Sunday, October 14, 2012

Garden Growth

A brief update:  despite the fact that I can't think straight most of the time, and there are definitely not enough hours in the day in which to prepare for class, and drive kids around, I have managed to extend the extremely slow growing flower bed out front as far as the corner- a minor triumph, for which my back is paying the price.  Oh well.
 And I am very very pleased to report that the Datura that I planted out there is COVERED in buds,
 one of which will open very soon I think. Yippee.
 In the back everything is brilliantly green and everything is blooming like crazy.
 I still love the bulbine (and still think it is a weird name)
 The sky flower is full of dangling purple-blue jewels.
And after the rain everything just sparkles.
The ruellia is amazing by the house.  Looking our the back living room window, the garden is seen through a purple curtain of flowers.
Sun + flowers = Cathy's happiness
Even the Cross vine is covered in blooms, and really, doesn't look cross at all.
I almost forgot about my new zebra grass, which is zebra-y because of the stripes it has on the blades of grass, but I like it for the beautiful feather fronds that wave up above the grass:

Now I must get back to the drudgery of classroom prep work which is really what I SHOULD be doing right now.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Plants are Amazing

I don't really understand how cacti work, or why they do what they do.  But remember this photo from August 1st?
The poor thing just lay down one day.  We didn't know what to do, but I figured it had just become top heavy, and needed to create more support for itself.  Well that wasn't the case in the end, because as you can see from the photo below...
it decided to stand up again. (!!??!!)  It took a few days to get there, but it is all the way up again.  So.... what is that all about?  Was it sleepy?  In need of a wee lie down to regain some of its old vigor? Hmmm.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Weehoo, We have a Bloom on the Desert Willow

Actually we have THREE blooms on the Desert Willow, with the promise of quite a few more to follow.
So I have been annoying the heck out of my children by exclaiming each and every time we pull in or out of the driveway..."WOW, check out the beautiful blooms on the desert willow."  I have been told to 'contain my delight' by the older son, who is loathe to show any enthusiasm unless absolutely necessary.  Of course I told him it was just not possible to contain my delight.  He sighed and gave up.
But really, REALLY!!! It is pretty darn delightful, wouldn't you say?!
Now here is me trying to make lemonade out of lemons again... sigh. It's a weed.  And they are rampant in the crushed granite.  But, its flower IS kind of interesting...wouldn't you say?
Back to the good news: This is not the same picture as yesterday.  No sirree, this is the second bloom.
See?  And there are at least two more too.  Yippee.
Now I am also going to get one of those elegant flowers that have the tall broad green leaves.  The flower looks like it is coming along nicely, but the leaves are being eaten by god only knows what.  They are practically decimated, but I never see any bugs whatsoever. Harumph.  How do you get rid of something that you can't see?
And the poor old cactus is still looking like it is suffering from heat exhaustion, but it is gamely sending out new ears which are doing their best to turn themselves in the upward direction.  Some plants sure are resilient.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Garden Surprises

I have no idea who gave me this flower, or when I planted it, but this morning I went out and there it was!
 An incredible bloom.  Wow.  I can't believe I have something that looks this fancy in my garden.
On a different note, I don't really understand the cactus.  I am wondering if it is just growing so fast it can't support itself... because it is certainly lying down on the job. We keep shifting the rock to try and support it, and it just wonks over in the other direction.  So, it is just going to have to stay like that now, I think, and grow up from there.  Hmmmm.
And finally, the desert willow is still sweet and seems to be creating numerous little pink buds. So I am hopeful that we will get quite a show in a few days time.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Rain Barrel Saga: A Sad Story, With a Happy Ending

