Sunday, February 18, 2018

BACK TO THE BUSINESS OF GARDENING

I have been side-lined for the last couple of weeks by recovery from surgery. Something that was probably caused by all the time I have spent outdoors in the sun either gardening or hiking. I will be more cautious in future but let this be a warning. WEAR SUNSCREEN.
Even though it is February there is much to do cutting back and removing plants that didn't make it through several unexpected deep freezes.  Here is one plant that has been a star through all kinds of weather.


The large rosemary is planted out front by the side of the driveway. It has never been watered and has withstood drought, summer heat, hail and freezing temperatures. Yesterday it was blooming as it has never bloomed before and I even spotted a bee visiting one of the flowers.
On one of my non-gardening days I did the rounds of the nurseries. For a moment I thought that I might have missed spring as all were overflowing with spring bedding plants, grasses and vines. Of course I was tempted just as I was last year. Five pots of grape hyacinths at $1 a pot was easy. The patio table needs a little brightening. I still have the ones I saved from last year but they are making a slow start. Once in a while it is worth having someone else do the planting for you.


One plant I wasn't tempted to buy was a large pot of climbing jasmine, Jasminum polyanthum.


And this is why. I have had maybe 3 or 4 good years when the plant made a worthy bloom. Yes, the scent was heavenly but this is a vigorous vine forming a big tangle of finely cut leaves. This was cut to the ground last year! It roots easily and I don't doubt there will be a stray shoot somewhere that will try to make a comeback.


After cutting it back to the ground I used the pick axe to remove the root.


The question now is its replacement. Something which takes less work. I don't mind dieback in the winter if the plant performs well in the summer. Nor do I mind a bare trellis in the winter. I'm pondering on remaking the trellis so that it reaches to just above the weep screen. That way it is easier to get smaller vines started. This is a south facing exposure but sheltered from early morning and late evening sun by the wall of the house. Maybe I'll try a Mexican flame vine or even a clematis. I wish our nurseries carried better selections of clematis but I will be out looking for a summer bloomer this time.
The roses in the English garden are all pruned. It doesn't seem to make a difference how early we prune because they were already leafing out. I see a lot of weeding to be done. Last year I planted iris  around the bird bath. They seem a little slow to take.


The citrus are out of the potting shed. The Mexican lime still has fruit as do the lemons.


Some seedlings are outside to harden off. Some destined for the window box and planters others for the ground.


Brachyscome, Swan River daisy

10 week stocks
The grasses are all cut back and it will be a a waiting game to see if the ruby crystal grasses will return. If not there are plenty of Mexican feather grasses to take their place.
A cloudy, cool day is my favorite day for gardening so that is where I am heading right now. It's good to be out there again.

13 comments:

  1. Love your grape hyacinth arrangement. Which nurseries did you visit? We checked out Barton Springs Nursery a few days ago and what a great discovery that was!

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    1. I’m not shy to say they came from Walllmart. A bargain is a bargain wherever. I buy wherever I see the plants I want at the best price. NG, Shoal Creek BSN. Usually BSN for 4” perennials. They have the best selection.

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    2. Thanks! I hope to make it out to Shoal Creek pretty soon. Best wishes for a speedy recovery from your surgery.

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  2. I'm sorry to hear that a health issue had you sidelined for awhile but glad to know that you've dealt with it. Your garden looks good even with the weather challenges out your way and I can't fault you at all for taking that jasmine out. My neighbor has one that hangs over onto our side of the fence and it's reached the ugly stage that you described.

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    1. Our neighbors in California had this vine and being a zero lot line house it spread over onto my back trellis. It was beautiful and then one day I cam home and they had cut it down. So sad. But, I am not sad to see this one go. Deciding on a replacement is a problem though.

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  3. I hope you are recuperating quickly! I am one that only freckles and burns, so I always try to wear sunscreen, but need to be better about reapplying. The grape hyacinth look so cheerful and spring-like! I don't think I've ever seen rosemary bloom before. Very pretty!

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  4. I’m on the hunt for a small gentle vine too and am also considering clematis or maybe a less common annual. I once found blue pea vine in a nursery and saved some seeds. I might try that. I’ve never grown Spanish flag and might try that for the fall. Keep us informed about what you come up with.

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    1. I have a couple of native clematis and a couple of hybrids. The natives are hard to find but are beautiful. I seem to struggle with the others in my poor soil. I grew that pea vine, Clitoria last year, from seed planted in the fall. It took off and overtook everything and was a trouble to cut down. I saved seeds but no germination. I love the flower but r4ally don't like the vine itself. I could plant confederate jasmine and keep it controlled which is a must and the bonus is it stays evergreen. It is not fussy about soil but I already have 2 so would like a change.

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  5. Thank you for the sunscreen reminder and I hope you are on the mend quickly. Would you please write about how you care for your citrus trees? I live about 150 miles southeast of you and have pots of Meyer lemons. They bloom profusely but most of the blooms fall off and I only get 5-6 fruit per tree. I fertilized them well last year (I thought - maybe not enough). Yours do so well - I need help!

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    1. I am rather mean to my trees although I did give them a root pruning one year so if yours have been in pots for a number of years that might be the problem. I don't fertilize much but I did buy something from BSN last year which has minerals so I might try that on them this year. I think timing is important with the blossom. I had one bloom later last year and it never set any fruit. You could try hand pollinating with a paintbrush in case lack of pollinators is the problem. With so many people spraying for mosquitoes I think the bee population is down considerably. That on top of the other problem bees have had in past years. Hope this helps.

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    2. Thank you! I'll try hand pollinating. I have a few bees - but I don't see them buzzing the lemon trees.

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  6. When I was in high school my mom worked for a dermatologist. I learned the sunscreen lesson early, though I admit I am more of a hat and long sleeves person. In summer I try to leave the sun screen on the bathroom sink so I remember to apply it and reapply. What a deal on Muscari and they look terrific.

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  7. I enjoyed reading your blog, Jenny, and I too am looking for a replacement for my Italian jasmine. Each year, freezing weather makes it necessary for me to prune it back severely and I don’t like the bare look by my front door. I have confederate jasmine on a fence and it’s fine, but I’d like to have something else, but not anything that needs to constantly be tamed. Let me know what you come up with. Btw, the plants you gave me are doing great! Thanks again.
    - Marcia Fife

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