Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fall Joys

Here are some of the reasons I love our second Spring here in Austin.  Especially one that began, at least, with a lot of rain.
Esperanza (hope) or Yellow Bells - at last!
The giant Muhlys have never looked more spectacular
American Beautyberry - mockingbirds love these berries, and you can make jam from them.
Mexican blue sage - velvety soft and plentiful

I just couldn't believe how these things erupted in purple once fall hit

Yeay! My Yellow Bells or Esperanza finally bloomed and bloomed and continued to grow taller...
The star attraction, clearly, for me! 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Where's the yellow in this picture?

Howdy, Garden bloggers,
Check out these yellow bells ... but wait, you say, where's the yellow?  In fact, where are the bells?  These are two plants that just love the space and sun, clearly.  But seem to not want to bloom.  I planted them last Spring, so I figured, surely by now.   Maybe I'll call the Natural Gardener and see what they can tell me.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

What blooms in over 100 degrees?

Here's what: Pride of Barbados (by far the winner); catmint (in purple, tho not prolifically now; but our cat does love to roll in it);
sunflowers (we took most of them out of our median, but it was amazing how long these guys lasted);

morning glory (of course they curl up during the day);

society garlic (just keeps on going, unlike the rest of us who are all wilting),

and beds of yellow lantana, which get almost no water.
Here's what's not making it: our banana plant (actually, too sad to show pictured).  Too much pm sun and I'm unwilling to pour water on it, which it begs for; I'm debating whether to just let it die, or move it somewhere else, but where?
So the quest continues: what to shade the west side of our screened in porch with?  I'm thinking a crossvine, but I have to look for a simple grating, and be handy enough to install it next to a screen wall, that will need replacing now and then.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Let's Go Bananas

I have been asking visitors: what type of plant would best screen our back porch from the afternoon heat?  One common answer: try a banana plant or two.  So I bought one at Barton Springs Nursery for $24.99 - a "red banana."  Compared to the green, the leaves are, surprise, reddish, and a little more ornamental.

They helped me stuff it into our small sedan, with my daughter sitting in her car seat, happily hiding under one of its leaves all the way home.

The red or green won't produce fruit unfortunately (I was told) unless they can make it through several winters without dying down.  But it's still a striking thing to have in the back - it's the first tropical I've actually put in the ground, so I feel I'm going a little against my original goal of having only native plants.

Keeping it well watered was a concern of mine, until I realized that it is very close to the dog's water bowl, as well as the hose.  I love how I got our dog in mid-leap over our sprinkler, in the background of the first photo.

I first tried putting it in a galvanized tin tub, but decided it would be better off in the ground, and be better protected come winter.

I figure if I can get about 5 more, we'll have that whole porch nicely screened!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Still Life

My still life photos are rare, especially now my life is faster than ever.  This scene practically made itself, I did a double take as I walked past the dining room table.  Roses from the side of the house, with purple verbena.  

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Clean Up Time

At long last, our agave americana (so called, even tho it has red spines instead of black) got the pruning it needed.  And what a pruning it was.  It now looks like a giant pineapple.  But hey: it's alive.  That's all I care about.

The drought last year wasn't the only peril the succulents found themselves in.  The other was an infestation of snails...to a nightmarish degree.  Fertile Ground Landscaping who came yesterday did a terrific job putting diatomaceous earth (crushed shells) around replanted pups of our agave celsii and americana.  The earth cuts the snails' flesh, so they stay out.  Cayenne pepper also helps.

The team also planted some cat mint to replace ponyfoot that suffered last year.  We added a carolina jessamine vine to the amazingly resilient bougainvillea that sprouted up at the last minute from what I thought was a dead plant.

The back around the playhouse got lots more mulch; and our kids loved helping with their own wheelbarrow.

And we put two new African bulbines in the back.  They were some of the only plants that didn't survive last year, amazingly.

And we put a potato vine next to the garage to grow up over our old metalsmithing frame.  To my amazement, Julie, owner of Fertile Ground, showed me where my old Passion Vine was in fact resurrecting.  So we'll have the two vines meet in the middle of the framework.

I think that's all, but it sure wore us out - the kids took exceptionally long naps yesterday after the crew left!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hail to the Survivors

I'm amazed at how plants can make it through a drought as tough as we got in 09.  Two Mexican blue sages I was sure were dead, along with some plumbago plants are back, albeit taking their time, justifiably.

The bluebonnets in our median are stunning.  They came out in late fall 2009 (no blooms) and lay real low during the winter.  Maybe that's what gave them the base to rise to great heights--that's my totally unscientific take on the bluebonnet phenomenon this Spring all over Austin.

The rest of the photos show off the beautiful, blooming survivors, including the crossvine, the best Spring it's had so far.

 Our kitty loved the photo opp...

And I forgot what ground cover this is...anyone know?  It just keeps spreading and looking wonderful.

 The feather grass has never looked better...

 Our poor agave americana is another survivor, but barely.  Fertile Ground is coming to prune it back to a stick next week.

Friday, February 5, 2010

A "New" Driveway

After 3 years, we really needed a top up for the driveway - decomposed granite for the level part, slightly larger, similar rosy-colored granite rocks (Fairland pink) for the slope, to hold up to rain runoff.

Geo Growers in south Austin delivered it in a huge dump truck, to the glee of my kids. And one of their own, Samuel, stayed to help us shovel and rake it out. After three hours of that work, my back is reminding me that I am no longer 25.

I spread it straight to the walls behind the plants along our house, so it would serve as mulch for a climbing rose, grasses and the ponyfoot and bougainvilla I'm hoping will all resurrect in the Spring.

We even had enough to use for the back perimeter bed around our back porch. It was like getting a Christmas present in February. Yeay!