Monday, November 20, 2006

Unlike Any Other

Well, we're being treated to a fabulous fall here in North Texas. The temperatures have remained mostly above freezing well after our expected first frost date (generally around 11/15) and the 10-day forecast continues in the same pattern. We'll get a slight morning frost on rooftops, but it warms so quickly that none of the plants really feel it. My coleus are pristine. One of the cannas by the swimming pool is in the process of blooming.

In my 17 years here, I don't remember it staying this nice for this long. I am grateful, as I still haven't moved most of my tropicals into the house yet. Or propagated any of the annuals. Or planted all the perennials lounging in pots on the patio.

Here's how the one backyard bed looked as of November 12. Pretty incredible.

Husband and I are taking the week after Thanksgiving off work, though, and with the weather being so cooperative, I hope to get caught up on everything indoors and out...including the many pictures I've promised to produce here, but haven't yet.

Things can change dramatically and quickly here, though, as I witnessed nearly a year ago. For now, it's wonderful.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Busy Bee

Well, it's been a whole lotta gardening for me the past couple of weeks. Let's review:

* The company I work for moved into a new building Friday. Prior to the move, I was asked by management to oversee the installation of some new landscaping, which thrilled me no end. My first landscaping job (sort of)! The hard part was finding somebody to do the work in such a short time; landscape companies are generally pretty busy this time of year.

I did the actual choosing, purchasing and arranging of the plants, and the crew simply came in and did what I told them; dig there, remove that, etc. It was great.

I'll post before and after pictures soon.

* Our Community Garden hosted a Fall Festival last weekend that turned out to be a really fun time. Nobody stepped in any of the fire ant hills that were rampant throughout the pumpkin patch, so that was good. I helped out at the Make Your Own Bird Feeder booth, where we smeared pinecones with peanut butter and then rolled them in birdseed. The kids really dug it.

My plot out there is really humming along, and I'll tell you what: putting hoops and bird netting over everything has made an amazing difference. Nothing has been munched on at all. I sprayed Bt on the curcurbits a couple of weeks ago, so the cabbage worms have been staying away too. My only wish is that I had planted more of the Purple Orach. It is gorgeous, but I only have one.

Pictures of the plot coming forthwith too...

* Today I spent the day outside in the glorious 60° weather doing various chores, like:
  • Pulling up three dead or mostly-dead nandinas and replacing them with two Texas sage.
  • Planting two five-gallon ornamental grasses that I got for $16 each at Lowe's. Really big and healthy plants too - not rootbound in the pots at all.
  • Planting 15 crocus bulbs (which I generally hate, but got by mistake from Nature Hills Nursery so I thought what-the-heck, I'll plant 'em) and six Allium Schubertii bulbs.
  • Planting various perennials that were lounging on the patio in pots.
  • Mulching the Louisiana iris bed.
  • Potting up three amaryllis bulbs. (I've placed a layer of sand on top of the soil to see if that technique really works in keeping the fungus gnats away.)

    And now...drum roll of the Front Yard Garden as it stands right now (top) and as of October 2005 (bottom):