Everybody needs a little winter inspiration!


Begonia hiemalis (Rieger Begonia) Collage of Color

Winter is still young here in the Mid-Atlantic region – temperatures below normal already and we still have half of January and all of February to go!!! Ugh! So, what keeps you motivated during these dog days of winter? For me it’s color in the greenhouse…which inevitably ends up at my house since I have absolutely no self control (and now an empty pocketbook!) when it comes to plants!!! Here are some of my favorites right now that will surely brighten your dreary winter days!


African Violets
TL: ‘Amour Elite’ TM: ‘Iceburg TL: ‘Candy Swirls’
ML: Unknown Variety MM: ‘Austin’s Smile’ MR: ‘Island Hideaway’ (My current fave!)
BL: ‘Island Hideaway’ – Again! BM: Unknown Variety BR: ‘Frosty Cherry’ (My friend Meryl’s current fave!)


Cyclamen persicum – Unknown Color Varieties


Orchids
TL: Dendrobium ‘Micro Chip’ TR: Vuylstekeara Robin Pittman ‘Everglades’
BL: Phragmipedium cardinale ‘schlimii x sedenii’ BR: Phalaenopsis – Unknown Variety


Calceolaria herbeohybrida – Pocketbook Plant


Streptocarpus hybrid
Left: Ladyslipper White Ice Right: Ladyslipper Blue Ice

And don’t forget about foliage plants! These guys can offer some great winter interest inside your home as well!


Foliage
TL: Begonia Rex ‘Jive’ – Atlas Collection TR: A selection of terrarium plants
BL: Aglaonema ‘Crete’ Chinese Evergreen BR: Begonia Rex ‘Spitfire’ – Atlas Collection

Speaking of terrarium plants, what a great winter project! Check out my Facebook and Instagram accounts to see the nautical themed terrarium I made for a Christmas gift! So much fun!

What are you guys doing gardenwise to help alleviate your wintertime blues?

Aloha!

Some of you may have heard I recently went to Hawaii ~Kauai to be exact~ to visit my oldest and dearest friend (that’s us above!).  We have known each other since we were toddlers…and though we live thousands of miles apart, and have for many, many years, we still manage to stay in touch and pick right back up where we left off every time we see each other.  It was a great trip and perfect timing to get out of the polar vortex in Northern Virginia.

It was all fun times catching up, reminiscing, meeting her friends and co-workers on the island, hiking, beach hopping…and, oh, the PLANTS!!!!  Oh my goodness, the PLANTS!  I pretty much went crazy!!!  Well, yeah, crazy is probably the right word. I saw plants I know and love, plants I’d never heard of before, and plants I’ve only read about.  Coming home with over 2,000 pictures (I’d say at least half of them of plants) it’s hard for me to narrow down what to share with all of you.  But I did it (kind of – I still have a lot of pics here I just HAD to share)…

In this post I’m sharing plants I know–plants I grow every year, plants that I have currently in my “basement greenhouse”, and plants that I have grown in the past – all growing like crazy in Hawaii.  Some of these photos I took at the Botanical Gardens, some I took growing near the ocean, some in the mountains and other higher elevations and some I took in other inland locations.  It was truly amazing for me to see these guys growing big and beautiful outside year-round and how much bigger they can be when they have the chance to really mature year after year.  Check ’em out!


I loved seeing this Nasturtium growing wild! One of my favorite herbs to grow in the summer in Northern Virginia – not hardy here so a real treat for me to see growing everywhere, including up the side of a mountain! This plant, along with the next six you’ll see here I found all growing in the Waimea Canyon area.


I found this beautiful Agapanthus (Agapanthus africanus) growing on the side of the road. Here in the Mid-Atlantic region this plant is a tender perennial but it was still pretty fun to see it growing randomly:-)


Fuchsia boliviana grows like a shrub in the Waimea Canyon area. I don’t carry this exact variety at the garden center but do get a couple different varieties that are very similar looking to this one.


Ahh, Brugmansia, one of my favorite tropicals. I’ve seen this plant growing in California before, but mostly as an ornamental tree form in peoples front yard. It was great to see this growing wild in the woods of the Waimea Canyon region.


I was excited to see Lantana (an annual that I carry numerous varieties of at the garden center) growing as a large shrub. I typically only get to see this plant growing as an ornamental.


Tibouchina urvilleana – my all time favorite! When I saw this growing along side of a dirt road I yelled “Stop the truck!!”. I HAD to get out and touch it. It’s almost as big as me! I winter over Tibouchina Grandifolia (a similar variety) every year in my basement greenhouse, but mine never gets this big!


Off the beaten path in a little marshy area near Waimea Canyon I came across the biggest Zantedeschia aethiopica, or Calla Lily, I’ve ever seen! The one pictured is one of the smaller ones but there were a number of them blooming and many almost as tall as me!


Okay, another one of my absolute favorites: Acalypha wilkesiana, a.k.a. Copperleaf. I am currently wintering over a couple different varieties of this fantastic tropical in my basement greenhouse. I’m a huge fan of this plant, and in my opinion, totally underused in container gardens and in the landscape in the DC Metropolitan area. In Hawaii this plant is often used as a hedge as seen in this picture at the Botanical Gardens.


Stumbled upon this pretty pink Anthurium. In most areas this is a house plant, MAYBE seeing the outdoors in the summer months. This and the following nine photos were all taken at Allerton Botanical Gardens and McBryde Garden.


This Flowering Vinca was a small shrub in Hawaii! Another annual I carry all summer long at the garden center. Great for full sun and drier conditions.


One of many tropical Hibiscus plants I saw. I particularly liked this double bloom variety. They are like the Azalea of Hawaii – they’re everywhere!


I found this Phalaenopsis Orchid, among many other types of Orchids growing on trees.


Schlumbergera, or Zygocactus is your typical Christmas Cactus! Like Orchids, these guys are also epiphytes – meaning they grow on trees.


Another holiday favorite we carry at the garden center is Amaryllis but of course isn’t hardy during the winter months here in the Mid-Atlantic. Looks like this one just popped up out of nowhere!


Love this one! I have this Ginger growing in my basement greenhouse – for the third year! I scooped up this no name Ginger at the end of the season at the garden center. I believe it’s Alpinia zerumbet ‘Variegata’, a.k.a. Shell Ginger. I’m so in love with the variegated leaves!


This particular ginger is Etlingera elatior, or Torch Ginger. This was one of MANY different gingers that were growing EVERYWHERE!


I just couldn’t get enough of all this Ginger! This is another Torch Ginger, Alpinia purpurata. So beautiful!


Yet another one of my favorites (okay, can they ALL be my favorites?!?!). Cordyline fruticosa, or Ti Plant (pronounced Tee) is another one I have growing in the “greenhouse”. Often used as a houseplant in this region, but I always put mine outside in the summertime when there is no danger of frost.


Stachytarpheta mutabilis, a.k.a. Porterweed, is a super annual here in the Mid-Atlantic area, so I was particularly excited to stumble upon this guy growing wild! I typically found them growing along river sides and in some higher elevations as well. I snapped this shot while hiking along Wailua River.


Bougainvillea is a great tropical that I occasionally carry in the Annuals Department at the Garden Center. This plant grows everywhere in Hawaii – hillsides, mountainsides, beach-sides, the list goes on. It’s so bright and colorful!


I even found it growing in the bed of an old truck!;-) This was in a super cute little artist town called Hanapepe.


And finally, here I am checking out some pretty cool moss while hiking the Hanakapiai Trail. This place is truly breathtaking.