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?

A sure sign of fall…

Whether the temperatures cooperate or not, fall announces itself in the garden.  One of the harbingers of the changing seasons is the arrival of my Oxblood lilies. 

Passalongs from my friend at Zanthan Gardens, they pop up like clockwork, even if the sun is still scalding us.  Small and delicate, they always bring a smile to my face, knowing that the cooler days of fall are just around the corner.

Fall.  And a whole new palette in the garden.

Bulbs and bores … hellebores, that is

The promise of spring bursts from the irises in my garden today. This clump of stunning blooms, passalongs from Pam Penick, of Digging, has come into its own this year.  She calls them Shoshanna’s irises, named for a friend who passed them along to her.

Last week, I was lamenting that our exceptionally warm winter didn’t do my hellebores any favors.  There were no blooms in sight and with a heavy sigh I gave up hope of flowers for this year.  Less than a week later – voila!  Blooms galore.  She must have known I was sad.

 You can see here that she was trying to hide those buds and blooms – like hellebores do — but I helped Phoebe posed for photos this morning so you could see her.

Any hellebores in your garden?

Garden resolutions 2013

I’ve long given up New Year’s Resolutions — but I do make some to-do lists.  If I call them to-do lists, I seem to get around to them better!

This year I have a long garden to-do list.  Perhaps committing it to eternal, world-wide view on my blog will help me check things off my list!

So, here goes:

 1.  Plant more trees outside the back fence in front of scrubby cedars.  I love this smoke tree and planted one for a client this fall, wishing all the while that I had one to enjoy. 

 2.  Have an a corner arbor build to showcase my tangerine cross vine and my wisteria.  The cross vine winds along the fence and then climbs  20 feet up into a tree where I can’t see it.  The wisteria spends most of its time hanging out on the opposite side of the fence — hiding from me — to be closer to the morning sun.  A tall arbor would give them both plenty of room to keep growing — growing where I can enjoy them!

 3.  Replace the pride of Barbados that I lost over the last two winters.  I love the explosion of color these trees bring in the late summer and I’ve missed mine.  I vow to find some great hot spots for them to thrive.

4.  I will buy more bigger starter plants this year.  I’ve bemoaned the fact that my newer plants struggled to come back from harsh winters and scalding summers.  Some years they even came back smaller than when I planted them!  When I can, I want to invest in more established plants.

 5.  With too much on my plate, blogging and scrapbooking have waited in the wings too much this year.  I love those creative outlets and want to give myself more opportunities for gathering inspiration from them.

 6.  Divide, divide, divide.  I have irises, bi-color irises and lilies that really need dividing.  In fact, they needed dividing this fall.  This will be the year of dividing, replanting and sharing.

 7.  Prune, prune, prune.  My cottage garden, cutting garden and hot southwest garden all suffered from overgrown-itis this year.  Yes, the plants were all beautiful, but I know that pruned properly they would have complemented each other and showcased their individual characteristics better.

 8.  This year I will plant my bulbs before January … oh, wait … that means today!  Yikes – better go find them and get to planting!

 9.  I WILL make homemade pesto from my basil “trees” this year.  I say that every year when my basil gets out of hand — I mean stunning — but this year I really mean it.

10.  And last, well, there never is a last, but I plan to dig up most of this and rebuild the dry creek with moss rock and other, larger stones.  The recycled glass will come out and I will raise up the bed to help plants thrive there.  With very little soil and a berm to avoid soil on the fence, the plants don’t get enough water and the soil just isn’t deep enough.  The solution — protect the fence from rotting by putting hardy board against it and rock in the front to add good soil.

That’s the list — for now.  As with everything in gardening – it’s organic and will change a thousand times over the next year.  But it’s a good start and I feel good about making decisions to tackle some of my current and perpetual problems.

Guess we’ll see where I end up this time next year.

What’s on your garden resolution list for 2013?

Ocelot Iris wowing me in the spring garden…

This ocelot iris just opened and it’s living up to it’s advertising. It’s a tall beared iris and I planted it in the front bed in September of ’08. It’s only bloomed twice. Those years, its bloom was a very faded creamy yellow and a dusty mauve — no where near the vibrant colors I fell in love with when I ordered them from Spring Hill. And I even complained about it on my blog here.

But this must have been the year. Maybe it was the drought. Maybe it was the rains. Maybe it was the mild winter.

Whatever it was, I’m happy. She’s a beautiful vision of ruffled loveliness.

Ahhh, spring! Do you have irises blooming in your garden now?

By | 2017-11-29T23:27:17+00:00 March 22nd, 2012|Blog, bulbs, iris, Ocelot iris, Sharing Nature's Garden|0 Comments

Replenishing, rejuvenating rain in the garden…

We’ve been given another gift of rain this week. Tied up in a lovely wet bow, our gardens are drinking it in, happy to have the thirst-quenching relief from our frightening drought.

We’re not out of the woods yet in Central Texas — we’re still in an official drought. But our fall and winter rains have reduced the severity of the drought. It has been down-graded from the most critical level of last summer — exceptional — to moderate. (There are five levels outlined by the U.S. Drought Monitor – from abnormally dry to exceptional.)

A brief bout of garbanzo bean-sized hail at our house yesterday gave me quite a scare — I was cringing for the daffodils, blue bonnets and vegetables. But they’ve all weathered the storm and are doing fine. They are a little droopy today, but not damaged. (I realized after tweeting that yesterday that only a gardener would describe the hail as garbanzo-bean sized, since it was bigger than pea-sized. It only occurred to me later that non-gardeners might have called it marble-sized!)

The mountain laurels are in full bloom here, and the row along the driveway is looking green and juicy with all the rain. And I can’t seem to get enough of their wonderful grape-like aroma, which conjures up summer Kool-aid memories for me.

My rain barrels are all full — which is great — but it’s still raining. I wish I had more of them, but we’re talking about getting a rainwater collection system. Maybe that needs to move up on my to-do list for next week so we don’t miss any more of this precious spring rain.

Are you enjoying some rejuvenating rain in your garden today?