Friday, April 19, 2013

Oh. My. Stars. !!!!!!!!!!

Hello, Gorgeous!

I had no idea that this pot contained St. Joseph's Lily (Hippeastrum x johnsonii)!  Sure, I remembered buying the bulb at The Arbor Gate when Chris Wiesinger of Southern Bulbs was there in fall (2011? 2012?)  I had it planted out front but decided I wasn't happy with its placement (The Head Gardener: Big surprise.) So I dug it up and put it in a pot until I found a spot where I wanted to plant it.  I forgot to label it, though. (The Head Gardener: How unusual. Not.)  I've moved the pot around to one place or another and last fall I set it along the back fence, having decided from the foliage that it must be a division from the Hymenocallis given to me by Otahal.  A couple of weeks ago, I noticed a bloom stalk had emerged and that the buds clearly had the coloring and appearance of a red Amaryllis.  I moved the pot yet again and placed it in the courtyard, where the red blooms would be more felicitous.   It wasn't until the blooms opened that I realized this wasn't just any red Amaryllis ... those white stars just glow, don't they?

Also called Hardy Amaryllis and Johnson's Amaryllis, development of this old Southern favorite and passalong plant is credited to a watchmaker named Johnson somewhere between 1799-1810.  The blooms are said to have a spicy fragrance which I can neither confirm nor deny since those on my plant have now faded.  I'm thinking about finding a red ceramic pot and planting it in that so I can enjoy the view of the blooms through my front door in years to come!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, April 2013: A Counting Exercise

So it's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day once again and I thought I'd do something a little different this month and post one picture for each bed/border/planting area here on my corner of Katy.  While it won't give y'all a feel for the size of those beds, it might give you a better understanding of why I have so much trouble keeping up with it all!

We'll begin out front on the southeast corner of the property.  There's a small bed, about 6 feet long by 2 feet wide, just in front of the fence. Mexican Lobelia, a/k/a Candy Corn Lobelia (Lobelia laxiflora) runs rampant in the bed ... and attempts to run out of it.  There's also yellow Butterfly Vine (Mascagna macroptera), Miniature Hamelia, native Turk's Cap, David Verity cuphea and a daylily in that space.

There's also a long border that runs along the property line on the south side.  This Cestrum parqui, Hardy Willow-Leafed Jessamine, was purchased at Plant Delights Nursery in 2009 during the Garden Writers' Association tour.  I just noticed that they call it a prolific seed producer but I haven't seen any seedlings around it.  That border is also home to Cassia 'Buttercream', a river birch, bluebonnets, daylilies, agaves, yuccas, snake herb, rudbeckias, anisacanthus, bauhinia, hamelia, thryallis, turk's caps, salvia, iris and evolvulus (maybe more ???).

A willow oak tree grows on the south side of the house and right now the columbines are putting on their annual spring show.  I suspect there's been some cross-pollination going on amongst the Hinckley's yellow columbines and the native red and yellow Aquilegia canadensis because there are so many variations amongst the A. canadensis.  This bed spans the width of the south side of the house.  There's a path between it and the long border.  Also planted in this bed (for now) are various bulbs - Narcissus, allium, small amaryllis -, a 'Marilyn's Choice' abutilon that was damaged by a falling limb, native ranunculus, golden crinum, Cuphea macropetala, crocosmia/montbretia, a Texas Buckeye, castor bean, more anisacanthus and Mexican lobelia, Dicliptera suberecta, Thryallis,  turk's caps, pineland meadows hibiscus, turnera, rudbeckia, and daylilies (maybe more ???).  

There's a path just behind this bed and then another bed runs along the front wall of the house. The Japanese Blueberry pictured above is planted in that bed along with more columbines, cardamom ginger, Farfugiums/Ligularias, thryallis, Paco's Possumhaw holly, hamelias, Freesia laxa, crocosmia/montbretia, turk's caps, Salvia madrensis (definitely more that I can't remember).  Here are two of the mixed parentage columbines.

The willow oak bed is edged by a low moss rock wall, in front of which is a bed containing more daylilies, rudbeckia, Louisiana iris, hamelias, thryallis, agave, yucca, dyckia, sedums, Mexican lobelia, Salvia greggii, Freesia laxa, crocosmia and more, including spiderwort as seen below with screaming yellow sedum blooms.

In the interests of time, yours and mine, I believe I have to stop listing all the plants that are in each bed ... why did the Head Gardener not counsel me to be more judicious in y plantings???? Ignore the derisive laughter you hear.

