From the producer: March 13, 2009

March 12th, 2009 Posted in Uncategorized

Per gardener/blogger Vertie’s great new game, “Dead or Dormant,” I kept brushing aside the leaves from the autumn clematis that I moved from behind the shed to Amelia’s fence.  It looked pretty dead.  Then, a few weeks ago, I saw a tiny bud below the soil, and held my breath. Yahoosers, last weekend, it proved that it was simply resting after surgery, and was back in gear.

Autumn clematis shoot

Buff Beauty is definitely not dead after its severe cutback on the rose arbor. On the other side, New Dawn made it, too. After, FINALLY, 2″ of rain, all the moved and new plants will be dashing in the next week.

Buff Beauty rose new leaves

A few months ago I moved the languishing Iceberg rose from shade to sunny former photinia-ville. It’ll be a year before it’s totally back on its feet, but it’s firmly declared its intention to hang around. I had to spend a minute to “stop and smell the roses,” because this one is sweet.

Iceberg rose

At the end of that bed at the front house side, the Mexican redbud (Cercis canadensis var. mexicana) is spurting, with Gigantic Star narcissus beyond.

Mexican redbud

It took a few years for it to catch on since it was so tiny, barely a foot tall, when I planted it.  I dug a hole behind the stump of an Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis), one of the first house heirlooms I cut down when its short-term life span threatened the roof.  It suckered for a long time, so that may be one reason the new guy took so long to get going.

On the shed, the Cecile Brunner is starting to pop.

Cecile Brunner rose

I’ve cut this vigorous climber almost to the ground a few times. In one case, heavy spring winds did a lot of the initial work.  Still, nothing seems to bother this one, including the heavy pruning I did in February.

I call it Miki’s rose, after my second mom (Greg’s mother), since I bought it on one of her landmark birthdays on a weekend side trip to the Antique Rose Emporium. Isn’t that just like a gardener?  On someone else’s birthday, you haul them to a nursery because it’s in the neighborhood!  I figure this is better, though, than the initiation Miki got when she met her Nebraska farmer mother-in-law.  On their first night, they shared the double outhouse. I’ll take rose shopping instead! Anyway, it was appropriate, since Miki is definitely a rose in my life.

Here’s the Lady Banks again, the first rose I bought at the Antique Rose Emporium.

Lady Banks rose

I’ve cut it down a few times, too.  In one case, we had to remove a hackberry that was threatening the fence and shed, and they had become intertwined.  In recent years, I’ve pruned it to shape, but you don’t have to do that.  By next year, it will tower over the fence again.

Lady Banks rose wide

I highly recommend Lady Banks (and there’s a fragrant white version, too) if you have a sunny area that needs screening.  My water hose barely reaches it, so it’s been on its own through many drought cycles.  If I ever fertilized it, it’s so long ago that I don’t remember.

The Tangerine Beauty crossvine on the back fence is blooming, though it’s not vigorous, as I’ve mentioned before. Still, it’s alive and creating a little thicket.  So, I planted it a friend.  Is that gardener optimism or what?

Crossvine Tangerine Beauty

In the den and crape beds, here’s Tinka tulip.

Tinka tulip

One ground orchid (Bletilla striata) is opening in the crape bed.  Like the crossvine, I haven’t had much luck with them, but a lot of people do with this one for shade.

Bletilla striata

Columbine is jumping in, too.


Last weekend, I kept busy with tons of garden chores and planting.  I moved some columbines that needed a little more shelter from sun.  I also took the shovel to the exuberant Gomphrena ‘Grapes’ and moved them from the crape bed to a spot against the shed to run without my editing.  I replaced them with some tamer bicolor sage (Salvia sinaloensis), a much better fit for this space.

There are countless events going on, but want to let you know that Lauren Springer Ogden and Scott Ogden will be doing a book signing of their Plant-Driven Design at Big Red Sun on March 21 at 2 p.m.

