Sunday, April 3, 2016

Zilker Garden Festival is a must-see event...

If you didn't get to the Zilker Garden Festival yesterday, you will have all day today to check out this fabulous annual Austin event.

We were there when the doors opened at 10 yesterday, wagons trailing and cash in our pockets, ready to enjoy the beautiful Zilker Botanical Garden setting of this festival.  My parents and I have been going for the last 24 years - I only missed one of those for the flu.  When Dustin was little, he would go with us and he and Dad would go off on their own and shop for a Mother's Day gift for me.  We too Kallie with us when she was a toddler, too, but she's outgrown it now and the Mom and Dad and I love having this special time together.

It combines two of my favorite things -- gardening and shopping!

I bought plants, of course, and several other little garden goodies.  I came home with some herbs - more Cuban oregano, lemongrass and lemon balm.  I also added some beautiful hand-made pottery  mushrooms to my collection, a teensy glass chicken and dog for the fairy garden, and some very cool and unusual succulents from East Austin Succulents.
After eating lunch down in the beer garden while listening to a live band, we wandered down to the lower part of the gardens, checking out the veggie demonstration gardens...
...the rose garden...
...and the shady garden path that winds back up the hill.  We were wowed by this gorgeous brugmansia and the aloe bloom just in front of it.

Those are some beautiful, big blooms.  Almost as big as Dad's head!
A little posing for the camera-toting daughter.
Ahhh, we finally made it back up the hill ... now it's time for a little rest by this peaceful pond.
We didn't check out the Hartman Prehistoric garden this year, since I was just there last month, but we did venture to the edge of the Japanese garden, which is where Jeff and I were married almost 14 years ago.

I also bought some beautiful cloth dinner napkins with bluebonnets and strawberries on them, a medium-sized Staghorn fern from the stunning It's About Thyme booth, and a begonia and an epiphyte and a lovely stretchy headband for keeping my hair out of my eyes during the serious gardening chores!

It's a gorgeous day today, if you're anywhere near the Austin area, you really should drop everything and head over there.  One of my good blogging buddies even came from Louisiana to go to the Festival yesterday.  It's the only fund raiser for the park, so drive, bike or walk, but get there. You have until 5:00 today!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Garden Design Workshop full of DIY tips and techniques to create a beautiful landscape yourself...

Don't miss my garden design class this Saturday from 8:30 to 12:30 for creative garden tips & techniques to help you transform your own garden. Comment now to register & I'll honor the pre-registration price of  $199 at the door!

It's at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites, 4892 Highway 290 West, on the westbound 290 access road between Capitol of Texas Highway and Brodie Lane.

Come learn all about the basics -- plant combinations, color coordinating, xeric gardening and garden style.  

We'll have drinks, snacks and prizes...and, most importantly, lots of inspiration!

Hope to see you on Saturday.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Spring wildflowers make for a beautiful garden...

Happy Wildflower Wednesday.  Spring is in full force here in Central Texas.  In fact, we've even had summer-like days already, getting up to 94 once or twice.  We love our wildflowers, especially our Texas Bluebonnets.

I wanted to bring some of my pretty flowers - wildflowers, perennials and others, into the house to enjoy today, so I made a little bouquet for my small bluebonnet creamer pitcher.

Now, they aren't all wildflowers -- can you name everything in the vase?  Give it your best shot!

Thanks to Gail, of Clay and Limestone ,who brings us our Wildflower Wednesday celebration. WW is about sharing and celebrating wildflowers from all over this great big, beautiful world. Join us on the fourth Wednesday of each month.

Happy spring!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Garden's blooms bursting thanks to mild winter

We didn't really have much of a winter this year.  In spite of dire forecasts of a wetter and colder than average El Nino winter, it was a milder and drier than normal winter.

As a result, spring is spectacular in the garden this year.  Some fall-blooming plants never even stopped blooming.

My ground orchids were zapped by the late freeze last year when their leaves were only 1/2 up out of the ground.  Bletilla striata are deciduous orchids that come back reliably year after year. They are bulbous rhyzomes, and can have up to 10 flowers per stalk.  I first saw them in my friend, Eleanor's, garden and fell in love with them.  I started with 3 several years ago, and they are slowly starting the spread and fill in their space.  They're special to me since I can't seem to grow orchids indoors.
But the mild winter hasn't been as fun for the hellebores.  There are only a few of them blooming -- they really prefer to have cooler temperatures in the winter.
I've searched through all my receipts and records and can't match the names of the daffodils I've bought with this variety.  Any ID suggestions?  She's so pretty.
The Mexican bush sage is STILL blooming from last fall.  Crazy.
These osteospermum are blooming again -- they are considered half-hardy perennials or sub shrubs, so this was the perfect year for them to show off.
The hideous bed (it's a long story!) is full of color.  The homestead verbena create a bed of purple for this sculptural yucca.  
The hot heads of Mexican honeysuckle are beginning to appear in the background of this cardoon -- a striking cousin of the artichoke.
Looks almost like a bursting firecracker, doesn't it?  
I moved the Mexican pottery birdbath here and can't wait for the blue salvia 'limelight' to grow in and bloom behind it.  In front are a few yellow Calylophus and to the left of the 'limelight' is an orange Tecoma stans 'bells of fire.'  I think those hot colors will echo the pattern in the Talavera nicely.  Here is what the 'bells of fire' looked like last summer.

This whale's tongue agave, 'ovatifolia,' has grown quite a bit since last year and it's growing on me.  And, I don't have to cut out pups from around it every month!

One last little photo -- this gold zebra heucherella that I planted last fall has tiny, delicate blooms on it this morning. I didn't realize that they would bloom - I have a few others that have never bloomed in about 6 years.  A sweet little garden surprise.