Friday, February 27, 2009

Robins Returning

Robins were here this morning when I looked outside. That means they're moving northward.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Daffodil Season Starting

Late daffodils are still coming out of the ground. Early cultivars are almost done.
Click photo to see larger.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Cyclamen Sings a Siren Song

Beware of the Dog signs and House numbers were on my list. The garden department beckoned. I could not resist just one little lavendula plant from which to take cuttings to see if I can keep it alive in sandy soil. Just one pot of three snapdragons to join the ones already in the front rock bed. Some 'Dragon's Blood' sedum, in case I don't see that for sale later. I forget now why I need the maroon color.

There were great shelves of Cyclamen. Whooping big magenta and crimson and pink blossoms. I hunted around until I found one with little white blooms, lots of tiny buds. Why? They're the only fragrant ones out of that giant display, the little white ones. K-Mart used to have them at Valentine's. I always searched for the white. They bloom for a long time, then are dormant in summer.

I met up with a friend. She was buying snapdragons: yellow, and orange. She told me her sister Mae had died. She also said she'd seen bareroot roses at Walmart. Just 2, that was all I needed, both mauvy pink: Angel Face and Heirloom.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Hyacinth Infatuation

Blue Delft planted in 2007. Second year blooms.

I am besotted with hyacinths. Every year I add a few more planted directly and I always plant out the ones I force after the blooms fade.

Click for the Album of Today's photos of hyacinths and other blooms.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Then and Now: the Garden Grows

I found this picture of Ben and Sissy, DH's brother and sister,taken mid-1950's.

I went out and took a picture from the same perspective.

Many changes: The fence was taken down when the carport was added in 1963 and most of the present shrubs, including the camellias, were added in the next ten years. The old tractor shed was replaced after 1986. The Redbud tree planted itself about 1990.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Shasta Daisies

I dug and transplanted 13 Shasta Daisies to the Chicken Rose Bed. Yellow centers should go well with yellow roses. Buffie helped. Every time I dug a transplant, she dug the hole deeper, rolled around on the remaining plants and tasted a little soil to see if it was suitable. While she napped, I went to plant the daisies in their new home.

These daisies are from a single plant of several that grew from a mixed packet, years ago. This was the strongest stem and brightest flower, similar to the popular 'Becky' daisy.

Later Buffie went to help me prune vines from the spirea. Before I knew it, she was happily wading in a nasty black puddle and had her first bath -- a sort of half bath, just her nasty little paws and lower legs. She didn't think much of bathing.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Garden Helpers

I really could use a strong back and an expert weeder. What I have is this:

She's very good at shredding. Today she overturned a pot of ginger and was chewing on it before I stopped her. All the toxic plants are on high shelves. The cat favors lemon grass, the dog likes tulips and ginger.

Puppy discovered the fountain in the greenhouse and like the cat, believes it was put there for her drinking pleasure. I took the fountain apart today and scrubbed out all the green stuff. It wasn't much for adding humidity was I'd hoped, and while I enjoy the sound of it, maybe pet water is its intended purpose.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Spring Chores: Pruning

After the hard freeze of last week, it feels as if Spring has arrived, which of course it hasn't. We had temps in the low twenties late in February, last year.

Goodness knows, there's no need to start planting out tender things and pretending cold is over. There are too many regular chores to do. I'm pruning Boxwoods. Last time I counted, there were sixty-something of them. None have disappeared, and possibly more have rooted. I used to stick pieces of the prunings in the ground everywhere and some would root. I'm trying not to do that now.

There's a huge boxwood by the utility pole in front of the tractor shed that I want to prune into a pom-pon topiary, just because. It's fairly loose and might work well. I'm trying not to go look at the boxwoods on the south side of the lawn behind some big Oakleaf hydrangeas, that could possible be pruned into a horse, or a cow or elephant or something. Meantime, the regular hedges and meatballs need lots of attention, because I failed to prune at the optimal time last year.

The meter reader warned me about watching for wasps. After the hard freezes, I hope they've not come out and started making nests yet. He-who-mows is hauling away the debris everytime I have two tarps full of trimmings, but the cutting is my territory.

When I tire of boxwood, I cut on other things for a while, like the Vitex trees. I vow not to cut them to the ground again as suggested by TAMU, but to keep them limbed up and the tips just snipped.

I've cut down half the Vetiver grass; some clumps will be divided and moved where I think a tall grass would make a good accent. New shoots are already putting out on the vetiver, so the cutting down is slower, trying to save little green shoots.

Lantana needs cutting back. Lantana can become a real thug, but it's a butterfly magnet and tolerates a lot of drought while blooming all summer.

Later I'll think about what to do to the Crape Myrtles and Loropetalums. Roses must be pruned soon, I whacked a branch off a Knockout rose today that always grabs He-who-mows as he rides past, mowing the paths. More roses later. I already hand-picked all the blackspot leaves off two bushes that got infected during the winter. At least the azaleas and camellias can wait until after blooming season is over.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Planting Out

I planted the kniphofia sprouts I bought, in the South Rock bed. Only one looked like anything much. The 'Moonbeam' coreopsis went into to pots to grow on, tucked behind the greenhouse for now, with pine straw over them and the strawberries I potted up on Saturday.

A two foot dogwood (Cornus florida) grown from seed was transplanted to the former Red Bed. I grubbed up litter with mycorrhiza in it from under a mature dogwood to put on top the soil and mulched with pine straw.

I still have to run out and prune the Spirea bumalda which catch my eye every time I walk by and then promptly slip my mind before I go back. They have little red leaf buds forming and need the tops snipped off by about a third. I had thought to cut them to the ground, but now I'm impatient for those leaves to complement the burgundy pansies and pink hyacinths blooming now.

Purple daturas are coming up in the greenhouse. Many more seeds are begging to be planted....

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Breath of Spring

The ancient prophet had a good point when he suggested selling one of your two loaves of bread to buy hyacinths for food for the soul.

I brought these into the house for the beauty and the fragrance. The hyacinths forced in water and stones that I gave away at Christmas were well received. It's a joy to watch a beginning bud turn into flowers over a month's time.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Heavenly Hyacinths

Hyacinths are blooming here, not all, just the earliest.

Blue Festival planted last fall after chilling are blooming.

China Pink planted in 2007 are blooming in the upper lawn oval border.

Forced mixed hyacinths are starting to bloom in the greenhouse. Pink are open; blue are in bud.
Notice there's a forced tulip about to open, too.

Buffy plays with a daffodil in a bed where hyacinths are just coming up.
More pictures of Buffy and Inky are here:
Buffy and Inky