Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Tipping the scales at exactly 1lb. It would be a celebrity even if it wasn't a Celebrity!

Just one day without picking and I have filled two colanders and a bowl. More roasted Roma tomatoes in the oven. Their wonderful aroma fills the kitchen.I am beginning to wish I had picked some of them green and made my green tomato chutney. I'm now stuffing tomatoes with squash instead of squash with tomatoes!

Thank goodness I picked the garlic and had it drying in a sheltered place. We had over 3" of rain in two days. They would have been rotting in the soil, I'm sure. Unfortunately with the rain comes the splitting tomatoes. The yellow pear are particularly affected.

Monday, June 28, 2010


Around this time much of what is growing in my garden needs serious cut back. For some it may be the second cut back of the year.

The native cosmos is one that you can cut and cut and cut and it will still come back. It will take on a more bushy, pleasing appearance.

I cut back the chocolate daisy about 2 weeks ago. It is already flowering again.

I love the blanket flowers for their ability to keep going through all that heat with no loss of color on the flowers. They will look just as good in the fall.

I usually pull out the Gulf coast penstemon after it has flowered because of the need to reduce seed head production. This year I just cut off the heads. It has surprised me with a second flowering.
Other plants a cut back severely a few weeks ago were catmint, Salvia greggii, daisy fleabane and wine cups. Now it's the turn of the wine cups again, lantana, lemon balm, knockout roses, purple cone flowers, tomatoes, zinnias and on and on. Doing this now will ensure a good flowering in the fall.

I made a start today by cutting back the lemon balm and look what I found. My very first chrysalis. In all my years of gardening it is the first I have ever found. Not surprising. There are plenty of places to hide in my garden! Following the advice of someone on the internet I have put it, along with twigs, leaves and some sugar water in a clear plastic container with lid. I shall be watching it daily for its emergence. Hope it is something pretty.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


The last thing a gardener needs is an injury that keeps him out of the garden. Last week working among the rocks I stretched for another rock and must have landed badly on my left leg. It didn't hurt at the time but sometime later there was a tightness in my knee and I could see there was obvious fluid build up. Darn it. I had too much to do than to be sitting with my leg up with an ice pack. A week later it is no better so today I am forced to rest it. Not all bad this morning.

Instead of the buzz from the bees in the garden I am listening to the buzz of those confounded trumpets from the crowd at the World Cup soccer match in South Africa. And it just happens to be England versus Germany. Now, I'm not much of a soccer fan even though I watched a zillion soccer games as we put three boys through years if Canadian and AYSO soccer. I can't help but feel a bit of emotion for this game. After all I have profound memories of the WC final in 1966 which pitted England against Germany. I had just graduated and was starting my first job in London. I arrived that morning by train and was watching the game in the living room of the family I was going to board with. When it got to penalty kicks I couldn't stand the pressure any more. To this day I hate watching those final penalty kicks.
Oh no! Germany just scored. Maybe I won't have to watch penalty kicks after all!
I may just have to switch to Find My Past to take advantage of the free viewing they're offering on the day that England plays in the World Cup. This may be the last.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Garden a Go Go time. The group came over to my house, this morning, to help me come up with a new plan for one area of my garden that was in need of some renovation. We changed the time to 9am so that everyone would feel more comfortable when outside. Even so the temperatures were already in the 80s by the time they arrived. After a quick tour of the garden it was down to work.

The area due for an overhaul is by the side entrance. A flowering senna tree seeded here, along with a vitex. Last year we pulled out the vitex and David was ready to say goodbye to the senna too. "Not until we come up with a plan for the area," was my cry. So 17 of Austin's garden blogging community collected by the steps and threw out ideas for a garden makeover.

After refreshments they set to work sketching their ideas on paper. I think everyone was in agreement that the tree should 'go' and the area should be planted with structural plants. The idea being to create a clean sharp planting to match the simple lines. One suggestion was for a rectangular water feature built using masonry blocks. I think that this would look lovely too but might be more maintenance than we have time for. I had thought of a tank in this area but there was little enthusiasm for this idea.
Thank you to our garden bloggers' group who visited today. Philip, Eastside patch, Bob, DracoGardens, Robin, GetGrounded, Pam, Digging, Katina, Gardening in Austin, Michele, Wabi-Sabi-Home and garden Caroline, The ShovelReady Garden, Ronnie, The Lazy Shady Gardener, Amy, Go Away I'm Gardening, Daphne, Chris, The Running gardener, Bonnie, Kiss of Sun, Ellie,Mostly Weeds, Lori, The Gardener of Good and Evil, Melissa, Zanthan Gardens, Meredith, GreatStems. And thanks to our other visitors who joined the group today.

Bob, the planter is simply gorgeous. I think it will be perfect for succulents. I look forward to seeing more of your work.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


The only time to be out in the garden is in the early morning hours before the sun peaks over the greenhouse. At this time the water on the pool is as smooth as glass.
There is bird song on the air. The flowers have regained their strength during the relatively cool night time hours.

Ans then the sun peaks over the greenhouse and the magic morning hours are lost for another day.

It is time to retreat into the English garden where the high wall shelters the plants for just a few more hours.
A new day has arrived in Central Texas.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


There have been complaints that passage from the door into the English garden is being impeded.

It's Rock Rose of course. Who else would let plants grow in the pathways!