Tragedy struck the rain barrel during the period of heavy rain that blessed the area a few weeks ago.  The owners of said rain barrel were not very responsible (or really very bright), and so they did not set up Bertha the beautiful barrel in a balanced and safe manner.  Sadly, at the point when the barrel was full to overflowing with water, and the stupid owners were celebrating all that beautifully collected rain, the barrel tipped over.  Oh NOOOOOooooooo!!!!  Oh yes.  And of course not only did they lose all 65 gallons of water, but the barrel fell on, and broke the spigot, and and snapped the bits that held the spigot in place. Argh!
 So.  Here you have what we were left with.  The hole was relatively undamaged, and so we figured it was fixable.  Not sure how to proceed, I looked online and saw some instructions, but nothing very clear, and a call to the Great Outdoors where it was purchased produced sympathy, and a willingness to look at it should I take it in to the store, but nothing specific.  So I gathered up the broken bits and headed to Home Depot.
At Home Depot I held out the broken parts that had secured the spigot and asked various and sundry, experienced looking employees if they had them. I received the same response from them all: "No Ma'am, we don't have any parts that look like that here."  [?????] Seriously? The place is ENORMOUS!  Surely, surely somewhere on those shelves these three little parts would exist.  Disbelief made me wander up and down peering into boxes and drawers, but they seemed to be right.  The parts did not exist.
What I was able to get at Home Depot was a new spigot and a tube of silicone, so I left with two of the necessary elements of the fix-it project.  A few days later, just by chance, I was near a Breed and Company, and as the broken parts were still in the car I went in and held them out pitifully, and without much hope to a sales guy there.  He took one look and said, "Is it for a rain barrel?"  [Hope surged...] Yes, I replied.  Well, by golly, didn't he just walk over to a rack on the next aisle over and pick up a little plastic package containing the exact missing pieces!!!
 Holy Hannah, would you look at that!  I was one happy camper. How is it that Home Depot doesn't have these pieces when they are packaged up so nicely here? The next stage was to actually repair the rain barrel....  hmmmm.
 So with silicone in hand I crawled inside, (with Glenn making helpful cracks about going over the falls...)and secured the inside half, and then crawled back out and attached the outer bits.  As you can see I was very generous with the silicone, because I wanted to be as sure as possible that it wouldn't leak.  (Silicone white when wet, but dries clear)
Two days later I created a fake rain with the garden hose (because God knows, it'll probably never rain again), and as you can see from the final picture.... BERTHA THE RAIN BARREL IS FIXED AND FUNCTIONING!!!! HURRAY!  So now.... in a few years, when it rains again... we'll be able to collect the water.  (And yes, we did balance the barrel better this time)
[Say "Bertha, the better balanced barrel" ten times really fast, and you too will be able to makes yourself a back yard rain water catchment system!]

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Desert Willow is Already Giving

I was very excited to have pointed out to me that the little Desert Willow I planted is already trying to produce a flower... 
It is sooooo tiny, but is definitely there, and crowning the very top of the topmost limb.  Hurray.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Garden Views For Mum

I know that I have a habit of getting very close to flowers and bugs and other tiny things of great interest, but I am going to take a step back for those who want to get the big picture.
 First off, I have to say that I am thrilled with how established the Plumbago is in the front yard under the oak tree.  It is covered in intense blue flowers and is behaving just as I have always wanted it to. 
Secondly, I have finally started the arduous task of clearing the grass from the no man's land between our driveway and the next door neighbour's driveway.  First I planted a Desert Willow, and then a couple of weeks later, after the rains abated, I started to dig more grass out, and I have now also planted a Rock Rose that had seeded itself from the back, and a cactus.  Fingers crossed that they all survive, and that I continue to have the energy to dig, and that at some point it starts to look somewhat attractive.  Of course the good thing about a total wasteland, is that it is hard to make it look worse.
 Into the back yard, and a view to the left from the patio... my favourite view right now.  I am loving, loving, loving the bamboo, and bamboo muhli and rock/cactus area.
 Coming into the backyard from the side of the house gives you this view,
 And standing back under the Cedar Elm gives you this view... perhaps a good spot for a future guest cabin?
 Also this view.
 And finally, in the back right corner the garden looks like this.  All very green and lush right now after the rains.  And now...., just because I can't resist when I have a camera in my hands... you know, my hands just start shaking, and my fingers drift to the settings dial, and before I know it, I have turned it to macro, and then I just give in to the addiction... sorry, I can't help it.
 The Blue Sky plant has more flowers this year than ever before.  Very nice, although I do wish it would grow a little bigger.
 And the Texas Blue Bell is divine as usual.
 And the something-or-other has just taken off, so I am very pleased about that (by the patio)
 and I am still in love with the Russian Sage, although I am debating whether or not I should move it to the front.
 Loving this cactus, which I thought would always stay small, but I am getting the feeling it is going to get huge.
And a Ruellia bloom to end with because it looks soooo cool... don't you think?
So there you have it.  Something for everyone.