Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Riding the Rue

Found this little fella lounging on my blue rue this morning, even though the plant is small and still in a nursery container. I moved it under my patio rocking chair when the weather suddenly turned windy and chilly. Hopefully he'll hang around and pupate. I believe he is a 4th instar Black Swallowtail.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Easy to Grow? Let's Hope So...

I am trying a new bulb company this year, Easy to Grow Bulbs. They come highly recommended by Garden Watchdog reviewers.

My order is supposed to arrive Wednesday. I'm taking Friday off to celebrate my 46th birthday by playing in the dirt...teehee!

Here's what I'm getting:
Anemone Lord Lieutenant
Dutch Iris Bronze Beauty
Lily, Trumpet Black Dragon
Tulip Saxatilis
Tulip Clusiana Cynthia
Iris Pallida Variegata

Of course, I also put in a hefty order with my own Master Gardener's association for our annual bulb sale. From what I can remember, my order includes Tulip Clusiana Lady Jane, Leucojum aestivum Gravetye Giant, and my favorite, the lovely and incredibly fragrant Narcissus Thalia (pictured above). We already have a nice bunch of Thalia in a street-side berm in our front yard, and I had to have more. Few daffodils (and tulips) will naturalize in North Texas. Thalia is one of them.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Plants Are Smarter Than We Are

Calgary man gets a year for growing opium poppies

I just ordered some seeds of Papaver Somniferum, but not for umm...."high tea" purposes. I just think they're pretty, and a big challenge to grow here in Texas.

Stressed Plants Release Aspirin-like Chemical

"Fascinating," as Mr. Spock would say. I especially love the part about plants communicating with each other.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Kinda Like Louisiana

Well, Ike is headed this way this weekend, probably in the form of a Tropical Storm. My particular area is expected to get 2-4" of rain and some pretty good sustained winds, but nothing terribly major, although the soil is already a little swampy from recent rains. Areas to the east and south of us could see some bad stuff, however.

The National Weather Service is warning people to prepare by filling up gas tanks, checking generators and stocking up on water in case widespread power outtages occur...even to the point where sewage pump stations lose power. I guess I never realized that having two 75 gallon rain barrels full of water could help us in that department. Hopefully it won't come to that. The older I get, the less I am into "roughing it", if you know what I mean.

I received my Louisiana Iris order from Iris City Gardens today. Once again, they sent big, fat, healthy-looking fans and a couple of extra freebies. My experiences with them have been nothing short of stellar. And, well, you've all seen the results of my previous purchases from them.

Here's what I got this time...and here's hoping I get these guys in the ground before Ike arrives so they can get a really good soaking...

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Late Summer's Glow

I like the glow of my backyard gardens in late summer. The white flowers of the autumn clematis on the back fence really sparkle, and in the morning light, the swaying brooms on the Zebra Grass catch the sun in a lovely manner.

And here's a look at the afore-mentioned woodpecker. Actually, there might be a pair of them; this looks like a female to me, and I know I've seen a male with the complete red "hood" on his head. It's possible this is an immature male, however. Anyway, I'm always glad to see some new and cool birds in my yard.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Gustav On the Way

It's inevitable that DFW will see some much-needed rain from Hurricane Gustav in a couple of days. As I write this, my beloved New Orleans seems to be hanging in there, and that's great news.

Speaking of weather, I really wonder what kind of winter we're going to have here in North Central Texas. One Farmer's Almanac is predicting slightly colder and drier than usual, while NOAA says the opposite.

All I know is, a red-bellied woodpecker and a pair of chickadees have already shown up at my bird feeders.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

September Should Be Busy

I've got several plant orders scheduled for early- and mid-September. Much as my darling husband hates to hear it, it's nice to have the plant-buying bug back again!

