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?