Friday, February 22, 2019

Another day in the garden?

Just us sitting around the kitchen table....

.....with a TV crew and mics on!

Photo by Steve Maedl

We made our garden available to PBS show Central Texas Gardener (CTG) on short notice due to a cancellation.  It was one busy day because a freeze the night before had us running around covering and uncovering plants.  Since the temps were barely above freezing the interview (which is normally conducted outdoors) was obviously moved indoors to the kitchen with my favorite view of trees through the back window.  We put on the coffee and I somehow found time to make a coffee cake (mix) to welcome the crew.  Ed Fuentes, director of Central Texas Gardener (CTG) is Technical Director at Austin City Limits and also does the location camera work for CTG.  Producer Linda Lehmusvirta is across the table doing our interview.

Ed on the porch, Photo by Linda Lehmusvirts

The "Bottle Branch" was inspired by Lori in Austin whose garden I visited in 2017.  (Note: The branch was already dead.)

My view of Ed on the porch.  It was cold out there!

Steve Maedl worked with Ed.  Steve is originally from a cold climate so he looks remarkably comfortable.

With our appearance on Central Texas Gardener airing this weekend I thought it would be fun to give you a bit of background on the tour.

In addition to short notice we had to put many plants under cover and then run around replacing them as the temperature dropped below freezing.  Some plants like begonias and orchids remained indoors so the usually full outdoor shelves were a bit bare.  What you see on the video is pretty much how my garden looked if you had stopped by unexpectedly on that day in early November.

Check out the CTG video here:

Like most gardeners, I kept thinking how much better the garden would have looked had they arrived a few weeks earlier in October.  Through my blog I can take you back in time to my October garden tour post.

In front it all looks pretty much the same year round.

The back garden is a different story with many perennials that die back.  Fortunately our plants behaved for a few hours just long enough to get enough on camera.  The light was terrible with bright cloudless sunlight piercing deep shade.   Linda and crew did a great job.  Still I couldn't help but think how it all looked just a few days earlier.

Linda's photo of the tank garden

That same view just a few weeks earlier!

I've known producer Linda Lehmusvirta for a number of years so I (mostly) stayed out of the way and trusted she would work her magic.  And she did.  We loved the resulting CTG on tour segment!

I'll give a few examples of areas we discussed in the interview.  I like to soften the spikiness and rocks with native perennials, wildflowers and grasses.

Wildflowers and spikiness.  Here I give credit to friend and fellow blogger David Cristiani of "It's a Dry Heat."    If there's one thing I forgot to say in the interview it was that these wildflowers volunteered themselves.  Once we decided to put out the welcome mat, wildflowers started to appear on their own.

I mentioned those evergreen bright blooming Damianita replacing Lantana which dies back and looks terrible in winter.  Here they are in full bloom a few months ago.

Two years ago I pulled out a ton of messy liriope and planted sedges.  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.  This stuff takes a long time to fill in!

How we built our Texas style shed from scratch is outlined in this post which has become one of my most popular posts.  No surprise there because when we went looking for how to build our own shed we couldn't find much help online.  So there may be a lot of copies out there -- glad we could help!

We talked about our deck renovation and you can find our deck "Before and After" here.  That's native Ironweed and Turk's Cap in the bed along the deck.

To learn more about our vintage D'Hanis brick walkway, check out this post.

If you'd like to know more about our landscape process my  "Zeroscape" post shows how we got started.

We even recruited our neighbor Karen Guz of SAWS to do the studio interview!  She is such a pro.

It was so much fun hosting the CTG crew and absolutely love how the show turned out.  Thank you Linda, Ed and Steve!

Linda's blog post on our garden and the show is at this link.  I'll need to read it again because I was overwhelmed with her beautiful photos and text.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Wildlife Wednesday February 2019

Good morning Fox!  Does he know our name is Fox?  Or is that Foxes meet Fox?  We have several fox families living along the creek behind our house and despite the reddish coloring they are known as Gray foxes.  They do love to climb trees.

It's Wildlife Wednesday and I'm joining Tina at "My gardener says..." to share a roundup of wildlife on this first Wednesday of February.

Just a few feet from the back door and these photos were taken through the window from inside.  They are curious and generally friendly.  Kitty is hunkered down under the table so she's not taking any chances.

When she's not hiding from the foxes, Kitty is keeping an eye on our new resident Ms. Squirrel who has figured out how to defeat the bird feeder baffle which eventually broke off and will need to be replaced.

An anole was just getting warmed up first thing one morning.  It's not unusual this time of year to find immobilized lizards in the chill morning air.  I was surprised to note it is darker brown and rougher in texture than the usual Carolina anole we see.  After some research it's possible this is an invasive brown anole arrived from Cuba by way of Florida.  There are reports that they crowd out our adorable native Carolina anoles.  That would be a disappointment as I love watching our anoles in summer.

We are hosting Caracaras again this year.  Their habit of walking around when hunting is quite surprising as there are plenty of predators back there.

I often post about the deer we fenced out several years ago.  The photos mostly show one are two deer standing still.  This month I have captured the herd of marauders in the act on video so you can get an idea how they can be so destructive.  Note one is trying to grab vegetation through the fence!

Check Tina's blog for her discussion of native plants for birds and more Wildlife Wednesday posts.