Well it’s been a couple of years since my last post.  I can’t say there was any reason for stopping, but I can say that I missed it.  I’ve enjoyed going over my old posts to see what was blooming when and how things have changed in the garden over the years.  Hopefully this will be the beginning of many more posts.  Gardening has been even more of a challenge than usual in Texas lately with several years of record-setting drought and a couple of record cold winters.  It’s been very interesting to see what has survived, what has thrived and what has died.

And now on to the blooms:

Tropical Hibiscus

Passion Flower

The passion flower vine has practically taken over a quarter of my back yard.  My neighbor planted it several years ago and every year it swallows up more and more of my space.  If it weren’t so pretty I’d be really upset.  It’s also the larval host of the Gulf Coast Fritillary Butterfly, so the bonus is that my yard is overrun with them as well.

Texas Star Hibiscus

I have 3 Texas Star Hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus) in the back yard that are all over 8 feet tall.  This is the first bloom of the year.

Heliotrope Heliotropium arborescens

I was surprised to find that these plants survived our record cold this past February.

Zinnias

The zinnias I planted from seed are going insane!  I love em.

Hardy Hibiscus "Moy Grande"

I was surprised to find that this hardy hibiscus “Moy Grande”  (hibiscus moscheutos) survived our 48 hour dip into the 20′s this past winter.  Then I read that they are hardy to -20.  You northern gardeners should try this plant.  I grew them from seed a couple of years ago.  Every seed I planted grew.  I’ve given away dozens of them.

Hardy Hibiscus "Moy Grande"

This is another bloom on the same plant.  Somehow it has two different color of flowers on the same bush.

Unidentified coneflower

This is a new variety of coneflower that I planted last year.  Sorry I can’t remember the name.

This past May, my yard was featured in a local neighborhood garden tour.  I hope you don’t mind if I share a few photos with you.

Your host, Horselips himself.

That’s me, smiling beneath the arbor in front of the cannas.

Mexican Bird of Paradise

That sign just fell into the back of my pickup one day.  I swear it did!

That brick just fell into my car in New Orleans.  I swear it did!

Chitalpa Tree X Chitalpa tashkentensis

The Chitalpa Tree (X Chitalpa Tashkentensis) is blooming its little heart out as usual.

Yellow water lily Nuphar polysepala

This year I put a little pond in the back yard.  I started out with one water hyacinth, a water lily, some horsetail, Louisiana Iris, a couple of goldfish and 5 mosquito eaters.  The plants have been very prolific and so have the fish!  Its also filling up quickly with tadpoles.  It’s really interesting to watch.

Giant Amaranth Amaranthus australis

Last year I bought one of these plants at the Zilker Gardenfest.  It quickly grew to over 15 feet tall with this HUGE seed head.  One day it fell over and the birds were going crazy feasting on the seeds.  This year thousands of them came up in the spot.  I considered thinning them, but I like the effect.  What do you think?

Some visitors giving my dog, Sanko, the attention he deserves.

My friend, Sandy, checking out the new outdoor shower.

Pomegranate Punica granatum 'Wonderful'

Cardoon (Cynara cardunculus)

Birdbath

Lion's tail Leonotis menthifolia

I have a very nice crop of old people this year, don’t you think?

And that’s it until next time!  Happy gardening.


Blizzard 2009!!!!

December 5, 2009

The forecast called for snow.  Several inches of snow.  The weathermen were about to pee their pants with excitement.  On the news there were lists of school closings and business closings.  Reporters were sent out into the field to search for snowflakes.  We were told to protect plants, pets and pipes (not necessarily in that order).  The feeling of impending doom hung in the air like the blooms of a brugmansia.

Welcome to the first freeze in Austin, Texas, a.k.a. BLIZZARD 2009:  YOU DIE.  Maybe the weathermen here go a little crazy in the summer giving the same forecast day after day after day (sunny and hot).  Whatever the case, when we are forecast to have freezing weather and especially SNOW, all hell breaks loose here.

