Sunday, December 8, 2013

It's Not Like I Haven't Thought About It ...

Blogging, I mean ...

I thought about it when I was in Austin at the end of October, enjoying the spectacular views from Mount Bonnell and the balcony of my friend Marcia's amazing home nearby.

I thought about it in mid-November when the Mexican Plum and 'Rising Sun' redbud put on their fall colors at least 6 weeks ahead of their usual time.  

I thought about it on my birthday on November 23rd ... which was one of those milestone birthdays that you can't imagine yourself actually being when you're in your 20s. 

I thought about it in the unseasonably cold days following my birthday, when temperatures dipped almost to freezing on a couple of nights.  Truth be told, I was glad to walk outside when it warmed up and see that the blooms on the coral vines had been zapped by the cold.  I'd been wanting to whack that vine back for a while but I held off so the bees could enjoy it as long as possible.

I thought about it when I saw the first goldfinch of the year at the feeders during that cold spell.

2009 Confinchion
I thought about it when I did whack the coral vine AND the passion vine back the weekend after Thanksgiving. When I stopped in the middle of the process to check my FitBit tracker for my step count, the FitBit wasn't there, necessitating a careful but worried search which took me almost an hour.  I finally found it in the pile of discarded plant material on the patio, caught on one of the vines.  

There was almost this much vine to go through. Picture from 2008.

I thought about it when I built a fire in the firepit I created from what I think is an old sugar kettle found at an antiques shop on Magazine Street in New Orleans, old grates from a Jenn-Air cooktop and a firepit cover plucked from a neighbor's on trash day.  

I thought about when I made my annual pilgrimage to Glenwood Cemetery on December 5th to work at my friend Mary Beth's gravesite.  She always made much of the fact that I was 12 days older than her and affectionately called me an old hag.  Since it was a milestone birthday, I spent some time enlarging the area to include her parents' gravestones, then took a break to go shopping at Wabash Antiques and Feed Store on Washington Avenue. My sincere thanks to the good folks at Wabash who loaned me a watering can so I could water in the herbs I bought from them to plant in MB's bed. Just after I began to dig, the sprinkler system in that part of the cemetery kicked on.  Oh, how MB would have laughed to watch me attempting to dig and plant in between dodging the sprinklers!

Today, though, I didn't just think about blogging ... I did it!  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day: October 2013

The lantana was purchased on clearance at Lowe's a couple of years ago for
 the whopping sum of 25 cents. I believe this plant has offered the best rate
of return on investment ofany in the garden!
The Head Gardener and I are cautiously optimistic that we have seen the end of 90+ degree days ... we're not celebrating just yet but give us another week and we'll break out the good champagne and congratulate each other on having survived another summer. It was touch and go there for a few days in early October after a trip to San Francisco had us fearing our ability to tolerate hellacious heat & humidity had been forever compromised.   But what a difference rain and cooler temperatures have made in the gardeners and the gardens of Wit's End!  Smiles are plentiful and blooms are bountiful!  Here's a sampling of the latter for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.

The ex-Asters are in full and glorious bloom.

Russian Sage, Fernleaf Lavender & Ex-Asters share a
bed with Rock Rose and Pink Muhly Grass.

The purple Salvia 'Amistad' has been spectacular.
That's white lantana in the foreground.

It's been a good year for the coral vine.

Cassia splendida 'Buttercream' 

Hamelia, Pink Turk's Cap and Thryallis
are the dominant plants in this picture.

The corner bed: Cuphea, lantana, Bauhinia, Abelmoschus,
Pink Muhly Grass ... and more!

Another view of the corner bed: Pink Muhly Grass, Gaillardias,
Calylophus, Lantana, Turnera ... and more!

These zinnias keep pumping out the screaming red-orange blooms.
The HG shudders at the mankiness of the foliage but I remind her
that the butterflies, like honey badger, don't give a ...

The bed along the garage wall has been a real feast
for the eyes this year.  Giant aloe, spiderwort, coneflowers ... and more!

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day is hosted by Carol of May Dreams Gardens on the 15th of each month.  Thanks, Indy Gardener!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wildflower Wednesday: On The Road to Round Top

It's that time of year again ... just when the Head Gardener and I are both thoroughly sick of summer, and quite certain that nothing could make being outside worthwhile, the roadside fields of Central Texas go wild.  All along Highway 237 and Highway 159, they'll be popping up everywhere ... those harbingers of fall that bring joy to even the HG's hardened heart.  

