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!

Seeds! 2012 Purchases

From Parks I ordered the following:

3. ZINNIA RED SPIDER (2233) Qty : 1
5. COREOPSIS ROULETTE (51117) Qty : 1

From Stokes:

  1. Cosmic Red Cosmos
  2. Wizard Mix Coleus
  3. Woodcreek White Gomphrena
  4. Woodcreek Red Gomphrena
  5. Banana Cream Sorbet Viola
  6. Sorbet Delft Blue XP Viola
  7. Sorbet Blue Blotch XP Viola
  8. Summer Jewel Red Salvia
  9. Dreams Patriot Mix Petunia
  10. Montego Sunset Snapdragon
  11. Bride Eggplant
  12. Guy Lon Chinese Broccoli

I also picked up a set of 50 Jiffy 7 pellets.

Well, I also had hoped to throw in some onions in there, but it doesn’t look like we’ll have much success digging out those tree stumps any time soon.

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)

Seed collecting and the indoor greenhouse

I brought indoors all of my potted tender plants Thursday night in advance of the cold front that hit us. The big potted ginger lilies didn’t join the others in converted bathroom greenhouse, since I had taken up all of the available counter space. For about next 4-5 months, these plants will be hanging out here in relative safety.

11/5/2011 Seeds and indoor garden (1) 11/5/2011 Seeds and indoor garden (2)

I really need to snip off that chili pepper bloom head. But then again, I think all the young pepper plants could use a trim to encourage more foliage. Not so with the new hostas leafing out.

11/5/2011 Thai chili pepper bloom head 11/5/2011 Thai chili pepper bloom head closeup 11/5/2011 Hosta Wide Brim emerging foliage

I took a cutting of the groundcover salvia sinaloensis, or more commonly known as bicolor or Sinaloa sage, when I trimmed them back earlier in the week. This salvia is unusual in that it hasn’t turned woody and that it spreads via runners. It competed against an aggressive yarrow and has managed to hold its own, with a little intervention. The electric blue blooms have been disappointingly sparse and sporadic in its current part-sun location. It’s better valued for its foliage though; it has distinctive purple-tipped leaves on new and fall growth.

11/5/2011 Sinaloa sage cutting

I do need to move some of the pots into the bathtub, to make room for seed starting flats. Saturday morning, I collected 3 sandwich baggies of seeds from the Cosmic Yellow Cosmos, Durango Marigold Red and Durango Marigold Bolero.

11/5/2011 Cosmos Cosmic Yellow seeds collected 11/5/2011 Durango Marigold Red seeds collected

The Durango Marigold Boleros tend to bloom on the smaller side compared to the standard marigold colors.

11/5/2011 Durango Bolero marigold among the Outback mix

Sadly, I didn’t collect any Cosmic Red cosmos seeds or Lady in Red salvia coccinea. The red cosmos was nowhere in sight, while I didn’t have much luck finding seeds of Lady in Red still on the plants.

11/5/2011 A new Lady in Red salvia coccinea from dropped seed

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