Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Quick P.S. on the 'Random Things...' Post

The whatchamacallit (two posts back) is really a 'night blooming cereus.' If you google images of it you will see why new growth makes me so happy. The flower is pretty amazing. I sure hope I get to see one some day.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Lily Disguised as a Bamboo Plant

Lily is connecting with her inner tiger...

Random Things that make me Smile

I took a walk around the garden, and there are many lovely things to be seen if you are willing to linger: Spiraling patterns in the cactus:
How is it that something can be both pink and fuzzy, and all over with prickles at the same time?
Up close to this cactus (see below), I am mesmerized by the vertical columns of pink ovals, each the center of radiating and overlapping spines. Beauty that can bite.You are lucky I am only putting two of these photos up, because I took a bunch! Did I mention being mesmerized???
You have to smile when you see new growth on a plant. Below the 'Night Blooming Whatchamacallit' which started with only one little stem, has put out multiple new stems! Now we just have to keep our fingers crossed that someday there will be a night bloom, (and that we won't miss it). O.k., fine. I'll look up the proper name for you.
This is just a Ruellia bud waiting to open. But I really like this picture! I think it is cool, especially with the Costco yard bag in the back ground. There is nothing like capturing the yard bags in your pictures for creating great art!
I also love the echinacea blooms rising up over the greenery, against the backdrop of grey fence boards.
More new growth here. Yeah! I can almost see the yellow blooms now.
Exotic Love Vine: (wins the prize for best plant name)
Thank you to Merideth for the seeds of the "Exotic Love Vine." Because not only did they sprout, but they have reached four squares up the new metal fence. Oo, yeah, baby! Can't wait to see this one take off! And it really IS called Exotic Love Vine!! Yes. It really is. You can google it. You should in fact. Do it, so that you can see the blooms that I am hoping to see in the future.
And finally, a serene late day view to show the peace that reigns in the garden at the end of a long hot day. And a word about heat. I think that the garden can handle hot weather up to about 100 F just fine. It is the 108 F that makes it lie down and look sad and defeated. Since the rain, (and yes, a little rain perks everything up), but SINCE the rain, we have had a reprieve from the blistering heat, and everything looks like it can manage now. At least for the time being.

Monday, June 20, 2011


How cute is he! (Or she.) (Also, remember to click to enlarge: you can see it better)
Glenn's collection of succulents is of great interest to this little fellow. And he/she was most patient about being examined by what was, I am sure, a rather alarming, huge, black eye that clicked ominously....

New fence Frames the Silver Stripe Bamboo

I am not sure which I am more interested in showcasing here. The bamboo I guess, because its wonderful cascading arcs look great against the finally finished NEW fence. Yes. That part is satisfying too.
And then, just because I know how, I had to use the 'show water flowing' setting so you can see the bamboo IN MOTION in the wind.
Oh yeah. The skills are just piling up, I have to say!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Alamo Vine is looking lush!

I always get excited when something I have planted gets multiple blooms. The little successes offset the discouragement of NO blooms on the pomegranate for example.
Check this out! How many blossoms can you count? Quite a few, eh?
Let's get a little closer because they are sooooo pretty to look at.
Here is a veritable cluster of blooms. And they are so dainty, like crepe paper.
Once you look right into the middle, the stamens are really eye-catching. They coil so tightly, as they emerge from the lovely wine-coloured center.
O.k., lastly, let's get in behind the the bloom and see what it looks like from back there: utterly luminous against the blue sky.
A special thanks to Amy for introducing me to this vine!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Show the Motion

The June 'Picture this Photo Contest' in Gardening Gone Wild is called "Show the Motion."
I found this quite a daunting subject, but as I had entered last month I kind of wanted to try again. Not being a photographer really, (just someone who likes taking pictures of her garden), I wasn't sure how to get motion. Terms like ISO settings are completely foreign to me. I mostly use a small digital Olympus point and shoot, but we do have a bigger, fancier, more complicated, Nikon that has lots of buttons. The Nikon mostly makes me nervous. So I took a few pictures of the Texas Bluebell, and although I think they look like they are blowing in the wind, I'm pretty sure this is not what Josh McCullough is looking for.

See? They are blowing in the wind. Then I read a helpful hint he mentioned in the comments that suggested using the 'fireworks scene' setting. So I thought I'd give that a try. That was fun, but I was feeling annoyed that I couldn't figure out how to get motion from the big scary camera. So I decided to sit down and press every button in every combination to see what I could find. WELL! Under 'advanced operation' (a place I had yet to venture into), I found you could choose "show water flowing". AH HA! I think Josh said something about water in his description, so I decided to give that a whirl.
Here you can see the Texas Bluebell looking ghostly and vaporous. Below is a mysterious Echinacea shot done with 'fireworks' setting, but it is just a litle dark. I like it a lot though.
Then I decided to try again with the 'show water flowing' setting, the next day in the late afternoon sun.
The photo I finally chose for the photo contest is the one below. I like the way the Echinacea looks almost painterly and impressionistic with the stripey bamboo in the background. It also almost looks as though you can see the shafts of sunlight streaking across the picture.
So There you have it. If nothing else I had fun trying new things, and I figured out a new setting on the big, scary camera, which I no longer find quite as intimidating.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Plant Rivalry?