I speak, of course, of the antiques and junk dealers who blanket said fields with all manner of rusty stuff.  Heat be danged, the HG and I are on a mission!  We saddle up FloraBob, the little green truck, and we're off to explore the highways and byways in search of yard art.  Sometimes we also find botanical treasures that make our heart sing and so it was today.  All along the roads to Round Top and Warrenton, we saw white rain lilies blooming profusely.  Happily, we were able to pull over and grab some quick pictures to share with y'all for Wildflower Wednesday.  

And, yes, not only did Central Texas get some blessed rain this past week ... so did my corner of Katy!!!!!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Now Blooming In Someone Else's Garden: Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day September 2013

Over the weekend, my pals Genny, Laura and I traveled to Oklahoma to visit our friend DeAnna in her new home outside Oklahoma City.  A longtime Katy resident, DeAnna is new not only to OKC but to gardening.  Fortunately, I know just the person to steer her in the right direction and even more fortunately, Dee Nash of Red Dirt Ramblings graciously invited us to visit her country cottage gardens.  Thank you, Dee ... it was a treat for all of us!  

Summer Phlox (P. paniculata) in Dee
Nash's Oklahoma garden 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wildflower Wednesday: The High Line in August

Y'all might recall that I had a little surgical adventure back in November of last year. I would have preferred to wait until summer when the weather turns evil and time outside is necessarily limited by the heat and humidity.  The Executive Producer was loath for me to wait, so I acquiesced, not altogether gracefully, given that this surgery required I spend 8 weeks of great gardening weather under serious activity restrictions.  What really made me cranky, though, was not getting the results I needed from the surgery.  By March it was clear that tweaking was necessary but I was danged if I would miss out on spring gardening.  Evil weather arrived in July, as it always does, and I scheduled the follow-up procedure for August 9th.  I'm happy to say that improvement was immediate and the restrictions are less onerous this time.  But I still had to take it easy that first week.

So I was sitting in my comfy chair the week after surgery, feeling pretty good but fed up with the weather and to be quite truthful, the garden as well, at least that which can be seen from the vantage point of the comfy chair. Too little rain and too much heat has the back garden looking pretty sad.   I had the Sunday edition of the New York Times at hand and was reminded once again how much I wanted to see a couple of shows in particular.  And that's when I got a little crazy and booked myself a flight to NYC, tickets for 2 shows and a night's stay in a hotel for this past weekend.  I left Houston at 11 AM and by 3 PM CST, I was sitting in Bryant Park with a glass of prosecco, enjoying cooler air and the delights that only New York can provide.

Me in Bryant Park
Saturday night, I took myself to the Music Box Theatre to see PIPPIN.  What a visual feast: the Players outdid themselves in their dancing and acrobatics.  My only regret was that Andrea Martin was on hiatus this month so I didn't get to see her Tony award-winning performance.  

Sunday morning, I had the pleasure of the company of fellow blogger Monica Hemingway of Gardening Products Review, who took the train in from Connecticut so we could visit the High Line together.   Although I've been to the High Line on most of my trips to NYC, this is the first time I've seen it in full and glorious bloom.  The prairie/meadow wildflower plantings are spectacular, made all the more so for their juxtaposition against their urban setting.  So here are a few pictures from my iPhone of the High Line Players, as colorful and varied as those I saw onstage!

I can't find this one on the plant list or I don't recognize it. Anyone?

I think this one is Amorpha canescens, Lead Plant.

Liatris aspera, Blazing Star

New York Ironweed, Vernonia boracensis 

This was probably our favorite planting area.

On the street below, backhoes and construction equipment
have scraped the ground raw. What a contrast!

The Amsonias absolutely glowed!  Oh, to get them to do that here.
Hello, my name is Cindy and I'm a hopeless believer in lost causes.

The rich colors of Helenium 'Rubinzwerg' make me sigh. 

One of my favorite things about the High Line is the inclusion of these staggered beams 
that echo the old rail lines and provide niches for plants.  I'm betting many of these are

Monica and I enjoyed lunch at Colicchio and Sons, followed by a stroll through Chelsea Market, before parting ways in the Theater District.  I was privileged to attend the final performance of VANYA & SONIA & MASHA & SPIKE and to witness possibly the single most brilliant monologue ever performed, by the inimitable David Hyde Pierce.  Christopher Durang's play was hilarious and poignant ... and well worth almost missing my flight home!

