Spring garden spruce up…

While the weather was cold and before it was planting season, I started a project at my house to add a chopped limestone edge and an Oklahoma flagstone cap to the beds along the front walk.  It turned out great and I was very happy with the result.

But then the nice weather came, and with it, clients.  Clients who wanted designs and hardscaping and landscaping and the items left unfinished on my project remained unfinished.  Until this week.

An unexpected opening for the crew found them at my house with 4-1/2 yards of great soil – Thunder Garden Soil from  Geo Growers.  That was worked into the front beds, which are now, in essence, raised beds.  Miscellaneous volunteer seeds – zinnias and salvias and other random plants were hoed out and given the boot.

I stood back and took stock of my bed and tried to view it as I would a client’s.  I’d been unhappy with it for a while.  So off  I went, three days in a row, to the nursery to load up every inch of my car with plants.

We filled the holes and created structure and contrast and texture (all the things I preach about!) These are the plants I added:

  • Foxtail ferns
  • Variegated agapanthus – these are way cool!
  • Persian shield
  • Sparkler Sedge
  • Purple pixie loropetalum
  • Mexican bush sage
  • Amistad salvia
  • Bat-faced cuphea
  • Blackfoot daisy
  • Mexican honeysuckle
  • Purple skullcap
  • Yellow zinnias
  • Skeletonleaf goldeneye
  • Sun coleus
  • Copper plant
  • Helianthus maxmilliani
  • Whale’s tongue agave
  • Miss Molly buddleia
  • Yellow bulbine
  • Hibiscus
  • Mexican bird of paradise

These didn’t all go into the walkway bed, I filled holes in other beds, too. I finally replaced my critically-wounded franzosini agave with a whale’s tongue.  It will never be the same, but it also won’t make 30 pups a month that have to be cut out and it won’t get 20 feet tall and it won’t freeze as easily.

I love the new plants and the new mulch that followed, but one of the things I’m most excited about is that they finally brought me moss rocks to put in the section of dry creek right by the front door.  After lots of — no, tilt it this way, no, bury that end, no turn it around, not this way, that way — I am happy with the placement of the rocks.  They add so much to the natural look of the entire area.

Though they are still small, the Persian shield and loropetalum will add a nice purple to the lime spikes of the sparkler sedge and the hot gold Cuban duranta that’s now just emerging from dormancy.

My new passalong bronze iris from Robin at Getting Grounded went into this bed along with some coleus to mirror the lime and purple on the other side.

These foxtail ferns (my first ever) will provide some structural contrast for the rock rose volunteer in the center that I babied over the winter.  The yellow zinnias will coordinate with the yellow skeletonleaf golden eye and the bright edge yucca further down the bed.

I can’t wait to see the brilliant purple Amistad savlias bloom next to the bright edge and the agapanthus.  (It’s still hard to envision it all since almost nothing is blooming quite yet.)

This vignette is at the end of the path – yellow columbine, golden grass, sun coleus, creeping jenny, a yellow lantana and hidden – a copper plant that will grow to become a nice tall bronze backdrop on the left.

This is just a little slice of the bed behind the pool.  The ginormous Maggie roses used to live here.  Now the center piece will be this Miss Molly buddleia, surrounded in front by a semi-circle of pure yellow bulbine.  On either side of the bed are phlox paniculata and lavender trailing lantana and Mexican oregano.

I moved the Amistad salvias from behind these bright edge yuccas last fall.  They just didn’t do well in this bed – I think it was too hot for them here.  The stock tank I painted holds an evergreen wisteria planted in the fall – check out the amazing bloom color here.  So now between the two I have three Mexican honeysuckles with their hot orange blooms to play off the purple, yellow and lime.  Love those combos.

So, now I wait, and water a lot by hand.  Bought a few new expandable hoses (yes, I love them and will do a post soon).  And I’m using rainwater from the tank, so that feels great.  I think there are probably 200-250 gallons in there and that’s going to go fast if it’s going to be 90 every day.

I’m happy with the result and enjoyed walking through the garden tonight with gin and tonic in hand, surveying all the new things and appreciating my garden.

New bed well on its way…

On Friday, many of the plants for the new bed went into their new homes.

I wasn’t able to get several of the things on my list, but I did get most of them, so this is a good start.

And I was able to transplant all of the plants from the preious bed — either to more appropriate spaces to fit the design of the new bed, or into other beds where I had holes.

I’m also very excited that I was able to harvest from my own little volunteer ‘incubator’ of Lamb’s ears. They threw off seed from their blooms and new babies started growing in the playscape gravel next to the cutting garden. More than 20 of them were pulled from the gravel and put into the new bed. If you get out your magnifying glass, you can see them on the lowest level of the bed next to the Blackfoot daisies. The are the silver dots in this photo! What you can’t see just below the Lamb’s ears are several mounding Pink Texas Skullcaps, Skutellaria suffrutescens.

Visible only in this photo in the very back is my transplanted Butterfly Bush, Buddleja, which may or may not be ‘Black Knight.’ It is a deep royal purple and very vibrant. (In the process of researching the botanical name for my variety, I learned that is isn’t spelled Buddleia, which is how I’ve always spelled it, but Buddleja. Saw it first on Wikipedia and didn’t trust them as a horticultural resource, but then I confirmed it with Dave’s Garden, which I do trust! Thought that was interesting trivia.) Around the base of it, I transplanted several Lantana montevidensis, ‘Trailing Purple.’

