Thursday, February 28, 2008


All the roses and clematis' have been pruned and fertilized and are ready for the spring. Spring is just three weeks away! So much from my list yet to do, and so little time! All the seedlings growing indoors are itching to get outside and I will probably start 'hardening' them off this week. My 'Black Pearl Pepper' seeds from Thompson and Morgan failed to germinate. I contacted them and they are sending a free replacement package. I hope I have better luck with the new packet.

I'm always curious each year about the All-American Selections ( and can't resist growing some of these annuals. Pepper 'Black Pearl' won the All-American Selection for 2006. I started growing them the same year. They were such a success in my garden that they have become a stable. I also started seeds this year of Salvia farinacea 'Evolution' another AAS winner in 2006. Salvia farinacea is a perennial in my zone, so if they do well I can look forward to their return each year. Last year I grew the 2007 winner Vinca 'Burgundy Halo.' They also did well, but I couldn't find a place for them this year. Others that I have grown include: Nicotiana ‘Perfume Deep Purple,’ Zinnia ‘Zowie! Yellow Flame,’ Zinnia ‘Magellan Coral,' Gaillardia pulchella 'Sundance Bicolor,' Rudbeckia hirta 'Prairie Sun,' Rudbeckia hirta 'Cherokee Sunset,' and Zinnia 'Profusion Orange, White, and Cherry.' Most of these thrived, and some, like all the 'Profusion' zinnias, return each year from seed. As my garden is maturing, I'm finding less and less room for annuals because many of the perennials have multiplied. There seems to always be gaps here and there, so I know I will always find room for a new AAS winner that catches my eye.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


Camellia japonica 'Kramer's Supreme'

I have this notion that sometimes photography cannot do justice to the beauty that exits in nature. This seems to be very clear to me when I try to capture the essence of the color red in flowers. I imagine a painting would do a better job. But in the mean time, I keep trying with the camera. I attempted to capture the 'drop your jaw' awe of the blooms on my Camellia japonica 'Kramer's Supreme'. I came 'almost nearly' close but the photos don't do justice. I have three 'Kramer's Supreme' growing waaaay back in the back of my garden. When they are in bloom however, they are the very first thing you notice. It helps that most of the garden is still dormant and very little else is in bloom. For now, I will use my camera, but one of these days I will heed the little voice inside me that says ‘make a painting.’ I hear it often and ignore it, but when the Camellia is in bloom the voice isn't as quiet!
*btw- did you know that Camellia is in the Tea family (Theaceae)!

Friday, February 22, 2008


I am lucky enough to have a boss who also enjoys the pursuit of gardening. Early on, when I was bit by the gardening bug, she gave me some plants from her garden. Thanks Beverly! :) This white Iris is one of them. It is very early to bloom and can sometimes be seen blooming in January. They have multiplied abundantly so I have moved them to various places in my garden. They currently live in my Iris bed, Yucca bed, and Moon Garden. Iris is my second favorite flower and the blooms on this one always puts me in good spirits.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Anemone Coronaria

Many moons ago, okay well really about 5 years ago, I planted about 50 Anemone coronaria bulbs. They were discounted 75 percent off because they were on the shelf too long. It was the wrong time of year to plant them but I thought “why not.” Out of 50, one came up. It didn’t bloom the first year, but the second it did. And what a beauty! It has reliably bloomed every year since then. The first bloom this year, seems, if it is possible, even more elegant than previous years. I love ‘green’ flowers and the Anemone and the Lenton Rose are two of my favoites.

It took 3 years for my Lenten Rose to bloom. Each year it gets bigger and better and blooms the same time as the Anemone.

Lenten Rose (Helleborus Orientalis)

Lenten Rose (Helleborus Orientalis)

Monday, February 11, 2008


How did I miss the Viola?!?

Due to an oversight of this year's judges, the Veronica, Mahonia, and Viola will all be awarded the gold medal. It seems upon inspection the Viola odarata was found to have flowers that had already gone to seed putting into question the standings for the medals. Viola may have come in ahead of Veronica and Mahonia, placing Viola at the head of the pack. Therefore da head judge has decided to award all three flowers the gold medal for 2008.

Congratulations to all!

Friday, February 8, 2008


And the silver medal goes to Mahonia bealei for a second place finish in the 'First Blooms of Donald's Garden 2008.' At the moment, there are more buds than blooms but some have opened, thereby qualifying Ms Mahonia for a second place finish.

