Monday, July 7, 2014

More Summer Color

I planted orange Linearis (narrow-leaf) Zinnias in an old wooden planter box that I had, and placed it on a very worn blue chair that sits on the flagstone patio.
Before I knew it, the plants exploded in size!  I see now that there are a few yellow flowers in the mix. There is one drawback to planting like this though-the container is shallow, which means the flowers need to be watered daily.  But....not a bad price to pay for such pretty summer color.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Summer by the Pond


Love all the summer colors!   Flowers should remain pretty...for a while.  Then time to cut back and either wait for fall blooms, or new blooms next spring. 

 "Flowers are nature's jewels, with whose wealth she decks her summer beauty."
                   George Croly

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

It's Blooming!

The Texas Star Hibiscus is now in bloom!!  You can see the tons of buds on it, but only a few flowers seem to open at the same time.  And of course, true to form-the flowers are only open for one day.   Bummer...but another bud will open the next day so I always have flowers-I just wish the whole plant would be covered in red one day!  Here is some information on this plant:

"A Texas Native, Texas Star Hibiscus  (Hibiscus coccineaus) is a tall, slender perennial Hibiscus that produces large bright red, 5 petal flowers from summer until fall. The foliage has large 5 fingered palmate leaves with serrated lobes.  Texas Star Hibiscus can grow to 6 feet tall and is adaptable to many soil types as long as it has ample moisture, and it is often found in bog areas and in Texas wetlands. Texas Star Hibiscus blooms on new growth and can be cut back after flowering to maintain size and encourage new bloom, and after first freeze cut back to the ground. It is a great plant to attract ruby throated hummingbirds, bees, and birds to your yard and works great around ponds and bogs. "   If you remember, I actually had this plant in my pond, but it was just way too tall for my little pond-so I put it in a deep container and set it in a corner of the back flower bed.  In this heat, I do have to keep it watered..but oh the reward with those blooms!
A Texas Star......indeed!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Summer Sun

Does anything say "Summer" more than beautiful, happy Sunflowers!  According to my little Curious Gardener's Almanac - "The Sunflower is a native plant of the Americas, where the Indians used its seed as an important source of food.  The Incas of Peru were sun worshippers and used it in religious ceremonies.  The sunflower leans toward the sun in a process known as "heliotropism."
I know we have all driven by fields of sunflowers amazed how each tall flower has it's face turned toward the sun.  Sunflowers are a fun flower to grow in your own garden too.  I planted a few seeds in my little veggie garden area; right by the fence.  I enjoyed watching them grow, getting large buds, and eventually opening up to a very big showy flower.   Usually I save my seed packets, but sadly did not keep this one.  All I know is that it was a mixed variety.   So...enjoy some "sun" from my garden today.

"When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it's your world for the moment."
                          Georgia O'Keefe

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Green Beans Anyone?

We have a tiny little veggie garden area right outside the backyard fence.  There is not room for much; we have tomatoes, peppers, and this year planted green beans.  I was looking at the flower seeds at Walmart back in early Spring and saw packages of Burpee "Roma II" beans.  I know nothing about varieties of seeds, but the word "Italian Cut" caught my eye.  I love the big wide green beans, but can never find them here at markets.  So---I decided to try seeds.  They started slowly--which was probably the gardener's fault as she planted them rather early in the season--but really began to grow once the weather warmed up..and we got some much needed rain.  And before I knew it--time to pick!
Nice harvest from a small little garden I would say.  I had some for us, some to share, and still plenty for the freezer.  Pass the cornbread please!

Monday, June 11, 2012

The other side...

After cleaning up the left side of the backyard, I hated seeing the mess going on in the bed on the right side.  Because of the strong wind, the wildflowers were falling over-almost laying down at places.  However, what really started the clean up in this bed was the fact that I pulled the Texas Star Hibiscus out of the pond, put it in a container, and needed a place to put it.  As I looked around, I decided the corner of this bed was the perfect spot!  We had to baby it a bit, watering 2 or 3 times a day, but as of today it is loaded with blooms.
Pulling out the wildflowers left a void in the middle of the bed, so like any good gardener I went plant shopping.  I found these  yellow melampodium along with a couple of bright zinnias.  I love to plant seeds, so in front of the wooden trellis I planted tall zinnia seeds.  Then anticipating those flowers wanted to fall, I stuck in a small iron..well, I don't know what it really is..just thought it might hold up leaning zinnias!
After pulling up the wildflowers, the lantana started growing and blooming was close behind.  Such pretty colors!
I am really satisfied with the clean up of this right side.  Before long the Texas Star will bloom as will the tall zinnias.  It is a much neater look, but still using the Texas cottage flowers that I love.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Bird Seed - Ugh!

 We love to feed the birds....winter, summer, spring and fall!  It is such a pleasure to sit every morning with coffee in hand watching all our fine feathered friends fly about our yard.  Except...oh the mess the
bird feeders make!
Can you see all the seed on the ground?  When the rains came and warmer weather followed, the seeds germinated and in came the
 W E E D S !
As you can see, the seed is thick.  Part of the problem is that the pesky squirrels dump the seed out of the tubular feeders trying to get a snack.  But--I can't blame them totally because the sparrows are the other problem.  They must be really picky eaters.  We watch them scatter the seed looking for their favorite.  Kind of like digging through a bag of chocolate searching for the one you like I suppose.  But, this kind gardener had grown very tired of a constant bird seed mess.  Ugh.  So...two of the feeders came down (there is plenty to eat now anyway) and the area was cleared out.  I dug out the top layer of soil which was nothing but layers of seed, and put down newspaper, then topsoil.  Then I took some of our left over flagstone and covered the soil, then topped it off with mulch.  It looks so much better!
 I added some flagstone on top so we could step in the garden to fill the one remaining feeder that sits at the top of the black pole you can see in this picture.
I then added two blackfoot daisies and a Rudbeckia (Prarie Sun) to the new area. I hated to pull out all the clasping coneflowers, but they were going to seed anyway and the wind was making them fall over which made this bed look even worse.
I am really pleased with the clean up job.  We are still feeding birds, but the tubular feeders are gone, so the squirrels are not able to dump seed on the ground.  The birds still flick unwanted seed, and yes, I know the seed will germinate in the mulch, but it is less seed with one feeder, and easier to dig out since the mulch is on top of stone. I know they make birdseed that will not germinate, but I have also heard it is quite pricey and does not attract lots of birds.  If anyone has experience with this seed, I would sure love to hear about it.  For now we will continue our morning ritual, coffee and bird watching--but I sure wish I could rid that area completely of birdseed weeds!