Thursday, September 18, 2008


I can't believe that I have lived and gardened in Texas for 12 years and this is the first year I have seen the Oxblood lilies. Of course most have been on garden blogs but this month the plant is featured in Judy Barrett's Homegrown magazine. This magazine can be picked up at local nurseries in Austin and has a wealth of information on local gardening. The fall copy was timely because yesterday I received some of the Oxblood lilies from Zanthan Gardens. Melissa suggested that I enjoy the flowers indoors before setting  them in the garden. So here they are- aren't they beautiful?

This morning I prepared a second square foot garden. I used string to divide the spaces. It is really a temporary measure and if I find it works for me I will try to find something a little more sturdy; strapping tape seems like it would do well. I made a start on the first garden yesterday by planting already germinated ( kitchen roll) Pak choi. I planted 4 in each of the first four squares. In two more I planted basil, rescued from the paths.
Last evening I attended the Master Gardeners' Fall seminar on vegetable gardening. Patty Leander gave a wonderful presentation filled with great information on the vegetables that are perfect for the fall/winter garden. I am planning to try out a few new ones this year including rhubarb. The idea that it can be grown as an annual is amazing but then we know how quickly things grow here in Texas. Garlic  and onions are new on my list of things to grow aside from the usual peas, beets, lettuce and cilantro. I am starting  spinach by the kitchen roll method.
The one danger at this time of the year is the awakening of the pill bugs and snails.  They may do a lot of good in the garden by breaking down organic matter but they actually prefer sprouting seeds of every vegetable. Sometimes the seeds germinate and disappear overnight. Forget the beer they would much rather have seedlings.

Ah! isn't he cute. This is a baby hispid cotton rat. I can handle a few of these but they breed like rabbits! and can do it all winter. Judging by the amount of damage to my gomphrena there must be an army of them out there. I'm sure he will be much happier out there in the long grass where he belongs. I just hope he doesn't know how to home.

In the summer he eats tomatoes and eggplant and then moves onto the gomphrena in the fall. He's just been having a terrific time this year. This damage is evident all over the garden. 


  1. Your new oxbloods are beautiful!

    And thank you for the paper-towel germination idea in your last post. I'm going to try it with my beet and carrot seeds! Your gardens look great, as usual.

  2. I love those oxblood lilies, and have definite plant envy when I see them on so many of the Texas garden blogs (didn't Annie just show some too?). I think they grow here, and maybe it's time I find some!

  3. The oxblood lilies really are a late summer treasure. I'm glad you've acquired some.

    And you are much kinder than we regarding rats. :-)

  4. I think I'm going to try the square foot gardening technique. However, I don't think I'm going to get my new garden installed in time. But that's okay. It takes about a year to get the soil ready anyways.

    Also, we don't have a rat or mouse problem. But that is because I have a cat who used to be a stray. She thinks rats are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

  5. I think the square foot gardening idea sounds like a good plan. I'll let everyone know how it goes. Pam, these are not the roof rats which are notorious in the Westlake area. They live in the tall grasses and feed on seeds. We see them all the time along the roadsides scurrying into the grasses. I did find a dead one one morning and think that it had been dropped by an owl or a hawk. Also it is a major food source of the fox so maybe that's why they took up residence here in our absence. It would be nice if they ate pill bugs but does anything.

  6. The oxbloods are gorgeous, aren't they? I planted mine right outside my kitchen window, where they go conveniently well with the white-and-burgundy kitchen decor. ;)

    As for rhubarb in the winter garden, I tried growing it last winter, but I think I planted it too late or maybe it got hot too fast. But if you yield enough to cook with, let me know if you need recipes. My family in WI loves the stuff, and so do I. :)

  7. I'm totally envious of all the oxblood lilies I've been seeing around the Austin garden blogs. They are absolutely beautiful. I think I'll have to purchase a few online.

  8. I'm still amazed that the pill bugs give you so many problems. Here in Indiana, they don't really do much damage, if any. And rats! Oh, my, you are kind to trap and release them!

    I do like those oxblood lilies!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  9. I've never seen oxblood lillies before. They are quite pretty! I've been wanting to try the Square Foot Gardening techniques for a couple of years. I've read the book but have never got around to it. It's too hot in the summer when I'd have to prepare for fall veggies, and in the spring I usually just buy a tomato plant or two. I'll be interested in seeing how your garden progresses.

  10. I love your Oxblood Lily!! It's beautiful. I grow the Pink Oxblood Lily and this year they are back up again. I love to see these guys. Chcek out my picture, Oxblood Lily Blooming

    1. Hi Jenny,
      thank you so much for visiting my blog and posting a comment. I have been all over your blog, WOW! Great pictures, love the snake. I signed up to follow by email.

      Please post pictures when your Oxblook Lilies bloom!