Friday, November 25, 2011

Pansies...or Begonias??

I am having a gardening dilemma. Late every fall, I plant pansies in the front. Usually in back as well, but this year I am sticking with my perennials and leaving the beds in back as they are. But I will take advantage of the great east sun that hits the beds in front, and plant pansies for that beautiful color and wonderful scent that will last into early spring. So..pansies are planted on either side of the porch.. and in containers on the porch.. but my plan to plant them across the front is being disrupted this year..

the begonias are beautiful! We have just not had any really cold weather, so these pretties are looking healthy and happy! My plan for this day after Thanksgiving was to go buy the rest of the yellow flowers for the front-and finish out the bed.
But seriously-could you pull these up when they looked like this? Bet not-and neither can I! And, when you look at our house from the street, the red begonias look so great along with the yellow pansies. It's Spring.. in November! So, what else could I do today. I could get out my Christmas decorations..but I just want to put out some bunnies! :)

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Autumn Gold

At this time of year, when there is not much blooming , it is so nice to look out and enjoy lovely golden color in the garden. I have two plants that have nice foliage in summer, but fall is when they really put on a show. The first is this Mexican Mint Marigold, or as we call it here..Texas Tarragon. We can't grow French Tarragon here in Texas, but this herb gives us a great substitute (it is wonderful in chicken salad!) for cooking. However, the biggest wow factor to me is the reliable fall color. It starts blooming around the end of October and continues until frost. The other plant that I am completely in love with is Copper Canyon Daisy. Sometimes it blooms a little in spring, but fall is really showtime. This plant can get pretty big, but I keep it cut back some in summer just making sure I don't do any pruning after the middle of July. Brushing the feathery foliage releases a very spicy, citrus smell. I love it--but it does not appeal to everyone. The CC Daisy begins blooming around the first of November, and like Texas Tarragon, blooms until frost.
I have enjoyed the look of this plant all summer, but now that it almost in full bloom--I am in LOVE! Both plants work well cut and used as fillers in fall bouquets inside. (especially with asters and spires of Mexican Bush Sage.) Unfortunately however, both plants die back completely over winter, but as soon as it starts to warm up in spring you will see new growth begin. If you need a little autumn gold in your garden, you might consider these two. They never fail to brighten dull autumn days for me!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Beautiful reminders...

While enjoying the splendor and vivid colors of fall..I stumble across a beautiful reminder of a spring yet to come..
Abraham Darby--David Austin English Rose

"How I would love to be transported into a scented Elizabethan garden with herbs and honeysuckle, a knot garden..and roses..clambering over a simple arbor."
Rosemary Verey

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Road Trip!

Have you ever been to Paris? Paris, Arkansas that is. That is where we went on our recent road trip-to Mount Magazine State Park. This is the lodge where we stayed. It is on top of Mount Magazine, which is the highest peak in Arkansas.
It is pretty, rustic, and very scenic.
All of the rooms off of hallways like this face the beautiful Petite Jean Valley.

The lobby is made with huge logs, and has high ceilings and rustic lights.

There is also a massive stone fireplace, which we enjoyed each evening.

We saw beautiful sunsets..

..and a bright, colorful sun rise.
Our hikes took us down shady paths through the woods,
into bright clearings with blue skies.

The panoramic views were spectacular..

..and although not yet peaked, the fall colors were sure pretty to this Texas couple!

There were lots of patios. Off of this one I found a very special garden..
As you can see, it was created by Master Gardeners.
The Pineapple Sage was sooo pretty! (wish mine looked this good!)

I loved the way they marked each plant..with rocks! And believe me-there are enough rocks up there to mark plants for a very long time!

I would have never know what this grass was without that plant marker. It was so unusual!
The night before we left there was a big storm. We woke up to FOG! The usual gorgeous view from our balcony looked like pea soup!
The fog did however make for a really pretty drive down the mountain side.
This deer didn't seem to mind our stopping to take a picture. I would go back to this area anytime. The fall colors (even though the area was seeing some drought conditions) were really pretty. The spring wildflowers are suppose to be amazing. The temperature is always 10 degrees cooler, so summer wouldn't be a bad time to go. And the pictures of winter are simply beautiful. (not sure how one gets up those windy roads in winter though!). I put this area on my "return to" list!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

It's true!!!

Frogs really do sit on lily pads!

Hi Freddie! (or is it Freda?)

Monday, October 10, 2011


What a cloudy, wet, foggy day---it is just beautiful! A day I have been waiting for...anticipating...for a long time. We had a nice, soaking rain this weekend--Thank you Lord, very much! The summer was long...record breaking days over 100, and no rain. But, you are not going to hear this "flower gardener" complaining. I was just tired of watering and not getting to spend a lot of time outdoors. However, there are farmers losing crops, and ranchers having to sell their cattle because they couldn't grow enough feed. Stories are heart-breaking. And the forecasters are anticipating next summer to be the same. Actually, we were told last summer to expect the hot, dry weather--but I for one did not listen. I am listening now.

