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.

Cuttings and seedings

I plan on populating the new garden bed cinder block wall with oregano and thyme cuttings. I divided the newest thyme (elfin) in 2 and already planted them in 2 blocks. I took golden oregano, variegated oregano, variegated lemon thyme, and lime thyme cuttings yesterday. Oregano, especially the golden variety, tends to be a very tricky plant to take cuttings from, since they are very sensitive to disturbance. Both the mother plants and baby plants suffered serious wilt. I decided to bring the cuttings indoors and keep them under artificial light. I’m not sure that the golden oregano will make it. The variegated oregano had tiny white flowers when I divided it; unfortunately, the mother plant is not doing so well. The cuttings however look as fresh as the day I took them. Too bad I can’t grow these things from seed.

I did take some verbena cuttings as well. I have one big mother specimen that survived the last two summers that I’d like to increase. The purple bed looks especially lovely because of them.

8/14/2012 Cuttings and Seedings (1) 8/14/2012 Cuttings and Seedings (2)

I decided to sow my Toy Choy and Guy Lan seeds today. It’s about the right time of the year for the fall harvest season. I hope I get to feast on Chinese broccoli and baby pak choy  this coming October. I also started Bride Eggplant and Red Rubin basil indoors. I need some ornamental pepper seeds to grow in time for the October/November holidays.

A week’s worth of gardening in one post

Yikes, gone a week without posting but not without gardening. A brief summary of what transpired in the garden in the past several days:

  • Various succulents cuttings including the Lemon Coral sedum planted in the rosemary bed
  • Added dahlberg daisies to the petunia planter
  • Cuban Gold duranta planted in front yard shade bed
  • Transplanted Victoria Blue salvias to the ends of the front yard flower bed
  • Hard pruned the Hot Lips Salvias in the front yard bed down to 1/3 height
  • Installed Magic Carpet spirea in front yard bed
  • Removed catmint from herb bed, replanted in 3″ pots
  • Transplanted golden sage, tricolor sage and dwarf mini curry plant into the herb bed
  • Removed yarrow from lily bed, installed red lantana in its place
  • Installed Tasmanian Tiger euphorbia  and Nuevo Leon salvia in blue bed
  • Sowed Summer Jewel Red salvia and Cosmic Red cosmos in the tree ring
  • Transplanted rooted cuttings of variegated lemon thyme in the tree ring
  • Returned coleus and snapdragon seedlings to the greenhouse
  • Moved some seedlings and cuttings outdoors, including the zinnia starts (which aren’t doing very well)
  • Purchased another Magic Carpet spirea from Grow It nursery

Did I mention something ate my onion chives and decapitated my Genovese basil? Pictures forthcoming!

Pre-Thanksgiving look at the garden

It’s that time of the year. Almost every year that I cook for the holidays, I make sure to use ingredients in my garden, even if it is only one sprig of rosemary. But since it’s been 10 days since my last post, I thought it time to do a little inspection.

The Shu ornamental pepper continues to hang on for dear life. Peppers are perennial in zones 9 and beyond, but here in my garden, it’s going to be a challenge to keep them alive in the ground during winter. My potted peppers have been sitting outside since this past weekend when we saw temps reach the high 70s. We’re back down to the high 30s to mid-40s during the evenings, but we will continue to reach the 70s in the daytime for the Thanksgiving holiday.

11/23/2011 Pre-Thanksgiving Garden (1)

All the garlic have emerged and are looking tall.

11/23/2011 Pre-Thanksgiving Garden (2)

The sage seems to appreciate the cooler weather; I used some sage leaves from this specimen for my turkey brine last night.

11/23/2011 Pre-Thanksgiving Garden (3)

Those appear to be larkspur seedlings surrounding one of the irises. Unfortunately, the man sprinkled it heavily on one side not realizing I only had one pack of Shades of Blue Larkspur (Consolida ambigua). I may have to purchase another pack.

11/23/2011 Pre-Thanksgiving Garden (4)

Finally, a good macro picture of the Oertel’s Rose yarrow blooms!

11/23/2011 Pre-Thanksgiving Garden (5)

I love the white-mottled Snow-n-Summer asiatic jasmine foliage; emerging leaves are a beautiful shade of pastel pink.

11/23/2011 Pre-Thanksgiving Garden (6) 11/23/2011 Pre-Thanksgiving Garden (7)

 The Autumn Monarch azalea is our only fall-blooming azalea this year. It received a fair amount of protection from the neighboring Hot Lips salvia this year, unlike the other azaleas on the opposite end of the bed.

11/23/2011 Pre-Thanksgiving Garden (8) 11/23/2011 Pre-Thanksgiving Garden (9) 11/23/2011 Pre-Thanksgiving Garden (10)

A lone vinca has grown in the lee of an azalea. I had already pulled out its neighbors, but kept this one to see how it would fare. The petunias also appear unstoppable. Even with this crazy weather, they are continuously putting on new growth.

