Texas Mountain Laurel

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!

Mountain laurels about to release their great grape scent …

Last year’s Mountain Laurel buds at my house were slow to develop and then succumbed to an ice storm on February 28th.  In 2010, we didn’t see the blooms until March 15th.  In 2009, they began opening their buds on February 18th.  So, it wasn’t a total surprise to find a few single buds open this weekend on February 20th.

Austin Garden Blog Mountain Laurel Blossom Spring

The branches are all heavy with buds — most of them will wait a little before unfurling their precious purple leaves, but the parade is about to begin.
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Grow, my little grape delights, grow!


We’re waiting for you!


By | 2017-11-29T23:26:57+00:00 February 21st, 2016|Blog, Sharing Nature's Garden, Texas Mountain Laurel|0 Comments

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?

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?

Everbearing strawberries ready to eat…

The ever-bearing strawberries are bearing again. Kallie ate the first red, ripe, sweet, incredibly juicy strawberry from the garden this week. She pronounced it delicious.
I’ve eaten some of this broccoli, really I have. And I have another plant that hasn’t bolted yet, so I will be eating that one, too. But I love letting some of them bloom because I think they are so pretty and delicate. Broccoli isn’t something I think of as delicate. In fact, when Kallie was little we used to call them trees at the dinner table. But the blooms are so different.
So close…The bluebonnets are just swelling up with foliar pride with all this delightful rain. I can’t wait to see them in all their blue splendor. They have self-seeded throughout the playscape pea gravel — it’s going to be a show.
I’ve seen many Texas mountain laurels blooming all over town, but mine are holding back just a little. Buds abound, though.

The Italian parsley is huge. I’m sure that the caterpillars are going to be very grateful when I have to turn it over to them. I’ll have to get out there and sneak some for myself before they get here.

Finally a few blooms for their day…

We’re breathing a sigh of relief here in Central Texas as we celebrate Garden Bloggers Bloom Day with our friend Carol of May Dreams Gardens.

Blooms are slowly coming back to our gardens. We’ve had a taste of true winter here this year, and like most of our neighbors to the north, have had to wait a long time for spring to show her face.

We are about a month behind in growth for most plants in our gardens. And while the official chance of frost has not yet passed (the range takes us to the end of March), we think we are probably safe. (How’s that for scientific guesstimating?) Isn’t that what we gardeners do though?

So here are my blooms for this very slow March. Above is a new Phlox that I added to a front bed this week.

My favorite time of year for the little peach tree – in its full glory. Since it never produces peaches, this is it – enjoy it!
After trying hard to kill all my Amaryllis this fall and winter, once they went into the greenhouse and got farther away from me, they were all happy and growing. This is the first one to bloom – it opened this week.
Okay – don’t put me in time out. I know these aren’t in the ground yet, but they will be this week and they’re just so pretty I wanted to photograph these Diamond Frost Euphorbia that will join the shade bed soon.
My Sierra Memorial Impatien is still blooming – bloomed all winter long. I hope it’s equally happy when it moves outside next week, because it’s getting a little too hot in the greenhouse when it’s 80F outside.
I have lots of strawberry blooms and even have little green strawberries growing already. I think these kinds of blooms are my favorite because I know they will yield sweet, juicy fruit that I can eat standing in my garden.
A few white and fucsia colored Alyssum plants went into vacant spots in the rock garden path yesterday. They love living in the crushed granite.
As does the Ice plant and the Homestead Verbena.

I hear my paperwhites are short because I planted them late, but they are really cute and they don’t flop over as easily either. Maybe I’m onto something!
Not a great shot, but you know the Hellebores are shy and hang their little heads so you can’t get a good photo of them. She’s pretty in spite of my lack of photo skills.
Even though the vines are pretty skanky-looking after our hard winter, I do have a few blooms on the Primrose Jasmine.
And much to my surprise, the mystery Viburnum left by the previous owners even has a little bloom on her.
The first Hymenoxis opened today and there will several following on her heels. They are growing where no one else will grown, and they like it there just fine.
Daffodils of all types are still blooming all over the beds. Sadly, I fear that those not close to blooming may not make it because it’s already too hot for them. It’s been 80F for several days and I see some leaves on daffodils without buds are already turning yellow.
Don’t ban me from GBBD for this one, but I just had to show you how close the Texas Mountain Laurel is to actually blooming. And yes, it is a full month behind. I was showing off beautiful Mt. Laurel blooms on Feb 18 last year: http://bit.ly/9BpqxP
A little Dianthus returning after the blooms all went away for the bitter cold of winter.
Loropetalum showing off her hot pink fringe flowers.
Mexican Plum tree in full bloom.
Yellow Grape Muscari “Golden Fragrance” that packs a punch of scent. It’s so sweet and yummy smelling, you almost want to take a bite out of it. (Sure hope no one does!)