Sunday, September 30, 2012


And of course I've already gone about making more changes.  Mostly because 1) when I was at the Sun City Plant Sale, I said to myself, "Self, you need some irises because they're in your plans." and so I bought myself 3 irises - a William A Setchell, a Jesse's Song, and a White Cemetery (I also found out that the husband does not like yellow irises).  Unfortunately, I only had space for one plant - and I know I intentionally planned it that way because I have a mystery iris that I've been moving around my yard looking for a good spot for it to call home.  and 2) Shawn started questioning the design of the patio area (bulbous thing on the upper left) - not so much that I wanted to turn it into a patio with bird bath, but more because 'what are we going to do with the rock that's already there?'  ummm...get rid of it.  duh.  Leave it to my husband to not care about the cost of re-landscaping, but to instead care about the fact that we would be getting rid of stuff.  So I've added more space for iris and have reduced the size of the patio, though now I need to come up with more plants to plant in the area that is going to be neither rock nor patio.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Crab Spider on Henry Duelberg Sage

Camera: Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi
Exposure: 1/125
Aperture Value: 4.64 EV (f/5.0)
ISO Speed: 100
Flash: No
Metering Mode: Pattern
Exposure Program: Normal Program
Focal Length: 214.00 mm
Post Processing: GIMP - Saturation +5, Levels

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Project Update: Rose Bed

An updated photo of the 'rose bed' is in order.  The rose bush is a Dr. Huey rose, and I planted two zexmenia, a thyme plant and lion's tail in the bed as well.  This is likely the last of my "plopper" projects (admittedly, I had, to some extent, at least planned on putting the zexmenia here when I was at the Wildflower Center's plant sale going "I really, really want these...where am I going to put them?" But the lion's tail and the thyme were surprise purchases while at the spring Sun City plant sale and East Side Succulents, respectively).

And, of course, after looking at this photo (even though there is no mulch in the rose bed, it does have the color of mulch), I'm not digging the decomposed granite vs. mulch look...which means I'm either going to be raking up all the DG or adding it to the rose bed...maybe I can make it look 'artsy' in what parts are DG and what parts are mulch in the bed...

The beginning of the rose bed project can be seen here:
Project:  Rose Bed

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men...

There are mighty plans afoot.  Mostly with entirely redoing the side yard/back yard.  It is a project that I've had in mind for over a year now, but I've just never done anything about it.  UNTIL NOW.  As per my goals I wrote up for the year, I have finally come up with a plan.  I know, this is as weird for me as it is for you.

As the back portion looks now - a 'dry creek' which doesn't provide anything other than a crapload of rock.  In the new plan:  GONE.  Replaced with a small rock patio area with bird bath.  Also gone: the invasive nandina in the back corner and the asian jasmine.
As the front-ish portion of the area looks - totally over grown.  In the plan:  rock edging is gone, the turk's cap and shrimp plant stay in the same locaitons but the violet and petunias move.  Also gone - the struggling grass.  I don't really have what will be used for the paths defined yet...maybe foot friendly groundcover, maybe mulch, maybe decomposed granite.

Man, this planning instead of plopping is hard stuff...

And don't worry - as soon as I get my plan scanned in, I'll share it (scanned, taken a photo of, whatever - I'm an engineer, not a graphic designer).

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Plopper vs. Planner

The area between the walk up to the house and the house itself is a no-man's land of 'plopping' goodness.  Society garlic I got from Diana and dwarf ruellia I got from Amy are the primary plants - two of each (not three, because 3 would have made sense, but why do something that makes sense when you can make it do something wonky?).  It also has a rosemary plant and a zexmenia plant (both from Bob).  The pots I added because there was no where else to put them (and I have a weakness for pots).  The pots are filled with succulents. 

You see, in gardening, you're either a planner or a plopper.  Ploppers can become planners, but rarely does a planner become a plopper.  A planner PLANS the garden - what plants, where they'll go...some even get really good at it and are able to get plants together that will compliment each other (whether in bloom color or foliage contrast), and add plants that provide 'seasonal interest.'  In my completely non-designer speak, I take 'seasonal interest' to mean 'doesn't look like a bare twig in January, or if it is a bare twig, it is going to be the best bare twig you ever did see.'

My beloved culinary ginger plant (zingiber officinale) and the beloved sugar cat completely ignoring me and waiting for the magical door fairies to come open the door for him.

A plopper, by contrast, PLOPS in the garden.  A plopper gets a plant, figures out what it needs to grow and then plops it in the ground in a fitting location with little regard to what is planted around it, when it will bloom, and how it looks in that location.  I am a plopper.  I can't pass up a good deal (including free plants gifted to me by other garden bloggers - they're totally thinking "I know, I'll give it to that sucker, Katina!").  Hell, I can't even bear to throw out plants that I don't need nor want - I'll dig them up and give them away to others "HAHA! I'll totally foist these off on those suckers known as fellow garden bloggers and/or coworkers!"   The point is most ploppers' yards are a mishmash of mixed plants and, during certain parts of the year, look devoid of all life.

My avocado tree.  I started this thing from a pit in May 2005.  See, I can't even throw out things that are POTENTIAL plants.

As I said, it's very possible for ploppers to become planners, but difficult to go vice versa.  Since I'm a plopper and I'm trying to be a planner, I have gotten started on coming up with a comprehensive plan for the back yard - hey man, I gotta start small...of course, it would probably make more sense to do the front yard since that is the one that people see...but we're going to start with baby steps...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

TGO: Seed Paper and Seed Bombs

Tonight I went to the Great Outdoors' 'happy hour' to learn how to make seed paper and seed bombs. I also bought myself some Crocus Sativus (aka saffron crocus - I'm so going to be able to have hoity toity food next year, it's a gonna be awesome!).  Extra bonus, the bulbs were 20% off because I got them during the happy hour.

