Wednesday, April 22, 2009


When we first moved into our house we thought that the wall at the front looked a little bare. Above it, and inside the walls, we could see four small windows high up in the house. By chance there had been a project in Sunset magazine on making small boxes with mirror backing. I thought it would be perfect to add some interest to the wall and at the same time mimic the windows in the house. No sooner said than done! For the last few years plant growth all but obscured the mirrored boxes,until we cleared out a lot of the planting in he fall and trimmed up the vitex tree. Now the boxes are visible again. It is a favorite place for the cardinal to sit and peck away trying to scare himself off.
Early this morning the air was clear and fresh but we all knew what was coming later on in the day. Another 90+ degree day. Very unseasonable. What will summer be like. I took the opportunity to walk up onto the plateau to see what, if anything, was flowering. No sign of flowers on the basket grass, Nolina texana. These gorgeous specimens don't seem to care if they get any water. The native Americans used this grass to make baskets. No need to cut this one back in the fall.

A fine old prickly pear was starting to bloom. Every flower seemed to have a visitor. I think this is the same beetle I found on the Missouri primrose. Must be attracted to the yellow bloom.

and a rain lily. I wish  had more of these. Even though I scatter the seeds around they are still rather sparse.
Here is the sotol, Dasylirion wheeleri, we removed from the garden and virtually threw outside. It has rooted and is much happier where it can do its strappy thing.

Inside the walls spring flowers are fading fast in the early heat. Until summer blooms begin structure becomes the important feature of the garden; the offset cement stones which divide the dry creek on each side of the entry garden.

Almost all the plants here have seeded themselves; bluebonnets, damianita, fournerve daisy, erigeron, ruellia, California poppies and feather grass. Saves me a lot of planting work even if there is plenty of pulling out work.

I gave a 10:30am tour at the Wildflower Center and by the time I returned home it was simply too hot to work outside. We broke the record for a high today but the good news is that tomorrow will only be in the 80s.


  1. It WAS amazingly hot, wasn't it? I was quite peaked after walking the dogs. I only managed to putter today. Your mirror boxes are a wonderful and creative idea -- and I can just imagine Mr. Cardinal pecking himself silly up there. My fingers are crossed for some cooler temps tomorrow!

  2. That's hot! We were seasonable here in Indpls, with a high of around 64-65 F. By Friday, it will be around 80 F which is hot for us in the spring time. Hopefully your summer isn't going to be another record breaker.

    Beautiful flowers, by the way.

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  3. Your garden is lovely. I hate 90 degree temps in April, that's much too hot too early!

  4. Good morning Jenny,

    Your hard landscaping is so clever.
    It sets off individual plants and containers so beautifully.
    There is a picture of an adobe type wall somewhere with an arch and a big pot. I feel we still haven't walked all the way round your garden yet.

    Wisley has made me very discontent with our own garden and not hopeful of ever achieving near perfection in any corner of our own.

    Mind you, I am now no longer envious of your lovely weather: cool is cool :-)

  5. I love the fact that your garden has so much structure and hardscaping. It really helps to showcase the plants. And repeating a feature of your house on your fence is an easy way to tie them together and to the garden; very cleverly done.

    But I don't envy you your weather. It's supposed to be in the 80s here on Friday and then a stormy weekend. April is the number one month for tornadoes in southern Wisconsin and it's been very quiet so far.

  6. Diana- Mr Cardinal pecked for hours last year. I haven't heard him this year. He does make a mess of the glass!
    Carol- I'm beginning to think winter climates aren't so bad after all- even after all those years in Canada which I still remember well. Rain would be nice.
    Sweet Bay- I'm with you Too hot!! Clouds are scudding across the sky this morning. What a relief.
    Jo Our hardscape was born out of necessity. Drainage! Who ever reaches what they think of as perfection. I think you are like me- my sons say I am a perfectionist!
    We were at Wisley about 5 years ago. Would love to go back but this year its Hidcote.
    MsWis- You have done some incredible projects in your garden and are lucky enough to have kept a good record. I wish we had good photos of the process. Keep the projects coming!

  7. What a wonderful idea with the mirrors!

  8. The Nolina texana in my old garden has already bloomed and finished. It shows how much warmer the climate is in central Austin compared to yours. Although 94 is warm enough anywhere, isn't it?

  9. Brenda- My H made them for me and it was a woodworking first for him. We had to buy a pack of mirrored tile, which we still have, so if any of the mirrors went bad we had some backups. It has been 8 years and the mirrors are still good.
    Pam-No sign that there are going to be any flowers this year.

  10. Your garden is just lovely - different from our southeastern coastal gardens. That grass (the one that isn't blooming yet) is just perfect. What an interesting garden!