From Digging Dog Nursery:
Eupatorium rugosum Chocolate
Helictotrichon sempervirens Sapphire Fountain
Origanum Rosenkuppel
Panicum virgatum Heavy Metal
Penstemon mexicali Sunburst Ruby
Penstemon Thorn
Salvia argentea

Anemone Lord Lieutenant
Dutch Iris Bronze Beauty
Lily, Trumpet Black Dragon
Tulip Saxatilis
Tulip Clusiana Cynthia
Iris Pallida Variegata

From Bluestone Perennials
BULB Allium Schubertii
BULB Dracunculus Vulgaris
VERONICA teucrium Royal Blue
ARTEMISIA Schmidtiana Silver Mound
EUPHORBIA Tasmanian Tiger
PENSTEMON mexicale x Red Rocks
AGASTACHE Tutti Frutti
ECHINACEA purpurea Coconut Lime
ECHINACEA purpurea Pink Double Delight
CHRYSANTHEMUM superbum Crazy Daisy
LIATRIS Spicata Kobold
SEDUM Lynda Windsor
VERONICA Fairytale

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Zephranthes Labuffarosa

Notes to Self: Tropicals

Notes to Self is a new section that serves as more of a to do list for myself than anything. You see, while I'm good at lecturing other gardeners about keeping lists, it's not something I do consistently. And I should.

My collection of tropicals and otherwise tender plants has boomed in recent months. I've kept (and neglected) a couple of lemon trees in containers on the driveway for several years; it was easy to just roll them into the garage when cool weather came around. Now...well, it's going to be quite a project in getting all of the new non-hardy members into the house. So I figured an action plan would be helpful.

1. Clean Out Garage

2. Already in Pots - Move to Garage or Sunroom
Meyer Lemon
Variegated Lemon
Satsuma Mandarin
Plumaria (2)
Pride of Barbados
Brugmansia (2)
Black Olive
Barbados Cherry
Yellow Shrimp
Hibiscus (2 non-hardy)

3. Already in Pots - Move to Protected Area of Patio
Sago Palm
Agave (2) - 'Mr. Ripple' & 'Jaws'

4. Dig Up, Pot Up, Move Inside
Variegated Tapioca (2)
Alocasias (2) - 'Hilo Beauty'
Colocasia - 'Illustris'
Passionflower (2)
Cuban Oregano

5. Propogate

Target date for completion: November 1.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Not in MY Garden...

Ok, back again after a trip to England and a bout of sheer blog laziness.

I took almost as many photos of plants as I did relatives while visiting family across the Big Pond. Here are some of the more interesting/appealing ones (of plants, not relatives):

These Giant Gunnera are pretty common creekside sites around the southwest part of England, where we spent part of our trip. That's my DH posing by this specimen. He was convinced I'd order one of these upon our return to the States, but I know better.

The English are crazy for gardening, and most of them are pretty darn good at it. I had terrible dahlia envy while passing through the many lovely neighborhoods.

These gorgeous clematis were growing all along a fence outside of Dunster Castle.

Inside the castle grounds were some lovely landscaping displays.

I'd never seen a variegated maple tree before; they are apparently pretty common in Europe.

The formal garden outside of Kensington Palace in London.

Another view of the Kensington Palace formal garden.

Back soon with news about what's going on in my own backyard...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Can I Regrow My Memory from Seed?

I don't often grow flowers from seed -- vegetables, yes, but not flowers -- so I can't really use that as an excuse as to why I keep forgetting what flower seeds I did start this year. Thank goodness the flowers themselves are reminding me!

This is Scabiosa 'Dark Knight'
Gorgeous isn't it? At first I thought it was Rudbekia 'Green Wizard', but the petal-less heads suddenly open into these deep purple/black flowers. Got these seeds from Select Seeds if anyone is interested. (And behind the Scabiosa is a 'Black Pearl' ornamental purple pepper that reseeded on its own from last year's planting.)

Coreopsis 'Mardi Gras'
I ordered these seeds from Burpee a couple of years ago and didn't do anything with them until this past spring. Isn't this unusual? I love it and will start more next season.

Calendula 'Oktoberfest'
I know, I know...more yellow flowers. *sigh* The picture doesn't do this justice, though, as the undersides of the flower petals are a deep red. Lovely.

And then there are the Cleomes that have sprung up all over the yard - including through cracks in the driveway. Whoever said Cleome reseeds readily wasn't kidding.

