Monday, February 15, 2010

Hibernation in Progress

I think it was November '09, the last time I bothered to join in the GBBD share, concept by Carol of May Dreams Gardens up in Indiana. This clear blue sky shot was yesterday in my backyard, it was around 60 degrees for a few short blessed hours and I was out in it, sun dressed...soaking up the rays, collecting some vital-vitamin D and thanking Mother Nature for the reprieve. Damn. Last summer had me thinking I'd moved a tad too far south and this winter has me researching the likes of Mexico for a new home. I'm a sensitive being...I used to think of myself as a sunflower, a and willing to grow anywhere, so long as I could turn my face to the sun. Not true, I'm more like an Ocotillo...prickly, blooming only for rain, cold bare and stiff in the winter. Man, I hope my Ocotillo is still alive.

For the past 6 weeks or so I've been forcing myself to sit in the yard, and allow the chickens and bunnies some 'play-time' while I listen for and identify my backyard birds and journal. My girlfriend Dana calls this "Homestead TV." I haven't felt the urge to move around, yank out the death, prune, turn the compost...nada. And then, Valentines Day...sunshine, clear skies.
Bobble the bunny
Since I was back in the corner when the sun came out, peeling off layers of clothing, I got restless and began moving things around and taking stock. I had nearly 35 plants in that corner for the garden tour and now less than 10 remain. I'd decided to give it all to the animals...watching them devour what was left after the winter. Ooops, maybe that was the wrong thing to do?
Blanca, high stepping it back to the coop

The chickens and bunnies like the same food. They've been nibbling the roses, Buddleia, Coral Berry, parsley and anything new and tiny...just coming up. They avoid the Powess Castle, which I thought they'd eat...hearing somewhere along the line about it being a natural de-wormer. But after a little research found that the some 400 varieties of Artemisia are used for damn near everything but had nothing to do with worms even though they are commonly called 'wormwood.' In fact, they're most often used to ward off fleas. Note to self: chop up that Artemisia and shove under the sofa, under the rugs and anyplace else for upcoming spring invasion!

Leah and Blanca

The bunnies have been sharpening their teeth on the tough stems of the Cast Iron Plant...and I was letting them! I need to move the Buddleia and Oleander out of that area and figure out some natural/saving scheme for everyone involved. Anyone out there know what chickens and bunnies won't eat? It needs to be native and winter tough.

The Winter Greens-Garden: Brightlights Swiss Chard, Arugula, Culinary Sage, Onions, Red Lettuce, Beets, Mustard and Winter Savory.

Thank goodness for my greens garden. I didn't do a thing, except leave the leaves that got caught up in there for insulation. They've kept me alive this winter. I read Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" the first week in January and was so moved that I made a promise to shop at the farmers market on Wednesdays, and eat only humanely raised animals and food from my yard for a year. This patch has been keeping me alive.

I'll be sorry that I didn't cut the Fall Aster back, the seeds have been spread all over and I see the new growth coming up through the crushed granite and in the yard!

What hasn't turned to brown slime or sticks in my yard looks like this Fall Aster, which I think is beautiful...though dangerous. I was really expecting to have more blooms to talk about than the next 3 images. Inside my orchid is still blooming, since Christmas! But, my yard has taken a mighty blow. I let it happen. I'm hard core. I pulled in the potted plants but didn't rush to cover/water/labor over pre-freezing conditions. So, in a way it's all my fault...but not really.

Hallelujah Hymenoxis!
You know, I bought one single Hymenoxis at the old Tex-Zen Gardens that used to be on Burnet road, it was labeled "Desert Flower" and I didn't learn her real name until a few years ago. She's my favorite hell-strip plant and I'm just so amazed by her ability to bloom in every circumstance. I wish I were more like her.

Upright Rosemary, is there a time when it doesn't bloom?
My giant rosemary was covered with bees yesterday...bees! Where have they been hiding?


I'm not a fan of annuals but all the snapdragons I put in before the show have made it, and are either fully budded out or sporting a few fierce faces!

