Bloom Day – January 2018

So here we are on a very bizarre Bloom Day. First off – the blooms!

We had a couple Bluebonnets.

And I found a lone verbena.

But the fear of tomorrows high in the 20s couldn’t keep us inside on this lovely day in the high 60s. So off to the Ladybird Wildflower Center we went.

We improperly operate exercise machines.

Found a sculpture that in other seasons is hidden in tall grass, much like the birds it portrays .

Built a shelter of dubious quality.

And sat on a bench trying to decide where in our yard could accommodate this lovely tree (or three).

The school hasn’t called yet, but it’s looking like we’ll be stuck inside for at least a day this week. But it was nice to get out while we can.

 

Christmas at Big Bend

We had a fantastic opportunity drop into our lap. A friend had 3 days reserved at the Chisos Mountain Lodge. So off to Big Bend we went for Christmas. I, of course, drove my family a bit batty taking pictures of plants. It was an amazing trip and I was shocked by the amount of variety. The Pine Woods and Guadalupe River were so different from the more expected desert areas.

I’ve labeled most of what I can. If you know a plant or I’ve mislabeled please leave me a comment!

Happy Thanksgiving!

We have a yearly Friendsgiving feast. It’s a potluck full of fancy food. Tonight promises the children engaged in an epic Nerf gun battle, plenty of a food, and a nice fire to cap off the evening. It’s hard to believe all the blooms. I went out today and noticed my Mealy BlueWhite Sage blooming. It’s a fantastic temperature and our plans to convert the outside into an extension of our living space is really coming along.

^ Mealy Sage and a lovely agave that was transplanted from the front yard.

^ Outdoor seating looking up at the fire pit.

^ The fire pit looking back at the house.

^ The back of the house including new supports for lights. The plan is to have those supports also support a canvas roof and mosquito netting to make it truly an outside room. The ugly brown box attached to the wall is our outdoor TV. It needs a coat of paint, but we have plans to repaint the house as it is, so it’ll probably happen as part of that project.

And finally please excuse the egg crate hanging in our bedroom window. That was some temporary sound proofing that has become a bit permanent.

One of our projects for this weekend is getting all our succulents re-potted and inside for the winter. 

I hope you have a great Thanksgiving and get to some of your outdoor projects in this lovely weather! 

Not enough people plant this

While Texas will never rival the North East in fall, there is fall color here. A love of planting dark green Japanese plants and native evergreens has left the area bereft of these signs of fall. Here’s the lovely Flameleaf Sumac that brightens up a cloudy day with it’s mix of fiery colors. These are great as border plants (they grow quickly and spread freely) and you could easily use them as a lush back border that shows off dramatically in as much of the rest of your yard begins hibernating.

Book Recomendation

I just finished “The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate” by Debra Bogart and cannot recommend it highly enough. It’s the story of a girl in 1899 in Lockhart, TX discovering a passion for science while chafing under society’s expectations for her life. It was one of those books that I didn’t want to finish because I enjoyed it so much.

Gardening takes a creativity, stubbornness and an interest in experimentation. It requires one to fight against a society that insist every family have the same carpet of grass, 2 trees, and 3 bushes.

I have met many amazing women through garden blogging who have taught me through their passions for plants, insects, and science in general. I heard reflections of so many of those conversations in this book.

Now I’ve gotta go read the sequel. My kids are at the age where they have trouble with the concept of spoilers.

September is Lovely

Oh this temperature! I got the family to help me weed and pickup boxwood trimmings today. Which left me time to trim said boxwoods. And pull a few more Hackberry trees out with my pullerbear. Now I’m sitting outside with the dogs playing and enjoying the view and the fireflies.

Summertime Garden

I tend to get warm and discouraged in the summer because weeks of hundred plus weather is rough. But then I remembered I have a summer garden. So I went out to get some pictures. We’ve had a decent amount of rain this summer. I’ve only watered twice. But these plants also love the sun. Because we did the front yard remodel a lot of this doesn’t look like I’d like, but I’m trying to be better about seeing the trees and not obsessing about the forest.

Greg’s mist-flower is visited by butterflies constantly.

image

Sotol backed by weeping love grass and purple three awn. There’s a wasps nest in there I need to clean out. The mail person is getting grumpy. Also there are still bluebonnets in there.

image

Lost a native agave, but the gopher plant and daisies are more than making up for it. 

image

The lower garden has been filling in nicely with more grasses and mistflower. A Mexican Buckeye will eventually lord over the proceedings. 

image

White lantana bordered by the ever popular pride of barbados. 

image

And this front bed always looks effortless (even when it is 25% weeds).

image

Nyborg Cemetery

I’m currently in Nyborg, Denmark for Unity’s Hackweek. They brought a bunch of employees to a seaside resort and let us program for a week. It’s tempting to just stay inside, but I’ve managed to sneak away a few times to look around.

For gardening fans the most amazing discovery was Nyborg Cemetery. We walked by it on the way to see the Nyborg Slot (a castle), but I had to return and check out this amazing garden.

The first thing you noticed walking into the garden were the terraces. Graves were built into them.

I took a closeup of the following plant. From above it looked live a succulent. But up close it looked almost like a fir. A very low growing ground cover.

The garden was built for discovery. I went one way while the rest of my companions went the other. I found this lovely fountain which was somehow completely hidden until you turned a corner.

Ultimately the thing I enjoyed the most was the geometry of the foliage. It felt very elegant, very much in keeping with the strong lines of modernest Danish design while staying incredibly lush and verdant.

You can see how the garden interacts with the neighboring homes in this picture. It’s delightful.

I feel like modernism is so frequently associated with spare rather than lush. Love these lines.

Although from some vantages the repetition can fell a bit overwhelming. 

And finally I took a photo of this lovely grave. I just really enjoyed the detail. Forgive the zoom, I try not to tromp around on top of things in graveyards. 

Now I really want to visit more graveyards like this. I’ve visited some in New Orleans. Which are your favorites?

I’ve been fighting this bed for years. It started out with giant Nandinas, a large legistrum, and native Morning Glory strangling everything. We asked the firm we hired to do a low-maintenance fun for this area. They came back with a block of feather grass and a block of giant muhly.

So after a bit of planning and the generous donation of feather grass from garden blogger friends Diana (http://www.dianasdesignsaustin.com/category/sharing-natures-garden/), Jennie (http://wwwrockrose.blogspot.com/), and Bob (https://centraltexasgardening.wordpress.com/) – I feel like I have really filled out the space.

Etta and Julie helped me with weeding, and a Puller Bear helped me remove most of the numerous Hackberry and Pecan volunteers. 30.5 bags of mulch later and the job is done.

The non-grass plants are Greg’s Mist Flower and Heartleaf Skullcap. Hopefully this week will be full of rain (as forecast), everything will establish, and I can enjoy this garden and think about it less.