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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Categories
Ye Olde Garden

Unlikely bloomers

Unlikely bloomers spotted in the garden: basil Pesto Perpetuo, aster Wood’s Blue, and return of the variegated society garlic mop heads.

10/5/2011 Unlikely Blooms (1) 10/5/2011 Unlikely Blooms (2) 10/5/2011 Unlikely Blooms (3) 10/5/2011 Unlikely Blooms (4) 10/5/2011 Unlikely Blooms (5)

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Ye Olde Garden

Herb garden work

Despite teeter-tottering temperatures this week, the weather proved mild enough to allow some work in the herb garden during the weekend. I successfully moved all of the herbs: oregano, thyme and pineapple mint into the cinder block border. Following that, the honey raised the bed by another 6 inches (with bought topsoil, compost and leftover Calloway’s shrub mix and Scott’s garden soil). Then we planted variegated society garlic and the lavender stoechas Bella which had been sitting in a pot for some time. Hopefully the lavender will flourish behind the rosemary. Since I first bought it, the lavender blooms have been long-lasting and have shown very little signs of fading.

I am crossing my fingers that the golden oregano and hot & spicy oregano divisions will survive; I was reluctant to move the herbs since they came back this spring so vigorously. My one herb disappointment is the coconut thyme, which appears to require more moisture than the other thymes. Because of its lighter texture and habit, I suspect it may not be able to withstand the coming summer heat.

I planted peppers in the front row, alongside the rosemary: four bell peppers and two chili peppers. I am hoping they will get more circulation and sun being out of the lee of the basil plants I plan on including.

As for the basil plants, I trimmed down the Thai basils to see if that will promote more leafing. Meanwhile, the lime basil that I seeded about a week ago sprouted but were very slow to take off under grow lights. I’m thinking I should try outdoor sowing the seeds since they tend to enjoy the heat and bright lights.

I’ve taken some extra oregano divisions for more baby plantings to give away. Also I’m hoping the garlic chives will do better outdoors, but with all this cool weather we’ve been having, it seems their growth has been slow to moderate. I expect them to take off when we see steady 80-90 degree temps.

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Ye Olde Garden

Arboretum, nurseries, and gardening this past weekend

The Dallas Arboretum was packed this weekend, so much so that we had to circle the place looking for parking. But it was definitely the place to see tulips and azalea during the warm spring weather.

We headed out to Home Depot, Lowes and Strongs as well to pick up some variegated society garlic, 2 Palace Purple heuchera, 2 Wide Brim hostas, 2 Charmed Wine oxalis and several bags of mulch, compost, humus and soil. The honey finally got his rose planted in time to see its first bloom. However we have concerns with the leaf yellowing on the lower extremities of the rose bush.

We got about 6 bags of pine bark mulch in the salvia bed, after I had toiled last weekend putting weed block fabric down. The 2cf bags of pine bark gave enough coverage on the bed, much less bags used compared to shredded mulch. However, I am concerned that 2 of my red salvias are ailing–in fact, looking like they are dying. I suspect they may have received lethal doses of weed killer in previous weeks. I am crossing my fingers that they will survive (they survived sitting in a pot for almost 2 years). Luckily, I have volunteer cuttings ready to replace them should the need arise. I also need to work on getting the Crimson Pirates into this bed…they’ve been sitting on the kitchen table too long.

It’s been exciting to observe the changes happening in all the beds. The blue bed is perhaps the showiest at this time. The yarrows form a verdant mounding backdrop to all the color coming in. The purple oxalis are beautifully robust (and flowering), the violas in full bloom, and the scabiosa gangly and flowering as well. I should remember to deadhead and collect scabiosa seed if possible. I’ve placed the 2nd sinaloa sage into the bed, along with the two variegated felicia. While working the bed, I discovered 2 phlox starts growing up against the rocks–one had a distinctive, pale blue flower that I remembered. I dug them up to grow them indoors, in hopes of that the weed killer wouldn’t affect them. Now I am just waiting to put Sea Breeze salvia seedlings into the bed.

Speaking of seedlings, nearly all but the columbines that I seeded last weekend, have sprouted. Speediest out of the gate were the marigolds. Everything else has followed suit, save for the columbines–which take a few days more than usual. Those petunias and ice plants are particularly tiny! I will need to remember to keep them under the dome a little longer than the others. I’m also happy to report that planting the garlic chives thickly and keeping them covered with a humidity dome has produced favorable results. Now I just need to sow more garlic chives. Since I emptied out our bathroom nursery, I have a little more counter space to work with. But first I have to work on getting the previous wave of seedlings potted and placed outside. The basil seedlings also need hardening off; with the warm weather, it’s time to put them outside. I should sow more of the Red Rubin basil since they will look good in the purple bed. I forgot that I had some Lime Basil seeds to sow as well.

While I’m on the subject of herbs…the herb garden sits still unfinished. I’ve only planted the lime thyme and the golden oregano in the cinder block border. I have yet to move the other oregano, thymes, and pineapple mint. Those herbs planted from last year are now cozy neighbors, jutting up against each other in the corners of the bed. I’m reluctant to move them now since they look so good together, but it’s only a matter of time before the pineapple mint takes over. The rosemary suffered some frost burn this past winter, but there is evidence of a lot of new growth on all of its branches–so I imagine it is doing quite well, unlike our rosemary topiary. I am considering installing the lavender in the herb garden’s back row.

The shade garden in front gathered the most newcomers this weekend. I added one specimen of the Gold Standard hosta, the 2 Wide Brims, and the 2 Purple Palace heuchera. I’m also excited to see that both of the foxtails have prominent plume shoots above ground, and the japanese painted fern in back has also sent out several fronds. The golden hakone grass are back this spring, showing off vibrant citrine yellow blades of grass–really brightening the area. The honey put down several bags of black mulch, which is punching up the color of the new additions. I am hoping the tiger lilies give us a show this summer; in the mean time, I am still debating on what border plants to add to the bed, aside from impatiens.

The front flower bed was the messiest to begin with; overgrown with weeds and in dire need of cleaning and shearing. Most of the vinca remains have been removed, the coreopsis and salvia have been trimmed back and general maintenance performed. The centerpiece loropetalum is stealing the show, drenched in countless white fringe flowers. I am thinking that the nandina flanking it need to be pruned into a rounder shape sometime in the future. The Victoria blue salvia that I’ve left in the bed are sprouting at the roots; so I’m glad to have left them in this bed so they can come back. The compact white ballerina gaura has grown back in force, nearly a foot high after I cleaned it. However, the pink gaura (Cherry Brandy and Passionate Blush) aren’t as vigorous, only still crowning at this time. I took some cuttings of Passionate Blush in hopes of propagating it. Sadly, neither the hakone grass nor the kangaroo paw have made a reappearance in this bed and are most likely victims of our vicious winter. I’m still crossing my fingers that the kangaroo paw may come back.

The only decorative bed in front is the gardenia bed, bordered by kale and viola. Sadly, this winter may have taken a toll on the gardenia; much of its leaves are pale, dry and look ready to drop. We have to take care not to overwater it, but I’m not sure if it’s going to survive another year. It is truly ghastly.

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