Left: Abelmoschus manihot, Sunset hibiscus.
This plant has a history and has done some traveling! Doris D. obtained some heirloom seeds at a seed swap held by Old Salem. She grew them and collected seed, which she shared with Sue H. Sue learned they need lots of sun, of which she had little, so she sent them to her sister Dianne in Texas. Her sister potted up the seed in her greenhouse and sent Sue this photo of the growing plant--which is happy in the Texas sun. Each flower lasts but a day, but continues to bloom from mid-summer through early Fall.
Native to temperate regions of South and East Asia. The leaves are high in Vitamins A and C as well as protein and have been consumed like spinach or lettuce. The flowser buds have also been eaten raw or cooked. The plant also has a number of traditional medicinal uses, and has been used in the making of paper in Japan and Korea.
From the gardens of Sue H., Doris D., and Dianne of Texas.
Left: A Monarda didyma cultivar, possibly 'Balmy Pink'
Doris is successfully growing this beauty in a container as it was bred not only for the pink color, but because it grows only to 12" tall. Monardas generally grow 36-48" tall and were used for tea and for several medicinal uses.
From the garden of Dorisl D.
LEFT: Louisiana iris, Iris hexagona
This is an iris that Kit S. gave me a few years back. It's the first time I've seen it bloom but quite possible that I missed it. It's kind of hidden where it was planted. If I am remembering correctly, they are LSU iris.
From the garden of Terry W.
LEFT: Blue-eyed grass, Sisyrinchium angustifolium
This little beauty first arrived in my garden several years ago, compliments of birds I suppose, as I did not plant it. It is my good fortune that it is happy here, and after a couple of years I now have several clumps. It is in the Iris Family (Iridaceae) and I can see why. The leaves have the look of iris leaves, though slender, narrower and before blooming can be mistaken for grass. The color of the flowers is similar to some is, though the shape doesn't bring iris to mind. The clump, a perennial, grows to about 12 to 18 inches tall, making it a nice border plant. It spreads a bit, popping up in unexpected places. I'm always happy to see it.
Years ago, Native American tribes used the plant medicinally and some Herbalists still favor it for certain uses.
Blue-eyed grass is native in NC, from one end of the State to the other. It grows sporadically in most of the eastern U.S., though a bit more heavily north of us.
It does well in sun or part-shade and appreciates a little water when the summer gets dry. Dividing every couple of years is helpful and allows you to fill out a border or to give plants to friends. Dividing in Autumn is perfect.
From the garden of Kathy S.
Left: Spring Bouquet
Spring is here and we are experiencing our usual anxieties about what will emerge, what will survive the inevitable cold snaps, and when should we plant.
Member Elaine C., on hearing the news of a drop into the 20s this week, dashed out to snip a few blossoms. She said her Camellias are loaded with blooms this year and she only wishes she could have brought them all in.
What she did bring in she shares with all of us in the photo to the left- a lovely arrangement that reminds me of 17th Century Dutch paintings, as this one below by Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder (Flowers in a Glass Vase, 1614):
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