Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wildflower Wednesday August 2013: Xanthisma texanum

Meet Xanthisma texanum or Sleepy Daisy, a native Texas wildflower so pretty that it's considered a show stopper at Annie's Annuals all the way over in California.  If you are familiar with Annie's Annuals you'll know a plant has to be special to stand out in their beautiful displays.  It's Wildflower Wednesday and I'm joining Gail at Clay and Limestone where garden bloggers are invited to report on wildflowers in their gardens the fourth Wednesday of each month.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Visiting The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Back in the spring after touring gardens all around Austin for Gardens on Tour sponsored by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center I headed over to see the wildflower center gardens.  I hadn't been there for a while--since they first opened which was back in the mid-1990's and the admission to the gardens was included in the tour ticket.  I arrived with the heat turned up to high, the sun high in the sky, and facing a bit of garden tour fatigue with just about an hour and a half to go before closing time.  After a fairly quick tour with equally quick photos I headed home.  Over the next week I posted the five gardens from the tour and planned to get back to the wildflower center photos later.

Now is later isn't it?  It's fun to go back in time and see how pretty the gardens looked that day.  Perhaps it's the faded brown of late summer putting things in perspective but the gardens looked better than I thought at the time.  Wildflower Wednesday is this week and why not start the week off with a visit to the place which claims as its web address.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Plant ABCs: R is for Rosemarinus

Plant ABCs is an ongoing series in which I am highlighting a plant from my garden for each letter of the alphabet.  I'm currently going through the entire alphabet A - Z, then will continue updating and adding plants to the list over time.  My previous posts in the series are on the "Plant ABCs" tab under the header.  Today's letter is "R" and Rosemary is the highlighted plant.  Rosemary plays a big role in my garden because it is easy to grow, very drought tolerant, and absolutely deer-proof.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Taking the road less traveled fom San Antonio to Dallas

While we enjoy our annual visits to Dallas we don't enjoy five hours of dodging trucks on I-35.  As a major route running 1500 miles from Mexico to Canada, I-35 is pretty busy most of the time so this year we avoided the traffic and headed to Dallas by way of US 281 through the beautiful Texas Hill Country.  This route was so much fun we returned along the same route a few days later even though it takes a bit longer.

It's a two-lane road much of the way with passing lanes on the hills so traffic moves along quite well.  We stopped a few places along the way, especially when checking out ranch gates like this one which is a favorite way to pass the time....

...and at other times I snapped photos out the window at full speed because there is no safe place to pull over.  This photo of native yuccas and wildflowers blooming on ranch land is an example of the latter.  Those fuzzy white spires behind the fence are all yucca blooms and this view went on for miles.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Foliage Follow-up August 2013

Foliage Follow-up is hosted by Pam Penick at her blog Digging  for bloggers to highlight our garden foliage on the 16th of each month.  For August I'm featuring blooming plants without blooms and a selection of plants doing well in our high summer heat.

How will that plant look in the heat of August?  That's a question I often ask when selecting new plants. August is not typically a great bloom season in my garden and it's a time when the foliage itself needs to shine.

That doesn't mean blooming plants are out of the picture.

The scene this morning in my front yard.  Many of these plants produce blooms throughout the year but are not blooming now yet they still add to the landscape and I enjoy the subdued colors in this part of the garden.  Earlier this week I trimmed the last fading flowers from the Salvia greggii (in the foreground) and gently shaped them into mounds so they will look good through the next few weeks before being covered with blooms again this fall.  I've also trimmed the lantana (farther back along the driveway island and walk) to prepare for fall blooms.

Monday, August 12, 2013

State of the Agaves Report

One of the many fun things about reading blogs is stealing their ideas being inspired by other bloggers.  Loree at Danger Garden reports on the state of the agaves in her garden several times a year.  Loree lives in Portland, Oregon, which is not the most agave-friendly climate and in her latest report she wondered how much those same agaves might have grown in a southwestern climate for three years.  I took the challenge and decided to post about this even though I don't actually live in the southwest according to most regional guides.   I do live about 300 miles or so east of the line which is no distance at all in Texas and I own a copy of the Sunset Western Garden book so I figured it's close enough.  There's not a lot to post about in the heat of August and the agave is a plant that does well in our climate.

First up is the cornerstone of my front garden, the Agave ovatifolia.  Inspired by "Moby" on Pam Penick's blog Digging, it was planted spring of 2010 after we had finished our big construction projects--replacing the roof and building a new garage.  A very important point since it's a good idea to get big projects out of the way before adding specimen plants. 

The A. Ovatifolia in early October of 2010 newly planted and still showing the effects of the 3-gallon grower's pot.  I'd guess it was about 24 inches diameter at this point.  This was planted Before Blogging (BB) so you can tell it was a big event in the garden because I have photos.

Thursday, August 8, 2013


Early each morning I head out into the heat and turn on the hose.  It has exceeded 100F/37C eleven days in a row, and the records being toppled daily are 50-60 years old.  So it's time to water the garden again.  My poor plants are still drooping from yesterday because it stayed so hot overnight that they had no chance to make their usual recovery.

This summer of 2013, which started out so promising with rain and cooler than normal temperatures, has suddenly turned hotter than average here in Texas.  As much as ten degrees above normal--a big difference when normal is 95-97F/35-36C.  We're predicted to reach 106F/41C today.

An hour later I finished watering and headed out with my camera to take stock of the garden.  The plants in the circle garden are managing well enough.  The flowers are fading in the sun and there have been a few losses but it's going to be fine.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

"Sir Smitty's" Garden

Sir Oliver "Smitty" Smith is well known in San Antonio for his pond and native plant gardens so I quickly accepted an invitation from a local gardening group to attend Happy Hour in his garden.

The party was mainly in the back yard so I took the opportunity to explore the lawnless front yard on my own.

Friday, August 2, 2013

How'd she do that? Hummingbird in motion

A hummingbird at the flowers of Caeselpinia pulcherrima in the circle garden.  I love the way the pollen flies out of the flower.  Even more interesting is that this is just a series of regular photos and not a video.