Behind the Scenes of a Plantation

Farms, ranches, and plantations require equipment for planting, harvesting, and storing crops.  Some of those items can still be seen at Rosedown Plantation in St. Francesville, LA.

Guests are free to wander around the property.  Around the house, there are plants and fountains.

it’s difficult to know which things have been restored.  This brick doesn’t look old enough to be original.

Further away are the formal gardens.

Then, there are old buildings used to store equipment and vehicles.

Could not find any signs to explain the purpose of the different items.

A purple Salvia and maybe a butterfly bush.

An area of clover makes a soft pathway.

The kitchen building is quite a distance from the main house.  This served two purposes:  eliminate the fire danger to large main house and to avoid heating up the house in the long hot, humid summers.

A brillant red Celosia.  I wonder how well it reseeds.

Surely, the metal grate around the bottom of the house is new.  This allows for airflow under the pier and beam building, but also keeps out wild critters.

The kitchen house would also have been used to store food stuffs.

Beautiful pots of Spider Lilies on porch.

Ta da – the kitchen.  This large cooking fireplace explains why the kitchen is away from the house – fire risk and lots of heat.

Some beauty before a goodbye to the plantation.  Love, love Gomphrenas.

This is the last post about St. Francisville.  Hope you love history as much as I do.

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”  Maya Angelou

Last Look at Botanical Garden of the Ozarks

If you visit gardens when you travel, new plants, new gardening designs, and new treats accumulate up in your mind and enrich your life.

Speaking of new plants, this one with trailing stems and tiny flowers intrigued me.

In the center of a small butterfly house sits this child enjoying the delight of those amazing creatures.  The plants and butterflies were sparse, so I don’t know if this structure is new or being renovated.

Another unknown plant – the spiky flowers made me wonder if it’s in the celosia family.

Dragon’s Breath Celosia with its strong red color in the leaves and tall brilliant red plumes demands attention in any garden.  In areas colder that zones 10 and 1I, it’s an annual.

This celosia requires full sun and some regular moisture.  It will become a tall plant with a commanding presence.  Plus, it reseeds easily.

This may inspire children to do a somersault.  Or maybe, some younger, limber adults.

I’m a recent convert to using grasses in the landscape.  Their movement and rustle in the wind soothes the soul.  Think this is Maiden Grass.  Gorgeous.

Ahh – sweet

I want some of these wooden trellis obelisks.  Who wouldn’t?

The flowers look like Netleaf Leather Clematis but I’m not sure.

Gardens provide a perfect vacation activity.  Some people may question this statement, but I’m guessing, that if you’re reading this, you will agree wholeheartedly.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog.  Blessings to you for this special holiday time of the year.

“Life’s tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.”  Ben Franklin

Relaxing Garden

It was a quiet morning at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks.  We almost had the garden to ourselves.

Clever set of benches built into a pergola type cover that leads into the central part of the garden.

To me, the bronze statues of children was as strong an attraction as the shrubs and flowers.  Early October was still warm enough for Begonias and other flowering plants.

Angel Wing Begonias, named for the shape of their leaves, is a hardy hybrid.  Seeds from the annual Flamingo Celosia (Celosia spicata) must be saved in order to propagate it.  Mine never looked this bright and healthy.

Same group of plants with some Lantana added.   This one looks like Lil Miss Lantana, but it could be another hybrid.

Many garden designers suggest that it’s best to stick to the same plants throughout the garden.  I don’t personally agree, but the bright colors were nice.  I like to see plants that surprise me.

This new display is a little difficult to comprehend.  This is a giant butterfly.  The wings will probably be planted with colorful flowers in the spring.  The standing metal part in the center is the actual body of the butterfly.  Looks like it’s intended to be viewed from above.

Nice calming stream.

If this is man-made, lots of boulders had to brought in.

It’s hard not to feel the joy of a child experiencing this garden.  Sure made me smile.

The only other people we encountered in the gardens were mothers with young children and babies in strollers.  What a perfect way to expose your children to nature.

