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Ye Olde Garden

Cuttings and seedings

I plan on populating the new garden bed cinder block wall with oregano and thyme cuttings. I divided the newest thyme (elfin) in 2 and already planted them in 2 blocks. I took golden oregano, variegated oregano, variegated lemon thyme, and lime thyme cuttings yesterday. Oregano, especially the golden variety, tends to be a very tricky plant to take cuttings from, since they are very sensitive to disturbance. Both the mother plants and baby plants suffered serious wilt. I decided to bring the cuttings indoors and keep them under artificial light. I’m not sure that the golden oregano will make it. The variegated oregano had tiny white flowers when I divided it; unfortunately, the mother plant is not doing so well. The cuttings however look as fresh as the day I took them. Too bad I can’t grow these things from seed.

I did take some verbena cuttings as well. I have one big mother specimen that survived the last two summers that I’d like to increase. The purple bed looks especially lovely because of them.

8/14/2012 Cuttings and Seedings (1) 8/14/2012 Cuttings and Seedings (2)

I decided to sow my Toy Choy and Guy Lan seeds today. It’s about the right time of the year for the fall harvest season. I hope I get to feast on Chinese broccoli and baby pak choy ┬áthis coming October. I also started Bride Eggplant and Red Rubin basil indoors. I need some ornamental pepper seeds to grow in time for the October/November holidays.

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Ye Olde Garden

August Bed Installation

8/5/2012 August Bed Installation (1) 8/5/2012 August Bed Installation (2) 8/5/2012 August Bed Installation (3) 8/5/2012 August Bed Installation (4) 8/5/2012 August Bed Installation (5)

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Ye Olde Garden

Freeze alert

After deceptively mild weather for the Thanksgiving, it was evident that we were experiencing our last patches of warm weather before the cold front hit this weekend. My holiday shopping weekend was cut short by sudden drops in temperature, and I knew I would have to bring in my plants for the last time this year.

11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (1) 11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (2)

I missed the opportunity to bring in the eggplant yesterday, so I had to rush it into the bathroom greenhouse to see if it could be rescued. I’m not sure if the fruit will make it. It’s pretty short for what I’m used to in Chinese eggplants.

11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (3) 11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (4) 11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (5)

Outdoors, the damage from the overnight frosts has manifested into dead/wilted potato and basil plants. The traditional large leaf basils like Red Rubin and Genovese experienced the most damage. The lime, Pesto Perpetuo and Thai basil display browning less so. One of the Thai basil specimens appears to be laughing off the cold; but sooner or later, all the basils will be done.

11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (6) 11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (7) 11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (8) 11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (9) 11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (12)

The succulent planter seems to be hanging on. Whereas the petunia/caladium planter bowl shows signs of receding.

11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (10) 11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (11)

I found a surprise greeting me at one of the asters in the blue bed. A few blooms hid at the base of the plant, near the mulch line. I believe this one was Aster novi-belgii Believer.

11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (13) 11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (14)

Pansies, violas, ornamental kale, petunias, miscellaneous herbs, foxtail ferns, loropetalum, are all still hanging in there. The dusty millers must be enjoying their new location and this cool weather; they have doubled in size since I moved them from the front flower bed. I guess they prefer the protection. I expected the lemon verbena to die back down since it’s considered an annual, but it seems to enduring in the mixed planter box along with the chives, golden oregano, and aster cuttings. (Those are the remaining vincas hanging over from a neighboring planter. And a Red Rubin basil hiding out as well!)

11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (15) 11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (16) 11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (17) 11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (18) 11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (19) 11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (20)

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Ye Olde Garden

Sights and places

October proves to be a stellar month to return to the garden. Here in Texas, it’s particularly welcome after watching so many new plantings succumb to the heat this year. Only the vigorous annuals like vinca, lantana, cosmos, and marigolds have remained colorful despite the vicious summer we experienced. Now that temperatures have become more reasonable and what little rainfall we received so far has refreshed the garden, I found that not everything was lost. What a relief!

