My garden’s out of control!

March 21st, 2012 Posted in Insects, bees, bulbs, early spring flowers, garden design, garden projects, native plants, passalong plants, poppies, pruning, roses

I’ve created a madhouse.

Central Texas Gardener spring flowers
I knew I needed to thin spiderworts, larkspurs and poppies, but I just couldn’t bear it.

Poppies, spiderworts, abutilons, columbine (c) Linda Lehmusvirta
So now I’m  pulling some out since they’re suffocating everything underneath. Good grief, we have poppies that are 4’ tall!

Oriental poppy, Austin (c) Linda Lehmusvirta
Others, along with spiderworts and larkspurs, are pushing over 3’.

Poppies, bearded iris, spiderworts in Austin Texas garden (c) Linda Lehmusvirta
Painful as it was, I yanked out many to rescue the plants underneath and to make room for the new Variegated flax lilies (Dianella tasmanica ‘Variegata’) I wanted to get in before the rain. Beyond, the spiraea and Lady Banks rose are still in gear; the Cecile Brunner on the shed trellis still to burst.

Poppies, spiraea, Lady Banks rose Austin garden (c) Linda Lehmusvirta

Here’s a view after some thinning.

Spring garden Austin (c) Linda Lehmusvirta
Another Freesia laxa showed up against the Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ that I also whacked, since it was flopping all over the place. Some people dislike this plant because it gets woody and sparse, but if you prune it now, it will fluff out nicely.


This front view reveals our latest project in the works—details and more pictures coming next week!   Still playing with ideas to replace the dead grass.


Here’s a closer shot, where Cedric’s found a new spot to nap near Greg’s sculptures. In the recent granite section beyond, I planted frogfruit (Phyla nodiflora), a native groundcover that attracts bees and butterflies.

On the back side of the mountain laurel, I pulled out a few of the widow’s tears (false dayflower) and my beloved Baby blue-eyes, a passalong from MSS at Zanthan Gardens a few years ago. I’ve left plenty to guarantee seeds for next year!


At the rental side fence, I cleared away a few oxalis and baby blues to rescue a butterfly iris (Dietes bicolor).


Even though the oxalis is out of control, I’m keeping lots of it because the bees LOVE this winter bloomer.

What a spring it’s been, even though it’s only been official a few days. In Devine, near San Antonio, Donna Sanders has never seen her huisache trees (Acacia farnesiana) bloom quite like this!

Huisache tree in San Antonio (c) Donna Sanders

Huisache flowers (c) Donna Sanders

There are lots of events coming up! One of the big ones is the Zilker Garden Festival March 31 and April 1. I’ll actually be joining a super lineup of speakers! At 12:30 on March 31, I’ll present Psycho (Lighting) Plants. And be nabbing a few more plants, of course!

Inland sea oats seed heads (c) Linda Lehmusvirta

Hope to see you there!  See you next week, Linda

  1. 35 Responses to “My garden’s out of control!”

  2. By jenny on Mar 21, 2012

    Wowee, Linda. It looks gorgeous. Such a happy lack of control.

    Reply

    Linda reply on March 22nd, 2012 4:02 pm:

    Jenny, actually, I think of you every time I walk outside! I remember when you were pulling up your larkspurs out of control a few weeks ago. I moan when I see some of my mess and think, “I know exactly what Jenny would say!”

    Reply

  3. By Shirley on Mar 21, 2012

    Your garden looks great Linda. It’s still amazing to go from such a sparse spring last year to this one. Who knew we’d have too many blooms just one year later?

    Reply

    Linda reply on March 22nd, 2012 4:01 pm:

    I know! A few months ago I was in despair because things looked so sparse. Geez!!

    Reply

  4. By Cathy on Mar 21, 2012

    Your garden is lovely and very inspirational!

    Reply

    Linda reply on March 22nd, 2012 4:00 pm:

    Thank you, Cathy!

