Seeds and Plants purchases

Earlier in April, I mentioned starting some seeds from a purchase I made from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. I also visited Painted Flower Farm and North Haven Gardens to pick out some plants for the shade bed. Since then I’ve made additional purchases in attempt to satisfy my plant addiction.

Hostas are the last major addition I’m looking forward to dropping in the shade bed. I chased down a Facebook group that lists a variety of hosta sources. Island Breeze, Hans and Dancing Darling are enroute to me, courtesy of Tims Hosta Farm.

My lemon balm seed starting efforts have been frustrating. It’s the only seed that haven’t germinated. Either this is harder than I thought or the lemon balm seed I have today are probably too old. So I found Hayefield’s shop on Etsy and purchased some All Gold lemon balm, along with Golden Jubilee Agastache and Variegated Prunella.

I am highly nervous that the pineapple sages that I planted in 2018 aren’t going to return, so I’m trying to source either plants or seed. Luckily one of my fave online plant catalogs, Colonial Creek Farm, has them sale. I picked up two Golden Delicious pineapple sages, along with white anouk lavender, curly mint and pineapple mint.

Last are the impulse buys from big box stores and the local Calloway’s: herbs, pepper plants and tomatoes.

Herb garden rebuild and a shade companion

2/28/2011 Golden Oregano Displaying Spring GrowthPurchased 4 cinder blocks from Home Depot this weekend to complete some renovation work on our herb garden. We removed the original white brick border and replaced them with spare cinder blocks that we recovered from the back yard. Going by what we saw at NHG, the cinder block holes will be useful in isolating the pineapple mint which has grown rampant in the herb garden. I also plan on removing the oreganos and thymes to plant into the wall, then raise the soil a few more inches before we plant out our peppers and basils. In assessing the herb bed, I am concerned that the rosemary has displayed some winter leaf burn and hope that it is only that, and not a sign of die off from lack of water.

However, we do have a new rosemary topiary that we picked up from Walton’s Gardens. It is a 3 gallon specimen shaped as a Christmas tree that we got on sale, 30% off I believe. It is nearly 3 feet high and in good health. The man dug up the bed right next to the patio door to provide it a good home with lots of drainage. Here’s crossing my fingers that it will endure in its new place–such a lovely fragrance to walk out to!

2/28/2011 New Oxalis in Lily BedAlso purchased a green shamrock, oxalis regnellii or more commonly known as oxalis triangularis, this past weekend at Calloway’s Gardenfest. I planted it in the lily bed, but I should have thought about putting 2 in the front yard shade bed instead. I’ve been so impressed with the vigor of the purple shamrocks that I hope the green leafed version displays a similar tolerance for our Texas heat.

After attending a workshop hosted by Calloway’s on Bulb Hunter Cris Wiesinger’s picks for southern heirloom bulbs, I am eager to find more shade-loving bulbs that are native to this region for planting in the front yard shade garden.  I have a keen interest in the oxblood lilies, crinum, roman hyacinths and fragrant narcissus (small flowered kind) for planting in the shade garden (added to wishlist), alongside the ferns, hostas, and loropetalum.

Summer rains bring summer blooms

Last week’s storms brought a flush of color to this week’s garden. Particularly the salvia greggii and the Desperado sage are looking colorful; nearly every specimen along the neighbor wall is in bloom (the whites have started to bud). I am concerned however with a Purple Pastel that has suffered from what looks like overwatering, perhaps due to poor drainage. The Hot Lips (salvia microphylla), while not in bloom, grows like a weed. All three specimens, front yard and courtyard, have tripled their original size.

The crape myrtles are still in bloom, though not crowned as heavily as they were before the rains. The daylilies in front are still blooming; along with the coreopsis, white coneflowers, the white gauras, vincas, kangaroo paw, Victoria salvias, and the Dahlberg daisies. Those daisies, incidentally, have also doubled in size since we first planted them…I can’t remember a day that I have NOT seen them covered with tiny yellow flowers.

The last of the Picasso calla blooms is receding, and I am unhappy that the Flames nor the Devil’s Wine have produced any blooms. The spotted foliage however towers over most of the plantings in the courtyard flower bed…perhaps due to less light. I plan to dig up the bulbs come winter and replant them in a better spot.

Other bloomers: catmint, oxalis, Imperial dark blue plumbago, angelonia, dianthus, verbena, ageratum, Prairie Sky Hosta, bicolor sage. Even the coleus are flowering (which need to be sheared off).

