Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Wildflower Wednesday September 2013: Purple wildflowers and Rain Lilies

 It's Wildflower Wednesday sponsored by Gail at Clay and Limestone where she invites bloggers to share stories of wildflowers in our gardens the fourth Wednesday of each month.

For September 2013 I'm featuring purple performers and Rain Lilies in the fall garden.

The much-anticipated Liatris or Gayfeather is blooming this week.  Another plant generously shared by Michael at Plano Prairie Garden last year.  He's not sure exactly which variety this is so he's listed it as Liatris somethingorother in his plant list.  I do know for sure it is a striking color in the fall garden.  The plants have begun to spread out in their second year in my garden and look better this year compared to last year when they were newly planted.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Ripening prickly pear are sure signs of fall

It's the first day of autumn and we made it through a particularly brutal summer here in San Antonio, so time to look for seasonal changes in the plants.  The traditional fall colors so common in northern climates are rare in South Texas.  After a few days of rain a "cold front" blew in and dropped our daytime highs all the way down to 91F/33C.  I've been outside several hours each day planting and transplanting to take advantage of the beautiful weather.  While we do have a few pockets of maples and a several other plants which will change color this season, our weather typically remains quite warm right up until the calendar says winter.

That doesn't mean we don't have our own signs of fall.

One sign is the ripening of the Tunas or prickly pear fruit of the Opuntia cactus.  In the arroyo across the creek behind the house these are bright red.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Book Review: Plant-Driven Design

It's garden book review time so I'm joining Holley at Roses and Other Gardening Joys for her garden blogger's book review meme on the 20th of each month by reviewing Plant Driven Design: Creating Gardens That Honor Plants, Place, and Spirit by husband and wife team Scott and Lauren Springer Ogden.

Monday, September 16, 2013

"Fall" Foliage for Foliage Follow-up September 2013

It's not easy to find fall colors in South Texas.  By the time we experience anything approaching fall weather it will be nearly winter on the calendar.  I'm joining Pam at Digging for Foliage follow-up on the 16th of each month to show off the foliage in our gardens.

So with the Autumn season approaching quickly I went in search of fall colors in our near triple digit temperatures and found...Cannas.  Just for a few moments forget that these plants are here all summer and enjoy.

Canna Tropicanna in matching planters by the front door.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A very special birthday wish

The sweetest, dearest, best mother-in-law in the world is celebrating her 85th birthday today.  Since she reads my blog, I think it would be fun to wish her a Happy Birthday here.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Vintage garden market and a beautiful tree-shaded venue

Back in July I headed over to Los Patios on Loop 410 in San Antonio to check out the first House to Home Vintage Market show and see the park-like grounds of the private event center.  Los Patios is along the the Salado Creek Greenway trail which is part of a city-wide trail network and is a beautiful place to spend a few hours right in town.

The show was in this very Texas-style wood building near the parking lot.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Does deer repellent actually work?

Deer can do a surprising amount of damage to the garden in a very short time.  For the most part I deal with the presence of deer in the garden by selecting plants they don't like.  That doesn't mean deer won't damage "deer resistant" plants--they just sustain less damage than other plants.

One "deer resistant" plant is Hesperaloe parviflora or red yucca.  Deer don't eat the leaves or blooms, but they seem to enjoy snapping the buds off.  It's annoying, especially since they drop the pieces on the ground and walk away.  What a waste!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Plant ABCs: S is for Sophora Secundiflora

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 "S" and Sophora Secundiflora is the highlighted plant. 

The Texas Mountain Laurel (Sophora Secundiflora) was one of the first plants I learned to name.  Of course I knew only its common name for many years.  Texas Mountain Laurel was my father's favorite and whenever I'm asked to name my favorite plant this is the one I choose.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

When a new landscape isn't enough

There are some things even the best landscape plan can't fix.  Sometimes the house just needs a makeover to improve curb appeal.  Since it's quite slow in the garden right now (shhhh, don't wake the dormant plants...) I'm going back in time to show the roofing project we completed three years ago this week which greatly improved the appeal of the entire house-scape.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Wide Shot

When I began reading garden blogs for inspiration I noticed a focus on single flowers and plants.  Although closeup photos are beautiful and useful for learning about specific plants, I felt a larger context is sometimes needed to appreciate those details in the garden.  Like an Impressionist painting, things change quite a bit when you take a step or two back.  Fortunately there were blogs like Digging with a good combination of each to guide me and provide just what I was looking for at the time.  One of my goals when I decided to jump in with my own garden blog in October 2011 was to mix in plenty of wide shots so readers could follow along to see just how the details fit within my landscape as a whole.

When Heather at Xericstyle began blogging in January of 2012 I noted right away that she is also a fan of the wide shot.  Her photos often show the big picture so essential for understanding her garden design projects, providing more of a "tour" than simply looking at closeups.  Heather, who lives just a few minutes from me in San Antonio, is beginning a new blogger's meme today and encouraging bloggers to post a wide shot of our gardens on the first of each month.  A meme is a designated day when bloggers link together and post on the same subject.  Heather has posted the wide shot of her garden here.

Since I already post a lot of views from the left or south side I selected a straight-on view of the house this morning.  I love the shadow patterns on the stone walls just as the sun peeks over the hill.