Thursday, March 31, 2011

Three for Thursday: Through the Garden Gate

There are poppies in the back, too ... and Linaria ... and Phlox ...

and Alyssum ... and Violas ... 

and Larkspur ... and roses ...

I know I've been rather infrequent in my posts lately ... it's not that the garden isn't full of photo ops or blogworthy happenings ... it's that the Head Gardener and I spend most of our free time out there making it picture perfect (oh, that got a chuckle from the HG) and blogworthy.  The weather has been a mixed bag ... too little rain and too many warm and humid days already.  Just when I'm ready to give it all up and run away to Hawaii, a day like today comes along: the air is cool and dry, the sun is shining and the garden casts its spell upon me once again.  

It's also casting its spell upon visitors and passersby.  On Tuesday, the delightful Pat Leuchtmann of Commonweeder and her equally congenial husband Henry visited Wit's End.  We strolled the gardens and talked plants, birds, chickens, seeds, roses and Seattle Fling.  Pat's account of their visit can be found on her contribution to Three for Thursday.  I'm so glad they made the trek out here and I'm already looking forward to seeing Pat again in Seattle in July.  On Wednesday, I hosted the March meeting of my WOW pals.  The Women of W(h)ine [the Head Gardener came up with the name] sipped wine and strolled through the gardens, chattering and exclaiming.  None of them are gardeners but the WOW were nonetheless wowed!   As for passersby, although I receive comments of approbation and  appreciation from different folks, one in particular stands out for me and I wanted to share it with y'all.  What we gardeners do makes a difference in more lives than we know.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Three for Thursday: Randomness

Late to my own meme ... but today I have a good excuse ... I was downtown working at the Chronicle, adding plants to the database.   I'm going to throw three things at you and then make a run for it!

The Head Gardener and I are both Anglophiles.  Here's one reason why!  I want a sign that says Never Mind the Dog, Beware of the Head Gardener!

Going to Seattle Fling 2011 and want to shake up your fellow garden bloggers?  You need this t-shirt!

I visited with the Bulb Hunter,  Chris Wiesinger of Southern Bulb Company, last week.  My opening words to him: "I blame you!"  He didn't even have to ask what I was talking about ... he knew it was my newfound bulb addiction.  This little darling is just one reason why!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bloom Day Marches On

Old-fashioned Bridal Wreath Spirea reminds me of my MawMaw.
It's that time of year ... I'm so busy working in the gardens that I have no time to blog about them!  Since it's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, though, and its Indiana instigator is such a good pal, I took a break from my labors and wandered around the garden taking pictures.  

Just one of many Toadflax (Linaria maroccana)

They're my signature spring annual
This bed filled out nicely (the stump on the right was a gift from my contractor Brent, who found it at another client's and knew right off it was something I'd like.)
A closer look at that bed: Verbenas, Laura Bush Petunias, Phlox, Violas, Linaria, Leucojum, Corsican Violets, Spiderwort, Heartleaf Skullcap, Blackfoot Daisy, Larkspur, Louisiana Iris and Alyssum are amongst the residents.

'La Marne'
'La Marne' redux: interesting variation in bloom color
Bluebonnet and Poppy

A white Winecup (Callirhoe involucatra)
The Sinojackia blooms are irresistible to the pollinator community!
Last month there was 1 bloom on this Homestead Purple Verbena ... I like it better this month!
I think this Redbud needs the darker 'Oklahoma' variety as a companion.

The Carolina Silverbell (Halesia carolina) was added to the front garden last fall.  Spring-blooming trees make my heart sing.

More than just flowers bloom in our gardens, friendship and camaraderie can be found as well.  I had the privilege of sharing the gardens on my corner of Katy with my fellow Houston garden blogger David of Tropical Texana.  Since he works at a nearby elementary school, he stopped by for a visit one day last week.  The time flew by as we shared our gardening stories and I look forward to future visits with him.  In another 10 days or so, I'll host a garden blogger from much farther away: Pat of Commonweeder will be in town to visit her daughter and has promised me they'll visit.  And at the end of the month, it's my turn to host the monthly meeting of WOW: Women of W(h)ine will gather here to sip and sup.  Cheers!

Thank You, Tulip World!

Tulip World has graciously offered me a merchandise credit to be used on a future purchase of bulbs from their site.  I applaud and appreciate their understanding of my disappointment with my purchase and their willingness to make amends.  Their customer service has been outstanding and I look forward to my next experience with them.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Three for Thursday: Amy's Tulips

The Ivory Floradale tulips I planted in memory of my friend Amy are in full and absolutely splendiferous bloom this week.  Those who read my 2009 and 2010 posts will remember that Amy once told me that she dreamed of drifts of white tulips throughout her garden, so that everyone considered them her signature flower.  The past two years I planted the tulips in Amy's front bed where her husband and family could enjoy them.  This year I opted to plant them in my own garden.

