Sunday, June 29, 2008

Time to harvest some seeds

The orange and yellow cosmos have been beautiful. They will bloom into the fall, but when the blooms go to seed, it's time to harvest. The seeds are easy to see--they look like little brown sticks. And you get TONS of seeds! I have given them out to lots of friends (let me know if you want some!) I am a walker, and when I walk through my neighborhood, I feel a little bit like Johnny Appleseed as I see cosmos flowers in several beds. I remember giving seeds to the gardener that lives in some of the houses , but there are a few flower beds filled with blooming cosmos that I think either the wind or my bird friends helped plant!

It's also time to harvest Hollyhock seeds. Since this is my first year with Hollyhocks, Becky had to explain to me how the seed pods dry out and start to open filled with little black seeds. As you can see, I have harvested quite a few Hollyhock seeds. I will pass-along some to my Mother and the rest to anyone else that wants some. You can also see the little brown cosmos seeds. They are so small and light, you can understand how the wind could blow them around.

Speaking of seeds--I am ordering my wildflower seeds this week. Some I will need to get in the ground my the first of September!

My---time really does fly when you are having fun, doesn't it?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Garden Stitchery

It's hot this afternoon--too hot to be in the yard, so I decided to frame the garden cross stitch I worked on this winter. I know, cross stitch is not a craft many people do anymore, but I love to cross stitch and saw this pattern and thought it would be a nice project for me as I waited
patiently for spring.

I saw this little stitchery at a store in Waxahachie and thought it would look nice hanging with my
I hung both of them in the entry hall right above my garden hat.
Not a very good picture, but they do look good against the yellow entry wall.
It's a nice way to say "welcome"--to my home and to my garden!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Blackfoot Daisy - I need help!

I love daisy type flowers. I love mums, coneflowers asters, dahlberg daisies, shasta daisies, rudbeckia and my new true love--blackfoot daisies.
They are all so pretty and look so happy. The blackfoot daisies are my new favorite (although rudbeckia remains my very favorite!) I get a smile on my face every time I see them. There is just a small problem with my emotional attachments to these precious flowers---I can't grow them!
I have tried very hard to ignore them as I read that is what you do. I only watered them when they were brand new or look wilted. I do deadhead them, but read that is not necessary. Some of them look like this picture....but some....

look like this. The plants looks healthy, but they just don't bloom. Do I need to feed them? Do I need to water more? Do they not grow in our black gumbo dirt? Do they just not like ME??

I need help!!!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

It's Summer!

Actually, I thought it was summer a few weeks ago! It's hard to garden once the temps get close to 100. I'm out early--around 6:10 before going in to work, then out again around 8:00 in the evenings. I deadhead, do some watering and say a few nice words to my flowers to encourage them to keep on blooming in this heat. About every 5 days, we mow. My husband and I share the mowing responsibilities since our corner yard is kind of big. We try and wait until late afternoon or early evening to mow, and we mulch the grass instead of bag which makes it somewhat easier plus it's good for the grass. One late afternoon after mowing my part of the yard I saw this lizard stretched out on the blue chair on the flagstone patio. He looked exactly like I felt! If I was a lizard, I would have jumped up on that ladderback chair and joined him!
Get ready....our long hot summer is here!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I bought a new plant!

Yes I's the middle of June..... what was I thinking?? I just couldn't pass up this bushy coreopsis (cream brulee). In fact, I couldn't pass up 3 of them! It's really hard for me to go to a garden center this time of year and see all the mature flowers--no more cute little bedding plants--and not buy one. This pretty plant is suppose to bloom all summer. I have 3 sunny spots that are empty, soooo...I just had to buy it!
I also visited a garden center in East Dallas that I had never been to before. I love sedums, and I did have an empty pot that would be, yep, I just had to buy them! This is "dunce cap",
"dragons blood" and "seiskianum spirit."
I also found some great garden incense. It is a mixture of citronella, rosemary, thyme and brazilian andiroba. It smells wonderful and burns for several hours. Hopefully it might deter any mosquito that is thinking of attacking my husband.
I am always dreaming of new beds, more flowers and new plants. And I guess I will always find something new to take home..even if it is the middle of June!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Water Poppies

