(almost) spring garden view

spring doesn’t officially land on the astronomical calendar until march 20th, but the garden, in response to the seemingly warmer than typical temperatures of late, is telling me otherwise this year.

front yard garden view of Foeniculum vulgare 'Purpureum' (bronze fennel), Salvia gregii 'Raspberry' (sage), Pyrrhopappus multicaulis (texas dandelion) and friends...
a few steps closer to Rosa 'Knock Out' (rose), Punica 'Red Silk' (pomegranate), Salvia x fruticosa 'Newe Ya'ar' (sage) and Prunus 'Methley' (plum) ... and some slime mold on the leaf mulch, yay!
a close up of pretty Prunus 'Methley' (plum) blooms that burst into flower this morning. even mr. grwhryrpltd stopped to enjoy them before heading to work this morning

isn’t it all so pretty? you should see it from the other direction, when the late afternoon sun and early evening sunset light up the newly emerging foliage like rubies.

talk about a knock out... Rosa 'Knockout' against Punica 'Red Silk' (pomegranate)
newly emerging pomegranate leaves... little rubies they are...
especially when back lit. this is what i call the ruby glow...

and i’ve got a little extra glow because i was awarded this the other night:

2011 brazos county master gardener of the year

gardening is a labor of love, no matter where you’re able to do it… happy march everyone.

here chickie, chickie

okay, i admit it. i want to join the throes of gardeners out there with chickens running around their yards. i’ve posted about it before, having gone on two of two local pulletpalooza tours here in the bryan/college station area. i hear austin’s funky chicken coop tour is coming up soon… lord knows they’ll have oodles of inspiring coops and gardens, tractors and critter protection solutions. unfortunately, we don’t have the “required space” for a coop at our humble abode… but thankfully, i have friends and clients who do! so i’ve been reading up on the subject in jessi bloom’s debut book, free-range chicken gardens, recently published by timber press.

jessi's new book!

i got to meet jessi when i was in seattle last summer for the garden blogger’s fling, and i gotta say, she’s a pretty cool gal. not only because she free-ranges chickens in her garden, but for her skills as a landscape designer AND installer, her positive outlook on life and family, and her no-holds-barred attitude when it comes to roller derby. yep, you should ask to see her tattoos…! her visually inspiring book covers all one might want to know about keeping such avian friends in the garden. you might just find yourself dreaming of feathers and wire mesh fabric.

to encourage all us chicken wannabe’s to take the next step toward poultry rearing, timber press is hosting an exciting giveaway, but you only have until friday february 17th to enter…! that’s in two days, people.

the goods include:

  • a copy of jessi’s book
  • a $50 gift card for chicken feed or supplies from McMurray Hatchery
  • one chicken coop plan from The Garden Coop (a $20 value), and
  • 1 lb. of organic chicken forage blend and seeds for chicken-friendly plants from Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply (a $20 value)

so whatcha waiting for? get on over to the timber press contest website for all the details and enter away!

for full blog disclosure, i did not receive a free media-sponsored book from timber press, as i beat them to the punch and pre-ordered it before i found out about this contest. jessi is an acquaintance of mine, and i wish her all the best!

who needs to buy flowers…

when you can grow your own?

Rosa 'Spice' and 'Belinda's Dream'

while i did support the floral industry for yesterday’s big event, i had to supplement the arrangement that arrived on our doorstep with a few of these fresh beauties from the garden. there… that’s better.

alstros, roses & panicum arrangement, finished sweater & cheddar beer mustard bread.

my sweetie was particularly lucky. not only did i make him cheddar-beer-mustard pull apart bread (which was good even for someone who can’t stand mustard…), but the sweater i’ve been knitting him on/off for the past three years is finally DONE!

i hope cupid was good to you. happy belated valentine’s day everyone, and happy bloom day.



it was an early january day when i noticed a pink castle peeking over our garden fence. i wondered who the princess was, and if she was happy in her abode amongst giants. the looks of it made me smile.

