Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wildflower Wednesday: Back In The Saddle Again ...

I can never look at this flower without hearing Gene Autry in my head ... although I take exception to his description of Jimson Weed as "lowly".  It's anything but in my garden!  That faint blush of lavender along the edges of the blooms just knocks my boots off!  

Mosey on over to Clay and Limestone and see what blooms other garden bloggers are sharing with Gail on her meme.  And if you want to take a listen to Gene Autry, here's a clip!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

24 Plus and Still Gorgeous!

For as far back as I can remember,  "24 plus" was my mother's standard response when asked how old she was.  Today is her 80th birthday and in deference to her dislike of being photographed, I have NOT posted a picture.  She's had to pose for pictures at two different doctors' offices recently as part of their conversion to electronic records and I suspect she had to fight the urge to put her hand up to block the camera!  Instead of her picture, I'm posting one I took a few years back of the clematis growing on her front wall.  No matter how hard I try, I can't seem to duplicate her success, as I lamented in this post from 2009.  

She asked that it be a quiet day so we took a jaunt out to Enchanted Gardens, which is just far enough out to feel like country instead of city.  The sun was blazing and Mom's diminished vision made navigating the grounds of the nursery a bit tricky for her so we didn't spend as much time there as we usually do.  She bought a small Crown of Thorns Euphorbia, in full brilliant bloom, and we left the nursery to spend some time roving about the surrounding countryside.  That area is very similar to her childhood home of Lost Prong, which really IS out in the country ... I'm not sure it even appears on any maps.  As we drove around, she reminisced about her childhood and how grateful she still is to have had such a wonderful place to grow up.  It was a big part of my childhood, too, since we made regular visits to see her grandparents and cousins, and I too am grateful for the happy memories made there.  Thanks for those memories, Mom ... Happy Birthday!

Friday, March 23, 2012

This Place Is Lousy ..

Fiesta Gal

With Louisiana Irises ... the Head Gardener long ago gave up trying to rein in my LI addiction.   We wish we could tell you the names of all the cultivars pictured but both of us long ago gave up trying to keep track.  The HG makes a half-hearted effort now and then to make me compile an inventory but it's fairly easy to distract her with a report of snails munching on the Manfredas.   Such intangibles as inventories are forgotten in the process of molluskicide!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Enchanted, Indeed ...

A view of the stream at Enchanted Forest, a place where I spent many happy hours 
The Bur Oak was planted at EF in memory of my cherished friend  Amy by
her Garden Gangsters.  I'm so happy this tree made it through the summer of 2011 

and is putting forth new leaves.

This little desk once belonged to the Executive Producer's grandmother.  Amy's son Drew,
a talented woodworker/furniture builder/cabinetmaker, refinished it for us.  It's all
the more special for the time and care he took.  His mom would be so delighted with his work

 and so proud of the wonderful job he's doing as a husband and father.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Today's (Not So) Secret Word is Green!

And in honor of the day, here's a picture for my friend Kathy of Cold Climate Gardening.  Kathy brought an assortment of her beloved fall-blooming Colchicum bulbs to Garden Bloggers' Fling in 2010 to share with a few lucky fellow bloggers, including the Head Gardener.   Kathy selected varieties for me that she thought had a fighting chance and I planted them when the weather cooled a bit at the end of September 2010 (read about that here).  Neither Kathy nor I really expected them to even grow in my inhospitable climate.  That was the last I saw of them until recently, when I discovered that one lone bulb had made it.  Although Kathy and I agreed that the chance of their blooming was less than miniscule, the HG and I are holding onto the tiniest shred of hope.  

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day:BLTN*

It's that time of year ... I'm so preoccupied by and occupied with working in the garden that I have precious little time or energy for blogging about the garden.  I missed Bloom Day last month and didn't want to do so again.  So I snapped some views of the back gardens with my iPhone camera and those will have to suffice.

And having just discovered Wordle, I created a word cloud of plants blooming in my gardens today and I thought it would be fun to do a giveaway based on that.  Leave me a comment listing 10 or more words that belong together and I'll send you seeds from this year's crop of poppies, pink and red!

*BLTN: better late than never.  An acronym for Bloom Day's originator, Carol of May Dreams Gardens.  

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Fencing 101

Last week, as I stepped into this bed to turn on the hose, I noticed something a little off with the fence between my garden and my neighbor's.  When I took a closer look, I discovered that a lengthy stretch of the fence was leaning in my direction.  

My neighbor and I discussed the matter via e-mail and agreed that my contractor Brent should take a look and recommend how to proceed.  Brent discovered that the fence posts on the neighbor's side were rotting away and the fence was in imminent danger of falling over on my garden, so his first recommendation was that we install some bracing to keep it from doing so.   Rather than installing a completely new fence, we've determined that we can dig new holes near the old posts and install new posts, then attach the fence to those.  

