Monday, September 15, 2014

Bloom Day showcases late summer blooms in the garden...

Even though the thermometer hit 97 today, summer is beginning to wane here in Central Texas for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.  Carol of May Dreams Gardens invites us to share what's blooming in our gardens on the 15th of each month, so here's a stroll through my landscape.

Some of the heat-loving perennials are on their second set of blooms this summer.  Plants like lantana, salvia, sage, are putting on a dog days show while the sun is still high in the sky.

I recently made a return trip to the Arbor Gate Nursery in Tomball to collect some of their wonderful garden art.  I came home with two ceramic fish and two blue/green glass ribbons to add to the one I bought on my original visit. Now I need to plant just the right things to create an appropriate vignette for them to "swim" around in.  But I had to put them in the garden somewhere until then, so here they are.
I also ordered some clever pieces online -- these three faucet flowers are guaranteed to be ever-blooming varieties!
 The seem to feel right at home with the blooming Turk's cap.
These monstrous salvias that are dwarfing the fully mature bright edge yucca are Amistad salvias that I transplanted last fall after they were under performing in another spot with too much sun. Here they get morning sun and evening sun and they seem to be thrilled with the switch.  Had I known they would get THAT happy, I'd have found them a spot further back in the bed!
One little surviving bat-faced cuphea.  I planted them amongst many other things that are deer resistant, hoping to hide them.  But alas, the deer are smarter than I am, and I almost never get to see an actual bloom before it becomes a snack.
This curve around the bend of the front bed is lined with society garlic - something the deer never eat!

These Salvia leucantha, or Mexican bush sage, love the hot, dry sun of late summer here in Central Texas.




 The society garlic border confetti lantana and one of my bird baths.
A few new additions to the front walkway bed this year, the foxtail ferns and zinnias have done well.  But the rock rose in the upper left corner has been rudely stripped of its pretty pink blooms by you-know-who.
The front bed, or the Hideous Bed, as we call it, is definitely not hideous.  These plants thrive in hot, dry conditions so they can take it here.  But last weekend's rain did help them with an extra boost. Here you see thryallis, santolina, a variegated yucca and homestead verbena.
And a different angle that also includes damianita and a salvia greggii.
To the right of these photos is a swath of blackfoot daisies -- they're natives that grow in rocky outcroppings of the Hill Country.
Across the drive is another dry bed that enjoys a little shade.  Here is new gold lantana, salvia greggii, a sago palm, and in the pot -- a variegated false agave.
Stunning liatris is a riot of lavender color. 
Large pots in the back by the pool have orange narrow-leaf zinnias and potato vine.
 ...And homestead verbena.
The Duranta erecta (lavender color) is full of blooms - below - and fruit -- above.  Though all parts of the plant are poisonous, so don't be tempted to eat the fruit.
 I have 3 different colors of Duranta - this one, the deep purple 'sapphire showers' and a white one.
This pitcher sage came from a 4' pot I bought at the semi-annual Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center sale.
Another shot of the Amistad salvias on steroids.
 One of my Turk's caps -- 'Pam's pink.'
 Some pots on the back patio that I rolled out into the rain for a drink.
Even though they are delicate and hard to see, I love adding Euphorbia 'diamond frost' into pots for filler.
And again, a supremely hardy lantana - cherry bandana -- perky all the time.

Happy garden bloggers bloom day.  What's blooming in your garden?

Cistus nursery delights gardeners at Portland Fling...

Our third stop on the first day of the Portland Garden Bloggers Fling was Cistus Nursery.  Coming from the Lan Su Chinese Garden, which was serene and peaceful, Cistus provided a bold contrast -- it was chock full of plants - a sensory explosion for plant lovers.

There were many familiar plants at the nursery, like these Yucca rostrata, which grow happily at home in Austin, Texas.
 I did say chock full, didn't I?
 But some of the Cistus family were uninterested in visiting bloggers.
"Yeah, I see you, but it's hot and it feels good here on these cold bricks, so I hope  you don't mind if I don't get up to greet you!"
 Oh, so true!  It should have said, "gaggle of plant nerds!"
 I'm smitten with interesting tree bark and there were several great trees to photograph.

