Saturday, May 30, 2020

Things to love in Late Spring

In late Spring, the Peter's Purple Bee Balm explodes into color and it is a sight to behold. In the front garden, the Calylophus are still blooming, and provide a striking contrast.

I love their fire cracker like flower

Of all my plants, this is the one that stops the most people on the street. And it filled this whole space in three years from one small plant!

Also in late Spring, the Day Lilies put up their tall stalks, and slowly unfurl their beauty!

The day lily in the back garden has some native milkweed blooming behind it. I had actually forgotten the milkweed was there until it put forth its bloom :)

The Engelmann Daisies that I transplanted this spring have been gorgeous in their new bed, bright and sunshiney.

Last year, a small fern like plant popped up in the back side garden. I truly don't know why I didn't pull it for a weed. I guess because I really liked its feathery foliage.  It did nothing the whole year.  This year, it popped up again, and again, I decided to keep it. Only this year, it grew very tall, and now has put out the beautiful red flowers. 

Turns out is is a biennial Standing Cypress (aka Texas Plume). It is kind of in an awkward place, so tall at the front of the bed, but I love it anyway. When it starts going to seed, i am going to see if I can direct the seeds toward the back of the bed.

This year, my twist-leaf yucca has put up its stalks and blooms. The bamboo muhly shows its feathery green.

A close up of the top of the bloom, where not all have opened up yet.

A new favorite of mine is the Creeping Germander. I bought some last year, and love it as a textured, low lying ground cover.  But then, once a year, it burst forth with a ton of small purple blooms, which makes it even more awesome.

I like this plant so much, that I bought 5 more to put in the back side garden bed. It is in partial shade, so it may not bloom in that location, but I really got it for its foliage texture.

I am so pleased with the new solar garden.  For just being a few months old, it looks really great.  The lantana, snake herb and Bee Balm are all blooming in the left side, and the Englemann daisies look great on the right side.  

Here is a close up up the lantana, with Bee Balm in the back.  I wasn't able to get the snake herb in there as well, but it is gorgeous all together.

One other beauty in late Spring in the Gregg's Mistflower. I believe this is mostly a fall bloomer, but I have gotten a bunch of blooms this spring. This is supposed to be a huge pollinator attracter, thought I have honestly not seen much on it this month.

I bought one new plant this month (I bought a lot of new plants, but this one was unfamiliar to me) A flax leaf Diaella.  I love its variegated foliage.  I have know idea how it will do, but it was a clearance plant for a dollar, so I figure I don't have much to lose :)

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Mid April Flowers

I coerced Dave into taking a few photos of my front garden bed!

Guara in the foreground, Jerusalem sage mid way and Knock Out rose in the back.  I could spend all day enjoying the colors!

I am not sure what type of rose this is, as I was given it.  But it blooms once per year in the spring, and it looks and smells gorgeous!

 I now know why they call these Butterfly Blue Pincushion.  A this time of year, I have seen multiple butterflies feasting on its nectar.  THis appears to be a Gray Hairstreak butterfly.

And here is a backward glance at the south portion of my front garden.

Mr Blue Jay

Last summer, the boys made and bought me some bird feeders to add to the back yard.  We have been enjoying lots of cardinals, goldfinches, titmice, chickadees and morning doves.  But until this month, we had not yet seen Kyle's favorite bird, the blue jay.

This month, one finally discovered the peanuts in our feeder!  He/She now comes multiple times a day, steals a nut from the feeder, and then flies to the Bur Oak to enjoy it.

Here he/she is getting ready to grab a nut!

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Black Foot Daisies and Cream de Mint Pittosporum

I have been looking at a hole in my front garden bed, and knew I wanted to fill it in with something... I just didn't know what.

Then I saw a video from Robin Mayfield on Facebook, where she glowed about her Creme De Menthe Pittosporum.  I loved their look, and knew they'd be perfect in my empty hole.  

The next day, I happened to dee Cream de Min Pittosporum at Lowe's, of all places.  Which is good, because with the pandemic, no other nurseries are open.

I picked up two shrubs (I may go back and get one more).  

Now fingers crossed I can keep them alive.  I did try root washing them, but their roots were very fin, so I hope I did not do more harm then good.

I also picked up two Blackfoot Daisies.  I love the cheery white of Blackfoot daisies.  Mine all seem to die after three to four years, but I decided I wanted them any way.  I really love the look of this part of the garden, which was always a bit of an eye ore (to me).

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Week 2 of Flowers

April is a wonderful time in Texas!  Every week, my garden has something new to celebrate.

My front bed, that was full of blues and purple last week from my bluebonnets and verbena, has now added a pop of yellow from the Jerusalem sage and Calyolophus.

Jerusalem Sage is now one of my go-to plants.  It is as tough as nails, gorgeous in the spring, and adds a nice bit of fuzzy grey-green the rest of the year.  Plus it is a very fast grower.  The one above is the first one I planted four years ago.  The one in the front bed is two or three years old, and I have just planted two more in my new beds.  

In the back bed, a brand new climbing Blaze rose is in bloom.  Dave found this guy sitting forlornly in the clearance section of Lowes, and picked it up for. A great example of why I always prefer a potted plant to a bouquet of flowers.  A year later and his gift is still bringing me smiles :)

Whirling Guara used to not be a favorite of mine, until I learned that it looks way better planted en masse, than as a single flower.  So now I have two different lines of them in my front bed.  Another tough-as-nails plant!

