Front yard fireworks

06/29/06 Peppermint Lace Crape MyrtleYou know it’s summer when the myrtles are blooming. While the rest of Dallas/Fort Worth is enjoying the colorful blooms adorning highways, business fronts and neighborhood parks, our myrtles seem to have gotten a slow start and are just now beginning to flower. Our front yard is home to 7 crape myrtles: 1 Natchez crape tree, 1 Acoma weeping crape myrtle, 4 Petite Snow crape myrtles, and 1 Peppermint Lace crape myrtle, pictured on the left. All of them are loaded down with buds, bursting at the seams and ready to put on a vibrant show.

“My lawn is going to kick your yard’s grass…”

6/21/06 Front YardThat’s the challenge posed by two amateur lawn-keepers hoping to win bragging rights to the best-looking lawn by the end of June. The gauntlet was thrown down between Dear Hubby and his friend a few months ago, and now the end of the contest is in sight. Only a week to go before judging and a winner is named. Will it be fondue night or a lobster dinner to mark the victory feast? (Personally, I’m salivating in anticipation of the crustaceous dinner at Steve Field’s.) Both competitors have already proclaimed themselves the victor ahead of the final judging, but only time and weather will decide whose green reigns supreme.

Did I mention that Wylie is now enforcing stage 3 water restrictions? That means watering only once a week. Somebody I know (DH) was slapped with a warning after he was found violating the ordinance, watering his lawn at 1:23am on a Wednesday morning–after I specifically told him the cutoff at midnight. Oh well, when we win this contest, all will be forgiven. 😀

Welcome to Summer 2006

6/19/2006 Red Autumn SageThis is the first official day of summer, and surprisingly, it’s 90 degrees cool. Possible rain in the forecast this week, but for now, I am enjoying the nice breeze outside and the clouds scudding across the sky.

6/19/2006 White Autumn SageTexas summers aren’t like other summers. Summer-blooming lilies don’t behave true in the brutal Texas climate. All of my beds have long shed their colorful blooms and have settled into a green state, storing food for the coming winter. However, a few of my late-purchased bulbs, notably the dwarf lilies, are bravely putting out buds.

Yesterday, I took a pruning shear and started lopping the dead twigs off the Hot Lips salvia and pinched off spent blooms on the Red salvia greggii. The Red salvias still look spectacular, aflame in red buds. The two Hot Lips that received extra pruning are trying to make a comeback, despite looking yellowish. I noticed a scattering solid red and white blooms on them earlier today. The purple greggiis have settled into quiescence, while one of the new San Antonio greggiis flowers profusely. Dad’s white salvias still haven’t been planted, but they are merrily blooming in their pots.

On my nightstand reading list…The New Book of Salvias: Sages for Every Garden by Betsy Clebsch.

Lollipop lollipop

06/18/06 Lollipop LiliesOne more surprise greeted me Saturday morning: it appears one of my late plantings of Lollypop lilies had flowered. Standing under 1ft tall, it looks like a thin reedy stalk with 3 flowers crowning it. I have one or two more in different beds with the same reedy stem and heads of buds, just waiting to bloom. FYI, these Lollipops were purchased from Robyns Gardens Ebay store. So far, most of my bulb purchases with them have yielded great results. I can’t wait for the Reinesse lilies to bloom!

Weathering the weekend

6/19/2006 Early June plantings with Harlequin EuonymusCooler temperatures hit my garden this weekend, which proved to be of some relief to my plants. The four specimens of Harlequin Euonymus that I planted in my test bed are looking fairly scorched on the pale leaves. My concerns that they would not be robust have yet to be unfounded since they have sat quietly without any visible signs of spreading.

Needless to say, with the brief showers we experienced, I didn’t have to break the mandatory water restrictions to resuscitate some of the flower beds. The Hot Lips salvia plantings are budding again (I need to prune those) despite enduring the wilting weather from last week. Salvia greggii have proven themselves more hardy in direct sun, showing no obvious signs of wilt. Alas, a strong gust of wind knocked a tree limb on top of one of my purple salvia greggiis. Let’s hope it survives…

Okay, I exaggerate. Lowes had my red/charcoal lodestone bricks reduced to 78 cents per brick, so I naturally bought some more. I was wheeling 50 bricks and 2 bags of mulch to the backyard when I lost control of the silly old wheelbarrow and it collapsed on top of the purple salvia. In the process of extricating the barrow, the salvia and a neighboring lily were squashed, and the remains of an ill-planted fringeflower was uprooted and trashed. Nobody but the dogs saw the accident, so I can freely blame it on an errant tree limb.

Dad gave me two more salvias to add to my new collection. Two quart pots of white salvia greggii will be joining the rest, as soon as I decide where to put them. Happy Father’s Day!