Before we had one of the Bradford Pear trees taken down, our pond was in almost complete shade. I had lush water plants, but none that would bloom. I tried water lilies, but did not have much luck. It was heartbreaking to watch a tree being chopped down, but I tried to concentrate on positives--one of which was "maybe I could have water plants with flowers!" Still afraid to try lilies (we still have quite a bit of shade) I bought a water poppy. The pond store told me these plants do better with more shade so I thought they might work well in my pond. It was sometime in March when I put this plant in the pond, and it has just about taken over. You are suppose to have about 70% surface coverage and this wonderful plant is going to achieve that all by itself! Several weeks ago I noticed what I thought was a flower bud...then noticed there were lots of these flower buds. I try and come home for lunch as much as I can, and one day as I took my sandwich to eat by the pond, there was a beautiful yellow bloom! I was thrilled! Now these flowers only bloom 1 day---so you need patience and understanding to enjoy this plant. Actually, the foliage is so pretty, it can be enjoyed even without flowers.
One day when I went out to check for flowers. I counted 5 poppies blooming at one time! I know this is nothing compared to the beautiful water lilies most ponders have, but it's quite showy in my little pond. And I am so excited to see runners topped with buds all over the surface. Not only is it pretty, it's a great cover for hiding fish!

The "twins!" These blooming poppies are right next to each other. Usually they are spread out all over the pond.

It is such a treat to sit by the pond and locate a blooming poppy. Sometimes they are slightly hidden under the large leaves, but most of the time, they proudly stand up showing off their buttery yellow color.
I was really sad to lose a tree, and heartbroken to lose my fish, but I know nature gives and takes. I am just so happy that nature choose to give back in such a beautiful way.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Every summer I buy 3 Purslane (Portulaca Oleracea) baskets. I know they are annuals, but their pretty flowers look good until late fall. There is a garden center close to me that sells them at really good prices. They have several sizes--I buy the small ones. The nursery has baskets that are so big, I wouldn't even be able to lift them. I can just picture that size basket on a big iron stand looking pretty and showy on a sunny flagstone patio some where. But not in my yard--this smaller size is perfect!

This basket sits on an old tree stump in the wildflower bed in the backyard.

This basket is on the opposite side of the backyard sitting on a stand I bought at Lowe's.

This basket is in the front, sitting right by the steps leading to the sidewalk.

The Purslane flowers do not open until the sun hits them--or at least until it is very light. And you never know what colors you will have! That is my favorite part of having these plants. I see different colors everyday. Some days, there is more yellow, some days more orange, some days there are a few white flowers--some days there are no white flowers!
Gardening can be very frustrating this time of year, but Purslane's are very dependable. I can look out early in the morning and think...hum, not many flowers today, then 30 minutes later the basket is covered in blooms. Happy flowers for happy gardeners!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

...and the Pond Tour

Saturday afternoon my husband and I went to a few ponds on the NTWGS pond tour. This was our 11th year to go--so needless to say, we have seen lots of ponds. We try and visit a few each year that are either new on the tour, or we haven't seen. That is getting harder and harder to do!
This year we drove to Arlington and Ft Worth to see ponds.

We saw small ponds....

We saw ponds that had been built within this past year! (we couldn't believe it looked this nice!)

We saw unusual features by ponds....
(this was a carving done in an old tree -really incredible!)
And we saw BIG fish!
( this is a Koi--but couldn't tell you which kind)
But our favorite pond of all is in the backyard of a home in Carrollton. The entire backyard is simply beautiful! As you can see, a potting shed sits pondside. There is a sitting area under 2 trees opposite the shed. This picture doesn't do justice to the very cozy and unique backyard.
Our favorite part of the pond tour-other than seeing ponds-- is the people. The ponders are the most friendly and generous people! They greet you with smiles, ask about your pond, offer you cuttings from their pond plants and give you all of their "pond secrets."
What a wonderful way to spend a Saturday afternoon!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

A Garden Tour AND a Pond Tour!

