Saturday, February 19, 2022

Spring is so close I can smell it!!

We are still getting freezing nights, but the days are frequently warming up to the 60s or 70s.  Not much is budding, but I can almost feel the anticipation in the air.  The only green things right now are those that are evergreen.  

Some plants look like they are barely hanging on: 
The Heartleaf Skullcap, Rubeckia and Engelmann Daisies still only have a few leaves, the Oak Leaf Hydrangea is holding one or two sad looking red leaves. The Creeping Germander is healthy, though covered with fallen Oak leaves and the Pittosporum are looking tired but green.  

Other plants hold their own through the winter, like the Jerusalem sage, the newly planted Pineapple Guava and, of course, the bluebonnets are a bright splash of green in the yard.  

And some you can almost feel them getting ready to leap: the foxglove penstemon still is small, but somehow it just feels like it is ready to leap and the irises are half brown, but you can feel them reaching upward.

But the gopher plant (Euphorbia rigida), planted just this fall, is showing just  a tip of yellow that seems to indicate that the first flower of spring is almost here.

And the tiny Crocus tips are starting to show as well!

The standing cypress that showed up for the first time last year is looking healthy and green, and another first year standing cypress has popped up a couple fee to the left of the original!

The transplanted agarita is looking happy and green, no sign of yellow flowers, though, as is the Blue Weeping Yucca.  This plant has really turned into a show stopper, in my opinion.  I did take some time to cut back the solar garden, cutting down the dead Obedient plant and pulling up those that were encroaching on other plants.  Cut back the Bee Balm and grasses as well.

Nicely trimmed up, just waiting to grow!

The two Western Rough Golden Rods I planted last year are looking withered,
but all around it, small green leaves have popped up that look like they might be new golden rods.  I guess they established enough last year to spread by rhizomes.  I am somewhat fearful seeing how quickly this plant has spread in just a few months, but everything I read says that they are wonderful for native insects... And fortunately they are all by themselves, mostly.

The Twist of Lime Abelia is looking really pretty, as one of the fresh green colors in the front garden. It has not grown much, but I wouldn't really expect it to in its first few months :)

Birds seen in the yard this week:  We saw our first ever Eastern Blue Birds.  The pair showed up while I was doing the Annual Backyard Bird count.  It hung around in the Chinaberry; the female ate sumac seeds, and the male came twice to take a sip from the fountain.  And then they flew off.  Hopefully they will remember our home as a place to return to :)

Sunday, October 10, 2021

My new water garden

 My mom and I always connected through gardening.  

Even in her foggiest hours, she could remember the names of plants and the calls of birds.  

She always wanted me to put in a water garden, but the 2 feet of limestone and months of drought always daunted me. 

Finally last year, the boys and I started digging. Unfortunately, she passed before she could see the finished product, but every morning I sit and enjoy the pond and think of her.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

American Beautyberry Nature Journal

When the berries on this gorgeous plant start to darken, you know summer's intense heat only has a bit more time to go!

This is one of the most draught tolerant, no hassle plants I own.  After a long number of incredibly hot days with no water, it will start to wilt, but give it some water and it pops right back up again!

I learned today that its leaves contain three chemicals (callicarpenal, intermedeol and spathulenol) which repel mosquitos (link).  Crush the leaves up, and place them around you to naturally be mosquito free.  

Historically, people used to crush up the leaves and put them under the harness of horses. Root tea was used for dysentery and stomach aches.  The root and berries were used for colic and as a treatment for a wide variety of common ailments. 

Deer are apparently very fond of the berries, and I know that chickens are as well. 

These beauty berries all died back during the 5 day freeze this winter, but have come back as strong and lush as previously!

Monday, August 23, 2021

Sow what you want to reap - Garden tip for life

When I go on my morning run and smile at those I pass, I receive half a dozen smiles and waves in return.  When I hand out extra plants to friends and co-workers, suddenly people are finding extras in their garden to give as well.  

And when I have been wronged and treat that person with forgiveness and kindness, not only do I immediately feel better, but when I myself am in the wrong, I am more likely to be treated the same.  One thing I have found to be overwhelmingly true in life is: you reap what you sow.

If you want a field of bluebonnets, you gotta first throw down some seeds.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Fall Veggies

 Planted 6 tomato plants and 2 Jalapeno plants.  A little late to be planting them, but I thought I'd give it a try.

Also planted Edmonson Cucumber seeds from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange  along the fence and Cucumis sativus Homemade pickles from Botanical Interests.

Edmonson:  70 days.  1913 Kansas heirloom.  4" whitish green fruits with butterly flavor and crisp texture.  Vigorous vines.  Has good resistance to disease, insects and drought.  best for pickles and used for slicing too.

Homemade pickles:  55 days. Arguably the best cucumber available for pickles.  Solid crisp interior is perfect for 1 1/2" - 6" pickles. Resitant to anthracnose, angular leaf spot, downy mildew, and powdery mildew.  

Happy First Day of August

The flowers and plants are really loving the extra rain we have gotten this summer.  But even in the hottest, driest of days, this solar garden I planted two years ago still shines!

Filled with my toughest heat-loving plants, I just really love how it turned a dry brown patch of dirt into this gorgeous collection of colors.  It is certainly the highlight of my August yard.  And the Obedient plant, which has never flourished anywhere else, is gorgeous in this bed!!  I love the interplay of purple, red and yellow!

I bought the large pot last year (maybe two years ago?) and have not know what to put in it.  This year, I decided to fill it with Silver pony foot.  And I love the way it cascades over the sides, looking almost like water.

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