Wednesday, July 14, 2010

It's a Cool, Cool Summer! GBBD

It's been awhile since I posted and it's not because I've been busy working in my garden. No, I haven't been doing much outside at all. This most amazing Texas summer (so far...knock on wood) has been taking care of my yard for me. Regular rain along with cloudy, breezy days makes me feel like I'm on vacation. The barometer bush, seen below seems to have been in constant purplidge (I think I just made that up.)

Leucophyllum frutescens, Texas Sage, Texas Ranger, Silver Leaf, Barometer Bush, Purple Sage, Silverado, Cenzio has more common names than 2222.

Two of my Cenzio's do this, the others just bloom a light lavender color, sometime after the rains. According to what I've read the trigger is either humidity level or soil moisture...and it seems to be true either way.

The mound is becoming less visible as the ground covers continue to spread. I've got purslane, fernleaf verbena and Santolina along with various grasses and the Ocotillo, which is shy this year...lots of leaves, no blooms.

Thryallis, Golden Shower

Mexican Petunia, ruellia gets a bad rap for being invasive, and it is...but knowing that nothing can kill it makes it a favorite around here. This 'pink island' will be waist high by October...guaranteed.

Canna Lily

Tobasco pepper, Capsicum frutescens

Gregg's Mistflower, Conoclinium greggi

Birdii dorkus
So, this is what has become of my homestead TV. Common sense drove me indoors, away from the mosquitoes and air thick enough to swim in. We were blessed to have my brother take my girls for a month and we happened upon a wonderful carpenter so years of planning took shape. The window seat I'm sitting on was one of 3 built-in projects that gobbled up the better part of June. The former "studio" which has been re-named "The Bird Blind Bar" has become our favorite roost.

And here is the West Wall, the actual 'bar.' 7 years ago my beloved husband built the studio out of the existing screened in porch...the window bar, favoring the little coffee bar in Amsterdam where we decided to marry was planned that long ago. The window seat was an obvious need.
Check out my carpenter Bryan Thomas' new blog:

And here she is, Ursala, our little Black Chinned Hummingbird that has stolen our heart!

Last Sunday we spent 6 hours drinking Peach Margarita's and documenting her comings and goings. My teen aged daughters were mortified, proclaimed us 'the biggest dorks EVER.' I've been called worse. She goes from the back feeder, over the house to the front and I believe she's built a nest in the American Elm...though until winter, when the foliage is gone, I won't be sure.

Turks Cap, Malvaviscus arboreus is one of Ursula's favorites

To date, I've yet to put out the sprinkler. After the loss of our Sycamore, I decided to let the grass's St. Augustine, shade grass. It's mid-calf now and due to the rain and clouds shows no signs of stress, if not for the chiggers I'd be rolling in it.
And the Green Goddess has decided to don a lovely dress rather than give up! It looks like a crazy Carnival Tango get-up!

There seems to be a lot going on here, but what I'm showing is the height of the bronze fennel, nearly 5 ft tall!

My neighbor feeds the doves sunflower seeds, spreading the joy throughout the hood!

Red Yucca, another hummingbird favorite!

The most profuse tomato in my garden is Early Girl, she's got a dozen or so green ones holding on. The first to stop putting on fruit were the heirlooms, Purple Cherokee and Oaxacan Stripe. But this one, Green Stripe is still going. It's very flavorful and the skin pulls off at the slightest tug, but she's suffering seam splits along her color changes. All of them have this brown scarring.

Great year for eggplant!

Tickseed, Coreopsis Lanceolata found her way into my yard via neighbors.

I'm going to guess that this is a Julia Heliconian caterpillar, let me know if I'm wrong! It's near the Passionflower Vine, its host. This is one of the shy Silverado bushes that waits for wet feet to bloom. The Crape Myrtle's are still going strong!

Butterfly Weed, Tropical Milkweed Asclepias curassavica

We took a drive out to Fredericksburg this past Saturday and stopped in at Wildseed Farms
to pick up a hummingbird/butterfly mix and upon reading the label realized that there were just a few plants I was missing...according to them. So, I bought the mix and will put them out come October...we'll see how that goes. If you haven't been there, put it on your list. The hummingbirds were busy and butterflies amazing. They have a butterfly house, but we didn't drop the change to see what it was all about because the air was thick with them anyway.

I put in 3 bronze fennel plants last fall, this spring I ended up with 11. This one plant is the view outside my computer desk! I've been watching the swallowtails for nearly 2 months!

Passionflower Vine, host plant to the Gulf Fritillary finally bloomed. Randy gave me 3 babies last summer and I didn't think they'd make it. They not only made it, but they are popping up all over! The 'pillars have made skeletons out of several of the vines, but a few have survived into bloomage!

