Wednesday, May 30, 2012

End of May Update

School's out today.  Tonight is the first Blues on the Green at Zilker Park, and the Capital Area Master Naturalists meet at the Nature and Science Center for our annual pizza party and board elections...Greg and I have been asked to run for Vice Presidents...we're excited and honored!

 So, my tomatoes have been a disappointment this year due to one of my soil experiments...oh well, lesson learned.  Still, I have lots of onions and enough tomatoes that I've been eating them a few times a week...just not daily, like last summer and the upshot is that I tossed out basil seeds randomly, so I have more basil than ever before; I'll have to get busy making pesto soon.
 Lunches have been fabulous...I've added avocado and cottage cheese to the standard, tomato, basil, mozzarella, onion, Balsamic vinaigrette dish...more creamy and delicious than ever! 
 Here's a snap shot from the picture window, facing North.   A volunteer rudbeckia, Peruvian lily, datura, peaches, Mexican tarragon, rosemary, lemon grass, red yucca...what's missing?  Hummingbirds. 
Our very first apple blossom on the new Fugi!
May 5th was Prom and I hardly had a blossom in the yard...dang!  Here's a shot of the pergola out front.  Blooming: cone flower, oxaslis, quince, Autumn sage, butterfly bush, Mexican sage!
Greg's been perfecting his brisket and it's kept the mosquitoes at bay!  Yay!
The pomegranate, persimmon, peach and fig trees are loaded!
The last favorite floppy flower...echinacea...cone and orange goofy love!  I've split and planted her all over, along with butterfly weed and they are going crazy!!!

It's been a great gardening month full of movement and surprises.  We have moved the compost, the chicken coop, the tables and umbrellas and are re-thinking our space.  Yesterday we locked in on a loan to start remodeling and adding on.  We are up in the air about leaving or staying but the time to re-finance is when the interest rates are lower than they've been in 70  We've got 2 months before closing and we'd like to find a green builder, and have it finished by next summer...things never happen as fast as you think or want them too, so the wait is on.  In the meanwhile...Life is good, and I hope you're out enjoying this wonderful spring!

Happy Gardening!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day, Who Cries For The Flower's Lost?

My Crestview home, 15 years ago, when we moved in.

Where I live, in the middle of Austin, Texas...directly North of the University by 5 miles, used to be the edge of the Black land Prairie.  My neighborhood is called Crestview, because of its a gentle rise and the old timers say that they used to be able to see the West Hills before all the trees were planted and it was a beautiful view of what O'Henry named the "Violet Crown" referring to sunset.  That is the original name of the neighborhood, still printed alongside the old survey of my property. 
Times change.
The house is now yellow, I've removed the sidewalk and the driveway, designed and added a pergola, among other costly hard scape features and probably over 100 plants...some are still with us and some didn't make it through the crazy Texas heat and some were lost in the freaky long freezes of 3 days or more.
Here is a little yard art I created a last fall, after the summer of hell.  I did not plant for pleasure last year, only food...this represents all the tagged plants that are no longer in my garden.  I'm still losing mature trees, most notably the American Elm, 3 Red buds a plum and I will be losing my Sycamore out front...soon.
I have loved this tiny lot of land and consider it the only real home I've ever had...home being a place that is, rather than a state of mind as in...with the people you love.  My nuclear family moved all over the place so I have no attachment before here...and now, to the land.  And, we are moving and I will miss this place something awful, but change is coming and its reward is growth.
I will miss this view out my back door...the paths I meander through the various rooms of my garden.

I wonder what will survive the coming droughts and tenants.

I wonder if we will make it back.

  In the route of my life, I've returned to places I've lived for only a short period of time and end up having a strong urge to keep forging forward.  I stayed in this one house for the sole purpose of giving my two daughters a sense of home.  It's been hard to stay, every few years I've had to fight the urge to get the heck out...usually in July and August.  It's the garden, the feeling that I need to be here for the plants and animals that has kept me tethered...for I believe that they love me as much as I do they...and my daughters don't have the same attachment as do I, though I'm told that they will remember it fondly and realize that they grew up surrounded by beauty and blossoms, when they mature.  

