Holiday Weekend Flowerworks

Holiday Memorial Day weekend means extra time to work the garden. The man put the finishing touches on his stone layout, then we were off to purchase a rose bush (Neptune) to add to the blue/purple theme. I was then able to finalize our backyard garden and get plants into the ground.

 

The kids of course were on-hand to clown around and check out the new plantings.

Once the yard project was done, it was time to take stock of what was blooming…

Scenes From the February Garden

February is the start of mild spring weather in Texas while the rest of the north is still in the thrall of frosty winter. Comfortable temps means time to go plant shopping! A few of the purchase this month include: Catmint Walker’s Low (and Little Trudy again), Abelia Kaleidoscope, Nandina Blush Pink and Purple Pixie Loropetalum from Strong’s Nursery. From North Haven Gardens, a couple of Heuchera (Electra and Snow Angel), White Margin Snow Rose (serissa foetida), dianthus, herbs, and petunias…

North Haven Gardens was already awash with spring color!

Shade bed in the front yard, before (left) and after pics. I had to remember that I sank about 3 dozen daffodil bulbs late fall last year in this bed, so it was a bit tricky planting around them.

This Everillo carex nearly tripled in size in its little corner by the fence gate, staying evergreen through winter. In stark contrast is the salvia regla or Mountain Sage which is deciduous unlike the salvia greggii in our climate. But like many salvias, this one already knows spring is around the corner and is displaying new shoots off old growth.

Yard crash progress as of 3/28

It was a back-breaking, sore-all-over labor to work the north-side shade bed and start the task of planting groundcovers and creepers in the stone pathway. But we accomplished a lot over the weekend, including our final tree selections @ Chambersville: a shantung maple and a Viridis japanese maple, both 30 gallon specimens. Due to the wet weather so far, Chambersville won’t be able to deliver our new trees until sometime mid-April.

Before pictures:

20150627_North Bed Pre-fence 20150702_North Bed Pre-sod 20160220_Yard Crash Groundbreaking

After pictures:

20160314_North Bed and Path Development 20160322_North Bed and Path 20160330_North Bed 6p 20160331_North Bed 9a

We mulled over the idea of adding blue glass to the marble rock river winding down to the path from the gutter. The man also wanted to add a marble rock feature to the front bed, but I’m not as open to the idea.

Plantings in the north bed: Carex Everillo, Hosta Fire and Ice, Astilbe (x5), Lime Marmalade heuchera, Foxtail fern, Cedar Sage, White Star caladiums (x3), White Splash geranium, green oxalis (white-flowered), Hort Couture Glitterati Ice Queen, wild red columbine, Sugar Plum heuchera, Japanese painted fern, Hort Couture Plum Crazy oxalis, Contessa Burgundy geranium, black mondo grass.

Plantings in the north path: Platt’s Black brass buttons, scotch moss, irish moss, variegated oregano, roman chamomile, Grace Ward lithiodora, Archer’s gold lemon thyme.

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

Triple digits: day 25

I caught sight of my first cosmos bloom of the year. Plenty more marigolds are a-popping. The vincas are going strong both in the front beds and in pots. The catmint is bountiful in its blooming spires, like the neighboring pineapple mint.

7/26/11 Cosmos and Marigolds (1) 7/26/11 Cosmos and Marigolds (2) 7/26/11 Cosmos and Marigolds (3) 7/26/11 Cosmos and Marigolds (4) 7/26/11 Cosmos and Marigolds (5) 7/26/11 Cosmos and Marigolds (6) 7/26/11 Cosmos and Marigolds (7) 7/26/11 Cosmos and Marigolds (8)

This heat streak has been tough on the delicate plants as well as anything in pots. I surveyed the yard and found many losses: the lobelia, Purple Palace heuchera and Capetown Blue Felicia Daisy among them. The 2 Autumn Embers azaleas are particularly affected. I’m concerned that without a soaker hose in the bed they won’t get the watering they require. Chances are, we won’t see them for their summer show this year.