The only plant casualty has been the neighbor's redtip photinias, which have already been cut down to stubs so the fencing crew can work around them.  The Head Gardener and I will leave it our readers to decide how we feel about that.  

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Say We-Satch!

I've passed this tree as I've gone to and fro from Lowe's recently.  My friend Otahal tells me it's a Huisache, Acacia farnesiana.  The thorns make it a less attractive option for my own garden but I'm delighted each time I see it on an otherwise nondescript street.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Euphoria over Euphorbia

Euphoria 'Ascot Rainbow'
Fellow blogger Jenny from Rock Rose in Austin posted recently about the Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow' she brought home from Seattle last summer.  She did recall correctly that one of the little beauties jumped off the table at Dragonfly Farms and into my hands.  I had no reason whatsoever to believe that this Euphoria would be happy on my corner of Katy, since I had never seen it offered at my local nurseries.  Like Jenny, I was compelled to try, and also like Jenny, I am happy to say that the plant is flourishing.  Hers is showing a bit more red of eye ... perhaps she's fertilizing it with tequila?!  

What I 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Took A Walk Around The Park ...

A view of the overlook and flag plaza
While it's true that gardening can be great exercise, the stop-and-start nature of my gardening habits make it a less than aerobic activity.  I decided it was time to add fitness walking back into my life and today was my first foray.  The last time I walked the trail at Rick Rice Park, only the detention pond and the trail had been installed.  I found it a very different place today.  As described on the website, "the park, an aesthetic enhancement and creative use of a storm water detention area next to Mason Creek, is still developing yet already offers benches, an overlook platform, a flag plaza, and a central lake and fountain surrounded by a mile-long trail."  

Wetland planting
The Head Gardener and I were even more delighted to find that the park has now been extensively and attractively landscaped, using native and adapted plants that can handle  the site's weather conditions.   We were especially gratified to see that the landscape architects' design plan also includes bird and butterfly habitat plantings that should bring an abundance of winged visitors to the park.  Amongst the plants, we spotted quite a few personal favorites: were Gulf Coast Muhly (Muhlenbergia capillaris), Salvia greggii 'Cherry Chief', Barbados Cherry (Malpighia glabra);, Texas Sage (Leucophyllum frutescens), and Texas Sundrops (Calylophus berlandieri).   We noticed that the wetland areas of the detention pond are planted with  moisture loving iris and cannas, as well as clumping grasses that we assume are moisture-tolerant.  Plantings near the trail include signage identifying specific plants by both common and botanical names. We were dismayed to see some misidentified plants but learned from the landscape maintenance company's rep that they were aware of the problem and it would be corrected.  
The undulating planting swales are stunning.

The arch of the pedestrian bridge can be seen in the background.
The Head Gardener and I are especially enamored of the sinuous planting swales along the banks of the pond.  We're looking forward to seeing them come alive with movement when the grasses have regrown.  The pedestrian bridge across Mason Creek is stunning in its elegance and simplicity and it fits the space beautifully.  Eventually there will be paved walking trails on both sides of the creek.  And despite the fact that the Katy Freeway is a mere block away, it doesn't intrude on the sense of tranquility we felt in the park.  

That tranquility was only slightly shaken by the signage which warns visitors to watch for snakes and alligators.  Fortunately, the only wildlife we saw were some turtles sunning themselves on rocks and a Great Egret standing in the shallows of the detention pond.  The maintenance company's rep told us that they had not seen any alligators thus far but expected them to find their way there eventually from the interconnected waterways in and around the Katy area.   Other four-footed visitors are frequently seen, however: the park is already a popular dog-walking venue.  A welcome amenity are the pet waste disposal stations,  complete with mutt mitts for pet owners to use. 

Great Egret with turtles camouflaging themselves as rocks
I'm looking forward to many more walks in Rick Rice Park and I hope my fellow Katy/West Houston residents will find time to visit this verdant oasis near my corner of Katy.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Hello, Gorgeous!

Neomarica caerulea 'Regina'*
Where have you been all my life?  Oh, never mind, it doesn't matter now that you're mine.  Now tell me, Regina, my pet ... where would you like to grow?  There are some lovely spots near the pond.  Or perhaps you'd prefer the shelter of the house wall?  Yes, I agree ... you would look stunning against the mossy green of that wall.  If it please Your Majesty, I believe I'll give you some time to tour the garden before making such a life-altering decision.   Your Majesty concurs?  Thank you, fair Queen ... you grace this humble garden with your presence!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Three for Thursday: Apples of My Eye

The 3 in 1 espaliered apple I planted last spring has blooms!  



2 out of 3 ain't bad, according to Meat Loaf, but the Head Gardener disagrees most strenuously.  She says when the 3rd looks as pitiful as poor 'Fuji', she cannot be elated at the beauteous blooms on the other two.  She's sitting me down at the computer today to research the care and feeding of fruit trees!