Saturday, July 15, 2017

Great Galloping Gardens! It's Bloom Day! July 15, 2017

I ventured out into the gardens intending to take pictures of some of the blooming beauties here on my corner of Katy, but I was very quickly driven inside by the heat. So I've been sitting here in my comfortable chair in my air-conditioned house, composing a word cloud of the plants that are blooming in my garden right now.  I dashed out one time to make a quick survey of the front gardens since I needed to jog my memory of what's blooming in those beds. I lasted maybe 3 minutes, then retreated once again to the cooler clime inside. I don't know those of y'all without a/c survive during a heat wave. Mercy, that would be misery and then some.  

I haven't been doing much gardening in the last 6 weeks or so. I had the joy and the privilege to join a garden tour of the Cotswolds from June 12th-19th, preceded by a visit with the always delightful Layanee of Ledge and Garden at her home in Rhode Island. We were joined there and on the tour by Idaho's Dirt Diva, Mary Ann Newcomer of Gardens of the Wild Wild West.  I had high expectations of English gardens and they only exceeded those expectations a million times over! Pictures eventually ... I'm still going through them and sighing in rapturous remembrance.

When I made it home, I was too overcome by exhaustion to do much more than pull a few weeds and yank some of the manky plants that were violating my amenities. Then came one of those torrential summer rainstorms and it blew in something that sent my sensitive sinuses into overdrive.  From there it was only a short trip to bronchitis and bronchial asthma, which turned into mild pneumonia. The severe coughing caused some vitreous detachment in my right eye, resulting in flashes and floaters that still continue. The floaters are annoying because I think gnats or mosquitoes have gotten into the house and keep swatting at them, only .  The optometrist specifically told me no gardening: bending over from the waist is forbidden since it could cause more tears and possibly even a detached retina. While I certainly don't want that to happen,  I will admit to occasional forays out to water when I kneeled to pull a weed. That's about as close as I've ever gotten to following doctor's orders. 

Add to that a seriously wonky MacBook Air. I finally admitted that solving its problems were beyond me and took myself to SimplyMac, an Apple authorized Mac store in my area. I left the store without the Air but with a shiny new MacBook Pro.  The Air is now working again, thanks to the store technicians. However, they still have to determine whether several thousand missing pictures are still there or gone forever. I'll visit with them about that tomorrow.  

Back to gardening ... I just realized I left out Ironweed (Vernonia something), water purslane and Polygonum Pink Buttons. And if you're wondering why the toad lilies are blooming now, so am I. The blooms are sparse and only on the plants in one area are blooming. So it goes on my corner of Katy. There's always something unexpected happening!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day: April 2017

First, a few words to our gracious and delightful Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day host, Carol of May Dreams Gardens: See, Indy? Not only did I get pictures of blooms as I said I would but I posted them too!  Okay, there are only two ... but life has been especially chaotic here on my corner of Katy recently and doesn't promise to settle down any time soon.  We took time out today to celebrate the miracle of spring ... these were the views as I sat with my mother on the patio and listened to the birds sing.

Larkspur, toadflax, alyssum and some pink verbena on the far left

The big white blooms are white Callirhoe involucrata, which is at its tiptop best right now!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Big News from My Corner of Katy: Incredible Discovery Will Make The Head Gardener Rich!

The Head Gardener is beyond ecstatic to report her discovery today in the gardens of Wit's End of a fantastic new hybrid of Rudbeckia, unlike any ever seen before.  The working name for this spectacularly unusual black-eyed beauty is Caterpillar Rudbeckia. However, the HG is willing to negotiate propagation and/or naming rights for an immodest fee. She is patiently awaiting the calls from the big names in horticulture and the inevitable bidding war that will result from her find. I've just popped a bottle of bubbly at her insistence.  Before she took her first quaff,  she graciously consented to allow me to post a picture.  Feast your eyes, my friends!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, October 2016: A Tale of Two Salvias

The Head Gardener and I have been busy since last we blogged ... Day-um, has it really been 5 months??!!  There's been a lot going on, both in and out of the gardens.  More on that later.  Right now it's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, hosted by my pal Carol of May Dreams Gardens, and it's time to show off what's blooming in our gardens.  I was all fired up to get pictures of bauhinias, plumbago, echinaceas, cupheas, rudbeckias, asclepias, caesalpinia, aloes, russellia, calylophus, melampodium, cordia, justicias, stachys, anisacanthus, tradescantias, zinnias, and more.