Loved the form of this Japanese Thundercloud Pine (Pinus thunbergii ‘Thunderhead’).  It’s obvious to see how it got its name.

The only indications that it was Autumn were the cool morning and the Ornamental Cabbages and dried grasses.

Next post will be the last one on the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks.

“May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.”  Peter Marshall

Botanical Garden at Fayetteville

In October we visited The Botanical Garden of the Ozarks located in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  Their website states that it is 44 acres in size.  But only 4 acres are in cultivation.  So, by large city botanical gardens standards, it’s small.  Therefore, less time is needed to stroll through it.

Near the entrance on one side were small garden plots planted and maintained by garden clubs and individuals.  This one has three different colors of Gomphrena – purple, lavender, and white.  Not sure what the orange/yellow flowers are.

These plots were not quite as manicured as the main gardens.  Keep promising myself that I’m going to get some Cosmos seeds.  Maybe this spring.

Cosmos is an annual that has tall stems and reseeds well.

Label titles this Garden King and notes that it’s constructed from found metals.

Hyacinth Bean Vine is an annual, so seeds must be saved.  Another wish plant for me.  This tends to be a pass-a-long plant, meaning that friends share seeds.

Like the lime green Stone Crop ground cover.

The path to the right bisects the main gardens.  Another paved pathway forms a circle around this garden area.  Around the perimeter of the entire cultivated area, a dirt path forms the outer edges of the garden.

Neon bright Gomphrena creates a bold entrance to the main garden.

Interesting combination of Coleus and Cockscomb (Celosia cristata).  Both are annuals.  Coleus can be overwintered inside.  It will become straggly, so in spring, cut the stems and root in water for fresh plants.  Seeds from Cockscomb can be harvested.

I thought this was a Candlabra bush, but the leaves aren’t like others that I’ve seen.

My favorite park of the gardens were all the bronze statues of children at play.

The next post will feature more of these statues.

“Gardens and flowers have a way of bringing people together, drawing them from their homes.” Clare Ansberry, 

Hard Work U.

College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri, is unique in that students do not pay tuition.  Instead, they each work 15 hours a week at a specific job on campus.  If they need help paying room and board, they can work during the summer months to earn that.

The campus is stunning and all the students we met were outgoing and polite.  The building behind this pond is the cafeteria.  One of the campus jobs is cooking the meals.  I don’t know how much supervision is involved, but at other places we saw, mostly students doing the work and running the place.

There is a large museum featuring Ozark crafts, dishes, furniture, etc.  The vehicle shown is from the Beverly Hillbillies show.  Students were selling tickets and walking around answering questions.

Some years ago, a major news channel did a show about the university and gave it the nickname Hard Work University.  It stuck and has been proudly adopted by the college.

This large bed has banana trees (I think that’s what they are), Elephant Ears, salvias, and other hardy plants.

This is a Tropical Milkweed (Asclepias Curassavica).  Actually, there is a controversy brewing about this plant right now.  It is obviously not native and could have a fungus growing on it that is harmful to the Monarch Butterfly.  Since this is the only plant where Monarchs lay their eggs and is the only food source for their caterpillars, there is concern about this.  Research is continuing, and the opposing opinions are strong.

Another job for students is running the grist mill and the store that sells cornmeal.

In other buildings they make stained glass, jams and jellies, and fruitcakes.  All these employ students to cover their tuition.  At the entrance to the campus, visitors check in, where a student gives them information about the school and how it all works.

One of the amazing things to us was how many visitors this campus draws.  So there are plenty of customers for their products.

Wondered what kind of pine this is.  Very stately.

Something for other private schools to consider.

Students in the Horticulture department were having a plant sale, featuring Crysanthemums, Celosias, what looks like Cattail pond plants, and whatever the tall tropical plants with the big leaves are.  Some of the greenhouses were open.  In one, they were selling succulents.  I asked one student if her major was horticulture.  She said no, but she grew up on a farm, loved plants, and wanted to work in the greenhouses.  So I guess students get some choices about their jobs.

