Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Of course I don't keep record books but these certainly are records for my garden.

I noticed the first tomatoes a couple of weeks ago. In the past I have barely been putting the tomatoes in the ground by this time, let alone seeing tomatoes.

Record number two goes to the flowers on the pink primroses, Oenothera speciosa. They are almost the size of side plates. Enormous, and of course lots of them.

The first time I have ever succeeded in growing a nasturtium from seed. I may be picking to put in my salad by the end of the week. To learn about edible flowers look here.

The earliest pomegranate flower bud to appear, and it may be the last!. The tree seems to be in a serious decline.

This is the first time I have grown agaves in this planter. It is impossible to keep anything alive in this wall planter so I'm going for the xeriscape look.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the spring Gardeners Supply catalogue. Last fall the team came to film their products in my garden for the spring catalogue. They spent two days here, placing their merchandise around the garden. What an interesting and fun process to watch them at work, perfecting every shot. Here are just a few of the products they photographed. I found at least 11 shots of my garden in the current catalogue.

Monday, March 28, 2011


The sun never came out today and it was chilly! My garden loved it. Now, maybe the weather man will follow through with the promised 40% chance of rain tomorrow. I watered anyway.

In the sunken garden the columbines are in full flower. Note the oranges- pill bug and snail traps. On the spot composting!

The iris have been truly spectacular giving weeks of blooms.

Buebonnets, poppies and pink primroses all vying for a spot in the limelight.

Sweet smelling Zephirine Drouhin at the far end of the garden.

There used t be a pot of this plant here and when I moved it this rose grew from out of the cracks in the paving. It must have come from a root. It stays.

These little spider zinnias have grown from seeds planted this year. They usually show up in the fall from seeds that overwinter. I bought new seeds this year.

Wild onion.

The herb garden is finally starting to look a little tidier.

The espaliered pyracantha with a flush of new leaves and blooms. Where are those cedar waxwings?

The vegetable beds are filled with tomatoes.

Patti pan squash under netting in the hope of thwarting the squash vine borer.

Sedum has replaced the creeping thyme between the pavers.

How many years has this purple skullcap lived here? I have lost track. But see the poor blue flax plant peeking out from underneath. I wonder who will win?

Square bud primrose, Calylophus drummondii.

A pot of Dahlberg daisy, stocks and alyssum, seeded in the fall. Behind I have a pot of nasturtiums. I see the flower buds down at the base of the plant. Fingers crossed.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


If you were to look outside on our driveway, in the dry creek, the gutters you would think that it was fall. The live oaks are dropping their leaves. Next there will be the pollen laying a fine dust of yellow over everything and then the catkins will fall. It will be clean up time again. Aren't we lucky to have two falls? We love the live oaks in the winter, greening our landscape, but for a few weeks in the spring we shake our heads and rake, rake rake.

But turn your head the other way and suddenly it is spring. When I came home this afternoon I was greeted by my gorgeous bluebonnets, blackfoot daisies and the gorgeous claret cup cactus. Today all three flowers opened. The flowers are much longer lasting than those on the lace cactus.

There is still a little life left in the Lady Bank's rose, but the overall scene is Texas to a T. All these plants seeded themselves. My only hand was to provide the gravel and rocks to set the stage.

I don't usually allow so many bluebonnets in the English garden as they make walking around very difficult but this year there are not many and they all get to stay.

Basket of Gold, Alyssum saxatile, is quick to get here bloom done before the Missouri primrose, growing alongside, sends out her big yellow flowers. This one I grew from seed last year. Oh, why don't I have more? The truth is that the alyssum is a favorite of the harlequin bug and when I wasn't looking they just sucked the life out of the other seedlings. They are going to be sorely disappointed this year because there is no purple and white alyssum. The last freeze killed it all off. There are a few seedlings popping up here and there but it will be fall before they come into their own.

And spring it is with the pink primroses. Maybe this is a better place for them, rather than in my flower beds.

Among a sea of Hinckley's yellow columbine, is one with a different hue. The undersides of the petals have slight pink tinge. Not terribly exciting but different.

But surely, this looks like summer. The standard hibiscus, egged on by temperatures in the 80s all week and even a day of 90 degrees, is bursting into flower. This plant was left by Gardener's Supply last fall, and knowing how much David loves hibiscus I overwintered the plant, cut it back and now it stands where he can enjoy the blooms from the kitchen window, when he is washing the breakfast dishes!

Blue eyed grass is blooming early too. It has to be one of my favorite flowers especially when it forms large clumps.
Yesterday morning, in the sunken garden, the smell of chocolate pervaded the air. This has been a very long lived native plant growing between the pavers in the sunken garden.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Ever since we removed the two crepe myrtle trees from the front garden I have wondered how to enliven the large expanse of wall. I don't plan to replant trees in the space, at least for the time being. It seemed that it might work to add two of the mirrored boxes to the wall. We had used these on the outside wall to break up a similar area. As it happened we still had 2 mirrors left from the pack of six, so David got to work and built two more. I know... odd numbers work best. The three pot lizards on the wall were moved from the outside wall where they were no longer visible now that the Lady Bank's rose has grown so much. The bed beneath was completely cleaned out so it will be a while before it fills in with plantings.

This is one of the few places that bluebonnets are flowering this year. Most of the ones outside the walls have shriveled up due to the lack of rain. I think it is now too lat to expect any blooms from them. I hope we have a good seed bank. I think they have done better in this garden because there is a good layer of granite beneath the gravel, which tends to hold more moisture.

