Saturday, April 23, 2011

Lily P. Utian

Hi! My name is Lily. Lily P. Utian. I am going to take you on a jaunt around Katina's garden to show you my favorite potted plants. Here I am sitting in my home with my Venezuelan friend and a nice set of Lemon Balm cuttings that Katina is trying to root for her coworkers.

We shall start this tour in the backyard with the Agave desmettiana variegata from Jenny from Rock Rose, Sedum from Bob at Draco Gardens, and unknown variety of agave from Katina's work. You can't tell, but the black pot in the background has a Mexican Buckeye tree sapling from Carol at Lost Valley Gardens.

Around to the front the house, you'll find a unknown (by Katina) red variegated agave from Diana at Sharing Nature's Garden. Over my right shoulder you can see some spineless prickly pear from Katina's friend, Ross. Immediately behind the pot is a heaping mound of Asiatic Jasmine, or as Annie in Austin refers to it, the "Scourge Released Upon Central Texas." By the window of the house, you can just barely see Katina's avocado tree which she started from a pit almost 6 years ago.

Moving one pot to the left (that's my left), we come to the pot of graptopetalum from Bob at Draco Gardens, behind the pot there's some Feather Grass (Katina doesn't remember who she got it from, either Jenny at Rock Rose or Philip at East Side Patch), you can see the stalks for the Tropical Milkweed, and the yellow spots are zexmenia which Katina got from Bob at Draco who got his plant from Jenny at Rock Rose. The grass-looking plant to the right (my right) and behind the pot is a rain lily from Annie at The Transplantable Rose.

And here we are at the end of our tour. All plants in this photo (graptopetalum, sedum, and rosemary) provided by Bob at Draco Gardens.

Thank you for joining me on the tour of the potted plants in Katina's yard (you may have noticed that there are a few pots in the above photo which we did not cover--that is because the plants in them are D-E-D, dead). See you next time!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Feather in your...Chair?

A few weekends ago, the husband and I made a trip up to Draco Gardens. Mostly because the husband required the superior welding services of Bob, who, as most of us garden bloggers know, is a welder and always has cool projects going on. We drove up to his shop and got out of the car. As I'm standing there, I notice this chair:
Wait, what's that funny cracking on the back of the chair? It's a...Feather?

Bob says that he got the chair from someone else (feather-ed already) and has no idea how the chair cracked in a perfect peacock feather pattern - the husband and I were postulating that maybe a wet feather was somehow pressed on the leather to cause the cracking...or it could just be that someone took a knife to the back of the chair to create the look.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


A wasp stung and is trying to pick up and carry off this caterpillar. Picture taken at Draco Gardens.


I have a set of towels that have herbs all over them. Based on the pictures, and the word next to the picture indicating the herb, there are two possibilities: the creator was colorblind, or the creator was high as a kite. I prefer to think that it is the latter rather than the former.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Pumpkin: Casper

Noticed the first (and so far ONLY as of 4/9) pumpkin seedling on 4/1.

Planted: 3/20. Sprouted 4/1


New Experiments:
-Spring Potatoes in the Potato Box - currently under way. the plants look much better than the fall experiment potatoes. I also didn't bother ordering any potatoes, I just bought organic Red LaSoda and White Kennebec potatoes from Whole Foods on Valentine's day. I planted them the following weekend. The Red LaSodas are doing great, the Kennebec, not so much. I'll probably only stick with the Red LaSodas after this...

-Spring Quinoa - Currently under way. The seedlings didn't start as quickly as they had in the fall (I'm guessing it's a temperature issue).

- Casper Pumpkins - currently under way. I planted the seeds, but none of them have come up yet...I'm beginning to think that I waited too long to plant them (I had bought the seeds a few years ago and forgot about them).

-Spring Sweet Potatoes - I tried to get some sweet potatoes to sprout - I put them in some water on the counter. I didn't get anything other than moldy potatoes. The other night when I went to get out some other sweet potatoes from the cupboard for making sweet potato fries, I noticed that one of the potatoes had started sprouting. So, out with the old, in with the new. I have the potato sitting on my windowsill to see if it will sprout more slips.

-Peanut Bush - My parents had moved to New Jersey for about 3 months for my dad's job (he was supposed to be there for 3 years). On their way back (from the move), they opted to drive through the southern part of the US. They stopped in Georgia for a bit and my mom found this peanut growing kit (which was really just a little salsa cup from Chuy's with red yarn and 4 peanuts) that she bought as a stocking stuffer. I started the peanuts a few weeks ago, and the peanut plant is already ready to be planted in the garden.

-[edited on 4/16] I want to try growing ginger (Zingiber officinale). I bought some ginger a week ago from the HEB that has some growing tips, I broke off the pieces and planted them about 2" deep in potting soil in the pot the Avocado Tree used to be in. I used Tropical Permaculture as the guide I followed.

Experiments I want to try:

-I also want to try growing saffron (crocus sativus)

Previous Experiments:
- The Garlic Experiment (aka Growing Garlic) - Win!

- Make seed start pots out of toilet paper rolls - Fail. Last time I posted about this, I was told to abandon toilet paper rolls and make newspaper rolls instead because it's easier for the plant roots to get through when it's planted in the ground.

