Monday, March 25, 2013

Summer Thyme

The summer thyme I planted last summer made it through the winter without any problems.  Now it's blooming prolifically.  The bees are very happy.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Promises of Things to Come

Tomato flower.  ALREADY!?  Criminey spring has come fast.

Possumhaw buds

Monday, March 18, 2013

Phase 9 of eleventy - billion

Phase 9 - put the rain barrel on cinder blocks and create the planting bed at the base. 

Of course the planting bed became more of a drainage project when we figured out that the rain barrel could only really be set up with the overflow port on the side that faced uphill. 

Of course, I saw this overflow conundrum, and I said "I just need to dig out a little ditch and everything will be hunky dory."  But then I back filled with loose dirt.  This of course didn't work out very well during the rainstorm we had - the dirt got pushed out of way at the bottom of the cement drain guide and then just flowed directly to the cinder blocks.  So I knew it had to be fixed - and of course this is all dumb because while I was backfilling with dirt I thought to myself "oh this isn't going to work out well... I should really back fill with rock."  And lo, the woman, she is brilliant.

So this last weekend, I re-dug out the area by the plants I had planted, and then made a much more defined drainage ditch and backfilled everything with rocks instead of dirt.  You read that right.  Me.  Not the husband and me.  Just me.  This is because he claims that if I had left the grass alone it would have been fine and I was making a mountain out of a molehill, why do I have to go redoing the perfectly adequate yard, yada, yada, yada.  Of course it didn't help matters that to do this part, I cannibalized the rock bed at the other end of the yard.  It's in my plan, but apparently the husband is incapable of reading a plan.  And thus he promptly fuh-reaked out when he came out after I was done hauling rock back and forth.

My yard - my own personal "Hideous Bed."

From the front

From the side - the drainage ditch makes a V shape so it waters the plants I have planted in the rocks (Brazos Penstemon, Blue Penstemon, and Hummingbird plant).

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Book Review: Mrs. Greenthumbs Plows Ahead

This is the second Mrs Greenthumbs book I've read.  Both of them were gifted to me by my friend Bond before she moved to LA.  I've gotta start out by saying that I really liked this book.  The last Mrs. Greenthumbs book I read, I wasn't too fond of - mostly because I didn't like how it was organized - a garden guide by month for a northeast garden (not necessarily applicable to central Texas).  Oh sure, it was funny, and I did like the humor (that's the reason why I bothered reading this book).

I thought this book translates well to all parts of the country - mostly because she continues to state that you should use plants that do well in your area, and that what grows well in her garden isn't going to grow well in Santa Fe.  The book is split up into 5 sections/recommendations - Create the garden as a separate place away from the world, Plant perennials and plant them abundantly, Use plants that grow easily in your climate and location, Have something in bloom throughout the gardening season, Don't plant magenta next to taxicab yellow.  Within each section, it is split into many more "how to/recommendation" sections. 

There are many tidbits that I'll end up using, or at least keeping in mind - for example:  For easy proportioning, use 2:1+1. That is, if your house is 20' tall, there should be plants about 11' tall, with the plants immediately next to those being about 6.5' tall.  This also works in sizing beds - you have a 6' fence, which means that you have a 4' garden bed in front of it.  I'll also probably start paying attention to the color wheel (admittedly, this is probably a one-two punch between the Master Gardeners' seminar on roses and the book as I went to the seminar and then read the part in the book about paying attention to color (see previous post about plopper vs. planner and I think you'll understand).  Since I believe that if something happens multiple times, it's the universe trying to tell me something, I'll pay heed.

Anyway, this is a book that the original plan was to read it and then continue to pass it on to my coworkers, and yet I know I won't do that...which means that i really recommend this book.

Sunday, March 3, 2013


What does one do when one already has 13 (strike that, 12 since one got clipped) tomatoes in 4" pots?  Go to the Sunshine Community Garden and Austin Organic Growers sales to pick up yet more tomatoes. Naturally.

I picked up Roberta a little late because I was too busy watering my garden to actually leave on time.  Once I got her safely ensconced in my car (and with her sitting ramrod straight because of a bad back), we headed over to Buck Moore to pick up some chicken feed and to look at the baby chicks.  Then we headed over to the Sunshine Community Garden Plant Sale.  There I picked up a Trinidad Scorpion Pepper for my husband; a dill plant to replace the poor aphid ridden plant in the garden; a marjoram plant because I like me some Italian food; and Raspberry Miracle, J.D.'s Special, and Pink Berkley Tie-Dye tomatoes.  I can't say "no" to tomatoes.  WEIRD TOMATOES, I WISH I KNEW HOW TO QUIT YOU!  Of course I rationalized the tomato purchases by convincing myself that the tomatoes I started from seed (Black Krim and Roma) didn't look all that hot and they may not even produce, so I might as well purchase some good plant starts to hedge my bets.  Never mind the fact that I have no where to put 16 tomato plants. I still had to talk myself out of getting an eggplant (I've got 5 still in the seed starter thing that I need to transplant to 4" pots). After Robera purchased her 9 plants (or however many she got), we headed south to the Austin Organic Growers sale.

The Austin Organic Growers Sale is a sale that I stumbled upon back when I first started gardening.  I'm not sure how I managed to find the AOG sale advertised but not the Sunshine Sale since most know of Sunshine but not AOG.  Nonetheless, the husband and I went down to that AOG sale where we learned about the Sunshine Sale so we decided to hit it up on our way back north.  Ever since, I've gone to both sales.  In recent years, the AOG has started getting plants from Gabriel Growers (the same vendor that provides the plants for the Sunshine Sale) in addition to the plants that the club propagates on their own.  But I digress - Roberta and I headed south to the AOG sale, paid our $2 to get into Zilker Botanical Gardens and went to the sale.  I found some white yarrow that I have been looking for since making my garden plan.  Roberta purchased some other plants too (including a lemon verbena that none of us (meaning the sale people and the two of us) knew whether it was an ornamental or an edible) (Note:  It's both). 

Then we went and ate lunch at El Alma.  It was delicious. 

We headed back to Roberta's where we hung out on her front porch talking and throwing bread pieces at the chickens and guinea while sitting with Beagle in the sun.

Damn it was a great day.