Good neighbors and Lady Vera

One of the biggest pleasures of being in the garden (especially a corner garden) is getting to pause and chat with neighbors and friends walking by. And our number one neighbors are Trish and Sandy. Not only are they fab friends, but they also look out for our pets as if they are their own. Most days I come home to find Jack and Mickey peering out at me from under Trish and Sandy’s fence.
One morning this week, I noticed something unfamiliar by one of my pots up front. A ‘pet rock’ to remember our zombie cat, Vera. Thanks, Trish!

Pet Rock

And here is Lady V on one of her last jaunts around the garden. It’s going to be strange gardening this summer and not seeing her lazing in the sun or rubbing up against the pots.

Zombie Cat

It’s raining, it’s pouring

All plans for another weekend pottering and clearing up the garden vanished when we woke up to it chucking it down. Instead, we took a few photos and determined the damage from this week’s frost.

The geraniums that I was so proud of last weekend are goners. Looks like it will be yet another trip to find replacements:

Sad Geraniums

Considering it won’t be too long until we are begging for rain, the poppies, aretemisia, and lambs ear seem to be determined to hang on to whatever water droplets they can:

Poppy

aretemisia

Lambs Ear

And, despite some casualties of the frost, there are a few things emerging, including these grasses that have self-seeded:

Self Seed Grass

Water free zone

Succulents

Succulents

These two pots are by the side of the carport and there are no water access points close by so it seems the perfect spot for some succulents. These were acquired this weekend and transplanted quickly into pots (usually it takes me a good couple of weeks to get around to potting new buys)!

Mystery plants

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One section of the extension to Al’s garden was set aside for experimentation. I threw a bunch of seeds out in October of last year and now I’m starting to see some results. Unfortunately, I have no idea what they are…hopefully, time will tell.

The bluebonnets are here

Bluebonnets

Bluebonnets are the state wildflower of Texas. They remind me a bit of bluebells in that they spread like crazy and manage to survive anywhere, even in the middle of highways. I have three different patches throughout the garden. The first was a couple of plants in Al’s side garden and I transplanted a couple of plants and scattered some seeds in the extension of the garden. Here is the first bloom of 2014. Tourists travel to central Texas to take photos in the fields of bluebonnets but I don’t think I have planted enough to expect any crowds journeying to Cloverleaf Corner.

 

Magnolia burst

Magnolia

This is currently the ‘showstopper’ bloom in Al’s garden. In the past week it has gone from tight pink buds to multiple full flowers. It looks lovely but unfortunately does not have a scent (although it looks like it should). We’ve had quite a few folks ask if they could take a photo of this gem. An added bonus is you can see Chris’ handy work from the weekend–power-washing the fence!

Hhh-erbs

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Rosemary provides year round green in a Texas garden yet in spring there is the additional bonus of delicate mauve flowers. I’ve gone a bit overboard with rosemary plants this year as I’ve set aside one section of the extension to Al’s garden for a rose garden. While at David Austin Roses during last year’s trip to England, I saw that they suggested rosemary as  good companion plant to roses and then had that nugget of information verified when we went to Jennifer and Gordon’s house and Gordon shared how he used rosemary under a rose to keep away pests. So, I’ve attempted to start a rosemary hedge around the plot that is reserved for my six yellow roses that should be arriving this month.  The rose emporium in Tyler, Texas ships David Austin roses to central Texas around this time of year. I’ve ordered three Golden Celebration and three Molineux and cannot wait to see if I can make some Wolverhampton roses thrive in Austin.

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As you can see, I bought some of my rosemary plants a couple of months before the others! I’m hoping the front plants will catch up with the plants in the forefront of the photo. Now all I need are the roses to fill in the middle!

This shot also shows the extension to Al’s side garden and some of the hardscaping that Chris and I put in last year. It’s hard to believe that three years ago, all of the side area was grass. The new path of limestone slabs mirrors the path on the other side of Nassau leading up to Trish and Sandy’s house. Sandy and I enjoy pottering in our gardens at the same time, sharing seeds and plants, and chatting with the neighbors that pass by.

As we’ve spent the past few weekends clearing out the front beds, this weekend we decided to tackle the back garden. First we took some inventory of plants that miraculously survived the freeze and came back from last year:

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Not sure how this lettuce would taste, but it adds a bit of greenery

fennel

The fennel planted last year looks ready to harvest already

chives

Ice blue pansies keep petering out and then rebounding. Here,  they are keeping the chives company

mint

And the mint has gone crazy. We probably need to dig it out and replant in pots to stop it from spreading across the whole bed. Yet when everything looks a bit barren, it’s hard to cut back or take out anything green!

Bulbs… beautiful bulbs

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Last October I took a weekend to focus on planting bulbs ready for spring. In the past week there have been signs of life within these pots of anticipation. Here you can see some daffodils getting ready for some blooming. They are planted in a shallow blue bowl as I remember Grandma saying how much she likes daffodils in blue containers! Behind is a pot with scarlet pansies. Despite a few days of colder weather than normal for an Austin winter, the pansies seem to be able to survive just about anything.

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Not sure what I planted here. I think it may be ranunculus and some anemone…I suppose that is the fun of planting bulbs and having to wait a few months for the results.

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Ok…these aren’t from bulbs. I had some red geraniums that did not survive the winter. Last weekend I replaced them with a pink version and potted them yesterday.

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Anemone? Quite a striking colour purple whatever they are.

Sally's Allotment