My flowers have been ok. Many are still blooming. Thank goodness last spring I started to buy more perennials..going with lots of natives that can take the heat. Glad I did. This bed of lantana mixed with re-seeding cosmos, blue salvia and turks cap has been pretty all summer.
So needing to clean out the bed on the opposite side of the yard anyway, I planted 3 little lantanas trying to get a jump start on next year. I also scattered lots of wildflower seeds. I get excited anticipating seeing wildflowers in spring, then lantana spilling over the bricks in summer.
The zinnias around the Pistache tree were amazing this summer. All but a couple along the edge (that were still blooming) are now gone and the bed awaits bluebonnet seeds. I scattered a few red poppy seeds last week thinking the red and blue would be pretty--but I will admit this may be my last year for wildflowers around this bed as the weeds become more and more of an issue. I know I have always used way too many containers, but with such a small backyard I am always looking for more opportunities to plant flowers. But of course, it's the containers that take all my time in summer. I really like all my old buckets and pretty glazed pots filled with color, so not sure if I can let them go. I will most likely continue to plant twice a year; pansies for late fall and winter, then a bright annual for late spring into summer. It seems like as a gardener I am always thinking of the next growing season..anticipation. Guess that is just part of the passion of growing things, but for today this gardener is feeling very blessed with what is growing today, and enjoying this perfect, cloudy, dreary--beautiful autumn day.

"There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky, which through the summer is not heard or seen, as if it could not be, as if it had not been! " ~Percy Bysshe Shelley

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Pond

Believe it or not, there are some plants that thrive in this heat. Number one--pond plants. I quit trying to grow water lilies years ago because of all the shade from the Bradford Pears. After losing the trees, I watched how the plants in and around the pond started to flourish. This past spring I decided to try my luck one more time with water lilies. I bought this 1 plant- Mayle Rose. Mayle Rose has not disappointed me. Not only has the foliage been beautiful and lush, the blooms just keep on coming. I was lucky if I ever saw a flower before with the shade. Now I look forward to checking for blooms each morning.
Really the entire pond looks good. I am trying very hard to keep the water poppy cut back as it will take over the surface, but I still have quite a few buttery yellow blooms. The sedge grass has been in this pond since the beginning, some 12 years ago! And, it is evergreen!
These hot days (and nights!) are just about to drive hubby and I crazy, but I try and find bright spots in each day. This morning it was walking out to feed the fish and seeing not one, but four water lilies in bloom! summer heaven!

"Broad water-lilies lay tremulously, and starry river-buds glimmered by. And around them the soft stream did glide and dance, with a motion of sweet sound and radiance."
Percy Bysshe Shelley

Monday, August 8, 2011

Losing an old washtub..

I seem to remember having an old wash tub in this corner..but where did it go? Do you think it is under all that coleus and sweet potato vine?? Seriously, can you believe the old tub has grown this much? Do ya think I need to do some trimming? Oh yeah..
I complain daily about the heat and what it is doing to most of my plants-but then I stop and notice how some things, like these plants, are holding up. I do have to water this old tub once a day, but that is not a problem if I can keep the plants happy. This corner is pretty shady-well, until late afternoon. Then it gets some HOT west sun for a while. Guess that is why I am so surprised the old wash tub plants have survived. I can't tell you if this is a "sun coleus" as I just buy all kinds of coleus in spring and plant them based on color, but my guess is that it is one of the types that takes heat better than others.

One more plant that is enduring our summer just fine is Black Foot Daisy. I have a love/hate relationship with these plants as I think they can be hard to grown. Reason: you have to ignore them, and I want to mother them. However, for these hot, dry summers they are perfect. Just let them be, don't water but a small bit, and they will reward you with lots of honey scented blooms.

Now I am headed inside to think about what kind of Kale to plant in the old washtub in fall!
Have a great week everyone--stay cool!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Mountains, Texas heat and a Surprise visitor

We have been on our annual
"Rocky Mountain High" camping up in the Rockies near Crested Butte. It was beautiful as usual..and cool!
The wildflowers up in the mountains have yet to
peak, but the flowers in town were breath
It was a good trip, with lots of hikes, fishing, campfires and oh my goodness stars at night!
The special treat this year was meeting up with our daughter! (Love that hat Jen!)

Before we knew it our week was over and we said goodbye to Jen, and headed back to the Texas heat. Thanks to a very caring young man, the flowers looked good despite the terrible heat! (Thank you so much Travis!)
The time outside these days is spent watering or mowing-not relaxing. The temps have been over 100 for 31 days now, and there is no break in sight. The high Thursday is suppose to be 110. That is actual temperature, not heat index. It's Texas-we always have hot summers, but not quite like this. It hasn't rained in...well....I don't remember the last time it rained. All of Texas is in drought conditions now. We are on water restrictions now as the lakes are going down fast. So, we sit inside these days looking over the garden. As we watched the birds, we noticed a surprise visitor..
All the other birds flew away when I went out to take this picture. I think we have a run away. He (she) didn't seem very scared of me so I know this little one is pretty domesticated. I have plenty of seed and water for it, but I hope it will just visit and find it's way back home soon.

Hope your summer is going well..and is cooler than mine! :)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Bringing flowers inside

I love to bring flowers inside my home. One of the best and longest lasting flowers is rudbeckia (Back-eyed Susans) which also happens to be my favorite summer flower! These happy yellow flowers have just now started to bloom so I am out every morning finding a few to cut. I am always on the hunt for a unique container to hold flowers and when I saw this wine caddy given to me by a very dear friend (holding no wine at this time!), I decided it would be perfect for the cut rudbeckias.
I found 6 clear glasses that fit perfectly in the openings. I picked a few Susans for each glass. It looked great, but I decided that some zinnias would make it even prettier. For texture I cut a few Copper Canyon daisies (that are fall bloomers) and tucked them in the middle. Ohhh, I love that spicy scent! I was really pleased with the results!
The flowers look really good on the sofa table in the family room. I should have some kind of cut flower for several more weeks, so hopefully the caddy will stay full of color--well, until it's time to bring out the pumpkins! : )