I grew up in Coldwater, Kansas and lived in Canyon  in the northern panhandle of Texas for 4 years, so I’m used to snow and ice.  Unless the snow drifts made opening the front doors of the school impossible, the cancellation of classes was unheard of.  That’s not the case in Central Texas.  My first year here in Austin (1984) I was working as the office manager at Austin Pump and Supply Co. in South Austin.  The forecast called for snow and the people in the office were jumping up and looking out the windows like whack-a-moles every few seconds in anticipation of the inclement weather.  When the snow did start in the early afternoon, you could cut the anxiety in the air with a plastic windshield ice-scraper.  After about 100 flakes drifted by, the business owner shut the place down and told us to go home before the roads became too treacherous to drive.  I laughed to myself as I climbed into my old ’67 Cougar, “This is bad weather?  These people are nuts.”  On the drive home, it all became clear; it wasn’t the snow that was dangerous, it was the other drivers.  It was like something out of an Armageddon movie out there.  Everywhere you went there were abandoned cars.  Cars in ditches, on sidewalks, front yards,  facing the wrong way and crumpled in piles at the bottoms of hills.  My laughing started anew as I crawled past dozens of cars spinning out of control at the bottom of a small hill, wheels spinning wildly as the owners gunned the engines in a futile attempt to gain traction, the bald tires on my car making easy work of the Austin hills.

My roommates, having also been sent home early from work, were waiting at home when I arrived.  Chris and Patty had moved down here from Canyon with me.  Patty grew up there and Chris had grown up just outside of Indianapolis so none of us were strangers to snow.  We had quite a time sharing our disbelief at what constituted a blizzard here in Central Texas.  It was a Friday afternoon and we couldn’t believe our good fortune at having an unexpected 3-day weekend!  Visions of partying at Club Foot, shopping at the malls and eating out in the restaurants danced in our heads.  Turning on the tv, we saw that the regular programming had been pre-empted on every channel by weathermen excitedly telling us about the hundreds of car wrecks (the highway was shut down in both directions) and the 1/4″ accumulation of snow on the ground.  The next day, the entire city was shut down.  Streets and highways looked like used car lots with cars parked in dizzying disarray.  The malls, gas stations and even the HEB Grocery Stores were shut down.  Though the sun was shining and a quarter inch of snow glistened in the light, not a single human could be seen on the streets.

Welcome to winter in Central Texas.  Last week it was in the 70′s and this morning it was 26.  We got a little flurry of snow yesterday afternoon for about 15 minutes, followed by several hours of sun.  That was enough to close schools and send usually mild-mannered people into a tizzy.  Next week we’ll probably be back to skinny-dipping at Lake Travis.  This is the life.

And now here is the photographic proof of the dramitic results of DeathStorm ’09.  ::cue the music::

Alison Moyet’s “Winter Kills”

“Green in your love on bright days I grew sun-blind

I thought you unkind to remind me how winter kills…”

::cue the drama::

Snow! Real Snow!

And here it is.  If you look VERY closely you might see a couple of white flakes of snow falling in the backyard.  What?  You don’t see it?  Try hitting yourself on the head really hard with a hammer.  Now do you see spots???

Sad bananas

So we missed the snow, but we did get the first freeze, a HARD freeze, of the season.   I woke up around 6:30 to a temperature of 27 degrees.  Is this a pathetic sight or what?  Poor old banana trees.  If you listen closely you can almost hear them crying.   They’ll die back a bit but next year they’ll be back stronger than ever.

Frosty Pentas

Moldy Pentas?    No, it’s frost.

Bolivian Jew

I debated bringing in the Bolivian Jew.  I probably should have, but they grow so fast I’ll just replace it with another in the spring (just over  months away).

Bowtie vine

“Goodbye cruel world”.  This was a depressing sight.  The little bowtie vine was covered in blooms yesterday.  Look at that sad, hanging flower.

Jellybean sedum

The jellybeans looks perfectly happy this morning.

Hairy St. Augustine

Won’t be needing to mow for a while.

Black-eyed Susan vine

Now that’s just pathetic.

Passionflower vine

Frost on the passionflower vine.

Red hibiscus

Red Hibiscus

This kinda sucked because the red hibiscus just had it’s first bloom about a week ago and has been blooming like crazy for the past few days.  He’ll be back next year though.

Early Flat Dutch Cabbage

Anyone for some frozen cabbage?

Purslane

Looks like somebody rolled the purslane in sugar.

Beets

Are those germs in a petri dish?  Nope, it’s frost on the beet greens.

Tetrapanax

I’d rather have ice on my rice paper tree than frost on my tetrapanax.  Har de har har.

Golden Lotus Banana

Another sad banana.  This one is hardy to 10 degrees and has been known to grow as far north as Canada, so no worries, he’ll be back too.

the crumpled party dress of a debutante.