This last image is for Lori at The Garden of Good and Evil, who wondered what would become of the plants in my paint can wall...well, 4 made it through and 3 bit the dust! I didn't water the ones that lived are tiny miracles in my book.
That's the unfortunate score from here in the heart of Texas. I haven't been out in the blogosphere checking on my fellow gardeners here in town for sometime now, but I suspect those diligent plant saving folk did better than I. Here's to ya!
Happy Gardening!
What's blooming in your neck of the woods?


noel said...


wow, what a celebration for bloom day, i'm surprised you have snap dragons on display now...what a nice collection you have blooming today. I enjoyed reading your beautiful post today:)

Anonymous said...

Yes, thank goodness for hymenoxis! I also have a few scattered purple verbena and one lonely cyclamen that hasn't given up. But there is hope. I have two irises about to burst!


Lancashire rose said...

I'll bet you soon put those layers back on about 4pm yesterday! That was the point at which I said- that's it I'm going inside for a cup of tea. Hymenoxis- yupp- It seeds all over the place. A sunny little plant which looks much better if you give it a short back and sides right about now. I dug one up off my lot and now I have millions of them. Just like the bluebonnets. Honestly I don't know how you garden with chickens and rabbits. I would love chickens for their lovely eggs but I would they would only be allowed to eat pill bugs, slugs and snails! You are so lucky to have snapdragons blooming. I love them.

Caroline said...

I'm a fan of hymenoxis, too -- mine has literally bloomed non-stop since I planted it last spring. Rain, sleet, ice, drought, heat -- it just keeps on ticking like Timex! Happy GBBD!

Diana said...

Cheryl - I can't believe your Hymenoxis is blooming already! Mine are alive, but no blooms yet. You have my sympathies with the chickens and bunnies, but I can't give advice as I seem to be feeding my garden to either my dog inside the fence or the deer outside the fence! Happy GBBD!

Geno's Garden said...

Like your chickens, like their coop, like that rosemary!

Cat said...

Lavender and pennyroyal work well on flees too, I use the oil dilute in water through a spray bottle. Mind out with the pennyroyal though ;-)
Glad it's time to come out and play.
Come visit my new home...

Muhammad khabbab said...

Hi, just landed on your blog from somewhere and admired it a lot. Tour wordless Wednesday posts are very good. Snapdragons and rosemary shots are lovely in this post.

Bob said...

Our place is not much different. Even with these warm days it's still getting down below freezing at night. The greenest plant around here is the winter grass.

Do you know why Hymenoxis is called Four Nerve Daisy? I've never been able to find out why. It's one of those things that I just want to know.

Dawn said...

Okay, I could watch 'Homestead TV' for a long time. Your bunnies and chickens are adorable. And if your critters are eating your plants...well all I can say is you still have LOTS of blooms leftover. Absolutely beautiful garden photos! :-)

LindaCTG said...

I've been feeling like you: want to sit back and just look. I love Bobble & the chickens! My bunnies got lots of rose prunings last weekend; they have "their" own garden of cilantro & parsley and I pick them dandelions every night. Mine are house buns, but they get to play outside too. Linda

Annie in Austin said...

Good old Rosemary! It's a wonder isn't it? My snapdragons have been in for months without a single flower, Conscious Gardening.

As to Bob's question on Four-Nerved Daisy (which doesn't like me) Linda at CTG gave the alternate name of Tetraneuris. I looked on Wikipedia for Tetraneuris and read:
The name is of Greek origin, tetra, four and neuron, nerve, referring to the venation of the rays, which are three-lobed with the outer lobes themselves having an apparent vein down the middle.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Diana said...

Cheryl - I need some of your great ideas about fencing options to keep the darn digging dog out of my beds! You've used so many creative things to do that in your garden - where did you find fences/materials?

ConsciousGardener said...

Hey Diana,
It took me 4 trips to Johnson City to pick up 100 5 ft. cedar poles at a time...that's all my pick-up could hold. The place is Haynes Cedar Company. They're online. Each pole was 1.25$ and I bought the U brackets and the rest of the cedar 2x4's at Lowe's. I'm sure there was something closer, and you can find free cedar on Craigslist...if you want to drive all over the place and hunt it out piece by piece...I enjoyed the 5am drive while the sun was coming up.