But just as I headed outside to get some photos of my best blooms for y'all, it started raining and I only had time to get a couple of shots.  So October 2016's GBBD is a tale of two salvias, Mystic Spires and Amistad.  

Salvia Mystic Spires*
 It was my understanding that Mystic Spires would be a smaller, more compact version of Indigo Spires.  Looking at this example, perhaps you are inclined to agree.  Think again, my friends: this is one plant, after being cut back approximately 4 times this summer, most recently a few days ago. The bumblebees love the blooms and that is why I am loath to whack it back to bare stems.  

Salvia Amistad
Salvia Amistad, I expected to get this big.  The blooms are such a gorgeous deep rich purple, I just want to wrap myself in their color. It wouldn't be a good idea, though, since the hummingbirds would doubtless fight me for them.  This has been the site of frequent and spirited hummingbird battles throughout the summer.  No matter how tired I am of hot summer weather, my spirits are always lifted when I see the hummingbirds dive bombing each other above this plant.

That's it for this Bloom Day. Take a look at the Mr. Linky list on Carol's post and see what's blooming in other gardens around the world.

* Please ignore the scattered rocks, portions of black plastic pots and outdoor cushions visible in this picture. The Head Gardener is furiously rethinking the back garden and every day finds something else rearranged. The woman wears me out.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

May 2016 Garden Bloggers Bloom Day: It's All About the Daylilies!

This Bloom Day,  it's all about the daylilies here on my corner of Katy!   It's also an occasion for the Head Gardener to lament my inability to properly label my daylilies when I plant them or move them, thereby leading to our inability to identify many of them by name. Please feel free to let us know if you recognize any of them!  

I am a sore disappointment to the HG but she remains hopeful that I will work to overcome this unfortunate flaw in my character and that someday all of the daylilies here at Wit's End will be properly identified.  But until that day, any blog posts on the subject of Hemerocallis will be sadly remiss in the identification area. While the HG puts on her big girl panties and deals with it, on with the show! CARPE HEMEROCALLIS!   FYI: It's been raining since Saturday so the blooms are a bit soggy. 

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day is celebrated on the 15th of every month and is hosted by the intrepid Indygardener, who blogs at May Dreams Gardens.  Check out what's blooming in her garden and gardens around the world!

Monday, February 15, 2016

February 2016: Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day

ACK! It's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and I didn't get any pictures taken! I have a good excuse ... I'm getting ready to head to Seattle tomorrow to meet up with a few of my favorite gardeners and bloggers at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show.  I've heard about the wonders of this show for years but it's my first time to attend ... yeah, I'm a little excited! 

I do have blooms here on my corner of Katy so I thought I'd post a list of what's blooming. I won't say it's all blooming profusely but thanks to our mild winter, many plants have never stopped blooming.   When I get back from Seattle, I'll have to go into tough love mode and start cutting back remorselessly!

The List:
Salvia 'Amistad'
Salvia 'Cherry Chief'
Salvia 'Mystic Spires'
Salvia regla
Salvia madrensis
Sweet olive, Osmanthus fragrans
Camellia 'High Fragrance'
Walter's Viburnum
Pink skullcap
Violas: Johnny Jump Up, Penny White, Sorbet Purple
Leucojum, Summer Snowflake
Mexican Flame Vine, Senecio confusus
Toad lily, Tricyrtis (a few confused plants)
Freesia laxa/Anometheca laxa/Lapeirousia laxa, Painted Petals
Roses: Souvenir de la Malmaison, Old Blush, Mutabilis, Souvenir de St Anne, Caldwell Pink, Peggy Martin, Bon Silene, Chi Long Han Zhu
Giant aloe/candelabra aloe
Polygonum 'Pink Buttons' (it's the Schrodinger's Cat of plants here, both dead and alive at the same time thanks to a couple of dips into the low 30s)
Giant Firespike, Odontonema strictum 
Clerodendrum thomsoniae var. delectum
Hirome Cherry (just starting)
Rising Sun Redbud (just starting)
Gaillardia, Indian Blanket
Evening sundrops/dewdrops, Calylophus drummondii
Blackfoot daisy
Pink muhly grass

There may be more but it's late and I've got to get up early tomorrow!  Read other Bloom Day accounts at that Indy gardener's blog.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Three for Thursday: Signs of Spring on My Corner of Katy!