It seems that plants, like children, get jealous if the parent pays too much attention to a sibling.
And as I do feel very parental towards everything growing in the garden, I suppose it is only natural for the plants to vie for my attention. I admit that I have been paying rather a lot of attention to the Texas bluebell, because it is gracing us with many blooms. The bulbine clearly got tired of being second fiddle as it were, and insisted on getting into this photo. When I saw it I was reminded of so many photos of our children who have at times stuck their heads suddenly into the picture, just so as you don't forget they are there.
Not wanting the bulbine to get a complex or anything, I quickly took a few of her. Yes, you ARE beautiful. Don't worry I love you all equally....

Rain Barrel not working

So. We bought the cinder blocks, we called the rain gutter guy to come back and shorten the down spout so that it stopped over the barrel. We set the birthday barrel (made from a recycled olive barrel) up on the blocks. Nothing happened. I look in it every day, but something is not right. So I went back and and read the fine print on the how-to manual. It says, 'just' add rain.
I think I want my money back, cause we don't have that stuff here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Why, Why, Why, Why, Why!?

My garden is filled with 'Why' these days (hence the reason for the title of the blog.) I decided to share just a few with you today, because maybe there will be an answer to one, and if not, at least it will feel good to vent a little. SO. WHY #1:
Why is it that my pomegranate, which I love dearly and admire daily, which has probably doubled in size since it was planted two years ago, and which is CLEARLY quite happy... WHY is it that it will not bloom for me??? I have mentioned in the previous post, that I love orange blossoms, and I have so been looking forward to the luscious blooms that I KNOW grow on this bush, and which I have been admiring all over town except for in my back yard. sigh. The leaves are glossy and green, and orange blossoms would look so beautiful nestled amongst the leaves. I guess I have to be patient. Patience. Sheesh. Why is it always patience that is the answer??

O.K. WHY did God create this weed? Come on. Tell me why. If someone wants to convince me that some beneficial nematode under the soil would be wiped out if it didn't have the roots of this plant to feed on, then o.k. maybe. But I fear it is one of those biblical 'trials' that we are supposed to be faced with, and me and every other gardener that I know, for whom this lovely plant is the BANE of our existence, has to 'patiently' (i.e. keeping the swear words to a minimum and away from the hearing of small children), keep pulling them out EVERY day, KNOWING that they WILL BE BACK THE NEXT. Yep, I guess it is kind of like that poor guy who had to carry water up hill in a sieve for eternity.

And why doesn't my Pride of Barbadoes grow and bloom? It blooms everywhere else. Why not in my yard? I feel like a blossom failure sometimes.

This is rather a sad why. Our little fig tree has been doing sooo well. It had big lovely green leaves and got covered in figs. There were so many figs that I wrote that post about putting netting over it because I was sure we were going to get a great crop this year. Then it just started looking sad. And then sadder. Check it out:
And so I took the netting off, in case it just didn't like the feel of it. But it still looks sad, and now there are fig carcasses littering the ground beneath it, and I just want to weep. WHY?????
WHY? Sometimes when I go outside I feel very small. And it is clear that I know nothing about gardening.

Friday, June 10, 2011

New blooms and a guest worker

I went out to see what the garden had to offer Joseph on his birthday, and BA-ZOING!!! WHOAA. He was given an exotic wonder of a bloom, (thanks again to an austin garden bloggers plant swap!) I am not sure that Joseph was too excited about this gift but as it was sort of my birthday too, I mean, I did most of the work that day, I was very appreciative.
Isn't it amazingly scrumptious!?! I love the splotches of orange on yellow. I have to say, I find orange a very satisfying colour in flower blooms.
Then my eye went a little lower, and I spied this tiny little worker, who I immediately hired to take care of all button-hole sewing projects I may have in the future. He seemed good with that plan, as clearly this is his area of expertise.
I don't even think my sewing machine could do this careful a job...

Monday, June 6, 2011

What else I've been seeing...

The alamo vine is blooming:
The magnolia has blossoms
And tonight I noticed that I am even going to get some blooms on this amazing plant that I was lucky enough to get from a garden bloggers plant swap! Problem is, I can't remember what it is called. Hmm. Amnesia maybe? I guess I'll have to look it up.

We picked our first fennel

Yesterday we made a salad and one of the ingredients was our first harvested fennel bulb. It was delicious. And the amazing news is that we actually have more than one! We will be enjoying several salads and other dishes with these babies. And... it is really pretty too.

The Waiting has paid off... for a Texas Bluebell

I was surprised that this plant made it through the winter. Actually I was surprised it made it through last summer and the fall as well. So when it seemed to be thriving, and then even produced buds I waited with great anticipation to see what would emerge.
The buds seemed to grow soooooooo slowly, and got longer and longer, and finally started to turn pale blue....
Today the first started to unfurl, and I am happy to say, it was worth the wait:
The initial loosening of the petals gave me this glimpse of the hidden treasures inside:
The final bloom looked like this:
And a closer look shows us the yellow stamen hovering above pale lavender petals which bleed abruptly into a deep purple center. Nice. Very, very nice.