Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Today's Blooms

This time of year it's great to be a gardener in central Texas. The leopard frog in my pond has resumed his nightly serenade after a winter's rest, we're getting some much needed rain, and everything looks so fresh and healthy in the cooler weather. Yesterday I was talking to a plant supplier in Virginia who is still having to worry about the effects of snow and cold weather. I was telling him how we are trying to get plants started now so they can get a good start before the killing heat sets in.

I missed Bloom Day, so here's what was blooming in my garden on the ides of March ...

A few years ago, I found this small tulip at a local nursery. It's t. clusiana "Cynthia" and will naturalize here in Austin. Above are three pictures of the same plant; I'm trying to capture the wonderful yellow and deep pink of the blooms. The top photo is the closest, but it didn't show the pink as well as it was taken later in the day when the blooms had opened.

Colleen's Climber rose

Chandler strawberries

"Old Blush" rose - one of several started from cuttings last year and already looking like this!

Flowering quince - puts on a show just once a year then goes back into hiding

"Apple" pelargonium - scented geranium that smells just like Juicy Fruit gum

"Attar of Rose" pelargonium - one of the strongest rose scented geraniums

Lady Banks rose - this one was cut almost to the ground when repairing the fence, but she's coming back in style. (Plants teach me a lot about resilience and patience.)

Meyer Lemon - it makes just enough lemons each year for one batch of Lemon Ginger Marmalade using a recipe my mother-in-law gave me. This year, I modified the recipe and also made a second batch from those little clementine oranges and some chipotle chiles. Our"Mexican Mandarin Marmalade" was a huge hit!

Butterfly weed or Milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) - the flowers attract butterflies and the leaves are a favorite food of the caterpillars of Monarch butterflies that migrate through central Texas

Mexican Lime - it's looking like we might have to make margaritas to use them all up

Mrs Oakley Fischer rose with friend

Dicentra ("Bleeding Heart")


"Peter's abutilon (Vesuvius?)

"Marilyn's Choice" abutilon

Bengal Tiger rose - profits from the sale of this rose go to a tiger preservation fund

Martha Gonzales rose

Mlle. Franziska Kruger rose


We attended the 20th birthday celebration and benefit at Eastside Cafe this past weekend. After seeing how vibrant and healthy their garden is, I was almost embarassed to show you mine. If you're in the Austin area, please do yourself the favor of seeing what they've managed to do with a small city plot. It's inspiring.

Hope you enjoyed our flowers. Not pictured are the Mutabilis rose and spirea that are putting on a show in the front yard. Also, we're hoping to have a major update on the rainwater harvesting soon. Check back in about a week. If we don't have any more rain delays, we can start collecting it. Gotta love the irony!


Diana said...

I love your bleeding heart and the abutilon and the tulips! Tulips -- here -- in Austin? Unbelievable. How long have you had them growing? They are amazing. I'd love to be able to grow tulips here. We have many of the same plants in the garden, but you have a lovely collection of roses, too, that I don't have. They look vibrant and happy in your garden.

Diana said...

shoot - i think blogger ate my post - sorry if it appears twice! Anyway - I love your bleeding heart and tulips - I didn't think either of them grew here but yours are beautiful. As are your many roses. I only have 2, but we share many other garden plants. I especially love the exotic looking abutilon.

Pam/Digging said...

I LOVE those tulips. I just saw them for sale at Barton Springs Nursery but managed to pass them by. I may not be able to hold out for long though. What are their growing conditions in your garden? And how do you protect them from deer? (Don't you have deer?)

By the way, the "friend" pictured with your Mrs Oakley Fischer rose looks like a cucumber beetle, most definitely NOT a friend.

vbdb said...

On tulips: the bulbs are sold at Barton Springs Nursery in the fall and seem to grow anywhere the soil drains well. When they sell the plants in the spring, they're always being grown in a very sandy mix inside one of those plantable pots. Mine are planted at the foot of a Joseph's Coat rose that has a very upright (but not actually "climbing") habit, growing in clay soil that's been amended with compost and some Ladybug brand rose mix. Forget having them for long if you have deer, although I have an effective deer defense trick to share when I see you.

On the beetle: I'm going to check with Wizzie (an entomologist), but I think the cucumber beetle usually has a more elongated body and doesn't have the tiny white patch behind the head. Also, I'm not currently growing any cucurbit famiy vegetables to attract or support them - nor are my neighbors. This is likely an Asian lady beetle - sometimes a problem when it moves indoors to overwinter, but a beneficial when it minds its manners and stays outdoors. They come in an unlimited range of colors and numbers of spots. We can only hope it's a good guy. I'll let you know.

Annie in Austin said...

You have a lovely spring garden, VBDB, and I'm surprised by the bleeding heart, too - Dicentra is the genus that means bleeding heart to me, but down here people usually mean the pink & white Clerodenron.

MSS also grows the tulip clusiana - and it sure is pretty. Like you I'm also growing Asclepias curassavica, Meyer's Lemon, Lady Banks rose, Mutabilis rose and spiraea...if I can find the tulip next fall our gardens will have one more plant in common ;-]

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

vbdb said...

Pam was right about the cucumber beetle - I can only hope a bird or anole snatched it up for a snack!

Bonnie said...

Lovely! I love the abutilon. And yum, your mention of the marmalade makes me want to grow a lemon tree just so I can cook that recipe.

Lori said...

I love your tulips! The pale yellow is such a springtime color, and hard to find. I bought a little pot of these in full bloom at Barton Springs Nursery, but forgot to bring them inside. The next day it was above 90 degrees and they wilted before I had a chance to enjoy them, so I'm glad I can look at yours and enjoy them vicariously.

vbdb said...

Lori - did you save the little bulbs? These really do naturalize and come back, so I hope you popped the bulbs into the soil to enjoy next year. If not, get bulbs this fall when Barton Springs Nursery gets them in - less than 1/4 the price and more vigorous growth with no transplant.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

What pretty blooms you had! Any chance of you sharing that Lemon Ginger Marmalade recipe? I'm drooling at the thought...

vbdb said...

Thanks so much for your comments - need to complete a post on the rainwater harvesting update (BIG news!), but will be happy to include the recipe. Please check back.

Dawn said...

I love your abutilon. I've never seen one like that before. You have so many different types of plants. Wow!

No Rain said...

You haven't posted for awhile, and with your garden bursting with color on March 11, I wonder what it looks like now. It must be spectacular!

vbdb said...

Thanks for checking in. The garden does look its best; although after what I saw during Spring Fling, it seems pretty puny by comparison. What a wonderful time we had! Trying to catch up - working on the rain tank update right now and hope to have the info posted within a day or two.

Annie in Austin said...

I had a feeling you were in the land of outside plumbing! Hope all is going well with the big project.


herself said...

Oh, I miss my flowering quince. I had one in Boston and it was the first plant to bloom each year, even beating the forsynthia.

Thanks for sharing it.

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