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Ye Olde Garden

More March buds and plants

Wishlish plant of the day: Malvaviscus candida Variegata or Variegated Turk’s Cap (a shade plant for Texas)!

First stop is the planter box by the patio door. I dropped some cuttings of stonecrop (?) that I took while trimming my succulent planter. I didn’t have high hopes that these stray cuttings would flourish, but they look pretty alive in that dirt, don’t they?

3/10/2012 March Buds and Plants (1) 3/10/2012 March Buds and Plants (2)

The oxalis in the blue bed appear lush and full. Notice the remnants of the yarrow I pulled out a couple of weeks ago lying in wait to take over.

3/10/2012 March Buds and Plants (3) 3/10/2012 March Buds and Plants (4)

I am baffled by these rosettes in the blue bed. These are the surviving Blue Knoll Chrysanthemums, aka Heteropappus Meyendorfii. They are reportedly annual, but these two are starting their second year in this bed. They sat in mulch, tolerating dry-to-drought conditions, part sun and displayed no flowers last fall. They have not grown beyond the size they currently are. Is there a chance that these might provide some autumn color this year? I’m going to have to pull out the Days Aster–it spreads everywhere and has invaded the camellia bed on the other side of the fence.

3/10/2012 March Buds and Plants (5) 3/10/2012 March Buds and Plants (6)

The next camellia bud is about to burst. This particular bloom occurs very low on the plant and to the back. It requires some position to take it in full view.

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Front flower bed: tulips bursting out of the mulch and the newly transplanted Valentine dianthus. Notice the white edging on the tulip leaves; this appears to be the Happy Generation tulip planted last fall. The other tulip sprouts are smaller and do not display edging; most likely they are Tubergen’s Gem.

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Hot Lips salvia starting out with red blooms, but the bicolor blooms are coming on fast. I just love the variability of this salvia.

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Daffodil buds have appeared. I expect to see them bloom in a matter of days.

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This particular foxtail fern has new plumes. The foxtail ferns did not die back down into the ground this due to the mild winter weather. It was pleasant to see them provide some greenery and vertical shape to the shade bed. Check out the japanese painted fern behind the foxtails!

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The lily bed would like to welcome our newest bloomer: origami red and white columbine. Beautiful spurred flowers are blooming on this one specimen. The other columbine is looking rather straggly but at least it endured summer and winter. The colors are synching with the red-and-white theme of the neighboring dianthuses and pansies. I hope in a future season, we will see some lush foliage and growth show off this bed. For example, the orange and white mums appear to be bulking up in anticipation. The Charmed Wine oxalis appear to be a little shy coming out of winter; they don’t show off as many blooms as the neighbors in the blue bed, and they are half the size.

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I filled in the new garden bed this morning and tried to level the ground up to the bed at the same time. We’ll be requiring some good soil to fill in the rest and start arranging the cinder block edge. Now if it would stop raining/sprinkling long enough for us to get some garden work done!

3/10/2012 March Buds and Plants (26)

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Ye Olde Garden

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)

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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.

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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!)

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Ye Olde Garden

Arboretum, nurseries, and gardening this past weekend

The Dallas Arboretum was packed this weekend, so much so that we had to circle the place looking for parking. But it was definitely the place to see tulips and azalea during the warm spring weather.

We headed out to Home Depot, Lowes and Strongs as well to pick up some variegated society garlic, 2 Palace Purple heuchera, 2 Wide Brim hostas, 2 Charmed Wine oxalis and several bags of mulch, compost, humus and soil. The honey finally got his rose planted in time to see its first bloom. However we have concerns with the leaf yellowing on the lower extremities of the rose bush.

We got about 6 bags of pine bark mulch in the salvia bed, after I had toiled last weekend putting weed block fabric down. The 2cf bags of pine bark gave enough coverage on the bed, much less bags used compared to shredded mulch. However, I am concerned that 2 of my red salvias are ailing–in fact, looking like they are dying. I suspect they may have received lethal doses of weed killer in previous weeks. I am crossing my fingers that they will survive (they survived sitting in a pot for almost 2 years). Luckily, I have volunteer cuttings ready to replace them should the need arise. I also need to work on getting the Crimson Pirates into this bed…they’ve been sitting on the kitchen table too long.

It’s been exciting to observe the changes happening in all the beds. The blue bed is perhaps the showiest at this time. The yarrows form a verdant mounding backdrop to all the color coming in. The purple oxalis are beautifully robust (and flowering), the violas in full bloom, and the scabiosa gangly and flowering as well. I should remember to deadhead and collect scabiosa seed if possible. I’ve placed the 2nd sinaloa sage into the bed, along with the two variegated felicia. While working the bed, I discovered 2 phlox starts growing up against the rocks–one had a distinctive, pale blue flower that I remembered. I dug them up to grow them indoors, in hopes of that the weed killer wouldn’t affect them. Now I am just waiting to put Sea Breeze salvia seedlings into the bed.

Speaking of seedlings, nearly all but the columbines that I seeded last weekend, have sprouted. Speediest out of the gate were the marigolds. Everything else has followed suit, save for the columbines–which take a few days more than usual. Those petunias and ice plants are particularly tiny! I will need to remember to keep them under the dome a little longer than the others. I’m also happy to report that planting the garlic chives thickly and keeping them covered with a humidity dome has produced favorable results. Now I just need to sow more garlic chives. Since I emptied out our bathroom nursery, I have a little more counter space to work with. But first I have to work on getting the previous wave of seedlings potted and placed outside. The basil seedlings also need hardening off; with the warm weather, it’s time to put them outside. I should sow more of the Red Rubin basil since they will look good in the purple bed. I forgot that I had some Lime Basil seeds to sow as well.

