Friday, July 12, 2019

Summer Heat

It is the start of the truly ugly season in Texas, where we start counting the number of days over 100 degrees, as well as the number of days since it last rained.  Fortunately, June was unusually wet this year, so we are starting off in a slightly better position than normal.

Most of my garden is just struggling to breathe, but this one small portion is really glowing.  The rock roses (both native and Brazilian) seem to flourish in the heat.  The Wrights Purple Skullcap, just finishing its first year, is blooming, and I purchased an (annual) Plumbago on clearance.  I don't know why some Plumbagos say they are perennial, and others annual.  I didn't realize this was an annual, so I was disappointed when I got home and read the tag.  But truthfully, it looks so beautiful in this garden, that it was well worth the $8 to liven up it up for just a year.  In the front left, I have the Texas Betony that I also purchased on clearance, that seems to be doing well, also.  This is truly the best this part of hte garden has ever looked!

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Smiles for Strangers

This morning, I was quietly watering the new transplants in my garden, listening to the sound of the birds and watching the bees buzz in the Bee Balm.  

I noticed a walker on the sidewalk in front of my garden. It is not uncommon to see walkers, runners and bikers go past the front of our house. 

I noticed her, but she did not notice me... she was too busy looking at my garden.  When she finally noticed me, she started in surprise, then smiled and said, "Walking past your garden is the favorite part of my walk."

And that one comment made my day. 

 I love my garden.  I love the riot of color, the textures and the smells. I love the promise of a new transplant.  I love the joy when a plant takes off and really grows for the first time.  I love the dependability of established plants that come back year after year.

But even more, to know that my garden brings joy, not just to me, but to random people walking past. That through this love of mine, I can bring a smile to someone... without even being there.

It is a wonderful thing :o)

As I was still smiling from the interaction, and turning off the water, I glanced again toward the road.  A runner, going past, eyes perpendicular to his path.  Enjoying my garden.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

St Johns Wort blooms - only time in seven years!!!

In 2012, I bought a small container of St John's Wort from Natural Gardener and planted it in my porch garden bed.  Over the years it has grown and grown, so much that it has taken over a large portion of that bed (and various plants in its way).  And yet, it has never bloomed.  Not once.  For SEVEN YEARS.

In fact, I had come to doubt that it was St John's wort. I have thought of it as some ugly, ground cover... though it really isn't that ugly.

Today, I was looking at my garden and saw this random yellow flower among the leaves of this plant.  Hmmm - what is growing up amongst my St John's wort???

I then realized that it was the plant in bloom.  And upon closer inspection, I found one other bloom. I am guess it being the seventh wettest April on record has something to do with it blooming.  It actually has a kind of pretty flower.

I wonder if I will have to wait seven years for it to bloom again?

Sunday, April 28, 2019

New Plants

Spring is usually the time where I make my big plant purchases.  We have a nice bit of cool(ish) weather and more rain.  And I think plants planted in the spring have a better chance of making it through the winter... assuming the make it through that first summer!

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Foxglove, Roses and Cross Vine

Some flowers from this gorgeous spring.

I know I have dozens of photos of this plant, but I absolutely love it.  The largest of the three plants is now in full bloom.  Sigh.

I did a really heavy prune on my roses this year, and they have bounced back stunningly.  These are really the first big blooms of the year, but they are gorgeous!

The cross vine, so ugly and bare for most of the year, pops into color for a few weeks in the spring. For whatever reason, this year the cross vine looks worse than it has in past years...  But the individual flower is beautiful.

Transplant trials

I have not purchased a whole lot of new plants this year.  I am sort of waiting to see what fills in, and where the empty spots are after the bluebonnets are gone.  But I have transplanted a few things.  I am finally to a point where a few of my plants have grown enough that I can divide them.

Monday, April 8, 2019

April Flowers

With the bluebonnets clustered at the base of the my one blooming iris, this photo just screams spring.  These are the free irises I picked up two years ago at Natural Gardener.  Last year I had one, low-growing bloom, but this year I have the full things.  There is one more bloom sprouting behind it.  Since i didn't pick these out, I have no idea what variety they are.  I love them anyway :o)

This is the time of year for my Foxglove to be center stage. 

I transplanted my first one from behind the gate three years ago, and it has tripled in size.  Two years ago I transplanted two more.  They are blooming this year, and I hope them to really fill in this.  

There are a couple more beyond the fence that I may transplant as well.

And the roses that I gave a pretty hard pruning to in February are starting to reap the rewards.  First blooms are just appearing.

Friday, March 29, 2019


With the late freeze, and with most of my Irises having only been transplanted in the last year, and given the late date with nothing to show (almost April) I did not expect any blooms from my Irises this year. 