…let it rain!

have you received our christmas card in the mail yet? if not, here’s a digital version for you to enjoy:

can you smell it in the air...?

yes, this is the third and latest addition to our annual holiday yard art series. last year’s fragrance was spice (…and everything nice!), the year before that royal pine. not satisfied with mere yard decorations, we wanted to make more of a statement this time to acknowledge the year of record-breaking drought in texas.

the plants outside are dying

and my dear, we’re still xeriscaping…

but as long as you love me so,

let it rain!

let it rain!

let it rain!

while it is a catchy tune, i’m not sure if our rendition of “let it snow” will do anything to improve what the drought monitor indicates. however, i’m happy to report that as soon as our friends in the b/cs started receiving their cards in the mail today, it started to rain! haha! it’s working…!

now, if only we could figure out how to make them truly scratch-n-sniff…

pine. rain. spice

it’s beginning to smell a lot like christmas… texas style. merry christmas y’all.

holiday greens on bloom day

i’ve missed the last few bloom days… but i’m not going to miss this one, even if most of what’s growing on in the garden is greenery right now. speaking of greenery, i haven’t updated you on the holiday greens lately. here’s how the harvest wreath has changed into a holiday wreath, minus the holly that is:

october's wreath - oh yea, this was the one i gave to the sorghum breeder, a bit different from the one shown at our front door, below
late november's wreath with grasses, vines and burrs
december's wreath with fir boughs added
and then pomegranates and ball moss were added
and then pine cones and a ribbon were added
see why i picked a blue-green ribbon? because the kitties like it!
and just today i added purple beauty berries

see what fun you can have with bits and pieces of garden gatherings? i’ll probably keep adding to the wreath, as i’ve seen a couple of birds and anoles taking bits and pieces of it away… and that must explain why the kitties are being so good, staying on the porch…

happy bloom day everyone.


pardon the break in holiday greens coverage (what was i thinking… a daily post? moi? we’ll see how long this lasts…), today’s images are from the second annual brazos valley pulletpalooza in bryan/college station. six chicken coops graciously opened their gates for touring, chicken fancying and coop construction contemplation. since two of the sites were on last year’s tour, we started with the ones we hadn’t yet seen. since we got a bit of a late start we were only able to visit three, but we know where the others are when we get to the point of wanting chicks of our own…

first up, jeremiah’s chickens on leonard road:

eggs for sale
a cluck of hens and a mild-mannered rooster
reused book shelves make nice nesting boxes

second up, stephanie and her daughter joy’s chichens at bait barn fisheries on highway 21:

former horse stables turned into a comfy but secure chicken coop
on guard
nesting boxes
proud joy's ameraucana egg

third stop, lamar’s chickens on silver maple lane:

a large chicken enclosure, constructed from reused materials by the big event volunteers
a sturdy construction of recycled pallets & brick, bird netting and chicken wire - whatever it takes to keep marauding critters out
a chick settles in to roost for the evening

we wish we could’ve made it to all the coops today, but daylight was waning and time ran out. thanks to everyone who participated. next time we’ll plan ahead and bring our empty egg cartons to share. a meager token from chicken owner wannabes.

holiday greens: harvest wreath

we currently have a bit of grain sorghum growing in our front yard and i was admiring its rustic orange hue earlier this evening.

sorghum sentinel

since i used quite a bit of it (from another local field) earlier in the fall for a harvest wreath, i thought it could count towards my holiday greens posts. here’s what it looked like before i hung it by the front door in october:

october's wreath

i’ve since added other field & woodland gatherings to the wreath (from other friendly sources) including grape vine, native grasses and cotton burrs (thankfully, not from a $10 imported stem from anthropologie). i have plans to add green tree trimmings to the wreath once i find a place who will give them away for free. it will then feel even more wintery and welcoming. in the meantime, here’s a close up evening view:

november's gatherings patiently awaiting december's additions

no use in starting over with holiday decorations. by simple addition you can transition your fall elements into winter, enjoying them that much longer.

holiday greens: sage, silver & lilac

today’s holiday greens post is an image of an arrangement i made the other day while my family was here for thanksgiving. as you can see, all items are from the garden and have held up pretty good considering it’s still 70 degrees outside.


i love the cool, soft color combo of sage green, silver and lilac. the trimmings include Rosa ‘Marie Pavie’ (rose), Salvia x fruiticosa ‘Newe Ya’ar’ (silver leaf sage), Vitex trifolia f. purpurea ‘Fascination’ (Arabian lilac – the pretty purple leaves) and Callicarpa mexicana (mexican beautyberry). here’s the full arrangement on the garden altar:

full view

also included in the jar are Dolichos lablab (purple hyacinth bean) and Eupatorium havanense (white mist flower or boneset). to make this even more in keeping with colors traditionally considered for the holidays, i’d add a branch or two of my red-fruiting possumhaw, Ilex decidua.