It's a cool and windy Monday morning here on my corner of Katy. But the sun is shining and the sky is blue, so like Dear Prudence, I hope to go out to play in a bit. I thought I should spend a little time here playing catch-up first, not having posted since Bloom Day. I have every intention of posting more frequently in the months to come since I know my readers are crushed each day that passes without my posting. (Humor me, people, and play along with my fantasy.) It's not that I find myself at a loss for things to talk about ... it's more that I don't have the time to spend writing a lengthy post each day. I should have been an editor: to write, refine and rewrite each post takes at least 2 hours. I'm always thinking of a better way to say something (I just rewrote this sentence twice). I'm approaching my first blogiversary and so I'm setting a goal for my 2nd year to post more often and use fewer words! It's occurred to me before that I don't always have to write at such length ... I tell myself that shorter, pithier posts are possible. Are they probable? I suspect oddsmakers would say not!
At the risk of being accused of Egregious Garden Gloating (EGG ... see this post by Carol of May Dreams Gardens), I can account for my absence by saying that we've had some beautiful fall weather here recently. I've been so busy gardening that I've had no time to write about what I'm doing. And before I get more EGG on my face, let me also say that the spells of good weather have been rudely interrupted by a return to heat and/or humidity several times during the last 12 days. Each time the temperatures drop, I think we're finally done with summer ... only to be stunned within a couple of days by 85 degrees, high humidity and mosquitoes that put Dracula and Lestat to shame. I'm optimistic that by next week, however, the 80s will be behind us. Note: the '80s, however, appear to be making a comeback: I saw legwarmers in this week's Target ad. A whole new generation gets to be embarrassed by their fashion choices.
I hope I will not be similarly embarrassed by my plant choices when I look back upon this fall's purchases. A trip to Houston's annual Bulb Mart on October 9th netted a Clerodendron wallichii (to replace the one I dug up that took grievous albeit not fatal offense at the indignity); an Alice Staub Toad Lily, pictured above; a Callicarpa dichotoma, Dwarf Chinese Beautyberry; Pipit jonquils; Kronos hyacinths for forcing; and 100 Ivory Floradale tulip bulbs (there's a story behind those, which I'll tell in a forthcoming post.) On a visit to Enchanted Forest Saturday I picked up another Aster oblongifolia (Symphyotrichum oblongifolia). Below, a picture of my aster.
I snagged not only the last aster they had, but sitting amongst a group of shrubs, I heard the plaintive cries of a misplaced plant and discovered Agastache Black Adder. I've not had much luck with Agastaches in the past, although most of them have been the more drought tolerant A. cana varieties. I'm hoping this one will be be so grateful to me for having rescued it that it will settle in and reward me with a profusion of blooms to be enjoyed by the butterflies and hummingbirds.
Yesterday my mother and I took a little trip to Tomball to visit The Arbor Gate, which I've not visited in several years. As it turns out, the directions I found online routed us the VERY long way, taking us 38 miles via I-10 and TX 249 to the nursery's location on FM2920. We learned from a nursery employee that we could take a much more direct route to return home to Katy: Cypress Rosehill Road, which eventually becomes our own Fry Road, intersects 2920 just a couple of miles from the Arbor Gate. I will be making much more frequent visits to the nursery: not only is it closer than I realized, it's an absolute treasure trove of plants. What's more, the nursery staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and kind enough to allow us to overstay our welcome past the stated closing time of 5:00 pm! A bounteous bevy of beauteous botanicals now await planting here at Wit's End.
Clockwise from the bottom right, you see:
- a Creme de Cassis Hollyhock
- an Aristolochia fimbriata, Dutchman's Pipe Vine. Pipevine swallowtails, please take note, I bought this for you!
- two Proven Winners Agaves, Blue Glow and Reggae Time. Both of these pots have multiple plants in them, so I'll be able to divide them and trial them in several different spots ... woo hoo!
- Phlox Pilosa 'Forest Frost'. The tag says it's pink, but local plantswoman Heidi Sheesley says it's a pure white variety. Dang it, I wanted the PPPP so beloved by Gail of Clay and Limestone. Now I have to buy another plant. I might even have to make a return trip to Arbor Gate this week. Dang.
- Stokesia 'Peachie's Pick'. The Peachie's Pick I planted last year bloomed so well that I knew I needed more. If I divide it carefully, this one gallon pot should provide me with at least 2 good-sized clumps of Stokes' Asters.
- Holmskioldia tettensis, Chinese Hat. I looked this up to find out what the species was and had a bad moment when I feared I'd inadvertently bought H. sanguinea, which has bright red blooms. I wanted the pink and purple blooming variety, and fortunately this is it.
- White Mist Flower, labeled Eupatorium havanense. My blue mist flower is doing so beautifully this year, I decided I'd take a chance on the white one.
- Salvia Regla, Mountain Sage. I have one plant already, bought either at a fall sale at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center or at the Corpus Christi Botanical Garden. It looks lonely by itself ... in fact, I think maybe I should get one more. I can't plant in even numbers, it violates a cardinal rule of gardening!
- Not pictured are one Black Prince pansy and a Silver Lace artemisia. I'll stick them in pots somewhere.