Digital flower photography by

Zinnia digital photography by

Zinnia digital photography by

I love photographing flowers , gardens, and the southern countryside. Digital flower photography by is my sidekick on most days like the zinnias above but I can get serious with my photography when an article calls for it.

You all need to be getting excited because I finally feel well enough to start writing my articles again. Let the happiness meter register pleasantly appealing. I have a farmstead lined up to photograph soon as the weather allows and the sun is not shinning too harsh.

My Vanilla Strawberry hydrangea has brown spots and hardly any burgundy color


Vanilla Strawberry bush in zone 7 NC at

Ok so…my Vanilla Strawberry hydrangea has brown spots and hardly any burgundy color. What is the deal right? I first brought mine home in 201o I think…thereabouts..and just could not wait for it to produce strawberry like blooms.

Vanilla Strawberry bush with crepe myrtles

Vanilla Strawberry bush at the craftsman style home of Anna at

The wait became excruciating as the Vanilla Strawberry hydrangea took forever to grow. I got it in a small container and planted in perfect soil. The sun was strong dappled light. Sometimes direct sun. I fertilized it with Holly Tone in the spring and never cut it back. in zome 7 NC

Vanilla Strawberry bush with Red Knockout bush in zome 7 NC

It grew at a snails pace and then my neighbor cut down his tree so the plant would receive full sun. It grew a bit faster but still really slow compared to say my Limelight hydrangea which grew at break neck speed.

Vanilla Strawberry hydrangea bloom in a soft pink at

Vanilla Strawberry hydrangea bloom in a soft pink at

I never got that burgundy beauty color that Vanilla Strawberry hydrangeas are so famous for….the one pictured on the tag.

Vanilla Strawberry hydrangea bloom in soft pink but not the burgundy as advertised at

Vanilla Strawberry hydrangea bloom in soft pink but not the burgundy as advertised at

Well I learned that here in the South or anywhere you have hot summers, you probably will have a faint pink color as the bloom matures. It’s just how it is. You will also get brown spots as the leaf petal dies.

Vanilla Strawberry hydrangea bloom showing brown spots at

Vanilla Strawberry hydrangea bloom showing brown spots at


Vanilla Strawberry hydrangea bloom brown spots


Vanilla Strawberry hydrangea bloom

I’m sorry for you and me that we can’t have the beauty is was advertised to have but I still really like the hydrangea. The deer do too. i have to keep Liquid Fence or Deer Off sprayed on it.

look up more hydrangea blooms at by using the search feature in the sidebar

look up more hydrangea blooms at by using the search feature in the sidebar

Look at some other articles on

Vanilla Strawberry hydrangeas.

Vanilla Strawberry

Vanilla Strawberry

2013 Announcement creating height for the container

Purple Sunset Fruit

2013 Announcement Creating Height for the Container Arrangement

‘Purple Sunset’ ornamental pomegranate

Here’s something exciting for one of Flowergardengirl’s picks as she chooses her 2013 container arrangements. Now hey, it looks pretty big below right? ….but you can buy it much smaller and cut the lower limbs for under planting. Deep burgundy fruit will appear all summer and beautiful birch yellow fall leaves appear in autumn. Orange flowers precede the fruit.

I’m going to plant this in a rather large container and give my front entry a rather Mediterranean feel. I planted ‘Firethorn’ pyracantha vines last season and I bet that is going to be a riot of good looking entertaining autumn appeal for 2013. I will underplant with something that really makes that deep purple fruit pop and just wondering what will bring out the orange flower…any suggestions? I might have some ;).

A special thank you to Kathleen Hennessy and Bailey Nursery for their kindness over the years in sending me plants. I did not receive this particular plant but will be writing about others received this season. In the coming weeks I’ll be showcasing some of their roses, wisteria, and other ornamentals. Very proud to do so as this company has shown me a great deal of professional etiquette over the years. I appreciate them very much. Visit their website @

Ya’ll stay tuned for even a few 2014 introductions!

Purple Sunset Habit
First Editions Purple Sunset Pomegranate FINAL 2013

Christel Colla's autumn pumpkin arrangement

Pumpkin Lemongrass Chrysanthemum Autumn Containers with Christel Colla

Pumpkin Lemongrass chrysanthemum autumn containers with Christel Colla! 

I’ve introduced you to Christel’s kitchen garden  and her husband’s collection of tin signs so let’s see what Christel is doing today. Looks like she’s made us some pumpkin Lemongrass chrysanthemum autumn containers.

She’s the most inspiring person always coming up with new garden designs or making some kind of outstanding container arrangement. Her talents go beyond the garden to music and card crafting. I’ve never seen a person be so obedient to God to develop all that God has given them and she’s so generous to share. Thank you Christel.

Her husband Johnny….cut out the tops and Christel scooped out the insides which makes them last longer. Christel lives in California and that day it was rather warm but the cooler days to come will extend the life…..the good part is the pumpkins can be easily peeled away at planting time and all goes right in the garden or divided for places in other containers. If you live in a frost free zone…the mums will continue to be green for quite some time.

She said the pumpkin scraping was labor intensive. She was so tired but this part can’t be skipped or you’ll have a rotten mess too quickly before the season is done. Good job my dear friend. You always go the extra mile and do it right.

Please leave a comment telling Christel how much you enjoyed her giving us step by step instructions. I enjoyed it so much that I just had to share.

Christel first used Lemongrass and planted that in the pumpkins.

Next up the autumn flower selections

Sitting on Christel’s porch is a gorgeous pot of ornamental peppers…fittingly..a nice companion autumn container arrangement with the pumpkins.

And isn’t it to die for…..

Christel’s husband..Johnny..cut the pumpkins for her. This is a hard task and he is using a hand held power saw. Pretty smart I’d say. Saved Christel an hour or more she said. She was grateful. Johnny helps her do a lot of things…both are lucky to have each other. Both are immensely talented in a lot of areas.

Thank you so much for letting me use your photos Christel. I love you for it.

Thought you might also like to see Christel’s kitchen garden from a few years past. I featured her in a magazine that is no longer around but these photos sure tell the story. Christel changes this with each year and season and her fruits have grown in so nicely. She does keep up her bird feeders every day. Hats off sweet friend. Always a pleasure.