Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Flowers are Starting to Bloom!

While I've been obsessed with the veggie beds and getting them good and going, my flowers have been sulking from attention. They've gotten watered and I've been checking on their progress daily, but I've not been pampering them as much or obsessing over them too much. This afternoon, since it's a nice cloudy day, I went out and really checked on them to see what they were up to and how much they'd grown.

In my preoccupation with the veggies, much has been going on in the flower beds. All of the plants that I got at the beginning of April and that I planted a couple of weeks ago are establishing and doing well. This is a really crummy picture, but you can see the entire bed in it and I don't feel like going outside and trying to shoot another one at the moment.

The white "markers" you see in the pic are plastic forks indicating new transplants to watch out for when walking around in the bed. Forks are easy to write on with a Sharpie marker, too. We're using them in the veggie beds, too. They are cheap if you have to buy them, but you can save them from fast-food restaurants when you go to the drive through.

This daylily, San Antonio Firecracker, put out its first scapes EVER! There are 2 scapes and they are loaded with buds. One has EIGHT baby buds that I can count. I so cannot wait for this one to flower! I have another little daylily in the front yard that's put out its first scape as well. Pure & Simple was a gift to me last summer from a lady on Dave's Garden. I can't wait to see that one bloom either.

This little guy is Rudbeckia "Goldstrum". I planted it very late last fall and it barely survived the winter. Then, after our first good rainfall, the aphids attacked it and the slugs began eating on it. I gave it up for a goner, but when I went to plant another plant in that spot, I discovered one little leaf coming up. That's been about 2 weeks ago, and it's grown a week each week! I think I might have a winner on my hands!

This is the little piece of ground outside my backdoor and under my kitchen window. Last summer, I planted Texas Sage and 2 different kinds of Coreopsis seeds in half of the bed. This is what it looks like now. On the left towards the back is a pink Texas Sage. That big huge thing on the right is a Tall Coreopsis. It is loaded with buds! I can't wait to see it in all its glory. I'm going to save seeds and see if I can't get a few more for other places in the yard. There's actually a smaller coreopsis to the left of it, but it's totally overcome by the Tall Coreopsis. There's also a yellow daylily in the front left corner.

A close-up of the flower on the Tall Coreopsis. It's easily 3" across and they last for several days.

A red Texas Sage is hiding under the big pink Texas Sage. I noticed this little guy sticking his head out this afternoon when I walked out the door. I really think the red is very striking. I winter sowed some of these seeds and have several to plant out in the front bed.

This little scabiosa daily (Pincushion Daisy) was planted last fall. It started blooming late winter and has been going strong ever since. It's a butterfly and bee magnet, too. I love inviting bees and butterflies into my garden. It's good for them since I don't use chemicals and it's good for the plants.

Lastly, because I'm still totally enthralled with the veggie garden, here's a flower on our Straight Eight cucumber plant.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

This One....

Looks like this.

First thing in the morning, just waking up.

Mid-day after a little water

Late in the day with a little bug friend

Ahhhh....Tall Coreopsis (Coreopsis grandiflora)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What a Difference a Day Makes!

Yesterday, the bean patch looked like this:

Today (picture from the other end of the bed):

I'm thinkin' these beans are likin' our upper 80s and near 90ยบ weather!

I noticed this red bell pepper ready to burst forth in bud this morning.

One of the squash is getting ready to put out blooms, too.

In the flower beds, I'm waiting for this to burst out in flowers. It's absolutely loaded with buds!

It's some kind of coreopsis and it's going to look stunning with the pink salvia next to it. I'm so excited I can hardly stand it! (I think I must have some kind of mental condition if I get this excited about watching plants flower.)

I'm also waiting on this to bloom.

This is one of my daylilies, "San Antonio Firecracker". It's the first year it's produced buds for me. Again, I can't wait to see what it looks like when it finally flowers.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Liftoff for the Veggie Beds!

The veggie beds are complete, but we've run out of room for the few things we have left to plant!! DH took a break from farming and fled town to visit his people in Tennessee. That's left me with the added responsibility of tending the crops. Since he's been gone, I've harvested fresh lettuce leaves for a salad and a nice, ripe, juicy strawberry that I didn't have to wash the chemicals off before plopping into my mouth. I've decided we're going to have oodles of strawberry plants next year! Once DH returns (with his mom in tow) he plans on expanding one of the small beds he built and/or just making a garden plot in the ground. I told him if he contained it with a 2x6 that would be fine.

