Monday, July 19, 2010

Seedpods and squirrel nest

Picked up the top seed pod rosette on this morning's walk (something like sensitive plant); wish it would keep, but the seeds are already popping out. The second is horsemint gone to seed. And below is one of two nests built by squirrels about a week and a half ago in my hackberry tree. I noticed small branches all over the lawn, and when I looked up, there was the squirrel pruning, catching (sometimes), and carrying up the branches to the work-in-progress.
squirrel nest

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Strange, colorful harvest

ripe pepper
The suyo long cucumber is being fairly productive right now (the flavor's really great for salads). The regular cucumber is a little bitter-skinned. Most of my backyard "harvests" are so small that I just wash and eat straight off the plants. This purple beauty pepper is sort of backwards in that it starts out dark purple, goes green, then red when it's sweeter (here it's a bit of all three). I've been hand-pollinating the cukes with an old paintbrush, but I'm hoping the addition of cosmos and a few other blooms in the back bring more pollinators.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Landscaping project update

So, all the hardscape was finished on Tuesday (Tim of San Isidro Designs put in the flagstone and last of the granite mulch), and this is the first day that the grass has been mowed and no cars have been parked in front of the house...good day for garden photos. I'm really excited about the look and the future planting; but right now I'm happy to let everything settle in till fall while I dream and scheme.
landscaping update
landscaping update
I think it'd be nice to ease the transition between limestone block and path...I'm keeping an eye out for some found object or stone.
landscaping update
landscaping update
These square beds (4'X4') are for veggies. Right now I've just got clear plastic in there, hopefully solarizing away the bermuda grass and weeds. In the fall, I want to plant some Mexican feather grass in the granite area, and maybe some cactus next to the Pride of Barbados. Summer heat actually makes me not jump into a bunch of plant choices I might reconsider later.
landscaping update
landscaping update
landscaping update
landscaping update
All that landscaping inspired me to weed and plant this bed along the front of the house, which gets dappled sun throughout the day and some afternoon sun. The purple trailing lantana (left side) has always been there, and I added the butterfly weed, blackie sweet potato, gregg's mistflower, and vitex trifolia last week.
landscaping update
There's something so satisfying about the wildness of the planted areas and the calmness of the hardscape. To give you an idea, here's a before (maybe 4 years ago, with the metal edge hidden in lawn) and after, with my dog Lloyd demonstrating how much better it is now.
landscaping update
All the areas now covered in decomposed granite used to be a mish-mash of bermuda grass, st. augustine, wildflowers, horseherb, you name it; basically, that's the area of lawn not under the tree that receives full sun from lunch time till evening.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day: July 2010

Backyard: 'Golden' cosmos; thryallis (aka rain of gold) happily blooming for year 4 in its too-small pot; volunteer sunflower; coral nymph salvia; rain lily in the middle of the lawn (no rain since the weekend and I haven't watered, so I'm not sure why).
Front yard: Russian sage; volunteer Mexican petunias; indigo spires salvia; flame acanthus against a backdrop of blooming sage (cenizo); pride of barbados (just went into the new crushed granite area on Tuesday); firebush starting to settle in; 'diamond frost' euphorbia, the most dependable bloomer around...where have you been all my gardening life?
Okay, these last two are cheating a bit, but first is a rock rose (you can't see its 4" pot...I don't know why I buy pink flowers; I never know what to do with them once I get home); and a Bordered Patch (?) butterfly sunning in the chaste tree, with an end-of-season standing cypress in the back.

Not pictured but blooming: Turk's cap; cucumber, watermelon & beans; strawberry; butterfly weed; oregano & mint; pale blue mystery sage; pink ladyslipper; kalanchoe; geraniums; coreopsis; purple verbena. Visit more gardens around the world at May Dreams Gardens.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bird blind

Do you see her?
birdwatching 1
How about now?
birdwatching 2
A cozy little spot for serious birdwatching.
cosmos bed
I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she doesn't ever become a birdhunter; so far, so good.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Half-homegrown impromptu salad

impromptu salad
Went to throw together a green salad only to find the lettuce a little questionable. So, I tossed some cucumber and green beans from the garden in with locally grown heirloom tomato and fig, topped it with toasted walnuts and vinaigrette...way better than what I was originally going to make!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A few more wildflowers

Western ironweed
Texas greeneyes
gaura gone to seed
Love the purple on the Western Ironweed (just started showing up within the past week or two); Texas greeneyes; some sort of gaura in bloom (the stalks are leggy and taller than me); and gaura going to seed (this part of the path is wonderful in the morning, when everything's all backlit and glowy)

Also, this site has been the best wildflower identification tool this spring/summer. The thumbnail index is uber-useful.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Lemongrass love

Isn't it great when you pair up the perfect plant to the perfect spot? Lemongrass is so handy to have around in soup season, but it's not the smallest or prettiest plant for landscaping. And then I had this blank spot behind the rosemary, right next to the dryer vent, under the eaves, where nothing seemed to work. Plus, the soil was shallow and filled with rocks. But I put a 4-inch lemongrass in that spot this spring, and it's thriving. So nice when it works out that way.
Lemongrass peeking up from behind the giant rosemary.

Landscaping Project update

Thursday was day 3 of the project, and the rest of the granite mulch and some flagstone will go in about a week from now. Which gives me some time to pick plants to soften the outside edges of the two square beds. Even unfinished, I'm really pleased with it (awesome job, Tim and Juan!). You can actually see the metal border of the original perennial bed, which was lost in the lawn before. Plus, we've gotten a little sun and no rain so far today, and the granite is actually looking pink rather than muddy brown. Here are some views:
So, yeah. Looks likes I need to do some major garden editing here. I don't know how things got this packed in there, but now that's there's a clean edge, it's noticeable. The cactus will be transplanted to the granite section, partially screening one of the square veggie beds.
Love the way the rock edge follows the original metal curve.
Plants for outside the square beds: pride of barbados, 3 pink skullcaps (on sale over at Barton Springs nursery), and possibly the gray santolina.