From My Carolina Home

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November in the Garden

November is finally getting cooler, more like real autumn weather.  I’ve been waiting for the right time to plant some bulbs, and finally got the perfect time.  It was a cool day earlier in the month, plus the forecast was for rain for the next several days, so I could be sure all the planted bulbs would get watered in well.  I gathered up the bulbs I had purchased a month before, some tools and bone meal, and set out to find spots for all of them.

November in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

I started the planting with the crocus bulbs. They are planted fairly shallow, so I put them between the rhizomes of my iris plants. Since I had divided the irises last spring, there was plenty of space. Adding the crocus bulbs will give a longer bloom time for this bed near the front door. I threw some bone meal in with each bulb. Some places I could scratch out a long trench and plant several at once.

November in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

Hyacinths were planted in a random pattern in the middle of the front bed, scattered just like nature does.  I am hoping for a fragrant display in the spring.

November in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

Then I put the pale peach ruffled daffodils in the brick planter between the asters and the irises there.

November in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

Next thing I knew, looking at the planter the next morning, the bloody squirrels had dug up some. I had wanted to put some green plastic fencing over the bulbs, but thought I had another day to get it done. So, I fixed that.  The fencing did keep the squirrels from digging in the bed after that, although DH noticed one sitting on the brick looking at the fencing like he was trying to figure out what to do next.

November in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

Look who stopped by, a beautiful young deer.  This photo was taken through the screening from the Carolina room on the backside of the house.

November in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

Very young, likely born just this past spring, his antlers are just beginning.

November in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

His family has been eating my hostas, but I don’t mind at this point. They will die off soon anyway. I planted more crocus bulbs between the hostas. I have one little clump of them there now, and wanted to add more.

November in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

The island of land created by the circle driveway needed some color. There are azaleas there, but I have wanted to add daffodils there for some years. I planted gladiolas in this spot years ago but they never came up. I suspect the squirrels dug them up and ate them.

November in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

Bigger bulbs meant deeper holes, plus this area has a ground cover of vincas making the digging more difficult.

November in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

Down on the south side of the island, I planted more daffodils in this open area where I had some azaleas taken out a couple of years ago.

November in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

In another area of the garden, I created another stand of daffodils. All total, I planted 155 bulbs, and we will see how they do come spring.

November in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

Up on the veranda, I planted a gold chrysanthemum in the large pot next to the front door. The torenia baskets were finished, and looking bedraggled so they were taken down and the plants removed.

November in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

There was a frost in the forecast, and my tomato plant was still heavy with tomatoes.  So I picked them all, and pulled up the plants to clean up the pots.

November in the Garden at From My Carolina Home<

I put them on a plate to ripen inside. Some may never ripen, but that would be OK.

November in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

Amazingly, days later, one had fully ripened and others were looking like they were coming along. It has been nice to eat them as they ripen, and there are more to come.

November in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

Moving inside, the Thanksgiving cactus bloomed with just five blooms total.  I repotted it this fall, so that might have made a difference.  Here, three red and one pink bloom came out first.

November in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

One white one came out later.

November in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

A month ago I bought a white amaryllis, you all know I love white flowers. Just days after potting it up and watering it, several leaves had grown and the bud was coming up.

November in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

A few days later, the bud is getting taller on the stem.

November in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

And this past weekend, a beautiful flower is opening with the promise of three more to come.

November in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

Gorgeous isn’t it, this white with a pink blush is called Appleblossom.

November in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

Outside, the trees have come into fuller color, and the bird feeder is in full use.

November in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

Looking down the driveway, nice golds and oranges in view.

November in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

Looking over the house to the mountain behind and the very tall trees that surround us.

November in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

There is still a bit of green yet to change, but overall it is autumn here.

November in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

Here’s a look at the meadow, lovely!

November in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

I haven’t seen the turkeys in three weeks, and I think they have moved on for the season.  I wish they would come back as I love watching the males fluff and preen for the females.

What is going on in your garden now?



March in the Garden

It is still looking more like spring than winter here, and amazingly the flowers are coming into bloom.  I am so afraid that our Blackberry Winter will nip all these flowers. Blackberry Winter is what we locals call a cold snap, and often a freeze, right when the blackberry bushes begin blooming – usually early April. Recently, I went to the Biltmore House, and showed some of the wonderful costumes in their Designed for Drama exhibit. While we were there, we did some walking around the gardens. Normally there would not be anything blooming in February, but due to the early warmth, lots of flowers are coming out too soon. All around are Bradford Pear trees and Golden Forsythia starting to put on a show. The cherry trees are starting to bloom with their delicate pink blossoms.

