Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snugglin' down on the Solstice

It turned bitter cold on this shortest day of the year. The weather this month here in Austin is wearing us all out. Yesterday it was almost muggy and we woke up to chilling winds and a grey, grey day. The sky looks like snow but there's nothing in the forecast. It'll be awhile before we get back in the garden so snuggle up and stay warm!
Happy Solstice, Gardeners!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bloom Day December 15, 2008

Yea! It's Bloom Day December 2008. This is my first year participating in this National/International event brought to us by the lovely Carol at May Dreams Gardens,
and it's starting to sink in...the wonderful documentation tool this idea provides. Thank you!
The above photo was taken yesterday of a baby Japanese Maple I planted in my back yard. It comes up to my hip and I can't wait to see what she will look like next year!
I wanted to also document the wonderful color of this years foliage, the only gift I'm aware of, from the drought! This 8ft. Red Oak was a volunteer in my yard; I put a tomato cage around her when she was only about a foot tall!

Oxallis still blooming among the Autumn leaves.

The kumquat has been blooming all fall! I hope we get fruit this year!

The basket that hangs outside the Chicken Coop keeps making it, these are flowers from last year!

Purple Lantana thriving in the cold!

Another basket with succulents about ready to die! They come back every year though!

A few blooms left on the Trumpet Vine.

I ate the last of the sweet peas yesterday while working in the garden...I doubt these will make it beyond tonight...we'll see.

Mexican Sage blooming in both the front and back yard.

Polygunum thriving under the leaves.

The Gregg's Mistflower continues to flower sans butterflies.

Not a great fact I'm going to apologize now for the lousy photos in this post. My fingers and camera were hardly working due to the cold! I wanted to show the many blooms on this mini Pom! It was transplanted last winter and has come back with an explosion of flowers.

Pink Geraniums blooming inside!

Yellow Lantana blooming in the front yard. I may need to rake....naaaaaa.

Poor Bougenvilla crying in the wind!

This sweet Fall Aster is a native volunteer in my yard this year. The funny thing is that I've walked up and down my street looking for her relatives and can't find them!

Second apology for nasty photos! I came in to warm up between doing the front and back yards to catch the blooms indoors and my camera and glasses fogged up! This Cyclamen was won by my husband at the Austin Garden Club Christmas Party! No one left without a few plants in tow! It's a great little club that meets monthly and engages in all sorts of volunteer gardening throughout the city...they had spiked punch...oh yea, they know how to throw a party!
Free plants and liquor...I'm there!
This is one of 3 Christmas Cactus...this one blooms both white and red on the same plant.

We did our Christmas cooking last night, also blooming on the table...Pointsettia, I miss the Pointsettia trees in Santa Barbara. It was the first time I'd seen one and I thought it must have been something else at the time.

Here's the solid red Christmas Cactus on the front porch.

I had to get down under her, but this is Loropetalum...fringe flower in the front yard.

Third apology...I could not get a shot of this Firecracker Fern whipping around in the camera simply refused to focus! What I'm documenting though is the Nastertium up from seed.
Blooming like crazy in the back is my giant Creeping Rosemary with the Nastertium blooming!

The last of the Plumbago I bet!

Hymenoxys...Four Nerve Daisy hanging on! Good grief, is that paper in there?

Lavender blooming and staying warm next to the Art Car.

Sweet Salvia Greggi refusing to die!

Copper Canyon Daisy blooming late in my yard.

Upright Rosemary
Old Blush, my favorite southern belle will go to hip soon!

These are the removed blooms from a pink Christmas Cactus given to me by a neighbor on Saturday. They are planted and I can't wait to see if they bloom for me next year!

Happy GBBD everyone! Stay warm!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Nursery Crawl #3

Here we are...the hosts to this rambling adventure, two fruits and a nut however you want to read it is up to you. Randy said this picture makes my butt look fat, I think Terry looks like an's his ball cap though. We began the last crawl with a visit to Miguel's Imports on Burnet you can see, the day is gorgeous so you know it was last week...we haven't seen the sun in awhile.

The gates are impressive, you may remember this place, it used to be downtown off 5th.

They have really nice patio art and furniture, the prices are very reasonable and there are some good buys up until the first of the year!

60% off whitewashed, unfinished pots! I didn't catch a shot of them but they have a large selection of chiminea's...better prices than Home Depot and Lowe's.

They have both folksy-rough and finished sculpture as well as metal work for collectors.

Randy and Terry are there in the back...they're looking for perfectly round pots with holes in the top...they had them but not big enough...

The second stop proved to be the best deal for me. Shoal Creek Nursery is just off Shoal Creek road on Hancock next to the Cemetery...a free source of rock by the way. Things tend to be pricey here but I found a Japanese Maple for $15! It was small...quart sized... I've never seen a price like that. They had several varieties ranging up to $160.

