What’s down there inside of all these bluebonnets?

Who knew that dogs were so interested in bluebonnets?  She’s my sniffer girl – part long-legged hound, part catahoula and part husky.

Truth be told, she’s not really that interested in the bluebonnets – but she does like having a nice winecup snack.

Last year, she uprooted all of my winecup plants in this flagstone and decomposed granite path.  Apparently this beautiful trailing wildflower’s tuberous roots are quite tasty!

Side note:  Dakota has also been known to dig up and eat other bulbs, like agapanthus.  I dug it out of the front garden because the deer were eating it.  Little did I know that the deer sent a memo to Dakota, alerting her of it’s tasty bulbs.  So, now I have no safe zone … and no agapanthus.

Oops, is that a bug in there?  She’ll eat them, too!

Awwww, Momma, I’m really a good girl…

Brilliant bluebonnets brighten the spring countryside in Central Texas…

It’s a banner year for Texas wildflowers.  Just the right amount of fall and spring rain has bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush, Indian Blanket and a slew of other wildflowers cover Central Texas.

This burst of blooms even made the national news; I was delighted to see it on Monday night’s NBC Nightly News.  We’re so proud of our wildflower displays that have their roots in the beautification efforts started by Lady Bird Johnson while her husband was president.

Lady Bird wanted to clean up Washington D.C. and the country’s highways by regulating billboards, junkyards and other unsightly displays that she felt marred the natural beauty of our nation’s countryside.

President Johnson announced the America the Beautiful initiative during his State of the Union speech in January 1965, saying:

“I want to make sure that the America we see from these major highways is a beautiful America.”

Thus followed  Highway Beautification act that called for control of outdoor advertising and other items along Interstate or primary highways and encouraged scenic enhancement of our nation’s roadsides.

On her 70th birthday in 1982, Mrs. Johnson founded the National Wildflower Research Center, a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to the preservation and re-establishment of native plants in natural and planned landscapes.  She donated 60 acres of land to establish the Center. In December, 1997, the Center was renamed the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in honor of Mrs. Johnson’s 85th birthday.  Mrs. Johnson was chairman of the Wildflower Center’s board of directors until her death in 2007.

I remember well her passing, as the people of Texas lined up for miles along her funeral procession route, the hearse coming through Oak Hill on its way to her final resting place beside her husband at the family cemetery at the LBJ ranch.

She accomplished so much in her lifetime, and she left us an amazing legacy by raising awareness of the importance of preserving natural and native beauty in our nation.

Bluebonnets against the backdrop of the Hill Country.

The bluebonnet show is just as dramatic in contrast to Indian Paintbrush.

In my own garden, bluebonnets blanket my stone and granite path and my daughter’s play scape pea gravel, taking their place with another of my spring favorites, winecup.

Up close or as distant blur of constant blue along the hills of Texas, bluebonnets herald the arrival of spring like no other.

Dazzling color in the spring garden…

We all love the spring garden — the awakening of plants that herald the arrival of spring and provide a foreshadowing of more  to come.

As the sun shifts in the sky and the breezes begin to warm up, I’m enjoying some rejuvenating time in the garden.

I bought these sweet glass daffodils to bring a pop of color into the garden before the daffodils were ready to open up.

The ‘Kate Izzard’ irises are loaded up and several of them are opening every day.  You can tell that I should have divided them last fall, which I fully intended to do, but I seriously need to do that this fall.

Just gorgeous.

Even though traditional tulips aren’t in our Central Texas plant palette, these species tulips, cluisana ‘Lady Jane’ are sweet substitutes in my garden. 

This little patch of phlox disappears entirely in the head of summer, but I can count on it to emerge in spring with loads of little blooms.

My cemetery irises are also popping open all over the garden.  Our winter clearly made the irises happy.

Bluebonnets are covering my decomposed granite path, and even Kallie’s playground filled with pea gravel.  Fletcher enjoys a peaceful moment with them here.

While most of the buds on my monster wisteria were frozen in our last freeze, there are still some opening up and draping delicately from the fence.

And then there is the homestead verbena.  What a powerhouse.  In the cooler spring and fall, they thrive and liven up any spot in the garden.  They will shrivel and look poor in the heat of summer, but just shade your eyes and pretend not to see them until they return again in the fall.  Even though many of our bloomers start now and run through the fall, homestead verbena is well worth it’s little summer break.

Now that the threat of freezing is past (I have my fingers crossed as I type this), it’s time to fill in the rest of the garden with new and exciting plants that will herald the summer.

Signs of spring in the garden…

Like all gardeners, I’m eagerly awaiting the arrival of spring.  While the calendar won’t declare it spring for some time, here in Central Texas, the signs of spring abound with the recent above-average temperatures.