But while watering my back fence garden this evening, I looked over and noticed this long stalk, so close to blooming. I watered this bed just the other day, and didn't see anything, so I don't know if I missed it, or it just popped up very quickly.

I am very excited to watch over the next few days, to see what appears!

Last year, I only had one bloom, and it was just a few inches from the ground.

These are not the irises I dug up from my mother-in-law's last year, but the ones I got free from Natural Gardener two years ago...

So I have no idea what variety they are!

Butterfly Blue Pincushion Flower

I purchased these off the clearance rack of Lowe's in 2017.  I put three in my front bed, and two in the backyard west fence bed. 

In a classic example of how some plants thrive in one location and do not do well in another, the front ones grew and bloomed, while the back ones did very little. Eventually, I transplanted the back ones into the front bed.

Last year, these plants bloomed, but they were surrounded by blue bonnets, and their little purple flowers were lost among the huge blue bonnets. So this year, I pulled the bluebonnets away from this plant, and now they really shine :o)

This flower does not appear in many (any?) native Texas gardening webpages, so I am guessing they are not native. However, since purchasing these, I have seen some for sale at Natural Gardener. I have found that they are full sun, evergreen and grow 12 to 18 inches.  I would say that the mound of green in more like six inches, but then the flowers pop up six inches above the mound.  Because it is evergreen, it is an early spring bloomer.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Apricot Globe Mallow

I purchased this plant two years ago. I am not sure why, but I really wanted it.  I even paid the big bucks to get it, which I don't usually do.

And I love it :o)

I love the incredible bright pop of color that it lends to the garden.  It doesn't bloom often, and it is kind of a scraggy looking plant most of the time.  I also should have planted it more toward the center of my bed.

But it sits right there at the front... and I love it.

I have never pruned it. Maybe if I did, it wouldn't be so leggy.  But I don't know what time of year I should prune it, and I don't want to hurt it.

I found this picture of my globe mallow when I first purchased it, and it was low to the ground and sprawling.  Now it is upright... maybe if I do a big prune in late spring, it will return to this form.  
Notes pulled from online sources:
Globe mallow (or desert mallow) is not as common in Central Texas as it is out west, such as Arizona and New Mexico. But it does very well here. Its silvery gray leaves heighten colors around it all year. At the end of the cool season, it flowers with orange to pink hues. Globe mallow can be sheared or allowed to grow in a more natural form. Along with its visual aspects to the garden, it also performs well with a minimal amount of water. It’s also resistant to disease and insect problems.

This perennial wants full sun, and well-drained soil. It grows to about 30 x 30″.

Pruning: Prune once a year to approximately 6 inches to 1 ft. after it has finished blooming in late spring/early summer, which will help to prevent them from self-seeding, maximize future blooming and minimize unproductive, woody growth. Globe mallow is not the type of plant to repeatedly shear into a formal shape. When pruning, wear gloves and long sleeves since the tiny hairs on the leaves can be irritating to some as well as an eye irritant.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Bluebonnet massacre

I love the look for the Four Never Daisies nestled in among the bluebonnets!
After a warm winter ending with two very late, very cold days, my garden is a bit confused. I was getting ready for a beautiful early spring; there were blooms on the mountain laurel and my Jerusalem sage was putting up stalks, even the first wisps of Esperanza were sticking up... and then two days of freezing temperatures killed it all :o(

So, the garden is even further behind then last year, which was further behind then the previous year.

But the bluebonnets have shown up in force. The section of our front yard devoted to bluebonnets is gorgeous.

However, they have basically taken over my front garden bed. In order to keep my existing plants from being strangled, I wound up pulling up dozens of bluebonnets today. I put some in vases and jars inside, to enjoy the spring flower. But eventually I just wound up composting them.

The bright pink of my Apricot Globe Mallow is the only non-blue flower in the whole garden.

Here are a few photos of the beds - just starting to sprout out. 

You can see the sections of bed where I pulled out lots of bluebonnets.  It felt wrong and sad, but necessary.
The Brazilian Rock Rose and Regular Rock rose are both alive.  The three Shrubby Purple Skull cap (I think that is what they are), are alive, though very small. One of my new Mexican Mint marigold has some tiny leaves, giving me hope that the other two will be close behind. No sign of the Cigar Plant or Esperanza, and the Purple Fountain grass, which looked like it might be alive after such a warm winter, died in the last cold snap.

And one last photo of the bluebonnets

Monday, February 18, 2019

Spring cleaning and planting

Spring cleaning - I can wait to get it done, to get into my beds and clean out all the dead debris.  But I know I need to wait until the chance of freeze is over... but I know in Texas, that we can get freezes until the last week in February.  Ahhh, the spring time dilemma :o)

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