Friday, March 19, 2010
Turn That Frown Upside Down!
It's not been a great week for gardening here on my corner of Katy. I'd been otherwise occupied most days and unable to put in what I considered any real quality time out there. Sure, I weeded a bit late Wednesday afternoon and Thursday afternoon I cleaned up the courtyard. Which was a bit depressing because it led me to the conclusion that the fountain I bought last summer and installed in the courtyard was NOT the right one for the area. The splashing of the fountain causes mold problems on the brick walls and flagstone in the area. I also failed to consider that positioned as it was in a corner under a water oak, it would be an excellent receptacle for falling leaves. It won't be easy to get it out of there but I've decided that it does need to go. I'll probably post it on Craigslist with the warning that it takes 3 strong men and a good dolly to move it.
I also concluded that I'm going to have to rely on more succulents and highly xeric container plantings in the courtyard area. The small size of the enclosed area means poor air circulation and the moisture from watering plants tends not to evaporate quickly, making it a great area for mosquitoes to breed and congregate. That's NOT the kind of greeting guests enjoy. It's certainly not the kind of gathering I'd pictured in the courtyard!
But as I worked outside today, I found several reasons to smile. I'm not going to save the best for last because I'm too excited and I want to share it NOW! Below, you see the stub of my beloved Tina Turner Bauhinia. A sad sight, isn't it?
But a closer look, such as that below, reveals there is hope for Tina! Do you see it? A leaf bud is emerging from the trunk! WOO-HOO! Party on my corner of Katy!
And when I checked on my Bauhinia mexicana, it too is leafing out and I have hope that it will recover sufficiently to bloom this year. Next winter I'll protect it from hard freezes, though.
I'm about 95% certain that this is a Bletilla striata. The foliage certainly looks right but because it didn't bloom last year OR the year before, I'm not going to commit myself 100% to that identification. I remember buying one and I have a vague recollection of planting it in one area and moving it to another (which is nothing out of the ordinary here at Wit's End, you know).
This is one of my favorite native wildflowers, and one that isn't known as well as most. I had a clump of Ranunculus macranthus, Large Buttercup, in what was proving to be a danger zone ... planted so close to a path that there was danger of my trodding on it inadvertently. I dug it up last fall and discovered that there were numerous small plants in the clump. I separated them gently and then replanted them in a raised bed under the willow oak on the south side. They've responded quite positively to being moved.
I'm always thrilled to see buds on the Columbines. This Hinckley's (Aquilegia hinckleyana) is one of the first I've seen with buds but the others should follow soon.
My Sinojackia has struggled to make me happy ever since I bought it. It has not succeeded and I've come close to bidding it adieu several times. This year, however, it has come into its own, either because of the cold winter weather or because I've left it in the same spot undisturbed for at least 2 years. (Do you sense the Head Gardener rolling her eyes?)
All in all, it was a happy and productive day on my corner of Katy. In addition to taking photographs, I got down and dirty in the back garden in the process of planting 6 Sky Pencil Hollies. I'm already happy with the sense of structure they lend to that area and it's got me thinking about what plants would help me achieve that in other parts of the garden. I'm off to hit the books!