Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My Eyes! My Eyes!

I'm pretty sure this color combination qualifies as what my wonderful friend Gail of Clay and Limestone refers to as "Clown Pants".  Screaming yellow Texas Buttercups (Ranunculus macranthera), hot pink Toadflax (Linaria maroccana), Johnny Jump-Ups (Viola cornuta) and Lady in Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea) do not a felicitous combination make.  They certainly are eye-catching, though!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Today, My Corner of Katy ...

Tomorrow the world!  

Yes, that's Spiderwort blooming profusely in front of a Redbud.  Remind me how pretty I thought it was in February when I'm digging out umpteen gazillion seedlings in July.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Same Time, Next Year ...

The front gardens at the end of February 2011:

The front gardens at the end of February 2012:

And that, my friends, is the difference between a harsh winter and a mild one here on my corner of Katy!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

It's Alive!

Not only that, it's blooming!  This is Schizostylis coccinea, commonly known as Kaffir Lily or Crimson Flag, one of my impulse purchases in Seattle during last summer's Garden Bloggers' Fling.  I planted it out front in an area where I'd see it every day as I walked to the mailbox and could monitor its progress or lack thereof.   Hey, some people play the slot machines or craps ... I gamble on plants!  Since many of the links I found in a Google search were from the UK, I didn't really expect that the plant would do well here.  I'm happily surprised that it's thriving and even increasing - new fans are poking up through the soil.   

That spot of red in the lower left corner of the picture isn't the S. coccinea but another South African bulb, the subject of Wednesday's post.  I didn't expect them to be so similar in color or to combine so well with Pinecone Shrimp plants (Justicia brandegeana) and Salvia greggii 'Cherry Chief'.   I'm delighted that it worked out that way.  Long may the Crimson Flag wave on my corner of Katy!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Aftermath ...

Of the big dig, Friday's rainfall and the severe thunderstorms that rolled through my corner of Katy this morning:sticky, nasty, gumbo clay soil mucking up the front gardens!

AND rocks that were removed and then stuck back wherever ...

AND trampled plants ...

AND Mexican feather grasses replanted where my beloved Chocolate Daisies were ...

The Head Gardener and I are very cranky as a result of all this. True, the garden beds are in utility easement footage so it's the utility companies' right to dig.  What's really got our knickers in a twist is that the good soil and mulch we had installed, especially in the corner bed, was relegated to the bottom of the holes in that bed, leaving us clods of wet sticky clay.  The HG and I are pondering using the clods to make souvenir hearts to hand out at May's Garden Bloggers' Fling in Asheville.  We'd fling them at the pesky furry-tailed rodents but our aim's not that great!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Here We Go Again ...

The cable company decided to replace the existing cable running from my neighbor's cable box on his northeast front corner through his side yard, across the alley into the rose bed and the length of my side yard, then across the width of the property to the cable box on my southwest corner.  To do required the digging of 9 holes on my corner of Katy, five of which were in garden beds.  The carnage is not for the faint of heart ...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Big Easy Botany

Wandering through the French Quarter, a gardener frequently finds her eye drawn to the lush and colorful planters lining the wrought iron balconies of the ancient brick buildings. Yet those are not the vignettes that inspired and enchanted her then or now.  Rather it's the sight of moss-covered bricks, crumbling in age and festooned with tiny plants who have made the cracks and crevices of those bricks their home.

The gardener laughed out loud when she saw this Bidens alba.   Back in 2009 or 2010, she spotted it growing wild at a Katy garden center.  Thinking that such a dainty and pretty flower deserved a spot at Wit's End,   she pilfered a few seeds and scattered them on her corner of Katy.  She has since lamented that action ... B. alba seems to be even more prolific a self-seeder than the oft-mentioned Spiderwort!  Perhaps she'll try planting some on one of her walls nonetheless, just as an experiment.  She'll deadhead faithfully, of course, just as she has promised to do with the Spiderwort.*

Note from the Head Gardener: Oh, yeah, this is going to end well ...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Whatever Floats Your Boat ...

Strolling through the French Quarter this morning, we happened upon one of the Mardi Gras Krewes preparing for their parade.  The dapper sailor above told me that last year he left a trail of corks behind him along the parade route ... he and his wife were the floats for the Krewe of Cork again this year.  