The bird bath in the side yard is frozen solid.

The top on the convertible looks like an ice sheet in Antarctica.  Ok, I exaggerate.  I got caught up in the drama.

Brugmansia, Butterfly Weed, Persian Shield

Sad, sad, sad.  Frost is a very sad thing. It’s a very sad thing, frost.  So now what are you gonna do now that Brugmansia is dead?

Zinna "Orange Profusion"

The frost has magically bronzed the zinnia blooms.

Castor Bean Plants

The castor bean plants seem to be saying “Mr. Frost, ya big meanie, why hast thou forsaken me?”

Hot Pink Canna

Poor dead, exotic bird on the walkway.  Oh wait, it’s just a canna.

Sun Coleus

Yesterday these were chartreuse.

Giant Dianthus

The frosty blooms of the giant dianthus.

Sweet allysum

Blooms through the frost.

The last person who pissed me off.

What a perfect summary for the post.  The head of my former arch-nemesis, frozen in the bird bath in the back yard.  “You’ll never cross me again, damn knave!”

That’s all folks.  It’s almost warm enough to get out there and start chopping down and clearing out the carnage.  Fortunately I have a couple of empty compost bins ready for the bounty.
Happy gardening everybody.  Be sure to keep your digits warm.  Until next time.

It took a couple of days, but I think I’m finally rested from the garden tour this past weekend.  I had no expectations going into the tour and was completely bowled over by the turnout and the comments and compliments from visitors to my garden.  The sentence that played through my head on a continuous loop for the month leading up to the tour was “Is my yard really ready for a garden tour?”. I mean, I just started on the back yard in April.  That couldn’t possibly be enough time to get it really looking good enough.  Several times a day I would try to accomplish the impossible task of looking at my gardens through the eyes of someone who is seeing it for the first time.  Each time my eyes would focus on the passion flower vine and the morning glory bush that both stopped blooming two weeks previously.  Or I would worry about the fact that everything under the pecan tree seemed to be suffering from the black death that was brought on by all of the honeydew (aphid poop) that washed out in that big rain back in September. I never expected to hear so many compliments and I am truly humbled by all of the positive feedback.  A heartfelt thank you to everyone who visited my garden.

Yard, flowers, etc 002

Sanko, looking for squirrels

I had a terrific time on Saturday.  You couldn’t have asked for better weather.  I’m a bit of an introvert, so hanging out with a large number of strangers in my yard for 7 hours was exhausting (but it was a good exhausting).  I fell asleep sitting on the couch at about 7 pm.  I would wake up and then nod off again and finally decided to drag myself to bed around 9pm.  Sunday I got my dogs, Phoebe and Sanko back from my parents (I had shipped them off the night before because I knew that they wouldn’t understand why they weren’t allowed to romp and play with all the people in the yard) and took them for a nice long walk at Walnut Creek Municipal Park.  That’s one of their favorite dog parks.  Acres and acres of leash free fun.

Hibiscus sabdariffa

Hibiscus sabdariffa

Here’s a photo of another plant that refused to bloom on Saturday.  This is the green tea hibiscus.  It was covered in flowers the size of a saucer for weeks leading up to the show and, of course, had 3 nice sized blooms on Sunday as well.

Bloom Day June 15, 2009 007

Camera-shy Phoebe

Some of my favorite things about Saturday:

Dichorisandra thyrsiflora

Blue Ginger "Dichorisandra thyrsiflora"

I met a woman who told me she grew up in my house.  She lived in my house from 1965 to 1974.  She told me about their clothes line, the vegetable garden and the above ground pool that was in the back when she lived here.  She said she was going to dig through her photos and try to find some photos of the place back then.  The linoleum that was in the house when I bought it was the same that was here when she lived here.  I told you that nobody had loved this house in a long time.  I was so distracted by what was going on that day that I didn’t even offer to show her the inside.  I do have her contact information and plan to be in touch soon.

“I was at another house on the tour and everyone was saying that you have to go see Randy’s garden.”  That was by far my favorite compliment.  I also loved hearing from so many people that mine yard was their favorite.  I certainly didn’t expect that.

Miscellaneous 003

Brugmansia 'Charles Grimaldi'

Another great thing about Saturday was meeting all of the garden bloggers!  That was really terrific.  If y’all are reading this, you seemed like a LOT of fun.  I’d really like to do something with y’all soon.  It was also cool meeting people that follow my blog.  I had no idea that so many people read this thing.  I promise I will try to be more consistent in posting in the future.  I also had several people tell me that they have been unable to leave me messages on here.  I will be contacting WordPress about this issue and will post when I have a response.

