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Ye Olde Garden

The pre-winter graveyard

It’s been a good two weeks since my last post. The climate has turned to rain to freezing temps back to chilly. Since we experienced a solid week of sub-freezing wind chills and temps, it’s natural that the annuals have succumbed to the frost. Where certain parts aren’t buried in leaves, my garden transformed into a graveyard in a matter of days. I hope to clear out the debris when the weather turns mild. Thankfully, the man started with pruning the Midnight Blue rose.

Goners: basils, vincas, marigolds, cosmos, ornamental peppers, salvia coccinea.

Dead top growth: caladiums, sweet potato ornamental vines (not sure if these Illusion potatoes will come back next year), callas, Sinaloa salvia, the purple oxalis in the blue bed, most of the asters.

Subject to change: foxtail ferns, Mexican heather.

Surprises: a few of the petunias are still green, all of the coreopsis have green foliage and appear to have grown, the larkspur seedlings appear unaffected by the freeze, one of the Autumn Embers azaleas actually had a (wilted) bloom on it, succulent planter looking pretty.

Annoyances: the yarrow continues to spread, weeds have invaded my lily bed!

Warning: images of dead plants ahead. On my Xmas wishlist: a compost bin from the city’s Park & Recreation dept.

12/9/2011 Pre-winter Graveyard (1) 12/9/2011 Pre-winter Graveyard (2) 12/9/2011 Pre-winter Graveyard (3) 12/9/2011 Pre-winter Graveyard (4) 12/9/2011 Pre-winter Graveyard (5) 12/9/2011 Pre-winter Graveyard (6) 12/9/2011 Pre-winter Graveyard (7) 12/9/2011 Pre-winter Graveyard (8) 12/9/2011 Pre-winter Graveyard (9) 12/9/2011 Pre-winter Graveyard (10) 12/9/2011 Pre-winter Graveyard (11) 12/9/2011 Pre-winter Graveyard (12) 12/9/2011 Pre-winter Graveyard (13) 12/9/2011 Pre-winter Graveyard (14) 12/9/2011 Pre-winter Graveyard (15) 12/9/2011 Pre-winter Graveyard (16)

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Ye Olde Garden

Enduring the heat 2011

Ten consecutive days of 100+ degree weather in the Dallas area. This is already the third hottest June on record here. It is also taking a toll on the garden. I can’t imagine what our water and electric bill will look like in the coming months.

Still, there are still a few plants still making a show…the scabiosa continue to bloom their heads off. The vinca and lantana truly enjoy this heat. I’m still waiting to see the marigold and salvia tree ring come to life; I’ve been catching sporadic blooms of the Durango marigolds, but have yet to observe the whole ring explode into color. The Dallas Star daylilies in the front beds still have a handful of buds waiting to burst open. And the Emerald Snow loropetalum in the front flower bed has surprised me with a smattering of white fringe flowers.

7/11/2011 July Survivors (1) 7/11/2011 July Survivors (2) 7/11/2011 July Survivors (3) 7/11/2011 July Survivors (4) 7/11/2011 July Survivors (5) 7/11/2011 July Survivors (6) 7/11/2011 July Survivors (7) 7/11/2011 July Survivors (8) 7/11/2011 July Survivors (9) 7/11/2011 July Survivors (10) 7/11/2011 July Survivors (11)

There were a few losses of course. The ornamental kale have reached the end of their life. I’m amazed they survived this long but they couldn’t take more of this weather, so I pulled them up. An old white dianthus mound gave up the ghost this weekend, which left an empty hole to fill in the lily bed. It also appears I will lose the raspberry salvia greggii in the salvia wall. The tricolor sage cutting appears to have lost the fight (I could try to rescue it by repotting it). And I’m down to the last Seabreeze salvia seedling.  Those young plants that need the most protection (i.e. common chives), I’ve put into the ground or in the planters. Very few plants are surviving in pots, like the callas, petunias and sweet potato vines. Even the lobelia which I thought would endure are looking very dried and shriveled.