Biltmore Gardens Winter at From My Carolina Home

Little clumps of daffodils are popping up here and there.

Biltmore Gardens Winter at From My Carolina Home

Believe it or not, these are azaleas! They shouldn’t be in bloom for two more months.

Biltmore Gardens Winter at From My Carolina Home

This beauty is a variety of crocus dwarf iris?  There were several beds of these guys around Antler Village at the Biltmore Estate.

Biltmore Gardens Winter at From My Carolina Home

One thing I appreciate about winter is the architecture of the bare limbs of plants and trees. This gorgeous thing is a giant wisteria vine along an arbor leading into the Biltmore Gardens, likely close to 100 years old. It covers this arbor, and is stunning in spring.

Biltmore Gardens Winter at From My Carolina Home

This is a Japanese cutleaf maple, wonderful twisted trunk and branches, almost resembles a giant bonsai. In spring, this will be covered in red leaves.  There is such grace in this form.

Biltmore Gardens Winter at From My Carolina Home

Just down the path from the arbor is this spray of white flowers covering several bushes. I didn’t get the marker for what they are.  But I know they shouldn’t be blooming yet.

Biltmore Gardens Winter at From My Carolina Home

Back at home, the seedling are starting to put up small leaves. I need to replant some of them a bit deeper.

March Garden at From My Carolina Home

The best part of February was the progress on the amaryllis. The bud came out in mid-February, with 2 blooms. Previously the flower spike had four, so I need to repot it this year. It must need more nutrients than I can give it with just fertilizer, and needs new soil. Excruciatingly slow, it took four days to get partially open.

Amaryllis Bulb Year 4 at From My Carolina Home

Then one flower opened fully, beautiful dark red. The other followed a few days later.

Amaryllis Bulb Year 4 at From My Carolina Home

Both flowers fully opened, just lovely. I moved it out of the kitchen over to the pub table to protect it from damage.

Amaryllis Bulb Year 4 at From My Carolina Home

The bad news was there was going to be a major thunderstorm with possible hail on Wednesday night, then below freezing temperatures for three nights beginning Thursday night.  As I raced home from BOM club and errands on Wednesday trying to beat the rain, I found this when I got home.

Hyacinths 2

The hyacinth bulb I planted last year has come up and begun blooming. I knew the freeze would kill it, do I dug it up and put it in a pot in the Carolina room out back.  Then, looking at the flower beds truly for the first time in a few weeks, I was not pleased to see all this growth, in every bed! All three iris beds, the tulips, and the gladiolas are all coming up!


I needed to get them all covered before the rain hit, just in case there was hail. Plus, they need to be protected from the mid-20s overnight temperatures we will have for three nights. Racing against the oncoming storm, I managed to get them all covered with sheets or fabric, weighed down with lattice bits, extra pots and gutter remnants. The forecast for Saturday night is 24 degrees, a hard freeze.

Covered bulbs

As I went to the veranda for extra pots to use, I found the jump-ups were already in full swing, and blooming! So I picked up that pot and put it in the Carolina room too.

Jump ups on veranda

As I worked, I also saw that the bargain snapdragons that I got for less than a dollar made it through the winter and are growing.  They have doubled in size from the original plantings. They got covered too.


The planter box was covered as well with a piece of lattice and a drop cloth. I just hope that there isn’t a lot of wind, and that the covers all stay in place for the next couple of days.  There are daylilies and irises here.

Iris bed raised

I’ll have more gardening chores to do this month.  Transplanting the seedlings to set them lower in the dirt (which encourages stronger root growth according to my gardening book)  and thinning them out will best be done between the 5th and the 12th when the moon is waxing.  A PBS show on NC gardening has given me a couple of good ideas for new plants for the garden this year, so I will try to find these in my local garden centers – variegated weigela and red salvia.   I need to order my torenias too, the garden center grows them, and sets aside a flat for me each year.  Still keeping in mind that the last frost date for here is April 15, planting outside will have to wait in spite of this warm beginning.  I just hope that the freezing temperatures overnight and over the weekend don’t damage the local apple crop, or my bulbs.

Are you doing any garden chores or planning?  Or are you enjoying the last of summer in the southern hemisphere?



