I really wish I kept a more regular garden diary–at least for myself. (I have for some reason a backlog of entries I’ve never published so I’ll try and get those on here soon.) This spring has been particularly miraculous around here; so much of the hard work of the past couple of years combined with the coolest spring I’ve ever experienced in Texas produced an over-abundant garden so lush with fragrance I’m quite happy to just be in my own garden. Never mind that the weeds are on steroids, too. I’ve barely had time for garden tours, especially my favorite at the Wildflower Center.
This white iris started blooming in my garden this week. I have never seen one so early. Although I planted nearly 200 irises in fall of 2008, this was one of the bunch that already existed in my garden. Most of the irises that came with the house were planted in an area of overgrown shrubs, and were in too much shade. The rest were along the driveway, also an area of mostly shade.
This beautiful flower was one of the first things I ever planted in my garden and I couldn’t remember its name.
At first I thought it was some kind of skullcap because I didn’t know anything about plants when I bought it. It kept popping up occasionally in early summer, in the same places where I’d sown Texas Red Sage (Salvia coccinea) seeds. Is this color a naturally-occurring variety of red sage? I don’t know, but it continues to reseed and looks beautiful mingled with its red sisters.
Nearly every summer we pack down the house and leave for a month or two to visit friends and family abroad. Packing down the garden is becoming more and more of a challenge. I’d love to meet other fellow travelers with Texas gardens–to figure out how they manage to keep it surviving during the brutal summer months. The larger my garden grows, the harder this task becomes. It’s not just the waning vegetables or annuals that need tending but even the larger “sustainable” places of my garden.
It might be too soon to say this, it being just early August and we have two more months of hot (i.e., 90s-100s) to go, but I am already able to see what of my new plants and garden are worth trying again, what needs to be moved, and what I would never plant again.
Viola ‘Etain’, a perennial viola in some climates, died during our three-week stay in Europe. Partially because a friend accidentally turned off the drip system in this area, but I have a feeling it would have needed daily watering anyway. I loved how much these bloomed in spring and even through the early days of June, but they do need water. I think I will pass on these again (although they have a beautiful fragrance, if you can find them!). Read more
Time magazine did a special this week on organic gardening and my favorite local nursery, Natural Gardener. The article and video concerns the trends that are happening in the younger generation with gardening, as a part of a “New Frugality” series. This was the place that really inspired me to garden. More than just a nursery, it’s a wonderful place to spend a morning with coffee in hand. There are a number of display gardens and it really shows off what one can do in the Hill Country near Austin with its rocky limestone soils and wizened junipers. Read more
April is gorgeous and sad at the same time. Gorgeous in that all the spring flowers are in operatic bloom, sad in that they are at the moment right before they decline. Every moment in the garden is precious in that way–at any day’s notice, this momentary show will start to look seedy, weedy and making way for the summer heat. My poppies are stretching for light now that all the trees have filled in so I am trying to at least capture them on film as much as I can. Read more