Casualty list: several of the purple/violet dianthus specimens have died off, most likely due to the extreme heat. Not such a great loss, since they were mostly considered annuals. However, I’m not pleased to see them so perishable after past successes with dianthus. Most of the viola are also gone, fried by the heat. The empty border they abandoned by the front door bed needs to be repopulated…I’m thinking of installing some variegated liriope (silver dragons or aztec grass).

On death’s door: my Tuscan Blue rosemary is down to half of its trunks…it doesn’t appear that it will hang on any longer. I need to transplant it immediately and amend the bed further to permit a larger specimen. Also included on this list is the aforementioned Purple pastel salvia.

On the rebound: the chocolate chip ajuga which long suffered in its planter box is now thriving in its part/full shade location in the courtyard bed. I also believe the japanese painted ferns are coming back, after causing a worry when they dropped all their old fronds. They have new fragile leaves on display. The purple loropetalum is also still putting out new branches and leaves, but I am concerned that it is not gaining as much bulk as I expect.

New beds, new plants and a new weapon

I couldn’t resist picking up some Passionate Blush Gaura and Japanese painted ferns at Home Depot this weekend. I also couldn’t resist snapping up a bicolor sage, Salvia coccinea, which was mismarked as Lady in Red. This particular sage has broad, somewhat fuzzy green leaves with large salmon and white-colored flowers. After doing a little reading on Salvia coccinea (Scarlet sage), I’ve discovered that it is a promiscuous seeder and more attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies than the greggii. I’m looking forward to seeing this grow wild in our flower beds.

My man and I started on the courtyard beds, digging up alongside the house and laying down stonework. The hard clay soil softened since the rain, so it was easier to till than I thought. We dug up about 6 feet of earth and framed out two beds with stone. The herb garden will have to wait since we need a better grade of soil to fill the raised bed.

Dissatisfied with my soapy water approach, the man decided to pick up a bottle of Bayer Advanced insect repellent earlier in the week. He sprayed the coleus in earnest, though I am somewhat apprehensive that we saved the little plants in time. The hosta near the back wall was nearly eaten to the ground. We may have to purchase the hose attachment version to attempt a more aggressive means of protecting the bed.

I also transferred the dianthus seedlings into 3″ pots this weekend…what a pain that was. The Burpees tray did not relinquish the seedlings easily, and it ended up a messy affair to extract all of the plants to put into 18 pots. I’m not looking forward to removing the impatiens.

Seedlings and flower beds installed

I mentioned last week that the dianthus seedlings were the first to germinate. However, what I noticed the next day were the impatiens starting to burst out of their casings. I found many of the tray cells occupied by flecks of white. So I’m happy to note that it took about 4-5 days to finally see some activity from them.

Saturday morning, the rest of the dianthus had begun to bloom, 2 carmine reds and 1 picoteed (Telstar) violet. I was also pleased to discover that at least one of the lily bulbs (Red Alert?) I had planted had burst through the soil. The Snowdrift Astilbe seems to like its new home because its leaves have begun to color in and unfurl. With the warm (70 degrees) temperatures we’ve had all week, it seems that nature has switched to full throttle. Even the crape myrtles have begun to leaf out. Of course, with the onset of heat, that means the violas begin to wilt.

Our landlord brought over 10 bags of soil amendment and 10 bags of black mulch on Saturday afternoon. We then proceeded over to Strong’s Nursery and acquired the fixtures in our front flower beds. The finally tally? Three Emerald Snow lorapetalums, 2 Firehouse Nandinas, 1 Moon Bay Nandina, 2 Encore Azaleas Autumn Embers, 1 Autumn Twist, 1 Autumn Monarch, and 3 Hakonechloa macras Aureola (or Japanese Forest Grass All Gold). The Hakonechloas were a surprise discovery…we managed to snag the last 3 at the nursery. Along with these shrubs, we installed the Astilbe Fanals and Amerika and the 2 Hosta Minutemen (which I had potted earlier in the week).

On Sunday, we ventured north to look at some new nurseries. Lewisville had one off 35N but it was closed for Easter Sunday. So we ventured west into Flower Mound, but discovered that Huggins Nursery had recently come under new management and found a very sparse selection of plants. I got a sniff of the scented geraniums, saw some salvias, and finally went home with 2 Foxtail ferns (the first I’ve seen for the season). We then journeyed back south, hit another Lowes and Home Depot before trekking over to Christina’s in North Dallas. I’m never disappointed with this nursery…they had a vast selection of plants on sale, and I ended up bringing home an 18 count flat of Coleus Wizard mix. Pictures soon!

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