My Gardens

photo by Suzanne * May 20, 2011

Please pop over to my Garden Blog if you like...the link below

* May 8, 2011 * Easter Sunday *

More Dianthus and 'Dusty Miller' photo by Suzanne in Spring 2004

I found a good combination for color and brightness to be 'Dinathus' surrounded by the silvery 'Dusty Miller'.  I took this photo at night and was pleasantly surprised at the outcome.  It appears to be illuminated by the 'Dusty Miller'.  If you look closely a little to the right, you will see a frog face poking out of the 'Dusty Miller', and to the extreme right is red 'Dianthus', which is not as showy as the fuschia and white.  But if you can get the red to cluster heavily and border it with lighter colors (like yellow), you can get it to show up.  And, of course, my backdrop is 'Iris' in yellow and blue.  At least when the 'Iris' blooms disappear, the foliage makes a good background for most other bedding plants. 

Now, remember, 'Dianthus' is kin (I mean relative) to the ever lovely 'Carnation', as is the 'Sweet William'.  The "Sweet William' has somewhat taller stems than 'Dianthus', and I have not seen it in a variegated state as the 'Dianthus'.  I have had 'Sweet William' in lilac-purple, and pastel pinks.  It is a beautiful plant.  Since I have problems raising 'Carnations', which are a most aromic and lovely flower, I do the next best and stick with 'Dianthus', the most hardy of the two, and also fragrant.

As for the 'Dusty Miller' is a most hardy plant in my area, and does come back for at least three years, whether you want it to or not.  AND, you can pop of a top and root it to propagate.  It gets ugly when a stem comes up with sticky-yellow looking blooms.  I don't know what to do then.  I try to break them off without damaging the plant.  But it is a wonderful contrast to purple petunias, red begonias, and other dark colored bedding plants...and they are usually cheap!  Just be careful-'Dusty Miller' can get big, although it is not invasive.  You just don't want it to overpower your smaller bedding plants.

* May 6, 2011

Althea "Zebrina"
A few years ago we came across a plant called Althea 'Zebrina' and Karo thought we should try them out.  At a previous home of his, Karo had some Althea trees, much like the "Rose of Sharon", and, or "Crepe Myrtle".  But these were small plants, so we bought two of them.  One died pretty quickly...the other-POW!!!  It took off and a couple of years later it's ALL OVER our yard.  It goes to seed everywhere!!!  We almost never got rid of it...every year more would sprout itself strategically all over the yard.  Well, we finally got rid of it-but, guess where it went?  Why, yes!!!  Next door!!! Our neighbor is now the proud owner of Althea 'Zebrina'! 

The blooms are lovely!
It traveled all the way up the fence-I had to tie it off!
photos taken by Suzanne in April and May 2007

* Easter Sunday * April 24, 2011

Little English Garden * Spring 2000
I'm not real sure just exactly what an "English Garden is", but this little garden is my perception of what my 'mind's eye' would see as an "English Garden".  The statuary is a peasant girl, actually, a water feature.  But I have never hooked her up to water.  She is carrying two baskets that I planted "sweet allysum" in, and, as you can see, the allysum is planted within the bed around my peasant girl with bright colored "Petunias".  Directly behind her baskets looms a "Kale" plant that got rather large, but was attractive to me.  The small bordering blooms are yellow "purslane".  Of course, in the corner my "elephant ears" are coming up, and that's "mexican petunia" up against the house that grows wild-you can't get rid of that stuff!  I also have "iris" in white and blue, although no longer in bloom after early spring.  And, too, there are some red "canna" plants.  Up on the house is a terra cotta pot filed with "petunias".  I love "petunias"...they are so bright and refreshing.  There are also a couple of tiny "gnomes" standing behind the "purslane".   I constructed a brick walk to separate the larger plants from the "peasant girl's" private garden, and I re-painted them a darker brick color.  This small walk enabled me to step through and water everything without stepping on the dainty plants.  I have since moved the "peasant girl", will share her new spot at a later date.

* April 17, 2011

Oleander "White Beauty" 
The Oleander is very common in my part of the country.  I see them in at least 65% of the neighborhoods while driving all over the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.  I've also seen them while traveling thru West Texas and South Texas.  Most of them are red or pink-but "me"-I had to have a white one!  The Oleander for the most part is evergreen, but sometimes a freeze will "bite" them back and they have to be pruned, however, any branches that are still green can be left to grow new leaves.  You just have to get the dead leaves off and cut back what looks burned from the freeze.  It's not likely to get blooms from the new growth in the same season, but it has happened.  The plant is hardy and can handle lots of heat and sun (it's a good thing-Texas gets up into the 100's during the summer).  And these plants can grow to be 10' high and 4 to 5 feet wide.  We moved our white oleander a few years ago from the north side of the house, to the south side and reaped glorious results.  And just a few cuttings make the most beautiful arrangement in a vase!

