Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A look at my garden with new eyes...

I had cataract surgery last summer, and I am often distressed by what I can see now;  spiderwebs on the ceilings, for instance.

However, I am not distressed by what I am seeing in my garden lately.
I have been working on my pottery for about 3 years.  Learning, learning, learning, and while I am not done learning, I can finally take a time to pay attention to other things.
The first thing I am doing is getting rid of all those little trees that have been flourishing among my treasured plants.  Not little, as in seedlings;  Little trees, as in 5-6', REAL TREES!  The seeds of hackberry, mulberry, Spanish mulberry, pecan, and even oak have happily germinated in the fertile soil of my flowerbeds and are now lush specimens.  I pull what I can, whack what is too large to pull, and dose those stumps with stump killer.  Then Bobby comes along and digs them out if he can, trying to not disturb anything growing close to it.

Two years ago, we had a severe winter (for us), several consecutive days when the temperature held at 17 degrees.  We had the most severe drought ever last summer, months on end of no rain, and soaring temperatures.  I lost a lot of plants in my garden. 

Looking at my records of what was in my garden, and when it was planted, etc., etc., I realize that much of what was lost was what I call 'exotics'.  I love those plants that nobody else has, nobody 'round here has ever seen, and while they can be kept easily enough if you are vigilent, they will decline if left to their own devices.  Neglect is out of the question.  Sadly, my garden has been neglected.

On the bright side....and there is always a bright side...

Everything in my garden now is tough as nails.  I have roses that could be killed, but you would need intent.  They are nicely established, and not going to keel over any time soon.  Lots of iris, day lily, lantana, esperanza, salvia, oleander, orchid trees, gardenia, althea, plumbago, Barbados cherry, fire bush, cestrum,and hibiscus are thriving.  I was weeding (!) last weekend, and pulled some grasses that were just plain ugly, and hidden under them was the prettiest little 'Red Sail' hibiscus that has not seen the sun for a long time.  I was so happy!

Most of my ferns have multiplied many times, including holly fern, river fern, and Ming fern.  I am very pleased that the Ming fern is so hardy.

I still have lots of grasses, and things like confederate rose, and bougainvilla.  My husband would just as soon that bougainvilla was elsewhere, but it is getting bigger and bigger...

Needless to say, I have planted some pots, but I am using plants that are easy to care for, and that do not mind if I am not sitting with them daily.  Coleus, bulbine, vinca, portulaca, and purple fountain grass are growing fast.

AND.....I should confess, I have planted a couple of new things in the garden.  A candlestick plant, Mexican hummingbird plant, Mexican salvia, and a delicious Hawaiian Sunset vine!  Talk about exotic!  But a beauty too, pictures when it blooms!

I still have this ribbon lily.  Bobby found it at the dump and potted it up.  We have divided it many times, and it is one of my favorite plants in the garden.

We still have a lot to do, but it will get done.  We can sandwich it in, with workshops, and making pott-ry, building a shop for Bobby, and remodeling the bathrooms.  Next week, I want to clean the pond and add some new fish!
I started a post yesterday, and saved it, thinking I would come back to it today when I was not so busy.  Well, they have changed blogger, I can't find my drafts.  I can't find much of anything that was here when I was here.  Does anyone know where my drafts are, and how I could access them?  I know I am a PITA because I am such a ninny about this stuff, but I get soooooooooo aggravated when they change things!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

That dreadful plant- Butterfly vine.....

Ancient one has complained about the honeysuckle vine that plagues her garden. I countered with my very worst problem, the Butterfly Vine.

My MIL innocently gave me a start of this vine. It lives on my fence and offers marvelous privacy; nothing can see through it, nothing can go through it. Birds blissfully build their nests in it, knowing they are safe from cats, as it is not sturdy enough for the cats to climb on.

It does not freeze, stays green all year long. When it blooms, it is a lovely yellow blanket, and it blooms for a long time. I have never seen a seedling, so I suspect the seeds are sterile, BUT....it roots very easily, anywhere it touches the ground.

I have found vines as long as 40' long, and would not doubt they grow much longer. This is a tough vine.

The seed pods are a real novelty. They are a lime green butterfly, and it is very exciting to see all those butterflies on the fence.

The lime green butterflies dry to a golden brown butterfly and will stay in that form for years. They do not break down and fall apart. They can be painted with acrylic craft paint, glued to a stick and used as a decoration for a pot plant, or worn in your hair as an adornment. If you look at the first photo, you can see a really good dry seed pod.
This is one of those plants- you like it, you hate it.

Honeysuckle does at least have a lovely fragrance. Butterfly vine does not smell good.