i’ve been a bad garden blogger

if it weren’t for my insistent friend ms. slotharium, i’d probably never get this post up. i know, i’ve been a really bad garden blogger lately, but i just haven’t been able to spend  (i.e. distract myself) for a minute longer at the computer as this is the time of year to be outside in texas! surely you understand, so i won’t waste anymore time giving excuses. besides, it’s the bloom day before the garden bloggers meetup in asheville, so i really need to post something or else the powers that be might not let me participate.

here’s the prettiest blooming thing in the garden, bespeckled with the day’s constant drizzle. it sure makes me smile.

Hemerocallis ‘Big Smile’ (daylily)

no time to post photos of each individual blooming plant right now, so here’s the larger view what the front yarden is looking like. a little wild, yes, but over the past couple of months it’s been host to dozens of metamorphosing butterflies, color shifting anoles and even a few molting snakes seeking refuge.

driveway garden view

garden view to left of driveway

right side garden view

view from the top of the driveway

moving along towards the back yarden, here’s a little project mr. grwhryrpltd put together to support our enthusiastic grapevine.

new grape trellis over the garden gate. concrete footers and enlarging the gravel threshold are all that’s left to do (until i overhaul the gate itself ).

one bountiful cluster of Vitis labrusca ‘Black Spanish’ (grape). this is its first year of fruit production.

speaking of bounty, we’ve been harvesting plums the past few mornings from the front garden. they’re so tasty. i’m going to attempt to make plum jam this evening.

Prunus ‘Methley’ (plum)

beautiful and delicious!

oh right… we were heading to the back garden. here’s what it looks like with somewhat frequent rains (every 10 days or so).

a chair full of drying coriander, now probably lost to the rains it just sat through. oh well, i bet cilantro will be growing here come fall.

a nice place to sit with a glass of wine in the evening, particularly when the cushions are dry

while the vegetables haven’t been too productive this spring, the “native” sunflowers sure have shot up like a rocket. they’re everywhere, but i don’t mind too much. it gives the neighbors something to look at over the garden fence.

i’ve limbed up the sunflower’s leaves as they grow to support the tomatoes, tomatillos and peppers growing underneath them. the upper leaves should provide a bit of shade to get the veg through the heat of the day as well. the patch of sunflowers in front of the raised bed was a little experiment to see how big they’d get under competition from bermuda and st. augustine grass. they doubled in height after the last rain.

did i mention we’ve been visited by critters lately? here’s a few of the highlights.

a handsome anole on Pennisetum ‘Princess Caroline’ and Fig

a non-venomous yellow bellied racer or yellow bellied water snake (i think? snake id is not my forte), unfortunately found dead in the garden. i buried him/her and s/he’s now growing a hearty patch of zinnias.

scare ya? ha! only a gardener would pull a (confirmed dead) snake out of sedges to see just how long it was – 10 wine bottle width’s worth. i wonder how many more might be sneaking around.

now, onto the critters for more gentle souls…

Danaus plexippus (monarch) caterpillars denuded this Asclepias (butterfly weed). it’s since recovered and ready for the next batch of larvae.

a freshly spun monarch chrysalis. you can still distinguish the caterpillar stripes on it.

another monarch chrysalis. safely located under the fence stringer for protection from weather, with lots of room for wing development available underneath.

a monarch chrysalis ready to break open…

she’s free!

even the kitties got to see the butterflies hatching. creaker johnny max (our +1 kitty) didn’t even bat a paw.

first year we’ve had Polygonia interrogationis (Question Mark) butterflies. guess it takes having a few Buddleia (butterfly bush) on hand, but somehow i don’t think these shrubs will survive the texas summer heat.

the Buddleia also attracted these Junonia coepia (common buckeye) butterflies. they may be “common,” but i find them stunning.

on the domestic critter front, the kitties have been, well, kitties. i’ve been playing nurse to puma for the past several weeks as she got into an altercation requiring surgery. while healing from that (with plastic cone collar on, of course) she went downhill fast due to another mysterious reason (stroke? aneurysm? tumor?), to the point we thought we were going to lose her. it’s a looong story, but she’s doing fine now and we’re so glad she’s still with us! dude and max did their best to avoid her, lest they catch what she had.