These photos of our "White Oleander" were taken June 30, 2009

* April 13, 2011
Dianthus, Frogs and Knick Knacks

This little garden is at the southwest side of the yard in a shaded area.  I tried to build it up in levels since the property goes downhill from South to North. There are Iris planted on the top layer and "variegated Monkey Grass" (Liriope). I used "Dianthus" for some color and strategically placed some Knick Knacks throughout the bed.  If you look real close, to the far left, there is a small yellow ceramic snail.  These plants thrive in this spot, and return for me the next year.
Sometimes, I have to replenish the Dianthus.

* April 12, 2011

Zinnia Garden in 1950
I guess I can call this my garden-afterall, I'm standing in front of it!
My mother LOVES Zinnias and always planted them at home.
She shot this picture of me in September of 1950 when I was just a few months shy of 2 years old.

Periwinkles and Canna in the fall of 1997
See the little girl statue talking on the phone!

Mom's Pink "surprise daylillies" come back every year

When Karo and I were dating, he built this arbor in my backyard using the headboard of a twin bed for the top, and lumber for the climbing ladder. This was in the spring of 1998 and we planted some "Carolina Jasmine" at the base of each ladder.

And when we got married on September 20, 2000, I bought some pots of mums, covered them with colored tissue paper and ribbon to decorate around the arbor.  The Jasmine had by then grown to about 4 1/2 feet.  Our neighbor Lee came over and took our wedding picture.  The arbor looks like it is leaning some, but maybe Lee was leaning when she took the picture-ha-ha!  And my dress is way too short!  But, we love the picture.

My son brought this Yucca back from a trip to Arkansas in 1990-we moved it from our former house, transplanted it, and look how large it got!  I garnished it with Stella D'Oro Lillies and "Sweet Allysum".  

Can you see the terra cotta sun watching over the "Elephant Ears" that hover over more "Periwinkles" and St. Francis, as he hides amongst the canna?

Gnome Garden ~ October 2005
This was fun!  An odd-shaped bed around a tree (I don't know what kind of tree).  I can't keep "airplane plants" alive in hanging baskets, so I plant them in the ground-and they come back every year!  When they make the little parachutes, I just stick them in the ground and they grow for me, thus creating more plants.  These airplane plants adorn the small birdbath.  There are red and white "Begonias" and some kind of purple jew that was given to me in just pieces grows up and around the trunk of the tree.  Around to the right of the picture are a couple more Gnomes and more begonias. 


  1. Hi Susan, the day lillies are such a lovely pink! The arbor and mums are the perfect background to your beautiful wedding photo. Your garden is very pretty, with lots of little underplantings - they always complete a garden picture just right don't they.
    The plant you refer to as 'airplane plants' is what we, in Australia, call the 'spider plant'. I snap off the little 'spiders' and they grow so easily. I loved your name for them too - both names describe the plant so well :D)


  2. You know Susan, spider plant is a good name too! I've seen baby spiders bounce off their mama just like the parachutes off the airplane plant. And, yes, you just have to pop them off and put in dirt. Sometimes, I will put them in small pots and save indoors thru the winter to place outside in the spring. You're my first visitor to my garden page Susan. I just started it a few days ago, and plan to add to it every week. Thank you so much for your interest and comments. Have a great weekend!

  3. Hi Susan, I love the new additions since I last visited. That picture of you as a 2 year old is so cute.
    Are Dianthus the plants with a really strong spicy perfume? I seem to remember the name but never got around to putting them in the garden.
    I've a soft spot for frogs and terracotta too ;-)

  4. Hello Susan! Yes, the Dianthus has a strong scent and they are so bright. The deep red ones aren't as bright, nor as scented as the purple and white. And some of them even come back the next year.
    I was excited when my mom sent me the little picture of me and the Zinnias. Mom always planted them and they got real big! Thanks for visiting my garden page...still have more to add when I have time.

  5. Thank you Susan... Dianthus (in purple and white) are on my "to buy" list!
    I really loved learning about F R O Gs from your Mom too - thanks so much for your email. Kind regards :D)

  6. I'm so glad to see you back Susan, but I'm having some trouble responding to comments today, so we'll see if this goes. The Dianthus are fun, and you can also take plugs to raise extra. I would do that and put them in small pots in the shed-water lightly throughout the winter, then plant in the spring. I have seen them used in landscaping in front of Hotels and Restaurants, and in large pots in front of stores downtown. I hope you have good luck with them. (If you can keep the frogs out!!!) chuckle!


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