Monday, October 9, 2017


There are parts of my garden that are high on the list of neglect. This little corner of the front courtyard is one. You wouldn't think I would let it get that way because I glance at it every time I walk towards the bedroom, always muttering to myself something about having a good go out there. There are two trees that are either self or bird sown; a flowering senna and a yaupon holly. Both had become horribly overgrown and were in need of a really good prune. This past weekend I dealt with them.

I really hated to do too much pruning of the yaupon because it was loaded with berries, but have to admit to feeling much happier now I can, once again, see the birdbath.

The next job was to clean out all the dead leaves from the dry creek..

For years I balked at using one of those power blowers, but I now have to admit that using one makes reasonably quick work of cleaning the creek. I use either my foot or a piece of rebar to move the rocks around as I blow everything towards the house. Then I pick it up and deposit on the compost pile. All that noise of a few minutes certainly beats the laborious job of removing all the rocks in order to clean out the bed.

The next job involved removal of all the violets and seedling inland sea oats. What was I thinking when I bought a violet many years ago? I was thinking the England of my childhood with roadside banks filled with primroses and violets. They certainly weren't this kind. Pretty enough as a green clumping plant but rarely a true flower.

Instead hundreds of these cleistogamous flowers. That's a flower with no petals, self pollinating within the capsule and producing hundreds of seeds which go on to produce hundreds of plants. Enough! What would the world be like if all plants did this? It doesn't bear thinking about.

I have another plant that does the same thing. It is a native mallow with sweet little orange flowers when it chooses to flower and not produce those cleistogamous seed pods.

Mallow flower

Mallow, cleistogamous seed pods
A little pile of gravel which has been sitting on the driveway for nearly a year was used to refresh the area. I have treated this gravel like gold because it is brown pea gravel and not available in Austin. I wouldn't have used it only we are planning to go and get another load this coming weekend.

Strike one job of the list of hundreds.


  1. I wasn't aware of cleistogamous flowers - I'm going to have to take a closer look at those weedy violets in my own garden. I do rather like the seedpods on your mallow, though.

  2. Have never noticed cleistogamous flowers on my violets. Just did a quick Web search and found a site that says they seem to be related to environmental conditions, perhaps more common with insufficient water and/or light.

    1. Yes, I read that and I know this is true of some mallows which produce these kind of non flowering pods early in the year before temperatures are warm enough but my violets are growing in many places with many conditions. They certainly produce more of these in late summer. I also read that the violet family is one of the worst offenders.

  3. Just planted some bulbs and raked up and bagged pine needles to use on the paths next year. Did these because they were easy jobs and made me feel like I got something accomplished. Too many big jobs left to do while the weather holds. None of them all that much fun. As you say, still hundreds on the list!

  4. I wish my neglected garden looked that good! With that hardscaping, your garden can never look bad.

  5. Isn't it so nice to get the garden cleaned up and looking so pretty? I admit to quite a lot of neglect of my garden, and it rarely gets cleaned up so nicely. We have hordes of violets here, but I keep most of them as they actually flower (real, showy flowers) in our moist cool springs.