 These aren’t new spring plants popping up, but I love the color in the winter garden.

 If you look closely, you can see the buds forming on the Mexican plum tree.

The new bark is emerging on my lacebark elm tree.  Beautiful bark is a wonderful sculptural element in the garden.

The bluebonnets are growing quickly now – getting ready to put on a real show in my crushed granite path.

My loropetalum has hundreds if not thousands of teeny tiny buds, waiting to turn into pink fringe flowers.

The hellebores are starting to bloom.  I have to go out and lift them up to see these delicious drooping flowers. Even though I can’t see them easily when walking down the path, the lure of these mysterious blooms makes for a fun garden game of hide and seek.

This one’s in full bloom.  It’s limey-green petals camouflage this flower even more than the others.  Helleborus ‘green gambler,’ is a fast grower and usually has some burgundy spotting, veining, or picotee on each bloom.   The picotee is the edge that is a different color than the flower’s main color.

These are very special little specimens — muscari golden fragrance. Unlike most muscari, these are not the tell-tale purple, but rather a soft yellow and they have a wonderful scent. They are very low to the ground – about 5 inches high – so I literally have to get down on the ground to get a whiff of them. But it’s worth it!

The primrose jasmine is about to burst forth beautiful yellow blooms.  This one is about 5 feet tall, so it will be brilliant when it’s covered.

These little daffodils are looking good.  Soon it will be time to blow away the blanket of leaves and let the flowers shine.

The deer have been checking things out in the almost-spring garden as well.  It’s ok, maybe they pushed down my newly planted bulbs since I know I probably didn’t plant them deep enough. (I don’t really worry about that, though, since they seem to come up and perform regardless of my late and lazy planting!)

My cemetery passalong irises are already blooming.  I believe these came from my garden blogger buddy, who blogs here about her garden, which is filled with many kinds of iris.

The loquat tree is sporting new foliage.  I love this tree and the lime-colored new growth that contrasts with the glossy, established dark-green leaves.
And, one last bloom – I bought 3 lovely glass daffodils at the nursery last week and put them next to the emerging real ones.  I wonder what the growing daffodils will think when they come up to find these imposters in their garden.
What’s coming up in your garden today?

More signs of spring blooming in the garden – bluebonnets

As the days go by, the signs of spring in the garden evolve.  More daffodils are blooming everyday and the Japanese Quince is full of color.

Now I’m enjoying the emergence of the bluebonnets and the wonderful grape-scented Texas mountain laurels.

Ah, spring.

Are there signs of spring in your garden yet?

Beautiful spring blooms and bulbs brighten the garden…

Isn’t she lovely? Isn’t she wonderful?

My bletilla striata, also known as ground orchids, burst into bloom suddenly this weekend and I almost missed them. I love their exotic form and stunning color.

These little blooms are jonquilla “baby moon” and are less than an inch in diameter. About 8 inches tall, they are miniatures in every way. Their stems are like long, thin, round blades of grass. They bloom last of all my daffodils, but they are my favorites because of their delicate form.

Although I’m saddened to mark the loss of some of my cilantro, thanks to the early and unseasonably warm temperatures, I do think the blooms are sweet.

This is an oops bulb. It must have come in a bag of daffodil bulbs that I ordered, because that’s what’s blooming all around her. But I love the swirling red, white and pink color combination.

These tulips were intentionally planted. My neighbor brought me bulbs back from her trip to the Netherlands in February and I promptly put them in the ground. They were up in no time, much to my surprise. Because I’m not willing to dig up tulip bulbs and replant them every year (which we have to do in our hot climate because we don’t have enough chilling hours), I don’t have tulips in my garden. But I might have to dig these up for sentimental reasons. They have special meaning for me — they were a gift from a dear friend, and I lived in the Netherlands for four years when I was a young girl.

The bright lime green of these daylily leaves make a pretty contrast against this purple salvia — sadly it didn’t come with a good tag when I planted it, so I have no idea which of the 200+ salvias it is. I just know it’s colorful and hardy.

This is hellebore ‘winter wren‘. It and ‘Phoebe‘ are both blooming. They were sad when the weather first warmed up and I thought the summer heat had zapped them. Then all of a sudden they had a growth spurt and put on a show.

The bluebonnets are bringing great color to my cutting garden (although I never cut them!). They also spread their seeds all over Kallie’s play scape. Those plants are a few weeks slower growing than these, so I hope to have fun pictures of them soon. They clearly love that pea gravel.

My Japanese Maple was miserable last summer, but is happy with this wet, temperate spring.

Are any of these beautiful blooms putting on a show in your garden yet this spring?