Saturday, April 24, 2010

My Favorite New Plant

Remember when I bought the hanging basket at Lowe's for the old chair I got in Fredericksburg over spring break? I thought it was perfect for this old chair and it had that wild look that I love. Shortly after I bought this plant, I started to notice a really sweet smell in the backyard. I thought it was hyacinths or the violas, but after they stopped blooming I was still smelling that sweet scent. After careful inspection by my nose, I realized it was the little yellow flowers in this basket that I was smelling. I didn't know what the flowers were (no tag in the basket), but I knew I wanted to find out, and I wanted another basket of these!
This is Yellow Bidens (ferulifolia). Yellow Bidens is a beautiful, daisy-like, yellow flower that grows to about an inch across. The plant has lacy leaves and spreads to about 18" across and 9" tall. It is drought and heat tolerant. Bidens are members of the Asteraceae family and a cousin to cosmos. They are suppose to bloom until frost, but need to be deadheaded often to encourage new blooms. They are very pretty, and that sweet honey-like smell is devine! When the sun shines on mine, the whole yard smells good.
So back to Lowe's I go and buy another basket to hang on the arbor. This basket is mostly Yellow Bidens, plus some bacopa and small purple flowers. Don't you just love it? I can see this from my breakfast room window. It brightens all my days and that sweet fragrance makes the backyard smell so good. I am in love with this new plant!
It is a sunny Saturday, but it rained hard over night, so no digging french drains for us today. Hubby and I both are wanting to get this over with, but it will have to be put on hold-- again. So, I need to find something else to do this beautiful day and it's off to the garden centers I go. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and find a new plant that you love.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Latest Project

Gardening in a small backyard is not easy, especially when the yard is long and narrow. A few years ago we added a flagstone patio in the middle of the yard. Great idea, but that did divide the yard in half. We needed a way to tie the 2 sides together, so we created a flagstone walkway from one side to the other. To border the path, I planted monkey grass. I loved the idea and initially loved the look, but this area was under water every time it rained. Plus, the monkey grass got WAY out of here is the latest project. Last week, every evening after work, I worked on digging up all that monkey grass!
And, let me tell you--it was quite a job! You know how hard it is to dig up monkey grass anyway--then add in the muddy clay soil and what a mess!
I was covered with mud every night, but by Thursday night, the grass was gone. (well, is monkey grass ever really gone?) The next step is to put in a french drain. That was going to be the project for this weekend, but the weather is not cooperating, so we will have to wait. But here is my plan: I think after hubby puts in the french drain, I will use this entire space as a garden bed, then add flagstone here and there, but not as a defined path. That way I can plant lots more flowers, but still have stones so I can get from one side of the yard to the other. This area gets great sun now, so I would like to take advantage of that and use plants I could not have before the tree came down.
It rained very little over night (more to come later today), and you can see that there is already water standing in this area. I am really excited about the latest project and making list of what I would like to buy for the new bed. I may come in each evening tired and muddy..but a happy gardener I will be!
"In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt!"
Margaret Atwood

Monday, April 12, 2010

Cedar Post and an old Wash Tub....

As you might remember from a couple of years ago, we had to do something to protect the goldfish in our pond from the blue heron that fly over our yard. We never had a problem until we took trees down as the heron probably couldn't see the pond from the sky. As soon as the first tree came down, I lost all but 2 fish to a heron visit. The only thing we knew to do was put up green metal stakes with fishing line around them. I hated that look so much! Cindy, at My Corner of Katy, told me what I was hating was the metal stakes. She told me to find something more rustic as that is the look I really like in my garden.
I have tried to come up with an idea ever since Cindy put that bee in my bonnet..and found the perfect thing on our trip to the Hill Country in March. We stopped by a fence company and bought small cedar post. I hope you can see them in the picture. They are just what I have been looking for. Thanks so much Cindy for starting me thinking!
And remember the old wash tub we found on that same trip? It now has a home in the bed behind the pond. I planted it with a really big coleus, a few small coleus, and a sweet potato vine. That lime green vine really compliments the colors of the coleus. I went to Canton a few weeks ago and found the old window and the "Seeds" sign. Of course, I needed to plant some seeds, so I planted cosmos seeds all over the area. Can you see them? They were coming up in 3 days!
I am so pleased with the look. It's that old time in the garden memory I am always trying to achieve. Wish I had a clothes line with an old quilt hanging on it...hum....

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


It is no secret that I love wildflowers, and my favorites are now in bloom not only all along the roadsides of Texas (thank you Lady Bird Johnson!), but also in flower beds in my backyard! As you may remember, I planted seeds last fall..well, it was really late summer. I soaked the seeds the night before, then tilled the dirt a little, then scattered the seeds. Our cold, wet winter was actually good for wildflowers, and now this spring they are putting on quite a show!
The bonnets are pretty any time of day- early morning, or sunny afternoons.
I scattered the seeds mainly in the bed around the new tree because I knew the seeds would love all the sun the bed would get. You can see there are also a few in the corner bed to the left.
The bluebonnets are now in full bloom so they are pretty from any direction. And, did you know they have a wonderful fragrance? It is not very strong, very light.
Of all the views of the bluebonnets I may like this one the best. This is walking in from the side gate into my little backyard. I don't notice the small size of the yard, or the lack of many leaves on the new tree, or the still brown empty places in the yard--I see these beautiful blue flowers that I waited for all winter.

"Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful: they are sunshine, food and medicine to the soul."...Luther Burbank

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Srping Gardening Notes

It has been beautiful here these past few days, and I have been outside playing in the dirt as much as possible. I thought I would share a few of my spring gardening notes with you:
I planted several different kinds of daffodils last fall, and I have been very pleased with my selections. This is Replete-a light peach color with ruffled edges.
This is Quail. It has double blooms that last a long time, and the sweet fragrance is amazing! Yum!!
These next 2 are from a group called Spectrum Sweet Aroma. I planted several in a bed that I am hoping to naturalize. The picture really doesn't do it justice--the color is very striking.
And I guess you see a pattern with the daffs I selected--they all have a wonderful fragrance!
And speaking of sweet scents, my first rose is blooming! This is Odee Pink, and it has what I call that "old time rose scent." It is precious! However, I am a little concerned that both new rose bushes seem to have some black spot. I have been picking the infected leaves off and throwing them away, but I am somewhat disappointed. The yellow rose seems to be much worse than this pink one. Hopefully they will both be fine later in the spring.
Purchases: Yesterday while buying several things for the large planter in back, I also bought a few other plants. I bought 3 Gerber Daisies (one to use as a centerpiece on my Easter table!)
I bought 2 Iceland Poppies..
..and a hanging basket full of feathery looking wildflowers that fit this "new" old chair perfectly!
And, look what is blooming!
They are not in full bloom yet, but blooming enough to get me excited! I'm sure there will be more pictures of these in the weeks to come.
I hung my hummingbird feeders yesterday, because..I already have hummers! They were back bright and early again this morning. The temps are warming, the days are getting longer, flowers are blooming, and hummers are back. We made it through the cold, wet winter..Spring is here!

Have a blessed Easter everyone.

"If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant.."
Josh Billings