This little Texas Whitebud tree has never been a prolific bloomer and never photographs well with a regular camera lens. This time I used my macro lens. Even though the breeze kept moving the branches and I’m an amateur with this kind of lens, I did manage to get a few good shots. This little tree looks much better in a detailed close-up. To view more sweet details, click on the link below.
The Leatherleaf Mahonia (Mahonia japonica ‘Bealei’). Well… It’s still winter officially, that is until tomorrow, but there’s ripe fruit ready for the pickin’ in my front garden. This shrub bloomed in January, but since I photographed and wrote about its blooms last year, I didn’t want to bore you with a repeat of what you’ve seen before. In fact, this year I have not bothered to photograph any of my winter bloomers until now, since their annual cycle has been covered at least twice before on this blog.
The Chocolate Chip Ajuga is quite the show right now. It’s planted in both my front and back gardens in and around my stepping stones where there is shade. Eventually the clumps will spread by stolons and weave a tight mat of foliage. Depending on the amount of sunlight, the leaves are a mix of rich chocolate-purple and green, but the color will deepen in more sun. This ground cover was planted less than a year ago and may take at least another year to lose its clump-like look and spread into an uninterrupted blanket of foliage. To see a larger expanse of this plant, click on the link below.
Oh my goodness! My Fatsia japonica (or Japanese Aralia) is blooming. If you look closely, you can see several bees buzzing around the flower heads. This was planted over a year ago during my backyard’s makeover, and I had no idea that it was a fall bloomer. From a little research, I have learned that these blooms will eventually become “fruiting bodies”—a very fancy phrase indeed. Nonetheless, I expect these fruiting bodies to provide me future Kodak moments.
Two new planters and one elderly frog now grace my back terrace. This composition was badly needed to screen out the the transformer and irrigation boxes. Bear in mind that the Inland sea oats in the bigger planter will eventually grow taller and flesh out the space more gracefully. Right now they look a bit stumpy and ragged. The shorter container is planted with variegated hostas. Both plants are perennials. Because these two cast concrete containers sit on a non-permeable surface, they were not draining. So I had to elevate them with plant dollies that were strong enough to withstand the containers’ massive weight. Aesthetically, it’s not the best looking option, but I had no other choice. I found the elderly frog, who in a former life spouted water in some English garden, through Antique Swan on 1st Dibs. To see a close-up view and to admire his warty patina, click on the link below.
These two Lindheimer’s muhly suddenly bloomed while I was away in Newport during the first two weeks of October. I wasn’t expecting this kind of show so late in the season. Boy, what a surprise! And what a wonderful frame for my new teak bench and cast stone planter. I’ve planted a Squid Agave in this planter, because it’s a perennial that can endure full sun all day, intense summer heat, and dry conditions.
Look what the rains brought! Big bodacious Rain Lilies! Here in Dallas, we’ve had two torrential rain storms in less than a week, and these lilies respond only to rainfall and not hand watering.
On a sad note, you may notice large amounts of pollen on their petals. Normally the local bees would have made off with most of it, but most of them have been killed off. Because of a huge mosquito problem and a bad outbreak of the West Nile virus, the city officials have responded by spraying pesticides two to three times a week up and down our streets and alleys for the last two months. The mosquito population has not diminished nor have the cases of West Nile virus, but the bees, butterflies, and Anolis lizards have, for the most part, completely disappeared. This time last year, my gardens were loaded with these beneficial creatures. And to make things worse, the county has added aerial attacks. Four planes have been making rounds for the last five days dumping a pesticide called Duet, and the second round begins tonight. My neighborhood has just been issued a “Red” alert, informing us to take cover from 8:30 pm to midnight.
This Yellow flower false yucca continues to thrive while other plants in my gardens show distressing signs of summer fatigue. I’ve started the process of trimming off the top third of the sage, blue mist, and guara perennials in hopes of reviving them in time for one more burst of blooms in the autumn. They had also become too tall and were falling over each other.
This Water Poppy is now two years old and has proven to be a wonderful and perfect plant for my tiny pond. Not only does it help filter the water, but its foliage provides my three little fish shade and shelter from the sun and predators. Other than cutting it back to its rootball every winter, no other maintenance is needed. By the end of September it should like this again, a happy mess.