Saturday, April 13, 2013

All Things Gardening = Happiness

It's spring fever time at last, thank goodness. Naturally I've been immersed in all things gardening and I thought I'd show you a few of them. A few weeks ago I took a trip to Austin. There I visited a number of my favorite nurseries so I could pick up the organic products and interesting plants I can't find in my small town. I also met up with some of the Austin garden bloggers and had Pam Penick sign my copy of her wonderful new book Lawn Gone!. You really need to pick this book up if you are interested in reducing the size of your high-maintenance lawn. It's very well written and organized, and has some great ideas.

Pam Penick and her book Lawn Gone!
I also visited my friend Ann to catch up and saw some really cool things in her yard. Her partner made these cool cedar supports for their evergreen sumacs.

The lax limbs of evergreen sumac are held up by simple cedar support.    

Eve's necklace, Sophora affinis, a native Texas understory tree, grows well in Ann's backyard overlooking Barton Creek (it obviously likes limestone!).

Look closely at this next photo of a bird bath. I would actually call it a bird attractant since it's much more than a bath.

Drip, drip, drip

This little bird attractant is amazing. Inside the old water pump is a hose. The hose is buried underground, and uphill from here near the house it's attached to a rain barrel. That rain barrel is an overflow barrel for another rain barrel farther uphill. How she gets it to just slowly drip, I don't know. But the sound of dripping water is very attractive to birds. They've also installed a little cattle panel fence behind the pump for the birds to escape to or just hang out. How cool is that?

Texas bluebonnets, Lupinus texensis

These little bluebonnets are not in Texas but rather in my own backyard! Not bad for an area of the U.S. that usually gets a lot more rain than Texas. Now for some more things in my backyard...

Speaking of rain, here's what we got this week from that storm that swept through the country. We needed a little rain but certainly not this much!

A hellebore I bought last fall at the North Central Louisiana Master Gardener sale. Pretty!

Buds of the fragrant burkwood viburnum, Viburnum burkwoodii

Nicotiana is up and happy. They make the bees happy, too.

The highly invasive Chinese wisteria, Wisteria sinensis, is creeping over the fence and trying to invade my backyard (again). The American wisteria, Wisteria frutescens, is a much better option. 

Hinckley's columbine, Aquilegia chrysantha var. hinckleyana, also called Texas gold columbine, is a native that's doing well on my little hillside.

The new birdbath I picked up in Austin

The peony is coming up!

I always get a thrill when the peony starts growing. I think it's because in Austin I wouldn't have even dreamed of growing one. But I have soil now (some of you folks know what I mean!). So even though I love to grow native plants as much as possible for the wildlife, I have a few plants that are just for me. My little stretch goals, so to speak. All of this makes me happy. I'm sure if you've read this far, gardening makes you happy, too. :-)

This post was written by Jean McWeeney for my blog Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog. Copyright 2013. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.


  1. It was great to see you in Austin, Jean! Thanks for the shout-out about my book too. Wow, your pictures are really lovely -- what lovely light you captured, esp. those pics of your own garden.

  2. That's so much rain! And your bird bath makes me think about getting my own... Thanks for sharing your pictures!

  3. Beautiful blooms! I especially like the Columbine!
    Here in Mississippi, we had almost 3 and 1/2 inches of rain from that storm.
    Happy Gardening!
    Lea's Menagerie

  4. Hey Jean! Brrr, that storm came through, and the wind is howling here. How nice to look at your photos and see what's up in Texas and Louisiana. I hope you don't get too many storms today. Sorry we sent the weather on your way. Happy Spring.~~Dee

  5. Hi Jean :) your bluebonnets are so pretty! Prettier than many around here in San Antone this year. I love the cedar support for the evergreen sumac you featured. It looks wonderful! I don't have any evergreen sumac, are their trunks weak or something?

    1. Heather, evergreen sumac can have be kind of lax or sprawling. They wanted it to be more upright like a tree so that's why the supports were used. They're wonderful wildlife bushes - the bees love them and they smell sweet when in bloom. They're a great native shrub for your area!

  6. Jean - everything looks beautiful! And Pam's book is great. I was an 'introducer' at a Reduce Lawn presentation and I brought Lawn Gone which attracted losts of interest.

  7. Great to see you in Austin, Jean! Your new bird bath is gorgeous, and so are your blooms. I admire the ingenuity of the old water pump, though!


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