Monday, April 5, 2010

Blooms Along the Shady Path

When I look out my kitchen windows onto the shady backyard I see tiny plants making a comeback amid bushels and bushels of fallen oak leaves.  It takes some looking but here are some blooms I found popping up through the leaves.

This bromeliad was gifted to me from a gardening friend and is blooming for the first time in my garden.  I don't know the name of it but it sure is pretty.

Spiderwort, Tradescantia ohiensis, is a native plant I considered a weed for the first 20 years I lived here.  I've dug so many of these up I've lost count.  A few years ago I was browsing a native plant fair and saw these flowers being sold for $4/ gallon size pot.  Having a monetary value placed on these and seeing them listed as native plants, I now carefully cultivate them.  They grow well in the floodzone of my middle backyard and are just loving the wet earth there.  Another reason to love these plants is that they didn't skip a beat during the cold weather.

Another plant that the cold didn't faze is the blue walking iris, neomarica gracilis.  I have these hopelessly mixed together with the yellow variety, neomarica longifolia, and when they bloom en masse starting about this time of year, they are quite lovely.

The 'Fruit Cocktail' shrimp plant, Justicia brandegeana,  is a recent purchase that was made to give some color to a slowly returning garden.
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These plants are all under my huge live oak tree that creates one big self-mulching bed taking up half the backyard.  My Garden Path gets its name from the circular path that surrounds the oak.  As soon as leaf fall and pollen fall are over in a week or so, this area will be a favorite spot to spend time as it is always cool and pleasant under the big oak.


  1. That bromeliad bloom is so beautiful. I have an air plant retrieved from the tree, and there is a little spike emerging, can not wait to see its bloom. I never saw blue walking iris before. That color combination is just gorgeous! I can see your shady area under the oak tree will be very lovely with all those colorful plants. Isn't great to see new plants/flowers emerging in the spring?

  2. That billbergia bromeliad is also caled friendship plant since its usually only obtained as a passalong from friend to friend! Speaking of friend, I nominated you for a Mouse and Trowel Award.

  3. What wonderful bloomers you have. I have spiderwort and it is one of my favorites. It spreads easily for me, too easy, but I love the color. I have the yellow walking iris, have read about the blue, but never seen it myself. Your brom is beautiful and so is the shrimp plant.

    Happy Spring ~ Happy Gardening ~ FlowerLady

  4. I love the flowers on your garden path! The queen's tears is beautiful! I hope you post photos of the flowers when the buds open! My son has spiderwort growing all over his property, and I think it is so pretty. I stole a dozen plants and put them in my garden, still reeling from this winter's devastation. I keep hoping I (and my neighbors) won't come to regret this.

  5. Spiderwort is blooming all along a road I travel frequently. In the "wild" the foliage doesn't look so good, but I've cultivated some and it's really very pretty with care. It tolerates every condition!
    (Mine is what I thought was a weed in one of my mother-in-law's many containers, rescued about 6 months after she moved into a nursing home -- 6 months with no care. I was busily plucking it out when I spied a beautiful little bloom. I'm so happy it thought to throw a survivor blossom!)

  6. Ami - Isn't it fun to go outside and find something new starting to grow or a new bloom? I hope you'll show your air plant bloom. I have so many oak trees I've been thinking about getting some tilandsias to place in them.

    Steve - Friendship plant is just what this one is. I'm not familiar with a Mouse and Trowel award, but thank you for thinking of my blog.

    FlowerLady - I am really appreciating the spiderwort now. I find it all over the garden but it just grows in a nice clump so I either leave it where it is or dig it up and move it to the bog area where so few things are happy.

    Floridagirl - Is the queen's tears the name you know for my brom? I didn't know those dangles would open further. I'll definitely keep a lookout for that and snap a pic.

    The spiderwort does spread but in my yard it just pops up and makes a nice clump. It doesn't smother out other plants.

    Penny - I'm glad you saw that survivor blossom! Plants can be so resilient can't they?

    BTW my new walking iris, Regina, has her first bud!

  7. Your new Shrimp plant looks quite cool. I have never seen one that color . But I must confess that all your oak leaves free biomass mulch for you garden is making me jealous! :-]

  8. sanddune - Yes, I love all that free mulch. It looks a little unkempt until about the end of April but then the leaves decompose a bit and the plants fill out so it doesn't look quite so messy. I mulch all my beds with the leaves even those not directly under the trees. Over the years my soil has improved a lot.

  9. We have many of the same plants in our garden. I love the fruit cocktail..both the name and the plant. Your bromeliad is called bilbergia (sp?). Another Fla. blogger identified it for me when I posted a photo. I love the pink bloom.

  10. NanaK, Spring is glorious!!!!!!!!!Your Garden Path looks great! I feel like I am going crazy with my garden and the school's garden. Maybe after Spring break I will take more photos of my garden. Janis

  11. Susan - That bilbergia bloom is quite different from any of my other broms. I was very glad to see them looking so happy where they are planted.

    Janis - Sounds like you have been so busy with all your gardens. Can't wait to see the school gardens on Earthday.


Thank you for travelling down My Garden Path with me. I love hearing from you. Please leave a comment and share what is going on in your gardens.