Sunday, May 27, 2012

This week in the garden

There's a big gap in the veggie garden where my zucchini was last week. Yep, I discovered what horrible little beasts the squash vine borers are. RIP dear zucchini. Such a promising start, but eggplant and tomatoes are going to have to take up the slack.
Watermelon vine is making a break for the front sidewalk.
Various trumpets
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Texas sage (cenizo) is blooming everywhere in Austin, but this one a few houses down is amazing!IMG_1559
First gumdrop, volunteer cherry, and yellow pear tomatoes got tasted this week. IMG_1551 IMG_4745
The cherry tomato wins on flavor so far! Here are a few more waiting to be picked. IMG_4715
The sprawling volunteer plant measures almost six feet across. Very glamorous!
First lemon cucumber, with some wicked looking black spikes. About egg-sized at the moment.
Volunteer carrots...really?!
The cosmos, zinnias, and sunflowers from seed just keep growing.
First buds are starting to show on the zinnias (I'm guessing the spots are sun scald)
Martha Gonzales isn't that big, but she's got blooms and new growth!
Bougainvillea just starting to show color
Late larkspur and a cosmos looking lovely in my sister's garden.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Early summer wildflowers at Walnut Creek

Horsemint and firewheels show up in masses around the park
I'm not sure what the white in the background is, but it reminds me a lot of gaura.
Horsemint makes me think of some Victorian era party decoration, frilly but imperfect.
Mexican hats join the fiesta
A couple of different types of primroses.
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Love the way the spent flowers turn a papery coral
White prickly poppies are one of my favorite wildflowers
Coreopsis tinctoria
Lloyd waiting on the flower-lined trail

Monday, May 21, 2012

Preparing for Summer

Travis County Master Gardeners gave a free workshop Thursday on prepping your yard for summer. Biggest thing you can do: mulch! And add humus and compost year round to keep soil healthy.
Some of the tips that I wrote down:
*Don't forget to water your trees! One inch all under the canopy out to beyond the drip line, once a month. Watering for your perennials and lawn will not be enough to hydrate your trees, so do this as a separate watering.
*Add greensand once a year around the yard for micronutrients
*Use sulphur to counteract chlorosis, identified by yellowish leaves with green veins
*Don't forget to add more mulch as it decomposes over the summer
*If you use hardwood mulch and it gets too compacted, just twist a garden fork in it to fluff it up
*Don't prune in summer, unless you're removing dead wood or deadheading. Only a few perennials need to be cut back during this time (fall asters, once, if they get too leggy)
*Fertilize perennials twice a year, once in spring and fall
*Give houseplants a "vacation" outside in the shade, especially during a rain
*Limit onion, garlic, and citrus in small compost piles

We took a tour around the Earthkind demo garden outside the Travis County AgriLife Extension office after the seminar.

Beach vitex in bloom; almost everyone in the group stopped to admire this one. When I got home, I checked out the one I planted in my side garden a few weeks ago, and there are buds! Needs at least a season or two to look this good.IMG_1522
I believe this was a gomphrena, but I had fallen behind our guide in the tour, so just a guess. Its tiny fuschia pompoms were spilling out onto the sidewalk. IMG_1523
Mexican honeysuckle and this blue sage make a striking combo. IMG_1534
Perfectly mounded santolina on the edge of the shaded area. IMG_1528
Turk's cap and artemesia (I think that's what this is, but not 'powis castle') make a great understory planting here.
Shrimp plant and turk's cap are neighbors under this tree. IMG_1525 IMG_1531
Master gardeners answering composting questions IMG_1527

Sunday, May 20, 2012

MacGyvering in the garden and Mystery Foliage

The squirrels have been stealing the volunteer Roma tomatoes. And even though we didn't plant this one, it's been mulched and watered and caged and generally treated like one of the garden family. So, this feels personal, squirrels! IMG_4661
I am trying this, ah, scrappy solution to squirrel-proofing the remaining tomatoes. Basically, a mesh bag from some limes cut into two pieces and sewn shut on either end with green wire. It went on Thursday; so far, so good.

Using the fence to grow Scarlet Emperor and Royal Burgundy beans; the No Parking sign came with the house and keeps my dog from stepping on the plants. IMG_4658 I think these are crinum, but they have looked like this for the past year with no sign of doing anything different. And some iris next to them. Hoping the drip watering will help them be more exciting next spring? IMG_4647 A volunteer sunflower in the late afternoon sun (signs of more MacGyvering in the background, where an old gate is serving as a trellis for cucumbers) IMG_4663

Thursday, May 17, 2012

San Antonio Botanical Garden

Went with some friends to the San Antonio Botanical Garden last weekend, first time I've seen it since I was a kid. Beautiful day. P1020901 P1020899 P1020920 P1020905
The garden for the blind is supposed to be all about the other senses (root beer scented hoja santa leaves, fuzzy geraniums), but the visual foliage combos were pretty striking. P1020910 P1020911 P1020917
Love the way water pools up in the center of bromeliads in the rainforest-y exhibit. P1020933 P1020925 P1020929 P1020936
Firework fern spilled over the stairs leading up to the desert garden P1020945 P1020948
One of my favorite exhibits was the front yard demos. One little mini house had a typical suburban lawn with annuals. Another subbed in zoysia grass for St. Augustine and waterwise plants for the annuals. Another went total wildscape. IMG_1501 IMG_1497
I may have to steal this path idea for my garden. IMG_1485
Children's vegetable garden. Wish my grown-up veggies looked this great! P1020951 P1020949
Rose garden.
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Redbud, potted bonsai-style. IMG_1505 IMG_1504