The Krewe congregated in front of The Court of Two Sisters and we were privileged to witness the arrival of royalty.

The Queen and King posed for pictures and yes, they are a fine couple indeed.  But the real royalty was the smallest member of the Krewe, the muy preciosa Chiquita Linda.

I was told Chiquita will be a Duchess in the Krewe of Barkus parade.  I'm sure her outfit for that procession will be even grander than today's!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Weird Is What You Come For ...*

"Head Gardener, I have a feeling we're not in Katy anymore!"

Y'all think the yard police would object if I did this on my roof?
The Executive Producer and I are spending the weekend with friends in the city of his birth, a 6 hour drive and a world apart from my corner of Katy.  It's a place where strands of colorful beads decorate the power lines along a major avenue.  A place where your hotel clerk wears his hair in an updo that RuPaul would envy and calls you my baby or my dollin'.  A place where 200 year old buildings and streets are crowded with colorful characters.  A place where you can sit in a Japanese bar and listen to an 80+ year old French accordionist play tunes from his homeland.  It's a place that refused to allow one of the country's worst not-entirely-natural disasters to damage its spirit, hospitality, and joie de vivre.  It's New Orleans ... where life is not just a cabaret, but a circus sideshow, a history lesson,  a strip show, an art exhibition, a banquet, a haunted house, a cocktail party, a voodoo shop, a masquerade ball and more.   Laissez les bon temps rouler!

* My favorite t-shirt thus far: KEEP NEW ORLEANS WEIRD. WEIRD IS WHAT YOU COME FOR.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Blasted Bulbs!

Or so I thought ... but come to find out I've been using the term incorrectly all these years!  Thanks to a chat with some fellow garden bloggers, I learned blasting refers to bulbs whose buds dry out and turn brown before opening, or emerge deformed/distorted.  This article from the University of Arkansas shows an example of daffodil bulb blast.   The 'Geranium' Narcissus pictured above are most likely suffering from too little chill time, which is frequently the cause of daffodil bulbs' blooming early on very short stems.   

At least that seems to be the most common explanation found through a Google search.  HOWEVER ... if that's the case, I do wish someone could explain to me how it happens that bulbs planted right next to each other at the same time, same depth, etc. can emerge and bloom both appropriately AND inappropriately, as seen in the picture above.  I must have looked at the ones on the right cross-eyed.  Given enough cold weather, and if I arrange my face in the proper expression when they start coming up in 2013, perhaps they'll all behave as they should.

Blasted  Dratted bulbs!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Let's NOT Table This Discussion ...

When I saw this table at Enchanted Gardens, everything was illuminated ... choirs of angels sang ... and even the normally taciturn Head Gardener was moved almost to tears at the brilliance of this idea, especially as it applied to us.  There's a small green wooden table and chair set that's been stationed in the front gardens for several years now.  Purchased at a now defunct shop on the square in tiny Round Top, Texas during a long ago antiques weekend, the table and chair are beginning to succumb to the elements.  The HG and I have been cautioned by the Executive Producer not to sit in the chair, a recent subject of repairs by said EP.  The table is still sturdy for the most part but the top has spots where the wood has rotted and the spaces between the boards have widened.  Do y'all see where we're going?

Although our table lacks a drawer, the Head Gardener and I believe it will be no less charming once planted with a variety of succulents, already purchased at a local big box store. We're still cogitating on the technical aspects of planting but expect to have those decided so we can begin Project Toothsome Table - name subject to change by the HG - this week.  We'll share photographs and planting procedures in a future post.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Soggy Saturday

No pictures this morning, my friends ... we've had one humdinger of a storm and my hands have been full comforting a anxious and scared little blonde dog.  A Thundershirt can only do so much for her when the thunder and lightning are right on top of us ... even the usually blase' Loki kitty is restless.  I can hear him and his less-than-delighted-to-be-awakened-so-early human overhead.  Since I did a fair amount of planting yesterday, I'll be interested to see how the newly installed trees, shrubs and perennials fared during all this.  I had hoped for rain to water them in but not quite this much!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Three for Thursday: Beauty in Waiting

NOTE: These photographs were taken with my iPhone 4S, as were many of the pictures posted in January. I am truly wowed by the camera's ability to capture closeups.