013

Hibiscus mutabilis

The comments I heard the most about my yard that day were about the mirror that I have on my fence.  I got it for free on Craigslist.org and decided to prop it up there one day and liked the result.  It really does look like an opening to another yard.  I like the way the base of the pecan tree in my yard matches up with the top of the pecan in the neighbor’s yard at several points in my yard.

041

Abutilon pictum "Patrick's"

This is Patrick’s Abutilon (also known as Flowering Maple and Chinese Lantern for obvious reasons).  He was the star of the show in the back yard.  It’s hard to believe, but I planted this in the spring (got it at Barton Springs Nursery) from a 4″ pot and it’s now taller than me and covered in blooms.  My dogs trample it on a daily basis in the quest for squirrels.  It bloomed all summer long.  I’ll definitely be planing more of these in the future (and it likes shade to boot!!!).

042

Abutilon pictum "Patrick's"

Many people were wondering where I got the skull that was in the birdbath.  046It came from the Great Outdoors and they still had at least one left when I was there on friday.    I also told many people about Plantfiles, which is the plant search option on Dave’s Garden website.

045

Staghorn Fern next to the lanterns I brought back from Morocco and the mirror on the fence in the background

Anytime I hear of a plant I put “plantfiles” and the plant name in the google search window and search.  It brings up a page with all the information that you need to know about every plant you can imagine.  I’ve rarely been able to stump this site.  It includes photos as well which is very helpful.  I can’t tell you how many plants I have passed over because the Plantfiles database informed me that they need acid soil.

049

Citrus x paradisi 'Star Ruby'

As much fun as I had on Saturday, it sure was nice to wake up Sunday morning knowing that I didn’t have to work in the yard.  I had a nice, relaxing Sunday afternoon on the chaise with a couple of beers, just me and the dogs and cat.  What a great weekend!

Bloom Day June 15, 2009 006

Another star of the show; my cat Ipo. Who knew she loved crowds?

Bloom Day, September 15, 2009

September 16, 2009

Here it is again; bloom day.  Bloom day is the day of the month where bloggers from around the world photograph what’s blooming in their yards and post it online for the rest of the world to see.  Many thanks to Carole at May Dreams Gardens (http://www.maydreamsgardens.com/) for coming up with this idea.  It’s a real blast.

The main thing on my mind on this bloom day is rain.  We finally got some of it here in Central Texas.  When you’ve had a summer like we’ve had here, the sight of storm clouds and rain can give you an indescribable feeling of euphoria.  Even after the rain was gone the sight of clouds – big, fat, heavy-looking storm clouds is something to marvel at.  Along with the rain came the much-welcomed cooler temperatures.  We missed the record of days over 100 degrees by one day (we had 68 days over 100 so far this year).  Some people may think it’s a shame to have come that close to the record and not have broken it.  I call those people idiots.

Enough with my rambling.  Off to the photos.

Hibiscus coccineus

Hibiscus coccineus

This is the Texas Star Hibiscus a.k.a. Swamp Mallow.  It’s doing great in a pot (although the limbs keep breaking off of the main trunk) but my friend, Cheryl isn’t having very good luck with it in the ground.  I think it’s the lack of rain this summer.

Portulaca  'Giant Jewel'

Portulaca 'Giant Jewel'

Next up is the giant jewel portulaca which has been faithfully blooming all summer with no notice as to whether it gets any water or not.

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Red Hot'

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Red Hot'

I have several of these tropical hibiscus that have been thumbing their noses at the intense Texas heat.

Leucophyllum laevigatum

Leucophyllum laevigatum

Check out the blooms on the Cenizo a.k.a. Barometer Bush.  They were all covered in purple flowers and buzzing bees the day after it started raining.

Dalechampia dioscoreifolia

Dalechampia dioscoreifolia

The unusual flower of the bow-tie vine peeking out.  This little vine has been growing at an amazing rate since I put it in the ground a few weeks ago.  I’ll definitely keep him around.

Zinnia  'Profusion Orange'

Zinnia 'Profusion Orange'

Blooming their little zinnia hearts out!

Jatropha integerrima

Jatropha integerrima

The Peregrina has been blooming very well all summer long.

