The Natural Garden Coach

Thursday, April 21, 2011

New Life in the Old Garden

Monsieur Jules Elie peony
I completely missed Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - by an entire week! Just too many things going on, including trips out of town. So instead of showing the usual bloomin' things here, I thought I'd show you some of the new-for-this-year things. First up, my very first peony. Granted, it only had two blooms but I'm righteously proud of them. You just don't see many (any?) peonies in my neck of the woods.

Darcy Bussell, a David Austin rose
I've been fortunate to receive many plants this spring that I actually didn't order (a perk of the job I guess). This Darcy Bussell rose came bare root and just a tad later than I would have liked. But it immediately set about growing and blooming. Lots of nice blooms for such a young plant.

unknown hellebore
A tad blurry, I know. Found this hellebore at a local nursery, another first for our area (my other hellebores traveled long distances to get to my yard, including some from a blogger friend, Lynn).

Salvia nemerosa 'Caradonna'
I actually had this salvia last year but it struggled a bit (I even lost one plant). It's now blooming quite nicely. This is a small salvia, and very attractive to bees.

New stock tank with 'Fireworks' clematis in background
My new mini-stock tank now has plants, a small water lily from Pam, and a blue rush. The 'Fireworks' clematis in the back has already lost its blooms. That's how long it's been since I've blogged, I guess.

Belinda's Dream rose
The majority of my roses are new this year. I ordered this from Antique Rose Emporium and was pleased with the shape it was in when it arrived. This has a lovely scent and many buds and I hope it gets nice and big.

Amsonia tabernaemontana 'Montana' or dwarf willow bluestar
This plant does not look real impressive here. And it's not even new. It's going on its third year here but in a new place. But if finally bloomed. Rather sparsely, but it did bloom. Maybe it'll be happier in its new location and bloom even more next year.

Gryphon begonia
This 'Gryphon' begonia is neat looking, isn't it? I may have jammed too many in this pot (there's three), so I'll be watching it carefully. So far I really like it.

Suncatcher Pink Lemonade petunia
I can't even remember the last time I bought a petunia but this year I have several. I'm really liking this Pink Lemonade Suncatcher petunia. Unusual colors, and though you can't see it in this photo, the colors go well with its terra-cotta pot.

unknown variety but finally blooming camellia
I've had this little camellia for many years now, and for the first time it's decided to bloom. Another new but old happening in my garden.

Dragon Wing begonia
This Dragon Wing begonia is still a small plant but it's putting on some big blooms. I can't wait to see how it holds up in the summer heat. This may have to move to a shadier spot then!

2011 succulent shelf with Pink Lemonade petunia
Yes, I've had this succulent shelf before but every year it's usually got some new things going. This year some new plants include the old-fashioned jade plant (far left) and spear head (Senecio kleiniiformis), second on the left. Oh, and I have another family of chickadees in the bird house!
Early Multiflora Blend sweet pea
I'm about to admit defeat when it comes to sweet peas. I just can't seem to get them going well. At least I got ONE bloom this year!
Forest Pansy redbud in foreground, 'Red Cascade' climbing rose in background
Here's something I'm really excited about. Not the redbud or rose, although they are wonderful, but the continuing work on my front "hardscape." Some of you have already seen the trellis the rose is on when I featured it late last year. Now I have a gate into the backyard. And the trellises on the left are for a utility area. The tops of it and its gate are not on yet. After they're put in place I'll put some gravel down inside, install a wooden compost bin, and plant some vines at the base of the trellises. Eventually the tree on the left will be removed (it's a "weed" tree). Once all is completed, I plan to do a post about it, why it was designed this way, and showcase my friend who designed it.

I hope you enjoyed the tour through the new in my garden. Be glad I didn't show you every tomato and pepper I've planted!

This post was written by Jean McWeeney for my blog Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog. Copyright 2010. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

An English Garden with a Texas Twist

Bluebonnets and whale tongue agave in the entry courtyard
Ah Austin, how I miss you so. Last weekend I finally made it back to Austin for a too-short visit. It had been a whole year since my last trip, I confess. Austin didn't seem to be experiencing any financial meltdown - the energy there is palpable. But I digress. Besides seeing my friends (not all of them unfortunately!), I had a blast doing "gardeny" things around town. And one of those highlights was a visit with Jenny of Rock Rose blog. Wow, was I floored by her garden and all the work she and her husband have done! Jenny is from England but has mastered the Texas Hill Country completely. Faced with inhospitable to nonexistent soil in the west of Austin, she has designed a showcase garden full of self-seeding flowers and other plants, both native and non, that are thriving.

Another view of the entry courtyard
Her garden is within a number of courtyards. The entry courtyard bursts with low-growing wildflowers - Texas bluebonnets, Blackfoot daisy and four-nerve daisy, to name a few. There's also a giant Lady Banks' rose, assorted cacti and succulents, and a subtle little fountain (seen in the first photo). Each courtyard has at least one gathering area.

A peek over the far wall reveals the vegetable garden
Each courtyard showcases another jumble of flowers. Unfortunately, I didn't get any good photos of the English courtyard, again full of flowers.
The pool courtyard
Poppies and yellow (Hinckley's?) columbine were everywhere.
Pool courtyard
It would be difficult to pick a favorite courtyard for they all have very special attributes. I think what I liked most about the pool courtyard was the design. The different levels really added that extra something. Jenny was able to envision all this in her mind as she supervised the placement of all the rocks (dug from the lot, of course). And the pool was very inviting although not obvious at all. You can see part of it as water spills from the jar at top.

My friend Marcia talking with Jenny on a patio
A place to contemplate the beauty
What I like most about Jenny's garden is how well it captures that sense of place. You know this garden belongs in the Hill Country. Also, believe it or not, Jenny designed the entire garden and did almost all of the work on it herself. Her husband apparently became very proficient at pouring concrete (there are many beautiful concrete steps), and he built steps with native limestone in many places. What that says to me is that this garden is not a "trophy garden." It is well loved and a piece of Jenny's heart.

Jenny - the Lancashire Rose
You really should visit Jenny's blog as she's much more talented than me at photography. Jenny - thank you so much for the tour and I'll see you in Seattle at the Bloggers Fling!
This post was written by Jean McWeeney for my blog Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog. Copyright 2010. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.