 Love these Eryngium -- their dramatic spiky blooms provide unique texture in any garden bed.

 Dramatic grasses billowed in the breeze.
While it was easy to become engrossed in the plants on the ground and the tables, the impressive views extended to some of the majestic trees that love the Pacific Northwest.
There were many different species of Eucomis in the gardens and nurseries in Portland.  I've been  babying one in my own garden at home for some time.  Forced to suffer the scorching heat and the periodic nibbling deer, it is tough as nails.  Hmmmm.... and thus began the idea of taking another one home with me...
I saw this plant all over the Portland gardens -- Melianthus major.  Big, bold, textured and tough, it really caught my eye.  I took several photos of it, fully intent on finding one for my garden at home.  But after some research yesterday, I've decided it might be too invasive in my garden...but maybe I can keep one in a pot!

 Another favorite in my garden, Euphorbia.
 Flingers in search of treasure.
 More interesting bark.
And these crocosmia were everywhere.  Their beautiful strappy leaves combined with vibrant blooms add a real pop to any garden setting.

 More amazing Erygnium.
 Reaching for the sun.
Being a salvia collector, I'm going to have to try to find one of these in Austin for my garden -- Salvia guar. 'Argentine skies.'

Even the growing heat couldn't keep us from fanning out across the nursery in search of garden goodies.  Some bloggers left with plants.  I left with something almost as good -- ideas!


Friday, September 12, 2014

Seed-sowing season starts soon!

On my fabulous trip to Paris to visit my cousin this summer, I didn't get to Giverny, Monet's inspirational garden.  While in Paris I enjoyed the impressionist exhibit at the D'Orsay museum, which included many Monets, Manets, Pissaros, and Sisleys, among others.  The amazing ability of these painters to bring the canvas to life leaves me awestruck. I feel as though I already know Monet's  garden. (Don't tell, but I actually have 5 Monet/impressionist coffee table books - my most recent chronicling the D'Orsay exhibit.)
So, when one of my bff's went to Paris a few weeks ago, she kept my in mind as she toured Giverny.  Yesterday she presented me with a gift from her trip -- two beautifully packaged sets of seeds from plants growing in the garden there.  What a special gift and I'm so excited to plant some of these seeds in my own garden. 



Thank you, Maria, for your sweet and thoughtful gift.  I hope I can bring you a bouquet from these flowers come springtime.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Beautiful Westwind Farms vista -- the backdrop of a colorful prairie-style garden...

The scent emerging from rows and rows of lavender and other wildflowers wafted around us as we descended down a hillside path into the Westwind Farm Studio.

Incorporating a stunning vista, beautiful meadows, sculptures and a refreshing pool, this Garden, nestled in the hills outside of Portland, provided a refreshing stop during the Garden Bloggers Fling tour.
 The view beyond the majestic pines war beautiful.
 Rows and rows of lavender and other wildflowers marked our walk to the house and garden.

 The meadow frames this picture-perfect view.
 Swaths of flowers greet you as you enter the garden.
 Crocosmia were blooming in almost every garden that we toured in Portland.
 And we wouldn't want to forget the day lilies,
 or the monarda.
 A little toe dip felt very refreshing on this warm day.
 This sculpture was fascinating -- and perfectly paired with these blooms.

 On the hillside behind the pool more flowers weave a blanket of color.
All the garden bloggers were taken with the sculpture, including Ally of Garden Ally, one of the members of our Texas contingent.
 Pick your view from this side of the sculptural window.  This one...
 or this one...
The grasses and the seed heads and blooms billow with the hillside breezes.

 The view was as invigorating as the cool pool waters.
 Even the pool house bathroom came with an artistic touch.
 Great views of the gardens and the vista, both outside and in.
 The amazing backdrop goes on and on.

Nestled in a lovely hillside, this garden offered us a unique side of the Portland area.  It inspired and delighted us all.