Thunbergia alata

Thunbergia alata

The Black-Eyed Susan vine has really kicked into overdrive recently.

Senna alata

Senna alata

The Candle Tree is really starting to push up the blooms.  This is it’s season to shine.  I planted a couple of these last year and this year they came up EVERYWHERE.  If you choose to put these in your yard be sure that you have plenty of room as they do spread and reseed freely (which is fine with me).

Passiflora incarnata

Passiflora incarnata

How about this Purple Passion Flower?  I just love this vine.  It was already taking over a corner of my back yard when I bought my house.  My next door neighbor said she planted it several years ago in her yard and decided she didn’t like it and yanked it out.  She’s been fighting it ever since.  I welcome it in my yard.  It climbs up the nasty Hackberry Trees that sprout up in the area between mine and my neighbor’s fence.

Lantana horrida

Lantana horrida

Texas Lantana

Duranta erecta

Duranta erecta

The Sky Flower has been blooming all summer but has really started putting on a show the past couple of weeks.

Tibouchina candolleana

Tibouchina candolleana

The Princess Flower sat in the shade of my big pecan tree and didn’t bloom all summer.  I moved it into more sun a few weeks ago and it’s gone mad with flowers.

Musella lasiocarpa

Musella lasiocarpa

This has to be one of the longest-lasting blooms I’ve ever seen.  It’s bloomed for about 3 months now and still going strong.

Tecoma  'Sunrise'

Tecoma 'Sunrise'

The Texas Yellow Bells have been blooming all summer long.

Galphimia gracilis

Galphimia gracilis

If you find that Thryallis grows in your temperature zone, plant it.  You’ll have these gorgeous and fragrant yellow flowers from spring til frost.

Salvia farinacea 'Blue Bedder'

Salvia farinacea 'Blue Bedder'

The Mealycup Sage putting on a show of color.

Melampodium leucanthum

Melampodium leucanthum

Blackfoot daisy.

Asclepias curassavica

Asclepias curassavica

Asclepias curassavica

The Mexican Milkweed is popping up all over the yard.

Orthosiphon aristatus

Orthosiphon aristatus

Love the Cat’s Whiskers.

Euphorbia milii

Euphorbia milii

Flowers and thorns of the Siamese Lucky Plant.

bloom day 090909 043The shocking red of the Egyptian Star Flower.

Ruellia elegans

Ruellia elegans

The non-invasive Thai Ruellia.

Plumeria rubra

Plumeria rubra

Frangipani.

Ipomoea hederifolia

Ipomoea hederifolia

Scarlet Morning Glory

Ipomoea carnea

Ipomoea carnea

The Morning Glory Bush which has grown to over 10 feet tall in one season and covered in blooms.

Pavonia braziliensis

Pavonia braziliensis

Brazilian Rock Rose

Hibiscus calyphyllus

Hibiscus calyphyllus

I think that this Lemon Rose Mallow looks a lot like an Okra flower.

Senna corymbosa

Senna corymbosa

The Texas Flowery Senna trees are starting to pop.

Zimmer yard, CNTL TX GDN 026Zimmer yard, CNTL TX GDN 029So far no-one has been able to identify this flower.  This plant was about 3″ tall when I bought it this spring.  If I’d have known it would grow into a 4′ x 4′ shrub that is constantly in bloom, I’d have bought a few more.  The flowers open up in the morning and close in the afternoon.  The honeybees love em.

Nerium Oleander

Nerium Oleander

The Oleander next to the Hawaiian Ti Plant and the Frangipani.

Salvia leucantha

Salvia leucantha

Mexican Bush Sage.

Callicarpa americana

Callicarpa americana

I know it’s not a bloom, but isn’t this American Beautyberry something?

Zimmer yard, CNTL TX GDN 061I’ve gone blank on the name of this jasmine, but mainly I just wanted to post this to show off my Alphonse Carr Bamboo.  It’s really looking great right now and this area looks so tropical with the bananas too.

Well folks, that’s it.  There are a few other things blooming in the yard, but I think you get the idea.  Good gardening to everyone and I look forward to seeing you all again in October.

