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!

Saturday, May 26, 2012


I love rocks...especially in the garden.  We have some in back, but I have always wanted a BIG rock in the front flower bed.  So..we went to the rock store and bought some.  Sounds simple, huh?   Nope--not so simple.  First, putting me in a rock yard with sooo many rocks to choose from is like putting a kid in a candy store.  There are so many choices, and of course the ones I liked best were on the bottom of the stack.  However, hubby found 2 really pretty boulders in the stone garden and they agreed to let us buy those.  I found 5 other smaller rocks and we were good to go...I thought.  "Just bring them on out to our house guys...and we will show you where to set them."   Uh-uh...they deliver yes, but only to the sidewalk.  It was up to us to put the rocks where we wanted them.  We had no idea how to get two 300 pound rocks up a sloping yard into a flower bed!  Wish I had pictures of delivery day, but I don't--so this is how it went.  The 5 smaller rocks were easy to carry and place in the center bed.  For the boulders--we put down boards (so we wouldn't hurt the grass or damage the sprinkler heads) and rolled the stones ever so slowly over the boards, up the slope, over the edging, and into place.  I am not going to say it was easy-but I will tell you that I love my new rocks!
This is the bed with the smaller stones.  We just carried them up the hill and set them down.  Easy peasy on this bed.
This was the first boulder we moved, and actually it rolled easily and was not too difficult.  The only problem was that is was on the far end of the yard, and it took us a while to get it moved.  I planted needle grass in front.
Add one bright gerber daisy to  the mix and it is done.  (The begonias were already in place).
This rock is just big!  It probably doesn't look so in the picture, but I wasn't sure we would get this one up the hill!  We figured out the best way to roll though..and up it went.  I nestled a Henry Duelberg salvia in front, added another gerber-and the bed is complete. 

Whew--what a job, but I am so pleased with the results.  I LOVE my new rocks!
Hum...wonder what new project I can come up with now....

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May Flowers

I know...I am a delinquent blogger.  No good reason...just busy times.   Catching up..here are a few things blooming in my garden this warm May day..

                                        Prairie Coreopsis
They are the most beautiful mix of yellow and red...I am in love with these guys.  In my garden they are really tall and wave in the breeze...which can be pretty, but not a good thing on a windy day!

Clasping Coneflower
I love the way these grow around the bird feeders! 

Blackfoot Daisies
What can I say-they are soooo drought tolerant and smell like honey...YUM!

Purple Homestead Verbena
These are in an old chair, but I also have them other places.  They bloom like crazy, take a rest, then bloom like crazy again...all summer!

Wine Cups
These are along the path and still in bloom.  The prettiest group are right by the pond and about to stop their purple show for a bit.  However, wine cups bloom on and off all summer for me.

Dwarf Red Plains Coreopsis
These cuties are new this year.  I ordered the seeds from the Wildseed Farm.  They are suppose to bloom all summer, but you never know with our heat.  I believe I will have to keep them watered to ensure continual blooms...but worth the effort..these are just cute!!

I just had to have this one...not even sure what kind it is.  I bet it will not re-seed, and that is ok because I bought Blanket Flower (Gaillardia aristata) seeds for sowing in fall.  I will enjoy the vibrant colors for now though..so striking!

Window Box
I have different plants in the window box this year..the coleus got so tall, hubby and I both were ready for lower plants.   This is Lysimachia, walkabout sunset.  It is really a ground cover, but working great for the window box.  I put a few red begonias in for added color, but now I am not sure I really needed them.

Salvia Mystic Spires
Oh I just had to have one of these.  I LOVE Salvias anyway, and think I need everyone I can find!  The purple color is so pretty against the yellow and red  coreopsis.

Abraham Darby Rose
Isn't he the most handsome?  And the fragrance...ummmmm..

And my little corner of wildflower heaven...lots of blooms, lots of colors, lots of fun!

Well hope you enjoyed the tour!  I am not commenting much, but looking at all of your blogs and enjoying all your garden beauties.

Till next "thyme"...Happy Gardening!

