Wednesday, May 29, 2013


This morning I was greeted by the opening of two blooms on my Echinopsis dominos. I knew it was going to happen and it was probably going to be today because just before blooming the flower buds elongate to about 6" With plans to leave the house at 8:30 am I left D with strict instructions to photograph if the blooms opened. But there they were at 7:30 am fully open. I think the blooms opened during the night. There are more buds but it will be a week or more before they bloom.

The rain this last week has worked its magic in the garden.

Everything looks fresh and green and the flower colors are vibrant. The greenhouse has lost its drapery of cross vine. Underneath the covering of vine, which had shaded the greenhouse all through the winter, the shade cloth had disintigrated. It will have to be replaced next year because it gets too hot in there without shade. I dare say the cross vine will be back!

Purple cone flowers, Echinopsis purpurea, is in full bloom. The unnamed day lilies are almost lost in their midst. I may have to move them to a more prominent place next year.

I think this one is my favorite. It deserves a more prominent location.

I have begun a big clean up in the potager. We can once more walk down the pathways.

Sunday, May 26, 2013


Strong storms passed though our area over the last two days with pounding rain. The garden is grateful but some plants are lying flat on the ground this morning.

Bee balm, Monarda fistulosa 'Peter's purple', was one of the fallen. A passalong from our horticulturist Daphne Richards, Central Texas Horticulture, is the only bee balm with which I have had success. It makes a glorious stand perfect for the back of the border or a vase in the house.

Statice, Limonium sp, grown from seed. This plant, although considered an annual, is in its second year of flowering due to our mild winter. An everlasting flower with papery flowers it will dry here in the house. I shall have to consider supporting the bee balm next year.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I was fortunate to pick up this cactus for a couple of dollars at a garage sale. The lady told me she didn't know how to look after it. Well she must have been doing something right because it bloomed today.

It is still in the pot, in which it came, because I could see flower buds forming and I didn't want to disturb it by repotting. I will do this as soon as it finishes flowering. Although the flower is a paler yellow I think it may be the same as the cactus as the one I have growing in the front gravel. If so then it is a native cactus to the Edward's Plateau. The flowering of the potted cactus gave me reason to go out and check this one. It was flowering too. In fact I had already missed some of the flowers.

A solitary one nearby was also flowering.

I also have this cactus which I bought at the recent cactus and succulent sale. Who could resist the cherry red flower of Gymnocalcyium baldianum.

Of course the prickly pears are flowering sending out one or two new blooms each day.

I hope to pick enough of their fruits, this fall, to make prickly pear syrup.

Sunday, May 19, 2013


I no longer rely on having green tomatoes in the fall. Our summers have been so hot and dry and our travel has been frequent that I now make my Green Tomato Chutney in the spring. Today I went out to pick 4lbs of green ones and after much chopping everything is in the pot.

After simmering down to a thick consistency it is ready to pot up in sterilized jars.

If you haven't seen my previous posting with recipe then you can go here. GREEN TOMATO CHUTNEY RECIPE. 

I am a great re user of jars so I use anything that has a good lid. I sterilize the jars in the oven and the lids and tools in a water bath. No need to process. If the lids don't pop then I just put the jars in the fridge. This time they all popped so no need to refrigerate.

Want to know what I am brewing in this pot?

Something good for the garden I hope. Yesterday, at our garden bloggers' monthly gathering, Ally, at Garden Ally, gave me this mix of alfalfa pellets and epsom salt. I filled the 5 gallon bucket with rain water from my tank added the mix and will stir the pot every day until it is ready to use in the garden. Not sure where to use it yet but read that it is good for roses. I may also use it on tomatoes. I'll be reporting back on the success of this project.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


I can't believe the middle of the month is here again. I'm joining Carol at Maydreams garden for her special month.

Someone asked me recently what is in bloom in my garden when the early spring blooms leave. Coreopsis tinctoria is one.

A pot of one of my favorite early summer annuals, Brachyscome on the wall between the sunken garden. Is that Verbena bonariensis trying to get into the picture?

The day lilies begin to bloom. I wish I knew their name but the list is long gone. They were all grown and given to me over 10 years ago by a work associate of Ds who bred them.

This one has a little competition from the purple cone flower, Echinacea purpurea, which just started to bloom.

This one is in a more shaded location.