I may not be able to achieve a wildflower meadow, on the septic field, as I would like, but have no problem in the gravel garden. I am more than happy to leave the blackfoot daisies, four nerve daisies, bluebonnets and grasses to create their own garden.

Monday, March 21, 2011


The contestants vying for the spot as biggest vine in the garden are the Lady Bank's rose, Rosa banksiae 'Lutea', in the front garden. Without fail she has bloomed every year with every bit of vigor she could muster. Neither deep freezes nor drought seem to stop her. With temperatures soaring into the 80s for the last week she has opened every bud for another amazing show.

She blooms on both sides of the wall and is heading up into the oak trees.

She's trouble free. No bugs no diseases-just how I like it.

The second contestant is the cross vine, Bignonia capreaolata. She would probably win the prize for climbing higher into the trees, but on the wall behind the swimming pool she has to contend with completely enveloping the top, sides and end of the wall.
I enjoy both these show stopping blooms from inside the house, too.

Give them both the prize.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


I have been keeping my eye on the blue gilia, Gilia rigidula, for days. The flower buds were there and it was just a matter of catching the first flower to open. I was so busy in the garden today that I forgot to look.

Then, as I was taking my shower, I glanced through the window at the bare ground above the rock wall and my eye was drawn to a patch of blue. All the flowers had opened at the same time.

Blue gilia is a member of the phlox family. It loves the chalky soils of the Edward's plateau and thrives above the dry stone wall outside the gate. Over the last few years it has multiplied to form quite a little patch.

I had no thought to plant it in the sunken garden until this year. I think it would make a welcome spring addition. It seems to transplant quite easily and it is to be hoped that it will set seed and form a large clump, its flowers to be enjoyed both in the spring and fall.

Friday, March 18, 2011


With a little help from IPhoto this false garlic, Nothoscordum bivalve, looks as though it is growing in a bowl. It is actually growing against the rocks in the lower level of the sunken garden.

Most people wouldn't even give the time of day to this plant, but I rather like it. The flowers are as pretty as any of the spring flowering bulbs. It is in fact a member of the lily family. Outside the walls it mingles with wild onion to form a mass planting later in the spring. One of the other names for the plant is crow poison, presumably derived from the fact that the plant is poisonous.

Of a similar color, a California poppy, Eschscholzia californica 'white linen', opened today. I am always very happy to see the reappearance of this poppy, preferring it to the orange one.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I completely missed sharing this Euphorbia in bloom, yesterday. See those tiny blooms. But for their bright yellow color I might have missed them.

Then, a new iris opened a bloom today. Iris, 'Celtic Glory'. How appropriate to open in time for St Patrick's day. This is the iris that put out a bloom in December. It has 5 more blooms to go.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Spring is in the air in Austin Texas and I am pleased to show my flowers to the gardening community, courtesy of Carol at Maydreams, who, once again, is hosting Bloom Day.

The Clusiana tulips have been dancing in the breeze for days. This species tulip is a return tulip that can grows well in the south. I have two varieties, Lady Jane, shown here and Cynthia. I regret that several other varieties I tried did not grow well. In only two bloom cycles these have multiplied to the point where I will be able to divide them this year.

They have 3 colored petals and 3 white. The color on the undersides of their petals deepens with age and shines through when back lit. They make a fine rockery plant, seen here with our native blackfoot daisy and bluebonnet.

On the edge of the dry creek, another mounding blackfoot daisy begins to flower. It will bloom all spring and again in the fall, when cut back.

In a shady spot, a tiny violet blooms.

I enjoy the native trailing wine cup for its vivid magenta flowers. I make sure it doesn't overpower everything in the garden by trimming it back with regularity.

One year I transplanted a couple of daisy fleabane, from the native area around our house. Now it seeds itself in cracks and crannies. Such a pretty mounding plant.

The second, less aggressive wine cup is the white wine cup. Some are pure white and some tinged with pink.

Another aggressive seeder is the four nerve daisy. It asks for nothing other than a spot in the gravel, to bloom all year round.

The first California poppy opened this week.

It seems we are not to enjoy the spectacular blooming of wildflowers we had last year, due to the lack of rainfall. A few bluebonnets are growing well inside the walls. Outside, I doubt they will bloom this year. This will be the worst bloom for bluebonnets that we have seen since we moved into the house 10 years ago.

The native, Hinckley's columbine will soon draw the hawk moths into the garden in the evening. Then I shall have to watch out for my tomatoes.

Last year I replaced the Carolina jessamine vine, growing on the wall of the patio. The old one had become too rampant. I promise to be more diligent about training and pruning this one.

and pruning the Lady Banks rose on the wall of the front garden. It never seems to fail to put on an outstanding bloom show. The white one I purchased last year at the Rose museum in Tombstone, survived the winter, but as yet no flowers. I am training it on the wrought iron fence at the back of the sunken garden.

A passalong iris from Lucinda Hutson's garden. What a show stopper!

Hurrah! My citrus are smothered in flowers. This one survived in a pot, outside, during last years deep freeze. It concentrated putting out new leaves last summer and this year is making up for the lost year of fruit. The same is true of all the Meyer lemons and the Mexican lime which I replaced this year.

A new addition to the English garden this year, Ipheion uniforum, has iris-like leaves and pretty blue flowers. I saw this in Linda's CTG garden last year. It is perfect for the front of the bed, growing only to a few inches in height. It will disappear in the summer.

My hellebore has produced 3 flowers so far and more are on the way. The flower on Blue Lady has faded over the last 3 weeks. I'm glad she likes my garden.

Of course I don't know the name of this delicate, multiflowered narcissus. How like me!
That's the lot. Hope you all have a happy bloom day, wherever you are.