Greening up the garden on Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

After several gifts of much-needed rain this spring, the garden is beaming with delight.  (As are the weeds, but that’s another story.)

We barely saw winter this year, it made a few stops nearby, but never stayed long enough to qualify for a freeze at my house.

Having happily forgone dormancy, many plants in the garden are big and bursting with blooms well ahead of their traditional schedules.  So here is a peek into my garden as I celebrate Garden Bloggers Bloom day, created by Carol of May Dreams Gardens.

This tropical hibiscus was never expected to make it through the winter – I planted two them knowing I’d probably have to replace them this spring, but low and behold, they are happily blooming again.

Euphorbia ‘Ascot rainbow’ against the backdrop of native prairie verbena.

Jerusalem sage, Phlomis, getting cozy with some Salvia Greggii in the front bed.

New additions to my shade garden last year, I added both solid yellow and fruit cocktail shrimp plant to the palette.

Purple and fuchsia dominate the end of the front bed.  The irises in the foreground are done already, but they were a lovely lavender.

Scuttelaria wrightii, purple skullcap, enjoyed our warm spring and is trailing out into the walkway.
I replanted Cleome ‘Senorita Rosalita’ again this year where I had some holes in the front bed.  It makes a nice contrast agains the sculptural foxtail ferns.

A tidy, low, mounding shrub, Catmint ‘Walker’s Low,’ is one of my favorites.

The Salvia ‘Mexican limelight’ on the right and back of this photo is only sporting a few blooms right now, but soon it will create a nice contrast against the yellow Calylophus in the front.

The butterflies homed right in on this native butterfly weed — they knew I’d planted it just for them. (Along with dill, parsley, fennel and many other host/food plants.)

This explosion of four-nerve daisies came flying over from the bed on the other side of the driveway and clearly like where they landed!

More prairie verbena in driveway bed, set against the Lantana ‘horrida,’ — purple and orange is one of my go-to color combos.

Early spring and much-needed rains also mean an early pruning season in the garden.  I’m not quite as excited about that result.

Here, the Jerusalem sage, Salvia greggii, Zexmenia, Mexican feather grass and Mexican honesuckle are getting just a little too neighborly for my taste.  I’m gonna have to go break up the fight out there this week!

I’ve twice tried to plant Cardoon in this bed with no success.  This year, voila!  This plant, put in last summer, overwintered well and is rewarding me with blooms.

I love its color and its beautiful, exotic form.

The cardoon, related to the artichoke, is enjoyed frequently in Mediterranean cuisine.  It is grown primarily for its thick stalks, which can be braised, stewed or deep-fried.

I’ve also grown artichokes many times in the past, but usually let the chokes bloom instead of eating them.  They are just too pretty to eat, in my opinion.

I think I’ll try to cook a few of the stalks of this cardoon – just to see what it tastes like.

Most of my lantana is blooming throughout the garden.  Purple trailing lantana is backed byLoropetalum ‘ever red’ in the front walkway bed.

I think this is Lantana ‘cherry sunrise’ on the side of the house.  Unlike the native ‘horrida’ which can take over your garden – growing up to 6 feet wide and almost as tall – this cultivar is a very compact and orderly size of 2-3 feet wide.

The first of several rock roses began blooming this week.  Pavonia lasiopetala is a tough native plant, but the deer find it tasty, so it has to live inside of the fence.

This daylily, ‘grape magic’ was ordered from Olallie Daylily Gardens when I created the daylily bed in 2008.  It was advertised as an August bloomer.  Just a tad early this year~!

This is Mexican flame vine, hard at work brightening up this section of fence.

These daylilies are not in the daylily bed, but out by the pool.  I don’t know the cultivar, and they look a little washed out in this photo – they are a very deep, velvety maroon color.

Just down the way in the pool bed, this Pride of Barbados has also begun to bloom, well in advance of its traditional August arrival.

Last year’s addition to the pool bed was this Iochroma ‘royal queen.’

I didn’t realize how well it would do in this spot, so I’ll have to keep pruning it.  I might have to get a few more to put in other spots in the bed now that I’ve seen how much they like it.

Clematis pitcheri is crawling with delicate little blooms.

Although I like the bright blue larkspur the best, the white and pale blue are the most prominent in the cutting garden this spring.

Leonotis leonurus, lion’s tail, ‘carefree beauty’ rose and Salvia ‘indigo spires’ are all blooming at once in the cutting garden.

Our recent rains have been good for these salvias.  In times of drought, they really fade back.

Plenty of chow for pollinators in this garden!

I planted a few 4″ pots of Limonium sinuatum, (statice) in the garden last month.  After all, a cutting garden needs some of this bouquet staple, doesn’t it?

The Echinacea reseed in this small spot and come back in droves, year after year.

Behind the pool, the transplanted Salvia ‘Amistad’ adapted very well and is bordered by yellow bulbine.

Behind our fence, the oleander I planted last year as a screen is doing its job.  I will probably add a few more this year so we can start taking out some cedars.

The Loropetalum ‘ever red’ in the front bed makes a dramatic statement.

The Texas Yellow Star, or Lindheimera texana daisy, reseeded into my decomposed granite path and now towers above all of the other low-growers.  It doesn’t really matter, though, because the bluebonnets and wine cups have already taken over the entire path, so the yellow star can be right at home.