ms. pretty paws (puma) and mr. fence jumper (dude)

how’s that for an update? i could go on, but i’ve got some things to tend to before taking off for asheville. looking forward to catching up with the garden blogging community while there; and for those of you not going, oh how i wish you were! i probably won’t blog from there, but check out my twitter/instagram feed for pictorial updates enroute.

ttfn.

gbbd for june

as summer solstice approaches, colors in the garden are starting to turn up a notch.

june's view of the corner garden

yellow has transitioned to orange and red, indicating the heat we’ve all been feeling and have yet to brace ourselves for. Canna ‘Wyoming,’ that i originally purchased in 2010 from old house gardens and have since transplanted to two other garden locations, is holding strong – even if its torn foliage is still recovering from an early may hail storm that covered the ground with ice. however, now that i read their website announcement indicating they aren’t currently selling cannas, i hope this stellar focal point hasn’t acquired a canna virus… i was just wondering the other day why the typically bronzed maroon leaves were so green lately… oh dear. i will have to look further into this.

Canna 'Wyoming' glows in morning light

Hemerocallis ‘Vanilla Fluff’ was also divided and transplanted earlier this spring, and seems to be establishing itself well, in spite of the high salt content irrigation water that its foliage appears to despise. Muhlenbergia lindheimeri (big muhly grass) doesn’t seem to mind.

Hemerocallis 'Vanilla Fluff'

even the sunflowers have increased their temperature. this here is Helianthus ‘Velvet Queen.’ i like the contrast its petals make against the blue trellis, painted in rustoleum’s ‘night tide.’

Helianthus 'Velvet Queen'

the Scadoxus (blood lily) firework show wasn’t as impressive as i’d hope this spring, as many of the bulbs sent up their foliage first, indicating they wouldn’t flower. perhaps i need to cut the flower heads off sooner, so their bulbs can get all the energy they need for next year’s blooms.  puma, you’ve got some work to do. get to it.

Scadoxus multiflorus (blood lily)

while admiring the lone blood lily, i came across a serpentine garden visitor, who must appreciate the cool shade of Sisyrinchium (blue-eyed grass) and ornamental kale. not sure what kind of snake this is, perhaps a texas brown snake, Storeria dekayi texana? if so, s/he is completely harmless and “a gardener’s friend.” carry on my friend.

a surprise garden visitor seeks cool refuge under the blue-eyed grass

up front, the Eupatoriadelphus purpureus (joe pye weed) is just starting to flower, surrounded by the ever blooming Knock Out rose. in front of it, Punica granatum ‘Red Silk,’ is preparing one hell of a pomegranate harvest. cheers to that!

Eupatorium, Rosa 'Knock Out' and pomegranates galore

the ‘Belinda’s Dream’ rose, while small from its spring planting as a six-inch pot, is already loaded with full, geometric blooms. quite pretty up close.

Rosa 'Belinda's Dream' already profuse with petals

another cooling color combo is Salvia x fruiticosa ‘Newe Ya’ar’ (silver leaf sage) and Salvia guaranitica ‘Black & Blue.’ i was surprised that ‘Black & Blue’ came back on it’s own from last year’s annual planting. perhaps the nearby shrubby mound of evergreen eversilver ‘Newe Ya’ar’ protected it though winter.

cooling Salvia 'Newe Ya'ar' and 'Black & Blue'

while also cool in color, the garlic scapes are turning out to provide their own delectable heat. these bulbils came from the fourth garlic harvest of the year, and we enjoyed them and a few of their cloves with dinner last night. needless to say, fresh garden grown garlic is THE BEST! i can still taste the fire on the back of my tongue… more garlic coverage to follow.

'Metechi' garlic scapes & bulbils

happy belated bloom day everyone. go see what other garden bloggers are up to over at may dreams gardens. next month we’re meeting up in seattle for the garden blogger’s fling… and i’m very much looking forward it.

 

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