Saturday, September 25, 2010


It was a favorite expression of my father to describe something wonderful. Along with the "bee's knees"

This morning I took a stroll around the garden and exclaimed out aloud on three occasions. First when I saw this plant in flower. It is commonly know as 'cat's whiskers' and in the botanical world as Orthosiphon aristatus. It is a herbaceous perennial but only to zone 9. I will have to take cuttings if I want to keep it over the winter, and I do! Thank you Robin, at Get Grounded, for this passalong. I had completely forgotten about it so my absence from the garden this summer, and any kind of weeding, saved it. I spotted it last week and noticed the development of flower panicles at the end of the stems. I was just waiting to see what the flower looked like as I had no idea what it was. This morning, when I saw the flowers open I knew immediately. I had a grin like a Cheshire cat, even though I'm from Lancashire!

The second surprise came in the cactus pot. I had seen flower buds developing and this morning the first flower opened. This, despite the fact that the cactus itself has gone from an upright form to a prostrate form over the summer. Even after rain it hasn't perked up but it is flowering.

Three years ago I planted several Lycoris radiata bulbs in the English garden. I thought they had disappeared. Nothing until this morning. Only two showed up but I'm thrilled. I must put a marker in the ground so I remember where they are.


  1. I forgot about cats whiskers not being frost tolerant. Now then, if only I can remember that when frost season starts...

  2. I love Cat's Whiskers. We used to grow it in our butterfly garden at school. Thanks for posting.

    BTW: Cool weather is waiting in the wings..any day now it should arrive. Time for those pumpkins.
    David/ Tropical Texana/Houston

  3. I got my garden's first ever Spider Lily bloom just last week. Isn't it so exotic looking.

  4. You did have some lovely surprises, didn't you? I love cat's whiskers. They have some beautiful stands of it at Mercer Arboretum. It's on my list of things I want to put in next year.

  5. Is that cactus freeze hardy here Jenny? It is just stunning.

  6. Katina- i hope I remember it too. I plan to take cuttings.
    D M and family-I can't wait for that cooler weather-this week?
    Ronnie- I was truly excited. NOw I think I need to get more.
    Jayne-It was a beautiful morning with some beautiful surprises. One would have been enough but three!
    Bob- I don't think it is hardy Bob. I bought it at Lowes last year when they were selling plants off. It has the look of a non hardy cactus. The bowl will go into the shed over winter.

  7. I truly adore cat's whiskers and my life will be like the bee's knees if I remember to look for them next spring! Yes, the lycoris went crazy this year with the timely rain. By next year, you'll be in glory!

  8. There is nothing quite like finding things in the garden that make you gasp! Lovely findings that day, for sure!!! Gorgeous!!!

  9. Julie- That is so true and that day I had 3 surprises. More than any gardener could ask for.