Saturday, May 14, 2011

Bloom Day

Seems like spring offers a gardener a lot of excuses.  Not only is there a long list of things to be done in our own gardens, for  master gardeners, there's a flood of teachable moments in a community under the influence of spring fever.  A surprisingly cool day, the first rain we've received in nearly 7 months, and Carol's Garden Bloggers Bloom Day gave me more excuses - simply to be still and focus on the details at home that make my heart smile.  

 These 'Bling Bling' zinnias and 'Music Box' kneehigh sunflowers are grown from Renee's Garden seeds.  This is the first year I've intentionally planted a "cutting garden" at the back of my vegetable bed.  Usually I grow sunflowers there for the Great Sunflower Project (a bee counting program), but these were selfishly planted just for me, me, me.

 This is a terrible picture of a native butterfly bush.  It was started from a cutting snipped in San Antonio.

 'Peter's Purple' monarda in its full glory.  This came from the Native Plant Center at SFA in Nacogdoches, TX, and weathered our sustained freezing temps over two winters and abysmal heat in the summer.

 Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue' - a favorite of the wonderful black bumblebees I very much want to keep healthy and returning every year.

 Dancing garlic scapes.  Hardneck garlic doesn't love our southern heat but still puts on a show and manages to produce some fiery garlic.

 'Senorita Rosalita' cleome was finally added this year after Pam at Digging field tested it for us and gave it a green thumbs up.

Stachys coccinea aka Texas betony growing with Thai peppers at the base of my new pear tree.

 Heartleaf skullcap in its full glory just before it goes dormant from the heat (any day now.)

 Anise hyssop (above) and borage (below) are both bee favorites just starting to strut their flower wares.

 Cedar sage (Salvia roemeriana) reliably blooming in its shady bed.

 One of the simple "ditch lilies", or common orange daylilies (above) and Asclepias or butterfly weed (below) proving there's nothing common about anything bright orange. 

 Persicaria 'Red Dragon' is quickly becoming my favorite shade plant for its colorful foliage and remarkable ability to fill in quickly after freezing to the ground each winter.  The frothy white blooms are simply an unexpected pleasure.

 A good image of this spidery bloom was impossible to capture, but equally impossible not to share with you.  It appeared at the top of a 6 foot stem in the center of a Manfreda undulata 'Chocolate Chip' given to me as a pitiful looking pup just last fall.  What a comeback!  Thank you Eleanor for sharing this great plant with several of us.

Another shade plant that's done well for me is Cestrum.  The red variety didn't do as well, but the yellow couldn't be happier.  I'm told the leaves have a wet-dog smell when crushed, but my dogs disagree. 

  And finally, one of the giant leeks (sometimes called elephant garlic) given to me by Greg Grant.  It came from Greg's grandmother's East Texas homestead that he's restoring.  Here they grow in the midst of larkspur that came from MSS at Zanthan Gardens.  Some of my very favorite things in life are the meaningful connections to friends represented by "passalong plants" from their gardens.  Hope you enjoyed the quick visit this Bloom Day.

Purple Martin Party Time!

Travis Audubon hosted a Purple Martin Colony visit this past Saturday next to the historic home of Laura Joseph.  Laura started...