    Reply

  5. By Steph@RamblingWren on Mar 21, 2012

    Gorgeous. What a wonderful Spring we are having. Great after the summer we had. Your poppies are beautiful. Our spiderwort is trying to take over the garden.

    Reply

    Linda reply on March 22nd, 2012 4:00 pm:

    Hi, Steph! Yes, once spiderwort gets going, it goes! But what a great plant!

    Reply

  6. By Chris Giaraffa on Mar 21, 2012

    Hi linda. I’ll be sure and stop by to meet you in person at zilkerfest. I’m
    The booth manager at the master gardener plant sale booth so
    Will be there both days.

    Reply

    Linda reply on March 22nd, 2012 3:59 pm:

    Oh wow, Chris, would love to meet you! I’ll be stopping by your booth to nab plants, that is for sure!

    Reply

  7. By Caroline on Mar 21, 2012

    Everything looks fantastic! I have a neighbor whose garden is buried underneath gigantic clumps of poppies like yours. I just love that last photo of the inland sea oats, glowing in the light…

    Reply

    Linda reply on March 22nd, 2012 3:56 pm:

    Hi, Caroline! Next year I may just have to devote a field for them! I’ll certainly be collecting seeds, so let me know if you want some. But I bet your neighbor’s garden will send you some seeds anyway! Yes, I was pretty darned lucky on that inland sea oats shot. Don’t you love it when we’re home with a camera in hand at just the right 30 seconds?!

    Reply

  8. By Jeaniene Jolley on Mar 21, 2012

    I loved the poppies and the precious little kitty. The poppies need to be in a painting – they are so pretty. -Jeaniene

    Reply

    Linda reply on March 22nd, 2012 3:54 pm:

    And you are just the one to paint them! Let me know if you do!!

    Reply

  9. By Brent Henry on Mar 22, 2012

    Wow, what nice pictures! I have some of the same issues with my spiderworts and salvias.

    Reply

    Linda reply on March 22nd, 2012 3:54 pm:

    Thanks, Brent! Yes, we love them but wow, almost too much of a good thing. Kisses to you and Jenga.

    Reply

  10. By Tina on Mar 22, 2012

    I know what you mean. Although I’m not wanting to complain too much, after the drought/heat of last year. Your garden is beautiful and Kitty looks happy!

    Reply

    Linda reply on March 22nd, 2012 3:54 pm:

    Hi, Tina! Indeed, a few years ago I was worried about larkspurs out of control. The next year: nada. So, I don’t want to complain at all, but good grief! And honestly, aren’t all our garden projects designed just so the cats have a new spot to hang out?!

    Reply

  11. By Hella on Mar 22, 2012

    Hi Linda,
    I totally agree with your comment about what a Spring it has been so far – my poppies are up to 4 feet also, the iris in the backyard went crazy last week. The Mexican Buckeye and the Texas Red Buckeye are blooming and my Rose Angel wildflowers came back also. the cacti and the aloe are blooming, too. I was at home for Spring break cleaning up the garden. Got out compost and fertilizer just in time for the rain – don’t get that lucky very often.
    Hella

    Reply

    Linda reply on March 22nd, 2012 3:52 pm:

    I know! I was moving plants and providing some fertilizer just in time! I bet your garden is just looking wonderful. I wish I had room for the buckeyes. Such great little trees! Thanks for checking in!

    Reply

  12. By Charlotte on Mar 22, 2012

    Your yard is absolutely lovely! Thanks for the tour.

    Reply

    Linda reply on March 22nd, 2012 3:51 pm:

    Thank you Charlotte!

