Things I See Around Town: Chaste Tree

One of my favorite plants is the chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus). I happened to spy a group of them in full bloom on my way to tennis . I am happy to share these photos.

Chaste tree is a magnet for pollinators and will rebloom in late summer if the spent flowers are removed.

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Things I See Around Town: Mimosas

As spring moves toward summer, the surrounding colors continue to change. The beautiful but invasive wisteria has faded, and now we see crape myrtles blooming in their many shades, shrub roses have shed their first flowers and are putting out new buds, and mimosas are making their presence known throughout the area.

I love the unique blossoms on a mimosa tree. I thought this one has a particularly delightful color. I had to pull off a busy road and challenge the traffic to get these photographs, but I hope it was worth it.

I see a lot of mimosa trees as I travel about our area. Their presence is largely the result of their strongly invasive habits. For that reason I won’t run out and buy a mimosa to put in a friend’s garden. But I can at least enjoy the beauty of the ones that are already out there.

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My Porch Garden

It has now been over a year since we sold our home and garden. That’s hard to believe, but time does, indeed, go fast. We have decorated our new apartment with greenery and have given special attention to our screened porch.

With the coming of spring and the delightful warm weather, we selected a new crop of annuals for the porch.

The porch is small but I am feeling comfortable surrounded by colorful plants. Why it’s almost time to turn on the music and pour the wine.

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A Graduation Feast

This past weekend many in our family gathered to celebrate my granddaughter Kate’s graduation from The University of South Carolina. After four years of dedicated work, she finished with wonderful grades, a host of friends, and one proud grandfather.

My son-in-law prepared one of his most famous meals to honor Kate: a traditional southern shrimp boil.

We’re talking about gigantic shrimp, sausage, corn-on-the-cob, and potatoes, topped with his favorite spices and tons of lemon juice, freshly squeezed by the entire party.

I am so proud of the mature and caring young woman Kate has become. Graduation days like we just experienced are what makes being a grandfather such a blessing.

Here’s to Kate!

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Things I See Around Town: A Tulip Viewing Party

My friend Noell plants hundreds of tulips each year, and she and Jim invite friends each spring for a viewing. Yesterday a cool, cloudy morning changed into a warm sunny afternoon, and Noell and Jim welcomed us into one of the most beautiful gardens in Charlotte.

The colors of the tulips were enchanting:

Some were quite exotic:

There were other spring flowers making their presence felt:

Noell and Jim have several beautiful ponds, around which are lovely plantings. There are also denizens of the deep to capture your attention:

What can be more fun for kids on a spring afternoon than a water feature, rocks on which to climb, and whoops of joy on a warm afternoon?

I am grateful to Noell and Jim for sharing their garden with us. Spring is surely here.

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It Bolted

The lovely ‘Miz America’ mustard I posted several weeks ago continues to thrive on my screened porch. It survived a tough winter and, as the weather warms, it is coming to new life.

But what is this strange growth coming from the top of the plant? Am I growing a mustard tree? Of course not, and strange it is not. It is just what these plants do. It is putting up flower buds that will ripen into seeds that will ensure this mustard plant continues.

It’s called bolting.

I guess that means, alas, that I will have to visit a few garden centers to look for summer replacements.

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Things I See Around Town: More Spring Color

The passage of time can be marked by the recurrence of colors in spring. The daffodils and forsythia are joined now by swaths of white cherry and pink crabapple blossoms. Some of my timely favorites are the pastel pinks of:

spring blooming magnolias:

and redbuds:

To add to my excitement, I just saw my first dogwood about ready to open.

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