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Mid-April in the Garden

Yesterday was a very busy day for me with a meeting in the morning, and a bunch of errands to do including picking up my torenias from the garden center, checking out the humane society thrift store, and hitting Pier One’s sale.  Of course, while I was there, I had to get a few more plants, but I stopped short of buying enough for all the pots on the veranda in one trip.  For those of you who are local, these lovelies came from Raymonds Garden Center on Kanuga, a fantastic garden center with wonderful helpful people.  They even went to the greenhouse to bring out the torenias for me, and then made a second trip for the lobelias I wanted.  They hadn’t even put those out yet because our last freeze date was yesterday.  The weather looks good from here on, and I think I am safe doing the pots now. So, the trunk was full when I got home.

Trunkful of flowers

Unloading the trunk, I set the plants in the pots I thought I might use for each one. They may or may not end up where they are now.  Should I put the pink geranium with the yellow or the blue?  The little white pot in the middle there is a thrift store find, really cute with blue and yellow painted flowers on it.  It would look great with the blue lobelia.

plants on the veranda

Aren’t these yellow colors nice? The striped one is a Super Belle, next to a white geranium. The yellow on the left is a lantana.  The little white flowers in the middle are begonias.

yellow super belles and white geranium

These are members of the verbena family, and I usually associate them with a blue or purple color. These are the first yellow ones I have found, and it is such a pretty clear yellow.

Yellow lantana

I love the intense pink on this geranium, and the lobelias always have such a bright blue color.

Pink Geranium with blue lobelia

Needless to say, I have a lot of work to do in the garden. Arriving home later in the day than I wanted, I had to get busy weeding the front flower bed before they took over completely. This had to be done before I can plant the veggies I got last weekend. There are two tomatoes, a yellow squash and zucchini so far.


So, after an hour or so of prepping the front bed, I was done for the day. Planting will have to wait until the weekend. But at least the bed is ready, and weed free.  I really want to get at least three larger perennial plants for this bed this year.  I am thinking an evening primrose, and maybe something else tall with pretty flowers.  I wonder if a Carolina Jessamine vine would grow here, weaving in and out of the slats on the railing might be really interesting.  Maybe a clematis.  Or both!  A lovely variegated purple clematis would look wonderful with the yellow jessamine.

front flower bed weeded

The rosemary came back, and it should get a lot bigger this year. I think the sage gave up.  I am going to put some flowers in the clay pots in the bed, again to add a bit of height and more interest to the flower bed.

Rosemary with pot

On the other side of the sidewalk, the ajugas are still tempting to the bumble bees.

April bumble bee

The tulips are still blooming too. Amazing that they lasted so long. A few got bitten by the frost, but most are still here.

Tulips with darker tulips

Next to the tulips, Iris bed #1 is looking good with lots of leaves, but no buds yet here.  I am happy that they all look strong and healthy after being divided last summer. The small green plant on the lower left is a lily. It bloomed last year later in the spring, and I hope it will again.

Iris bed #1

The freeze last weekend really had me concerned about the buds on the mystery bulbs. So, I put the tomato cages in the box and put plastic over the top for the two nights it dipped into the 20s.

Freeze cover 2

Yesterday they seemed to be doing OK, and Marsha may be right after all. The buds are starting to look like iris.

mystery bulbs after the freeze

Iris bed #2 is looking good, no buds yet though.  Again, nice healthy looking plants, all from dividing the tubers from Iris bed #1.

Iris bed #2 with hydrangea

Behind the iris bed, on the lower level, the hydrangea is showing signs of freeze damage. This likely means that for the third year in a row I won’t have any flowers.

hydrangea damage

Out front, the hostas are coming up well, and the azaleas are just coming into bloom. The white one on the right has freeze damage. I’ll take you on an azalea walk next week when they really come into bloom.


So, back to the veranda, yellow torenias will go in the same rectangular pot as last year, sitting on two clay pots for a bit of height to allow them to cascade down as they grow. It is more interesting too, to have different levels for the pots. I have the white geranium in the plant stand along with one of the lobelias. I’ll have to see if I like that after a day or so.

arranging the flowers

Out in the forest, one of the dogwoods is coming into bloom.

April dogwood

Inside, one more surprise. The amaryllis finished its blooming about a week ago, and the leaves turned yellow. When I went to cut the spent leaves off, I found this – two more leaves are just coming up!

Amaryllis new leaves April

What does that mean? Is it just putting up leaves to soak up the sun and build up stored food to make more flowers next year? Will it bloom again this year? We will just have to wait and see.  I set my seedlings out to harden off in their bakery boxes, and will plant those soon too.

How is your garden? What is blooming around you now?