Monday, June 21, 2010


While I'm on the subject of tomatoes here's the catch of the day. I'll bet they are the eggs and first instar of the stink bug or leaf footed bug. You can see on the egg case where they have opened the lid, about to make merry on my tomatoes. Now that's quite a catch.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Today I picked the last of the beets from the garden. They were a second crop planted some time in March and I wasn't even sure if they would produce that late in the season. Now I wish I had put in more rows. We love pickled beets. You know what will be on the table tonight; beet tops with roasted beets. Tomatoes are in abundance and I am managing to keep down the numbers of leaf footed bugs by giving them the creep and grab treatment. These will probably be the last of the patty pans as the plants are going into a serious decline......and not due to the squash vine borer but the heat and humidity.

The Italian romas are all going to be roasted and frozen for use in the winter.

I have two kinds of yellow tomato. The first is the yellow pear which I picked up at Garden a Go Go at Diana's house. I can't remember who gave it to me but thank you anyway. It has been a great producer. Maybe I will be serving some them next Saturday for Garden a GoGo at my house!

The second I have no idea. It produces medium sized round fruit which have a strange translucent look; not terribly attractive. They are quite tasty although the heat is causing the skins to become a little tough. I probably would not grow this one again- even if I knew its name.

Either way it all makes for a great insalata caprese.

Or stuffed squash with beet tops/beets.

Yesterday I pulled out all the garlic and it is drying out on the gravel. Not the greatest crop but enough to keep us going for a few weeks. I think the garlic is better suited to sandier soils and mine might be too heavy. So the beds will mostly lay dormant until later in the year when the fall/winter crop will go in.

These are the reason we garden behind walls. Mama and baby eye me through the cedars. There is also another mama with twins.

This lone deer is a regular visitor behind the back garden. Always looking for a handout.

"Green tomatoes, red tomatoes, tomatoes with blossom end rot, beans, beet stalks..... I don't care. Just send them my way. I'll compost them for you"

Otherwise I'll just have to eat agave!

Thursday, June 17, 2010


A bright patch of chartreuse among green plants is always welcome, except when it is not meant to be. This osteospermum has me puzzled. It looks as though it is lacking in nitrogen, which might be caused by an inability to take up nitrogen due to our highly alkaline soils, but nothing I do seems to change the color. I have added turkey compost and a solution of iron chelate to the soil but still it remains yellow. It is such a mystery because I have been growing these plants here for several years and this was a new one started from seed this year. Normally they are deep green. Something is stressing them and I'm not sure what it could be.

Here's another one in close up. Any suggestions from the gardening world.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Welcome to Garden Blogger's Bloom Day in Central Texas and another day with the heat index in the triple digits! To enjoy the June Blooms of other gardeners pay a visit to our host Carol at MayDreams.

A single cleome seed from many years ago, grew and bloomed this year. No matter that it is at the front of the bed when it would be better at the back. It will stay there.

The hybrid cleome, Madame Rosalita, is a none seeding variety. The multiple headed, none seed forming plant is a try out in my garden. Planted in full sun it seems to be doing well. If it makes it through the sumer I will be planting more next year.
As usual Rudbeckia have seeded in the pathways.

When they flop over onto the path they come into the house.

Three clear yellow flowers; Knockout

Unknown day lily.

Dahlberg daisy.

Yarrow among the gaillardia and sage.

Rosa campion.

A frilly gaillardia in the pathway.

My newly named day lily "papaya" among the purple cone flowers.

The oregano, Dittany of Crete, billowing over the pathway in the herb garden.

Russian sage, Perovskia.
Yes, we are still blooming even amidst the heat. Wherever you may be gardening. Happy Bloom day.

Monday, June 14, 2010


I'm going to call my new daylily "papaya" It just looks like the inside of a ripe papaya. I was so shocked when I went out to the garden to find the rather straggly leaves that appeared a couple of years ago had produced a bloom. I thought it was an offshoot of the ones close by but they are nothing like this color. It must have been from a seed, crossed from two of the varieties in this bed. I have my very own daylily. It's not frilly or unusual but nevertheless I'm very excited.

Friday, June 11, 2010


It has been a wonderful week for a gardener. But I must start with today.

I was out in the front this morning tidying up the large granite area when I happened to look across towards the front gate. Oh! my, I couldn't believe my eyes. My hedgehog cactus, Escobaria missouriensis, was in full flower. Last year it flowered on May 28th.

Not just one but two others close by. For these smaller ones it is the first year for them to bloom. They grew from seed and I see new babies on the way.

Last night as I glanced through the dining room window I caught a glimpse of yellow. The unidentified cactus, which came in the cactus bowl I bought in Arizona last winter, and which I split up and repotted, was in bloom. This cactus, unlike the previous ones, is not hardy, and will spend the winter indoors.
For some reason I tend to think that it is a small miracle when a cactus flowers, but actually they flower quite readily with little attention and are a joy to behold.

I have to wonder whether the flowering is related to the 2 1/2" of rain we had earlier this week. This was the scene in the garden Wednesday morning. It looked as though it would never stop. This was the day the Ivette Soler, the Germinatrix, was coming to Austin and was to visit EastSidePatch for a tour of Philip's wonderful garden.( In October ESP will be on the Garden Conservancy Tour). Maybe Ivette didn't mind the rain at all coming from a place where there is little rainfall. By the time we all arrived at ESP the rain had stopped and the sun was peeking through.

Philip thrilled us all with a tune on the bagpipes. Is there no end to his talents.

Ivette and her Aunt were in for quite a surprise.

We toured the garden, enjoyed a glass of Sangria, some delicious appetizers, chatted with our guest and tested out Phillip's newest project for our group photo. Yup! it's really sturdy. Thanks to Pam, Jenny, Philip and Leah for their hospitality.
Y'all come back and see us now, Ivette.