- Strawberry Popcorn - Neutral. The corn grew, it produced. Because of my own stupidity, they didn't produce as much as they could have. I planted I think 8 plants or so and got 6 good ears and about that many not good ears (I had stopped watering the plants well before I should have).

- Paper towel seed starting technique - Epic Win! I successfully managed to start seeds by using the trick of sprinkling said seeds on a wet paper towel, wrapping it up and putting it in a ziplock bag on the counter.

- Lemon Balm + Nasturtium to repel Squash Vine Borer - Neutral. I don't know if it really repels the SVB, but I'll probably plant this again as the Nasturtiums are pretty and the Lemon Balm is well, lemony. Plus, I felt that the Lemon Balm worked fairly well as a mosquito repellent until the mosquitos are so thick that they don't care what type of repellent you have on.

- Fall Quinoa - The plants grew only about 4" - 6" high (they're supposed to be 4' - 6' high). Needless to say I didn't get anything from them, but figured I ought to try again in the spring.

- Starting tomatoes/eggplant/pepper from seed - Epic Win!

- Agave pups - Currently under way. The agave at work sent up a bloom stalk and produced pups. I collected a shit load and gave a bunch away to other garden bloggers. Unfortunately, even though the agave had survived at my work without problems with weather, it apparently is not necessarily frost tolerant as all of the ones I planted outside froze during the winter. the only ones alive are the ones I have in pots.

- Carnival Mix Carrots - I planted one area of my garden with the Carnival Seed Blend which I completely forgot about until I pulled up carrots and I had maroon and white ones. The maroon one was good, the white ones were blah.

- Chef's Choice Cauliflower Mix - The cauliflowers didn't make it this fall - I think it was the location (lack of sun). I will try again in the fall.

- Tulle Bags to protect the tomatoes - Has not started yet. I'll make the call when I have more tomatoes growing . The gist is that you use those little tulle wedding gift bags and put your tomatoes in them (while still on the plant, duh), to protect the tomato itself from bugs. Note: As Annie in Austin has pointed out, this will not protect your tomatoes from other, larger varmints. Varmints with teeth.

-Sweet Potatoes - it was an accidental experiment that worked pretty well, the only problem was that I started it much too late in the fall season to get any sweet potatoes.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Gulf Coast Penstemon from Linda Lehmusvirta. Pulled up and planted at the wrong time (right before flowering), and the plant is flourishing. Dang that penstemon is tough (hope I'm not saying that same phrase when I'm trying to make sure it doesn't grow in the grass...)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Year of the Mountain Laurel

Okay, so it's really not THE year of the Mountain Laurel, but my trees have practically doubled in size.

That's right, they are now a whole 6" tall.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


If you haven't already heard (and who hasn't?), this year is not a great year for bluebonnets - we hardly got any rain the fall and winter which usually means that the wildflowers won't put on as great of a show. And considering that last year, the medians and sides of Mopac were COVERED in flowers, it seems a little weird to only see smatterings of wildflowers. Admittedly the coreopsis or tick seed or black eyed susans or whatever the yellow daisy-esque flower is is having quite the year.

But this isn't about wildflowers elsewhere. This is about wildflowers here, at my house.

In the fall, I got some bluebonnet seeds from MSS at Zanthan Gardens. I put them with my other seeds, and promptly forgot about them. I remembered them in January or so. Generally, much too late to put them out. I figured what the hell, they'll either germinate or they won't. So I threw them all about the yard and the flower bed areas.

In hindsight, this probably wasn't the smartest idea since the husband gets all protective of his lawn.

On March 26, I decided to go for a flower hunt in my yard - my other flowers that reseed themselves (such as cedar sage), have the bad habit of seeding in the lawn just outside of the flower bed and the husband will mow them over. Because of this, I have to make the rounds at the edges of the flowerbeds digging up all plants and planting them in the flowerbed. And yes, I have transplanted weeds before.

As I was checking the areas where I had dispersed bluebonnet seeds, I noticed that there was a funny looking plant outside of the bluebonnet area, but what do you know, it looks like a bluebonnet! So I went and dug it up and plopped it in one of the flower beds.

Grow little bluebonnet, grow!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Powers That Be Hate Me or Why I will Never Have Habaneros

In fall of 2009, I purchased some Red Savina Habanero seeds from Renee's Garden.

I planted 3 seeds in early 2010. They all died.

I planted 5 seeds in early 2011. They all sprouted and I was all like "YAY Habaneros!"

On March 3, a squirrel went and dug in this box ripping up all the habaneros save one. I tried to save as many as I could (3 of them), but alas, they all died except for the one that the squirrel missed.

I transplanted my lone habanero into a 4" pot on March 26.

On the 29th, I came home from work and moved my potted plants (including all the 4" transplants) closer to the house (to be under the roof overhang) as we were supposed to get some hail. We did not get any hail.

On the 30th, I came home from work and decided I should move all my plants that were under the overhang back to their normal location.

I noticed that one of my pots had been messed with. Only one. Can you guess which one it was? That's right. It was the habanero. There was no plant to be found anywhere, just a plant-less 4" pot that was sitting RIGHT NEXT TO THE SLIDING DOOR. Like, what the hell? Weren't the cats sitting there staring down the varmint? Was it during the time that the neighbor's dog found a hole in the fence and spent the afternoon in our yard? I mean, REALLY!?!? COME ON!

I planted another seed in the 4" pot on Friday the 1st.