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Ye Olde Garden

New Plants and Blooms of March

My High Country Gardens order arrived. I’m somewhat disappointed by the tiny specimens I was sent. Given that they appear so delicate, I’m placing them under grow lights for the time being.

3/8//2012 New Plants and Blooms (1) 3/8//2012 New Plants and Blooms (2)

Check out the new blooms on the ornamental pepper Purple Flash and the “perennial” Easy Wave Petunias. The red petunias have opened, while white buds threaten on the other.

3/8//2012 New Plants and Blooms (3) 3/8//2012 New Plants and Blooms (4) 3/8//2012 New Plants and Blooms (5)

Lavender stoechas Bella Purple is in bloom. The buds appeared about a month ago, and I’ve been reluctant to shear it back since it started to sprawl. As soon as the blooms have faded, I’m trimming it back by at least a  foot so that the neighboring chives, garlic and sage get more light. Notice the lavender bud with the crane fly perched on it? Crane fly populations have exploded in Texas since the temperatures have warmed up (i.e. early February). There’s not a day that I get in a collision with a cloud of these crane flies while puttering in the yard. A friend indicated that these prey on mosquitoes; however, I researched this and discovered that they do NOT feed on mosquitoes at all. They love nectar and their larvae will feast on vegetation, and may cause considerable damage to turf and plants. I would like to find a natural way to get rid of these flies; maybe by enticing more birds to visit.

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I finally caught some good pictures of my yellow salvia greggii in bloom. The camera is still having difficulty capturing the pale yellow colors, but at least I now have a record of it.

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The potted oriental artemisias look like they are enjoying the cooler, moist weather. I do recall that these are part shade plants and they experienced a difficult time last year in the full sun. The yarrow I uprooted from the blue bed is adjusting to its temporary home. I also snapped another picture of the growing leeks in the herb garden bed.

3/8//2012 New Plants and Blooms (9) 3/8//2012 New Plants and Blooms (15) 3/8//2012 New Plants and Blooms (16)

I also spent some time this morning sowing more seeds to the bathroom greenhouse. Stardust Ice Plant, Blue Fescue, Dreams Patriot Mix petunias, Zinnia Profusion mix and Zinnia Starlight Rose are now planted. Thankfully I had easy seeds to deal with this recent go-round, pellets and chaff-like seed aren’t as difficult to stick in Jiffy pellets.

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Ye Olde Garden

Under the grow lights

The top growth on the eggplant died, but some foliage is emerging from the root ball. Looks like I’ll be able to keep this eggplant come spring. Still planning on using the single fruit for seed stock–I can’t imagine it’s edible up till now. All of the potted plants are taking up counter space, limiting the amount of real estate I can use to grow from seed. We’ll see what happens when mid-month rolls around.

1/5/2012 Under Grow Lights (1) 1/5/2012 Under Grow Lights (2) 1/5/2012 Under Grow Lights (3) 1/5/2012 Under Grow Lights (4) 1/5/2012 Under Grow Lights (5) 1/5/2012 Under Grow Lights (6) 1/5/2012 Under Grow Lights (7)

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Ye Olde Garden

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.

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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.

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

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

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 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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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)

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Ye Olde Garden

Fall shrooms and blooms

I love to take a morning walk with the pups and check out the landscapes in my neighborhood. This season especially with the onset of autumn, I get to see the color changes. On today’s walk, I noted the lawns dotted with mushrooms, likely a result from the early week rains we received and the characteristic cool nights/warm days pattern of weather we’ve been experiencing.

Anyway, it’s another look at the garden to see what’s changing. As to be expected this time of year, many of the fall bloomers are sharing the joy: dianthus, mums, asters, salvias especially the greggiis, petunias, marigolds, vinca, verbena and gaura. I mentioned last time that the Pesto Perpetuo basil was budding; now I discover that another specimen of it is blooming. The yarrow is also putting out another bloom head, and the society garlic are happily following suit.

10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (1) 10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (2) 10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (3) 10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (4) 10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (5) 10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (6) 10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (7) 10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (8) 10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (9)

As evidenced by the photos below, I’ve spotted some strap-like leaves emerging from the spider lily bulbs planted earlier in the year. I believe it is too late for them to bloom (?) but with Texas weather…who knows. I’ll have to consult with the Bulb Hunter’s blog again to be sure.

10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (10) 10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (11) 10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (12)

The irises I planted in the blue bed will probably get another layer of dirt on top of them; the bed itself still needs more height and leveling before I mulch it. I would love to just get rid of the Oertel’s Rose yarrow we planted in there, but the man would prolly have something to say about that. I’ve already relocated 3 of its offspring in the lily bed and shade bed. Isn’t that Valentine Dianthus gorgeous? That bloom is quarter-sized if not bigger! The crazy, dried up Day’s aster in the corner is still blooming its head off. I  am debating on when I cut it back down so that it can dress up next year.

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I really love how the tree ring bed turned out. For a couple of years, we thought it an eyesore and unworkable. But 2011 proved different: cosmos, salvia and marigolds turned out to be a powerhouse combo. The only thing I would change would be to raise the bed near the tree trunk to give the cosmos and salvia better visibility. Of course, the front flower bed is also just as spectacular with a new flush of blooms coloring it this month. Those silly Dahlberg daisies are still blooming strong…but I am wishing for a sturdier yellow flower for next year.

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The Dixie Chip ajuga is also undergoing a color change; I love the rose leaves contrasting with the dark. The Chocolate Chip ajuga (huge) is undergoing something similar, this time with espresso-colored leaves against piney green leaves. I plan on dividing the Chocolate Chip ajuga in spring, though I wish I hadn’t lost one of the Dixie Chips to an overzealous ant colony.

10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (26)

So what are those buds on the camellia all about? I guess we’ll find out in a few more months.

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Ah petunias! You were the surprise hit of 2011, weathering the heat wave despite being potted and neglected. I’ll be sure to add you the landscape next year. (If only you weren’t so darned delicate to start.)

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To do list: re-pot all of the pepper plants into larger pots for them to overwinter indoors. Capture some Snow Nymph salvia seeds for next year. Start some Shu ornamental peppers. Dig up the Wide Brim hostas if I can find them to replant in the strip. Plant the daffodils, crocuses and giant hyacinths (ordered last week). Find the pansy flat a new home. Order some flower seeds (violas and snapdragons would be nice). Reseed, weed and feed the lawn.

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Ye Olde Garden

October plantings

Picked up some more soil and cedar mulch, and 4 mums (red and white). Got the camellia, azalea, abelia, irises and mums planted, as well as dividing the Hyperion daylily and transplanting a white salvia greggii to the salvia wall. I even repotted some ornamental peppers, and transplanted a nandina. All in all, a busy yet productive day. Next time, I have a 50 count flat of Matrix pansies to plant.

10/8/2011 More October Blooms (1) 10/8/2011 More October Blooms (2) 10/8/2011 More October Blooms (3) 10/8/2011 More October Blooms (4) 10/8/2011 More October Blooms (5) 10/8/2011 More October Blooms (6) 10/8/2011 More October Blooms (7) 10/8/2011 More October Blooms (8)