While I’m on the subject of herbs…the herb garden sits still unfinished. I’ve only planted the lime thyme and the golden oregano in the cinder block border. I have yet to move the other oregano, thymes, and pineapple mint. Those herbs planted from last year are now cozy neighbors, jutting up against each other in the corners of the bed. I’m reluctant to move them now since they look so good together, but it’s only a matter of time before the pineapple mint takes over. The rosemary suffered some frost burn this past winter, but there is evidence of a lot of new growth on all of its branches–so I imagine it is doing quite well, unlike our rosemary topiary. I am considering installing the lavender in the herb garden’s back row.

The shade garden in front gathered the most newcomers this weekend. I added one specimen of the Gold Standard hosta, the 2 Wide Brims, and the 2 Purple Palace heuchera. I’m also excited to see that both of the foxtails have prominent plume shoots above ground, and the japanese painted fern in back has also sent out several fronds. The golden hakone grass are back this spring, showing off vibrant citrine yellow blades of grass–really brightening the area. The honey put down several bags of black mulch, which is punching up the color of the new additions. I am hoping the tiger lilies give us a show this summer; in the mean time, I am still debating on what border plants to add to the bed, aside from impatiens.

The front flower bed was the messiest to begin with; overgrown with weeds and in dire need of cleaning and shearing. Most of the vinca remains have been removed, the coreopsis and salvia have been trimmed back and general maintenance performed. The centerpiece loropetalum is stealing the show, drenched in countless white fringe flowers. I am thinking that the nandina flanking it need to be pruned into a rounder shape sometime in the future. The Victoria blue salvia that I’ve left in the bed are sprouting at the roots; so I’m glad to have left them in this bed so they can come back. The compact white ballerina gaura has grown back in force, nearly a foot high after I cleaned it. However, the pink gaura (Cherry Brandy and Passionate Blush) aren’t as vigorous, only still crowning at this time. I took some cuttings of Passionate Blush in hopes of propagating it. Sadly, neither the hakone grass nor the kangaroo paw have made a reappearance in this bed and are most likely victims of our vicious winter. I’m still crossing my fingers that the kangaroo paw may come back.

The only decorative bed in front is the gardenia bed, bordered by kale and viola. Sadly, this winter may have taken a toll on the gardenia; much of its leaves are pale, dry and look ready to drop. We have to take care not to overwater it, but I’m not sure if it’s going to survive another year. It is truly ghastly.

3/22/2011 Spring Garden Plans (1) 3/22/2011 Spring Garden Plans (2) 3/22/2011 Spring Garden Plans (3) 3/22/2011 Spring Garden Plans (4) 3/22/2011 Spring Garden Plans (5) 3/22/2011 Spring Garden Plans (6) 3/22/2011 Spring Garden Plans (7) 3/22/2011 Spring Garden Plans (8) 3/22/2011 Spring Garden Plans (9) 3/22/2011 Spring Garden Plans (10) 3/22/2011 Spring Garden Plans (11) 3/22/2011 Spring Garden Plans (12) 3/22/2011 Spring Garden Plans (13) 3/22/2011 Spring Garden Plans (14) 3/22/2011 Spring Garden Plans (15) 3/22/2011 Spring Garden Plans (16) 3/22/2011 Spring Garden Plans (17)

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Ye Olde Garden

Late winter garden update

3/8/2011 Asahi Zuru Leafing OutThe biggest challenge in the outdoor space is the henbit and broadleaf weed invasion that has dominated all of our yards. Because of unseasonably warm weather in February, the weeds grew in and spread like wildfire. We’ve sprayed the lawns twice, after taking stock of the situation, because the infestation is extreme. Hopefully the weedkiller we’ve applied will make the difference so we can finally get to applying the preventive.

3/8/2011 A Bundle of Tiger LiliesSome observations I’ve made of the outdoor space: Prairie Sky hosta is displaying a crown of leaf buds, Emerald Snow loropetalums are blooming, daylilies have all leafed, yarrows are spreading. I’ve done some additional pruning and mulching on salvias. I’ve transplanted the Japanese maple into its new home, an 18″x18″ redwood cedar box. Yesterday, I planted 2 scabiosas that I obtained from Home Depot and added a Sinaloa sage to the blue bed. I brought indoors the other Sinaloa sage due to some serious dieback after going without water for several days. I am uncertain at this time but I believe that one of the foxtail ferns is attempting to make a comeback. However I don’t know how it will fare given the cooler temperatures we’ve been seeing lately. This morning I had the honey plant a bag of Tiger lilies purchased from Home Depot in the front yard shade bed. Given their vigorous nature, I feel comfortable in knowing that these Tiger lilies will endure in this space.

In addition to my Home Depot purchases, I have a lavender and a bag of Crimson Pirate daylilies that have yet to be planted.

3/8/2011 Mushrooms in my Hosta?Indoor space: all the hostas have now begun to sprout. They must like sitting in the bathtub, getting warm and cozy. I transplanted all the seedlings in the first cell pack into their own pots, with only a few basil and one pepper plant lost in the transition. I’m debating on whether to put them outside; but currently cool temperatures prohibit that.

Did I mention the vinca have sprouted within a few days? I should bring them into the light soon, I imagine. Also it appears that the golden fleece are making a showing…though the sprouts are extremely tiny. At this point, I highly doubt that they are daisies, but I’m hoping.

I bought a Jiffy tray full of coir pellets this weekend. Ever since the 2nd tray of seedlings has been exposed to air, some of the seedlings have perished (ice plants) while other seeds have failed to sprout (phlox/blue knoll chrysanthemum). Because I’ve had some luck with the coir pellets, I think I will use them from now on. They seem easier to transplant than the Burpee XL Growing system. In addition to the seedling tray, I also bought a packet of convulvulus.

Need to plant those cool season annuals now!