And below is another look at my little roadrunner statue.  last week he was surrounded by blue and purple.  Today there is a pop of yellow to light his back!  You can hardly even seem him, in the middle of this photo.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Spring 2020 Flowers

My front garden bed has really filled in, and is full of color this spring!  In another week, the jerusalem sage and calylophus will be in bloom, adding lots of yellow to the mix!

Two years ago, I dug up a bunch of irises from my my mother-in-laws garden. Her backyard is almost in complete shade, so they did not bloom for her.  last year, I didn't get any blooms.  This year, they are full of blooms!

A new plant for me, Leopard's Plant (Ligularia), it is a full shade plant, that requires a lot of water its first year.  We will see if I can keep it alive!

 Foxglove Penstemon in my backyard side garden. Dave threw a bunch of wildflower seeds down when we first moved here.  These are the only flowers that grew.  I have since transplanted many of them to be in my garden

The little roadrunner my mom gave me a few years ago is almost invisible among the blue bonnets and verbena!

i love these little flowers, they get almost no attention and are pretty much bulletproof!  Always bringing a sweet dancing yellow to my garden!

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Installing a new shade garden


This year, I am putting in two new gardens.  One (the solar garden) is in the hottest, driest part of the yard.  With little to no shade in our yard, this environment I am very familiar with.  However, there is also a small sliver of the back yard that is pretty shaded.  Some parts are completely shade, some gets some morning light, and some parts get afternoon light.  I am less familiar (or successful) with this area.  But, in my quest to convert our water-hungry lawn into native plants, I thought I'd try to convert a portion of the side fence.
Three columbines and a (now) blooming mock orange.
One of the things I have never really liked about the back yard is that it is, in essence, one big square, with shrubs and flowers around the edges.  When the kids were younger, I couldn't even do an Easter Egg hunt or play hide and seek, because there was nowhere to hide!

So, with this garden, I decided to enclose a large area, and put a small path through it, that would lead to chairs.  Kyle and I love to bird watch, and we have found that this area works well to see the birds, but not disturb them.  So I dug up lots of grass and weeds, added lots of compost and put down ten flagstones to make a path through it all.  I have been slowly collecting plants to put in this area, and this week, I finally got them in the ground.  Some are new to me, some are old favorites.
A new, large leopard plant, alongside my oak leaf hydrangea

Leopard Plant: Farfugium japonicum  (previiously know as Ligularia)
I saw this plant at a local elementary last year, and fell in love with it,  I am not sure why, but it reminds me of an Alice in Wonderland plant.  It is a full shade plant that requires a bit of water to get established.  I have seen how it droops when it gets direct sun in the mid day.  

Abelia 'Edward Goucher':  This is the first shrub in the garden, and I wanted a largish evergreen bush to shade the chairs from the road.  I know absolutely nothing about Abelia.  Well, I am not sure if I do.  I have some plants that came with the original landscaping... they may be abelias. (Edited to add:  Yep, same plant as in the landscaper built garden in front of the garage.  I feel alittle silly, as I now realize this is the what the oldest shrubs that came with the lot are!)  This is the the plant info sticker says:  Size:  5' x 5'  Growth Medium  Exposure:  Sun to Part shade.  Semi evergreen shrub with glossy green leaves and  little pale pink flowers in spring.  Very adaptable, but more sun means denser foliage and more blooms.  Also performs better in amended garden soil.
A new abelia, youpon holly, near an existing Beauty Berry

Sweet Mock Orange - Philadelphus Coronarius
Size:  10' x 8'  Growth:  Medium
Exposure:  AM Sun / Part Shade
Lovely deciduous shrub with fragrant white blooms in late spring.  Adaptable to any well-drained soil but best if given rich, organically amended, moist soil.  Blooms on previous year's growth so pruning advised after blooming.  Native to southeastern Europe.

Texas Gold Columbine - Aquilegia chrysantha "Texas Gold"
24 - 30" x 15"  Growth:  Fast
Exposure:  Sun to part shade
Tough and showy perennial with soft, grey-green foliage and taller stems of big three inch golden yellow blooms in the late spring.  Deadhead for more blooms.
A new large Japanese Aralia with some transplanted
Heartleaft Skullcap

I really, really want to grow some columbine.  I have killed at least three years worth of this plant. But as I learn more and become more experienced, I keep hoping I will be able to get this guy to grow.  It calls itself a 'tough and showy perennial'.  The only thing about this plant that is tough (for me), is the ability for it to live!  But, I am trying three more.  I got large ones this time, hoping that they have a better root system to make it through.

Tropical Sage 'Red' Native - Savlia Coccinea 'Red'
Size:  2-3' x 2-3'  Growth:  Fast
Exposure:  Sun to Bright shade
Shrubby perennial with scented foliage and bright red tubular flowers spring to fall.  Deer and drought resistant once established.  Prune back periodically to keep more dense and tidy.  Often reseeds for a few volunteers but not aggressive.  Attracts hummingbirds
A new Tropical sage and Jerusalem sage with an
existing fig tree behind it

I believe this is the same plant I was gifted with by a neighbor that is in the front year.  I picked it because it is a red bloomer in shade, and the place I put it in sometimes is shaded, but I believe in the summer it will get more sun, so I thought this plant would do well in all seasons, given the mixture of light.  I bought two plants.

Texas Betony - Stachys coccinea
I bought three small pots of this plant on a whim.  I bought one small plant from the clearance rack at Lowe's last year, and it got through the incredible drought of last year.  And is already springing back this year. Seems like a winner to me, so I thought I'd
An existing crepe myrtle with some new Betony plants
give it another shot...  This will be more shaded than the front, so we will see how it does.

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