Friday, June 15, 2012

garden bloggers' bloom day

Previously undiscovered daylily

I was too lazy to post last month. Check out blooms from all over the place at May Dreams Gardens. We Austinites are now entering the it's-never-going-to-rain-here-again days, which combined with highs in the mid to upper nineties, makes me a little grumpy. But at least we've only had one triple-digit (101) day so far. And who could stay grumpy for very long with these cheery daylilies. Although they were probably planted more than 30 years ago, I somehow missed them because they were squished between fences, but husband Kurt recently took down the old chainlink and weeded that area. They appeared within a few days.

Forsythia Sage (salvia madrensis) passalong from Renee Studebaker

When Renee gave me some of her Forsythia Sage a year and a half ago, it was less than a foot tall. Now it's close to six feet. It's fairly drought-tolerant, but this week I've had to water it. It's quite melodramatic when it needs more water, very droopy. 

Bee Balm passalong from Daphne Richards

This is my first experience with Bee Balm, but I really like it so far, especially because it seems to need little water and keeps putting on blooms.

Three-year-old Skullcap resurrected itself.

First spring bloom on the very tough seven-year-old miniature rose, "Red Cascade"

The last of the lovely larkspur, whose seeds were given to me by MSS at Zanthan Gardens

And finally, the Society Garlic planted at the edge of the vegetable garden is getting enough water to bloom.

Also blooming now are Blue Plumbago, Turk's Cap, purple and white trailing Verbena, purple and white Lantana, purple and white Ruellia, and white Gaura. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

garden bloggers' bloom day

first homegrown Poppy "Hungarian Blue" 

I can't remember a prettier bloom day than what's happening in my yard today. Carol at May Dreams Gardens hosts bloom day, so make sure to check out what's blooming in other gardeners' worlds.

first homegrown Bachelor's Buttons "Black Magic" in foreground with Prairie Verbena and Blackfoot Daisies

Larkspur from MSS of Zanthan Gardens

Prairie Verbena has really spread: here it's mixed in with the larkspur.

Gaura's blooming early this year, as are some other perennials, presumably because of our mild, wet winter?

Gregg's Mistflower 

Hmm--can't remember which salvia this is.

Usually the Byzantine Gladiolas are in full bloom now, but they were early this year and are almost spent.

Also blooming are purple and white Ruellia, blue Plumbago (early!), Turk's Cap, Nasturtium, and various salvias. Happy bloom day.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

garden bloggers' bloom day

Grape hyacinth--so delicate--planted long ago by a previous homeowner.

Wow. What a difference a mild winter and decent rainfall make in my attitude towards my gardens and my gardens' rejuvenation. So thrilled to see thriving plants all over our yard, I even left the weeds alone to do their thing, something I'm sure I'll regret. But after last year's historic drought, I just couldn't bring myself to care about yanking out weeds.

Carol at May Dreams Gardens invites garden bloggers from all over to share their blooms on the 15th of each month for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. Make sure to visit her blog to see more blooms. 

young Mexican Plum tree 
I can't get enough of these Mexican Plum blooms. They remind me of my grandparents' photos of Japan in the 1940s. Exquisite.

Heirloom broccoli has bolted into airy wisps that attract beneficial insects.

My first-ever iris: thanks to Annie at The Transplantable Rose for passing it along!

Verbena and Blackfoot Daisies from a few years ago have now spread like crazy.

I thought this silver bush germander was dead last October. Shows what I know.

Crazy volunteer tomato--appears to be an heirloom?--is blooming far away from last year's tomatoes.

Happy bloom day.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

warts and all

fall aster, basil, potatoes, chard, tiny lettuces, and plumbago in one of back vegetable beds

I was going to wait until I'd weeded the vegetable beds to post any photos, but since I've been such a delinquent blogger lately, I decided to post what's been going on here, warts and all.

at least they're taller than the weeds: chard, red winter kale, dinosaur kale, red cabbage, golden beets, Romanesco broccoli, parsley, dill, sage, cilantro, mustard green, volunteer tomato, and Thai basil

I started all my fall vegetables from seeds (except the mustard green) from Botanical Interests or Seed Savers Exchange. Because of our continued drought, I hand watered the seeds three times a day until they were 1-inch seedlings then cut back to a quick watering once a day. Now that it's a little cooler, I can give them a drink every other day and a once-a-week drip soaking. So far so good.

volunteer butternut squash (probably from our compost pile) and red cabbage seedlings

The ivy that's covered our garage shed finally died, so husband Kurt spent all afternoon carefully removing all those twisty vines intertwined in the beautiful old board and batten siding to reveal, what else? The beautiful old board and batten siding, circa 1941, although it's showing its age.

shed sans ivy

My first salvia madrensis is jazzing up the corner of the shed.

