Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Native Plant Week

   Native Plant Week is here and some of the the things growing around here warrant a bit of attention. This Fall continues warm and fairly dry, though we did get some few inches of much needed rain a little over a week ago. Here are my picks.

Symphyotrichum oblongifolium- Fall aster

Conoclinium greggii- Gregg`s mistflower

Conoclinium coelestinum- Wild argeratum

Schizachyrium scoparium-Little bluestem

Andropogon ternarius- Splitbeard bluestem

Muhlenbergia lindheimeri- Lindheimers muhly

Ageratina havanensis-White mistflower

Verbesina encelioides-Cowpen daisy  and

Salvia coccinea-Scarlet Sage

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

First Monarch

   On the last day of  a sadly dry September, the first Monarch showed up in my garden . I ran for the camera to record the event. I know some of you in Texas got rain in the past month, but not us, here, in old Teague. NOT A DROP ! The temps have been hovering around 90 and it has taken some of the wind out of my gardening sails. However, the arrival of my long traveled friend gave me a lift!

The Coleus had this one  busy .

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Pilgrimage to a Plano Prairie

   One of my favorite blogs is Michael McDowell`s Plano Prairie Garden, the continuing story of a suburban home`s cookie cutter lawn turned into a mini prairie. Michael had been kindly holding a couple of Beebrush plants for me and I finally drove up on Labor Day to collect my plants, meet Michael and, of course, tour his gardens. All exceeded expectations. I liked everything and the contrast with his neighbors is striking. Michael is very stingy with water( unlike me) and his selection of plants supports that. So many of his plants are gathered from seed and transplants, much like my efforts. Here are a few snaps of my visit.

Michael , as I drove up, coming out to meet me. This was my first view of the front patch.

Most things are in dry season dormancy now, but he was out working getting ready for the fall bloom. However there is still plenty of interest from the cacti, sotols, yuccas, and other xeric plants.
A view from the other direction. It was a very sunny morning as you can see. I really liked his use of decomposed granite for paths and for actual planting medium. Plants seem to readily reseed into it.

  There are a great many Gayfeather plants and they are almost ready to bloom

Michael heading in to point out something in particular to me.

The contrast with his neighbors is  very worthy of notice as you can see from the picture above and below. The Leavenworth eryngo is a personal favorite of mine and he has several stands. I owe Michael and Pam at Digging for making me aware of it.

Here is a stand in back and all of his put mine to shame!

He also gave me some seed from his Clammy weed, an interesting looking plant. The pic doesn`t capture it`s true beauty.

Thanks again to Michael McDowell for his hospitality and the inspiration for my own native plant efforts. Go visit if you find yourself near Big D ! 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Gardens in August and the Bees Love It

  Can it really be this late in the summer? Occasional showers and oddly out of place cool fronts , interspersed with the usual heat have been a change from the usual fare. I haven`t been posting much, however, that doesn`t mean I haven`t been in the gardens. I`m off work this week for a late season staycation and thought I would share a bit of what`s blooming and what`s feeding in the scape. First of all, if you ever get the chance to plant African basil, do it !  The bees love it and paired with Caryopteris, one can spend a great deal of time just watching them.

The Caryopteris is a new plant for me this year and I expect it will be better every year.

   You know that fall is near when the Leavenworth eryngo begins to change to a deep purple. This plant is a volunteer from a plant I had in the front of the house last year. None of the seed I saved and planted came up, but I suppose the birds or the wind planted this one out back. I hope I can keep it going year to year in this alien,( for this particular plant), oak savannah. The first picture is the first flower to form.

The later flowers are following the change.

   The shady area on the creek side of the house is a  pleasant place in August. One walks down from the deck to the pool area and passes some shade loving plants, Hostas, Coleus, various grasses and sages, and Blue mistflower taken from the wild. This is the time it begins to bloom and it also signals late summer.

   Coleus, Aztec grass, Maiden grass, Papyrus, Potato vine, Bamboo muhly. Dwarf Mexican petunia, and Passion vine. Cherry laurels in the foreground. They are prolific along the creek.

