Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Landscaping Project: Day 2

Rain again this afternoon, but more progress was made earlier and the decomposed granite was delivered. Exciting! Side note: I really do trim back the virginia creeper on the front of the house at least twice a month, but it just explodes in summer. Now it looks like the creeper that ate my house.
Day 2 of garden project
Day 2 of garden project
Day 2 of garden project

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Landscaping project: Day 1

I've been dreaming about having my own full sun vegetable garden for years, and now I'm one big step closer. So far, I've grown my veggies in the back yard, in the shade of a 35 foot tall cottonwood tree and an even taller hackberry. Plus, the neighbors' trees and a couple of small oaks near the fence. This means that I have a decent winter/early spring garden, but everything's a struggle once the leaves come in. What I can grow well in the vegetable beds in summer: cucumbers and herbs. I've got lots of gorgeous basil and lemon balm. What grows but doesn't produce much of anything: tomatoes, peppers, and any other sun-lover.

My front yard, on the other hand, is full sun. Lots and lots of it. There was a flower bed along the curb/driveway and an herb bed along the front of the house when I bought the place; the rest was lawn. Now those are both full to the brim with plants: self-seeding flowers, mature plants that seemed so small when I put them in (I'm looking at you, chaste tree), a monster oregano hedge (over 4 feet across) that started in an innocent 4-inch pot. So, it's time for new beds in the front, especially dedicated to the sun-loving edible annuals.

I've been collecting ideas for a while and below is the plan for the front yard. And Tim (and team) of San Isidro Designs started work on it today. At a dinner party last year, I saw a residential landscaping project they did which was pretty fantastic (there are images on the site); that project used the materials I wanted to use in my yard. The front of the house is at the top of the plan.
And today a whole lot of lawn was removed (weedy bermuda grass is out, st. augustine under the ash tree is in) and some limestone blocks were put in as a border. I think it looks pretty great, and it's just day one. This is the view from my front entry area.
Of course, a thunderstorm rolled in shortly after and it looked more like this (don't know if Team Isidro can do much in the next couple of days).
Still trying to figure out the best xeriscape plants to soften/screen the beds from the street view. Probably lots of Mexican feather grass, some spineless prickly pear, and a red bird of paradise (which I've always wanted). So many exciting things to think about.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Purple beauty

purple beauty pepper
I have a potted purple beauty pepper that is producing very small fruit (that's a lot of 'p's). The peppers are dark purple from early on, and apparently turn to red when they go sweet (I haven't let any go that long yet). The size means that I haven't been able to do much more than toss them in with other veggies into salad or pasta sauce, but the color's pretty fantastic.

On another garden note, my yard and plants are having just as hard a time as I am adjusting to the summer heat which set in last week. We're all a bit wilty. Except the flame acanthus, which seems to thrive on it.

Monday, June 21, 2010

New pinks and golds

Rain of gold (thryallis) with its first blooms of the year; 'golden' cosmos (seed from Boggy Creek Farm) in a new spot; a couple new plants I got over the weekend: coral nymph salvia and pink lady slipper, one of my favorite blooming shade plants

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Garden notes from the Texas hill country

Wildseed Farms in Fredericksburg: front gate, demo garden, and a hibiscus plant; Dora's Nursery in Leakey is filled with tons of healthy, blooming plants, like this golden shrimp plant, and an adorable daschund named Priscilla (not pictured); an 8-inch centipede crawling along my grandmother's stone wall...pretty creepy.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Zinnias and chickens

Went by Boggy Creek farm for some produce yesterday morning (cucumbers, tomatoes, heirloom squash, melon). I usually like to do a little loop around after buying to see what they've got in their fields; this time some starlings, or possibly martins, made a few dives at me, hurrying me along my way. Loudly. But once I moved past their nesting area, I got a few shots of chickens, angel's trumpet, and zinnias. The fields in the front are almost totally zinnias and sunflowers right now.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - June 2010

In the back yard, potted geraniums
mystery sage
turk's cap (just started blooming yesterday)
volunteer sunflower
and cucumber

In the front yard, oregano (scrubby, but the bees like it)
a late primrose
first flame acanthus bloom of the year
the front view, looking healthy but a bit crazy (a flame acanthus planted itself front and center, and despite cutting it off to below ground level twice, it thrives and prevents me from getting to the center of the bed to weed and prune...sigh)
standing cypress: I love the red fireworks of flowers (can't seem to get my copper canyon to bloom)
the autumn sage is not loving the heat, but there are a few blooms
and the dependable euphorbia 'diamond frost', which apparently loves afternoon sun.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Shades of purple

Mexican petunia
Indigo spires
Chaste tree
Purple verbena
Russian sage
Fall asters (a few preview blooms)
A surprise larkspur in the lawn
The only bloom in the backyard, some sort of periwinkle sage-type plant

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The birdwatcher

My kitty's subtle positioning yesterday; no birds have yet been fooled by her tactics. I put up the feeder over a month ago (not far above the birdbath) after deciding after a few years' study that she was a stalker, not a killer (with the exception of lizards and bugs). Hope I'm right. I've seen her stalk and chase a squirrel across the yard, only to have the squirrel stop running just short of the fence and start foraging again, back turned; and my cat just paused a moment and walked the other way.

On another note, such good rain this morning! If we could only have these weekly storms all through the season, summer would be a much more enjoyable time.