Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mulling Over Mulla Mulla

One of the new hot plants getting an awful lot of press in the last year has been Ptilotus exaltatus or, as it's known in its native Australia, Mulla Mulla.

Why all the attention? Well, it's a gorgeous plant, for one thing, and thrives in the harshest of conditions. Believe me, I know. I'm growing the 'Platinum Wallaby' variety in a container in my backyard now and, despite nearly a month of triple digit temperatures and very little rain, this plant is still blooming and still pretty.

According to a very informative article published last year in Sunset Magazine, the 'Platinum Wallaby' is an all-around better plant than a similar variety called 'Joey,' at least as far as North Texas gardens are concerned. 'Platinum Wallaby' prefers alkaline soil, which we have a lot of here, and as a perennial, it also appears to just be generally tougher.

Since Proven Winners is a supplier of 'Platinum Wallaby,' I'm hoping it will hop to our local nurseries faster than a bush kangaroo.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Brutal Temperatures All Around

It's been an especially hot and nasty summer around Dallas - and much of the country, apparently. So my complaining about it won't get me much sympathy.

One of the worst things is watching the plants suffer. My in-laws are coming to visit, so I planted a bunch of new flowers in front of the house, only to watch them shrivel within hours. They've since bounced back a little, but a landscape filled with semi-shrivelled flowers isn't exactly the impression I wanted to make on my family.

"I thought she was supposed to be a gardener!" I can hear my MIL say to my FIL in a hushed, tut-tut type of voice. Actually, my MIL is a wonderful woman and would probably never say such a thing. But...these are English people, and they have no way of knowing the struggles we Southern U.S. gardeners endure. They come from the land of lush backyards and Alan Titchmarsh, after all.

The family arrives tomorrow. I bought a bunch of new flowers yesterday and am going to plant them around the yard tonight in hopes they hold for a couple of days. After that, I don't care what happens.

Especially Nice New Purchases: A 'Red Riding Hood' mandevilla (from Home Depot!), enormous 'Hot Papaya' and 'Harvest Moon' coneflowers

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Back Again

I'm still here, believe it or not. I created a Facebook group to post ideas and such, and while I have a lot of followers, there isn't much interaction and I couldn't do long posts. So I'm back here blogging, at least for a bit.

Anyhoo...the weather here in Texas is its usual, unbearable summer self. Nearly 100° every dang day. How are we supposed to garden in that? Well, we aren't.

Of course, the triple digit temperatures didn't stop me from ordering some coneflowers and daylilies that were on sale at Garden Crossings. Not sure how long that sale is going on, but I highly recommend GC for their robust plants, as opposed to the pathetic little 3" pots that other mail order companies will charge $20 for.

It has been a cucumber-laden summer for me. Last year was the first time I grew Burpee's 'Yellow Submarine' cuke. I got two huge fruits toward the end of the season but that was it. Well, this year has been a different story. I check the two vines every other day and routinely come back with six or seven gargantuan cucumbers. I don't know how they get so big so fast. It's creepy, really. Fortunately, they stay very yummy up until they get to a foot long (and I've harvested several of that size, believe me). Pickling has been a great way to use them up and they have made absolutely delicious dill spears.

Truth be told, though, the only way I'm going to stop the production of these monsters is to pull the plants up, which I'll be doing this weekend. It's time to start some fall veggies anyway.

Hope all is well with everyone out there.