Wildflower Wednesday, on the last Wednesday of each month, is hosted by Gail of CLAY AND LIMESTONE.  Do stop by her blog and see what other wildflowers are blooming and where!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Making Friends In The Garden

Gaura 'Siskiyou Pink' from David of Tropical Texana

One of the best things about gardening on my corner of Katy is the opportunities it gives me to meet other gardeners and garden enthusiasts.  That's partly how I became acquainted with David of Tropical Texana, now counted as a dear friend. We exchange plants and stories of our successes and failures: I am happy to report that after numerous failed attempts to grow Gaura 'Siskiyou Pink', the plant David gave me is thriving!  When David first started blogging and I became one of his readers, I had no idea that he was the same Mr P who taught at the elementary school my children had attended.  I knew that Mr P was a gardener because we'd met and talked at a daylily sale once years ago.  It was something of a "well, duh" moment when I finally put it all together.  It also turns out he was a regular drive-by visitor to my corner.

Green Anole on the Gaura
Last Saturday, as I was working out front, I met another drive-by regular, who brought her mom by to see the gardens.  She asked if I had time to give them a little tour and of course I said yes. There's nothing I enjoy more than sharing my gardens with appreciative visitors, unless it's sharing it with fellow gardeners!  Maria and her mother Maria were both and I so enjoyed strolling around the gardens, sharing plants and seeds with them and hearing about their gardens. Maria Senior had a beautiful accent: when I asked where she was from, her daughter Maria told me they were Portuguese and had emigrated here from the Azore Islands in 1967-68.  That's one of many places I'll probably never see but now I have a connection to it through them.  And so my world expands ...

Speaking of expansion, here's another friend in my garden: a green anole lizard, inflating his dewlap in his search for female companionship.  I knew what that pouch was called thanks to David, who shared info about the Green Anole in his most recent post.  It makes me happy to think about how much larger my world has become since I became a gardener.  Then I think about how much larger it WILL be because of gardening and it boggles my mind!  

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Three for Thursday: Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day August 2013

The HG and I made a brief foray into the blazing sun to capture three of our favorite blooms for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.  The HG apologizes for the poor quality of the pictures ... I used my iPhone instead of my good camera.  It's too hot to have that dang G11 hanging around my neck!  

Bauhinia galpinii. This is from the plant I call Cher ... my original B. galpinii goes
by the name of Tina Turner because she took the worst Ike had to offer and
went on to become a real diva. There's a picture in this post I wrote
the day after Hurricane Ike.

White Texas Star Hibiscus (H. coccineus 'Alba') ... isn't the
star inside the blooms just the coolest thing ever?

Hymenocallis spp.
Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day is the monthly celebration of blooming beauty in the gardens of bloggers around the world.  Click on over to May Dreams Gardens, home to GBBD instigator and Elizabeth Lawrence aficionado, Carol!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

You Might Wonder ...

Organic Mechanics Garden, Tenderloin District, San Francisco
Y'all know how I love rusty stuff ... were I not an honest & upstanding citizen of this planet who knows that karma will get you somehow, somewhere, I'd have smuggled this out! 
Why I haven't posted anything yet about the Garden Bloggers' Fling in San Francisco ... can we blame it on my heat-addled brain?  Far from being the fabulously cool escape envisioned, the Bay Area was suffering from an unseemly heat wave during my time there.  I am beginning to feel like something of a jinx when it comes to temperature.   

Three views of the chaotic and colorful Keeyla Meadows garden ...
oh, to have the courage to be so bold!
How about blaming it on sensory overload ... being overwhelmed by so many amazingdelightfulwonderful charmingeclecticeccentric beautifulincrediblefantastic awesomephenomenal inspiring gardens?  

Garden bloggers take in the view from the upper deck of the Matt Gil Sculpture Garden
(that's a freeway in the background)
Or we could blame it on being in the company of so many fellow garden fanatics? 

Looking out towards the bay from The Wave Garden
A view from the Dudan Garden
I could blame it on the fabulous views ...

A pond in the Nichols garden

Just one lush corner of the back gardens at Anne Nichols' fabulous home

Succulent plantings in the Nichols Garden
Or the staggering diversity of plantings?

Sunset Magazine Demonstration Gardens

Oh, hay-ull, let's blame it on all of the above!