Sunday, April 15, 2018

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day April 2018

It's been a challenge to blog lately with near perfect gardening weather awaiting me.  We have a short planting window in spring to ensure plants are established before the summer heat sets in.   It's especially important this year since I've been moving a lot of plants to expanded areas of the garden.  While my blogger friends farther north are digging out from their second snow storm in as many days I'm joining Carol at May Dreams Gardens for Garden Blogger's Bloom Day and sharing blooms from April in my San Antonio garden.

Native Lace Cactus and Damianita make a nice bright combination.  This pretty cactus used to grow among the rocks in vacant areas around our neighborhood and I miss seeing it in the wild.

In the back garden Belinda's Dream and Mr. Moy roses are getting along well.

Belinda's Dream produced a dozen pink blooms at once.  Beautiful!  She's a good cutting rose and they last quite a while in a vase.

Grandma's Yellow is still blooming too.

John Fanick Phlox was discovered blooming in an old San Antonio neighborhood and is named for a local nurseryman.  Gardening Volunteers of South Texas will be holding our April Gardening Essentials Class at Fanick's beginning noon tomorrow and you're invited.   Learn more about gardening, and tour a 75-year multi-generation family business, and also get a nice discount.

Pomegranate blooms are a favorite.

Bright orange and a pretty shape that stands out in the trees.

A Pomegranate forming on the lower left.  We don't count on getting fruit since it is so variable with weather conditions.

Henry and Augusta Duelberg Salvias bloom with little to no care.  I tried the white Augusta in a separate bed but they look much better in combination with blue Henry.  I think they would have liked it that way.

My weeds really are wildflowers or many of them at least.  As I wait for woody perennials to bloom yellow Greenthread and Prairie Verbena fill in among Bluebonnets going to seed.   Looks like a great crop of Bluebonnets for next year.

All in all a great month in the garden.

That's the best of blooms from my garden for April.  Be sure to head over to GBBD at May Dreams Gardens to see what Carol and other bloggers are sharing from their gardens.  I look forward to meeting Carol and 90+ fellow bloggers at the Garden Bloggers Fling in May.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Wildlife Wednesday April 2018

It's the first Wednesday of April and that means Wildlife Wednesday hosted by Tina at "My Gardener Says....".  Wow, do I have some cool stuff from the past month of March!  Even though we've continued our cool, cloudy weather longer than usual things are picking up.

I looked out the window one morning last week and spotted this Gray Fox climbing our tree next to the deck.  I had heard they climbed trees but imagined them walking on horizontal low branches common to our native live oaks.  Not so.  This Fox flattened against the tree and then climbed straight up the trunk like a squirrel or cat.  Unfortunately I wasn't fast enough to get photos of the climbing action.  This is 20ft (6m) up!

Searching for bird eggs or squirrels.

Jumping down to the lower branch.  So much fun to watch!

Gray Foxes are native to North and Central America and the only canid whose range spans both.  They have hooked claws which allows them to climb trees.  Getting down is a little more challenging.

All of the above photos were taken through the window.  Now back down on the ground, it joined its mate.  Wouldn't it be fun to find their den and see the kits?

The woodpile is always popular with so many places for tasty meals to hide.

Just before turning to walk away one flashed us a grin.  Seems they enjoyed their visit as much as we did.

Hummingbirds are also back and I'm keeping the feeder filled since most of their favorite flowers are yet to bloom.  I staked out the feeder on a windy afternoon and caught this GIF.  It's easy to know when to start the camera since they literally hum their approach.  Sometimes they first appear sitting above to make sure all is clear.  Catching them on a real flower is much more challenging.  Didn't see any red so this must be a Black-Chinned hummingbird.

Green Anoles have returned to the garden as the weather warms up.  Anoles have the endearing habit of claiming a specific plant as their territory and climbing to the top to await moths and other insects.  I heard one snap at a moth one day and it was quite audible.  It's unclear how this muhly grass is working out since it's not as sturdy as their usual agave perches.  Perhaps the agaves were all taken.  Depending on their perch anoles turn a color range from bright green to brown.  The change occurs quickly and is fun to watch.  This one is just a few shades short of bright green.

Meet "Mr. Buttons" who has been hanging out by the brush pile waiting for cuttings of Ruellia and other tasty plants.  Deer shed antlers in winter after mating season and before fawns arrive.  Buttons show new antlers are emerging.  They're also kicked out of the herd about the same time so he's on his own waiting for food delivery.  I rattle the gate when tossing deer edibles and he will walk over to inspect.


That's the wildlife report for the past month.  You can find more wildlife posts in the comments section at "My Gardener Says...".

Monday, April 2, 2018

On the Door for Easter Monday!

Another installment of "On the Door" as I bring back the basket planter for another season.  Fernleaf Lavender and Shasta Daisies with succulents make a nice combination.

There's not enough light here for these to keep blooming so I'll move them to the garden and find some brighter colors for our upcoming Fiesta season.  It's so much fun having this rotating selection of flowers on the door.

Sunday afternoon I headed into the garden with shears to cut a few roses for the dinner table.  Henry Deulberg salvias, purple verbena and rosemary also made it into the mix.

Back in the kitchen a plain vase awaited but I decided to use this Fox water pitcher instead.  Perched on a milk glass cake stand from my husband's family (no one remembers exactly where it came from) and surrounded by cascarones it worked beautifully on the table.

