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Ye Olde Garden

And yet more March buds and blooms

A few new sights to find in the garden. Can you tell which ones are the newest?

3/13/2012 March Buds and Blooms (1) 3/13/2012 March Buds and Blooms (2) 3/13/2012 March Buds and Blooms (3) 3/13/2012 March Buds and Blooms (4) 3/13/2012 March Buds and Blooms (5) 3/13/2012 March Buds and Blooms (6) 3/13/2012 March Buds and Blooms (7) 3/13/2012 March Buds and Blooms (8) 3/13/2012 March Buds and Blooms (9) 3/13/2012 March Buds and Blooms (10) 3/13/2012 March Buds and Blooms (11) 3/13/2012 March Buds and Blooms (12) 3/13/2012 March Buds and Blooms (13) 3/13/2012 March Buds and Blooms (14)

Easy Wave White petunia (excuse the night-time camera settings), red lantana, more Origami Red and White Columbine, Iris Mariposa Skies, yet a 3rd camellia (Mabel Bryan, and Thalia Narcissus.

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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.

11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (6) 11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (7) 11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (8) 11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (9) 11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (12)

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!)

11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (15) 11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (16) 11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (17) 11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (18) 11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (19) 11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (20)

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Ye Olde Garden

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

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Ye Olde Garden

…and After!

So I cleaned up the leaf-burned foliage with fabulous results. Next I’ll have to find a new home for them!

10/23/2011 Gingers and Sedums (1) 10/23/2011 Gingers and Sedums (2)

Doogie decided he wanted to pose for me so I couldn’t miss this opportunity to photograph a spotted dog against the striped foliage.

10/23/2011 Gingers and Sedums (6) 10/23/2011 Gingers and Sedums (7) 10/23/2011 Gingers and Sedums (8)

I couldn’t resist this eye-catching succulent planter when I wandered over to Flower Mound and visited Westbrook Outdoor Solutions, a family-run garden center. I tell ya…I need a new camera with better flash. Or I need to stop taking pictures during dusk and dawn.

10/23/2011 Gingers and Sedums (3) 10/23/2011 Gingers and Sedums (4) 10/23/2011 Gingers and Sedums (5)

Finally, one (albeit poor) shot of the new ornamental kale still looking for a home.

10/23/2011 Gingers and Sedums (9)

Wishlist plant of the day: Hydrangea macrophylla Silver Variegated Mariesii or Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Variegata’, or the Endless Summer sport called Light o’ Day.

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Ye Olde Garden

Before…

Last week while I toured the nursery centers in search of pots and plants, I happened to notice these ginger lilies beckoning to me from the 75% off clearance racks at Lowes.

10/22/2011 Alpinia zerumbet variegata

Speaking as a girl with a tasted for variegated plants, it was a deal that could not be denied. I brought home 3 2.25qt pots of variegated gingers: 1x Alpinia zerumbet variegata and 2x Stromanthe sanguinea tricolor.

10/22/2011 Stromanthe sanguinea tricolor

Not pictured here are two 4″ pots of purple curly-leafed ornamental kale that I picked up at Blooming Colors Nursery in Grapevine.

Tomorrow, I’ll post pics of the cleanup I performed on the gingers. I had to plant the last of the pansies flats before nightfall.