Our overflow last-minute bed. This one has beans and peas in it. There were potato starts in the little black pots on top, but they got toasted in yesterday's 80 degree temps. (I told DH that for our region you start taters on Valentine's Day, but he didn't listen!)

The picture above shows bed #1. In it, we have red & yellow bell peppers (with tee-tiny little buds on them today), a strawberry plant, okra (Crimson Spineless), onions (1015Y & Yellow Granex), a cluster of garlic chives, and 2 very young jalapeno plants. We don't eat jalapenos on a regular basis, so I'm not real sure what we're going to do with our harvest of those.

Tee-tiny jalapeno seedling.

Bed #2 is half tomatoes and half various other veggies. We have planted some okra, squash, radishes, and watermelon in the other half of the bed. The radishes are a quick crop. They sprouted in about 3 days, with the help of the rain I'm sure, and will be ready for harvest in about 20-30 days. Talk about almost immediate gratification! I have some bright pink petunias and marigolds to add to it, too. Supposedly, the radishes, petunias, and the marigolds will deter the squash bugs from attacking the squash. We'll see if it works.

Radish "Cherry Belle" seedlings just sprouted. I will need to thin them in a few days.

Veggie bed #3 was planted with pole beans (Kentucky Wonder), bush (or snap) beans (Blue Lake), and peas (Alaska). We also put in 2 cucumber plants. Once the beans and peas sprout, I'm going to pull some out and plant the cantaloupe I have.

Here's what bed #3 looks like today.

And a better close up pics of the bean sprouts. They're only about 2" tall! LOL

When DH returns from back east (LOL) he'll build the bean trellises and the supports for the tomatoes.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Plant Identification, Part II

I started planting my little babies a couple of days ago. I decided to put the bulbine in the bed in the front yard out by the street. One of the little bulbine plants has a flower on it, so we'll soon be able to see what it looks like. It seems like I've planted TONS of stuff, but when I look at all the plants I've got left to plant, it doesn't look like I've made much of a dent!

My husband has a "thing" for aloe vera plants. He loves them; I kill them. I don't know what it is, but every single aloe vera plant I've had I've killed. As you can see by the picture above, he picked up an aloe vera for us. :) I think I'll put it in a pot and move it to the far recesses of the yard. Maybe it'll survive! We also have more tomatoes, too. Don't they look lovely? There's also another Cutleaf Rudbeckia in this bunch. It'll go in the backyard in our new bed. I'm really excited about that new bed!

This is a bigger pot of Mexican Mint Marigold. It will also go in the backyard flower bed. MMM is an herb, did you know that? It produces bright yellow flowers on moderate sized stems. I can't wait for this to start blooming.

Obedient Plant. I'm really torn on whether to plant these in the ground, or pot them up. They're supposedly invasive, but that wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing right now. Next year and future years, however, that could be a problem. This one will bloom with delicate little pink flowers.

Next up we have some purple oxalis (purple shamrocks) that bloom with light pink, almost whitish little flowers. I'm starting a little patch of them in the corner of one of my beds. I planted some last year from corms and thought I'd lost them all, but they've started showing up again just this week. I'm so happy! We also have some jalapeno pepper seedlings for the veggie garden, a blackfoot daisy (sweet!), and a John Fannick Phlox. John Fannick was a long-time nurseryman in San Antonio. I remember visiting his nursery often, especially to buy roses and trees. What a wonderful nostalgic plant to have in my garden. Lastly, I think that's a bat face cuphea seedling in the upper right hand corner.

Lots more babies in this group, too. There's some Red Texas Star Hibiscus seedlings in one of the egg cartons as well as some Blue Pea Vine seedlings in the other egg carton. Not sure what I'm going to do with that vine as my husband has always been very anti-vines in the garden. There's also some of the plants I took and some tomato seedlings and tomatillo seedlings (green tomatoes).

This lovely tangle of stuff is Turkey Tangle Frogfruit. Doesn't that just make you want this plant?!? It's a groundcover that tolerates our soil, temps, and weather. It also is a host food for some kind of butterfly larvae. It produces these cute little white flowers, too.

