Our beautiful gardens (a break from food farming)

ornamental stuff, ( Jap maple, rare boxwood, dwarf conifers, camellias,) 8 hours a day weather permitting
Right now, I have a battle with grass and chickweeds that has been going on for weeks in one area and german moss on other area. Unfortunately, I rarely spray bec I do not like my dogs to be in contact with those herbicide as well as not being able to carry the sprayer my back( forget about laborers, useless, too expensive) Cannot use any thing on my lawn as I am only using micro clover, some annuals there.
In the next month, it wil take me 2 months to prune the korean kingsville dwarf which are use for bonsai ( I have to crawl under to prune them to look like trees. Most of them are about hundreds years old)

No gardening with food unless i have a greenhouse which is not allowed by our very strict county since i live on the buffer zone of a critical area . They monitor everything. Since th all came about in 1989, ( even if I am grandfathered in as we bought and started boiling 1979), they will allow only 15% of your property to have any structure which they used to be any impermeable surface but had since 2000 changed the definition to permeable and impermeable.
My son tried to last year grow tomatoes, broccoli , sweet and hot peppers last year. The first day, all the broccoli was a feast for the in numerous critters ( ground hog, rabbit or squirrels) that used to fast on all my bulbs. I do not mind if they are that hungry but some the critters dig up my bulbs, pile it in an area which gets my BP boiling
Short of growing in raised boxed which I do not have time now, I thought better to drive to Va every 2 weeks to get my vegetables etc. I get most of our fruits frozen for my son to make his drink. Some from Asian store when I go there

Here are pictures of two japonicum of my 40 camellias ( rare in my zone 7B) I suffered a lot because of the winds and in 2014, the extreme freeze. ( lost around 6 of them by Winter 2015. One is on the front of my courtyard as ween from my kitchen, the other is in the north garden as ween from m DRIMG_0804


May I ask the age of your camellias? I have 2 at home, they are minuscule compared to yours!! LOL

And they need a bigger pot.

Flower size is big though, for a small plant.

Glad that this Cattleya orchid is finally flourishing. Once a few years.

2 other flourishing orchids:

Very tiny flowers - 1 cm (0.4 in)

Phalaenopsis - 3 bloom spikes


i had been collecting camellias since the 80’s. The ones in front of my house that i can see from my kitchen were first planted to replace a supposedly pink dogwood that was planted in 1979 when we moved in by a nursery. It was a korean dogwood , so, we had the dogwood transplanted several years after there was no bloom. It bloomed after we transplanted it However, a tree was not the answer to hide the huge 7 ton of ugly heat pump. We needed an ever green shrub that has leaves all the way .so we would not see the heat pump. So, the camellia japonicum were planted acquired from my father in laws’s friend’s private nursery.
He only had japonicum. Then, we acquired sasanqua to plant in front of the japonicum as they do not like to be exposed to morning sun and sometimes when there is a frost, the morning sun was not good with resulting bud that dried after from the sudden frost. Sasanqua seems to help with his rapid thaw problem.
My japonicum range in size , mostly 8-12 feet but the sasanqua re much taller.

MY camellias ( japonicum were in the picture) were planted in the early 80’s to hide the heat pump as it is ever green. Although the location is ideal, it had morning sun and there is danger of the delicate bud thawing too soon from morning sun. A few years later, we planted Sasanqua in front of the japonicum to shelter them a bit from the morning sun. So, from my kitchen, i see the japoncum. Having over 40 of them, most of the japonicum are about 8 ft tall except the one in the north garden which was planted later. From the courtyard, I see sasanqua and perhaps a little glimpse of my japonicums. It must be about 12 feet tall. Th sasanqua’s height depends on the cultivar. Some of them are probably 14 ft tall or more . I cannot prune a lot of the sasanqua because of their height. They were planted to replace the dogwoods that died in the 90’s. ( we call that area dogwood alley on the way to our south garden). The sassanquas are mostly lavender whereas my japonicums are red, and some red and white called candy cane. They are the best!
They need very little care, just prune the dead branches . I have plenty ( I mean plant of small plants popping up everywhere ) which I gave away and also to replace the ones that died from the bitter cold in Winter of 2015. I had some of the babies dug up, around 2-3 feet.
In the summer, when it is really hot, they benefit from a shower.

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I have 2 camelias at home, 1 japonicum and 1 sasanqua. I prefer my japonicum a lot more. I don’t know why the sasanqua which flowers in autumn, the petals drop with a slight touch, each flowers last only a day or 2.

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Vegetable gardens attract much more insects, I guess them too, like to eat the best.

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mine stays on but the colors are more of a lavender purple.
However, they are fragrant
I use my japonicum in march to decorate my poached salmon used to bring salon to work for my birthday on the 16th)
The camellias although not edible, are not toxic.
Nastrtiums are nice , edible but i have not grown them for a long time

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I have only white camellias and they have no much smell. I think those who scent are more simple petals varieties, I choose to have compound geometric flowers. I guess the autumn plant may need more sun and more fertiliser, for the flowers to stay on, I will try to talk to the seller (they are specialised in Camelias) at the plant show in May, but I suspect this one doesn’t grow well with a pot.