7/11/2011 July Survivors (12) 7/11/2011 July Survivors (13) 7/11/2011 July Survivors (14) 7/11/2011 July Survivors (15) 7/11/2011 July Survivors (16)

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Ye Olde Garden

One month later

The winter garden is finally shuttering up the show. The annual holdouts such as the angelonia and the ornamental peppers have given up their last seasonal colors. The man and I had done some diligent pruning and clean up of the front beds, such as shearing back the gaura, removing dead coleus and cutting back the salvias, including the Victoria Blues. I had planted some violas and ornamental cabbages/kale in the gardenia bed, which have been blanketed by fall debris. Too bad we didn’t have a way to compost all the autumn leaves; that’s a project for next year, hopefully. 

The purple garden has been cleaned of the dried out ornamental peppers. I’ve also removed as much of the bicolor salvia as I could. Here’s to hoping that my reseeding efforts will bear fruit in the spring. I’ve sprinkled as much of the seeds closer to the side of the house, where it’s been a challenge to grow anything. The only plant that’s managed to endure in the damp ground that killed off a lavender and a rosemary is the citronella plant  (Orange Fizz) which has soared to a whopping 3 feet high. Time will tell if it can survive the frost. Future plans: rearrange lorapetalum and purple salvias in a straight line, plant Picasso and Devils Wine callas.

I’ve gone ahead and planted the blueberry dianthus in the blue bed, after uprooting and repotting the plumbago and applying a generous layer of mulch. I’ve also taken some rooted bits of Wood’s Blue aster and replanted them. I finished off the bed with plantings of violas. It is perhaps the only color left…the oxalis top growth are turning an unflattering shade of brown.

I am happy to see that the herb garden is thriving, thanks to departure of the basil plants. The rosemary is enjoying good circulation, full sun and perhaps has grown more in the last few weeks than it has all summer. The oreganos, thyme and pineapple mint are sprawling happily…too happily in fact, since I’ve had to shear back the mint. I am hoping to clone the Hot & Spicy Oregano in the opposite corner of the bed, so that I can have a second specimen. The man and I have decided on two priorities for this herb garden in 2011: 1) plant only basil in this bed, and 2) purchase some fencing to keep the pups out. We might just pot up the pepper plants or set them up in a separate bed.

I’ve removed some of the Flame Callas from the courtyard flower bed. The bed is looking rather bare, especially with the annual azaleas dying off. I plan on moving the daylilies in this bed as well as transplanting the rest of the callas out. I hope to get some more red and white dianthus to completely border the bed. Some more of those chocolate ajuga might produce a red, white, and blue border in the spring. The question is: what shrubbery to plant for next year?

Shade garden: more ferns, caladiums and nandinas perhaps. I definitely want to look into variegated liriope as an option. I hope the hakonechloa come back.

Speaking of which, those dwarf mondo grasses bordering our gravel extension are doing quite well. I hope they will grow hardy in time for next summer’s drought and heat.

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Ye Olde Garden

More purchases, plantings, and today’s wishlist

08/09/2007 Agastache Acapulco Salmon PinkOn Tuesday, dear hubby and I took a trip to the local Home Depot. I was intent on building on the idea of his tree ring by grabbing 16 red/charcoal foot-wide retaining wall stones. I also needed some new gardening gloves and gave me a good excuse to check out the plant selection. Sadly, no blue salvia in stock. I did find two trays of Agastache Acapulco Salmon & Pink in full bloom. I took one home and got it planted yesterday.

I discovered that the Salvia Hot Lips in the side yard had gotten so big and rangy that it overwhelmed a neighboring purple salvia (along with a black ophiogon, artemisia, and the only other existing anemone). I quickly dug up the purple salvia–okay, more like violently uprooted–and transplanted it to the middle bed. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it’s going to survive the move, having lost much of its rootball. It hadn’t been too healthy to begin with after living in the shadow of its leggy neighbor.

So I’ve been toying with the idea of putting crocuses in the yard, except that I learned that they are considered annuals in Texas. Having learned my lesson with tulips, I’m not about to invest in a single-year show. So other ideas have crept onto my white-and-blue wishlist of the day: more muscari, more irises (dutch and dwarfs), white daffodils, white callas, allium caeruleum (azureum), nepeta (catmint) racemosa or faassenii, black leaf plants such as heuchera and ajuga and penstemon digitalis Ruby Tuesday. I’m also growing fond of Agastache rupestris and a agastache coccinea x rupestris hybrid called Firebird.

Speculation of the day: those salvia greggi reds in my front yard–could they be Furman Reds?