However, if you look more closely at the picture above, you'll notice something a little off with the blooms: pinkish-red streaks on the petals of some tulips (which is why I mentally subtitled this post "Beauty Tinged with Disappointment").   Not having grown these before, and having only seen them in bloom on visits to Amy's garden, I have no idea whether this is the usual bloom habit of this variety, or the tulips I received are not in fact Ivory Floradale.  I tend to think the latter because knowing Amy, this is not at all what she envisioned. 

Although the majority of these tulips are pure white, there's a fair number of them that are colored like those two in the picture above.   The red streaks do seem to fade a bit as the tulip ages.  In previous years, I purchased the bulbs at Houston's annual Plant and Bulb Mart: the tulip booth was always Amy's first stop at that event.  I opted not to purchase my bulbs there last fall due to a nearly two hour wait time for checkout.  By the time I got serious about purchasing them online, the only site with Ivory Floradale bulbs still available was Tulip World.  I doubt I will purchase from them again and I do plan to e-mail them about my disappointment with the bulbs I received.

Being one who is alert to messages from the universe, however, I do feel like Amy is speaking to me through these flowers, reminding me gently that her signature blooms don't necessarily belong in my garden.   I have a new plan for this fall, one which I think would please Amy and will bring beauty to a place that she held very dear.  The good folks at Enchanted Forest have agreed to my request that I fund the purchase of 100 Ivory Floradale tulips to be planted in Amy's name and memory under the memorial bur oak her Garden Gang friends planted in 2008.  This time next year the scene above will be enlivened by drifts of white tulips.  I hope that visitors to the Forest will pause to enjoy their beauty and to acknowledge Amy's part in making the world a better  place.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Three for Thursday: The Apple of My Eye

For several years now, each time I worked the Harris County Master Gardeners'  fruit & citrus tree sale in January, I'd gaze longingly at the 3-in-1 espaliered apples that we offered and tell my co-workers how much I wanted to bring one home.  We were always too busy with customers for me to grab one before they ran out, though, so I'd sigh wistfully at the end of the day.  In February, I'd see the same 3-in-1 trees on a starved-for-nursery-time visit to Enchanted Gardens.  I'd tell myself I'd come back for one in a week or two ... but if I did, they were long since gone, off to grow in the gardens of more decisive hortheads than I.  

But yesterday was different.  I took the day off from my labors in the garden (even the HG agreed we could use some down time) and headed off for a day of nursery hopping.   I stopped first at Papershell: A Garden Gallery and visited with Elizabeth Barrow, the owner and a fellow Rice University graduate, as it turns out!  (I'll have more to say about that delightful experience in a post this weekend.)  She kindly gave me directions to get to Enchanted Forest the back way and I trundled on down the road in search of more garden treasure (despite the fact that there was absolutely NO room left in the front seat of the truck for plants).  Over in the fruit tree section of the nursery, I saw two gorgeous 3-in-1 espaliered apples and my spirits rose ... then fell when I saw they both had SOLD labels on them.  Well, shoot.   Just across from the citrus area, though, I did find 3 new succulents for the rock gardens along the front sidewalk.  (I figured I could make room for those in the front seat SOMEHOW. And I was right.)  As I was leaving the sales building, though, I spoke with Gary Lenderman, proprietor of EF, to inquire if they might get more of those apples.  He shook his head no, but offered to call over to the Gardens on the slight chance there might be some left there.  He was doubtful but to his surprise and my delight, there were a few left.  He asked them to hold one for me and away I went!

I arrived to find the nursery bustling with customers eager to take advantage of a beautiful spring day and got in line to pay for my tree (okay, I MIGHT have wandered the premises a bit first and I MIGHT have picked up a tri-color Euphorbia to replace the one I lost to freeze damage).  With the aid of a Gardens' employee, the tree was safely stowed in the bed of the truck and home I went.  I'm cogitating about where it would be happiest and dreaming of the day when I can bite into a Golden Dorsett,  Anna or Fuji apple that I grew myself!

I hope you'll join me, if not this week, then next, and post your own Three for Thursday. Pick 3 pictures of plants from your garden ... tell us about 3 books you've read that you want to share ... rant about 3 things that bug the heck out of you ... show us 3 pieces of garden art or 3 photos of egregious crimes against gardening ... you choose what your three will be.  Just have fun and be creative!