Most of my flowers are native wildflowers which work best outside and since I'm often in the garden I don't bring a lot of cut flowers inside.  This has been a good year for roses with enough rain and I remembered to fertilize in late winter.  The pink roses are 'Belinda's Dream' bred in Texas to resist all that nature can throw at it and I think they succeeded beautifully.  Grandma's Yellow is also a Texas rose with quite a story.  It was tested right here in San Antonio at Dr. Larry Stein's grandmother's garden.

Grandma's Yellow has a lot of thorns so I solved that by combining with a spineless cactus!

Hope you all had a great weekend.  It's going to be a good week in the garden here in South Texas!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Happy Easter!

An Easter basket was just the ticket for my friend Melody who needs a little extra cheer this spring.  Three colorful Zinnias which are a favorite of hers, and because every Easter Basket needs chocolate I tucked in a pot of Chocolate Mint.  Chocolate mint smells like Thin Mints but lasts a lot longer.

She is a gardener so I left the plants in their 4" pots wrapped with tissue paper and twine making them easier to transplant later.  The eggs are cascarones, a tradition from China by way of MexicoColorful eggs filled with confetti meant to be broken over the head of a friend.  Good fun for our upcoming Fiesta season.

Tucking the eggs in the basket works too.

A surprise visit found her in the garden and she said those magic words "do you have a few minutes." It had been a while so we spent at least an hour walking and talking through her large gardens.  As we talked I took a few photos to share with you.  Enjoy!

Columns of Crossvine blooming by the pool.  I can't remember seeing these in bloom before so this was a treat.  Melody uses a lot of vines and climbers in her garden and after my first visit to Melody's garden nearly five years ago, I was inspired to plant more vines in my own garden.

Blooms in a large honeycomb rock which I don't remember what they are.  She will let us know I'm sure.

Pink Poppies and matching roses by the arbor entrance to the woodland shade garden.

Masses of Texas Gold Columbine mixed with Bluebonnets and poppies yet to bloom by the barn.

The sign of a real gardener, a potting bench with works in progress and a bouquet of bluebonnets.

She was delighted with the basket and even told me she had planned on getting Chocolate Mint at the nursery this year.  Love it when that happens.

A nice spring day to spend time in the garden to catch up.

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Wildflower Wednesday March 2018: Damianita

Damianita (Chrysactinia mexicana) has been blooming in the front garden this week and I've been going out there almost every day just to enjoy their golden beauty.  I'm joining Gail at Clay and Limestone for Wildflower Wednesday to take a closer look at a great native landscape plant for Central Texas.

Soft, daisy-like flowers on bright green foliage make it so attractive in the landscape.  Highly aromatic woody stems with the scent of camphor makes it icky to deer.  Not so much as a tiny nibble.

Great view from the street side.

A nice walk especially on a cloudy day.

This October 2017 photo shows Damianita remains evergreen when not in bloom which is why I chose it to replace the under-performing Lantana originally planted here.

Still back in October showing off a good landscape plant year round.  The green mound in the island bed is also Damianita.

Green even in the snow!

Damianita is a local native which survives on rocky outcroppings in the Texas Hill Country with no supplemental water so it stays happy with just an occasional deep drink during hot summer months.  The Lantana it replaced required a lot more water to look good in this hot spot.  Damianita thrives in the reflected heat from gravel mulch, the driveway and a full southern exposure with 10+ hours of direct sun in the summer.

They are picky about pruning.  When the blooms are done I will lightly shear the tops to encourage another round of blooms which will continue until fall.  Shearing keeps them from getting leggy and topping out around 12" high though I have seen them get closer to 3' in the wild.  Sometimes a few brown stems will show and I just use clippers to cut the stems back about halfway to green them up again.  Making sure not to cut the woody stems too far back is about the only concern with Damianita.

Damianita is polite enough to set out a seedling (left) exactly where I would have added one anyway.  I'd like more seedlings because I have a lot more places to add these little wonders.

Damianita is a great choice for the streetside bed too so I added another one recently.

No wonder I'm adding Damianita wherever I can find a sunny spot in need of year-round green and bright yellow flowers!

Join Gail at Clay and Limestone on the fourth Wednesday of each month for more ideas on native wildflowers for your landscape.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

GBBD March 2018 - About those Texas Bluebonnets

It's Garden Blogger's Bloom Day and time to show what's blooming in my garden.   March is all about our Texas state flower, Lupinus texensis or Texas Bluebonnet.

They've totally taken over the gravel topped crevice garden.

And they continue through the fence.

My favorite part is they've begun to spread into the Buffalo Grass lawn.

Very appropriate star pattern from the top view

A few more blooms, mostly in the tank garden.

Blackfoot Daisy (Melampodium leucanthum) another native wildflower which is evergreen and very nearly everblooming.  It only takes a break during the coldest and hottest weather.

Behind the Blackfoot Daisy are Tazetta Narcissus 'Golden Dawn'.

Tazetta Narcissus are one the only narcissus bulbs which can reliably naturalize in our climate.

A nice combination with the daisies and narcissus.

Reve d'or Rose is a climber and early bloomer.

Native Scarlet Buckeye (Aesculus pavia) is becoming quite a specimen.  It's dormant most of the year so I must be careful not to cut it down. 

Mexican Buckeye (Ugnandia speciosa) is happy we fenced the deer out and is now growing into a nice tree.

One more Bluebonnet shot, I can't resist!

For more bloom from garden bloggers worldwide check out the links at May Dreams Gardens.