In this grouping, there's another purple oxalis, yellow yarrow, a cowpen daisy that I'm very excited about, 6 Brazos Penstemon plants that will go in the front flower bed among the columbines, 2 small Mexican Mint Marigolds that I've planted in the driveway flower bed, and a sad looking poppy that probably won't make it. That's okay, though, because I also got some seeds for this particular poppy. I'm addicted to poppies now!

In the final group of plants, we have an Oriental poppy that's bloomed. Normally they turn their flower heads up to the sun, but this guy was a bit pouty, so he kept his head down. LOL There's a little baby red shrimp plant, a lavender obedient plant, an edible kale plant that my DH is super excited about, some garlic chives, and an Indigo Spires salvia that will go in the backyard flower bed.

In addition to all of this, I got some Golden Carpet sedum cuttings. They were in paper towels in a Wal-Mart bag, so I couldn't get a good picture of them. I planted them yesterday evening and here they are in their repurposed planter.

I'll be back with the progress of the veggie beds and more pics of the stuff I've planted next time.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What are all Those Plants--Part I

Old Man Winter finally left after yesterday morning's almost freeze, so I once again pulled all the plants out of the sunroom into the gorgeous sunshine and fresh air. I had to sort out the plants that need shade, the ones that are still wee little seedlings that need all kinds of protection, and the sun loving plants. As I was sorting and cataloging what I had and who I received it from, I snapped a few pics to share. I am starting a spreadsheet with the names of the plants & seeds I've received in trades and swaps so that I can give proper credit to that person when the plant reaches maturity and blooms.

Everything in this pic loves shade. Most of these will go in the front flower bed among the Texas Gold Columbines already there. Toad lilies on the left in the aluminum pan, Tricyrtis lasiocarpa, and Alternanera on the right. I think the alternanthera is going to go in the back yard by my back door, or over on the side of the house that gets all shade. I haven't decided yet and I've had that plant since last fall!

This is another shade loving plant, Lyreleaf Sage. It's a native plant, so it should do well in our almost drought like conditions with little supplemental water. It's also going outside my back door.

Bulbine is a sun loving succulent. I'm torn on whether or not to plant in the ground or put in a pot. These little ones were a test to see how winter hardy this plant is in our region. The purple or brown looking leaves are some frost burn, but they've already started coming back to their normal rich green color. They put off beautiful orangey-yellow flowers.

This is an unknown salvia that will bloom with red flowers. After it blooms, I'll have to find an ID for it. The person who brought it to the swap had tons of these! I think everyone went home with one!

This is Hillary's Sweet Lemon Mint. I'm sure that like all mints, it needs to be contained so that it doesn't take over the universe. It has a delightful smell and unique leaves for a mint.

In this little grouping, we have in the back L-R, Zexmenia, a lovely little daisy-like flowering bush that puts out sweet little golden yellow flowers that look like small sunflowers or daisies. I got one last fall at the RU, but it didn't survive the winter. Also back there are some tomato plants that my DH scored for us. I have no idea what variety they are or if they are heirlooms or not. In the front, we have Red Firespike, that unknown salvia, Pineapple mint, and the Hillary's Sweet Lemon Mint.

That will do it for this post as I've got to get ready for a couple of appointments and I have a cat begging for a bit of attention (like she never gets any attention!) and is walking all over the keyboard as I'm trying to type. Until next time!!


Monday, April 6, 2009

North Texas Spring Round-Up

Yesterday was the annual spring round up for my area through the Dave's Garden website. It was tons of fun, even if it was a bit chilly and extremely windy. It was nice to meet fellow gardeners, trade tips and ideas, and PLANTS!!

Here's some of what I took to trade (give away):

From my winter sowing seedlings, I took Texas Sage/Hummingbird Sage (salvia coccinea) in red and pink and Blanket Flower/Indian Blanket (Gaillardia aristata). They were big enough to transplant from the milk jugs, but still need to be babied for a few weeks while their root systems get established in their new 4" pots. I watered them with a watered down organic feeder at transplant time, so they should do just great. I also took some Texas Gold Columbine that I sowed last October, a couple of NOID daylilies that are in too much shade in my yard to do anything, and a couple of Shasta Daisy "Becky" plants that I thought I'd taken care of last fall when I dug them all out.

Fellow gardeners, like fellow stitchers, are extremely generous. This is some of what I brought home. Some of these plants I'd traded for (from my stash above) and some were extras folks had brought along to get rid of. There were exchanges for some, but most people just wanted to get rid of so they wouldn't have to haul them home! LOL