Monday, April 28, 2014

Poppy Report

Not the best year for Poppies, -- fewer in number than previous years -- but there were some moments in the Poppy show.

Poppy somniferum were few in number unless you count the ones sown over tulip and daffodil bulbs planted at the end of December. They came up thick, I knew to thin and didn't. The result is puny blossoms. The result was not a very attractive disguise for dying bulb foliage.

Other places plants were few but blooms were great.
I love the shape of poppy pods.

Corn poppies grew tall and lay down on the driveway.
The buds turned themselves upward.

California Poppies Eschscholzia californica can be counted on to carry on a show with the help of a few Corn Poppies. I am a real fan of California Poppies. They seem to make themselves at home in this climate.

Corn Poppies generally have a black center cross, a dark mark on each petal. One in this group is different.

I planted Chartreuse Alternanthera in front of Purple Heart here late this afternoon after the sun went down. Front beds here follow a scheme of Purple, Chartreuse, Yellow and Orange with a few exceptions at the whim of the gardener.

Papaver rhoeas
White cross, paler scarlet orange in color. You can't expect
colors to run true but I'll make this one for seed saving.

I am resolved to make a better Poppy show for next year. Collecting and cleaning Poppy seeds is a fun garden task. Early planting in late fall, better prepared beds, thinning, thinning, thinning. 

Do you have Poppies? 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Tomato Patch

Last year's tomatoes were from heirloom seed that I won. Not the best kind to put in soil that has nematodes. I did get some nice tomatoes before root knots rendered my plants useless.

A few weeks back I bought 2 little trays of tomato plants,
Celebrity and Better Boy, both nematode resistant.
I bumped them up to my standard pot and kept them
inside until Blackberry Winter and Easter Cool Spell was past.
They grew nice roots which I teased out at the
bottom before planting. Note my fav goatskin gloves.
In the bottom of each hole, a double handful of red clay saved from my excavation project at the greenhouse patio. Around each new planted tomato went 2 double handfuls of good compost.
Blooms already. I took off the bottom four sets of leaves and planted deep
so roots can form along the stems underground.
Soil like chocolate cake. I left Toadflax and
Poppy plants when I weeded the plot.
Pinecones alound each plant discourage Kittch from digging.
Behind my tomato row are blueberries.
The light sandy field beyond will soon be planted in peanuts. 
Have you planted good things to eat in your garden?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Roses, Roses and More

What smells so good in the garden? Roses!

Clockwise from upper left: Red and Pink Knockout, a red rose rootstock where the grafted rose failed. It anchors the corner of the grape arbor and gives that area color. Sombreuil, bud of Cecile Brunner, Julia Child, Belinda's Dream, Gene Boerner.
Front and back of Knockout bed.

Trellis at end of Knockout Bed holds
Reine des Violettes with its spicy pepper fragrance
that makes up for what Knockouts lack in scent.

Julia Child against a background of euonymous.

The Sweetheart Rose, Cecile Brunner on the Stick House.

Another look at Sombreuil.

The Urbanite and brick patio is now the summer home of more than two dozen Rhipsalodopsis and Schlumbergera plants -- only five different Christmas Cactusus and one Easter Cactus are represented but I keep taking cuttings.

It didn't leave much room for sitting but I can put chairs in front of the little wall. Dappled sun is perfect for the jungle cacti. They summered here last year in a rather pitiful surrounding.
I just needed to say that because I blogged about it on the greenhouse blog instead of following up my last post here.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Urbanite Patio in Progress

AZ Plant Lady wrote that using broken concrete for patios and benches is the latest sustainable gardening trend. I used broken concrete from the old barn for some projects some years back and part of a broken concrete gas tank pad for an entry porch for the greenhouse. Urbanite is one of my favorite materials.

Biggest Urbanite pieces in place before making room for 'seams' of brick.

After I found a cache of ancient bricks when we pulled some pecan stumps
I gathered Urbanite we used for extra-large stepping paths in the upper garden, more bricks, various stones, and sand from a wash along the edge of a field.

This is a preview of the patio. I keep tearing out parts and doing over. It turned out higher than I expected so there are steps up at either end, both of which were a do over to make a safe tread.

Revised step on west end.

Incorporated this rock into my wall -- is this a geode? A broken piece on the left..

There was tearing out when I remembered about the broken pots that I meant to integrate into the wall.

The back side is not finished. I must load sand by hand where it settled at the end of the field because the sand is only about 2 inches deep so using a front end loader is nearly impossible to get good clean white sand. Tedious work with heavy buckets.

Some of my bricks not yet used. There are a few pieces of 
Urbanite and more stones. I am weary after three days of this.

Saturday, April 12, 2014


As Azalea season fades and Dogwood petals fall, poppies and other annuals are the next wave of bloom along with Philadelphus, which we used to call English Dogwood.

A young Philadelphus blooms at each corner of the greenhouse.
Poppies bloom in the background.

Today I picked the last regrown cabbage and ate it.
This one has regrown heads going to seed and growing with
poppies and Toadflax.
California Poppies are coming into bloom, my favorite and long-lasting.
Shown here with Amaryllis 'Exotica' -- a good companion.
Corn Poppies, the red poppy of Remembrance are almost ready to bloom.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

More Last Daffodils of the Season

This  might be the third time I've promised the very latest blooming daffodils, only to have more appear.

I forgot about this one. I don't know its name:

It smells delicious, whatever its name.

Here's the last of Baby Moon.

These last two are Hoop Petticoat. I can't remember how many years ago I planted a handful of these, which promptly disappeared the next year or so. Suddenly it is back. I hope it is a trend.

Not a daffodil, but a preview of things to come.
'Exotica' Amaryllis, and California poppies in the background.
Brent and Becky call these 'Tulips for the South and they do present a show.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

First of the Month April Views

Azaleas and late-planted daffodils

A closer look at Pink Ruffles, Pink Pearl and George Tabor
with Dogwoods. Do you know that Dogwood is fragrant?

Oval lawn in the Upper Garden where summer perennials shine. 
This area takes a back seat while Azaleas and Dogwoods bloom.

North edge of the Upper Garden. Land in prep for planting peanuts. Younger Azaleas here are under deciduous trees and bloom later than those under pines.

Hawera and a view of the grape arbor
where leaves are just starting.

Upper Garden paths and cross paths. At right center through the azaleas there is a secret path under the dogwood tree with steps down to the front yard. 

Oakleaf Hydrangeas at far left get ready for the next show.

Formosa azaleas behind a rustic bench