From what I remember...

Seed Paper: 
Some amount of shredded paper
a Blender
A picture frame with screen material stapled to it
Wildflower seeds (though I don't know why you couldn't do this with other seeds...tomatoes! basil! tomatoes and basil!)

  • blend the shredded paper and water together until well blended pulp is achieved. There is some debate on how runny it should be - mine was fairly thick and will work as a great sheet of wildflower seeds...if you wanted to write on the paper, maybe a thinner pulp is needed...
  • add a small scoop of seeds and mix with finger
  • scoop/pour the pulp onto the screen (make sure to do this over something like a sink or tub...or do it know what, just do it outside)
  • shake out extra water and press (to get water out) or use a clean sponge to press water out.
  • Turn out onto drying rack and let paper dry. 
  • To use, tear apart, get wet and throw on the ground.  keep moistened until seeds sprout.

Seed Bombs:
1 part wildflower seeds (again, I suppose you could use other seeds)
3 parts compost
5 parts dry clay

  • Mix above ratio with water until a mud-like consistence is achieved.  
  • roll into balls and let dry.  
  • to use, throw outside in location where you want seeds to grow - this is great for achieving a meadow look or something to that effect.

And now, you, too, can make homemade Christmas gifts.  Though it would be kinda cool to be able to make some of the seed paper and have it be smooth enough to draw what the seeds are on the paper itself (so like draw a bunch of wildflowers if that's the seed used...or a basil plant if using basil seeds).

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Changes: Now and Then

The side yard as of September 2012 (and yes, I realize this is a different angle than the photos below.  That is because for the longest time, the most interesting part was the back portion, now it's the front portion.  But really, this one was just as sparse)

January 2012.  Liriope taking off and Cast Iron plant added.  Also, a bag of mulch which has sat in the exact same location.  I now have a bag of garden soil sitting on my's been there since the spring.  Maybe I should put this on my goals list too - empty bags sitting in yard or at least move bags to garage.

January 2010 (after the big freeze).  Everything but the liriope frozen to the ground.

November 2009.  The liriope looks so small!  The shrimp plant looks tiny!

Monday, September 17, 2012

September Bloom Day...A few days late

Pictures of things blooming around the yard (really it's the same as in August, but I figured I'd show pictures of the things I didn't show last time)

Alamo Vine

Chocolate Daisy


Tahoka Daisy

Red Turk's Cap



Gregg's Mistflower
Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting Bloom Day on the 15th of every month

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Project: Hell Strip update

A picture of the hell strip after the summer (not that I think we're out of the woods with 100 degree days).  Admittedly things are a little parched, but the artemisia, feather grass, and alamo vine are doing great.  The rest of it?  Not so much...I mean it's mostly alive, mostly doing well, but not spreading...maybe when the cooler weather kicks in that will change.

You can see previous entries about this project:
A Month After Planting
After Planting
The Beginning

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Situation

This is what our backyard looks like from the deck:

It doesn't look too bad, right?  It's green-ish, but it doesn't look at that bad.  Until you get close to it:

This weed (spotted spurge) makes up the ENTIRE yard shown in the picture above.  I've managed to pull it all out on the other half of the yard, but it's already starting to come back.  It's so totally a losing battle. BUT!  I shall win the may just take a while...I'm thinking this will be like the Civil War - something that some thought would be over quickly...and 4 years later it finally ended.  Maybe I should add this monster to my goals.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


It seems more fitting for the beginning of fall to be a resolution time for the Austin area, methinks.  This is because the fall is when garden projects can really begin since it's cooling off and what have you.

So, Garden Resolutions:
  1. Work on my side yard project (removing grass, put in a little drainage ditch, and move/divide plants)
  2. Remove a bunch of rock in the back yard, and turn the area into a little patio.  Likely with birdbath or small stock tank pond or something similar.
  3. Do SOMETHING to kinda hide the utility box in the back yard (like a combo clumping grass and cinder block wall)
  4. Put the rain barrels on cinder blocks so they will actually drain
  5. Cut the downspout so I can actually get the second rain barrel under it.
  6. Draw up garden plans instead of doing things willy nilly
  7. Prune all the perennials
  8. Dig up and divide/give away the perrenials that have taken over
  9. Conscientiously Un-garden.  As in don't water the damn plants so much.  We need to have some tough love up in here...of course I can't do that with my cats so I doubt it's going to work out with the plants...damn me and my "must save it!" ways.
  10. Clean out my veggie garden beds.  I already have 6 plants that perennially come back (thyme, oregano, lemon balm (2) and garlic chives (2)).  If I'm not careful, I'll end up needing to build more garden beds for the veggies...again.
  11. Mulch. Mulch. Mulch.
  12. More plants for birds and butterflies.  It astounds me how many of both I've had this year (feeding and watering and trying to keep plants blooming)
  13. Deadhead plants/collect seeds
  14. Start more plants from seeds/cuttings
  15. Enjoy the garden more...of course I may be able to do that more readily when it's not 100 degrees outside and when I'm not worried about getting West Nile at every turn...of course I think getting rid of more of the Asian Jasmine would help with keeping the mosquitoes under control.

Monday, September 3, 2012


The mockingbirds and cardinals prefer this plant saucer of water in the backyard over the giant saucer of water in the front yard.  I'm not really sure why other than this one is shallow enough that they can bathe in it while the other one only allows them to drink (not that they'd drown, but it is deeper, which probably translates to more feathers getting wet and therefore affecting flight).  They probably also like this one because, as you can see, it's on a table which puts them above their surroundings.  

Now then, I'm sure the husband won't be so happy about the bird droppings. But then, it's not like we're using the table out there right now anyway.