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Moss Rose ‘Yubi Summer Joy Pink’

Also called purslane, or its latin name portulaca, Moss Rose is really popular around here as a summer annual. It grows like mad, cares not for overwatering or underwatering, and I’ve had far more success with it than “ice plant”. This plant would root on your finger if you let it, so be careful to dig it out where you don’t want it to spread. It doesn’t matter anyway, since it doesn’t live through the winter.

I bought this particular variety trailing beautifully over a hanging basket one late summer, then brought it indoors, where it promptly dropped all its leaves and with an exception of 2 leaves looked nearly dead. When spring came around I repotted it and sure enough, by summer’s end it was a big ole plant again.

This fall I took about 5 cuttings (just cut a few inches of stem off and stick it in soil and it will grow) and brought them indoors, where I have them under lights (which they didn’t have last winter and what contributed to their leaf-dropping), and I now have about 7 new plants.

The main drawback to this plant is its sort of succulent-looking foliage, which is not a drawback to some but I’m not a huge cactus fan aside from my large flowering prickly pear. This variety has larger, less spiny-looking leaves than most portulaca and so it fits me better. However, the colors are just gorgeous, bright pinks and fuschias that are hard to find and really stand out as filling spaces in a garden, or just in its own pot, which I do.

Meyer lemon tree

In the spring of 2007, I went in in search of shrubbier larger plants. Almost all of my gardening had been limited to flowers, herbs and two rose bushes, but suddenly it dawned on me that I could grow trees, too. And perhaps I needed to add some larger elements to my garden to give it a little more oomph. I ventured over to the ‘shrub and tree’ section of my favorite gardening center, which was previously uncharted territory and looked at all the beautiful trees. I loved the quinces, and as I was deciding which one to purchase, in the same ‘fruit’ section there was a fragrance that wafted through the air that I couldn’t put my finger on… it was so soft, so beautiful. I rummaged with my nose until I arrived at the fragrant culprit, a lemon tree. Read more

Texas Tulip

Fall 2007. I go on a huge bulb buying craze, buying daffodils and tulips by the dozen. There are many daffodils that do well in Texas but tulips do not fare so well. One, tulips generally need cold to flower, as most of the modern Dutch-grown tulips are made for colder places. So most Texas gardeners go through the ‘buy every year, chill in fridge, plant in December’ method to simulate a winter chill, but treat the tulips as annuals since they won’t come back unless you dig them up and chill them again. But after reading about Tulipa praecox, a rare tall elegant red tulip that actually returns in Texas every year, and then seeing that Southern Bulbs had brought these back into commerce by ‘rescuing’ them from old yards in Texas, I was suckered into buying 4 bulbs at about $7 a bulb. Yes, insane and probably overpriced, but I’m a sucker for rarities. And just maybe it will multiply for me and I can leave my garden some day with a rare and naturalized treasure.

‘Grand Primo’ tazetta

This lovely fragrant daffodil is a frequent site in old yards around Austin. When we first bought our house, these flowers surprised me by popping up in February in the oddest places around our house–nestled against our fence, along the driveway, places that have long been forgotten as potential ‘planting zones’.

Grand Primo is an old hybrid from the Narcissus tazetta species. (And calling it a daffodil might be confusing to some, who think of the smaller jonquils and tazettas as something different than the big-flowered, big-cupped modern types most often known as daffodils, but I call all the Narcissus daffodils–that’s just where I come from!) Read more