    Reply

  13. By jennifer on Mar 22, 2012

    what a beautiful garden! I have a question about the 10th picture down. Right in the middle you have a plant that is tall with bright grean leaves and little purple’ish flowers on it. What is that? I have it every where in my back yard and had thought it was a weed but let it grow in a section cause it was pretty. Thanks for your help, Jennifer

    Reply

    Linda reply on March 22nd, 2012 3:51 pm:

    Hi, Jennifer! That one is widow’s tears. I thought it was commelina which is a perennial, but now I think it’s a Tinantia, which is in the same family, but it’s an annual. Both are called widow’s tears, but the Tinantia is also called false dayflower. Both naturalize like crazy! Find out more at http://www.wildflower.org. If you hunt for widow’s tears, you’ll see the commelina. Hunt for false dayflower to get the other one. I don’t know where mine came from, but I love ‘em! And they both are native plants!

    Reply

  14. By Annie in Austin on Mar 22, 2012

    Your out-of-control garden looks pretty wonderful to me, Linda! What stunning photos of abundance and color – the poppies are amazing. The fortitude you’ve displayed in removing plants that are in bloom is also amazing.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose (still waiting for even 1 poppy to open)

    Reply

    Linda reply on March 22nd, 2012 3:47 pm:

    I know, Annie. Just about killed me to do it but I was afraid I’d have a lot of blank spaces to fill when it’ll be too hot to plant! My garden is never going to be as outstanding as yours, though!

    Reply

  15. By Ally on Mar 22, 2012

    I love the freesia laxa and the artemisia together. Orange and silver is quickly becoming my favorite color combination. You’re right about the artemisia. Regular pruning is key to keeping this plant looking good.

    Reply

    Linda reply on March 22nd, 2012 3:46 pm:

    Hi, Ally! I love artemisia for everything, but yes, that combination really stands out! I’ve heard for years that some people pull them out because they look straggly and all it takes is a few snips! Thanks for checking in!

    Reply

  16. By Linda on Mar 22, 2012

    Hi, Cat! It’s just one plant and it’s one year old. Last year it was about 1 foot tall. Yours are young, right? Just gently tip the stalks to encourage bushier growth and it will take off for you this year. I expect mine to be close to the roof line before long! LOVE this plant! Oh, and once it gets going, the weight of the branches can cause it to flop around. I’ve been better at pruning for shape a few times a year.

    Reply

  17. By AngryRedhead on Mar 23, 2012

    Lovely all around! Some of my plants are probably suffering underneath my bluebonnets because I hate to thin them. I’ll probably pay for it in a few weeks when I start collecting seed and pulling plants.

    I also prune artemisia, and I pinch back coleus and wax begonias to encourage pretty mounds. I like moundy things.

    Reply

    Linda reply on March 23rd, 2012 3:56 pm:

    Yes, it is so hard to thin! I got scared that after they all went to seed, I’d have a blank story underneath when it’s too hot to plant. Guess we’ll go into that worry together, huh? It’s so wonderful to get a good stand of bluebonnets, so enjoy them while you can!

    Moundy things: Love that phrase!

    Reply

  18. By Sharon Lovejoy on Mar 26, 2012

    Dang it, where did you throw those Baby Blue Eyes??? Mine didn’t reseed this year and they’re my favorites alongside California poppies. They set each other off beautifully.

    Made me happy to visit with you. Ahh, that Cedric, can’t you train him to weed or something?

    Hugs to you,

    Sharon

    Reply

    Linda reply on March 27th, 2012 4:34 pm:

    Hi, Sharon! Ooh, what a great idea: with California poppies. I was trying for columbines with them. Mine are in semi-shade but they just find their own spots these days.

    The cats DO love gardening: watching me do it.

    Wish my garden was as beautiful as yours! Kisses, Linda

    Reply

  19. By Barbara on Mar 26, 2012

    Variegated Flax Lily is one of my new favorite plants. We have it in a Master Gardener demo garden at the Carleen Bright Arboretum in Waco, and it has survived last year’s extreme cold and heat, sun and shade. Watered once a week last summer. Great contrast to other plants. Come see us, Linda!

    Reply

    Linda reply on March 27th, 2012 4:32 pm:

    Hi, Barbara! I do want to come see you! I still want to come tape your garden. I do love dianella!

    Reply

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