Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday Garden Photos

Dear friends,

Yesterday I convinced Husband to help me in the garden.  He reluctantly put off his kitchen caulking job when he learned that he would get to play with his reciprocating saw.  We had about half-a-dozen dead bushes beside the house that needed to be taken out.  In general, my garden has survived the drought so far, but a few of the older bushes did succumb to the heat.  No big loss, since they were all non-natives that had outlived their day, and weren't terribly attractive when alive.

One thing I did was try to yank out the infestation of this WEED that's growing everywhere!

 It looks like Queen Ann's lace, but it's not.  It sure is pretty, but the stuff is already six-feet tall along the back side fence.  NOT something I want to run wild in my flower bed.   I was able to identify it, but now I can't remember what it is.  Shoot.  NOTE:   It's HEDGE PARSLEY. Thanks to my friend Gloria for reminding me.  Now, where's my head?  LOL

I was happy to find out that the unidentified spikey plant in front of it turned out to be milkweed---butterfly food!  Yay.  That's definitely staying.  I also have another patch in the backyard.

My purple hyacinth beans in the little planter beside the back door are up and already twining up the railing.  The little cat gardener statue my sister sent me stands guard.

In the side bed, alongside the back porch--white salvia (blooming),  stonecrop (in the black planter), a comfrey leaf peeping in from the right, my chicken planter with sedum and echeveria (hens and chicks, natch).  The amazing thing is that my little mum plants are starting to bloom!  Here I have purple in the back behind the chicken, and yellow.  An old metal skillet holds water for the birdies.  Oh, and you can see two of my handmade stepping stones.

The pavonia is starting to bloom (large plant in the middle of the pic).  A potted lantana is to the left.

Another handmade stepping stone.  You can see a few of my Mexican bricks here, too.  I found them at our house we lived in in Austin 20 years ago, and I take them with me every time we move.

Another photo of the purple mums, and my sweet little terra cotta chickens.

Another terra cotta chicken (not planted yet) behind purple salvia--they're bee magnets!  And that's a good thing.

Here I am shameless and show off my handiwork.  This is one of my handmade stepping stones, using a "found" tile in the middle and leftover scraps of ceramic tile from a remodeling project.  The stepping stones are actually easy to make.  I love working with masonry products! :-)

Another handcrafted mosaic stepping stone--maybe my favorite.  This one includes a handmade landscape tile I found at the Goodwill Store and scraps of tile from the bathroom remodel we did back in our Austin home--the first home Rudy and I owned together.

I wonder why they call these cast iron plants (in the pot to the right)?  Mine never has more than two leaves on it.  Yet, I refuse to give up on it.  This plant has lived at THREE of my homes so far.  Sheesh.  Anyway, to the left of that grow some happy obedient plant, AKA false dragonshead.

A simpler concrete stepping stone, this time using those little glass thingies you can buy in the floral department.  Did I mention I'm a sucker for colored glass?  They're bright and shiny!

This pot contains a baby Mexican buckeye.  We collected the seeds at the Barnes & Noble store in north Austin.  Cool, eh?  It might be time to move them to a larger pot.  See my Mexican terra cotta turtle sticking his little head out of there? 

Another small pavonia (AKA Texas rock rose) at the side of the house is blooming!  These are great Texas native bee plants that can get quite large.  But I love them, they stayed green all through last winter and bloomed off and on all year!  Oh, and they need almost no water.  Here's some more information about them from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin:

The two sisters who lived here before us were quite fond of plastic garden ornaments.  This is one of the few that hasn't disintegrated in this heat---a huge ladybug!  Quirky, but I love it.  It guards the yellow lantana and the milkweed.

The roses are thriving, a baby hackberry is happy in the side island bed.  My plan is to eventually connect all the little pre-existing islands into one large one that snakes around the property.  I don't love the non-native photinias, but as long as they are healthy, I'm keeping them and trimming them up into a more tree-like form.  One problem with them, they do collect snails.  But what doesn't these days?

A lot of people cut down the hackberries, but my opinion is this---they are natives, they are food/shelter for the birds, they grow fast, they make leaves for mulch/compost and they are drought-resistant.  Oh yeah, and they are free. How can that be bad? 

I've slowly been hacking away at the corner island, trimming the bushes into tree shapes, cutting back the overgrown rosebushes.  I'm going to let the hackberry at the corner stay there since it does hide part of the telephone pole.  I don't like having a stop sign (or pole) in my front yard, but that's the tradeoff you end up with sometimes when you have a corner lot.  The plan is to plant enough stuff so that I don't have to look at it from my windows.

You can see my new Mexican white oak tree  (Monterey oak) to the right.

 More roses!

Yesterday morning I couldn't take one step in the yard without hearing a CRUNCH.  Ugh.  They are everywhere.  I have several natural controls I'm trying (beer in a pan, for one).  And the crunching works, although some have such hard shells they just crawl in, wait, then crawl away.  Like I said, ugh.  I heard that some restaurant in Austin was paying 25-cents each for these!  OMG, come and get 'em!  Seriously!  Come on, and bring a truck.  LOL

Another  rose opened up, this one by the front porch.

AFTER all the weeds were yanked out, and the dead bushes cut down.  Looking a bit better.

Hope you enjoyed the garden tour!  Come back for further adventures with snails!  LOL

Happy trails,

bobbi c.

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