Monday, April 27, 2009
The green-ish thumb
So the front flower bed. It's looking a bit overly...green though don't you think? I am slightly picky when it comes to the plants I put in my landscape. Well ok picky is kind of a gloss over term, I don't like dead plants in my yard because well, they look ugly right? Also, as much as I love gardening I am not into putting annuals in only to have to rip out their carcasses a few months later. Wasted energy, plus that's what everyone else does in the neighborhood. All of the other yards are very 'tame' and orderly. You might notice my taste may lie a bit less than tame although I still like my yard to look pretty. Oh and lets not forget the other thing, I don't like to buy expensive plants, or rather plants at full price. Too much likelyhood that my money will kick off and die right? So many of my plants are purchased as either bareroot (roses), rhizomes (irises), or bulbs (gladiolas). I also have a lot from our local plant swap I think I've mentioned before. Nothing quite like free plants and lots of new friends that love gardening.
So now that you know the method behind my madness you get a little foresight into what it is I have planned for this little piece of land I have. Keep in mind my nutty builders orientated my house west facing, less than ideal for energy conservation. Also makes it so some spots in the front yard blaze all afternoon during the summer in the sun. Other spots, under the shade of the trees, stay relatively shaded but still, nothing in Texas escapes the heat. This limits the choices I have in flowering plants greatly but it does mean that roses should fare pretty well. Roses are supposed to be full sun loving plants but (you knew there would be a but huh?) when they say full sun they don't mean full Texas sun. Texas sun is a whole different kind of raging hot, similar to that in Vegas only with more humidity. Black Baccara doesn't like sun, she's a full shade kind of gal. The good news is I had 5 other Austins that do love the full sun and can handle the bit of shade that the trees afford sometimes so the garden real estate was nicely handled.
Yes, this hydrangea has yet to fully bloom. If I buy a flower from the store I pick the one that is almost blooming that way the flowers aren't dead within a few days of buying it.
After flitting about on the Garden Web forums I paid attention to what companion plants people were putting with their roses that bloomed at different times so that there would always be something of visual interest from spring through fall. This year it won't have anything in the spring, I planted to late for that. In years to come though I'll only have to do maintenance and it should bloom by itself. All my roses, Black Baccara (a deep red), Jubilee Celebration (a light peach), Souvenir de la Malmaison (a light pink), and Abraham Darby (another light pink) have a spring flush that will be peaking right about this time. Following this I have a hydrangea that should come into bloom. I have only 1 right now since I do not like buying plants at full price that I am not sure will survive the summers here. My mother bought it for me last weekend. Since she rents she doesn't want to plant anything in her garden so she buys me plants that she would normally plant herself so she can enjoy them still. Works for me, I love hydrangeas and I hope it lives!
One of the baby irises I raised, there are probably 20 or so in ground now and all of them look like this with varying heights of leaves. The pictures below are what some of them should look like. I have no real idea though which ones survived and grew so who knows. There were over 20 rhizomes of different colors purchased...
The iris rhizomes I bought from a place 2 summers ago and only 1 has bloomed (in the pot I had them all in). As I understand they aren't supposed to bloom at all their first year so I was lucky I suppose. I had grand plans for these irises, I actually had a plan figuring in their different heights and colors. Of course all of their labels have been lost and all I have left are green stalks and an Excel spreadsheet of which ones I ordered and the fact that I paid $1.50 for most of them (oh yes, I have a spreadsheet for everything order, makes it easier if I want to reorder something). Most of them are re-bloomers and will go spring trough the summer. We'll see and I don't expect them to do much this year. Most plants get pissed (gardeners like to use the phrase 'stressed', whatever) and will just survive that first year in ground. Anything else and as far as I'm concerned that plant is a total gem.
The gladiolas (Black Surprise) were bulbs on sale for 50% off at Lowes this week. 12 bulbs for $2? I can do that, I don't even need to really dig a real hole for these little gems and at the price I won't get all traumatized if they don't bloom. Again, I don't expect anything the first year anyway so they might just be some forgotten surprise in years to come.
And last but not least, the garden gnome....