It’s like a second spring out here. Notice that I finally got the last of the pansy flats planted into the lily bed. They’ll provide a nice rich colorful border come spring. The mums I carefully selected this season are finally in full bloom. They look so much bigger since I first planted them. I am cautious about their survival, planting them late in the year when they haven’t had much time to establish themselves before winter. I plan on mulching them heavily before frost hits. Also note the yarrow cutting behind them, along with that irrepressible dichondra/kidneyweed I mentioned in an earlier post.

10/24/2011 Pansies and mums in the lily bed (1) 10/24/2011 Pansies and mums in the lily bed (2) 10/24/2011 Doogie inspecting the lily bed 10/24/2011 A pretty clear red pansy

In the (not-so) blue bed, the yarrow has produced several more bloom clusters. The Valentine dianthus has another flower to show off, with the promise of yet another in bud.

10/24/2011 Oertel's Rose Yarrow in fall bloom 10/24/2011 Valentine dianthus in fall bloom

The Ping Tung Chinese eggplant fruit is coming along nicely. I have kept it potted throughout the year but it persists in growing out of the bottom of the pot in the herb garden. I’ve refrained from moving it while this little beauty puts on weight.

10/24/2011 Two inch fruit on chinese eggplant

We interrupt the refreshing sights currently offered by the garden to inspect the empty spaces. Yes, those garden markers are all that remain of yet another disappointing effort to foster heucheras. Both the Purple Palace and the Amber Waves just couldn’t make it this year, which incidentally was the banner year for losing new plantings. But I’ve had terrible luck with heucheras here in Texas, which has been altogether too expensive an experiment to continue. I’ve blogged about the Caramels, the Obsidian, the Purple Palaces and the Amber Waves, the latter both dying this year. These plants just cannot take a dry heat and are too much maintenance to keep looking lush and beautiful like those in Terra Nova’s catalog.

10/24/2011 Empty (heuchera) places (1) 10/24/2011 Empty (heuchera) places (2) 10/24/2011 Empty (heuchera) places (3)

However, some of the best comeback stories are to be discovered in this dry shade bed. We had a good rainstorm Saturday night and here is the amazing result: a Japanese painted fern resurrection. This is one of two plantings in the shade bed; this particular section gets a little more light and warmth under the crape myrtle canopy. So while it is the first to go dormant when summer hits, it is also the first to revive when weather becomes amenable. I’d love to find a way to keep these two ferns happy since they always make such an effort to put out a frond or two when I least suspect it.

10/24/2011 Surprise Japanese painted fern behind ornamental kale 10/24/2011 Surprise Japanese painted fern

Other sights and places of note: the front flower bed with the Hot Lips salvia and ever-blooming vinca show (which happens to be winding down), the planter boxes and beds filled with these tiny salvia coccinea seedlings, and the bowl which is home to a White Delight caladium and the hardy Easy Wave petunias.

10/24/2011 Hot Lips Salvia showing off 10/24/2011 Reseeded vinca still blooming crazy 10/24/2011 Salvia coccinea seedlings 10/24/2011 White Delight Caladium and Easy Wave Petunias

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Ye Olde Garden

One point five inches!

My eggplant’s size is enough to make any girl blush!

10/20/2011 October Garden (1)

One of the ginger mints I transplanted into the cinderblock border wall is recovering. Its sibling however did not.

10/20/2011 October Garden (2)

The variegated society garlic wanted to be noticed! It stuck this bloom head directly into my camera lens.

10/20/2011 October Garden (3)

Chrysanthemum (Heteropappus) Blue Knoll…I don’t get it. What’s happening to this thing? I have 2 of them situated in the blue bed. I read that it’s an annual, but it still grows like a weed. It hasn’t bloomed this fall. And I don’t expect that it will this year at all. Will it make it to next year? Or is it really just a weed?

10/20/2011 October Garden (4)

Wishlist plant of the day: Sedum lineare ‘Variegatum’.