Things That Made Me Smile Today

Today was a drizzly day, but unfortunately not rainy enough to give the garden a sufficient soaking.  However, everything's still springing back to life, and the mass of ferns in the swamp behind the garden is no exception.  Every year I go and yank out the switchgrass to keep it from invading upon this bed of ferns, so every year it seems to get fuller to the point of stealing the show from the rest of the garden. 

In other news today, my "crosby's prolific" aloe is blooming with its scapes of sherbert orange, and beneath it blooms my weird little sea urchin-is cactus... well I guess the flower buds haven't opened just yet but they're so big and lavender that i might as well be blooming.

Heres another photo of my new dyckia "red planet" just because I love it so.  I actually saw the similar dyckia "cherry coke" for sale today at the ridiculous price of $89.99, and the specimens were only a bit bigger than this one, which by the way was $5.  Go me!

I thought it was kind of interesting that my aechmea cylindrata that bloomed in January is actually still showing a lot of color all the way in April! 

Since my supposedly cold hardy musa "rajapuri" bit the dust this winter I replaced it with an ice cream banana, which I would have preferred to begin with!  Its cool enough that the leaves have a powdery glaucous coating underneath, but they're also reportedly hardy to Atlanta with mulching and the blue fruit supposedly tastes like custard or ice cream!  I didn't want that rajapuri anyways.

I also found a great deal on a native yellow anise bush, which is perfect for my swampy backyard.  Eventually the evergreen (root beer scented) leaves will form a protective canopy over all of the gingers, which by the way,  happen to be returning in full force!

I'm super happy that everything's springing back to life- my heliconias, gingers, alocasias, passionflowers, thunbergia, gloriosa lily, hibiscus, and even the white bird of paradise's!  The plumeria that rotted at the base seems to have some life left in it too, so I'm crossing my fingers.  Some bonus's today:  The weeping yaupon holly has blooms all along the branches and the firecracker shrub (russellia) is putting out new blooms as if it were already summer!  When life gets busy and stressful, its always reassuring to know that my plants will keep plugging along no matter what... unless of course they die first.


  1. Those are lots of things to keep your smile last for a week! Love your aloe bloom. Your succulent container looks so lush, and that flower! You sure got a very good deal for dyckia! It is ridiculous that they could charge a place that high price! Wish you smile more upon your garden's new life!

  2. These plants would make me smile too! I've always wanted bananas to taste like ice cream!

  3. Good to see your garden coming back to life. I love the flowers on that sea urchin aloe, and the large spike on your Crosby prolific will be around for a while. Oh I love to get re-enforcment that I got a true bargain, and you seem to have hit the jackpot!

  4. What a day for you! I am happy for you. Love to see that aloe bloom. I hope mine will bloom for me one day ;-) Btw, those switchgrass look wonderful. I hope they will stay green all the time for you.

  5. Still amazed to note that sea urchin & the red dyckia - they look very beautiful.

  6. I adore that Dyckia! I recently discovereed them and they are just so cool!!! All your plants look wonderful. I know what you mean about everything sort of changing a bit after the rain! Springing back to life, as you say! I just mentioned your ice cream banana plant to my daughter and we both want one now...will go visit our specialty garden and see if they have one for us!!! Thanks for showing it to us!

  7. Funny, my newest banana is a Rajapuri :) I have four types of bananas. I just started with bananas last spring and the three I had over winter were Ice Cream, Dwarf Cavandish, and a Grand Nain X Sumatrana. They all were killed to the ground, but the Ice Cream mama p-stem is just now sending up a leaf! There is one pup that is already 3 feet tall. So, maybe I'll get some fruit this year. Haven't had any so far. My other bananas have sent up 3 pups each that have gotten quite tall already. Hope you have great success with your new banana plant. I just love having them for the tropical leaves.

  8. So many notes for me to take in this post! Always looking for the tough and cold-hardy, especially in the realm of the bromeliads! My plumerias and birds are leafing out again as well. We always give things a chance to return before digging. The only casualty in my garden so far is the Barbados cherry, which I am refusing to dig up until June...just in case.

  9. I can see why you're all smiles. Your garden is making a great comeback. Plants really are quite resilient. I love that adorable little cactus. Please post a photo of their blooms when they open.

  10. Thanks for all the kind comments everyone!
    By the way Stephanie, I meant that I pulled out the switchgrass so the ferns could grow but I worded it kinda weird.
    Ami, James and Julie, I have seen some amazing clumps of Dyckia at the Jax zoo and in botanical gardens and they are worth whatever you pay! I want them to catch on in the trade more but kinda enjoy the obscurity the genus has now.
    Wicked Gardener, Julie and NanaK: I highly recommend the ice cream banana even though I just got it... As soon as I started reading up on growing bananas I knew I wanted one but they're so hard to find! If you try to buy one online a lot of nurseries are out of stock. If you see one, get it!
    Ami, Africanaussie, and Stephanie, I got the aloe for 5.99 at target as a promo... but unfortunately targets garden centers are to be closing by the end of the year. I just had to spring on that aloe though, even if it may need protection.
    Floridagirl, I'm so glad that things are returning in your garden! Theres a very large white bird specimen in the neighborhood thats leafing out like nothing ever hit it... thats encouraging!
    Susan: Your wish is my command! I'm posting a photo of the blooms today!


Please feel free to share your questions, ideas and suggestions!