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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

Categories
Ye Olde Garden

Lacy and herby

I may have acted too late. I spotted what remained of the variegated Prince Rupert scented geranium (French Lace) in the blue bed. It seems the cool weather had finally turned it brown. I had to get it into a pot immediately and bring it indoors during the evening. I’m not sure it will make it, but I’m hoping. The photo I took of it is very disheartening. For more than a year it languished in part shade. I supposed it might have preferred full sun but the heat wave we experience this summer might have killed it. It looks so frail compared to the original plant I bought in April.

10/21/2011 Variegated Prince Rupert Scented Geranium

The red rubin basil has returned to its purple self. During its seedling stages and for much of the extremely hot summer months, it nearly lost most of those jewel purple tones…appearing splotchy hearted rather than the stunning dark beauty it is today. This particular specimen was hacked back down nearly to the root, but possessed enough side shoots to make a comeback.

10/21/2011 October Herbs (1)

The lime thyme and variegated oregano really took off this summer.

 10/21/2011 October Herbs (2)

I think I’ve discovered the name for the kidney shaped weed that has been invading the lily bed lately. I believe they are dichondra, which may have hitched a ride from a previous tenant, or it’s just never had a chance to come into its own until today. I’ll have to do some research…it looks nothing like the silver falls dichondra we see around the arboretum.

Wishlist plant of the day: Alaska mix nasturtiums.