Who will get the bronze? It's too soon to tell. Will it be Iris or Camellia, or another from out of nowhere? Stay posted to find out!

Thursday, February 7, 2008



It's New Year's again! I always think of Chinese New Year's Day as a second chance for resolutions that I haven't kept since the 1st. What better time as well to list my garden chores for the coming season. So much to do and so little time --- The gardener's mantra!

So on to the list I must keep, knowing there is more to come:

Front bed:
Divide and move Daylily ‘Crimson Pirate’ so that they are in front of Coneflowers.
Remove Aniscanthus from in front of the Mexican Oregano and replant to another bed.
Move seedlings of Echinops ritro so that they are closer to each other.
Move Salvia greggii ‘Teresa’ and Persimmon Lilac’ to other beds.
Consider moving Rose ‘Belinda’s Dream’ to another bed.
Move bulbs of scattered Gayfeather so that they are all in one group.
Transplant Veronica ‘Heavenly Blue’ and ‘Blue Charm,’ closer to ‘Gayfeather.’
American Beauty bed:
Divide and move Phlox paniculata ‘Texas Pink’ to back of border near Hydrangea.
Plant Rose ‘Peggy Martin’ to replace Old Blush.
Repair arbor
Plant Salvia ‘Persimmon Lilac,’ that has been removed from front bed.
Transplant Monarda ‘Jacob Cline’ to behind the Roses.
Consider moving Canna ‘Tropicanna’ to Canna Island.
Wichita Blue Juniper bed:
Move low growing Lantana camara to front of bed.
Transplant high growing Lantana camara from Earl’s bed.
Curb bed:
Plant Sedum ‘Matrona’ starts near new stone path.
Remove remaining grass and seed ‘Talinum paniculatum.’
Mother’s bed:
Divide Hibiscus ‘Flare.’
Transplant Purple leaf Salvia to pot.
Transplant divisions of Daylily ‘Bitsy’ from other bed.
Tip prune Golden Salvia officinalis and plant tips in front of border.
Plant Salvia farinacea Evolution seedlings in front of Daylily ‘Bitsy.’
Look for support structures for ‘Maggie’ and ‘Graham Thomas’ Roses.
Replace broken arbors.
Japanese Maple bed:
Have arborist remove dead tree- Ailanthus altissima.
Plant new Tree – Chinese Pistache.
Remove Canna.
Remove new shoots of Physostegia virginiana.
Yucca bed:
Plant transplant of Aster oblongifolius, from the compost area.
Put up new bird netting for vines.
Restore three wall planters with new peat , netting and soil and re-hang.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

2/6/08 FIRST BLOOM OF 2008

First bloom of 2008!

It looked like it was going to be a battle between the Crocus, Camellia, and Iris for the first bloom of 2008! But alas, Veronica peduncularis ‘Georgia Blue’ comes in first, out of nowhere! She usually doesn’t bloom this early! Last year I moved a small clump to a space underneath my early blooming white Iris. They were blooming at the same time, several yards away from each other. I expect now that a couple of buds have opened, it won’t be long until the show! How exciting are the first blooms of the new season!!!

The Salvia coccinea 'Coral Nymph' seeds have sprouted in the dining room. 45 new seedlings! I will probably have plants to give away! I started Echinacea purpurea 'White Swan' to take their place on the growing table.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Yippee! The Purple Gomphrena globosa seeds I started on the 2nd have sprouted. Last night I lifted the black plastic sheet that kept them in total darkness and low and behold there were lots of little seedlings. 95 percent germination – not bad – and so fast! Every year I let these annuals go to seed in my garden, but I sew a new flat inside, just to be sure. I cannot imagine my garden without them! I’m waiting for seeds of Black Pearl Pepper to arrive.

I plan on planting the Gomprhena alongside the black and red pearl like peppers and purplish black foilage, of this variety.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

2/02/08 GROUNDHOG DAY 2008

Punxsutawney Phil proclaims "As I look around me, a bright sky I see, and a shadow beside me. Six more weeks of winter it will be!”

As I sewed seeds in flats on my dining room table I looked outside to a warm spring like day. I wondered if Phil could be wrong. I carried on but felt silly sewing seeds indoors on a day where the AC wasn’t out of the question. This is Texas however and one should never forget how unpredictable the weather can be! One by one I dropped little seeds in their containers and then the Valentine’s Day snowstorm from a couple of winters back came into my mind and I didn’t feel so awkward. I know my little seedlings will be warm and safe in my dining room if Phil’s proclamation is correct.