Saturday, March 12, 2016


Years ago a garden acquaintance was walking around the garden with her husband. "And what's wrong with this plant" he asked, "too much sun? too little sun? too much rain? too little rain?" Of course this is Texas and what else do you expect. You might add to that list, a late frost, hail, devoured by snails, slugs and pill bugs, plants mounded up by fire ants, attacked by aphids, mealy bugs, scale, bagrada bugs, harlequin bugs and leaf footed bugs, tomato horn worms and deer.
My garden has been visited by all of the above and for one second I throw my hands up in the air and say "I'm giving up gardening" It never lasts. Whatever you call it, passion or addiction,  I can't keep my hands out of the soil. And with all that frustrates me about gardening in Texas there is always a reward around the corner.

The agarita, Mahonia trifoliata, never produced a single berry last year because it was hit by hail but this year it is putting on a show and I am hoping this will be a fruitful year.

The hellebore I bought in 2011 and hasn't bloomed once since then is blooming this year. Do you remove the leaves from your hellebore? I read that many gardeners in England do.

Among many orange California poppies I have a white one.

When I picked up , on impulse, a bag of freesias in the fall I had no idea that they would put on such a show. Planted in pots as well as in the ground their strappy broken foliage may not be much but the flowers are heavenly.

Two of my lemon trees and the lime all filled with flowers. But where are the bees? The few I have seen have been on the alyssum although I saw two solitary bees on there yesterday feeding on pollen.

And the ever faithful chocolate daisy, Berlandiera lyrata, is back for its 10th year.

The Aloe X 'David Verity' has produced a successful bloom as a result of our mild winter

And despite the fact that we were away when my Texas mountain laurel, Sophora secundiflora, bloomed. I am so proud that I grew this one from seed.

And when the fire ants start mounding their soil around my succulents I just shrug my shoulders and get on with hosing them off.

 Not that they need any more rain after the 4" we received over the last 3 days.


  1. Lovely pictures! And I'm glad you don't let things get you down for long.

  2. That's the thing about gardening: it almost doesn't matter how many failures there are, as the successes are what sustain us! So glad we don't have fire ants (yet?)

  3. Spring is looking good in your garden!

  4. Beautiful Mahonia!!

    Wow - did not know that fire ants bury plants?! :O

  5. With the exception of the fire ants, all good reasons to celebrate your garden! I scattered seed for 'White Linen' California poppies - I hope they a) germinate and b) look as pretty as yours.

  6. Howdy from Linda. I am originally from NYS and our Hellebores are so beautiful. People do not remove spent blooms. They are so beautiful!

  7. I only have one hellebore in a pot and I've been removing leaves because it seems to encourage setting more flowers, but this is my first go-round so I have no comparison data. I've read they want a fair amount of moisture (which this potted one certainly demands) so was resisting the idea of putting it in the ground anywhere with hot weather on the way. Is yours in a bed?

    I've got fire ants mounding up a storm here as well. I wish they'd keep out of the paths - I'm much more comfortable with the idea of them out in the beds somewhere I won't accidentally stir them up. That said, most of the few remaining evening primroses I've got this year are in the paths as well. I did too good a job pulling them out of beds last year to tamp down the flea beetle invaders they attracted. I thought the seed bank would take care of that but the bed they preferred was washed out by heavy rains last year. The same happened to the bluebonnet seed. It will be a sparse year (comparatively) for those plants this season. But... As you point out, the few survivors are perhaps appreciated even more after rough circumstances (or over zealous gardeners) thin out their ranks.

  8. I can't imagine you ever giving up on gardening.......and I'm glad you carry on through hail and ants and everything else nature throws your way. You do us Northern gardeners a favor ---a very very early spring show for us. Keep on gardening, dear lady!

  9. I have to have freesias every year, even though in the north they are a bit more work. No point removing the old leaves from hellebores, either, since many years the worst of the winter cold completely annihilates it anyway. I am going to give chocolate daisies a try for the first time this year, after reading about them on your blog! Thanks for all the inspiration!

  10. That ought to be the mantra for gardening in Oklahoma and Texas. Trying indeed. I was just thinking about that very thing as I wrote my post today. There are no hard and fast rules for gardening where we live. As for the hellebores, I do trim back the old foliage because I can see the flowers better when I do. Plus, that new foliage is so pretty.~~Dee