Along the sidewalk on either side, there are rock garden and gravel planting areas for sedums, succulents and other such xeric plants.  My current favorite is this Euphorbia 'Tiny Tim'.

Take a deep breath, maybe get yourself something to drink or a snack.  We're not even halfway through!  On the north side of the property, there's one humongous bed surrounding the water oak.  It's a bed with a split personality since the tree bisects it ... the area in front of the courtyard wall is what was making me so morose earlier this year.  I won't say I've gotten a handle on it yet but I'm moving in that direction.  There's a dwarf ornamental pomegranate blooming on the southerly side.  The blooms almost look like they're made of wax ... aren't they just the coolest?

On the northern side of that bed, there's a woodland garden of sorts since the oak provides afternoon shade. Pink Indigofera is about all that's blooming now in that area. 

A path runs in front of the water oak bed from the north corner of the house to the front walkway.  There's a curbside bed in front of that path with a dry stream bed bordering it one side and the sidewalk on another.  Here's a partial view of that bed with Salvia 'Cherry Chief' adding a pop of red.  

On the other side of the dry stream is the 'Love Your Mother' bed, named for the A. L. Roche' sculpture.  Gulf Coast Penstemon, Practically Perfect Pink Phlox (as named by Gail of Clay & Limestone) and Iris cristata are blooming all around the world.  I didn't see the little friend posing on the sculpture until I uploaded the picture! 

Let's see, we're at 10 beds/borders and counting. At the risk of sounding like an infomercial, but wait, there are more!  Next up, what was envisioned as a patchwork quilt bed is planted in front of the Love Your Mother bed.  The patches are mighty irregular and some tweaking will probably be necessary soon.  I still like it better than the solid cover of wedelia that was originally planted there when we redid the front in 2010.  Mexican Sedum and Polygonum 'Pink Buttons' don't really complement each other, as you can see from the picture.  That Polygonum is one prolific self-seeder and creeper ... don't turn your back on it!

The corner bed is next up.  Here's a partial view of the bed as you look to the west.  This bed wraps around the curb and is home to agaves, yuccas, daylilies, ornamental grasses, Cherry Bomb hollies, Texas Sage and a host of perennials and annuals. Crazy.

There's a half-circle bed on the north facing side of the house, where the pine tree resided before its recent dismemberment.  The Texas Olive (Cordia bossieri) in that bed has just begun to bloom.  

There's a bed along the east trellis planted with hymenocallis, Louisiana iris, night-blooming Cestrum, Australian violet, spiderwort, an annoyingly aggressive native ruellia and the Orange Drop dietes-type iris you see at the far end.

The penultimate front/side garden bed runs the length of the garage wall and then on around the vitex tree that's so stunning when it blooms.   That's Hinckley's columbine blooming in the foreground.  Coneflowers, spiderwort, giant aloes, Chi Long Han Zhu roses, Cherry Chief salvias and Gulf Coast pestemon also make appearances in this bed.

I'm going to save the back garden beds and borders for another post so this will be my final picture.  The rose bed is bisected by a split rail fence built by my friend and neighbor Woody with minimal assistance from the Head Gardener.  Antique and old garden roses share space with various perennials and annuals, a 'Desert Museum' Retama, ornamental grasses and assorted bulbs.  

16 beds and borders of varying sizes in the front/side gardens.  Sixteen.  This is why something's always blooming somewhere on my corner of Katy!  And it's also why I'm at my wits' end here at Wit's End ...

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day is hosted by the inimitable Indy gardener, Carol of May Dreams Gardens.  Check out her Bloom Day post to see what's blooming in other gardens around the world!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Much As I Hate to Admit It ...

The Executive Producer might have a point.

This is the view from the east-facing patio off the master bedroom.  Bluebonnets, violas, poppies, Toadflax, lemon thyme, verbena, roses, Gulf Coast Penstemon ... it's a beautiful bed, isn't it?

Except it's not a bed, at least not most of it as you can see from the above photo.*  The bluebonnets are smack dab in the middle of the path leading off that patio.  So when the Executive Producer asks me, "why can't you just let a path be a path?", I think to myself that he does have a point. I do NOT say it aloud, of course.  Instead I tell him that he doesn't understand cottage garden style.  I know better than to let him think he should have input regarding garden matters!

*As you can also see above, I've started clearing some of the Violas, thyme and verbena from the path.  Mercy, it's a mess now!