Spring has come to south central Texas and I've lost count of how many near perfect days we've had since the last week of January.  Those of you who are housebound due to snow and ice are more than welcome to come on down here and visit me. I can promise you some quality gardening time!

'Rising Sun' redbud is getting ready for its big show.

The cooler weather means a deeper purple bloom on the spiderwort.

Our state flower is making an early appearance.

This weather, right here, right now, is what makes me and so many other Texans willing to suffer through our sizzling summers. 
The evils of August seem very far away.

Friday, January 15, 2016

January 2016 Garden Bloggers Bloom Day: In the Pink on My Corner of Katy

Echinacea with my Happy Pill from the Toronto Fling

Peggy Martin Rose

Rose 'Mutabilis'

Echinaceas with visitor

Scutellaria 'Fuchsia Fountains'

Rose 'Old Blush'

Rose 'Bon Silene'

Rose 'Belinda's Dream'

Rose 'Souvenir de la Malmaison'

Upright hot pink Pentas

Amazon Neon Dianthus

Sweet Pea 'Painted Lady'

Pink Firespike, Odontonema stricta
Thanks to Carol of May Dreams Gardens for hosting Bloom Day each month!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

November Blooms on My Corner of Katy: Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day November 2015

Pour Paris et pour tout la France:
a bloom on my Souvenir de la Malmaison rose,
a beautiful reminder of another time in history when
life was fraught with pain and turmoil
It's been a beautiful Sunday here on my corner of Katy and I took a break from working in the garden to just sit outside and savor the sunshine and cool breezes, and do my best to work through the sadness I feel about our broken world.  I was going to say let go of the sadness but I wonder if that isn't part of what's broken in so many people: we don't want to acknowledge, feel or process our emotions so we "let it go" and it becomes angry hateful thoughts that often become angry hateful words and angry hurtful acts.  

My gardens have always been a place of comfort and solace for me and knowing that others find peace and beauty on my corner of Katy reminds me that all most of us can do is tend our own little corner of the world in hopes that it will make a difference. Think globally, act locally.  Do your best to find peace in your own heart. It's a start.  

Thank you to Carol of May Dreams Gardens for hosting Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.  

Saturday, August 29, 2015

August Showers Yield Golden Flowers!

A basket of bounteous beauty to come!

Last Tuesday after an appointment with my recent medical providers, as I turned off the Beltway onto Memorial Drive in heavy rain, I passed a vacant lot with splashes of golden sunshine beaming from various spots.  Those were gardener's gold: beautiful yellow rain lilies popping up to thank Mother Nature for the gift of rain. As I passed, I noted there was a For Sale By Owner sign with a phone number.  

So, yes, I did what any gardener would do: I circled back around and pulled over to write down that number. And then I called and spoke to the owner to ask if I might dig some of those golden delights.  He said I was the second caller in as many days :-)  I told him there were plenty of bulbs for both of us so he consented graciously.  

I confess, even though I'm working hard to keep to my restricted activity level, I went back the next day and dug up a few myself.  Give me points for not trying to dig them in the rain! I was careful in my movements and I didn't dig nearly as many as I'd have liked.  The HG is still chiding for not taking pictures to share with y'all. Hush, woman. 

Fortunately, I'd had the foresight to check in with my pal Otahal and ask if by any chance, he and his crew might be in the Houston area this week. They were indeed working on a job near downtown and Mr. Otahal kindly consented to stop by the vacant lot and have his crew do some more digging for me.   They stopped by yesterday evening with a bounty of rain lily bulbs which he thinks are Zephyranthes sulphurea. 

I have big plans for these little bulbs in the front gardens. I am so appreciative of Otahal and his hard-working crew for doing the hard part of the work.  And for then going above & beyond by taking down the rest of the vitex trunk with their chain saw, which I'd spotted in the back of the truck. The HG considers me a shameless opportunist but Otahal and I go back a long, LONG ways and I'm careful to make fairly minor requests when he and the crew are on the road home after a hard week's work.  I frequently repay him in plants: yesterday he took home a contractor's grade 39 gallon trash sack of Louisiana iris.  He was happy to get them and I was happy to see them go!

David Otahal during the Great Rockout of 2010