March In The Garden

A warm spell made it possible to get out and do some clean up in the garden for the last two weekends.  It is still too soon to plant any annuals as our last frost date is mid-April. I did call the garden center and reserve my usual flat of torenias, and I’ll pick them up in April.  I got the brick planter cleaned out, and it looks a lot better. There are daylily bulbs on each end, and I cannot remember what is in the middle. Tulips or gladiolas are most likely, but I just don’t know.  It will be fun to watch them and see what I planted. I cleaned out most of the front flower bed too, while DH worked on the hosta bed. Get ready for a picture heavy post.

planter box cleaned

The tulips are coming up, and two little purple hyacinths struggled to produce a couple of sweet blooms.

In the Garden March 2016 From MyCarolina Home

The redbud is coming into bloom, and is just lovely.

March 2016 in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

The sun brought out the lovely pink shades.  There are bees all over them, and that is a good thing.  These are the really large, gentle bees that don’t pay any attention to me.

Redbud March 26 close

The cherry blossoms started out with pinkish buds, then opened up to pure white.

Cherry 1

On the mountainside out back, the violas cover the ground with purple flowers.

Viola mountainside March 2016

Here’s a closer look.  There are hundreds of them!

Violas March 2016

The rhododendron is putting up some lovely buds, and I hope they bloom after the danger of freeze is over.

Rhododendron buds March 2016

The cardinal pair stopped by the feeder recently too.  Have you ever seen a male cardinal feed the female? It is so sweet.

Cardinals March 2016 2

After they left, the goldfinches came in full flock!  There were at least a dozen, taking turns on the feeder.  I managed to get four at once.

Goldfinches March 2016 1

Inside are the most wonderful flowers of all, white roses. DH knows these are my favorite flower, delicate and sweet. He brought me a dozen of them just because he saw them and knew I’d love them.

Roses 3

He is definitely a keeper.

Roses 5

Close up of one, there is a blush of pink in the center. Just lovely and the whole kitchen has a sweet fragrance.

Roses 4

The white hyacinth peaked last week and has now faded.

In the Garden March 2016 From MyCarolina Home

And the amaryllis finally bloomed! Only two blooms on one flower spike this year, but I am still thrilled that it did bloom for the third year.

Amaryllis 2016 ~ From My Carolina Home

Gorgeous isn’t it!!

Amaryllis 2016 ~ From My Carolina Home

Velvety red flowers, huge blooms. I know that my MIL never thought she was giving me a gift that would continue blooming yearly for three years.  It surprises me too!  Can there possibly be a fourth year?

Amaryllis 2016 ~ From My Carolina Home

I’ll have to give it some flower food and see.

Amaryllis 2016 ~ From My Carolina Home

Back out front, the tulips came into bloom on Saturday, lovely!

March 2016 in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

These ajuga reptans, also called blue bugle flowers, are all over the grass next to the front sidewalk.  It is a wild ground covering plant like the violas.  I’d like to get rid of the dandelions, but if I do, it might kill these pretty flowers.

March 2016 in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

If you get the posts by email, stop by the blog and see the new header with the redbud and the mountains. I’ve also added some pages at the top to help readers find projects and tutorials.

Anything in bloom around your house?


Blue Ridge Drive

DH and I will be leading a drive for the car club in a couple of weeks, so we needed to drive the route ahead of time to be sure it is still a good route.  Roads have a way of closing when you aren’t prepared from winter rock slides.  So, we got on the Blue Ridge Parkway and headed north towards the Black Mountains.  I think there is beauty in the architecture of the bare tree limbs, especially with a clear blue sky behind.

Black Mountains snow 4

My new camera takes great shots on the move. In the distance, you can see a part of the Black Mountain range covered with snow at the top. Can you see the white in the picture below? That is snow, not clouds.

Black Mountains snow 3

Along the parkway, snow is still clinging to the ground.

Black Mountains snow 9

We turned off the parkway before we could get closer, but I managed one last photo of the distant mountain snow.

Black Mountains snow 2

Arriving home, the garden is starting to emerge. The irises are starting to poke up in their new bed.

Iris Feb 2016 - 1

The tulips are starting to come up too.

Tulips Feb 2016 - 2

A surprise in the hosta bed, my little clump of crocus have come up.  They’ll open up in a day or two.

Crocus March 2016

One little squash plant remains in my seed starting pots. The others withered and I don’t know why.

Garden Feb 21 - 3

The herbs are doing good though!

Garden Feb 21 - 2

Garden Feb 21 - 1

The amaryllis is almost two feet tall! It is going to bloom for the third year, and I am thrilled. This was the plant a week ago.