Saturday was the Dallas Water Wise Garden Tour. I took my Mother to several beautiful gardens. The first was the home of the sweet lady that gave me the ground ivy that surrounds the pond. She has a shade garden originally designed by Sally Wasowski, author of Native Texas Plants.

This is a scarecrow from her garden.

We continued on to several Xeriscape Gardens, each with a different personality. We saw lots of cacti, saliva, and drought tolerant perennials. There were Master Gardeners at the homes to answer questions, but I love to find the home owners there and compare notes with them on what works and what doesn't.

This Russian Sage was in "Dale's Garden" which is in the median as you enter
the neighbor-
This garden is dedicated to the memory of the man that started the Xeriscape gardening here in this East Dallas area. This garden was absolutely gorgeous!

We saw city chicks.....

...and we saw bees! This was at the last stop on our morning adventure. I knew I wore Mother out..and I had ponds to see.! More pictures from that tour next time.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Backyard Pond

In 1998 my husband and I went on our first pond tour. I was fascinated. The thought of having a pond (with fish!) in the backyard thrilled me. After 8 months of wishing and planning, wonderful husband built me a pond! He designed it, dug it, leveled it, hauled rocks in my now planter wheelbarrow to put around it--and lo and behold the perfect pond for our little backyard! I added plants and goldfish and over the years it has developed into the focal point of our yard. We decided to use a red pump instead of a waterfall--something different and something that reminded us of our favorite campsite in Colorado. I love the sound of the water, and I love feeding the fish. Because of the trees in the back, the pond was mostly in the shade. Taking down one of the trees this past winter opened up the yard and gave the pond more light. The plants have never looked better. However, a problem occurred that we never had to deal with before. When we returned from the graduation in Lubbock I noticed one of my pond plants had fallen over. Well, there has been lots of wind I thought. As I put the plant back in place, I felt an unusual quietness with the pond--and then it hit me. All the fish were gone! I knew Herons had been flying over, and I thought I needed to do something maybe since the pond was in plain sight, but I didn't do it soon enough. I sat down and cried. I lost my little friends that greeted me every morning with "feed me, feed me." I felt like I had let them down--had not protected them. My husband got on the Internet the next morning and ordered a fake Blue Heron. Sometimes you can fool the birds--thought we would give it a try.

So meet Harold the Heron. His job is to protect. I bought new fish this weekend. The baby fish have settled in and are nibbling on food I throw to them. I actually discovered 2 of my original fish had gotten away and were hiding behind a plant. They remained behind the plant until the babies swam their way. Now it's a big game of chase.

I really miss my original fish--I had them 9 years! We started with 7, ended up with 13, then lost all but 2. Life is full of disappointments, but we move on. I will enjoy and take care of the new little ones...and the next time we go out of town, the pond will be netted!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Outside and Inside

I love to be outside. I start my mornings outdoors with a cup of coffee and I end my nights out in the swing. One of the things I enjoy looking at from the flagstone patio are my window boxes below my breakfast room window. They are in the shade so nothing has blooms, but pretty greens--lots of texture. I am always adding little cuttings of this and that as the seasons come and go.

But it is so hot now I spend more time inside looking out. I can't have window boxes inside, but I do like to
"decorate" the window. Plants, a birdhouse, garden signs, garden pictures and small vases of cosmos frame the view of my little backyard. I can see the bird feeder hanging from the tree, the hummingbird feeders, the birdbath (that is making lots of birds very happy) and all the flea market finds on the flagstone patio. I'm still outside as much as possible, but when it's just too hot, this garden view of my little backyard takes me out on these lazy, hazy, crazy, HOT days of summer!