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Plant sales are coming soon!

After a few false starts over the past year or so, I’m extremely excited about finally getting very close to opening the on-line garden center for Bella Jardins Boutique. woohoo! One reason it took so long is I couldn’t figure out exactly what I wanted to sell. Do I sell everything that the independent garden centers sell? Do I specialize in just a few plants? Do I sell plants, containers, and potting soil? Do I sell synthetic fertilizers or organic fertilizers? What what what is it that makes me happy to sell???

After a lot of soul searching and visiting of various garden centers to see what I liked and/or didn’t like about them, I finally decided that BJB is gonna fill a void that I feel needs filling: native plants. I’ve noticed that a lot of garden centers in this part of East Texas don’t have a “native plant” section. Instead, the natives they do have are mixed in with the rest of the exotic and Texas adapted plants. Which means you have to know exactly what it is you’re looking for or hope they have an employee who specializes in native plants who can answer questions. I’ve also been talking with people as to what plants they want in their gardens, and the word “natives” keep popping up. So natives it is!

What does this mean for you? Well, it means that you’ll be able to buy plants that are native to either Texas, the Southeast, or to somewhere in the US. I’ll make sure you have plenty of info on every plant so you can decide how much of a native purist you want to be. The plants will be the same sizes that are in the garden centers: containers anywhere from 4″ to 15-gallon.

I’ll also have a few Texas Adapted plants for sale because there are some that are just too cool to pass up, and lots of herbs. But. I will not sell plants such as pansies or dianthus or vinca or impatiens or those other annual bedding plants you see in everyone’s gardens. Nor will I sell any plant that’s on the Texas exotic/invasive list.

BJB will be a niche on-line garden center not only because of what I sell but also because of who I sell to. I don’t have a store-front garden center for you to come to, nor will I ship plants. What I will do is deliver the plants to your home, which means I’m limiting sales to the following East Texas counties: Panola, Marion, Harrison, Shelby, Rusk, and Gregg. Delivering the plants to a specific local area instead of shipping everywhere is why I can sell plants up to the 15-gallon sizes instead of just the tiny plants most on-line garden centers sell. There is no delivery fee for orders over $25, and only a $5 delivery fee for orders under $25.

The plan is to have the on-line Boutique open the beginning of April. I’ll start adding plants to the Boutique for you to drool over and add to your wish list. If there’s any plant in particular that you’re looking for, just let me know and I’ll check with my suppliers to see if I can get it for you.

I’m very much looking forward to getting back to doing what I love best: helping people find the right plants for their gardens.

Have a great rest of your day, and happy diggin’ in the dirt!

Jeanni and Ziva
Beautiful Gardens Begin Here

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Ziva’s Flora Favs: Swamp Jasmine

“Swamp Jasmine? What’s that?” Yeah, I get that statement a lot when talking about this cool plant. Most of us have heard about the beautiful Carolina Jasmine vine, well, Swamp Jasmine is a relative of it. As a matter of fact, the two look almost exactly alike with their beautiful yellow funnel-shaped flowers. The differences in them are Swamp Jasmine has no fragrance and it has a much longer bloom time than Carolina does.

With a name like Swamp Jasmine, I’m thinking you can pretty much guess where it likes to grow: yep, it does great in swampy areas. Got a wet area in your garden, perhaps by the downspout or in a low spot, well, this could be the perfect vine for you. But it also adapts well to regular garden watering, which is good.

The botanical name is Gelsemium rankinii, with common names being: Swamp Jessamine, Swamp Yellow Jessamine, Rankin’s Trumpetflower, and Yellow Jessamine. It’s native to the Southeast from Louisiana over and up to North Carolina, and is hardy in zones 7a to 9b. It’s pretty versatile in that it can take full sun down to part shade. The twining vine growth can reach about 20′, but it’s nowhere near as aggressive as some other twining vines are. It’ll quickly scramble over fences, arbors, pergolas, walls, and up trees, or it can be used as a ground cover. If you want to grow it as a ground cover, use landscape fabric pins to hold the stems down as it gets established. The 1″ to 1-1/2″ golden-yellow blooms start showing up fall into spring, and since they’re full of nectar they give the birds, butterflies, bees, and all other pollinators good food when not a lot is available. It prefers acidic soil, so it grows fine in East Texas but would have issues trying to grow in the alkaline soil of West Texas. The leaves are usually evergreen except during unusually cold winters in which they go dormant for a short time. Berries are produced on it around late summer/early fall. If all of the above isn’t enough to make you want one of these beauties in your garden, then this tidbit might do the trick: neither deer nor rabbits munch on it.

One issue that needs to be talked about is all parts of this plant are toxic to humans and livestock if eaten. So don’t plant it around your horse or cow pastures. I’ve had this in my gardens before and have had no skin problems with it, but I’ve made sure to wash my hands after pruning or transplanting it. The sap can irritate the skin of some folks, so be sure to wear gloves when handling it.

So if you’re looking for a well-behaved, semi-evergreen to evergreen, yellow flowering vine that attracts pollinators, and can survive very moist areas, then Swamp Jasmine should be on your wish list! Just look how beautiful those flowers are!

Happy digging in the dirt!

Jeanni and Ziva
Beautiful Gardens Begin Here

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Playing In The Dirt!

Got 40 plants in the ground yesterday: 30 tropical milkweed, Asclepias curassavica; one Flame Acanthus, Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii; three Cigar Plants, Cuphea ignea; two Lemon Ball sedum, Sedum rupestre ; one Globe Amaranth, Gomphrena; and three Coleus. Whew, I’m a bit tired today, to say the least. lol

The new garden beds in the front and south side areas are ready for planting, so that’s where all the new plants went into. I’m still working on the beds in the back and north side areas. Those should be ready for planting in about two weeks.

I have two 1-pound bags of Texas native and wildflower seeds that I’ll be spreading next week. So excited about that! I’ll do a separate post later on what flower types are in the seed mix.

So what are y’all adding to your flower beds??

Happy digging in the dirt.

Jeanni and Ziva
Beautiful Gardens Begin Here

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Watershed Plant Guide

Asclepias curassavica

This is an awesome publication from the City of Austin and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service on what native and adapted plants do well in our central Texas gardens. Extensive info is listed with the ability to choose what area you’re in, what sun/shade your garden has, what type of plants you’re looking for, etc etc etc. Great pics and individual plant info too. Download or bookmark this thing so you’ll have it handy!

http://austintexas.gov/department/grow-green/plant-guide

Happy digging in the dirt …

Jeanni, Gibbs, and Ziva