Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sometimes you have to look back to see that you've gone forward

I like to look back in time sometimes, because the garden grows sooo slowly, and I need to do a reality check and say, "Hey, it IS changing, wadda ya know."
The following progression only shows the changes to the back right corner. The first picture is moving day, (or shortly thereafter)
Picture number two shows the form of the garden after the beautiful 'rubber mulch' had all been raked off, bagged up, and carted away to the dump. (In this spot had been a VERY attractive pink and purple, plastic, tiny child playscape, which luckily the guy who came to turn on the gas took away for his kids)

I decided to retain the outer edge of the rectangle, (because it was easier that way), and make some inner shapes that were a bit formal gardenish… Then we made the main triangle the herb garden.

And so it developed...
(And how, you might ask, did I manage to take this last picture....? That's another story.)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Stolen Photo idea

Maybe instead of stolen I could call it a 'tribute' to the photo that I think should win this months photo contest in Gardening Gone Wild. If you go to the Gardening Gone Wild site and look at the May photo contest entries, you'll see the one I mean. I have taken so many pictures of my rock rose flowers, and yet here was one taken from the back of the flower looking through. I love it. Mine is only a poor copy but it was such a good idea, I had to copy it.
Okay, now I want all of you to go the the GGW site and look through the entries, and let me know if you agree with me that this is a top entry. (There is also one of a columbine that I think is pretty amazing too). Tell me your favourites.

What is this, please?

I have been admiring this around town, and of course I want one for my yard. Does anyone know what it is?? I don't want to seem like a complete idiot when I go to the nursery and start my pathetic description..."well, it's sort of bushy, and has lavender-coloured spears of flowers. It's pretty delicate looking, um, no, it's not that... it's like a salvia, I think, um, no not that plant either...." I can see it now, and it's not good. SO, can ya'll help me out with this. Please.

More Day Lily Delight

Well, I finished weeding and mulching all the beds, and was rewarded for my efforts with the first of the crinkly, creamsicle daylilies!

Pretty darn awesome, don't you think? I want a skirt that looks just like this. Yes, I do. Most definitely. I wish I sewed as readily as I dug in the dirt. Oh well, more garden eye candy at least. Enjoy, my blogalicious friends.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Happy Birthday Glenn!

Happy Birthday to You,
Happy Birthday to You,
I know you wanted a rain barrel...
Happy Birthday to You!!
Isn't it a beauty?
Can't wait to get it installed and then have a rain fall.
Now this really isn't related in any way, except that the birthday boy does like figs....
but... check out the figs!!! We have bumper crop on our little tiny bush. At least three on every branch. I have covered it with killer netting, so no birds or squirrels, or anything else can get to them.
(I have been checking regularly for trapped creatures, and so far have not had to rescue anything.) (Hey, I love all living creatures as much as the next person, but I also love figs, and by god, I am going to help these babies reach their fully ripened potential.)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Trying to capture the colour

When you look out at this corner bed, the colours of the rock rose and the echinacea are so intense and vibrant, that I want to capture their splendour in a photo, but it never seems to look quite as wonderful as in real life. I am not sure that I have been particularly successful, but this is another attempt....

What's blooming these days...

We got the first of the day lilies...
Then this bloom poked its head out from amongst the rock rose bush. The rock rose is trying not to share the space, but this lovely amnesia plant insisted on being seen. (I had some other shots of it but decided they were x-rated.)
And finally mum has had major success getting the echinacea plant established! It is going great guns this year. You should be proud mum!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Horn Tooting Time

Well, folks, here it is. After much sweat and bashed thumbs, and swearing, I finished the fence. Are you wildly impressed? I am just impressed that I managed to finish it, and live to tell the tale. Yahoo!! Yahoo!!
Now you just have to picture beautiful flowering vines growing up all over it, so that eventually you won't have to see much of the A/C unit.

And on the other side. Yup, that is done too. Check out the awesome gate. And the fatal flaw has been reduced to a minor glitch (i.e. it only rubs on the stupid path a tiny bit). Now if only SOMEONE would finish the privacy fence on this side, and get rid of that unsightly pile of old broken slats....

Garden Envy

Once again I am suffering from garden envy. It does seem to be kind of a perpetual state with me. Don't get me wrong. I DO love my garden, but there are just things I see that I want, want, want from other peoples gardens.
On Saturday, I went to a garden bloggers' get-together at Michele Landry-Holts' place, and the green-eyed monster immediately appeared. Everything about her garden is fun and interesting. The entry pavers were inviting and led up to her charming bungalow. And when you got round to the back the garden fun was everywhere!
Of course, what I wanted immediately was the outdoor shower. Oh my, oh my, do I ever want an outdoor shower. But in this garden, it isn't just an outdoor shower, it is an outdoor spa!!!! The base for their spa is created by some divine overlapping circles made from stained concrete, which they did themselves.

Check out the shower. Too bad there were so many people there, cause I was ready to test it out!

and this spa doesn't just have a shower it has a claw foot bathtub, which just needs its taps to be ready to go.

Here is a view of the bamboo privacy screen, and an example of what I should be doing with my old stumps that have just been lying around the side of the house: elegant and natural succulent stands.

