The blue jays keep building nests in the tree right next to our patio. 

This is even after the year I heard horrible bird screams and rushed outside to find my little chihuahua-daschund Lucy tossing a baby blue jay in the air. The baby survived thanks to Austin Wildlife Rescue.

That said, we LOVE having blue jays building nests in the tree right next to our patio. Such fun to watch.

Just some pictures from around the garden. I love mist-flower. Those cone-flower’s are OUT OF CONTROLER. They’re not pink. They were yellow if I remember last year. And now they are taking over the world. Might have to pull them up.

I’m generally not a huge fan of the shrimp plant, but it’s taken a beating the past two years, and it’s back in force this year. To clean it up after it looked like it had been burned in a forest fire I just broke off the stems to the ground. I really wasn’t expecting it to come back.

The rose bushes. I really like rose bushes. I think it’s funny that people baby them. You can definitely do that, and your flowers won’t look as beat up as mine do. But these bushes are planted in a hellscape where they get blasted with afternoon sun and get dumped on when it rains (I really should put in a gutter to rain barrel right there). But roses love it. Great hardy plants most of them.

I almost squeeled with excitement while I was weeding. Bulbine is one of my favorite plants, and it was growing in the middle of some grass sprouts so I assumed it was just grass. I tend not to buy it anymore since it’s a Mexican native and not that cold hardy, but I assume if it’s starting to spread by itself, it’s established enough that it might start living through the winters.

The second picture is a nandina that I cut back to the ground last year. That’s less than 6 months of growth pictured. That stuff freaks me out. I really need to get rid of it before it manages to take over the world.

I used to go to garden centers and pick one of this and one of that. I love plants. I love how different and cool they are. But my garden always looked kind of scraggly. And you couldn’t really see the plants. Nothing stood out.
A while back I read that you should plant in 3s. So now that’s what I do. I buy 3 of each plant (unless it’s something that will be a strong focal point and able to stand on its own. Think tree. Or prickly pear).
I then plant these in triangles, and try to overlap the triangles so I don’t end up with plants in straight lines. I generally tend to think more of tri-corner boomerang shapes when I’m mixing plants together. This is easier in practice than to demonstrate in a picture, since plants are different sizes and it’s easy to keep them from lining up.
If you haven’t tried this, I’d highly recommend it. It makes a HUGE difference.  

And now for a sense of perspective. Because I don’t believe there really is an ‘after’ in gardening.
This is what the front of our house looked like when we bought it. I dug it so little I  wanted to keep looking. Thankfully Julie convinced me that we could get rid of that gunmetal gray and it would make all the difference.

Just a quick note on how I do irrigation. I’ve gotten really into the drip irrigation kit they sell at home depot for abou $18. The basic kit has everything you need to get started. And they have pretty fantastic spray sprinklers you can attach that are fantastic for things like grass without straightforward trunks to water. Those sprinklers cost like $1.80 a piece. Which is ridiculously affordable when compared to pretty much any other type of sprinkler.

The long stakes in the picture above are those spray sprinklers. I got 4 90 degree sprinklers and 2 180 degree sprinklers. They didn’t quite do the job, though, so I’m going to have to add one or two more. It’s a pretty huge area I’m trying to get there, though.

I ran the main hose under the edging and under the path, so both garden segments are watered at once. But now my fingers hurt like hell from squeezing on all those tiny hoses.

This is by far the most affordable kit I’ve found, and most people will be able to do all the flowerbeds in one yard with just one kit.

And apparently installing one guarantees rain. This is the second time I’ve installed one of these, and both times it has rained.