I'm pleased to have already harvested one big bowl of "Contender" green beans and to see a few beets almost ready to pull. The squirrels have been digging up various seeds, which has forced me to do successive seeding, something I've never had the planning or discipline to do before. Never thought I'd have a reason to thank squirrels. 

In the back beds, my potato, broccoli, cauliflower, snow pea, carrot, and beet plants are all doing okay. Now I just need to get to weeding them!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

despite drought and heat, some bright spots

Trailing lantana's thriving with a little supplemental water.

It's almost October, but Austin's drought and heat continue to break records. It's difficult not to get discouraged with this continued daily hand watering routine of both drought-tolerant plants--"tolerant", not "impervious"--and vegetable seedlings. I guess I'm just stubborn, but I keep plugging away. Small successes go a long way at this point.

Added some mulch to the Blackfoot Daisies, salvias, and a newly planted agapanthus.

Mexican feathergrass, purple fountain grass, and white ruellia are super troopers.

Two weeks ago we revived our raised beds with more homemade compost, and I planted green bean, cauliflower, broccoli, beet, carrot, snowpea, kale, chard, parsley, and cabbage seeds. I've been watering them around three times a day, and all are now seedlings, which I'll thin this weekend. Last week I planted potatoes, too. I'm holding off on seeding lettuces, dill, and cilantro until it's consistently cooler. If it ever does become consistently cooler...

The "Contender" bush bean (far left) seeds I planted two weeks ago have grown quickly.

red winter and dinosaur kale seedlings

Time to go water the seedlings again. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

garden bloggers' bloom day, late again

Blackfoot Daisies
We finally have a 30 percent chance of rain today, but I'm not holding my breath. That it's only 90 degrees at 1 p.m. is a breath of fresh air, however! Austin has had 85 days of triple-digit heat this year, record-breaking. Mind-numbing. And continued exceptional drought and hideous wildfires. So please forgive my tardy post and lack of botanical names in today's post. Check out other garden bloggers' blooms at May Dreams Gardens.

Thank goodness the Oxblood lilies returned, even if they're a bit puney.

I forgot what kind of salvia this is. Uhm, a white one.

Cheery potted Gerber daisy

Rain (??) lilies from Annie at The Transplantable Rose

Also blooming are Turks Cap, plumbago, leadwort plumbago, white gaura, blue daze, torenia, purple and white ruellia, and rock rose.

Monday, August 15, 2011

garden bloggers' bloom day

Unfortunately, very little has changed since last month's bloom day except that it's even hotter and drier. If I'm counting right, today will be Austin's 61st day of triple-digit heat. Sigh. Be sure to check out other garden bloggers' blooms at Carol's May Dream Gardens.

leadwort plumbago groundcover

ruellia and artemisia

garlic chive and plumbago

I couldn't stand to leave this cute planter empty any longer, so I found this dwarf gomphrena and put enough rocks on top to keep the squirrels from digging it out.

Also occasionally blooming this month are white gaura, plumbago, prairie verbena, trailing lantana, pavonia, blue daze, and blackfoot daisy.

Friday, July 29, 2011

exceptional drought-tolerant plants

cenizo (Texas "Silverado" sage)
Looks like tropical storm Don is not going to grace Austin with any rain on this dry 45th day of triple-digit heat, so I'm celebrating my truly drought-tolerant plants. Plants that are surviving in full sun in this exceptional drought with NO supplemental water. Amazing. 
artemisia "Silver king":
This artemisia spreads fairly quickly and ends up two to three feet tall. I like it better than artemisia "Powis castle" because its foliage is more delicate. This stand came from one four-inch pot planted three or four years ago.
soft leaf yucca and rosemary:
The yuccas and rosemary appear a little stressed.
Not sure exactly which abelia this is. In "normal" springs and summers, it puts out tiny white fragrant blooms that attract bees.
front to back: agaves, gray santolina, and yucca
Sorry, but I don't know what type of agaves these are. Same story for the yucca. The white blooms are trailing lantana that I've watered every other week.
unknown sotol with gray santolina and Mexican feathergrass
I need help identifying this one! I didn't keep the tag, but I could swear its common name had the word "leather" or "rubber" in it, but I can't find it online. It spreads medium quickly and gets almost three feet tall. It blooms these teeny flowers (smaller than a pea) intermittently spring through fall:
Anyone recognize it?  EDITED 7-30-11: Husband Kurt found it! It's Jatropha dioica var. dioica, commonly known as leatherstem, leatherwood, or rubber plant.

My salvias, gaura, lantana, and plumbago are doing okay with weekly watering. Having to hand water my potted plants, herbs, and cucumbers almost daily is getting really old, so I particularly appreciate the tough guys I'm able to ignore.