Heart of a Southern Woman

A snapshot of life one blog post at a time.


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Vines and climbers blooming in April and May in my North Carolina Piedmont Garden

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This is my beautiful Lady Banks Rose in all its glory, climbing all over this trellis after only 3 or 4 years! I actually started this rose from a cutting, well, several cuttings from a friend of mine in New Bern, NC. The Lady Banks rose, rosa banksiae Lutea,  has clusters of double pastel yellow flowers in early spring. A climber, without thorns, Lady Banks Rose is easy to prune and train or it can be allowed to wander freely over shrubs or trees. It is also very disease resistant.  The only problem I have with it is that it only blooms for about two weeks, and only once a year! I wish it lasted longer, even that it bloomed all summer! But then I probably wouldn’t cherish it so! It is its fleeting beauty that makes it so special! Perhaps. I’d like to believe I’d love this rose even if it bloomed 12 months a year!
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 In the picture just above, you can see the pink, Asao clematis I planted to mix with the Lady Banks Rose! I just love the combination and find it helps call attention to the rose and the clematis! On the other side of this trellis grows a white, Snow Queen clematis. I just love the large, showy flowers of clematis, and I believe I have five clematis vines in my  yard. They grow quite vigorously, with little attention if you plant them so that the roots and first sprouts are shaded by other plants, otherwise they just don’t thrive! Pruning clematis is one of the trickiest things about them, but you do not need to prune them at all, If you do feel the need to cut them back, I advise you to read up on the particular kind that you have, because they all fit in three major categories of clematis, and all three categories have specific pruning instructions. My favorite website for information on clematis, is the newsletter put out by Brushwood Nurseries at http://www.gardenvines.com.  You can shop for clematis there also, and I love their expertise. Below you can see the Snow Queen clematis blooming.
Clematis , 2 May, 2013
Purple Clematis, 2011
On the other side of my yard,  on a different trellis,and pictured above  is a clematis called  amethyst beauty. Isn’t it lovely! It is climbing among the Carolina Jasmine.  Carolina Jasmine is a small yellow flower with a lovely sweet fragrance that blooms in the late winter/early spring! It is evergreen and covers a trellis quickly, I just love it!    We have it on a trellis just outside of our screened porch, so that we can smell it as soon as we exit the house!

Carolina Jasmine

I have many more vines, because I just love them! But they bloom in the summer or even in the Fall and I will share them with you as we go along. If you have questions, please leave them in a comment and I will do my best to answer with the best research I can do.
  • Clematis (asurreygarden.wordpress.com)


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Gardening Interests, Habits, and Skills Change

Gardening Interests, Habits and Skills Change Over the Years
Yes, it’s March and Spring should only be a couple weeks away! I say should, because there’s a huge snow storm raging on the East Coast today, right next to us in Virginia they’re getting like five to ten or more inches of snow! That’s where all my family is, where I was born and raised, but here in North Carolina we’re only getting a few flurries!  Stuck inside, looking out, gardening is on my mind! Come on Spring!

When I was a young woman, before heart disease stole my breath and energy from me, when Fall came, I’d root any cuttings I wanted to take, repot things if necessary, bring them in and set my plants up in an ideal situation, as much as possible. I installed a huge tray of gravel, made of cookie sheets clipped together, like nine of them at least!  I’d set the flower pots on top of the gravel, voila, instant humidity for the winter house and great drainage for the plants! The cookie pans didn’t show by the way, and I put a thick piece of plastic under them to protect the tile floor from any leaks. Then my sweet husband installed grow lights for me, and even put them on a timer and a remote control! I fed or didn’t feed the plants based on the best research I could find. Pruned, rotated, did whatever my plants needed as I was a passionate gardener!  I used this set up for years, and felt so proud of myself! 

Of course, you know the story:  one child is born, second child born, parents get sick and need help, die, church involvement grows, kids grow, PTA and band boosters call!  We call it life. (I wouldn’t be so cavalier about the grief of my parents’ deaths, but it has been 33 years, and eventually you realize it’s part of life, but you miss them.) Plants, or our own interests, tend to take a back seat.

Suddenly, it seems, your kids are grown and independent; you retire, or have time to pursue you own passions again. Or in my case, you become disabled with a health condition, and after the initial shock and depression, you pick your head up and think, hmm…I can still do some of the things I love, with help! My help comes from my stellar husband Max, my daughters who are wonderful to me, and from friends and extended family whom I live and cherish for their support and help, although I hate needing it! See the wonderful wheelchair ramp Max built for me , and I use it everyday! Not being independent is a whole other post! However, as life changes, abilities change, and we have to adapt. The indoor garden was just too much to maintain and went by the wayside years ago! 

In 2003, we moved into the house where we live now, into a diverse neighborhood, diverse in ages, races, and faiths. I love it! Who can be bored with so many interesting people around! And lo and behold, there were gardeners here! Wow! Wise, experienced and skilled gardeners!  They lit a fire under me again!

 The most wonderful thing about the gardeners I found in my new neighborhood was that they shared! They shared their knowledge, “this is how you prune a cle-ma’-tis Helen”. They shared their plants, “here’s a cutting of a double red knock-out rose—take all you want!” They shared their philosophies, “gardening is a process…just let it unfold over the years…” Wow! I was in heaven! 

    I remember meeting a neighbor from a nearby street, one of my best friends now, but who, at the time, became named my “daylily buddy”! She had a yard full of the most gorgeous daylilies I had ever seen! She shared with me, and took me, wheelchair and all, to daylily shows and sales! Oh my gracious,  I fell in love with daylilies! Unfortunately, I was operating only on emotion… “oh, I love this color, oh look at these ruffles,  oh smell that fragrance!”  And I planted that way..with love and enthusiasm, not science or forethought! LOL  The bottom line is that I do not know the names of many of my daylilies, I just know I love them!  So, I am not the scientific gardener that I once was, oh I do a little research, but I am a happy gardener.