   A view from the shade out to the sunny front.

   Inland sea oats in full seed.

   Soft leaf yucca , doubled in size in a year !

   Another sign that the days are getting shorter is the budding Fall obedient plant.

   Wild bergamot gone to seed, need some anyone? Let me know!

  Along with playing in my plots, I`ve been busy gathering seeds in the wild. Lemon mint, American basket flower, Silver bluestem, Prairie parsley, Illinois bundle flower and whatever else I can lay my hands on. I`ve killed about 600 square feet of bahia grass out  in the  back prairie patch and am going to experiment  with seeding without the competition of the s,mfdglkuy5o7i8yr,ekjh  bahia ! I`m also going to stay on top of the winter rosettes and transplant more species during winter.

 Happy August !  September and planting time will be here soon. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

It`s a Passion Thing

   I realize that many of you have had success with Passion flower, however , for two years ,I`ve tried to propagate it from the wild and from off-shoots from other`s gardens to no avail. This year has finally been my year to see some success. Below is the first bloom  and I would be hard pressed to be more happy about a single bloom. There are many more to come and even my native is heavy with flower buds! It took the proper soil amendments to this sandy soil to turn the trick.  DUH !

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Independence Day

   Happy 4th everyone! Amazing that we are already nearly half way through the Meteorological Summer. I hope all will stop and think about what has given us this long , free history. I pray we all have a little of what our ancestors held in abundance, courage. God bless all who read this humble offering. May your gardens and your lives flourish for many more Independence Days !

Monday, June 23, 2014

PCF Explosion and Shady Color

   The rains have been plentiful, the temperatures mild, albeit humid, and many of the things I`ve worked on over the last couple of years are paying off. I ran across a huge stand of  PCF on a golf course in Waco in the summer of `12 and was determined to have some for myself. I scattered a huge bag of Eastern purple coneflower seed , that I acquired on Ebay, in a twenty square foot area in the fall of 2012, made a lot of plants in 2013 and finally the goodies in 2014. A large stand of beautiful flowers that should increase every year in a wildscape setting among the various Monardas. It is in a semi-shaded spot back of the swimming pool. Take a look.

     I know I`ve probably complained enough about the flood damage from last October 30th, but opportunity sometimes comes with disaster and the restoration of that section of the pool beds and fence has progressed to a point I don`t mind showing a little. I`m not overly crazy about the fence surrounding the pool, but we were forced to put it in and over time it has grown on me as a way to section off a part of this huge area of land we occupy, not your average suburban  landscape by a long shot. The area of the worst damage, a largely shaded area near the north pool gate has been planted with Hostas, Coleus, Brugmansia, and Dwarf  Mexican petunia along with the surviving Variegated Maiden grass and a Passion flower vine I finally got started sucessfully.

A look back at the area after the initial repair and fill. 11-19-13

June 23, 2014

  I found a stand of Horsetail rush about two miles from my home last week and transplanted some into my Mom`s old wash pot planter and put it in the corner of this same area . Maybe it will flourish.

   I trimmed the Althea- Rose of Sharon last January for the first time since it was planted in 2004. It turned out great and is much more compact and the flowers are dense.

   This is a small wild bed I put in last summer to hold some of my Blackland transplants. The dirt I hauled in there  has produced more than I transplanted, including Bluebonnet, Firewheel, Basket flower, Saw-leaf daisy and blackland sunflower along with the transplants of prairie verbena, Little bluestem and Lindheimer muhly, and the huge number of Lemon bee balm plants that resulted from planting seed I gathered in the wild. A lot of Spotted bee balm appeared here also. There is a slender leaf mountain mint  in the foreground. I found it last week and had no clue what it was and identified on the LBJ site. It is a rather rare plant this far west, however BONAP does show it Freestone County. It smells wonderful! I love to discover new perennials that will transplant.

A closeup of the Mountain mint before I dug it

Butterfly milkweed starting to bloom. This has been a tough one  for me to get going , it came back this year, so I expect it will continue to thrive from here on.

Rains again this morning. I hope all of you are getting some , too.