From the producer: April 16, 2009

April 16th, 2009 Posted in pruning

This week on CTG, we respond to your requests for groundcovers in sun and shade. Sharon Truett from The Natural Gardener has fabulous new ideas for you!  The complete list will be on our website.  Tom and Sharon ran out of time to include wedelia, (Wedelia trilobata), but it’s one of my favorites, and Sharon’s, too, for sun or partial shade.

On tour, we visit an outstanding front yard renovation where plant lovers replaced lawn for a waterwise garden and living room that’s become the neighborhood bistro and playground for all the kids. I know you’ll be as inspired as we were on the nippy day we taped.

Last weekend in my garden, I pulled out the bolting lettuce and “harvested” weeds that made a huge mound on the compost pile.  Even Harvey can’t keep up with them this time of year.

I can’t believe it, but even the parsley is bolting.  I’m cutting the bolting stalks back to get a little more time, but once it makes up its mind, it’s best to just cut what you want to freeze.  Usually I get at least two years from them, but we had so many hot days early on that they moved up their calendar. The patio container is still okay for now, perhaps because it gets a shade break.

I’m keeping an eye on this potato that rooted in the compost pile.  Every year, I get a few little potatoes without any work on my part!

Potato in compost pile
My ‘Patrick’s’ abutilon grew so fast so that I needed to move it.  It just went a few feet, to the wall space between the den and back room windows, where it can grow tall and fill out that blank space.  Until recently, it was home to a David Austin climber rose, but I moved it to sunnier quarters on Amelia’s fence.  Right now, Patrick’s looks a little woebegone, so I spray its foliage every night and make sure the ground is still moist.

Every night, too, I wander around to check the poppy seed heads.

Poppy seedheads
I carry my pruners and food saver tubs to nip them off once the “hats” pop up.  Already, the “Joan’s pink poppies” tub has hundred of tiny seeds.

I’ll also be collecting seeds of these larkspurs in a few weeks.

Larkspur pink and purple

Pruning, pruning, pruning: that’s my chore this weekend.  Lots of things need nipping and clipping.  Already, I’ve been shaping the spiraea a little.  And by golly, that prompted new flowers!  Guess I’ll remember that trick for next year.


And check out this great combination, columbines, Swiss chard, and Dicliptera suberecta.

For what else is blooming, check out Wednesday’s post for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.

Until next week, Linda

  1. 10 Responses to “From the producer: April 16, 2009”

  2. By Tom on Apr 16, 2009

    Nice one Linda. We’re following right along. Hope it’s OK to say we’re checking our poppy seed heads. Funny to think we’re getting awfully close to advanced gardening — before it was simply whether or not we’re going to have any larkspur, now looking at your pictures I’m thinking about whether to add your red tone larkspurs to our blues and whites collection next year!


  3. By Linda on Apr 16, 2009

    I planted some larkspurs for the first time in a long time this year. Didn’t thin them very well, so they’re much too thick, but still blooming like crazy. Have never harvested seeds (don’t know why–just never tried, I guess)–what do I do, when?


    Tom reply on April 17th, 2009 9:05 am:

    When the seeds heads are crispy brown (in May I think) and you can hear the seeds rattling around (and before too many escape) I use a paper envelope or plastic bag, and turn the seed head groups upside down and pour the seeds into the bag, and roll some of the heads between my fingers to get them to release their bounty.


    Linda reply on April 19th, 2009 2:40 pm:

    Tom, thank you so much! We all learn from each other. Linda


  4. By Robin at Getting Grounded on Apr 18, 2009

    Linda, those poppy seedheads are gorgeous on their own, aren’t they? And what a cool combo – columbine and swiss chard. Sounds like you are having a great time gardening right now.


  5. By Kathy from Cold Climate Gardening on Apr 18, 2009

    Sometimes the difference in climates is so vast. I haven’t even sown my poppy and larkspur seeds, and you’re starting to harvest yours.


    Linda reply on April 19th, 2009 2:42 pm:

    Kathy, that’s what I love about the blogs–to see how different things are somewhere else. I learn a lot from your blog.

    You may not have sown your seeds yet, but I bet you haven’t seen your first mosquito either!


  6. By Jenny on Apr 19, 2009

    Where on earth in Austin does Sherry Smith live? Her garden is fabulous but I can’t think where there is a spot that deer don’t visit. Clearly not her house!
    You and Erma Bombeck. I remember one of her articles about how she grew potatoes on her compost pile. I think I’ll try the same as my pile is going nowhere this year with the dry season we have had. I just keep piling stuff on there and the way it is it will take a century to rot down.
    Your garden looks so healthy.


    Linda reply on April 19th, 2009 2:41 pm:

    That’s so funny–I always sort of wanted to be like Erma Bombeck! Sherry lives mid-town, right down the road from the majestic house that was on the Garden Conservancy tour a few years ago, off Windsor Road. Linda


  7. By Vertie on Apr 21, 2009

    I also love the chard/columbine combination. And thank you, thank you for the shade lovers suggestions. I have almost full shade in the front yard and have such a hard time growing anything there.


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