Monday, June 21, 2010

First Day of Summer....really??

As I was watering last night...
again, I found myself grumbling about my
ments." Then I realized, it was not really summer yet. Today is officially the first day of summer. However, for those of us in Texas, it seems like the middle of summer. Our temperatures have already reached 100..more than once, and in my area we haven't had rain in over a month. But, back to the subject at hand-summer disappointments. Here is my biggest one (other than worms in my coneflowers!)--the flower bed around the new tree in the backyard.

Do you remember how pretty the bluebonnets were in the spring? After I pulled them up I planted 7 types of zinnias seeds. I was going to have a bed full of beautiful, colorful zinnias, and I was going to cut them and have vases full of flowers all summer. didn't happen!
Out of all those seeds I planted, there is one little group that germinated and looks like it is about to bloom. I was so frustrated last weekend, I went to the garden center and bought some red verbena, white angelonia, and some type of little yellow flower. I needed some color in that bed! What in the world happened to all those seeds? I used Burpee seeds. Hubby thinks that is the problem. He had trouble with Burpee seeds germinating in his vegetable garden a few years ago. I'm not sure what happened, but next year I am going to develop a new plan for this bed after I pull the bluebonnets.

The view from the patio is not too bad..
but when you get closer, the bed is just bare. I miss all those flowers I was going to have!
Oh well, the new tree looks pretty good. And, although you can't see them in the pictures, the bluebonnets have re-seeded and I have cute little plants starting to pop up all over that bed!
As I continued to grumble and water, I turned around and saw the bed under the breakfast room window. The window boxes are certainly not as pretty as last year--they can't handle all the west sun we are getting now--but look at the purple heart. This picture doesn't do them justice. They are really spectacular, and they have not complained one time about the heat! Summer will be hot and dry I am afraid, and plants will suffer. And as a gardener I will have disappointments, but also as a gardener I know I need to find the beauty in the summer heat. I know it's there--I just need to look.

"If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere."
Vincent Van Gogh

Friday, June 18, 2010

Coneflower Trouble

I have coneflower problems! I started to notice the heads of the flowers with something black looking on them. At first I thought they were just going to seed, and some are. But when I began to notice the young buds with this same black marking, I decided to take a closer look.
I actually picked a few flowers and buds off and started to dig through them. On some, there was nothing. On others-I found tiny worms about the size of the end of your fingernail. They have some yellow on them and are burrowed down deep in the cone. What are they??
I was afraid my flowers had "aster yellow" disease which I read is a death sentence for coneflowers So, I was happy to think it was worms, but who has worms on their coneflowers?
"Nothing can hurt coneflowers" they say. Well, I beg to differ. I am losing mine everyday.. The funny thing is that this is all in the back. I have a few in front and on the side that look healthy.
I love my "pink daisies" as I called them when I was a little girl. I don't think these would be worms for butterflies or they would be eating the leaves. I tried insecticide soap on the cone heads, but I don't think it worked. Does anyone have any ideas?? HELP!!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Tiny Herb Garden

We usually have a small veggie garden, but this year our garden area is "under con-
struction." I miss the tomatoes, peppers, and onions. But I decided to make up for that loss I would create a tiny herb garden in the back. This is it, and although small--it is flourishing!
I have spearmint, pineapple mint, lemon mint and lemon balm. It has all kind of grown together-which I love. WARNING: grow mints in containers unless you want them to take over!!
This is chives (bring on those baked potatoes!) and thyme. (one of many-I love thyme!)

The parsley started out slow, but is finally looking good-as is the basil. This is boxwood basil. It is a mounding plant with tiny leaves that can be used in pesto.
There is a small rosemary plant in the left corner of this picture, and, I couldn't stand to not have sweet banana peppers this summer, so I bought one little plant. Looks like I can pick for the next salad!
Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Water Wise Garden Tour

I took my Mother on another garden tour this morning. This is the annual Water Wise Garden Tour sponsored by the water utilities company. Gardeners apply to have their gardens rated as drought tolerant as well as have a way to retain rain water. This is always my favorite garden tour. The tour has many gardens on it, but the temperature is getting high up in the 90's now, so I decided Mother and I would only go to 4 houses. This is the first one..not far from Mother's house. If you like cactus-this was the place to be!
The agave were unbelie-
vable! We were so impressed with the front. But the back was even better!
This is the first thing I saw when I walked in the backyard. It is a bog full of lotus. If you know anything about ponding, you know lotus are not easy to grow. And these gardeners have a water garden FULL of them! Wow!
They had a very nice sitting area in the middle of the yard. Behind it was a vegetable garden and 2 bee hives. Loved this yard!
Up close to the house was another water feature. Really cute isn't it? And, in that ground cover are box turtle. They were shy, so I couldn't get a picture.
There were succulents in all kinds of containers. This one is on the back porch. This was a fantastic garden!

The next house was one we visit every year. They are past winners of the Water Wise Award. Their garden changes some every year. They replaced their lawn several years ago with buffalo grass. They have lots of salvias, lavender, black-foot daisies..oh I could go on and on.
But what was so beautiful today was all the blooms on their cactus.
The next house was the garden of the sweet little lady that gave me my ground ivy. She acted so happy to see us, and we talked as we walked through her pretty little shady garden..and I forgot to take any pictures except for this one. Her little lady scare crow still stands tall against the massive trees in her yard.
This last house was really something. It is in an old neighbor-
hood, but the home
owners completely remodeled it. The lady is a Master Gardener and just finished the gardens. She uses so many rustic touches in this garden..which is exactly what I love.
They were so many nooks and crannies in this yard, and the homeowners used every opportunity to create a sitting area.
Their bottle tree was really cool..

 was their patio.

This is a rudbeckia that I am seeing in so many gardens. I love the colors, but one gardener told me he could not get this one to survive in his yard. I bought something similar to this at Home Depot a few weeks ago. I will be anxious to see if it can survive our Texas heat.

They had a great collection of bird houses. I love whimsical touches like this in a garden!
This was the garden shed (I am soooo jealous!)
There were plants in ALL kinds of containers!

This was the last garden we went to, and I really would like to have sat a while and enjoyed the porch!
It is so much fun to go on these garden tours. You get so many ideas and it's great to see what other gardeners enjoy in their yard. But it is hot, so this gardener is going inside to drink her lemonade today!