Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Down here in HOT old Texas..........

We live in zone 9a, and have very mild winters. Winter is usually 3 days, not consecutive. Just 3 days total.

It fools you sometimes, and really does get cold. It is the nastiest, wettest, coldest cold when it is cold here; it just goes right through you. But it doesn't last long. The next day, it will be back up in the 60s or 70s, with a bright sun in the sky. We garden year 'round.

The killing weather for us is our hot, HOT summers. August in South Texas can be brutal. We lose more plants in summer than we do in winter.

So, when the gentle temps of October and November roll around, we get in the mood to garden again.

My husband starts to talk about turning the AC on in April. I resist, usually until about July. Nights are pleasant with a fan, and sleep is comfortable. When it gets too hot at night for tomatoes to set fruit, I relent and turn the AC on. He has never understood this.

So, last April, I told him, "When we turn the AC on, I won't go out to work anymore." And I didn't.

Actually, it wasn't the heat that kept me inside. We had rain everyday for forever. It was impossible to work outside.

Well, yesterday, we were working in the garden, reclaiming it from several weeks of neglect. My Husband told me we were never going to turn the AC on again.

LOL LOL LOL! I have giggled about that all day!

Sometimes the garden is ART.

This is a favorite garden. I don't know the gardener, only that she is an elderly lady.

As far as I know, she does all her gardening herself. I have never seen anyone there to help her. AND....I have never seen a weed in her garden. Her space is immaculate!

This is the first time I have know her to grow zinnias in that space. She usually has beautiful RED poppies there. It is a wonderful sight to see!

I see this garden on most of my travels from home, unless I go to water's edge, which is the opposite direction. The garden is a lovely gift for all of us, and the gardener is truely an artist.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

aggravation, aggravation

I am aggravated! I haven't figured out this blog thingie. I want it to look one way, but can't figure how to do it. I think I need to wait quietly, don't throw things yet, until I have time to work with it. For the life of me, I can't figure out how to post a picture. OR change things around................

Working with plants is so much less complicated. The fall garden is almost all in the ground.

I pressed seeds of dill (Bouquet) into a circle of soil in a raised bed and added a border of curley parsley. Arp rosemary encircles that, and the whole bed is squared up with corners of oregano and mint. They are both supposed to be so invasive, but in my garden, they must feel deprived, because I have never had it go crazy on me. I have seen it go crazy in other flowerbeds. We don't want that, we certainly don't!

Planning is the part of gardening that is most fun. Well, eating is good too.

I have found some new area to work. We dug several good size Spanish Mulberry trees out of some beds. They volunteer so easily. It is a pretty little tree, but I would prefer some LA lilies there, maybe. The area is about 12'x 10'. If I thin some branches out of a crepe myrtle in that area, I will really have a nice space.

Monday, October 29, 2007

A different kind of weekend

Last Monday, we had a little cold snap blow in. I mean BLOW- hard! I was surprised, as I had not bothered to check the weather for a few days. The weather is so nice, I guess I didn't want to think about winter approaching.

Anyway, something happened to my internet service. I didn't have any! This is a bad thing, as far as I am concerned. I called, a man came to check it, and it came back on for a few hours, but then died late Thursday, or early Friday. No internet all weekend.........Oh, yes, and the computer crashed on Tuesday, and I lost EVERYTHING!!! I did finally get it to take the recovery discs, and it is up and running (knock on wood). I have purchased a flash drive thingie to put stuff on in case it goes down again. It is a terrible shock to not even have an address in your computer! And I will save everybodies addresses so I can at least contact them.............this is a trauma!

It was a very productive weekend. I gathered stuff to throw away. I pruned and trimmed, weeded and cleaned, piled all the trimmings in the bed of the truck, and we hauled it all to the dump. I found a galvanized chicken waterer that someone had discarded, and brought it home to plant 'hens and chicks' in the part where the birds get water. It will be a cute planter.

I have gathered seeds and spent many hours packaging them, labeling them, and sorting them into catagories. I am considering what to do with all the seeds I already have..........I have way too many already. I cannot NOT save them tho; I have to find someone who will want them, someone who will use them. The older seeds, I mean, and probably most of the new ones too.

I planted seeds of poppies and larkspurs, calendulas, snapdragons, and sweet peas. I am anxious to know what kind of sweet peas I will have this year, as I have not purchased any sweet pea seeds. I saved all that I planted from vines grown last year. They were all beautiful pastels, except for a few brilliant RED blooms. I would like to have more of those RED blossoms.

Likewise with the calendulas. I saved all the calendula seeds that I planted. Last year, they were a nice mix of yellow and orange blooms of varying sizes. I hope they are the same this year. They are very pretty, and last well into the end of April. I love to plant my green bean vines behind the existing calendulas. The green foliage of the bean vines is a great background for the yellow and orange blooms. Calendulas don't have the prettiest foliage.

My snapdragons are all going to be 'Rockets' this year. Tall, and bright! I planted a lot of snapdragon seeds, putting a lot in one spot or another. I want them to really show off!

The biggest showoffs will be the poppies, if they grow at all. Last year, I had only one poppy plant! I planted lots and lots of seeds, but for some reason, they didn't grow. The one plant I had was magnificent however, and bloomed for about 6 weeks. It was covered with bright RED blooms, and nothing is cheerier in the garden than a big RED poppy. Especially when it is kind of cold still...........

The Hyacinth Bean vines are full of pink, purple and white blooms, and dark, shiney, purple beans! Some of the seed pods are ready to pull, and I have about a half gallon of pods now. I should triple that amount before they are all harvested. Enough for me and several of my closest friends. This is one of my favorite things to do in fall- harvest the seeds for next years hyacinth bean vines.

I planted Byzantine gladiolus. They should be spectacular next spring too- I planted a hundred of them! I wish they would bloom with the crocosmia. THAT would be a sight!

I have allium and freesia to plant, but I will wait for cooler weather and cooler soil before I put them in the ground. I have not decided about planting daffodils. I want to know if mine drowned before I make that decision, I guess. I am going to be heartbroken if my daffs drowned.

We carried 4 big old boxes of good junk to the lady who is having the fund-raising garage sale for her niece's medical expenses. I was sure glad someone was happy to take that stuff. I have lots more to take to her.

The internet might should have stayed gone just a little while longer.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

When first I knew

One of my instructors once admonished us as a class; "don't bother with one of these and one of those. Stick to sweeps of one plant, concentrate on great numbers of a certain bloom or color."

"Oh, well", I thought. "I am going to have a hard time here."

It wasn't that I had anything against great sweeps of a certain bloom or color. I love to see great sweeps of brilliant bougainvillea dressed in magenta or hot pink. I love a soothing carpet of Purple Heart, with a perky pick-me-up of yellow lantana. I just like a lot of other things too.

The problem comes with the fact that I am also an obsessive/compulsive propagator of plants too. The one plant I purchase turns into 6 plants or 10 plants. Wow! Now I have great sweeps of one kind of plant, one bloom, one color.

But I continue purchasing one of this and one of that. I stick them into the beds with the great swaths of one color, one bloom..........and that plant becomes many too.

I am going to run out of land before I run out of plants.