Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day & Foliage Follow-up: May 2017

It's been a while since I participated in Garden Blogger's Bloom Day (and I'm a few days late) but I finally have a little time AND have something exciting to share: my Chocolate Mimosa bloomed this year! 
Chocolate Mimosa bloom at dusk (so the leaves are closing)

Chocolate Mimosa bloom in the morning!

(For some reason my pictures of the whole tree came out blurry/fuzzy, ugh.)

I also purchased two Hibiscus syriacus 'Blue Satin' and planted them in the front beds. Despite the best efforts of the deer, one is blooming profusely and has more buds in waiting!

Hibiscus syriacus 'Blue Satin'

My neighbor's Hibiscus seems untouched by deer, but it's much larger and taller and maybe that's a factor? I'm hoping these will live long enough for me to find out!

For Foliage Follow-up, one of my favorite color combos: silver and burgundy!

Unfortunately I can't remember which Pennisetum that is, but that's an artemesia and a Sharkskin Agave alongside it.

And finally my winners in both the bloom and foliage category: Peter's Purple Bee Balm and Canna 'Flambe'.

Canna 'Flambe' and Peter's Purple Bee Balm

Those Canna are transplants from the other side of the yard, and the Bee Balm was a passalong plant from a Garden Blogger's Go-Go. My love for the Canna is well documented, but I'm now a HUGE fan of the Bee Balm! I need to acquire more of that for everywhere.

Thanks so much to Pam Penick of Digging for hosting Foliage Follow-up every month, and thanks to Carol of May Dreams Gardens blog for hosting Garden Blogger's Bloom Day!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Orange trifecta and other Spring happenings

I've been holding off on a post until my 3rd new orange plant blooms, and it finally did this weekend! I'm pleased to introduce Salvia 'Amber's Wish':

Salvia 'Amber's Wish'
The color is more intense than it looked online; less orange, more fuchsia-orange (is that a thing?), and lovely!

I also planted 4 'Lady of Shallot' roses in the back along the only fenceline that gets any sun, and one bloomed! So pretty. (I'm not sure they'll get enough sun there, crossing my fingers.)

Lady of Shallot rose
Last Fall I drank the kool-aid and brought home Tangerine Beauty Crossfine for my back fence. Now that it has bloomed, I totally get the hype. These pictures don't do the color justice:

Tangerine Beauty Crossvine
My Fatsia 'Camouflage' survived the Winter and are getting bigger (woohoo!) so I ordered 2 more online from Plant Delights Nursery. I planted them along that same back fenceline, on the other side of the big Oak tree.

Fatsia japonica 'Camouflage' or 'Murokamo Nishiki'
My Canna 'Flambe' are coming back strong. I was really worried that I'd lost them in the freeze, but they're just slow to emerge I guess. Given Austin weather, that's smart. I dug a few up and put them on the opposite side of the garden; they'll get more shade over there, so it's an experiment.

Canna 'Flambe', Salvia 'Amber's Wish' and Brugmansia 'Double White'. Palm in the back is Brahea armata.

Behind it you can see the foliage of my Brugmansia 'Double White', and immediately in front of it is the Salvia 'Amber's Wish'.

As I do every year, I try to capture the beauty of my Chocolate Mimosa, but fail miserably:

Chocolate Mimosa
And then there's my new Clematis 'Armandii', aka Evergreen Clematis. I planted it late last Fall, and nailed wire mesh to the posts to help it climb. This Spring it hasn't need much help, just an occasional nudge to cling in the right direction.

Clematis 'Armandii'
I didn't ever recap the losses in 2016, either most due to weather but some where my choice/frustration:
  • Begonia luxurians
  • Rose Campion
  • Salvia clevelandii (all varieties/hybrids)
  • Canna 'Blueberry Sparkler'
  • Iochroma 'Princess'
  • Smoke tree (I found it a good home!)
  • Merlot Majik mimosa
  • Mexican weeping bamboo
  • Peach tree (sigh, I transplanted it but didn't have enough root)
Everything has seemed slower to get moving this year (myself included). Hopefully soon things will start to fill in and I can get some decent shots to post!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Indoor container gardening experiments

I've always struggled to keep indoor plants alive, however I'm making an attempt at succulent arrangements to see if I have better luck.

