Cool Plant: Caracalla Bean

July 24, 2013 § 3 Comments

The Caracalla Bean, also known as snail flower, is one of the most interesting beans I think I have ever encountered. It has ordinary foliage but a beautiful snail like flower, that is quite fragrant, and is a surprising late bloomer. I discovered it last year while visiting Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson. While I had fully intended to plant it in my own garden this year, I never quite got around to it, but these photos are certainly making me regret that!





Blooming Now: Daylilies

July 22, 2013 Comments Off on Blooming Now: Daylilies

Daylilies might as well be called “deer food”, last year I got one bloom before the deer came along and had quite a pleasant snack.  As a  result, I transplanted them in the fall, moving them to a more remote area of the yard, in an attempt to keep from luring the deer there.  I was pleasantly surprised that the transplant went well with the deer have stayed away from the (for this year), and there are blooms a plenty!




Blooming Now: English Lavender, Lavandula Angustifolia, ‘Munstead’

July 20, 2013 Comments Off on Blooming Now: English Lavender, Lavandula Angustifolia, ‘Munstead’

Today we bring to a close my week long overture to Lavender. This week has  brought me one step closer to planting  rows of lavender in my vacant backyard, and the bees would be so happy!


I bought this English Lavender, in a bit of haste,when I thought one of my beds was a little sparse(it wasn’t), and was surprised to find little blooms popping up this week. Unlike the other two Lavender varieties I have shared this week, Munstead is compact, only growing about 1-2 ft in height and width. It has bright blooms(blooming June-August)  that attract nectar loving insects and short leaf  foliage that is highly aromatic.

munstead lavender

Lavandula Angustifolia

English Lavender

Know Thy Plant: Fern-Leaf Lavender

July 16, 2013 Comments Off on Know Thy Plant: Fern-Leaf Lavender

Fun Lavender fact:  The name Lavender is derived from the latin lavo or lavandus meaning to wash, since the herb was so commonly used during bathing.

Today, in this third ode to lavender, we highlight the fern leaf lavender. I am unsure of the variety it could be  ‘multifida’  or ‘minutolli’.  Multifida has more of a lavender scent, while minutolli has flashy blooms and a pungent smell. Think this is a sign I need to keep track of my tags? I fortunately have learned my lesson on this one!

fern leaf lavender

This interesting Lavender, like most other varieties, prefers well drained soil and once established, needs only occasional watering.  I will admit that I may have put mine in a not well drained raised bed and over watered this spring , resulting in yellowing leaves. However it has flushed out a bit with the dryer summer months.


This variety is VERY fragrant. The ‘multifida’ has been traditionally cultivated for oils, for its strong lavender scent.  The variety I have is reminiscent of citronella, and I crush it between my hands and rub on my legs to keep mosquitoes away, to varying degrees of effectiveness. This could mean it is ‘minutolli’, the mystery continues.

multifida lavender

The biggest surprise of this cultivar, is that is has been long blooming for me. I completely expected to get one good bloom out of it, but with deadheading it has had consistent blooms since I planted it in May (greenhouse forced I’m sure). The blooms are long, and often form a  beautifully shaped trident.


Regardless of variety the growing conditions are very similar:

Zones: 8-11(some places as high as 14) I’ve noticed mine can really take the heat well, however I’ll have to see how it winters over in zone 7. This may have to be an annual for me.

Soil: Well drained

Water: Drought tolerant once established.

Size: Up to 2 ft tall(40 inches with blooms) and around 3-4 ft wide.

Deer Resistance: Yes

Blooming Now: French Lavender

July 15, 2013 Comments Off on Blooming Now: French Lavender

I believe this variety is ‘grosso’ or ‘hidcote’ but I can’t quite remember…

Did you know that lavender has been used  for over 2500 years for fragrance and medicinal purposes?

Blooming Now: Gladiolus

July 8, 2013 § 2 Comments

I remember entering gladiolus in the county fair when I was kid, and while I can’t remember if I won or not, I still have a soft spot for this bulb. While pink wouldn’t be my first choice ( I prefer the red), these were an inheritance  from my home’s previous owner. Since I’m a sucker for the idea that our actions echo over time, I can’t seem to part with them, although I did transplant them last year so I could have a better placement in my and white gladiolus




Hay Field

June 19, 2013 Comments Off on Hay Field

Maybe it is from my early experience on farms or the wash of peacefulness that comes with natural expanse, but goodness am I in love in with fields and meadows.

hay field






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