It’s a show that can only be appreciated when viewed from my house. I can kick myself for not thinking of taking this photo and posting it here on the blog in time for the Fourth of July. Instead it occurred to me a day later. It’s been three years since the lilies were planted, and they have now become established and will be even more spectacular in the years to come.
The cactus collection in my greenhouse is in dire need of some TLC. But my poor greenhouse is last on my list of green thumb to-dos. Because of the loss of my neighbor’s eighty five year old oak tree, one half of my front shade garden needs to be replaced with perennials that can endure full sun, and the few shade-loving plants that did survive will need to be transplanted to a shadier section. But that’s not all.
There’s my backyard gardens that were also in desperate need of first-aid. Between the dog damage, drip irrigation problems, and several extended winter freezes, a third of my plants meet an untimely end.
I’ve had to provide local nurseries with my list and followup with a call to each of them weekly. Availability was much later than usual because of a long-lasting winter and cooler-than-normal spring. A lot of the perennials on my list were only available at a nursery located way north of where I live. And since my car isn’t large enough, numerous trips were required—each being a three hour excursion.
So far, I’ve managed to install/replace all of the damaged and/or dead plants. But the hardest job is yet to occur, and that is clearing out the English ivy in the parkway and planting, according to my landscape architect Michael Parkey‘s drawn plan, six new sun-loving varieties: 20 Sun Drops, 36 Bugleweeds, 3 Gulf Muly, 72 creeping Liriope, 15 Hard Plumbago, and 6 Giant Leopard plants. This job will be done in phases over the next two weeks.
The greenhouse and its occupants will have to wait.
Eco Friends Pest Control has a new website! I designed this site a year ago, but my client needed time to work out their copy and other details. I spent the last couple of weeks implementing all the changes, and now it’s ready for public viewing. These last two weeks have not been easy. In the past year, the developer and WordPress had issued numerous upgrades that caused a lot of problems with my original design. I basically had to rework everything. Most of the drama occurred in the backend — things that the public never sees. Perhaps that’s why they use the term “backend.” I still have some bugs to work out (no pun intended), but for the most part, it’s finished, and I’m happy with how it plays.
Check the site out and seriously consider using this wonderful little company for all your pest control needs. They will only use products that are natural and completely safe for your home, garden, and business.
I get a kick out of looking at my Japanese Maple when the sunlight is at a level where the light passes through the leaves. At that moment their red is fiery, but when the leaves move into shadow a blue tone cools the color. The Chocolate Chip Ajuga’s purple blooms are the perfect foil to the maple’s quieter tones. After two years of seasonal setbacks, I am hoping the Ajuga will recover and spread. The latest reversal is the result of several long weeks this winter in which the foliage was smothered in a frozen snow mixture for extended periods of time that burned back the evergreen leaves. And now there’s a new layer of compost and mulch covering the foliage that did survive. Hopefully the blooms are a hint that the green creepers will soon follow, and the plants will be at least the same size if not larger than last year. But I won’t be holding my breath.
Something had to be done to stop the noise and destruction.While Brewster was working out his jaws on my custom interior and exterior painted woodwork, Beulah was busy ripping out the neighbor’s fence hoping for some face to face social exchange with the two dogs next door. Every time I or my neighbor blocked up a hole, Beulah would start afresh somewhere else along the fence. In the above photo you might notice the chewed up wood. After four large holes, many starter holes, and an entire length of fencing covered with jaw marks, I turned to my contractor Bert Watford to help me implement a plan for repairing the fence, creating three windows, and covering the lower third of the entire length with hardware cloth. The hardware cloth and windows were my idea, but I needed help working out the details. Thanks to Bert, in one long day the entire job was done. Now the dogs can see each other, and the noisy violence has subsided.
The Flowering Quince shrubs (Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Toyo-Nishiki’) are the first to show obvious signs of spring. For almost ten years, these two had been in a dark back corner of my front garden where the expanding tree canopies had completely blocked out the sun. Since their transplantation during my front garden’s makeover two years ago, they have recovered and are currently thriving in their new spot next to the sidewalk. Now anyone passing can easily see and enjoy these two showoffs.
Known as “dog turd mushroom”, this mass has been growing for several months in a gravelly portion of my garden and has just now decided to uproot itself and relocate. Last year I remember seeing one in the alley under my trash cans. It took months to break down, and at the time I thought it had been tossed there as a joke. So when I tripped over this new bit of nastiness, I felt it was time to put my google skills to work.
Officially this lump of ugly is known as Pisolithus tinctorius or Pisolithus arrhizus. Despite its repulsive appearance, this mushroom happens to be beneficial. As a mycorrhizal fungus, gardeners and foresters use it to assist young plant and tree growth. Since I have no plans to sell or donate it to a local nursery, it’s been tossed under my oak tree in the shade garden, where hopefully it will do some good.
This Texas Lilac Vitex has really grown since last year, and that’s after quite a bit of pruning this past winter. But the Black and Blue Sage and the Gaura are just now beginning to bloom after a long cooler-than-usual spring. The flowering perennials may not be as bodacious as last year, because I chose not to add compost this spring. Last year the garden and newly prepped beds created monster plants that had a difficult time staying healthy during the long hot summer. Smaller plants have a better chance enduring the heat without succumbing to disease.
Heuchere villosa ‘Beaujolais’, commonly known as Coral Bells, were chosen to replace the purple Wandering Jew (Purple Heart) that did not survive its first year in this location. Since the Wandering Jew did manage to come back this spring in a shadier portion of my garden, I can only guess that this unsuccessful small patch received too much sun. Additionally, I have chosen not to continue planting seasonal annuals. So the Coral Bells have been planted as perennials to replace the annuals and Wandering Jew.
Firewitch Dianthus borders my greenhouse and blooms profusely this time of year. Because of a string of dingy days over the past two weeks, the flowers had been too soggy to photograph. Consequently they were a wee past their prime when I was finally able to shoot them this past Saturday. If I deadhead them after this cycle is finished, they’ll bloom again in the fall, but it won’t be as abundant as this springtime show.