Quotes – The Heart of Christmas

“The very purpose of Christ’s coming into the world was that He might offer up His life as a sacrifice for the sins of men. He came to die. This is the heart of Christmas.”

                                                      ~ Billy Graham

“Love came down at Christmas, Love all lovely, Love Divine; Love was born at Christmas; Star and angels gave the sign.”

                                                      ~ Christina Rosetti

“It is Christmas every time you let God love others through you…yes, it is Christmas every time you smile at your brother and offer him your hand.”

                                                    ~ Mother Teresa

The red poinsettias in this post are part of Cee’s Flower of the Day

Plants – Bargains in the Clearance Aisle

Christmas Red Tulips/Longwood Gardens Conservatory-Friday Foto Friends

What is that oddball bag lying beside my carrots in the vegetable bin of my refrigerator?

What looks like small onions or shallots is really a bag of Spring-Flowering bulbs, leftovers from my Autumn plantings.

While you’re looking for Christmas trees and poinsettias in big box stores or garden nurseries, take a moment to check if there are any leftover Autumn bulbs on clearance. Often a business will slash prices of out of season plants to the point of almost giving them away. I mimic frosty cold by storing unplanted bulbs as the Gardening-Know-How site suggests:

The highest chilling temperature is around 40 degrees F. (4 C.), so chilling bulbs in the refrigerator is ideal. Just be sure not to store them near any fruit, as the released ethylene gas reduces bloom. Store the bulbs in the refrigerator in a ventilated mesh bag.
~ Gardening Know How/How to Chill Flowering Bulbs

The article has many fine tips on how to select, chill and plant the bulbs in Spring. I have about three months to come up with good ideas for forcing these beauties. The bright flowers and colors will certainly be an antidote for the doleful greys of late-winter skies.

The glorious red tulips are part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Goodbye November!

Phlowers – Silken Petals

Autumn Rose Scepter
Pure silk bloom of royalty
Reigning o’er chill Fall

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?
                                                              ~ Matthew 6:28-30

This rose isn’t waiting for dormancy, but is blooming still. When I pick a flower, whatever the season, I have contact with the Creator of heaven and earth. Does this bring the 2018 growing season a sense of closure or will I still dream of rosebuds in December?

Today’s beautiful blossom is part of Cee’s Flower of the Day Blog Post.

Plants – Mexican Bush Sage

An easy-to-grow, drought-tolerant plant also known as velvet sage, Mexican bush sage (Salvia leucantha) produces showy, bright purple and white flowers above attractive, grayish-green foliage from late summer to the first frost. Gardeners in frost-free climates often enjoy blooms throughout the winter. Perennial in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 through 11, Mexican sage is a shrubby, sprawling plant that reaches 3 to 4 feet tall. Plant Mexican bush sage in the garden after all danger of frost has passed in early spring

                                                                     ~ The Bump

This beautiful velvety purple flower is blooming in my garden now and part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Phlowers – Dahlia Show

Longwood Gardens and The Greater Philadelphia Dahlia Society hosted The American Dahlia Society’s 2018 National Show this past weekend. I was able to attend and admire the many varieties. My husband and I are inspired to grow a few named varieties of dahlias in next year’s garden. We both had our favorites. I loved the large dinner plate dahlias. My favorite was the pink and yellow bloom.  These dahlias are part of Cee’s Flower of the Day. 

My husband likes the simpler daisy-like blossom. I’m sure there is room for both our favorites in our 2019 gardens. It will be fun to research and plan ahead throughout the winter months. 

I love this view of the display. The spectators blend right into the blooms and seem to be part of the beautiful indoor garden. 

Dahlia love: A garden of dahlias and admirers. 

Longwood Gardens has a very informative article on growing dahlias: Growing Dahlias at Home

There are several sources for dahlia tubers in the US, I’ve included a sampling:

Swan Islands Dahlias 

Corralito’s Gardens

Another good source for dahlia information can be found at the Dahlia Addict site.

Phlowers – Wildflower Walk

“May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day.” ~ Native American Proverb

Jewelweed – Autumn Wildflower

I haven’t taken part in a WetCanvas Plant Parade Challenge for quite a while. For the month of September, the host has chosen wildflowers. I thought it a great opportunity to grab my camera and take a walk to look for Autumn wildflowers. The jewelweed, in the photo above, might seem fragile, but the plant has some mighty powers; jewelweed is a natural remedy for poison ivy.

“If you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for a moment.” ~ Georgia O’Keefe

Other wildflowers I found were goldenrod, autumn clematis, late-season honeysuckle, and evening primrose.

My wildflower walk is part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Phlowers & Photograph – Rose of Sharon

My Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) photograph is part of Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge.

Today is an overcast day in southern New Jersey…again. We’ve had a very wet summer and it looks like the upcoming Autumn season might bring the same. When I take a walk a little later in the morning, I will be sure and grab my camera to take along. I have found grey days create an amazing background for skyline photographs. The moisture in the air forms a screen of sorts, and shadows magically appear within the mistiness surrounding the plant. You can see this effect in the unretouched photo above.

A few years ago a generous friend sent me seeds from her Rose of Sharon bush. This sweet little tree is the result. I grew it in the house for quite a while, and then, when I felt it was hardy enough, planted it outdoors. It has thrived this summer and grown to about three feet tall. Plants given to me by friends always bring me great joy.

The leaves of the Rose of Sharon are glossy and green and don’t appear to be tempting to many garden pests. Hooray. Thanks again to the kind lady who sent me these seeds. You can find excellent growing and pruning tips for Rose of Sharon at The Spruce.

These photographs are part of Skywatch Friday. Thanks for stopping by today.

Phlower – Hibiscus/Unlikely Sources

Several of my favorite plants have been found in the unlikeliest places. I discovered this beautiful hibiscus for sale in a local deli. It wasn’t blooming when I bought it; I assumed it would have the appearance of a typical garden shop hibiscus. What a surprise awaited me when the multi-hued double petals opened for the first time. In the Autumn, I will bring the plant indoors and try to keep it alive and blooming for years. At some point I know I will have to capture this flower in watercolor.

This beautiful bloom is part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.