Yard plan and whirlwind weekend buys

We covered a lot of ground in the first weekend of March, literally speaking. From Chambersville Tree Farms to Covington’s Nursery, we amassed a truck-bed full of plants. So many in fact, that one resourceful canine thought we could do without one. I’ll tag them for now and call out some of our plant selections in future posts.

First Haul, Mostly Bedding and Container Plants Closeup - 2nd Haul 2nd Haul

After determining that he needed to set the flagstone differently, (in sand as I had originally argued) the man began the arduous task of digging up/destroying all the topsoil and weed mat we had already laid down the previous weekend, breaking a few of the stone in the process. A frustrating outcome to be sure as we had initially paid for the labor to remove the sod the first time around. To redo that work seems such a waste!

A Mudpit While It Rains - Flagstone Path 2nd Pass North Wall Bed

Unfortunately, all our plans were stymied by week-long rain. It’s evident that we probably won’t be able to return to the yard crash until the following Sunday or Monday at the earliest. This also disrupts any plans to visit more nurseries in search of our focal tree (Metro Maples in Ft Worth is at the top of our list).

I invested in a garden planning app to get my fix in the mean time. Garden Puzzle is a decent enough desktop application with a solid database of flora. I found it by way of Better Homes and Gardens’ online design app. Interestingly enough, I can also import plant designs that I worked over with Photoshop to fill out what is missing from the GP desktop database.

2016 Proposed Front Bed Summer Layout

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.

Enduring the heat 2011

Ten consecutive days of 100+ degree weather in the Dallas area. This is already the third hottest June on record here. It is also taking a toll on the garden. I can’t imagine what our water and electric bill will look like in the coming months.

Still, there are still a few plants still making a show…the scabiosa continue to bloom their heads off. The vinca and lantana truly enjoy this heat. I’m still waiting to see the marigold and salvia tree ring come to life; I’ve been catching sporadic blooms of the Durango marigolds, but have yet to observe the whole ring explode into color. The Dallas Star daylilies in the front beds still have a handful of buds waiting to burst open. And the Emerald Snow loropetalum in the front flower bed has surprised me with a smattering of white fringe flowers.

7/11/2011 July Survivors (1) 7/11/2011 July Survivors (2) 7/11/2011 July Survivors (3) 7/11/2011 July Survivors (4) 7/11/2011 July Survivors (5) 7/11/2011 July Survivors (6) 7/11/2011 July Survivors (7) 7/11/2011 July Survivors (8) 7/11/2011 July Survivors (9) 7/11/2011 July Survivors (10) 7/11/2011 July Survivors (11)

There were a few losses of course. The ornamental kale have reached the end of their life. I’m amazed they survived this long but they couldn’t take more of this weather, so I pulled them up. An old white dianthus mound gave up the ghost this weekend, which left an empty hole to fill in the lily bed. It also appears I will lose the raspberry salvia greggii in the salvia wall. The tricolor sage cutting appears to have lost the fight (I could try to rescue it by repotting it). And I’m down to the last Seabreeze salvia seedling.  Those young plants that need the most protection (i.e. common chives), I’ve put into the ground or in the planters. Very few plants are surviving in pots, like the callas, petunias and sweet potato vines. Even the lobelia which I thought would endure are looking very dried and shriveled.

7/11/2011 July Survivors (12) 7/11/2011 July Survivors (13) 7/11/2011 July Survivors (14) 7/11/2011 July Survivors (15) 7/11/2011 July Survivors (16)


I have a hankerin to grow some veggies. Of course, being late in the season means very few direct-sow options left. Here’s a short wishlist of ideas:

  • Soy beans (edamame)
  • Bush/French beans (preferably stringless)
  • Okra
  • Peppers (yes more of them!)
  • Swiss Chard (ornamental)
  • Sweet Potato (ornamental)

According to Burpee, these veggies can be direct sown into the garden this time of year. More regional-specific reading can be found at the Aggie Horticulture site.

Question of the day: what’s eating my Lobelia erinus Regatta Midnight Blue?

Another NHG run ends with Sunday plantings

5/16/2011 Half Pot of Ginger Mint I headed out to NHG today to pick up at least one coral bells and perhaps find my verbena. What I came home with were 1 Amber Waves heuchera, 1 Lemon verbena, 1 ginger mint, 2 jumbo White Dynasty caladium bulbs and 1 jumbo White Delight caladium bulb. Of the above, only the lemon verbena remains unplanted. The heuchera and the 2 White Dynasty caladiums found an immediate home in the shade bed. The White Delight went into a planter bowl along with the two Regatta lobelia and all of the Wave petunia seedlings. I split the ginger mint into half and planted it straight into the herb garden, along with the hot banana pepper and the habanero. I also decided to drop all 6 of the garlic chives pots into the herb garden as well, to see if they will fare better. During my efforts, I stumbled onto two lime basil seedlings, which I’ve repotted.

5/16/2011 Lanai Purple Star Verbena

Meanwhile, the man got busy with the tree ring and front flower beds. He added 4 of the vinca seedlings, and 4 of the Lanai Purple Star verbena as border plants. He also dropped another Hot Lips salvia into the vacant space next to the Autumn Twist azalea. Hopefully this salvia will fare better in this spot.  Taking 12 of the marigold seedlings, he started them in the outer ring. I resolved to start paring down the lemon thyme plant to take more cuttings and hopefully create more plants. I’m convinced that this herb will make a remarkable border plant. It will take no more than a year to create a solid circle of variegated lemon thyme, if I do this right.

I still have basil planters to create, but I’m waiting on the cuttings to take hold. It seems I may have some success with the Pesto Basil since I took a cutting right off the top. I’m also waiting on the tricolor sage to take hold as well. I kept some cuttings under glass on the Burpee mat. I have great hopes that they will endure.

Now I am just waiting for some basil and salvia seedlings to mature so that I can get them out into the garden.