The bug 2008

Once again the seed and plant catalogs are piling high in the mailbox. I’m inevitably reminded by the mild weather and the bare flower beds that it will soon be time for spring sowing and gardening. I plan to take off a week from work either in February or March to devote to the yards. I’m trying to look up weather reports to help me with planning this week off. I did check out the Texas Almanac website to learn about the last freeze dates. Average last freeze dates for Dallas/Collin counties is March 16. I’ve also scanned the site to retrieve average monthly temperatures for my area.

Edging ideas

I’m thinking about installing aluminum edging in the back yard. Shopping online, I found reasonably priced aluminum lawn edging at I’d like to start with the side yard, and hopefully move on to the rear flower beds. Plans are to use asian jasmine ground cover for most of the area currently covered with a weed mat, while the side yard will feature variegated liriope as border/edging plants.

Winter cleanup and filling holes

With the mild weather this past Sunday, DH and I did some pruning and clearing of the front yards. DH took some shears and proceeded to prune the dead branches off our two myrtles. He also removed the unsightly canna leaves that frost had killed. I pulled and uprooted grass that had infiltrated and overwhelmed both front yard beds, and I’m happy to see that I will be transplanting some nandina and salvia volunteers to the rear yard this year.  The fringeflower bushes next to the front door have doubled in height since they first arrived and are in desperate need of shearing, which will happen hopefully in early spring. I wonder if my mango calla lilies survived the winter and will put a showing this year? The muscari sprouts promise to bring some color the front yard when spring arrives. And while the Crimson Pirate daylily leaves have finally succumbed to the cold, I have no doubt they will return with warm weather. Now if only I can get hubby to apply some serious weed killer to the lawn.

I also hopped over to Home Depot to purchase 10 bags of topsoil to fill some holes dug up in the yard. I suspect Dash has attempted to burrow underneath the crepe myrtle in the side yard, exposing the root ball. It was a surprisingly huge hole, and I’m saddened to think of the irises that were lost. I’m also upset to find the remains of my zebra iris, Doe Z Doe, scattered in the side yard. The nandinas I planted and replanted in the middle back bed showed signs of damage (one was completely chewed/ripped apart). And if it weren’t for the planter loops I erected, I suppose the new salvia I planted may have perished. Did any of the zebras survive? I’m almost heartbroken thinking about it. Such is the plight of the gardener who shares their yards with dogs.

But the daffodils are pushing up through the ground and it looks like it will be a lovely show early in the year.

Gardening in the cold

January 15 in Texas usually means frigid temperatures and icy ground, but today I managed to step outside in the 55 degree weather to do some garden repair work. Yes, I was silly enough to do it in shorts…but I had a mission to get the job done before heading out to work.

After the dogs did their damage and uprooted one of the nandinas late last year, I went back to replant the other displaced nandina, and brought the spare nandina out of its pot to plant it in the gaping hole in the ground. The displaced nandina showed signs of chewing and broken stems…I’m hoping it might survive, given its hardy nature. I really should get some water on them.

The side bed showed some disturbance, the base of the myrtle had some dirt/mulch dug away from it. Dash, who always hides beneath the bushes here, has managed to once again crash through the makeshift fencing and drag the salvia microphylla around with him. I’m looking forward to trimming Hot Lips come February/March. I’m happy to note that the daffodil bulbs are sending shoots up, visible in the bare ground.

Hubby’s idea of laying down a weed mat around the flower beds is starting to look worse and worse. Without proper groundcover, valuable soil is slowly eroding away toward the back fence. I’ve been browsing the ClassyGroundcovers site for jasmine or other options to replace the weed mat. But it appears to entail a lot of work using the fast-growing jasmine, which needs a solid barrier to prevent it from spreading to the lawn.

I’m also thinking of purchasing some bare root Liriope Silver Dragons to use as a border plant in the side and middle beds.