Sunday, November 29, 2009

vegetable garden update

romaine (Parris Island Cos in front, Freckles in back)

Except for my broccoli, whose leaves are being eaten by some worm I can never catch, my fall vegetables are doing well. My lettuces are particularly happy. I still have jalapenos and anaheims producing, too. I already harvested a bunch of my basil and froze it, but I still have plenty going strong, at least until tomorrow night when it is supposed to get down to the low 40s. Today's weird weather is perfect for harvesting lots of those lettuces: heading out!

leaf lettuces (Red Sails, Oak Leaf Blend)

butterhead lettuces (Speckles, Marvel of Four Seasons); leaf lettuce (Tango)

chard (Five Color Silverbeet, Bright Lights) and kale (Italian Lacinato Nero Toscana)

cauliflower (Chef's Choice Blend)

carrots (Scarlet Nantes, Purple Haze, Carnival Blend) that I need to thin

beets (Early Wonder, Gourmet Blend, Detroit Dark Red)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

experiment in cuttings

I'm brand new at propagating plants from stem cuttings, but I'm game. Several days ago, I gently stuck some cuttings from my potted Persian Shield (Strobilanthes dyerianus) and Pineapple Coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides 'pineapple') in seed starter soil mix and placed them in a mostly shaded spot (above photo). They got some rain Friday, so I decided today was the time to put baggies over them to keep them moister and warmer.

I brought one inside to see if it fares better or worse than the outside group. If they root and survive, I'll transplant them into pots and bring them inside for the winter. With luck, they'll survive, and I'll put them back outside in the spring. Maybe I'll be daring and even plant some in the ground!

tented cuttings with their parent plants below

Sunday, November 15, 2009

garden bloggers' bloom day

Silverado sage, Mealycup Sage (Salvia farinacea 'Victoria Blue'), silver ponyfoot and blackfoot daisies, Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha)

The weather here has been beautiful lately. Two months ago, I couldn't have imagined we'd finally get moderate temperatures and enough rain again to bring our front yard garden back to life. And positively lush, too! Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting bloom day on the 15th of every month.


Forsythia Sage (salvia madrensis) from Renee at Renee's Roots

paperwhite narcissus blooming two months early

miniature rose 'Red Cascade'

ornamental pepper 'black pearl'

Persian shield and pineapple coleus: I know they're not blooms, but the colors and combination are so cool, I had to include them.

loropetalum and plumbago

Also blooming today are indigo spires salvia, Mexican heather, Turk's cap, lantana, marigolds, pansies, rosemary, ruellia, and black dalea.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

unusual blooming timing

paperwhite narcissus

I don't know if it's the combination of our drought and recent rain, but several of my plants are blooming when they normally don't.

This paperwhite narcissus (fighting the lantana) didn't bloom until mid-January last year.

Red Cascade miniature rose (currently my only rose because it seems foolproof) usually blooms in the Spring.

This Provence lavender sometimes blooms in November but not this profusely.

The black dalea has bloomed this time of year before, but like the lavender, not as profusely as this year.

Bees are all over the black dalea.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I would like to thank the academy

I am not worthy, but THANK YOU to The Curious Holts of wabi-sabihomeandgarden for including me as a recipient of bloggers' Honest Scrap Awards.

There are more than two dozen fantastic Austin-area garden blogs, but here are three of my more offbeat favorites: Hungersauce, The Bearded Gourmand, and Austin Agrodolce.

And, in the spirit of the award's requests, here are some honest things about me:
-I'm six years older than my husband.
-I've snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef and did NOT enjoy the water.
-I was an extra in Billy Idol's "Don't Need a Gun" music video.
-I have one near-sighted eye and one far-sighted eye.

Thanks again and cheers, y'all!

Friday, November 6, 2009

veggie beds: rage against the weeds

"Speckles" butterhead lettuce

In this case, horseherb was the main culprit. I like horseherb as a groundcover in other parts of the yard, but I most definitely did not like it smothering my veggie seedlings. It was my fault for letting it get so out of control. Aargh.

Usually I do my weeding quietly with a big glass of iced green tea, content to focus on the task and listen to the sounds of the neighborhood, but this time I needed extra encouragement. So, armed with a bloody mary and my iPod, I cranked up my favorite Rage Against the Machine tunes and got to work.

lettuce beds, before

lettuce beds, after

other veggie beds, after

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

identification of mystery trees

EDITED Wed., 11-4-09: Treefolks called and confirmed what Caroline and Pam suspected: they're both Mexican Plum trees!

While I was out voting today, the people from Treefolks' Neighborwoods free tree program delivered our two "small stature" trees. Unfortunately, they left no identification on the trees. (I've left them a phone message.)

The choices (none of which I have any experience) were American Smoketree, Flameleaf Sumac, Mexican Plum, and Texas Mountain Laurel. I'm looking on the Lady Bird Wildflower Center database but haven't figured them out yet. Does someone recognize these?

left tree

right tree