11/23/2011 Pre-Thanksgiving Garden (11) 11/23/2011 Pre-Thanksgiving Garden (12) 11/23/2011 Pre-Thanksgiving Garden (13)

My eggplant doesn’t appear to put on much growth in the last 10 days; though the plant is leaning farther due to its weight. It still feels way to hard to the touch.

11/23/2011 Pre-Thanksgiving Garden (14)

Valentine dianthus…what a beauty. All the dianthus in the garden favor this cool climate; most are putting on several buds if not blooming.

11/23/2011 Pre-Thanksgiving Garden (15)

A surprise on the camellia: this bud has swelled to 5 times the size as other buds.

11/23/2011 Pre-Thanksgiving Garden (16)

Lemon thyme: I plan on cutting several sprigs of this to insert into my turkey. The other herbs of course are looking fabulous. The Thai basil looks amazing with its flowery spires; I just dread how many seedlings I’ll get out of it. The Red Rubin basil also loves this cool weather. I am curious to see if they will endure into next year.

11/23/2011 Pre-Thanksgiving Garden (17) 11/23/2011 Pre-Thanksgiving Garden (18) 11/23/2011 Pre-Thanksgiving Garden (19) 11/23/2011 Pre-Thanksgiving Garden (20)

A Saturday in June

That time of year again when all the remaining plants you had left on your to-do list finally get planted. Since the temps in North Texas warm up in the vicinity of 100, anything not in the ground tends to bake in their thin plastic pots. I got around to planting the rest of the Purple Star verbena, the majority of the ornamental pepper seedlings, felicia, tricolor sage cuttings, leftover marigold seedlings, and a few of the lemon thyme cuttings. And because I couldn’t bore a hole in my last ceramic pot (a freebie from Kathy), I had to transplant the Aztec red verbena, a dusty miller and the last red-eyed white vinca into a planter box.

I spent the day ducking in and out of the heat, clearing debris and dried out plantings (leftover violas), trimming vigorous plants (zealous Thai basil), and weeding wherever I could. In some places like the tree ring, I tamped down loose and exposed plantings and filled holes dug by industrious squirrels. Tons of the cosmos seeds are coming up now, and I am waiting eagerly to see the results of this week’s cosmos sowing.

While gardening, I made some exciting discoveries. The one remaining thai chili pepper is bearing fruit. It had been flowering for the past week, and today I found 3 fruit on it, with several more nubs showing.

6/11/2011 Thai Chili Peppers fruiting (1) 6/11/2011 Thai Chili Peppers fruiting (2)

A couple more of the vincas have bloomed; one from my February starts, while another from the outdoor starts. Both seemed to be in the pink color family. Several more vinca seedlings are already budding, including the two I left in my planter box. The neighboring Confetti lantanas have nearly tripled in size since planting, as well as the Purple Star verbena which get the most exposure in the front yard bed.

6/11/2011 Vinca Intdoor started seedling 6/11/2011 Vinca Outdoor started seedling

The daylilies are still flowering strong. An observation I made of the front bed Dallas Stars is that they are a good 1-2 feet taller than the Dallas Star in near-full shade. Still a no-show however is the Hyperion daylily, though I did notice it had a single scape on it. Whether it had already bloomed or planned to bloom is a mystery.

6/11/2011 Dallas Star daylily in shade 6/11/2011 Dallas Star daylily in shade closeup 6/11/2011 Hyperion daylily scape

I’m so disappointed that none of my home-started Easy Wave petunias are red. I was hoping for a patriotic planter bowl for the Fourth of July, but currently everything in the bowl is either blue or white. I expected at least 1 out of the 10 seeds I purchased to be a red petunia (I sowed 9, and 8 are currently planted), but it seems that this wasn’t the case. Next time I plan to purchase the colors separately–and yes, I will grow them again since they were relatively easy to start and grow as it warmed up. (Just keep them covered during the first month as tiny seedlings.)

6/11/2011 Easy Wave Blue and White Petunias 6/11/2011 Easy Wave Blue and White Petunias 6/11/2011 Easy Wave Blue Petunias

6/11/2011 An all-white branch of a pineapple mintI hacked down a lot of the wildly growing pineapple mints and hot & spicy oregano. A shame I didn’t get to use most of them, but right now they are strictly ornamental. I have to wonder: if I took a purely cream-white cutting of the pineapple mint, would it continue grow white or will side shoots revert to green or variegation? I’m intrigued because despite the heat, this solid white shoot remains happy, if a little crisped on the edges.

New wishlist plant: variegated lantana camara Samantha aka Lemon Swirl, lantana camara Greg Grant, and variegated lantana montevidensis.