Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day & Foliage Follow Up: June 2016

I always have good intentions for posting and then next thing I know, I've missed both the Foliage Follow Up and Bloom Day. This month I'm combining both!

Canna 'Flambe' and Uruguayan Firecracker Plant (Dicliptera suberecta)

Dicliptera suberecta

Chocolate Mimosa
I know that's a grainy shot of the Chocolate Mimosa, but I couldn't resist posting it. I love how the leaves look perforated.

Hosta 'Sum and Substance'

'Incense' Passion Vine in bloom!

'Incense' bloom up close

Huge thanks to Carol of May Dreams Gardens for hosting Garden Blogger's Bloom Day on the 15th of every month, and to Pam Penick of Digging for hosting the monthly Foliage Follow Up on the 16th! (Be sure to stop by Pam's site to say your farewells to Moby, and meet Moby Jr!)

Friday, May 13, 2016

Gardening experiments 2016

This won't be the sexiest post, but I thought it might be helpful (to me) to catalog all the things I'm trialing in my garden right now.

"Trial" makes it sound really scientific, but it mostly amounts to planting stuff that likely won't survive, either in this climate or by my hands (or the unfortunate combination of both).

Additions this Spring:

Ongoing from 2015:
  • Hosta 'Sum and Substance'
  • Acanthus mollis 'Hollard's Gold'
  • Fatshedera lizei 'Annemeike'
  • Justicia fulvicoma (surviving but not thriving)
  • Rootbeer plant (we'll see how it does this Summer when it's 1 bazillion degrees)
I do have one low-risk experiment that seems to be paying off so far! The former owners nailed nails into the grout of the brick siding by the garage; I guess they were using it to help support the gawd-awful Holly Bushes that were leaning into the walkway. 

When I took the shrubs out I left the nails in (didn't know what else to do with them), and earlier this year I wrapped some wire around them to see if I could get a Passion vine 'Incense' to climb up the wall. It looked like a drunk spider did it, but so far it's working!

I've really missed my old Passion vine (I see it every time I open this blog). I'm crossing my fingers that it will get big and overgrown with lots of blooms before the caterpillars decimate it later this year.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Operation "No Mo' Grass", Phase II: plants!

So many exciting plants, so little space!

I love this view so much! Look how the Golden Barrel Cactus glow!

Some close ups with plant names:

Yucca rostrata, Opuntia Santa-Rita, Euphorbia antisyphiltica, Agave parryi truncata,
a Pennisetum grass I can't recall the name of, and some iris I relocated from the front

Agave weberi, Golden Barrel cactus

Opuntia Santa-Rita in bloom

It looks like a 4th of July sparkler!

Agave weberi and Agave parryi truncata

Agave Blue Emperor (tiny), Salvia Pozo Blue, Psoralea fleta, transplanted iris,
and big ol' hulking AC unit

Datura Evening Fragrance, Agave Blue Glow, Opuntia Santa-Rita, Aloe striata
(I think?), Salvia whose name I can't remember (transplant from the back)

Yucca schotti, Golden Barrel cactus

Euphorbia resinifera (Moroccan Mound), Agave parryi (transplanted from the front)
The full list:

  • Euphorbia antisyphilitica
  • Yucca rostrata
  • Agave 'Weberi'
  • Agave parryi truncata
  • Golden Barrel cactus
  • Psoralea fleta (Weeping Blue Broom)
  • Opuntia 'Santa Rita'
  • Agave 'Blue Emperor'
  • Aloe striata (questionable)
  • Blue Glow Agave
  • Salvia Pozo Blue
  • Datura 'Evening Fragrance'
  • Datura seeds from Lori of The Gardener of Good and Evil
  • Euphorbia resinifera (Moroccan Mound)
  • Yucca schotti
  • Agave parryi truncata
  • Golden Barrel cactus

Friday, April 15, 2016

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day: April 2016

I've been surprised to see so many of my Salvia blooming this Spring: I don't remember that from prior years? Might be due to our non-Winter Winter, or just my bad memory.

I didn't capture pictures of all of them, just the one that surprised me the most:

Salvia Van Houttei

My Blue Elf Aloe bloomed faithfully as it does every Spring, although my Aloe striata (if that's really what it is) hasn't bloomed since we moved here 2 years ago. Not enough sun?

Blue Elf Aloe
These Aloe striata(?) at the base of the Yucca were magnificent in my old garden. What gives?

My Iris have seemed hesitant this Spring...but Dashing and Polished Manners have popped up everywhere! (I'd swear I bought more variety from Schreiner's??)

Dashing Iris

Polished Manners Iris

My Patio Peach is coming back! Fingers crossed I get little peaches this year (like I did last year) and they survive to be eaten (unlike last year - this time I won't leave the gate open and let the deer eat them).

Peach blooms with Valentine Rose

And I saved the best for last: my Canna Wyoming is blooming!

Canna Wyoming, on a salad bed of Salvia

I'd had them in the front garden, and the *#@$%! deer ate the blooms before I ever got to enjoy them. I moved a few to the back, and even though it's shadier I'd say they're definitely happier. I know I am!

In other exciting news, my passalong Castor Bean has bloomed! I'll need to move it to the new side bed outside the fence so Daisy doesn't eat the seeds, but for now we're both pleased about where it is and what it's doing. (Me and the plant; Daisy doesn't much care.)

Castor Bean bloom!

Happy Garden Blogger's Bloom Day, everyone! Tremendous thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting this every month! I can't wait to see what's blooming for everyone else.


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Operation "No Mo' Grass", Phase I: sod removal and limestone paver path

I've been contemplating (for what seems like forever) removal of the St. Augustine on the left side of the house, and planting lots of drought-tolerant stuff.

The tipping-point was my trip to Phoenix back in February: I was stunned by the beauty of the cacti, agaves, and aloes.

An elegant and sculptural Palo Verde on the grounds of our hotel

The Desert Botanical Garden

Organ Pipe cactus

Octopus cactus (Stenocereus alamosensis)

Argentine Giant cactus (Echinopsis candicans)

Unknown cactus
Aloes and lavender on the hotel grounds

Unknown aloe, with 'Blue Flame' in the background?

Aloes at the Desert Botanical Garden

Blue Glow agave, lining the driveway to the hotel.

Agave 'Blue Glow' collage
I came home to Austin wanting to re-create all of it in my sunniest, hottest spot.

My sticking point has been the drainage situation: you might recall that it's the side of the house where all the water runs from the back yard to the street (see posts here and here). I didn't want to plant a bunch of really cool xeric stuff only to watch it rot.

I mentally debated a dry creek bed leading from the gate to the street, but then someone explained to me that I'd need to pull all the rocks out every 5 years or so, re-trench it sorta-kinda, and put all the rocks back? Um, no.

I finally decided that maybe if I put down big, wide, flat pavers the water could just run over those and I'd never have to worry about sediment build-up on/under them. Not sure if that's sound logic, but it's the logic I went with because it gave me justification for buying big, wide, flat pavers.

I pinned by brains out on Pinterest to get design ideas (what the heck did we DO before that??), emailed my landscaping guy like 30 times with different paver patterns (okay, three times), and then, with my tax refund check in hand (virtually speaking), it was time.


Getting rid of the stupid floppy hated shrubs
Daisy inspecting their work

My only regret is choosing 1/2 inch granite to fill in between the pavers. It. Goes. Everywhere.

I'm a little nervous that it's too high to really direct the water to the street, but I guess we'll find out!

Phase II: plants!