August 25, 2009

Today the thought actually entered my mind that I am getting sick of gardening.  I know that this is just in response to the horrible drought and high temperatures we are experiencing here in Austin (we are up to day 65 over 100 degrees so far this summer).  We’ve moved into Stage 2 water restrictions here meaning that I can only use the sprinklers once a week, so I am spending a couple of hours each morning and afternoon hand watering while sweating like a mountain goat on the beach.  I thought that perhaps a little post and some photos of the progress in my yard to date might cheer me up and make me a little less grumpy and get me thru these dog days of summer.  000_0135This was my house on the day I bought it in September of ’04.  It was a HUD home that had quite obviously not been loved in a LONG time.

000_0141Here is the backyard.  No privacy at all and I had one tree and it’s kind of sick.spring05A few improvements in the spring of ’05

spring06Spring of ’06spring07Spring of ’07spring08In the Spring of ’08 I built a wall out of limestone.  It was a lot of work but I really like the end result.

Assorted and house and yard 017This is the most recent photo of the front.  Assorted and house and yard 021Another view.  I’m trying to disappear from the street.  I think I’m doing a pretty good job of it.Assorted and house and yard 010Here’s a view of the back yard.  Assorted and house and yard 011I just recently installed a sliding door in my guest bedroom.

Assorted and house and yard 012Another view of the back.Assorted and house and yard 028A different angle.  Nearly the entire back yard was landscaped this summer.  Here is a photo of the yard in March of this year.

shed dog house yard 010shed dog house yard 011This is a shot from inside the veggie garden that I had to sacrifice to build my new shed.

At this point I’m just trying to keep things alive in the yard.  My yard will be on the Inside Austin Garden Tour on October 24 and I still have so much to do before I’m ready.  I’ve only got a couple of months, so I’m hoping to get a cold front and maybe some rain before it arrives.

Anyway I hope you enjoyed this little post.  Any words of encouragement or advice on keeping plants alive would certainly be appreciated.

Happy gardening.

Bloom Day August 2009

August 17, 2009

It’s difficult for me to believe that it’s already bloom day again.  I’m not sure why as this past month with it’s relentless heat seems to have been dragging by.   Texas continues to cook.  The last public boat ramp on lake Travis was closed last week as the precipitous drop in the water level has rendered it unusable and I’ve got cabin fever.  It’s so hot outside that the only time it’s safe to step outside is early in the morning.  I try to do all I can between 6 am and 11 am and even then it’s up into the 90′s.  Not exactly gardening weather.  I wanna give props to Carol at May Dreams Gardens (http://maydreamsgardens.blogspot.com) for coming up with the idea for bloom day.  Bloom day is on the 15th of every month when gardeners from all over the world post photos of what is blooming in their gardens.  I’m particularly grateful this month as it opened my eyes to what plants can withstand this oppressive heat.  The things that are blooming in my yard today will always find a place in my garden.  In fact, several of them will find additional space in the garden.  So here we go with the blooms.

Indian Carnation

Indian Carnation

First up is the very fragrant Indian carnation

Tabernaemontana divaricata ‘Flore Pleno’

Next year there will certainly be more of these planted in the garden.

Bowtie vine

Bowtie vine

This is the bowtie vine

Dalechampia dioscoreifolia

This was blooming all over Costa Rica when I was there a couple of years ago.  I was very excited to find it for sale at The Natural Gardener.  I’m not sure yet how it will do here in Austin as I just put it in the ground last week.  Stay tuned.

Devil's Trumpet

Devil's Trumpet

Devil’s trumpet or

Datura metel ‘Double Purple’

is a faithful bloomer from spring til frost.  I planted my first one a couple of years ago and now I have them coming up everywhere.  I tend to just let them go and grow where they want.  With fragrant blooms like these can you blame me?

West Texas Mist Flower

Rock Rose

The rock rose

Pavonia braziliensis

was putting on quite a display.  I have several of these that came up on their own around the yard and all of them were covered in blooms today.

Chinese Golden Banana

Chinese Golden Banana

This is the Chinese Golden Banana bloom.

Musella lasiocarpa

That’s a really vivid yellow!


West Texas Mistflower

West Texas Mistflower

The mistflower has been blooming nicely all summer long.

Periwinkle

Periwinkle

Periwinkle loves the heat!

Catharanthus roseus

Zinnia  'Profusion Orange'

Zinnia 'Profusion Orange'

Melampodium leucanthum

Melampodium leucanthum

a.k.a. Blackfoot Daisy

Cleome hassleriana

Cleome hassleriana

Scaevola aemula

Scaevola aemula

Scaevola or Fan Flower is another heat-lover.

