Power washing is amazing.

Maybe you realize this already. Maybe you power wash your concrete and brick more than once a decade. I did not. But I had a get together of Austin Garden Bloggers coming up next week. I’m using that as a trial run for a wedding we’re hosting in our backyard in October. Basically trying to get a bunch of the big tasks out of the way so I don’t procrastinate. Procrastination tends to be what I do best.

I had always smugly viewed power washing as the domain of Dads who had no football to watch and were avoiding their wives and kids. And maybe there’s still something to that. And I’m definitely lazy. But I may need to do this more often. I think I’ll ask Google to remind me to power wash again in five years instead of ten.

 

Sensitive Briar

On Wednesday’s I run into work, and I take the bus home.. It’s 5.5 miles. Which is less than a 10k, but for some reason people think what I’m doing is weird. When I’m running I think a lot about what separates my craziness – like excessive gardening and running – from other people’s craziness.

On the way today, right in front of the Metropolis apartments I spied one of my favorite flowers growing wild – Catclaw sensitive briar. It was blooming just fine after being freshly mowed which makes me think it would be a great addition to a patchy bermuda lawn.

I love this plant, but I think it hasn’t caught on for the same reason I haven’t planted it EVERYWHERE – it’s hard to find. I picked mine up at a Wildflower Center plant sale and have been scouring the lists for it again ever since.

After a few years it has begun mounding in my front yard like an Asiatic Jasmine. It also seems to be one of the few things that has stopped nut sedge from spreading. It hasn’t killed it. But it’s not spreading in the areas the briar is thriving. It has those fluffy little blooms, and the leaves curl up when you pet them.

The downside is it’s not evergreen. But you can’t have everything. Anyway, if you find it somewhere please send me a line.

Reasons to sign up for the Wildflower Email

Bluestem Pricklypoppy

On the way to the bus on Monday I took a photo of this super-cool wildflower. The flower is amazing, even if the stem is a bit too baroque for my taste. I was going to ask my gardening friends about it, but I just got an email from the Wildflower Center highlighting it with “What’s in Bloom Now”.

The stem is very blue, and that yellow puffball in the center is very dramatic.

It’s called Bluestem Pricklypoppy. So now that you know too, you should consider heading over to the Wildflower Center and joining if you haven’t already.

Dividing a Yucca

On Facebook Robin of Getting Grounded asked for everyone’s favorite shade perennials. Pam of Digging suggested Pale Leaf Yucca. After looking at her plants and my plants I’m not sure what exactly I have. I got it from my parent-in-law’s land and planted it years ago. But in any case I got motivated to go out and thin that yucca out.

I ended up with four plants where I previously had one.

And seven rather substantial ones to give away. Clearly it needed thinning.

I ended up also cleaning out my lower garden. I think it looks fairly nice at this time of year.

As does the main part of the front yard. I really value having so much structure and color at this time of year, and there’s so much wildlife using the shrubs for cover and picking off seeds.

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!

Build a Plant Bench

This year I actually remembered to bring in my plants. It’s a Christmas miracle!

Etta and I worked together and built this bench. Our friendly elf liked it so much she had to join in on the fun.

Here are the instructions if you’d like to build one of your own.

I already had:

  • a hand saw
  • a drill
  • a large-ish drill bit
  • a star drive bit for the lag screws

So at Lowes I purchased:

  • 1 6x6x8′ pressure treated beam
  • 4 of these bolts
  • 4 of these washers
  • 1 package of these legs

Once you get it home figure out how long you actually want the beam. Probably not eight feet. We went with about 65 inches. Mark where you want to cut it and then cut with a hand saw. Tedious, but it works.

Mark where you want the legs to sit and mark the holes with a sharpie. These legs are made to attach to a skateboard, but really two bolts on each side is all you need. I did them diagonally, two bolts on each side. Drill pilot holes with a fairly large drill bit, then screw in the bolts with the washer on the outside of the leg.

That’s it!