There are several ponds but I didn't notice a lot of water plants for sale. Note to self: check out the watergarden place up in Cedar Park.

Beautiful annuals and indoors a huge selection of fresh greens for Christmas, awesome decorations, tools and fertilizer and other pretty stuff.

Just another view facing North. They are having a sale on pottery as well, 50% off selected items...every color!

The owners live in Louisiana and truck the plants over from there, though a lot are grown right here. Everything looked healthy and happy and I've never had a problem with anything I've purchased.

This is Jerry, he was very knowledgeable and helpful!

That's as far as we got before the boys were mooing about food! So, this again, was Randy's choice "El Azteca" at 2600 East 7th Street.

As you can see it's got a colorful interior and the guys a were thrilled that we could get a pitcher of Margaritas. Everyone enjoyed their meal. I had the mole which was okay, but the charro beans were wonderful...until the next day that is.

They served us each a scoop of sherbet which is so old school and delightful. They have a huge selection of Mexican homemade candies and 2009 calendars at the checkout. We all got a calender, the images drawn or photographed have an aged appeal and the illustrations are classic...$3.50, you can't beat that for a stocking stuffer!

Terry gave it a thumbs to the side, and you can tell that Randy took most of the Margaritas, we haven't found a place that Randy doesn't think is "the best!"

Randy and Terry came across this little place on the East Austin Studio Tour earlier this month. It's called "The Utility Research Garden" as seen on the sign we saw propped up against a wall someplace inside. No one was there to help us, so we helped ourselves. We later found the owner on-line and realized that it's by appointment only, ooops!

They have a lot more for sale than just bamboo, whether you're in the mood for shopping or not, this place is worth a visit. It's uber creative with lots of whimsical visual art. Part of the property and grounds are available for rent.

This is the patio off the main building which currently houses a group of screen printers, we found their work yesterday at the Blue Genie Art Sale at the Monarch Center near Highland Mall, another great place for stocking stuffers and fine art.

I love industrial composition...someone is really scared of having their wheel barrels stolen!

This is what I mean by creative...checkout this mounded composition, and I don't know how old these pines were but they were luscious, I just had to scooch into the center, it was a super hiding place!

This is the side of the front building, everything is so detailed and all the doors gorgeous!

This cracked me up...looks like two guys at the urinals!

This is one of many window holes throughout the property.

These doors are gigantic! I'd really like to know who designed the place and where they got all this cool stuff!

One of a few greenhouses, notice the short wall, I just took a few shots of the walls and some of the details...there were succulents growing out of the cracks and fragments of finished art and found objects mortared into the spaces.

It's funny how all the nurseries are pulling out the's hard to find red in the summer.

I just loved this sign and abandoned sink station outside.

Here's an up close image of an area of the wall behind the greenhouse.

I had to include a few shots on the sepia setting...none of my shots are toyed with, I don't have photo shop...yet. I'm still trying to understand my camera and everything it can do!
I almost missed this above my head because I was so entranced by the wall and everything there was to see on the ground!

I love greenhouses! We couldn't find prices or help, but you can check out the website and make an appointment. It was mostly succulents, agave's, grasses, some trees, and lots of cacti.
Oh yea, Bamboo of course.

Super ideas everywhere you looked.

I'm falling in love with mounded plantings and have been planing one in my backyard for some time now. It was a magical feeling and provided such relief from the dreary Tillary Road that it was like stepping through an enchanted doorway into an eclectic Shangri-la.

I couldn't catch the butterflies, they were jumping around so fast but this mist flower was huge and teeming with insects!

On our way out we just had to play a bit in the little bamboo forest. The wind was slightly blowing and the dancing shadows made it a perfect reprieve. All we needed after a pitcher of Marg's was a hammock!

Not far up the street on Tillery is Ted's Trees.

I don't know what else to say, they had everything.

You have to drive to the back of the property to park and make your way through the jungle to find the office.

I guess I should clarify and say that they have everything except affordable tiny trees like my bargain of the day from Shoal Creek. I've been on the hunt for bare root fruit trees that should be available now but no one had any or had any idea when they would be coming in.

Lousey shot I know, but I just love Arizona Cypress and wish I could find a tiny one for my backyard. This baby was pretty big and too rich for my budget.

The sky was so blue and the berries on this China Berry reminded me of something Vincent VanGogh would have painted. When I got my house, we had a huge one in the back that split a few years ago. I've been trying to kill it ever since. It's a horribly invasive species and spreads by way of the birds...and unlike Nandina, you just can't remove the berries on a 30 foot tree.

As you can see, Ted's Trees offers more than just trees. There were several fields with large pots of shurbs and this one exposed greenhouse. Ted's is family owned and started as a wholesale nursery but they now sell to the public. They are just 2 miles east of downtown and were recently voted "Best Inner City Paradise" by the Chronicle, I may need to give them the heads up on The Utility Research Garden though!

We're adding another friend to the mix next week...Happy Gardening!