Amaryllis Feb 20 - 2

Now the flower bud is beginning to open.

Amaryllis 2-27-16

I adore white flowers, and I couldn’t resist this hyacinth. Of course, the bulb vase was a nice extra.

Hyacinth 1

My farmer’s almanac says that March is a good time to plant root crops and leafy vegetables on the 23-27th.  Maybe I’ll try to grow some more lettuce this year, and perhaps some carrots.  I just hope the bears stay out of them.

What are you planning for your garden this year?


January Garden 2016

There are only a few things to do in the garden this month. I did want to get some peat pots to go inside my clam shell boxes. I used these last year, but the transplant shock was too much. So, I found some little peat pots to go inside. I’ll plant some seeds in those, and let them get much bigger before I try to put them in the garden outside. The Farmer’s Almanac says the 17th and 18th are good days for planting above-ground crops.

January Garden 2016 | From My Carolina Home

The amaryllis is coming up again for the third year! The bulb is becoming exposed so I need to fix that. I took it outside with the peat pots to the potting bench.

January Garden 2016 | From My Carolina Home

A little potting soil and it is now protected.

January Garden 2016 | From My Carolina Home

The violets were in need of attention as well.

January Garden 2016 | From My Carolina Home

The stem will put out roots if it is covered. I have let these go a bit too long. The exposed part is where leaves have come off.

January Garden 2016 | From My Carolina Home

There was room in the pot to simply add some dirt and press the stem down a bit to stabilize the plant.

January Garden 2016 | From My Carolina Home

I did the same with the other one.

January Garden 2016 | From My Carolina Home

I bought 2 packs of 12 little peat pots, and 8 will fill a clam shell plastic container. With the lids on, they will become little greenhouses.

January Garden 2016 | From My Carolina Home

The potting mix is outside on the potting bench, so I filled the peat pots up and arranged them in the containers so I could take them inside. The soil can get warmer in the house for the seeds.

January Garden 2016 | From My Carolina Home

The seeds are out at the hardware store, so I am all set for planting this weekend.


Just a few little chores for now. Now, back to looking at gardening books and planning for this year’s flowers.

January Garden 2016 | From My Carolina Home

Are you doing any gardening chores, or garden planning now?


October Garden and more visitors

The leaves are still lagging behind in color, but a few places are starting to show the promise of a glorious autumn. This single tree, a maple, behind our house has turned completely red, while the others around it are just biding their time still green.

Autumn 2015 maple

Out front, the redbud tree is starting a golden changeover.

Redbud Autumn 2015

I learned that woodchucks and ground hogs are the same thing, when this little guy paid us a visit.

Woodchuck 1

He stayed quite a while, picking up acorns, then sitting up on his haunches to eat them.  I wonder if he will see his shadow in February?

Woodchuck 3

Wild turkeys came to the meadow to forage for more of the acorns and other delicacies in the grass.  The deer have been here again too, and the foxes are still nearby.  In the forest behind the meadow, the dogwood has changed to a muted burgundy.

Turkeys Oct 2015 - 2

I saw these leaves in the grass, thought they would make an interesting photograph.

Leaves 2

On the veranda, the mum is getting bigger and the flowers more full. Those begonias continue to ignore the cool nights, or maybe that is the way they like it. I have more of those yellow flowers now than I did all summer.

Pumpkin Flowers3

I received my soil report this morning, and it is very interesting. While last year the pH of the soil was perfect at 6.6, this year it recommends that I add some lime as the pH has fallen to 6.1. It also says that my phosphorus and potassium are low. This could explain why I got flowers but no fruit. So, before it gets too cold, I’ll add some lime and a slow release fertilizer to work on assimilating into the soil over the winter. We’ll see what happens!

Inside I have another project, getting my amaryllis to bloom for the third year in a row.

Amaryllis Autumn 2015 1

I brought it inside, and cut off the stems.

Amaryllis Autumn 2015 3

Since I don’t have the required 50 degree spot to keep it, I wrapped it up and put it in the refrigerator.  Later when it gets a bit cooler, I can move it to the garage for the required amount of time.

Amaryllis Autumn 2015 4

The websites mostly say that amaryllis needs six weeks of rest before bringing it out again to bloom, which will put that to mid-November, then 10-12 weeks for the blooms to appear.  I was hoping I could have it for Christmas, but it looks like it will be Valentine’s day instead.  I should have started sooner. We’ll see what happens!

What is your garden doing now?