Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Merlin in the Orchid Tree

There is a Merlin in my orchid tree this morning. He is sitting there waiting for some little bird snacks to happen along. As a matter of fact, he is still sitting in the tree as I type:

Yesterday I stopped by the Barton Springs Nursery to pick up some Texas bluebell starts because the ones I tried to start from seed refused to come up. I also picked up some four nerve daisies and some maidenhair ferns. While I was at the counter getting my purchase marked up, I was seduced by those Tulipa clusiana ‘Cynthia’they had sitting out next to the counter and had to buy those too. These are little tulips that look more like rain lilies that are supposed to naturalize down here. They don't require that chilling period most tulips do. See the tulips in the bottom left of the photo below:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Hail just pummeled my garden. Most of it was between Nickle to Quarter size, with a few Golf Ball size specimens thrown in for good measure. I took pictures though the window. No way was I going out there - that stuff was coming down HARD!! Then it poured rain for a bit and the hail melted a little before I could get any good close-ups. It stormed for about 20 minutes - 10 or so of those minutes were just big hail. And the hail mashed my poor poppies up and knocked the leaves off the trees.

Pre-storm photo. (I knew the hail was coming so I took some pictures of before it pounded garden):

Notice all the pretty poppies:

Now look at them after the hail storm. They are all broken and mashed up:

It knocked a bunch of the blossoms off the orchid tree and now it looks like it snowed under it:

Here is the hail from my vantage point inside the house looking out:


After the storm, I wandered out to take some photos, but the rain had melted the hail to a fraction of the size it was when it first came down:

Really, there wasn't too much damage - just tree leaves torn off and my poppies mushed up. At least it was precipitation. I will take it any way I can get it!

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Eve's Necklace is Blooming!

My Eve's Necklace (Sophora affinis)tree has it's very first blooms on it! I am so excited! I bought it 4 years ago when it was only 3ft tall. I planted it on the North side of the house and I wonder if that is why it took so long to bloom or maybe it was just too little before? It is shady in that spot, but now that the tree is much taller, it reaches up to the sun. Anyway, here are the blooms in all their glory:

Ooooooh pretty!

Here is the tree:

Then there is the Golden Lead-ball tree. It looks like a poodle in the spring:

It is setting tons of blooms:

I just put in a few rock penstemon in the front hell-strip bed. I used to have Texas Betony there, but the last couple years have been so hot and dry, the betony shiveled up and died. it does much better in partial shade on the east side of my house. I wanted something around the same color as the betony, but that would take the glaring mid-day sun and drier conditions better. Rock Penstemon (Penstemon baccharifolius)fit the bill. I hope it does well.

Here it is:

Here is a link to what it looks like in bloom and its characteristics: Rock Penstemon

And here is my new Fuschia. I torture myself with these every year. They don't like our really hot weather, but last year I had one last into July. I love Fuschia so much though! Coming from the Northwest, we always had huge ones hanging on our house every year. I just have to have at least one. You really have to keep them watered, keep them in filtered sunlight, and let them dry out between waterings. Get them too wet, too hot, or put them in too much shade or too much sun and they will promptly die on you.

But isn't it pretty?:

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Removing Ginormous Agaves and some New Blooms

I decided to remove the 2 agaves on the side of my house that I really loved this week. They just were getting WAY too big for their location. It pained me to do it, but out they came. You can see one is already gone and one is left, but dug up and ready to be disposed of:

I got these for free when I first moved in and had no idea they would grow so fast! (I didn't know anything about southwest plants, ok?)I knew they would get huge, but thought I would be long gone before that happened. Instead, these things grew like gangbusters - they were just little bitty starts when I got them and now, 5 years later, were over 4 feet tall and wide. I figured I better get them out now while they were managable. Good-bye beautiful, architechtural, ginormous agaves:

Hello new small Hill-Country Native Pale-leaf Yuccas: Yucca Pallida(I bought 2 of these guys to replace the agaves):

And since it rained last week new things are blooming...

The Orchid tree:

It is simply covered in bees and butterflies. I swear the butterflies must sleep in this tree as they spend sun up to sun down on the blooms. Here you can see two monarchs, one in the upper left corner and one in the bottom right:

More butterflies:

Orchid tree blossoms and Yellow Columbine:

The columbine are in full bloom:

So is the Crossvine:

The few Bluebonnets I have are blooming:

Yellow Flax:

The poppies are all starting to bloom:

Corn Poppy:

And a Snowberry Clearwing Hummingbird Moth. They look like giant bumblebees:

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Garden at the White House

The Obamas will be building a full-scale veggie garden on the South Lawn of the White House! It is the first full-scale garden at the White House since the Victory garden Eleanor Roosevelt had planted there during WWII. How exciting! Read about it HERE.

Read about the history of Victory Gardening HERE.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Bloom Day - March 15th 2009

Apparently, I brought the rain back with me from Seattle - Y'all are quite welcome! It rained for several days, only clearing up this afternoon. The local weather guy tells me that this is the most rain we have had in 18 months. 18 Months!! My garden really needed it. I sure hope it liked the rain, because it probably won't rain like that again for another 18 months the way things have been going with the weather around here. Well, enough about the weather, and on to the blooms....

The Texas Sage let me know a few days ago that is was going to rain. It started blooming. You can't trick this one into blooming by just watering it. It will only bloom when the pressure changes. They don't call it the barometer bush for nothin':

Several salvias are in bloom:

Red salvia:

White salvia:

Hotlips Salvia (the hummingbirds really seem to favor this one):

Salvia Theresa:

Blue Sage:

The Lavendar is blooming:


Blackfoot daisy:

Coral Honeysuckle:

Texas Scarlet Quince:


Daffodil 'Thalia' It is a little beat down from all the rain:


Meyer Lemon:

Possumhaw Holly:

Mt Laurel:

Pink Wild Snapdragon Vine:

Texas Redbud:

Orchid tree blossom (this tree is just about to explode into a huge mass of blooms, but isn't quite there yet):

California poppies:

My Windmill palm is about to bloom for the very first time:

Flower arrangement I put together:

Geranium (the hummingbirds seem to like these):

The cyclamen are still blooming:

Texas betony:

And last, but not least, the Hinkley's Columbine: