Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Today, in the Garden

I got out and watered this morning...I know the water restrictions are coming, so I'm getting the plants used to twice a week  Across from my fruit trees in the West Greens Garden, I have a rose, artemisia, a few firecracker ferns and the rest is dedicated to butterflies and hummingbirds.  

 Ms. Monarch on Butterfly Weed
 Gulf Fritillary on the Passion Flower Vine 
 more Monarch!  
 This wasn't such a great discovery...the rest of the tree seems fine, but I've got ants all over this year...mild winter?  They're all over my artichoke today as well...hmmm.
 Sweet baby persimmon...the symmetry is so lovely, it could be  James Avery creation.
 Hubby got out in the garden this morning to snatch up the blackberries...but he missed this one!  Ha!
 It's almost time to dig up the onions...they're laying down.  We plant 300 every winter and it almost gets us through the year!  
 The tomatoes I planted in the ground this year are doing much better than the ones in pots...I'm not expecting the fabulous harvest we had last year, but it's been a learning lesson that I will adjust next year.
 Last year I filled the bottom of the pots with my own compost, then filled the bulk of the pot with an organic potting soil...mulched several inches at the top.  I planted them in the A&M trusted "trough method" along with organic plant food and fed them once a month and every other week with Alaska Fish Emulsion, foliage spray.  We ate tomatoes every day for almost 6 weeks.  That's what worked.
 Randy's Rose...until someone can identify her for me.
 Here's something that used to come up all over my yard.  It disappeared and I forgot all about it, then it's back this year...Lambs Quarter.  It's great finely chopped in soups and stir fries and is an excellent source of B vitamins.  It's got a tart, lemony taste...not great raw.
Lambs quater
 The single blackberry above is one of several plants that were given to me from my friend Sabrina.  We transplanted them from her garden, the 6 inch root method.  This year I chopped down about 6 inches from my stalks to get some more root sections to spread...everywhere I chopped the roots, stalks came up!  I love it when you get a surprise like that!  This blackberry, the one that's pale and tiny is one that I bought.  It was labeled "thornless" and isn't as vibrant and rich green...we'll see how that goes.
Here's one of my potted tomatoes.  It looks okay, but the leaves are puny and here's what I've learned this year.  I thought that I would mix some potting soil with compost, a little of last years dirt and some new garden soil from the Natural Gardener.  I did the trough method, added the organic food and laid on a thick layer of Sylvan mulch.  Well...none of the potted tomatoes are thriving...all have tiny leaves and most of the flowers have just dried up.  I have been gone 17 days in the past 2 months since planting them, so the watering has not been consistent...that may be part of the problem, but's the soil.  It's too solid, I don't think the roots are able to stretch and grow abundantly because of the density...I'll have to check this at the end of the season in the and learn.  
Roses and blackberries...I planted them together thinking that I'd keep the birds out of the thorns!
Our lovely Texas native columbine
Citronella flowers!  Because of the mild winter, we've been blessed with a boon of fruit...and also a hoard of I have been propagating my citronella like crazy...using every pot in the yard!  Scat mosquitoes!
The buds on the Peruvian Lily
And here is one, opening...the hummingbirds and bees love the nectar!  It's a beautiful blustery day and I've got a lot of work ahead...pulling up the arugula, making room for the okra, mowing what's left of my tiny yard and having a glass or two of hibiscus sun tea!

Cheers and Happy Gardening!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day!

April Fool's Day is long gone now but it was my 5-year blogging birthday.  Today, I hardly blog at all...I've learned that I really prefer actual gardening, rather than writing about it.  I still research things as needed but only if I have to...I prefer to learn by process, and by making mistakes.  Somehow, the lessons learned kinetically stick with me...whereas reading them, without immediate application, does not.
The photo above shows a few dependable plants of note: heart leaf skullcap, river fern and spider wort.  By the end of summer, the fence will be covered in passionflower vine.
 While in Vancouver, the arugula went to flower, along with the cilantro and cabbage.
 The Cecille Brunner in full bloom with little Dorothy Belle.
 The 300 onions we planted in January, along with oregano, tomatoes and the Peggy Martin Rose.
 Another shot of Peggy Martin with the Loquat tree to the left.

 This is a shot from under the arbor looking due East at the blackberries, roses and Loquat.
 The second Cecille Brunner, now in full sun is growing straight up!
 I was worried about this wet year, drowning the ocotillo...but she's back...and with a single bloom!
 The angry bird in the rose garden was a gift from my friend Anne Marie!  We love it!
 Randy's rose, Knock-out, Martha Gonzales and Peggy Martin, with a single stalk on the Red Yucca.
 Randy's Rose in front of Martha Gonzales.
 The year of the Loquat!  We harvested over 8 gallons...7 of which are cleaned and freezing for later projects.  We have made 3 batches of Loquat Margaritas so far this spring!  Yum!
 Cheryl's Loquat Margarita's:  1 1/4 cup of Silver Tequila, 1/3 cup of Cointreau, 1/2 tube of Limeade.  Then fill blender to the top with frozen loquats...blend.  After the loquats blend down, add ice to the top and blend again.  Garnish with sliced loquats!  Cheers!
 When we got back from our trip, the roses were still going strong!
 This is the first year that the poppies came up everywhere!  The front yard is simply beautiful right now!
 My favorite blooming tree...The Pride of Barbados is just stunning with her spitting ribbons of red!
 Gulf coast penstemon blooming in front of powess castle artemesia with the mountain laurel gone to seed.
 The first of the majestic sage to bloom out along with sunflowers and larkspur.
 Our first try at growing artichoke and cardoon.  They've simply tippled in size over past 2 weeks!
 Cardoon, oxalis, Autumn Sage, red yucca, Texas Sage, Rosemary, and that spot of red is the last bloom on the baby quince.
 I went to Kansas City at the end of March to be with my Mom through her radiation treatment...which went really well...and while there, we drove up to visit my uncle Clyde who has 2 acres just north of the city with a few dozen Black Walnut trees, a huge beautiful garden along with wild gooseberries and a giant paw-paw patch.  He dug up 5 little baby paw-paw trees for me and they sat in a bucket for the better part of a week, then in the car for the 11 hour drive, another 2 days on my front porch before I got them in the ground...2 of them have leafed out and are doing great...I'm still waiting to see how the others turn doesn't look good.
 Here they are in the ground.  As you can see from the above shot, they are connected at the root.  Paw-paws need to be planted together in a patch...I hope these two thrive and spread!
 While we were working we saw a swarm from one of the old sycamore stumps in the front yard!
 I haven't taken the time to research what they are...I hope not termites!
 The newly planted Florida King peach with fruit!
 Belinda's Dream rose, fern-leaf verbena, sage, copper canyon daisy, huisache, iris, larkspur and fig.
 We were worried about the Mollie Delicious bare root tree, but she's finally leafed out!
 This is a shot looking toward the west greens garden from off the front pergola, draped with the last of the Lady Banksia Rose.
 Blooming Red yucca and Autumn Sage, treats for the hummingbirds!
 Up close shot of the Smoke tree!  I walked the 5 block radius of my house and didn't see any.   I wanted to increase the diversity of our I put in the huisache, smoke tree and flowering quince!
 Jerusalem Sage...I love the missing petals' star shaped base!
 The West Greens Garden with roses, persimmon, fig and pomegranate trees.
 This is a rose that my mom picked up at Home Depot the year we moved in...'97.  Can anyone identify her for me?
 Pomegranate blossom
 The red Hazel is loving the sun and seems much happier after putting some cotton burr compost around her!
Rosemary, Cecille and peach tree in the back.

It's now the middle of the month, Earth Day to be exact, and these photos were shot 2 weeks ago.  We have harvested the peaches from across the street and currently have blackberries turning by the day.  Last month we lost our American Elm, and we've yet to make a decision about what to do next because I needed to go to Kansas City to be with my Mom and then my adoring spouse and I went to Vancouver for a week so I've hardly been home to either work or blog about it.  Still, so far this year we've put in 2 pawpaws (that are alive) one peach, one plum, 2 apples, a Fuji and Mollie Delicious, huisache, quince, smoke and this morning I picked up a Meyers Lemon for the front deck.  We've got 300 onions starting to fall over and still tons of arugula, Swiss chard, cilantro, and several peppers and eggplant in the garden.  We've also got 12 tomatoes and several basil...I put some in pots and scattered seeds just to see how they'd do...and they've come up.  What we didn't do is start the three sisters...corn, beans and squash and I've been trying to give away as much Mexican petunia as I can to start a yam patch...but didn't get that done in time.  Hopefully the summer won't kill my persimmons and it looks like it'll be a fabulous year for pomegranates as well!  So much to do!  I really want to have a Crestview Gardener's get together before the weather gets too hot to enjoy and the mosquitoes take over.  
I was also diagnosed with hypothyroidism about 2 weeks ago, which has really helped to explain my general lack of energy, weight gain and constant headaches...which hasn't made me feel like socializing or writing much because who wants to share when what's on your mind is...what's wrong with me?  I will say that over the past year, the time that I've felt the very best is when I was working in the garden.  That's been April...
so far.  And phase 2 of the urban edible forest is mid-way there...or almost!

Happy Gardening!