That time of year again

In the past week, the weather in Texas has been unseasonably warm. Hard to believe it’s winter! The fiance and I raked up some leaves, moved some stone work, and did general clean up work in the front and central yards. Getting a general feel for the planting areas…much of the yards are in part to deep shade. This will be an interesting change in landscaping, dealing with shade-friendly plants. Right now my attention is on the Chocolate Ajuga that I have surviving in one planter. I’m not sure how robust it still is, but I imagine that if it survives any future freezes, I’d like to use it in the center yard for under-planting in the beds. The flame red salvias are hanging on, but looking rather reedy in their pots. The white salvia unfortunately drowned. Two rosemary plants experienced extremes in watering and temperature…I’m fairly certain they are on their way to the compost heap–if we had one! Two salsa jasmines appear to be surviving, along with a thyme plant (strangely hanging on despite the horrid conditions). The potato vines and caladium I’m certain are DOA, the Silver Dragon type liriope specimens are gamely holding their ground, and the occasional dianthus is showing a bit of green.

Did I mention I had pulled all my calla bulbs last fall for storage in the pantry? I’m hoping they will survive for planting this year.

Of course, having all of these gardening catalogs coming in the mail is adding to all of the excitement.

A visit to Gunters

I made a stop at Gunter’s greenhouse on my way to work today. I had wanted to see if they had anything unusual to add to my patio garden, but as usual, the orchids are the biggest draw. I stepped into the prehistoric jungle and wended my way among the spectacular blooms. Orchids rock! I recommend the place highly if you are looking for something different in plant life.

I potted up a couple of dark red dianthus with my calla lily/jasmine. I also have 3 planter troughs now, sitting on my patio, waiting for paint to dry. I imagine it won’t take much for me to find something to plant in them. Methinks I’ll be needing another bag of garden soil now. I intend to put a mix of garden and potting soil in each of the troughs, to gently remind them that they will find a home in a real garden some day.

Around the apartment complex where I live, the indian hawthorn are bursting with flowers, and the pink and white salvias are starting to show their colors. I plan on stealing a couple of sprigs of white salvia so that I can grow them on my own.

Now where are my cosmos seeds???

3/20/2009 Orchids at Gunther's (1) 3/20/2009 Orchids at Gunther's (2) 3/20/2009 Orchids at Gunther's (3) 3/20/2009 Orchids at Gunther's (4)

Edging ideas

I’m thinking about installing aluminum edging in the back yard. Shopping online, I found reasonably priced aluminum lawn edging at I’d like to start with the side yard, and hopefully move on to the rear flower beds. Plans are to use asian jasmine ground cover for most of the area currently covered with a weed mat, while the side yard will feature variegated liriope as border/edging plants.

Gardening in the cold

January 15 in Texas usually means frigid temperatures and icy ground, but today I managed to step outside in the 55 degree weather to do some garden repair work. Yes, I was silly enough to do it in shorts…but I had a mission to get the job done before heading out to work.

After the dogs did their damage and uprooted one of the nandinas late last year, I went back to replant the other displaced nandina, and brought the spare nandina out of its pot to plant it in the gaping hole in the ground. The displaced nandina showed signs of chewing and broken stems…I’m hoping it might survive, given its hardy nature. I really should get some water on them.

The side bed showed some disturbance, the base of the myrtle had some dirt/mulch dug away from it. Dash, who always hides beneath the bushes here, has managed to once again crash through the makeshift fencing and drag the salvia microphylla around with him. I’m looking forward to trimming Hot Lips come February/March. I’m happy to note that the daffodil bulbs are sending shoots up, visible in the bare ground.

Hubby’s idea of laying down a weed mat around the flower beds is starting to look worse and worse. Without proper groundcover, valuable soil is slowly eroding away toward the back fence. I’ve been browsing the ClassyGroundcovers site for jasmine or other options to replace the weed mat. But it appears to entail a lot of work using the fast-growing jasmine, which needs a solid barrier to prevent it from spreading to the lawn.

I’m also thinking of purchasing some bare root Liriope Silver Dragons to use as a border plant in the side and middle beds.