Saturday, March 15, 2008

Bloom Day

Starting a new garden is really testing my patience. Not much is really going on here at Aurora with the exception of the Neverending Cycle of the Liveoak Leaf Drop. Can I just say how much I loathe liveoaks? I know this is not a popular opinion, but as a yard tree they bite. There are few things that will grow beneath their canopy (aspidistras, liriope, indian hawthorne, blue shade; I think that covers it), and they spend about six months of the year in their twice-a-year leafdrop process. First they throw off little fuzzy caterpillar-bloom things which are tracked into the house on clothes, dogs, and shoes and then it's about 3 weeks of spewing tons of yellow pollen powder (which impacts the walls of the house, cars, patio furniture, and, oh yeah, LUNGS). Then there are the leaves themselves which take a leisurely two months or so to completely drop in succeeding waves of snowdrift-like heaps. These leaves have the biodegradable quotient of Kevlar. In the lawn, acorn caps, detached from the nut, are as painful to bare feet as sticker burs. I do not know where in this cycle the phenomenon of the oak gall occurs. But it really is the liveoak's coup de grace of annoyance. These hard round balls lie camoflaged in the oakleaf debris, ready to send the idle gardener (namely, me), into a logrolling pratfall with one false step.
But enough of this raving. Here's what bloomed today.





Rainbow knockout with pretty bug (hope he likes aphids)




Blackfoot daisy





Mountain Laurel, which is having a boom year all over town.





It would be helpful if I kept better records. I put in four crossvines in two varieties, Dragon Lady and Tangerine Dream. I can't tell which this is even after consulting the hang tags and google search; it's not the usual orange one. Not sure if I like it.





A flop-eared mutabilis.

12 comments:

mss @ Zanthan Gardens said...

You and Pam/Digging really make me wish I had crossvine growing along my back chainlink fence. Do yours get much shade? My big fear is that I have too much shade for them. My wisteria suffers from that ill.

I think your rant against live oak leaves is very eloquent. They don't break down and although live oaks are lovely in the open savannah, I agree that they aren't the best choice for a small urban, or suburban, lot.

If your poppy transplants didn't survive Friday's 95 degree heat, let me know if you need more. Everything I transplanted after you left died on Friday.

Kiwi said...

The poppies are very stressed. I think some have made it. My crossvine is on a fence that gets more sun in winter than summer, but the first flush of blossoms is first-of-spring so that works. I planted the vine on my neighbors new privacy fence, knowing that crossvine is a super fast cover for unsightly wall, has year-round pretty foliage and no bad traits like strangling and suckering. The flowers are really a side issue. What crossvine is really good at is pilling up on top of a pergola and trailing down in attractive curlicues, like at Ladybird WF Center.

Lori said...

I completely understand your frustration with having very little going on in your new garden. Mine is basically a year old now, plant-wise, and I really wish I'd planned better for having something to look at this time of year. My roses aren't doing anything yet, and almost everything else is still mostly dormant. The one thing really blooming for me right now is verbena.

Layanee said...

Loved the rant on the live oak! Don't have those here so the discourse was interesting. We have pin oaks, white oaks, black oaks but no live oaks and ours have very different leaves I think! They do have the ball bearings, acorns, which will 'flip' you if you aren't careful! Love your blooms!

Annie in Austin said...

Two live oaks affect my garden too, Kiwi, and the white-winged doves love to roost in them and poop on everything beneath.

As a new resident in Spring of 2000, I was shocked to see Austin covered in brown leaves from the live oaks while the red tips opened flaming new foliage. I wanted spring but saw a campfire instead.

Lovely mountain laurel!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Diana said...

Oh - I am SOOOO with you on the Live oaks. Ugh. All i see are dead leaves. And then comes the pollen and THEN the caterpillars dangling from them. I said something about taking out one that's close to the pool and makes a huge mess on our deck and the time and my husband looked like I'd said we should cut off his right arm! Sigh. I love your crossvine with the yellow and reddish color - very unusual - this is the color I first referred to in one of my plant books - I'll go look it up. I didn't realize my crossvines were blooming until I saw them in the TREES on Monday! I'm going to post those pics next with ones of the emerging wisteria. Your roses are so pretty, too.

Diana said...

So, I tried to get a picture of my wet "dry" river bed in the torrential rain this week, and realized what I really got was a shot of all the dead live oak leaves cluttering up the bed and my gardens! Thought of you!

Cote de Texas said...

Hi - thanks for the comment. I have to stain my floors too - it's been 15 years!!!1 I want to go really really dark. It's just I really don't want to pack everything up and move out for a week! Good luck with yours.

Dawn said...

Oh, I feel your pain re: the oak pollen. I hope you can find some relief in that area at least.

Your crossvine looks lovely to me. I think I'll try some here. The butterflies are supposed to love it.

Happy Spring!
Dawn

RR said...

I love liveoaks--but then again, I only drive past them on vacation and do not have to garden under them! Now I shall have to readjust my expectations on having a nice Georgia mansion with plenty of liveoak! Up north not quite as much is in bloom...but we'll catch up one of these days!

Lori said...

You know, having experienced live oaks only from a distance, I had no idea they could be such a pain...until the last two weeks, in which I discovered that I now have a huge allergy to oak pollen.

Sometimes I'm convinced that Austin trees are out to get me!

austin urban gardener said...

now I see how your cross vines are doing! I love the blackfoot daisy!