Scenes From the February Garden

February is the start of mild spring weather in Texas while the rest of the north is still in the thrall of frosty winter. Comfortable temps means time to go plant shopping! A few of the purchase this month include: Catmint Walker’s Low (and Little Trudy again), Abelia Kaleidoscope, Nandina Blush Pink and Purple Pixie Loropetalum from Strong’s Nursery. From North Haven Gardens, a couple of Heuchera (Electra and Snow Angel), White Margin Snow Rose (serissa foetida), dianthus, herbs, and petunias…

North Haven Gardens was already awash with spring color!

Shade bed in the front yard, before (left) and after pics. I had to remember that I sank about 3 dozen daffodil bulbs late fall last year in this bed, so it was a bit tricky planting around them.

This Everillo carex nearly tripled in size in its little corner by the fence gate, staying evergreen through winter. In stark contrast is the salvia regla or Mountain Sage which is deciduous unlike the salvia greggii in our climate. But like many salvias, this one already knows spring is around the corner and is displaying new shoots off old growth.

Cat Planter

My feline-friendly planter is filling out. Catgrass germinates fast under the right conditions. In this bowl: lemongrass, lemon balm, Little Trudy catmint, variegated ginger mint, catgrass grown from seed.

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A week’s worth of gardening in one post

Yikes, gone a week without posting but not without gardening. A brief summary of what transpired in the garden in the past several days:

  • Various succulents cuttings including the Lemon Coral sedum planted in the rosemary bed
  • Added dahlberg daisies to the petunia planter
  • Cuban Gold duranta planted in front yard shade bed
  • Transplanted Victoria Blue salvias to the ends of the front yard flower bed
  • Hard pruned the Hot Lips Salvias in the front yard bed down to 1/3 height
  • Installed Magic Carpet spirea in front yard bed
  • Removed catmint from herb bed, replanted in 3″ pots
  • Transplanted golden sage, tricolor sage and dwarf mini curry plant into the herb bed
  • Removed yarrow from lily bed, installed red lantana in its place
  • Installed Tasmanian Tiger euphorbia  and Nuevo Leon salvia in blue bed
  • Sowed Summer Jewel Red salvia and Cosmic Red cosmos in the tree ring
  • Transplanted rooted cuttings of variegated lemon thyme in the tree ring
  • Returned coleus and snapdragon seedlings to the greenhouse
  • Moved some seedlings and cuttings outdoors, including the zinnia starts (which aren’t doing very well)
  • Purchased another Magic Carpet spirea from Grow It nursery

Did I mention something ate my onion chives and decapitated my Genovese basil? Pictures forthcoming!

Laboring over divisions and stumpless in color

I had some extra time this morning prior to a doctor’s appointment to putter around in the garden. I took some cuttings of yellow salvia greggii, tricolor sage, and variegated oregano to foster indoors. Meanwhile I discovered it was time  to replant the lime thyme and the variegated oregano since there were clear signs of root congestion in their cinderblock homes.  It wasn’t too difficult trimming down the roots and dividing both plants; I had desired more clones of these plants and now I have at least 2 of them out in the herb garden, with baby cuttings currently fostered in my patio planter boxes.

2/27/2012 Stumpless in Color (3) 2/27/2012 Stumpless in Color (4) 2/27/2012 Stumpless in Color (15)

Still on my list for cuttings, divisions and replanting: coreopsis, catmint, dianthus, dusty miller, hakonechloa, gaura, white salvia greggii, Sierra San Antonio salvia greggii, basil, and possibly the variegated society garlic. Dividing the gauras will be tricky…the front yard gaura has grown into a monster, and the two flanking our rose look imposing.

Meanwhile, the ajuga cuttings I took recently have begun to bloom. The lily bed is afire with red/white dianthus and pansies. The Valentines look especially vigorous!

2/27/2012 Stumpless in Color (2) 2/27/2012 Stumpless in Color (6) 2/27/2012 Stumpless in Color (7) 2/27/2012 Stumpless in Color (8) 2/27/2012 Stumpless in Color (9) 2/27/2012 Stumpless in Color (10)

Purple flames arise from our purple loropetalum! Emerald Snow is blanketed in white fringes. Elsewhere, signs of life emerging from the tulips in the front bed. And those giant grape hyacinths are looking thick and healthy!

2/27/2012 Stumpless in Color (5) 2/27/2012 Stumpless in Color (11) 2/27/2012 Stumpless in Color (12) 2/27/2012 Stumpless in Color (13)

Taking a quick peek at the Jiffy seedlings, it appears most have already germinated. I expect to retain the dome for at least another week or two.

2/27/2012 Stumpless in Color (14)

And then back to the stump-sized hole in the ground! Stump has been removed! The man decided he just couldn’t handle another day of sawing and digging and hired some professionals to grind down the remains.

2/27/2012 Stumpless in Color (1)

Weed weeder weedest!

All week I’ve been tidying up in the garden. Weeding here (cleaning out the gravel strip), pulling dead or dying plants out elsewhere (dead rosemary, salvia, dianthus, herb garden). I’ve pruned back on a few plants (such as the gaura) and transplanted a few (ginger mint into the cinderblock wall). I’ve observed some unusual sights, like the brown-burnt asters in the blue bed that are still blooming, the flowering Mexican heather in the purple bed, and the Autumn Monarch azalea that put out a few more flowers this week. I am in awe of the salvia/marigold tree ring in the front yard, though I have also noticed a ton of ant condos springing up everywhere lately. Time to get out the ant killer!

‘Tis the time to be fertilizing and weed-killin’. I hope to have some funds to invest in a good pre-emergent and lawn food this weekend. With the summer drawing to a close, and the weather amenable, it’s easy to get out in the yard to do some work. I spent this morning killing some crabgrass in the courtyard. But of course, I saw some more patches in the front yard.

I also turned out the last of the bathroom tenants. The pepper plants are getting some quality sun time on the patio. I hope to transfer them into bigger pots and get a chance at some fruit before the winter frost. And speaking of fruit, what about some eggplant? Should I sink my Chinese eggplant into the herb garden bed, or bring it indoors over the winter? It keeps flowering but not producing any fruit. It seems to prefer more room to spread its roots.

This is also the time to ponder the fall-winter flower display, not to mention purchase the spring flower bulbs. I’m writing up a list!

Perhaps on this list, we’ll be adding a new Japanese maple. My JM unfortunately has been confirmed dead. And I discovered some alien fungus residing in the pot. Scawy!

9/28/2011 End of Summer Blooms (1) 9/28/2011 End of Summer Blooms (2) 9/28/2011 End of Summer Blooms (3) 9/28/2011 End of Summer Blooms (4) 9/28/2011 End of Summer Blooms (5) 9/28/2011 End of Summer Blooms (6) 9/28/2011 End of Summer Blooms (7)