behind Starbucks - mlm c

Close Up on Post

The first two of these photos were taken at an outdoor patio behind our local Starbucks coffee house. They have planted red ones, pink ones, and white ones. I’ve really enjoyed watching these vines grow this summer.

Mandevilla is also available in a cherry bright yellow. I’ll have to get a photo of one somewhere.

 

The third photo is one of mine, having a visit from a very accommodating dragonfly. He seemed to be posing for me to take several photos.

 

Dragon Fly - mlm c

My Aggies Have Gone to Seed – I Miss Them Already

 

lily-of-nile-mlm-c

I’m missing my Aggies already. My Lily of the Nile, also known as African Blue Lily, but often affectionately called “Aggies” due to their botanical name Agapanthus africanus, have come and gone. We had summer-like temperatures early this spring, so they bloomed earlier than usual around here. They also seemed to last longer — what a pleasant surprise. I always hate to see them go.

These beauties live up to their name which comes from the Greek words “agape,” meaning unconditional, sacrificial love (such as that between parent and child) and “anthus,” meaning flower. They bloom in clusters of small blue, violet-blue, or white flowers that look like tiny lilies. Those clusters are completely round, globe shapes, called “umbels”, that can a have anywhere from 30 to 100 tiny flowers. Mine typically have about 80 – 100. These plants perform best in Zones 8 – 11. However, I grew them successfully in Charlotte, NC, USA, which is in Zone 7. Although they did not multiply as rapidly there as they do here in Zone 9-A, they did multiply and thrive, coming back each spring, year after year.

Their Needs:

Light

Aggies need plenty of direct sunlight. Plant in partial shade or filtered light only if you live in intense heat. I have seen them growing in full-sun in commercially planted areas here, and they appear to be thriving. We have summer temps in the mid- and high-nineties, so mine are planted where they get direct sunlight from early morning until around 1:00 or 2:00 p.m. The house shades them from the harsh afternoon sun.

Soil

They prefer rich, well-drained slightly acidic soil with a pH of about 6.5 to 7.5. Plant them no deeper than they were planted in the container they came in when you bought them. Plant them about 8 to 10 inches apart. I began with two plants that I bought at Lowe’s. They have multiplied like crazy. I now have enough to move some to other parts of our yard. This photo shows just a few of them.

aggie-sweep-mlm-c

The Seeds Are Easy to Collect

Aggie Seeds - mlm c

The upside of their going this year is that I got lots of seed from them to spread around my yard. These seed pods are still green. When they are ripe, they will be light brown, and will split open along the folds to reveal small elongated black seeds. I have already sown some new seed for next year.

Aggie Seeds & Pods - mlm c

These are some of the dried seeds and seed pods.  Although they are tiny, the individual seeds are quite large compared to some seeds such as those little specks produced by petunias and lettuces. As can be seen here, the pods will split open and drop their seed on the ground around the existing plants. I prefer to harvest the unopened pods so that I don’t lose any of the seeds. Be sure to keep your seeds in a cool, dark place until you are ready to plant them.

Beautiful Evergreen Foliage

As they begin to die down for the season, the tips of the deep green strap-like leaves will begin to turn brown. In a month or so, new green leaves will emerge, and, in mild climates, will stay all winter. In North Carolina, mine died down in winter but emerged in very early spring.

Lily of Nile Leaves - mlm c

My Aggies are gone for this year, but I know they’ll be back next year, nodding their heads in the breeze.