Asclepias curassavica

Asclepias curassavica

Mexican Milkweed

Datura metel 'Double Purple'

Datura metel 'Double Purple'

Galphimia gracilis

Galphimia gracilis

Thryallis is covered in blooms from spring to frost.

Allium schoenoprasum

Allium schoenoprasum

Petunia

Petunia

Ipomoea hederifolia

Ipomoea hederifolia

The seed packet on these said they were scarlet morning glory.  I think they got the color wrong.

Plumeria rubra 'Edi Moragne'

Plumeria rubra 'Edi Moragne'

Jatropha integerrima

Jatropha integerrima

Hibiscus syriacus

Hibiscus syriacus

Aloysia virgata

Aloysia virgata

The sweet-smelling almond verbena.

Pachystachys lutea

Pachystachys lutea

Portulaca grandiflora

Portulaca grandiflora

Petunia grandiflora

Petunia grandiflora

Ruellia tweediana

Ruellia tweediana

Bloom Day August 2009 039

Oleander

Oleander

Ruellia elegans

Ruellia elegans

Mystery flower with bee

Mystery flower with bee

I can’t remember what this flower is.  I purchased it at Barton Springs Nursery this  past spring.  It was just in a little 4″ pot and it has grown to about 3′ tall and wide.  It’s covered in blooms all morning and they close up in the afternoon.  Next year I plan to plant several more of these.

Clock vine?

Clock vine?

When I purchased this at The Great Outdoors it said it was a clock vine.  It looks more like a blue sky vine to me.  Doesn’t matter as it’s really pretty.

Abutilon  'La Vie en Rose'

Abutilon 'La Vie en Rose'

Cosmos sulphureus

Cosmos sulphureus

Lagerstroemia indica 'Catawba'

Lagerstroemia indica 'Catawba'

Berlandiera lyrata

Berlandiera lyrata

First bloom of the season on the chocolate flower.

Senna alata

Senna alata

I planted a few of these candletrees last year.  We had such a mild winter that they didn’t die all the way to the ground and are blooming now.  I have hundreds of these coming up all over the yard.  Can’t wait til they all start to bloom in the fall.

Senna lindheimeriana

Senna lindheimeriana

These Lindheimer’s Senna plants grew big fast this summer.

more periwinkle

more periwinkle

Buddleja davidii

Buddleja davidii

Ipomoea adenioides

Ipomoea adenioides

The morning glory bush is covered with blooms.  Next year I’ll be planting more of these.  I just read that they can grow to over 40′ tall!  Wow!!

Passiflora incarnata

Passiflora incarnata

When I moved into my house this purple passion flower vine was already growing in the back corner of the yard.  It covers EVERYTHING.  I don’t mind as it is constantly in bloom, has a sweet fragrance and is really stunning.

Another view with bee

Another view with bee

And that’s mostly it.   I had a few other things blooming but this was the best and brightest.  Hope you enjoyed the show.





Some of you may have noticed that I have been m.i.a. on this blog for a while.  I’m going to do my best to catch up and catch you up on our adventures.  Cheryl has been prodding me to get with the program, so no more slouching; here I go.

Chery, (http://consciousgardening.blogspot.com/) is building a fence in her back yard using cedar pickets.  She found a good place to get them at a good price in Johnson City (see previous blog about our Johnson City crawl), and she needed a few more so we decided to head out west to pick up a hundred of the sticks and visit Blanco, Texas, home of the Blanco Lavender Fest (http://www.blancolavenderfest.com/) on the way and see what that town had to offer.  I had never been to Blanco but have always heard really nice things about it and love visiting towns in the hill country.

Our first stop was the The Lion’s Share Iron Works (http://www.thelionsshareiron.com/The_Lions_Share/Welcome.html) located three miles west of the “Y” in Oak Hill.  They have quite a selection of all things iron including chairs, headboards, planters, benches, fencing and much, much more.

Just a small portion of all of the iron headboards

Just a small portion of all of the iron headboards

The aluminum selection

The aluminum selection

Stiill more headboards

Still more headboards

They had great prices and the owner was making some amazing deals.  Stop by and check it out if you get a chance.  Definitely worth a look.

Our next stop was Solstice in Dripping Springs (solsticegardens.com).

Bloom Day, Blanco, JC 068This place was a very pleasant surprise.  Cheryl and I thought we were going to see a plant nursery, instead we were treated to some amazing art and sculptures that were installed around the tree-shaded grounds of the old house which served as the headquarters.