I hope so.

I know that they are going out into the world finding their own way and I don't worry so much about them.  They are smart and strong.  I worry about my flowers and trees and if the hummingbirds will still come to see what's blooming and I hope to find my way back to this precious place.  

Memorial day is about remembering people lost, and I do.  But I also remember and cherish the times spent growing and cultivating and loving and laughing in my garden.

I cry for the flowers lost.

Happy Memorial Day and Happy Gardening

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Foliage Follow-Up...Sage Gray

For quite some time now, Pam of Digging has been running a catch-on to Garden Blogger's Bloom Day, entitled "Foliage Follow-Up" and this is the first time that I am participating.  I woke up this morning, realized I'd once again missed bloom day and decided to take a walk around my garden and assess the foliage situation...hoping for some inspiration, and I believe I found my favorite color, sage gray.

 This is the West greens garden...the side against the house is for pollinators, the space between houses is for fruit trees and greens.  Lots of gray, artemisia, heart-leaf skullcap and bronze fennel.  
 The gray in the above photo is my new smoke tree!
 Hazel can look gray when it's changing to summer red.
 In the morning light, fuzz on fountain grass looks gray too.
 Jerusalem sage
 Cardoon...looks so much like artichoke!
 Our beautiful Silverado Sage!
 A close up of the smoke tree!
 Texas Sage
 Prickly pear fruit...gray fruit!
 Lovely artemisia with heart-leaf skullcap, so soft and fuzzy and fragrant!
 These silver-gray mushrooms have been carpeting the mulch!
 I never get tired of using artemisia in the brings out the beauty in almost anything beside, inland sea oats.
And lastly, culinary sage.  This has been fun!  Thank you Pam for the eldest daughter is named sage, Autumn Sage, I LOVE Sage...and my question to you is...what's your favorite gray in YOUR garden?

Happy Gardening!

Mother's Day Project

I spent the better part of March and April trying to find homes for several shade loving plants, but also trying to rid my yard of "the pink islands."  A patch of Mexican Ruellia that just kept growing and growing until it became something like Cristo's artwork in the center of my backyard...after a rain that is.  Anyway, I finally got rid of one of the smaller islands to make room for....

Can you tell what it is??

It's a Sweet Potato Patch in the shape of a sweet potato with eyes!   Every mother's day I rally the troops to help me with a project in the yard...I usually forget to blog about it but it was such a satisfying endeavor, this time around that I just had to!  First we took out the ruellia, then we used the American Elm trunk pieces to draw the lines, using the bigger stumps for the "eyes." Next,  we emptied the compost, covering the fresh green scraps from pruning and then topped it off with Natural Gardener Garden Soil.  I've got to get her covered with mulch...yet.

And now, she sits and waits 'til the next planting season!  I love it when projects come together, and families come together...I just wish I could get my girls in the garden like this, everyday!

Happy Gardening!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Life of a Tree

So, here we are...a few months later...Juliette our fair owl left when I went  to Kansas City to be with my Mom.  It's been a busy spring, so we finally got around to taking the rest of the tree down...which is great, because ideas tend to come with time and dreaming.

 Robbie wants to do the honors!
 The fine saw dust is all around, but when the saw goes directly down, against the grain the wood curls.
 The revealing moment!
 And there ya go!  Two seats in one!
 The day is almost gone...but I've got a patio to build around the two chairs this weekend!
 And Juliette's owl house is saved and propped against the fence.
 All this on Autumn's first day home from college!  This was the girls tree and tree house, the reason I chose to buy the house in the first place!
And there is enough saw dust to cover the seed beds!  The plan is to allow the stump to dry out, then sand it down and varnish it so it'll last!  We love it and every single part of our tree has remained on the many cozy fires to come!

Happy Gardening!