We may be in for an early, hot summer, but I’m ok with that since I’ve enjoyed so many beautiful early blooms in the garden.  What’s blooming in your garden today?

By | 2017-11-29T23:26:55+00:00 May 15th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Mellow and not so mellow yellow in my garden….

If you asked me about my favorite colors in the garden, I’d say: purple, lavender, blue, orange, yellow…and trail off about then.  I posted this a few months ago and forgot about it — here are the names of all the yellow fellows in my garden:

Lantana Horrida
Lantana New Gold
Lantana confetti
Cuban buttercup
Candlestick tree
Jerusalem sage
St. John’s wort
Bright edge yucca
Lemon Mallow
Gopher plant

I wouldn’t even put yellow in my top 3.  And yet, as I look around my garden, it’s yellow that I see everywhere.  It’s a major element in many of my beds, but it’s gotten there without serious thought to including it.

Let’s face it, there are many plants with yellow blooms that love our hot sun and dry days.  So it’s always easy to find something yellow to add to a vignette.

And as I count the yellow bloomers in my landscape, I smile.  Yellow makes me happy.  That must be why I am surrounded by it.  Subliminal intention.

As I was writing this post, I began typing the plant names, and then thought – why now make a contest out of it?  Let’s see how many of these perky plants you can ID!  I’ll edit the post when the guessing is done and post all the names.

Ready, set, go!

By | 2016-04-14T02:38:54+00:00 October 27th, 2014|Blog, Sharing Nature's Garden, Uncategorized|0 Comments

No lack of gardening chores, even in winter weather…

We’ve had some uncharacteristically cold days and nights in Central Texas this year.  Winter arrived early and didn’t let up. 

I’ll admit, I do enjoy a little garden break.  But the garden still beckons me when the sun comes out and the weather warms just a little. 

As I look out, I see:

  • shrubs and perennials I’d like to prune,

(don’t those look terrible?)

  • weeds that are taunting me by growing right through the cold,

  • leaves calling my name (even though I will leave them there to protect plants),
  • the see-sawing back and forth of deciding whether or not to do some larger projects while things are dormant,
  • and piles of empty pots, unattended seed packets and a few dead plants in the garage – breaking the rules of everything having a place in the new cabinets.

But I also see:

  • bulbs peeking up out of the mulch, growing just as they should, working hard to be ready for spring,

  • winter-loving plants like the hellebores and quince getting ready to bloom, 

  • and the blue bonnet foliage growing and spreading.

I know what comes next, do you?  The rationalizing…

I think … oh, I still have plenty of time go take care of those chores … oh, it’s still pretty cold out – I don’t really want to be out there yet … oh, I should be doing indoor organizing chores …

You know the drill, I know you do.  Don’t those things go through your head as well?

Ah, the peace of winter and the promise of spring. (And just a little smidge of the guilt of gardening!)

By | 2016-04-14T02:39:28+00:00 January 9th, 2014|Blog, Sharing Nature's Garden, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Kids love beautiful gardens, too…

I just came from morning assembly at Kallie’s elementary school where they honored me for designing their front garden — donating all the plants and creating the bed at cost. It was so special – they gave me this GIANT card and beautiful sunflowers and are putting up a sign recognizing the work. 
We planted tough, xeric plants in the school colors – gold and purple — lantana, damianita, Indigo spires, grasses, blackfoot daisies and a lovely tree.  

 I  love working with such a great school. 
By | 2016-04-14T02:39:31+00:00 May 24th, 2013|Blog, Sharing Nature's Garden, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Agave afficionado’s garden delights on tour…

Today I joined my garden blogging friends Pam Penick, of Digging, Cat Jones, of The Whimsical Gardener, Jeanne McWeeney of Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog, and Shirley Fox of Rock, Oak, Deer, for the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days tour.

It was a great morning – a little foggy early on, but very comfortable for garden gawking.  We toured six wonderful Austin gardens — all of them true gardener’s gardens — full of creative and personal touches.  I met most of the gardeners and hosts and enjoyed hearing about the evolution of the gardens.

 Carved into rocky ledges, Jeff Pavlat’s garden was a southwest/agave afficionado’s dream come true.  Every imaginable combination of agave, aloe, yucca and cactus bedazzled us.

With our changing climate here in Central Texas, these plants are proving to be great additions to gardens that are in as much transition as the weather.

 Layers of limestone steps and retaining walls combined with the natural escarpment to lead visitors down the slopes.  Artistic touches complemented many of the vignettes and combinations.

 There were even agaves where there were no agaves.

 Some of the focal points were whimsical, and others were inspirational.

 Pots were also used to add height and interest to plant combinations.

 Looking down into a stream and koi pond, the sound of water beckons you for a closer look.

 The welcome committee was still hanging around from Wednesday night’s festivities.

 Many of the small specimens were scattered about in beautiful, textured pottery.

 And, above all else, his is a collector’s garden.  Plants fill every inch of the greenhouse.  I have no idea where the big pots will go in the winter!

 A few critters were keeping an eye on us as we wandered through the garden.

 This one was easily the creepiest.

There were several varieties I vowed to find and add to my garden, especially this yucca gloriosa “tiny star.”

I thoroughly enjoyed this drought-tolerant and creative garden with all of its texture, stone and sculptural plants. 

By | 2017-11-29T23:27:15+00:00 November 3rd, 2012|Blog, Sharing Nature's Garden, Uncategorized|0 Comments