The pinkish grass is Fireworks Purple Foutain Grass – Pennisetum rubrum ‘Fireworks.’ Next to it, Silver Ponyfoot, Dichondra argentea.

Up here is Artemesia powis castle which I hope will spill over the wall to mix with Blue Velvet Trailing Verbena, Verbena hybrida.
Obstructing your new here is a stick-like native persimmon. I was going to take it out, but I may prune it a bit and look at it for a while to see if it will fit in and can stay. Look closely behind it and you will see a Salvia GreggiiHot pink.’ Next to it are three Daimianita daisies, Chrysactinia mexicana. You can see them better below. Then on the lower level, almost out of sight, are 5 gray Santolinas, Santolina chamaecyarissus.

On the upper level there are three Euryops chrysanthemoides with some Sweet Potato vines Ipomoea batatas to surround it and trail down the wall around the Salvia Mesa ‘purple‘ and the Mexican Feather grasses Nasella tenuissima. Blackfoot daisies and Lamb’s ears in foreground. To the left of the Euryops will be a large blue Agave, a small boulder and some ground cover of Purple Wine Cups.

So, that’s it so far. I’m quite happy with this very xeric bed. Still searching for Mexican Oregano, LARGE Blue Agave, Color guard yucca, and a Queen Victoria agave or something similar with the upright form and strings! And another ground cover.

Oh, Happy GBB Day!

It’s Bloom Day here in Central Texas, where the ground is still damp, the morning skies are a little gray and the gardeners are on Cloud 9.

Carol, of May Dreams Gardens, invites us to share our garden blooms on the 15th of every month.

Enjoy a little trip through some interesting things in my garden today.

This isn’t everything that’s blooming here today, just things that have burst back into life after our 7 inches of glorious rain last weekend.

It’s amazing what a good dose of real rain water will do for our gardens. And it was even down to 69 degrees last night.

Fall is just around the corner.
This is a Hyacinth Bean that was turning yellow and not flowering before the rains.
Sadly, the rains washed my BT off this Butterfly weed. Can you see the hundreds of baby caterpillars eating at the buffet there? Ewwww. They have almost destroyed the plants, so I think I will have to spray them again.
The Abutilon is very happy, and has managed to bloom all summer in spite of the drought.
I’m ever so proud of this beautiful clump of Oxblood lilies, passed along to me by MSS of Zanthan Gardens.
The Sweet Alyssum are bursting with blooms thanks to the cooler weather.
My favorite purple ‘Homestead’ Verbena.
Straight neck squash blossoms promise wonderful produce to come.
That pesky Cypress Vine is out of control again. I like it right now, but thank goodness for winter!
This is a canteloupe bloom. It’s taking over my whole garden — it’s bed, the pathways on either side of its bed and part of the other two beds! It better make me some fruit.
There’s another view of the squash with its blooms peeking out. And, there, see the canteloupe tendrils sneaking over in front of it?
Morning glories saluting the day again.
My Cosmos in the cutting garden are have gotten their second wind now.

The Esperanza are stunning — they were happy in the drought and now they are happy with the rain. Can’t complain about that, now can you?
The Hibiscus in pots have multiple blooms for the first time in months.
Autumn Joy Sedum is blooming its little head off.
Another little Oxblood lily.
One of the few Agapanthus that the darn hound dog didn’t dig up. What is it with her and bulbs at this time of year? Is there something going on here that I am missing?
These poor little Salvias have been stunted all summer long – and bloomless. Yeah for rain.
The Turks Cap is full of little red hats of happiness, and the Mangave ‘macho mocha,’ given to me by Pam, of Digging, is pretty happy here, too.
The flickering flame-like blooms of the candlestick tree, Cassia alata, are lighting up my garden.
And, of course, what would a lot of rain be without a pretty mushroom?
A few little Lobelias, planted with no success several years ago, have made a bit of an appearance now. I don’t think they will really make it where they are though — I might have to think about moving them.
The wedelia is so slow to grow here, but I did get several blooms out of this one this week.
And the Buddleia is finally blooming again. The other one is borderline dead, but it’s showing signs of a few green leaves this week. I hope it survives.

All in all, it’s a great bloom day here at Nature’s Garden.


Sometimes our plants are just sneaky.  This is my Saucer Hibiscus, foolishly planted in the front walkway bed, where the deer and the antelope play!  (Just kidding – but only about the antelope part!)

I periodically walk out front to find that all the new buds have been stolen and all that I have left are green stems, hastily chomped off in the search for a tasty green entree.
But today, my hibiscus was sneaky.  Somehow, she evaded those does, and burst forth with a bloom unequalled anywhere in my garden.  The sheer size of these just makes me shake my head in awe.  They are just stunning.  And even though they are few and far between, I love seeing them there, towering above the Lantana and the Euonymous and the Skullcap.
The Indigo Spires are very happy in the back yard – full of tall purple…well… spires!

And then, of course, are the reliable Crepe Myrtles with all their beautiful colors.  
Surprisingly, this exotic little bloom is a Morning Glory.
This trio is white Echinacea.
I realized that I totally ignore this Buddleia, because the deep purple color on my other two is just so amazing.  But this bush is tall and hearty and very pretty in its own right.
In spite of its strong aroma, the society garlics are all in bloom, though most of mine are lavender.
And this is a close-up of the Plumeria bloom.  Can’t you just smell it?  There, put your nose right up next to the monitor there…smell?   
We know what’s blooming all over — what smells good in YOUR garden today?