spring

Spring has sprung in the garden…

It feels like spring here in Central Texas, with sunny, 85-degree days dotting our early February weeks.  That might sound  more like summer to gardeners far north of here, but it’s heavenly spring for us.

The Japanese Quince has been blooming since the cooler, late-fall days, drawing butterflies to the sole flowers in the winter garden.  I’ve had a few white cemetery irises bloom and the peach irises opened up this week.  When I checked early this morning, I did detect the faintest sweet scent in the peach ones.

A few daffodils have opened.  A labeling failure two years ago is to blame for my not knowing each variety, since I do collect new ones each year.  But I recognize the Tete-a-Tetes and they’re starting to open in different parts of the garden.

Then yesterday, the Mountain Laurels burst forth.  I’d been eyeing the buds for several days, and trying to catch a whiff of the grape Kool-Aid aroma they dust on the breeze.

I banned myself from Facebook this morning because it’s been eating my mornings.  So, what do I do then?  I take the scissors outside and look for blooms to bring indoors!  I tried to put a peach iris with this little posie, but it was too big and didn’t work with these delicate little flowers, so I put it in its own vase.

Now, spring has sprung in my kitchen and it smells delicious — just like grape Kool-Aid!

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?

Cottage garden entwined with beautiful edibles highlight of Houston trip

We saw lots of interesting, beautiful and creative gardens when my friend, Pam, of Digging, and I visited Houston for the Garden Conservancy’s Open Day Tour two weeks ago.

My very favorite — a cacophony of color, texture and layers so entwined that taking it all in was a project in and of itself.  But a delightful one, not to be missed.

It wasn’t on the tour; it was recommended by Pam’s sister.  We had high expectations for the house at 605 Peddie Street, and we weren’t disappointed.  The owner, landscape consultant, Terry Gordon Smith, was hand watering the garden with a hose when he found us oohing and ahhing over  his creation.  He was very welcoming and proud of his garden and we enjoyed learning about the garden’s evolution and the weather and conditions in his Houston garden.

No lawn in sight, this garden is filled with evergreens, perennials, annuals, fruits, vegetables and herbs.

The bottle brush trees were pruned very high, making a dramatic statement towering over all the other plants.

Up close and personal – I almost can’t count how many plants are encapsulated in this close-up photo.

With so many plants filling the garden, the view from every angle is unique.

The delphiniums were gorgeous.  I love blue in the garden and there just aren’t that many good choices for us to incorporate it into our gardens.  I’ve had delphiniums, but the deer thought they were tasty!

Even the edibles make beautiful examples of perfect color combinations.

Tight shots like this make the veggies look like abstract art.

 Pam’s working on some of those close ups, too.

 Love the color combo of the delphiniums against the brightly colored house.
This was a delightful garden and, like the garden at 1514 Banks that I posted about, helped to give us a broader perspective of Houston gardens than just those one the tour.  Our weekend was totally garden-licious.  More to come soon about another cool destination nursery and restaurant combo.

Making room for spring…

It’s that time of year — the afternoon high temperature was up to 80 here yesterday.  Thursday it’s supposed to be a high of 39.  But at least we aren’t expecting a foot of snow like our friends up north.

But those warm, sunny afternoons make me restless.  Especially when the extreme cedar pollen levels make it impossible to be outside.  So, on my weekend list?  Clean out some of the garden paraphernalia in the garage — including the old seed packets.  I know that some were at least two years old, maybe older. 

Why not, you might think, keep them and try them out?  Maybe they’re still good and will germinate.  And then again, maybe not.  I’m just not willing to take that chance and have to start again or plant twice as many seeds to ensure some seedlings actually come up. 

There they are – down in the garbage can – a plethora of vegetable and flower seeds.  But don’t worry — they are going to be replaced, and soon.  Saturday night I spent a nice, cozy evening trolling through veggie seeds and placed my order to get started in the greenhouse.

And that’s what spring is all about, isn’t it?  A fresh start in the garden?

What will you be starting fresh with in your garden?

By | 2017-11-29T23:27:12+00:00 January 21st, 2014|Blog, seeds, Sharing Nature's Garden, spring|0 Comments

Plants that love cool spring evenings…

While Euryops (Euryops pectinatus), or yellow bush daisy, struggles through the dog days of summer here in Central Texas – it bursts forth with perky little blooms when nights and days are cooler here in late fall and early spring. 

In this raised bed with good soil, this one is in its third year — done with sleeping and creeping and leaping into a beautiful plant.  In addition to being showy right now, it’s clearly working hard to compete with the monster Franzosinii agave.  And with a mature height of 4-6 feet, it will likely soon have to find a new home somewhere else in the garden where it can be the focal point.