About 2 weeks ago I got on Instagram for the first time. I didn't have a clue how to use it (still don't), and started "hearting" things (is that even what you call it??)

One of those things I hearted was an all-in-one succulent arrangement from JuicyKits. They have these darling little planters and arrangements, which they sell as separate items or as a kit (including soil and everything). I fell in love with The Egg and was jonesing to "garden", so I found a 15% coupon and splurged.

It arrived late last week, securely packed with everything clearly labeled, and instructions for how to put it together:

I think it turned out okay!

They gave you the option to select your own plants, and I let them choose but in hindsight I'd have preferred a little more color variation/contrast. That said, I can swap out the succulents whenever I want! The only thing I'm iffy about is the moss that you place on top of the dirt - I may replace it with gravel or rocks.

They're doing a 40% of sale of all inventory right now, so go see if you need anything!

Container project #2 was more...inspired. Ryan and I went to a gathering with friends for a Not-Christmas/Valentine's Day White Elephant party. We took home these Star Wars koozies from Think Geek, because Star Wars.

We (okay, I) debated using them as actual koozies, but we really don't drink a lot of canned beverages so it seemed like yet another thing we'd put in a drawer and never use.

I pulled out the foam innards, put some filter paper on the bottom so the dirt wouldn't fall out, and turned them into succulent planters!

I put them in the boys' bathroom and scored kid-points for about 2.3 seconds (because duh, they're plants). Then the next day Max informed me that the "flowers" in the bathroom make his nose itchy, so now they're in my office/sunroom.

New office, part 2: manifestation!

I posted here about my vision for a space where I could work and lounge. I am writing this post from my new office, specifically my new chaise.

Ollie the photobomber

Daisy wanted in on the action too
I still want to get a few more plants, and of course a pot for that Bird of Paradise, and 2 floating shelves for the far wall by the hook rack. Those are the little things I can do over time (and paychecks).

If it weren't for "Winter" (such as it is here in Austin) I likely would have let this project languish for years, so thanks Winter! And stay away now because all my perennials are starting to sprout, kthxbye.

If I could move into this I would. Lots of sun, a view of the garden, all my gardening books within reach...heaven.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Lady Gaga songs about gardening

You didn't know there were any, did you? The one I have in mind is about me and my Bismark Palm.

Bismark palm after three days of temps in the low 20s

That's right: Bad Romance.

In preparation for the 3 days of low-20s temps earlier this year, I wrapped the trunk with Christmas lights, and then wrapped a frost blanket around those.

Fire hazard? Probably.

Effective? Yes. Maybe. This time. If it had been freezing rain, I don't know that my efforts would have made a difference, and we WILL having freezing rain again someday (or rain, then freeze, whatever).

The more it grows, the worse it's going to be when a freeze inevitably takes it out.

I'm like those people that buy cute little baby alligators as pets: if it dies you'll be sad (I guess), but if it keeps growing there's going to be trouble (and you'll still be sad, just not today).

I know I can trim off those dead branches, that isn't the point. I'm just debating whether to give up on the dream, pull it out, and find a replacement plant. Sometimes you've just got to rip off the band-aid, right? Ugh. Not ready.

Other plants that didn't do as well as I would have thought:

Agave 'Weberi'

I haven't decided what to do about this yet. If I trim off all the burned bits it will look pretty unsightly...and it will look unsightly (although oddly interesting) if I leave it alone. I think this is another decision I'll put off for another day/week/month.

Agave Weberi 'Purple Heart'

The Plant Delights site said their 'Purple Heart' Weberi is 4 ft x 6 ft and cold hardy to zone 8a? I'm pretty skeptical, since I know their Winters are longer and colder than ours here in Austin. The other one might pull through with some aggressive pruning, so I'll dig it up and see if I can rehab it in a pot.

There were a few other things that died for good (Agave 'Blue Glow', and Octopus agave) but they were expected. I'm bummed, but I had mental back-ups for just such an occurrence.

Is it Spring yet? My fingers are itching to prune and plant!!