That's the update...there are lots more blooming things though:



all of the Sage and Fennel

Indian Blanket




Second round of blooms on the Pride of Barbados

Rock Rose

Lambs Ear

Katrina Rose

Knock Out Rose

Belinda's Dream


Oregano, and Mexican Oregano


Society Garlic

Trailing Lantana

Chaste Tree
OOPS...forgot these:
Patrick's Abutilon
Cuphea (not the bat faced, but the "David" one...?)
Almond Verbena
New Golden Lantana

Next months Bloom Day will find me in the Davis Mountains counting hummingbirds with a group of Naturalists! I'm finding that my gardening interests are leaning farther toward sustenance and ecology and away from 'pretty plant' mindedness. I looove a gorgeous bloom but it's ever more precious when I learn how she fits into the greater web and I'm more impressed with strength and flexibility than ever.

Thank you Carol of May Dreams Gardens for hosting bloggers around the world! Check out her sight to see what's blooming anyplace on earth! And always,

Happy Gardening!


mss @ Zanthan Gardens said...

"air thick enough to swim in" That was my first impression of central Texas when I moved here in July so many years ago. It must have been a wet summer then, too.

Like you, I'm loving it. And loving it from indoors. It looks so lush that I'm often drawn outside to work on something. Then, the mosquitoes and the humidity just press on me.

Anonymous said...

Cool pictures! I am growing my first TickleMe Plant with my kids. In all my gardening years I've never grown a plant that really MOVES when you Tickle It! I know it is getting very popular to grow TickleMe Plants and for good reason. They are more like a pet then a plant. Now they are easy to grow in the TickleMe Plant Greenhouse

Mikael Behrens said...

Wow, what a beautiful huge window! But you might need some kind of screen or netting in front of it to prevent bird strikes.

ConsciousGardener said...

Mikael, the window has been there for 7 years...just the seat is new. We haven't had a bird hit it yet...we did worry about that when we put it in, but I think my housekeeping is poor enough that the birds know it's not a through way!

Tracy said...

Hahaha - "Birdii dorkus" Great post! I love the Bird Blind Bar and that fabulous window seat - that's quite a view you have!

The Curious Holts said...

GREAT post. Your garden is soooo amazing and the new bird blind is TA DIE FAH!

Unknown said...

I love the pink ruellia bank - makes a great show. The bird bar is a wonderful idea. Looks like a great place to be during our summers.

Amy Farrier said...

The carpet of intense lavender under the cenizo is beautiful. And I think Mexican petunias look best like you have them, in a nice full stand. That window seat & bird-view are amazing; I so want one!

Unknown said...

absolutely beautiful! i've loved following your studio's inspiring me to build a bar in my dining room!


Noel Morata said...


i love your photos of your beautiful flowers, your garden window view is spectacular, i would love a large picture window like that

thanks for sharing your blooms today.

Unknown said...

I think you did make it up, but "purplidge" certainly SHOULD be a word! I absolutely adore your red shelves--and the Green Goddess. She's like the Anti-Burning-Man sculpture somehow... the yin to his yang.

Great GBBD post!

Unknown said...

I miss seeing you, my garden friend. And I think the house construction looks marvelous and as usual, your yard is so fun! Hope all is well with you.

ConsciousGardener said...

I miss you to Bonnie!

Thanks ya'll~!

Sue Catmint said...

Hi Cheryl, I'm pleased to hear you're having a garden-friendly summer - we're having the same kind of winter, lots of rain. Your plants are all looking so happy. I love the idea of purplidge - I think you did make it up and a good thing too. It was just waiting and waiting for someone to make it up and it contributes something wonderfully meaningful to our garden vocabulary.
Cheers, catmint

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hi! Popped over to pay you a visit and thank you for commenting on my blog. Wow! What a fun tour, indoors and out. Your gardens are lovely. But once the temps hit 90 I'd be so thrilled with that window seat... :))

ConsciousGardener said...

Catmint, always a pleasure to visit your blog and Kate, I'm blown away by your garden! Thank you for visiting back! We had a fabulous trip to Utah 2 years ago and we're still blown away by the National Parks...I hadn't even considered the state beyond the "natural beauty" your garden is so inspirational! Especially in temps like today!

lotusleaf said...

Very pretty flowers.Many of those I grow in my garden too. Thanks for your visit to my blog. Have a wonderful day!

Bill Dodd said...

Hi Cheryl - love seeing your new hummer bar, window and blooming plants in the garden. Beautiful! I think the caterpillar on your Cenizo is a Theona Checkerspot. Cenizo is its larval host plant.

ConsciousGardener said...

Thanks Bill! Sue and I are planing to join groups for a birding/beer/brunch at the BirdBlind! Can't wait 'til the Davis Mts! See ya next Thursday...

LindaCTG said...

I love that window seat but that window is my future dream. From there, it's like you're watching a movie outside!

ConsciousGardener said...

Well, come on over Linda...I gotta let you know that I've been spending a lot more time looking at the garden on the 'big screen' indoors, then out in that swamp air!