Saturday, March 15, 2008
But enough of this raving. Here's what bloomed today.
Rainbow knockout with pretty bug (hope he likes aphids)
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.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
A vine has turned up in my front bed. It’s really pretty so I hope it has some staying power. It’s very delicate; somewhat like cypress vine with pinnate leaves and twining antennae that are as slender as sewing thread. The cerise blossom looks like a sweet pea but is the size of a grain of rice. It’s just as sweet as can be, once you get down on the ground with a magnifying glass and can actually see it. It would make an ideal vine for a pergola at Barbie’s dream house. If this sounds familiar, please let me know what the heck it is. Unless it's some horrible invasive scourge that will suck all the nutrients out of my yard; that I would rather not know. Let me have my illusions.I spent part of this gorgeous spring afternoon in the fascinating garden of Melissa at Zanthan; she generously shared with me some California poppy seedlings (after I boo-hooed that none of my seeds came up). Thanks Melissa and I hope can keep them alive!
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Janet with cactus, an heirloom she brought from our mother's garden.
Flowering black brush acacia at left.
Black brush closeup; smells great.
Amargosa, pretty evergreen and armed with long thorns
Black brush and prickly pear
An arrowhead with broken point
Guayacan, which resembles prostrate rosemary, even has little blue flower (plus thorns...)
Century plant agaves
Skeletons of past century plant blooms
Aptly name, All-thorn or “Corona del Cristo”.
There is a caracara nest at the top of this ladder. This is very large raptor, sometimes called the Mexican eagle. In flight, the bird is beautiful with striking black and white markings. I climbed up the ladder to see if the mother was there. Yes, I'm an idiot. Once I saw she was there, I realized why she was not concerned. Her beak could probably have coldcocked me with one blow.
So of course, once up there, I attempted to get a shot. If you blow this up you can just see her beak to the right of the top of the large stick.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Layanee’s post at Ledge and Garden about her father inspired me to write about my own gardening mentor. Barely five feet, my mother Betty McLaren had a personality as big as her adopted
Relentlessly creative, she mastered woodcarving, furniture building, batik, papier maché, oils, embroidery, decoupage, and her true métier, watercolors. My walls are filled with her remarkable paintings of landscapes, San Antonio Fiesta celebrations, Mexican markets, and beach scenes.
But my mother’s largest canvas and her masterwork was her garden. I remember staying home from school one day when I was in the sixth grade (sort of sick but really just needing a mental health day) and enjoying the great luxury of having Mom all to myself. We dug a hole in the back yard, mixed cement, and created a small pond. This was one of three ponds my mother eventually built in her yard. Fish, fountains, pumps, cypress plants, lilies; something was always being transplanted or improved, winding brick paths laid, new beds dug. The patio which started out by the kitchen door, kept growing until it wrapped around the whole side of the house and was filled with hundreds of pots of impatiens, firecracker fern, pentas, twining cypress vine. Her yard was packed with crepe myrtles, trumpet vine, pomegranite, plumbago, oxblood and day lilies, pyracantha, turk's cap, tradescantia, physotegia, elephant ears, philodendron, ferns, and nameless climbing roses. In the mild
Curving beds, no straight angles. Ruthless pruning and getting rid of weak or untidy growth. Patience and the long view. Having a big vision that informs one’s garden plan. Scale, pattern, and texture matter as much or more than flowers. These are some of the things about gardening I learned from my mother.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
That's the name of this OPI nail color and nothing says “spring planting” like this color mixed with a little dirt and set off by oxalis. In the front bed, which is still pretty quiet, the gray germanders and sages yet to break out, I put blackfoot daisy and white nemesia fruticans, both perennials that should withstand the blast furnace placement next to the street. In memory of my mother who loved shrimp plants, I put two by the front door.
Because the deck rose garden was tailing out at both ends without any definition, I planted aspidistras to edge the plot and to create a pedestrian entrance into the side gravel yard. Along with another stand of aspidistras in the empty corner of the deck, the space already looks much better. The west end of the rosebed is still undefined; I want to curve the bed around the paving. This will have to wait until I figure out what to plant.
Looking towards gravel bed; what to plant to screen AC?
I also went crazy and bought a brugmansia. I’ve seen one growing in the ground on Scenic Drive. The tree is about the size of a typical mimosa. Having spent one winter here, admittedly a fairly mild one, I think parts of my yard might qualify as safe. I’m so close to my neighbors and have many closeted sheltered zones. For the time being it’s sitting in a pot looking exotic.
Looking to the back; big remodel going up behind