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Garden inspiration, great plant combinations on vacation

This year’s low-key vacation didn’t include any garden tours for me, though I was pleasantly surprised at the beautiful gardens we enjoyed while at the amusement park on our trip to Virginia Beach.

I know, it’s called Busch Gardens, but I hadn’t really thought about the Gardens part of it.  The entire park is nestled into lush gardens that soften and enhance the entire family experience.

There were colorful and clever little vignettes around every corner.

Even though she was more interested in all the wild and wacky rollercoasters, Kallie appreciated the flowers, too and was one of the prettiest blooms in this garden.

Being so close to the beach, the garden glowed with traditional tropical colors and textures — all plants I love.

It was beautiful and made our experience there (the walking, waiting and sweating!) much more pleasant.

I suspect I’ll have some serious garden photos to share on our next summer vacation, which will be Thailand.

By | August 24th, 2012|Blog, Sharing Nature's Garden, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Sand between my toes…

I’ve missed my garden.

We’ve been on a wonderful vacation at Virginia beach.  We played in the ocean, read on the beach, toured Colonial Williamsburg, and went through the whirlwind of Busch Gardens.


There’s a post in there somewhere — probably tomorrow.  I thought I would blog on the trip, or write some draft posts for later, or read blogs.

But I didn’t.

I enjoyed the true vacation, but I missed my garden and the blogs.

And while reading garden magazines on the plane home, I found the inspiration I’d been missing in the mid-summer slump.

I made note after note about new gardening, landscaping, blogging and article ideas. 

So, tomorrow it’s back to the real world or writing, drawing and planning.  (Oh, and laundry.)

But I really did enjoy having my toes in the sand!

By | August 4th, 2012|Blog, Sharing Nature's Garden, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Tough Stuff in the Garden — drought-tolerant plants blooming in the summer heat

We’ve reached the dog days of summer in Central Texas. But then again, the dog days of summer have arrived around most of the country with this unusual and unbearable heat wave causing record temperatures everywhere you look. Some of my trusted summer bloomers are taking a little break — ready for some pruning to bring on more flowers. But there are drought-tolerant xeric plants in my garden that are taking it all in stride.

This desert rose is just starting to thrive as the heat here mimics desert-like conditions. Needless to say, I don’t really water this one.

This butterfly bush is happily putting on purple plumes with only once-a-week watering because of our restrictions.

Many summer annuals are thriving, too.  Zinnias scattered throughout my beds are undaunted by the heat.  These pink cut and come again zinnias and the narrow-leaf zinnias below are both blooming away.

Well-adapted crape myrtle trees are also in full bloom.  This burgundy dwarf variety in the background makes a nice contrast to the ruby crystals grass blooming in front of it.  The ruby crystals are a pass-along from Lancashire Rose of Rock Rose.

These lemons are happily growing into hardy fruit — they are in a pot so the get a drink and a little shower burst from me almost every day like they would down in South Florida.

While some of my other salvias are done blooming for a bit, this pitcher sage is just getting started.

Drought-tolerant native and adapted plants are being put to the test with these dry 100+ degree days, most are surviving and some are even thriving.  They are always our best bet here in Central Texas.

 Which tough plants are powering on in your garden in this heat?

By | July 7th, 2012|Blog, Sharing Nature's Garden, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Fall Color in the Garden – Lion’s Tail happily wagging

The mornings and nights are finally cooler.

The sky looks just a little different.

The days are getting shorter.

And it’s only going to be 91 degrees today.

Those are the signs of fall in the Central Texas garden.

And great conditions for enjoying Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, hosted by Carol of May Dreams Gardens each month on the 15th.

It’s relief from unrelenting heat, and we’re still enjoying the effects of last weekend’s 1.57 inches of rain.

The garden seems to have been rejuvenated. There is nothing quite like a good dose of rainwater to perk everything up again.

And so it is with plants in the cutting garden. In my last post, there was a long shot of it bursting with yellows and creams and oranges, and the wild Coreopsis sneaking through the fence to join the show.

This is the star of the show. This Lion’s Tail, Leonotis leonurus, is from the Lamiaceae or mint family. It’s native to South Africa, and is drought tolerant, which explains why it’s happy in our gardens here in Central Texas.

A dwarf variety, these are only 3 to 4 feet tall. I’ve planted others in previous years and they were up to 6 feet tall.

Their unusual form and profuse blooms add wonderful color to the emerging fall garden.

By | October 15th, 2011|Blog, Sharing Nature's Garden, Uncategorized|0 Comments

My sweet Magnolia

What a beauty.

I know we aren’t “supposed” to grow Magnolias (Magnolia grandiflora) here in hot, dry, alkaline central Texas, but many will tell you that the dwarf variety, “Little Gem” is acceptable.

If you love the look of the old south and all the romance evoked by these glorious trees and the lush gardens in which they are usually found, you will find Little Gem much more than acceptable.
Our recent rains have prompted a flush of blooms all over our Little Gem, and the scent is just heavenly. I walk out to the middle of the yard and stand there just to take in the aroma.
It stresses a little in the drought, but then many trees do, even our natives sometime show their displeasure with our unrelenting summers.
In anticipation of another La Nina summer, I think I will fertilize or compost mine now to give it a little extra boost going into the heat. After all the enjoyment it has given us, I think it deserves a little extra TLC.

Majestic flower! How purely beautiful
Thou art, as rising from thy bower of green,
Those dark and glossy leaves so thick and full,
Thou standest like a high-born forest queen
Among thy maidens clustering round so fair,–
I love to watch thy sculptured form unfolding,
And look into thy depths, to image there
A fairy cavern, and while thus beholding,
And while thy breeze floats o’er thee, matchless flower,
I breathe the perfume, delicate and strong,
That comes like incense from thy petal-bower;
My fancy roams those southern woods along,
Beneath that glorious tree, where deep among
The unsunned leaves thy large while flowercups hung!
Christopher Pearce Cranch,
Poem to the Magnolia Grandiflora
By | May 23rd, 2010|Blog, Sharing Nature's Garden, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Dressing and awards!

I was delighted to read comments on my blog this afternoon and see that my friend Amy, a newer member of the Austin Bloggers group, has generously shared a blog award with me.

Thanks, Amy, of Go Away, I’m Gardening, for this little pre-Thanksgiving gift. I have to admit sometimes I am still surprised that there are people out there reading my blog at all! I love this garden community that transcends time and space and climate.

I must now pass this award on to other blogs who I think deserve such an award along with these instructions. Post the award on your blog along with the name of the person who passed it on to you and link to their blog. Choose blogs you think are great and pass it on to them.

So, my first passalong of the award goes to Robin, of Getting Grounded. Her blog is always interesting and beautiful and full of new ideas and plants that I haven’t tried yet in my shady spaces.

And my second passalong, goes to Janet, the Queen of Seaford, who has a Virginia garden blog, but has roots like mine in Texas and Germany. And she has digging dogs, so there’s that link, too. I love her sometimes tropical plantings, and always learn something new when I go to her blog.

There were so many blogs I could have chosen; I love reading them all, frankly, but that would have made my post WAY too long!

We’re in Indiana enjoying the holidays with family, so I send you Happy Thanksgiving wishes along with this photo of Nana’s Homemade Oyster Dressing before it went in the oven…yummm

Did I mention that I brought a plastic container with ripe tomatoes from Texas to Indiana in my suitcase yesterday? Boy are they good! And since tomato season here is long gone, they are a welcome treat!

By | November 25th, 2009|Blog, Sharing Nature's Garden, Uncategorized|0 Comments