What a truly pleasant place to spend a day.

“Chop your own wood and it will warm you twice.”  Henry Ford

Unrelenting Heat

It’s still hot.  It’s still dry.  It’s still hot.  It’s still dry.  The summer merry-go-round keeps circling around and around.

So how could any plant survive this?

First of all, the plants in the yard have received more watering than usual.

Some plants actually live and bloom better in the heat, like this Sweet Autumn Clematis (Clematis paniculata).  The foliage is green most of the year.  But it’s flowering performance with its strong sweet smell comes in the hottest part of summer – mid August into September.

One warning:  prune it back to the ground by the beginning of spring, or it will be so heavy, it will tumble down and bring the trellis with it.  The optimum time is early winter.

The flowers disappeared from Globe Mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) when the heat cranked up, but the foliage is pretty and unique all by itself.  The ruffled leaves are soft to the touch.

This lovely plant is new to me this year.  Although I can’t find the tag, I think it is Rose Globe Amaranth (Gomphrena Globosa).  The leaves are wider than other gomphrenas, and it grows in a rounded mound.

Strawberry Field Gomphrena (Gomphrena haageana) are individual plants with a bright red ball at the top of each stem.  They reseed so freely that just a few can guarantee many flowers for years to come.

Another successful bush for this heat is Desert Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia gilliesii).

Bees and other pollinators flock to it.

Caryopteris or Bluemist shrub (Cayopteris x clandonensis) shines in the heat.  The main concern is more about its cold hardiness.  But it has survived some low temperatures.

Celosia is a large plant family that includes several annuals, such Cockscomb.  This one is Flamingo Feather (Celosia spicata).  All celosias do well in the heat.  The trick is to save their seeds.  I’m hoping to do that with this plant.

A favorite in Texas is Pride of Barbados (Caesalpinia pulcherrima).  There’s no question that it’s a stunner.  But the problem is that it isn’t cold hardy here.  So it has to be brought inside for the winter.  That’s possible for a few years before it gets too large.
So I’ll just enjoy it for now.

Blue Potato Bush (Lycianthes rantonnetii) is listed as cold hardy for here in Zone 8.  But I have lost one already, so for right now it is carried to a protected area each winter.

A plant that should not be grown here is Firebush (Hamelia patens).  I resisted getting one as long as I could.   It does very well two zones warmer than here.  For now, it’s in a pot.

Sometimes, I think my love of plants is madness.

Of course, the very best plants for any region are the native ones.  If they grow in a field with no supplemental water, that is a dead give away that they’re perfect for the area.  Snow on the Mountain (Euphorbia marginata) forms large colonies in the dry fields.

Sometimes a few will come up in the yard, so I let them grow.  Obviously, this Swallowtail butterfly appreciates it.

 “To find some who will love you for no reason, and to shower that person with reasons, this is the ultimate happiness.”  Robert Brault 

Rose Symposium

Every autumn the Antique Rose Emporium in Independence, Texas, provides two days of free informational sessions.  The speakers are specialists in their fields.

The Rose Emporium is certainly about roses, mostly heritage roses.  But there’s so much more there.

We arrived early to wander around and get pictures without people cluttering the landscape.  Arches define many of the walkways.

The gazebo is surrounded by roses and other flowers.

This might be a Gray Golden Aster.

Lovely fern design.  It looks great but isn’t very comfortable.

Surprised to see a lily still blooming.

Love this Celosia.  There are lots of different varieties.  I’ve been told that they reseed but haven’t had success with that.  Guess I’ll have to buy one every year.

This nursery has lots of garden art, some of it for sale.

Texas Sage ‘Heavenly Cloud’ is a hybrid between L. frutescens ‘Green Cloud’ and L. laevigatum.  It was developed at A & M and grows well in different types of soil.

Think this is a soldier butterfly.  On this nice, cool, sunny day, butterflies were feeding on lots of different kind of flowers.

“As you walk down the fairway of life, you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round.”  Ben Hogan