Along with two dogs, and three or four chickens, was the most gregarious and attention-seeking cat I have seen in a while. I guess the garden is so much fun it is infectious to people and animals alike. This cat made Lily seem like an elusive and curmudgeonly recluse. Oh wait. She IS an elusive and curmudgeonly recluse.

Once the guests had finished admiring the warthog statue, and had moved on to the spa area, the cat had to find a new place to attract attention from, and so took up residence inside the old bird cage.

And this birdcage... it is going to be hung from the tree above the spa and filled with lights to create a chandalier effect for the spa in the evening. sigh.

You can check out Michele's blog at www.wabi-sabihomeandgarden.com.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Inside Austin Garden Tour, Garden #4

The final stop on our garden tour preview was the home of Master Gardener, Sheryl Williams.
Her home was such a surprise and a delight to find, because the subdivision was quite suburban and dull, but then... there was Sheryl's house. She decided to get rid of all her grass, and instead has planted Texas Sedge, which grows in interesting tufts and looks very frothy and nice. You can see it below in her front yard which is all sedge and tree mulch paths.

Now HERE is what I call a rain water system!!!!! WEE-OOOO-EE!!! (Oh, and that is her 'small' rain collection container!)

When you get into her backyard it is like entering a tiny farmyard. There is an inviting wooden arch, and a stone path,

and the rest of the garden is all edible stuff: she has built many raised beds one for each type of vegetable that she grows.

lots of green beans in that box in the foreground, and they were VERY tasty.

Her garden looks a little messy and wild, but was sooo functional, and there was so much growing, it was truly delightful.

Inside Austin Garden Tour, Garden #3

What I enjoyed about garden number three were colours and shapes. But first check out what this Master Gardener calls her 'hell strip.' Now that is a brilliant and apt name for MY 'hell strip,' but really, hers is better named an eden strip. Look how lush and plant filled and varied this is. Definitely inspiring to someone who would love to make a little bit of a road-side difference.
Then when you get up to her mail box, there is this wonderful, rambly plant, that has HUGE blooms,

But almost more fun than the open blossom are the furled blooms. Look how utterly exquisite these are. Do I want one? Hell, yes!!

Sue Nazer was the queen of beautiful pots it seems to me. In the trees she had a number of pots which were all the same shade of blue, but all different shapes. Very eye-catching.

Then once you get pool-side, there were more wonderful pots which all somehow blended with the aqua of the water.

Near the pool was a little retreat area, with orcourse, more pots. But what was interesting here was the fact that she had cut down and decked over a Vitex, but it had a stronger will to live and thrive than she had given it credit for. In the following photo you can see that it has pushed through the slats of the deck, and reclaimed the space. Moral: Don't underestimate the force of nature!

Lastly, she had some charming stone creatures to grace the side of her pool, in a small bed right by the water's edge.

Inside Austin Garden Tour Garden #2

The second garden that we went to was the garden of Wendy Brennan, who is not a Master Gardener herself, but is lucky enough to have Master Gardener Link Davidson for a next door neighbour. Together they designed her front yard which has many features that made me green with envy. First of all, like me, she has a big red metal thing in her yard, but that is where the similarity ends, because hers is both architecturally imposing, and an inviting welcome to to her house.

She has two beautiful flowering shrubs that apparently require next to no water. Look at the delicate crinkly blossom on this desert something-or-other...

This was the other shrub. Lovely purple spears of blooms:

And look at what they did with her cement path that had led up to her house. I wish I had a guy with a cement saw who would cut up my cement path and re-set it in a bed of pea gravel, so that it looked cool and zen-like. He also up-ended some pieces to create a delineated seating area, and one was used to mount the numbers of her house (see first photo)

And.... I want a some ginormous rocks to be brought in and artfully placed in my yard too.

And while we're at it, let's get some granite cubes to be tossed with artistic abandon down by the road. Let's face it, I want it ALL! Very cool. Very nice.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Inside Austin Garden's Tour 2011

I was fortunate enough to get a sneak preview of the Master Gardener's 2011 Garden Tour yesterday, and enjoyed wandering through four of the six properties featured this year.

What I took away were wonderful ways to feature whimsy, colour, and structure in your garden, as well as, (of course) very cool close-ups of intriguing plant shapes I hadn't seen before.

The first stop on the tour was Rebecca Matthew's Garden.

This picture is of a 'staghorn fern' which apparently grows in next to nothing in the way of soil,
and as it gets older the central core gets larger and larger, out of which the 'stag antlers' grow. It was very tropical and kind of prehistoric looking. I want one!

Then there was the penguin head buds which turned into rather lovely, yellow, irisy-type blooms.... but of course the penguin head was more entertaining for me.
Rebecca's garden definitely wins the whimsical award. From a wall of inspirational plates,

to a chandelier adorning the outdoor seating area,

from the watering-can fountain (how cool is that!)to a smattering of yarn bombing just for good measure...

Through it all, enticing pathways lead you on to each new surprise.

There was definitely lots of garden fun to be seen here.

The tour is today from 9:30 to 5 I believe. I have pictures of the other three gardens we visited, and hope to post them soon, but first blogger was out of commission, and now my slowly dying computer won't let me get to my photos. AAARRRGGGHH!!