Thursday, October 4, 2018

Celebrating Seven Years of Blogging

I published my first blog post seven years ago today.  My garden was in its early stages and I thought regular posting would push me into gear to set goals for improvements while also sharing my progress (or setbacks) with other gardeners in San Antonio and beyond.  Just before hitting "publish" on that first post I wondered how long this blog would run.  Five years seemed like a good goal at the time.  I blew past five years and here I am at seven.  In honor of seven blogging years (is that the same as dog years?), I am sharing a fall tour of my garden.

With over 25 inches of rain last month it's a good time for a tour because the gardens have sprung to life after a tough summer.  Since I have a tradition of showing wider views on October 9th to compare progress year to year, I'll focus on closeups for this post.

We'll start up front by the street where last spring I was inspired by Christy Ten Eyck's local landscape installations to try a row of 'Blonde Ambition' grama grass in the front garden.  I moved some that had been scattered around the back garden and added a few new ones.  The seed heads start out chartreuse and turn tawny over time.

I like the effect and plan to move a few more from the back where they don't show up as well.

It takes a lot of space to mass them by the hundreds as in a professional landscape but I have found that five have a nice impact placed among spiky plants and salvia.  One of the golden barrels has bloomed for the first time this year.

Red barrel cactus bloomed for the first time this year with bright orange but quite inconspicuous flowers compared to other cactus blooms.

Native clammy-weed has found a place in the rock garden.  After seeding prolifically for several years it nearly died out but has returned in one of the hottest, driest spots.

A lack of rain over the summer led to a reduced crop of American Beautyberries (l) while the darker Mexican Beautyberries (r) seem to have weathered the summer drought much better.

Behind the Beautyberries I found this combination amusing.

Below you can see the face pot sits alone at the end of the path.  Two years ago I pulled out a ton of messy liriope and planted various sedges.  Various because it wasn't easy to find enough of a single variety.  That's Berkeley Sedge on the left of the path and locally native Webberville Sedge on the right.  They look very close in texture so it works.

The fountain still rocks.

There's been so much rain the Cenizo sage along the driveway blooms sporadically instead of all at once.   

Kitty enjoys rain lilies which have been spreading around the garden.

Keeping in mind that I have invited a group to tour the garden next May there seems to be work to do in the back garden as this area still lacks some definition and needs attention.

Flowers are overflowing the tank in the circle garden.

Pathways have been overrun.

Salvia farinacea has filled the tank to the point where I'll need to take some out in the spring.

Vignettes of all my collected stuff in the garden.

I reworked the flower "bed" last spring and it's looking a good deal better now.

Yes, we're still in Texas.

Loving the purple of Salvia Amistad which is the only Salvia guaranitica I can grow.  Hummingbirds also love it.

Brugmansia noid enhances my view from the kitchen sink and that Crinum to the left looks like a good candidate to divide and add some contrasting texture to the front fence garden I mentioned earlier.

Mexican Lime is almost ready for Key Lime pie.

Bougainvillea, gold lantana, cactus, and Yucca rigida in the back corner with Cow's tongue prickly pear.

My favorite view of bending oaks over the path we use most often.  Taking out the trash is actually kind of fun, especially walking back down this path.

That's the quick tour to celebrate my seventh anniversary of blogging at Rock-Oak-Deer.


  1. Congratulations Shirley! Seven years of blogging is a big achievement. Your virtual tour was splendid. I'm glad Mother Nature was kind enough to help prep your garden for the tour and I hope she'll be as kind next year as you prepare for your May tour. I've introduced 'Blonde Ambition' in my garden as well but I don't think it's putting on as good a show but then I can't claim to have seen 25 inches of rain in, well, ever. Best wishes.

    1. Our climate is not typically this rainy with nearly a year's worth in one month. I think the grama grass prefers less water and fortunately there is good drainage there.

  2. Happy Blog Anniversary! Seven years is quite impressive and I’m so glad you’ve stuck with it. Your garden is looking wonderful, the 'Blonde Ambition‘ was a good “mass” addition. I must say though...25” of rain? In a month? That insane! I don’t think we’ve even got 4” since April, although tomorrow is supposed to be a soaker (maybe a half inch). I think my garden would wash away with that much rain.

    1. Thank you Loree. We did have some paths wash out and mulch has migrated to the bottom of the hill where it will be left as compost now. 25" is pretty close to our total annual rainfall and it arrives in pounding downpours not light showers as in PNW.

  3. Congratulations, Shirley. While I don't comment all that often, yours is one of my favorite blogs. Thanks for your enthusiam! I think I must have started at about the same time, though I seem to recall taking a year or so off. Here's to many more years of blogging!

    1. Tina, I think we started blogging the same week. I have taken entire months off which might add up to a year, though not for even close to the same reasons. I enjoy your blog too.

  4. Happy blogiversary, Shirley! Your garden is looking great, and I like the addition of 'Blonde Ambition' grasses out front. I tried them in my garden, but sadly not enough sun or drainage. Anyway, here's to 7 more years of sharing your garden and your city!

    1. You can grow things that I cannot so these things work out and your shade is quite nice in the summer heat. Thank you for the inspiration to get going on the blog Pam.

  5. Congratulations on your seventh blogiversary! Your gorgeous garden tour is a great way to celebrate the occasion! Here's to many more years of gardening and blogging!

    1. Thank you for reading and enjoying all these years too.

  6. Happy seventh blogaversary! I admire your front garden and the graceful arching tree overhead.

  7. Congratulations and happy #7! The garden is looking great!


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