From the producer: May 21, 2009

May 21st, 2009 Posted in Uncategorized

So, a few months ago,  I came up with an idea for this week’s CTG:  “soft sculptures.”  My little plan was to counterpoint the spikier forms we’ve mentioned.  I couldn’t resist putting this one in designer Scott Thurmon’s head, since he’s got a new plant idea for every notion.  With his list, I’m sure he and Tom will get some ideas going for you, too. Remember, Scott’s complete plant list will be on our website. And I’d love to hear what you like to use for soft structural sculpture!

Right now in my garden, I’m not sure there’s any structure, soft or otherwise.  To me, it looks like a big mess. And I mean a mess.  Late spring-cleaning is not as fun as winter’s chores, since mosquitoes and icky sticky weather tax my good intentions before I’m close to being finished.

But last Sunday was a treat!  I took advantage of the cool breeze and the wet ground, perfect for plucking weeds and runaway runners. I barely made a dent in the pruning, but did enough to double the compost pile. Turned with bunny litter, it should heat up nicely.

I feel a little overwhelmed, but am adopting a “do what I can when I can” attitude. Then I’ll put on blinders and jump into kiddie pool, scheduled for “installation” this weekend.

The best thing about this transitional season is what’s showing up, like turks cap.

Turks cap bud

Like usual the past few years, spring meets summer and fall.  In the den bed, I’ve got orange mums with a columbine that finally got busy.

orange mums

Columbine canadensis

Although many larkspurs are already in an old kitchen wastebasket until I bag up the seeds, these larkspurs recently arrived in the crape bed.

White larkspur with artemesia 'Powis Castle'
Philippine violet is already flowering, since it barely froze back this year.

Philippine violet

The Dicliptera suberecta is flowering just in time for the first hummingbirds in our garden.  This is one of the zealous growers I’m shearing yet again this season. For me, it does best in a shade/sun mix. In too much shade, it tends to languish. With a little sun, it goes crazy.

Dicliptera suberecta

In the crape bed, I paired my new white ‘Nymph’ Salvia coccineas against it and the Dianella (Dianella tasmanica ‘Variegata’). Wish I’d gotten ‘Coral Nymph’, but I need a few more, so maybe I’ll get those to sprinkle in.

Salvia coccinea, white 'Nymph' with dianella

The coneflowers are getting earnest. This one is supporting a spider web’s strand, sturdy enough to lift a petal.

Purple coneflower

In the crape bed jungle, Pavonia (rock rose) sneaks out from under a coneflower that stretched for light to get past the fervent pink evening primrose.

Pavonia (rock rose) under coneflower

Next fall, when the primrose emerges, I’ll thin them out before they take over. Isn’t that like a gardener?  First, you want more.  The next year, you want less.

I guess that’s why the “internet” was really started-not the current version that you pay to access, but the first one that was free-where gardeners who had too much passed it along to someone else who dearly wanted it.

On passalongs, I want to explore how to propagate my purple umbrella plant (Trachelium caeruleum), now on its second spring.

Purple umbrella plant, Trachelium caeruleum

In the cat cove, just beyond the cottonwood stump, here’s my first Buddleja, ‘Butterfly Heaven’.

Buddleja 'Butterfly Heaven'

Even though I feel like I’ll never catch up with the chores, and I know my garden will never be “fancy,” it’s like a wonderful surprise to walk out every morning and see what it’s doing. Despite floods, drought, hail, and the freeze/heat swings that catch us by surprise, I’m always astounded at how tough plants are. Sometimes I dread the work, but the payback is always worth it.

Until next week, Linda

  1. 8 Responses to “From the producer: May 21, 2009”

  2. By Judy Tye on May 21, 2009

    You are an artist with a camera, Linda! Kudos on your fine, fine garden…”not fancy,” did you say? Whew, how you DO run on! Regards…


    Linda reply on May 22nd, 2009 3:17 pm:

    Judy, I need you to follow me around, since you always make me so happy!


  3. By Pam/Digging on May 22, 2009

    A garden doesn’t have to be “fancy” to feed our soul, does it? Yours is filled with treasures, Linda, like that Tracellium. Thanks for the tip about the ideal growing conditions for Mexican honeysuckle. I’m trying it for the first time in my new garden.


    Linda reply on May 22nd, 2009 3:16 pm:

    Pam, I just hope my garden is as wonderful as yours someday. And you will LOVE that Mexican honeysuckle. It is tops on my list. Very versatile, tough, and intense!


  4. By Jenny on May 23, 2009

    I couldn’t find much info on the trachellium except as a florist plant. Isn’t it odd about the Philippine violet. I cut mine back down to the ground even though it didn’t freeze back and it is still flowering. I thought maybe it was because it was crowded out by the larkspur and wasn’t getting much light. I hope it continues into the fall. It is one of my main fall bloomers. You have so many different flowers Linda and most of them natives. You are such a good girl!


  5. By mss @ Zanthan Gardens on May 26, 2009

    You still seem to have a lot going on in your garden. My clean-up this time of year is like the northern gardeners do in fall after the first freeze. I’m taking out all the spent annuals and putting the garden to bed for summer.

    But I can’t agree with you enough on one point. It’s not much fun working in the garden this time of year with the heat, humidity, and the plague of mosquitoes. I find that all my good intentions for preparing for fall are often discouraged by this weather.

    I was so thankful to have almost 5 days of glorious cool, clear days as a break in the humidity.


  6. By Annie in Austin on May 27, 2009

    I have Mexican honeysuckle but it was some kind of Justicia – guess that’s synonymous with Dicliptera suberecta?
    Your plant looks wonderful, Linda – well all your plants look wonderful! My garden is alive but not so ready for closeups. The native rock rose always looks moldy! But the white and coral salvias do okay.

    Lovely photos – you make me want to run out to the nursery on a quest for Tracellium ceerueleum.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose


    Linda reply on May 27th, 2009 7:20 pm:

    Annie, now that is interesting. I never realized it was Justicia, but I just looked it up: it is also known as Justicia suberecta. And I have heard it called various names of Mexican honeysuckle. My rock rose continually has powdery mildew but that’s the way it goes. I got the Tracellium at Barton Springs last year, but when I went for more a few months ago, they didn’t have it. Perhaps by now. If I can take cuttings, I’ll give you some! Linda


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