Love-in-a-mist, Nigella makes a big show in the Philippine violet bed, completely hiding it.

The Texas clematis, Clematis pitcheri.

Blackfoot daisies, Melampodium leucanthum, in the gravel English garden.

Creeping germander, Teucrium cossonii. I think I may add more of this plant next year because I have never watered it and it is not under irrigation and yet has survived.

Bee balm, Monarda fistulosa 'Peter's Purple" begins to bloom. Finally a bee balm that flowers in Texas!

The purple skullcap, Scutellaria wrightii.

Heart leaf skullcap, Scutellaria ovata.
What's blooming in your garden this May Bloom Day?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Several weeks ago I set up my new stock tank water garden on a small bare patch of gravel tucked behind the potting shed. It is one way to keep the weeds out of this area! Measuring 4'x 2' it was a perfect fit.

In front of the tank you can see what I call my weeds! Feather grass, blanket flowers, mealy blue sage and cornflowers. Pretty now but starting to get a little annoying. They won't be there for much longer.

Nymphaea 'Pygmaea Helvola'
My friend Pam Penick, who has written tutorials on how to set up and care for such a tank was dividing her pond plants a few weeks ago. She generously passed on to me divisions of dwarf papyrus, Helvola, Colorado water lily and Crinum. I added some oxygenating plants from the nursery and Parrot's feather from Ally, of Garden Ally,  who has a lovely koi pond.
Things have been slow to get moving until recently. More lily pads each day and then a few days ago I spotted a bloom bud below the water. You can't beat something like this for getting me excited. I watched, I waited. Just this morning I was convinced it would not be today.

Colorado lily
This morning no sign, then after lunch I was busy filling the watering can at the rain barrel in that corner. When I turned around and saw it I exclaimed out loud and rushed inside to get my camera to record my first bloom. The wait was over and I had my new baby! Thank you Pam.

The water is rather murky with algae and string algae but I am told it will take some time for the pond to settle down and become clear. I can't see if there are any more down there and with all those tiny Helvola leaves surely my next surprise will be their blooms.

Monday, May 13, 2013


This past weekend The Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center hosted a garden tour of 5 private gardens. As a volunteer I was delighted to spend 4 hours in the garden at 3202, Highland Terrace. Under large shade trees the homeowners Colleen Jamison and Bruce Baldwin have created a lovely garden which showcases native and adapted plants.

I think of all the gardens on tour visitors who were searching for ideas would find a wealth of manageable ideas in this garden.

A combination of Colleen's plant knowledge and Bruce's woodworking skills had cameras clicking as visitors took the tour. Wouldn't you like to spend time sitting out on their front porch? Bruce made the rocking chair in the left of the photo.

On the left side of the house a recycled exterior door serves as a garden gate. Do you see the garden fork which has been used as a handle? Recycling is a major part of their garden style.

A generous-sized patio nestled into the side garden with blue and lime green accents.

The granite path then continues past a fountain. Condensate from the air conditioner replaces water lost to evaporation in the fountain.

A bejeweled pot makes a focal point among the lush green planting when viewed from the side terrace.
There is something to stop and look at from every turn.

The birds had to take their chances flying in to the feeders.

The arbor with cross vine. Recently, the hosts held a wedding out here with the bride and groom under the gazebo and guests on the grass. Corkscrew rush, Juncus effusus,  surrounded with narrow leaf zinnia, Zinnia linearis,  and native prairie verbena, Verbena bifinnatifida.

The sound of water everywhere.

A small square-foot vegetable with artistic design.

This was one of my favorite features. As you leave the garden to return down the right side of the house, and angled archway with dangling jewels. Surely the bride and groom must have walked in through here.

A beaded chameleon sits atop of the metal supports.

There is even a chandelier.

AN upside down planter with periwinkle.

A free standing potting shed with sink and water supply. All made from recycled house parts.

I might take this idea myself. I had already seen a similar one in a magazine and was planning on something like it with succulents but the idea of using different pots is very attractive. Almost everyone that came by with camera took a photograph of this. They'll be popping up in gardens all over Austin.

I probably won't have time to blog about the other gardens I visited, although I enjoyed them all, but you can catch reviews if you check Pam at Digging, Cat at Whimsical Garden, David Christiani at Desert Edge, and Shirley at RockOakDeer.