Lavender is a rare colour, they are mostly red, pink or white.

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my sasanqua have a very nice scent one can smell it from a distance but there are quite a few of them there. They are simple petal varieties. I very seldom fertile my camellias except 2015 when they looked so sick from the harsh winter… Then, I bought some miracid to fertilize them but I understand they hardly need any fernier once they like the soil.

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@bogman A question concerning orchid bloom, I saw on your website talking about Coconut Orchid (Maxillaria Tenuifolia), I bought this in 2013 when it was blooming, it smelt so good, it never re-bloom again. I read several orchids forums, people seem to be either very successful or not at all. I wonder what I did wrong. I have tried everything, drying it out in winter, nothing happened. I repotted it last year, lots of new growth. I keep it indoors next to a bright but shady window in winter. Now in spring, I bring it is outside in the shade during the day , I move them back at night. In summer, for a few months it stays out. Does it need direct sunlight? I have tried gradually introducing direct sun, it turned quite yellowish, even with burnt spots, but still did nothing.

Here is the plant, One thing I notice is the pseudo bulbs were fatter and more round at the time of purchase, now it became longer and thinner.

The differences between the older bulbs and the new ones.

2013, during the plant show before I bought it.

I water it once a week, soaked for 15 minutes, growth fertilizer every 2 weeks in summer, in spring flower fertilizer is used.

Will appreciate your expertise. Thanks a lot.

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Naf, you are very close to giving the plant what it needs. This species appreciates very bright shade, diffused sun and performs better when nights are cooler than days. The potting media should not be saturated, but instead remain humid (drier in winter). We mix small gravel in the media, so it will drain, dry quicker. Since flower buds appear in the spring, I’d recommend giving flower fertilizer (high phosphorous) in the late summer/fall and again in late winter. A misting, so the nutrients can be absorbed by the foliage, is good. See if a little more light and these adjustments help.

Fragrant flowers (the good-smelling ones) are such a pleasure. We can enjoy them without looking and the aroma surrounds us. What is interesting about Maxillaria tenuifolia is it has several flower forms. A botanical visitor from Venezuela was in the greenhouse here and amazed it smelled like coconut; the types where he lived smelled bad!


Great suggestions!

I will leave it outdoors if the nights are not too cool or in the garage in the few weeks. As we are still spring. Last time it flowered it was May or early June. I’m still optimistic! :slight_smile:

I mist only with water. I have never done this with fertiliser, will try it. Thanks a lot.

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You’re welcome, naf. Many plants can absorb nutrients quickly via leaves. Citrus, tomatoes, Bromeliads and Orchids, to name a few. This method is safer and more effective if applied when it’s 70-80 degrees F (21-27 C), and dim (cloudy) or no light (night). These are safeguards to prevent foliar burn. Any fertilized plant should be well hydrated. I typically dilute foliar sprays to about 1/2-1/4 strength, as it appears on the product label. Frequency depends on individual conditions.

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What is the surface of your garden? You have been working 8 hrs a day for a while, pulling weeds! I will certainly have back pain doing that for so long.

For my fleur de lawn which is a mixture of Hobb’s and Hopkins mix of grass, different clover, annuals and perennials. My ground used to be cobbles, granite and wild flower but my son objected to the wild flower since every year, they reseed and grow taller and taller. After my husband passed away in 2012, he came home more often from Holland and ordered the Flour de lawn. https://ptlawnseed.com/collections/eco-and-alternative-lawns/products/fleur-de-lawn
It is a lot of work but I hate the taller clovers as it invites a lot of bees.
I have anaphylactic shock from them and worry that my poms sometimes like to put their nose in front of the bees!
However, I hated the grass, and have been adding each year, johnny jump up, bells perrenis, and as much as possible , pull out grass because they grow tall and overshadows the clover. I have been reseeding every year with microclover.
With my poms, I hate to spray.
Other parts of the property I have lots of bulbs, some reseeding annuals.
The formal garden of boxwood I use polished black stone as mulch
Even with a layer of commercial fabric that we used on the waterfront under the stone bulkhead weeds still comes thru. It seems, dirt goes in them and that is an invitation for weeds to grow
Do not use mulch as they bring in termites, roach etc. They also do not last long.
wish I can post pictures but they will be off topic again

You can post garden pictures in this thread, this post is under the category “Not about food”.

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I use pine bark as mulch for bigger trees, slugs loves hiding below as well as other insects for decomposing the soil. I stop growing lettuces as they come out to feast in the non mulch areas too.

will try

Here is a photo one of of the garden room called whirlwind plaza
It is the most successful room as it is full of flowers, now, it is all kinds of bulbs, in may, pink evening primrose etc. I do not have to pull weeds here. IMG_3952IMG_3956


this is where I am working on now, the flour de lawn


here is the south garden when there was a rainbow

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold