Sunday, November 25, 2007

Christmas Open House

Even this time of year is a busy time for us here at Big Bloomers. After the quick Halloween, fall and Thanksgiving seasons there is a big flurry of decorating to get ready for our Christmas Open House. I managed to sneak a few videos and pictures in before friends and customers showed up Sunday morning. Thank you Jo for all your hard work, wonderful refreshments and lovely company.

Don't forget to check out our Christmas store 'Beyond the Garden Gate' located in the Riverbirch Shopping Center. There we offer a variety of holiday decor as well as select holiday plants, candles, gifts and stocking stuffers.

Plant of the Moment-Barleria cristata (Phillipine violet)

Barleria cristata (Phillipine violet) is not a violet at all. Belonging to the acanthus family Barleria cristata is not even native to the Phillipines but rather to India and Myanmar. This shrub-like perennial grows strongly upright to 2-3 feet. It is a lovely, undemanding and drought tolerant plant with handsome foliage. It will grow in full to part sun. In our southern climate it seems to be happier in morning sun.

I planted one in a 4" pot from our semi-sun section in early spring. I potted it up in a large pot where it bloomed all spring. With the heat of the summer months it stopped blooming but was still a very nice specimen plant. In late September it started blooming again. I planted it in the ground a little while later and was pleasantly surprised a couple of days ago when I noticed it had put on its fall coat of many colors. I have read they are very easily propagated by planting a sprig in moist soil. In my mind's eye I am seeing a lovely hedge row of them in all their fall glory somewhere on my property. For this reason it is my "plant of the moment".

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Plant of the Moment... A Tale of Two Tagetes

The plants of the moment have to be the two tagetes blooming in our herb gardens now. They will both bloom into December and for that quality alone they both deserve to be plant of the moment.

Tagetes lemmonii is a wonderful, sprawling shrub-like plant with airy, delicate foliage. Late in the season and especially while blooming it can be a thug, falling over whatever is growing near it. Its such a delicate plant though that it doesn't seem to smother things like the late asters and chrysanthemums can sometimes do. People refer to it as "fragrant". Most people I know think it stinks. It is on the stinky side. Brush against it anytime of the year and you will certainly smell it.

Tagetes lucida on the other hand is more of an upright, orderly and sweetly fragrant plant. This one requires more of a "brushing against" to enjoy the fragrance, but crush a leaf or a stem and you will certainly be rewarded.

I love them both. They bloom this time every year oblivious to freezing temperatures when most other perennials have said goodbye to summer. I have planted them in most of my gardens... one because of its scent and one in spite of it.