Ah yes...I do like to grow veggies from seed. I've never started more tomatoes and peppers in mid-summer before, but lots of Texas gardeners do it. And, since I've got two plots at the Community Garden in need of filling out -- as I mentioned before, there's been a ban on growing squash family veggies this year-- more toms and pepps were called for. It'll be a good experiment for me personally as a veggie gardener, anyhow.

For those not familiar with the unique North Texas climate, we actually have two summer growing seasons here; tomatoes shut down through July and August, but new plants put in during that time will produce through November in most cases.

I've also started some winter squash (Delicata and Spaghetti) along with some watermelon and cantaloupe for growing around my own yard, although it might be too late for the latter two at this point. We'll see. Again, it's all an experiment at this point. There's also some basil and dill thrown in there for good herbal measure.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day: June

Yey, I made it this month!

The daylilies, as is usual this time of year, are cranking. Really nice to have that consistent splash of color in the front yard. The glads are about done, but gosh they're pretty. All of the yellow flowers in my aforementioned post are still blooming too...except that yellow squash I talked about has already succumbed to vine borers. Drat those things...!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Heat Is On

June has definitely brought summer to North Central Texas, along with lots of wind. The last week has seen my crank-out patio awning tucked safely away due to continuous gustiness. The wind doesn't seem to stop me from cooking steaks on the charcoal grill, however, albiet cautiously. Strangely we've not been under wind advisories.

Some spider-related news: I always try to park in the furthest of our uncovered parking lots at work. The five minute slightly uphill stroll is usually a pleasant way to start the day. But imagine my surprise yesterday when I stepped out of my vehicle and was confronted by one of these. He was really quite large, leggy and beautiful; unfortunately the photo I took with my phone-cam was pretty crappy. No one else was around to see him and I was glad, as most people's reflex would have been to stomp on him.

The Front Yard No-Grass Garden Project looks better every year. One of these days I'll have the whole thing filled in. I was pleased that the Bear's Breeches decided to finally bloom this year, after three seasons of patient waiting.

Our 12-year-old collie Alf had a seizure the other night and I fear his days are numbered. He still seems to have the energy to go digging and skulking behind the sumac shrub in the back corner of our yard, pretending he's a jungle dog, however.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

They Call Me Mellow Yellow

I hope this finds all of my fellow gardeners well and in full enjoyment of the summer weather.

In an unconscious overcompensation for an abundance of purple flowers being featured in my garden for the past few years, I've apparently shifted into a yellow phase, as evidenced below...and this is just what's blooming now. There are also yellow yarrow, esperanza, and snapdragons gearing up for a second round of flowers.

Coneflower 'Coconut Lime'

To be honest, I'm not entirely sure what this is. Looks like a type of scabiosa or double coreopsis to me...neither of which I remember planting. Help, anyone?

Tropical Hibiscus

Ornamental Peppers

Yellow Shrimp Plant

Due to the infestation of squash bugs, we've been forbidden from growing cucurbits in the Plano Community Garden this year. So...I'm growing them at home. This is a yellow squash variety called 'Gentry' - apparently bred for Southern gardeners.

More to come...I got a new digital camera (an Olympus Stylus 840!) and am still learning how to best use it.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Lagniappe (A Little Extra)

A few more Louisiana irises to drool over.

Black Gamecock (with Scabiosa)

Easter Tide

Hush Money

Our Dorothy


Friday, April 25, 2008

A Little Bit of Louisiana

Yes my gardening friends, it's time for the annual Louisiana Iris parade! The first two shown here didn't bloom for me last year, so I'm doubly tickled by their presence.

Byron Bay

Red Echo


Festivals Acadian

Fiesta Gal

Frank Chowning

More on the way..!

Monday, April 21, 2008

That's Just Ducky

The mallards in our neighborhood have been pretty friendly lately. A trio of males seems to especially like our yard.

Since we've been enjoying the HBO series of "John Adams" so much in our household, I was inspired to name them Adams, Jefferson and Franklin.