One of Mark White's amazing dream catchers

One of Mark White's amazing dream catchers with the business owner in the background.

One of the artists work that was featured was Mark White from Sante Fe.  His works are mobiles made of different types of metal.  These photos don’t do them justice.  To see how amazing they are you really have to check them out for yourself in person.

One of the owner's creations.  It's spins in the wind.

One of the owner's creations. It's spins in the wind.

May nip if molested.

May nip if molested.

If you find yourself in Dripping Springs be sure to check this place out.  It is not to be missed.  The owner is a very friendly and interesting guy.   Be sure to tell him we sent you!

Leaving Dripping, we took the back way to Blanco via Ranch Road 165.  This is what a drive thru the hill country is all about.  Rolling tree-covered hills and uninterupted views with the exception of a dozen or so cell phone towers (how many of these eyesores do we really need?).  This road meanders along side the Blanco River, which is just a bit of a mudhole with this terrible drought we are experiencing.  Still, it was a really nice way to enter the city.

Blanco is a really charming town.

Buildings on the square

Buildings on the square

And it’s also the County Seat.

Please landscape me!!!

Please landscape me!!!

Love this Second Empire architecture.  Could do with a little landscaping and perhaps someone should water the grass, don’t ya think?

Cheryl and I were starving when we were in Dripping Springs, so by the time we got to Blanco we were about ready to yank of each others’ arm and start chewing.  Fortunately, we stumbled upon the Rockin’ R Restaurant and Steakhouse (www.rileysbarbq.com yes, that’s the link).

This place will save you from cannibalism

This place will save you from cannibalism

This place was a great find.  The interior decor was very charming and the food was DELICIOUS!  My mouth is watering  just thinking about the black and blue burger I had with it’s pepper crusted patty and bleu cheese (man I’m hungry).  Cheryl had the portobella mushroom sandwich and said it is the best one she’s ever had and she’s EXTREMELY picky!  Don’t let her tell you otherwise.  We both gave this place a thumb’s up.  Be sure to stop in next time you pass thru town.

After lunch (and a pitcher of Real Ale Fireman’s 4 from the friendly town brewery http://www.realalebrewing.com/beer_styles.php) we stopped in at the local nursery Blanco Gardens.  (http://www.gardenguides.com/resources/nurseries/nursery.asp?store=847045).  For a little town it had a good selection and great prices.  Bloom Day, Blanco, JC 087Be sure to check out the bird house while you are there.

Texas-Sized bird house

Texas-Sized bird house

Local residents of Texas Sized birdhouse

Local residents of Texas Sized birdhouse

The owner of this place and I have this in common.

The owner of this place and I have this in common.

From there we crawled along highway 281 in to Johnson City.  There are signs all along the roadway advertising Whittington’s, so we decided we better stop in to see what all the fuss is about.

It is a known fact that bikers love jerky.  Look it up.

It is a known fact that bikers love jerky. Look it up.

They advertise that they have the best jerky and while I have not personally tried every jerky in the world I do have to say that this jerky was damn good.  Bloom Day, Blanco, JC 100I insisted that we stop in and see Kathy Johnson at Pieces of the Past (http://www.pieces-of-the-past.com/).  I can’t go out this way without stopping in and visiting with Kathy and seeing what new things she has picked up.

Need a loveseat? Porch railings? Ceiling tin? Saint? Rooster?

Need a loveseat? Porch railings? Ceiling tin? Saint? Rooster?

I know I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again, but I love this place.  There are so many things to see and so many things I want.

Kathy Johnson kindly holding up my purchase.

Kathy Johnson kindly holding up my purchase.

Pull up a chair!

Pull up a chair!

This place is definitely worth a stop when you’re in JC.  Kathy will make you some great deals.

After we loaded up my pickup with Cheryl’s cedar pickets, we had lost our beer buzz, so we swerved off the highway and onto Ranch Road 2766 and headed to the Texas Hills Vineyard.  Bloom Day, Blanco, JC 111This was just what we needed.  The Winery itself is a really cool (literally) building built out of rammed earth meaning that the materials used when leveling the ground for the building was smooshed (that’s the technical term) together to form the concrete-like walls of the building.

A cave on top of the ground

A cave on top of the ground

The staff were friendly, the wines delicious.  We purchased a few bottles and headed back to Austin.  Cheryl and I agreed we had a really nice day.  It was great getting out of the hustle of the city for a day.

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