Saturday, March 10, 2012


I didn't plant any tulips last fall. I decided it was too much trouble. Here in Texas you must chill the bulbs about 8 weeks, and they are annuals no matter what you are told. (or so I thought!) I really missed watching for them to appear in February, and didn't even notice there were 2 red flowers coming up around the pond. I was really shocked when I saw the red buds mixed in with the daffs and bluebonnet.

What a pretty color combination! And how ironic to have these 2 lonely little tulips here. Guess what their name is-- "Come Again!" I really think I planted more, but these were the only 2 that really did come back. I don't believe I will re-think and plant more in fall--I am pretty happy with all the daffodils that will naturalize...but what a nice Spring surprise to find blooming this year!
I hope you have lots of good Spring surprises in your garden this year!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Is it Spring Yet?

Ribbitt...Ribbitt...this sedge grass in the pond is a great place to sit and watch for spring..
I can see daffodils blooming..
The violas are lush and smelling good..
Pansies have been pretty all winter (did we really have winter?)..
Hum....that hanging basket is new..
And there are petunias by the fence...
And..is that bluebonnets? Yep! They are blooming along with that purple homestead verbena!
And do I see red? I believe I do...that is the start of Indian Paintbrush. Great place to hide when it gets tall. Don't think the calendar says Spring yet, but I think Spring is here in Texas. Maybe after one more nap I will explore a bit. Ribbitt..Ribbitt...

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Gardening Nightmares!

Usually at this time of year I am watching this bed around the Chinese Pistache tree..
watching the bluebonnets grow. Not this year. Instead, I am watching the weeds grow--namely the wild carolina geraniums. Oh I am so mad about all these weeds. I wish you could see how thick they are.
You can see this bluebonnet in the middle of the mess, but this plant is a nice one--most of the bonnets are tiny. There are red poppies planted here as well. I can hardly find them! Grrrr..have I mentioned how angry I am right now!
So this afternoon, I started the tedious job of trying to dig up all the weeds, while trying to pull out the bonnets and poppies and re-plant. This is a job! The roots of the weeds have literally wrapped around the real wildflowers smothering them. It is garden MURDER!! Someone call the garden police! As I sit here trying to calm myself (think a glass of wine would help!) I am thinking I will start tomorrow just digging everything up. If I can save a few bonnets and poppies, great-but if not, so be it. Then as soon as I can, I will get mulch on this area. But..I want to plant zinnia seeds in late spring, and seeds need to touch the dirt...oh my goodness, have I told you how mad and upset I am right now?

So here is my warning--if you see anything in your garden that looks like this--pull it out NOW! It is not wine cup as I thought 2 years ago--it is a wild geranium that will literally take over your garden. When I looked this up on google, the site had a "weed warning" label across the top, so apparently I am not the only gardener with a problem. I am not sure how the weed came to my garden; perhaps rode in with the Pistache tree. But it is time to hit the road you bad, bad geranium! And don't come back!!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Feeding the birds

Hello everyone--Happy New Year to you!
Not much going on here in my part of Texas. We are on a constant roller coaster with our weather. Some days it is cold and gray; some days it is cold and clear; other days it warms up to the 60's. Not much going on in the garden either these winter months, however one of my favorite pastimes is very active. I love feeding the birds..especially yellow finches! And I must have some really tasty thistle as these little birds are at the feeders every morning and stay most of the day. This picture is taken from my breakfast window-these cuties would run (well, fly) if I ventured out to take their picture. Normally the finches I see have on their winter colors of brown-not as much yellow as I am seeing this year. Hum...sign of the La Nina we are experiencing maybe?
I actually put up 2 feeders wondering if they had a preference. When they first arrived, they only went to the yellow feeder, but as more and more birds appeared, both feeders stay full of diners. We enjoy our little feathered friends every morning as we sit at the kitchen table with coffee. We have other feeders in the yard for the sparrows, black-capped chickadees, jays and cardinals. (Oh...guess I should mention squirrels-they think that food is for them!) But our very favorites are the yellow finches. They will only be here a short time as our summers are way too hot for them. And while they are our guests, their feeders will remain full!
Do you feed the birds in the winter...what is your favorite?