Dad gave a mountain laurel shrub each to me and Mom for our birthdays (which are both in February)-- or rather, announced his intention to give us each a mountain laurel, once they could find a good source of the "Southern variety". (Not all mountain laurel will do well with our hot, humid summers.)
Mom has loved mountain laurels for years (forever?) and had one growing at their old house. When they moved a few years ago, she left it behind, so now she'll have a new one. This is my first time attempting to grow a mountain laurel, and I'm a little intimidated by their reputed finickiness.
I chose a site with morning sun and afternoon shade-- somewhere near enough the house that we can easily see and enjoy it. I don't have a lot of options for shade, in our yard. Most of the shade is along the southern fence, out of the way in the wilder portion of the fenced yard. Much of that isn't exactly quick-draining soil, so it's not ideal for most plants. Fortunately, there was a spot that I hope will be ideal, on the northeast corner of the house, shaded by a crepe myrtle.
Kalmia latifolia, locally grown/Southern variety of mountain laurel:
Other recent plantings:
Salvia farinacea 'Victoria Blue' (mealycup sage).
It's supposed to have an intense blue/violet bloom. There are mixed reports as to the reliability of its return, but I figured it was worth a try.
Carex oshimensis EverColor 'Everillo'.
The Carex (Japanese sedge) we bought at Plantasia 2015-- 'Evergold'-- has grown on me, so I was happy to find this other variety on clearance at Wal-Mart.
This photo may not show it off to best advantage... According to one site, it boasts "bright, lime-green leaves that turn yellow-gold as they mature". Like 'Evergold', I'm keeping it in a pot on the covered patio for the first summer. I may transplant them into the shade garden after that.
Coreopsis Big Bang 'Mercury Rising'.
This photo certainly isn't the most flattering, but it's the best I could do. 'Mercury Rising' coreopsis is a perennial with wine-red blooms that start out small and grow to a diameter of 1.5 to 2 inches. The flowers can be "lightly frosted with a touch of creamy white on the petals in high summer". As you can see below, these flowers have started out with more than a mere dusting of creamy white-- but I hope that future blooms will be more colorful.
This pot was extremely root-bound. I did my best to open it up, though-- and while I was at it, went ahead and divided it into two clumps. (Probably not the best time of year for division, but coreopsis is tough.) I have high hopes for this plant.
And here's one I planted at the beginning of last week, I believe.
Bamboo 'Golden Goddess' (which is a clumping, non-invasive bamboo).
I dithered over where to place it for far too long. In the end, it went to what is currently the "end" (actually "front") of the fence border bed, where there's plenty of room for it to stretch. (It grows to 6-10 feet tall and wide.) Up there, it will serve as a miniature privacy screen and keep company with a few of the other more tropical plants I grow-- butterfly ginger, night-blooming jasmine, and elephant ears.
I have a few more plants to place-- maybe one to move-- but the next area of focus this week should probably be weed control. (Everyone's favorite.)