And I’ll say, whether you’re an experienced gardener, or one for the first time, it can be scary to move or divide a plant that you’ve never moved/divided before.  Take a deep breath, water it first, dig around gently to get as many roots as possible.  Give it a little attention, and most of the time, you’ll get new life out of a plant that looked ready for the compost pile.

See you on Sunday for Garden Bloggers Bloom day!  Linda

  1. 13 Responses to “From the producer: March 13, 2009”

  2. By Jenny on Mar 12, 2009

    I’m glad someone else is like me and moves things around a lot. What is the ground orchid? I have some leaves that look just like that coming up in my vegetable bed. At first I thought they looked like palm leaves but I have no idea what they could be. They have striations on the leaf like your orchid- wouldn’t that be a nice surprise! I love the way your Lady B looks. Isn’t she easy. Hack away at it and what does she care.


    Linda reply on March 13th, 2009 4:14 pm:

    Hi, Jenny, I haven’t looked to see if the Bletilla is native; I get it at the Mayfield Park Symposium where they divide them from ones they’ve had for years. Zilker always has a big stand near the Garden Center, too. Maybe yours are ground orchids! Linda


  3. By Tom on Mar 13, 2009

    Linda you sure do get the color! With our new trellis design deer fence (in the middle of town) we have new beds to plant. Of course on our trip to the nursery for “one” new rose, we fell in love with two. I fell for Iceberg for the same reason you did, and Pat went for Souvineer de Malmaison, going for that pale pink super fragrant like your Cecile Brunner.


    Linda reply on March 13th, 2009 4:16 pm:

    Well, Tom, you and Pat have way more color than I do, and much better arranged! I love that Malmaison, too; will have to find a spot for it! Send me a picture of your new trellis deer fence, I bet our dear deer readers would like to see your clever design. Linda


  4. By mss @ Zanthan Gardens on Mar 13, 2009

    We seem to like the same roses. I’ve planted ‘Buff Beauty’, ‘New Dawn’, and a Lady Banks rose but managed to kill them all. Luckily, I struck a cutting from the ‘New Dawn’ so I have a descendent.

    The redbuds are just glowing in that delicious light.

    Thanks for the heads-up on the Ogdens’ book signing. I’ve read a couple of great reviews in the garden blogosphere about “Plant Driven Design” and it’s on my list of books to buy. I have a feeling that the Ogdens and I are kindred spirits when it come to which comes first: plants or design.


    Linda reply on March 14th, 2009 2:55 pm:

    MSS, I’ve managed to kill my share of roses. And the Buff and New Dawn weren’t looking too hot when I cut them back. With the rain, I walked out this morning and they’re already BIG!

    The Ogdens always put plants first. I hope you get to meet them. You are definitely kindred spirits. Linda


  5. By Robin@Getting Grounded on Mar 13, 2009

    Linda, loved your post. I’m glad to see your Ladybanks growing so prolifically after being cut back a few times. I cut an old one back to the ground last year to build a new fence, and I didn’t know if it would come back or not. She is growing several new tendrils now, so perhaps next year she’ll be back in bloom? And my columbines didn’t bloom (I planted last spring), so I just moved them to hopefully a happier place. Any tidbits for how to get them to bloom for me? They were in shade all year. Too much? And your climbing rose – I’m wanting one for partial shade to climb up a persimmon tree – will yours work for that, do you think? Thanks for a great post!


    Linda reply on March 14th, 2009 2:59 pm:

    Hi, Robin! Your Lady Banks will come back fine. Maybe give a little fertilizer. With the recent rain, I bet it’ll surprise you. I got the idea when a 30-ft. one cut to the ground. It almost broke my heart, but bang, it came back in a few months. The columbines are just now starting so again, with this rain, I bet they’ll open for in a few weeks. On shade, they will bloom in shade for sure, but mine do seem happier with just a tiny edge of sun or dappled sun. But give ‘em a chance. The Cecile Brunner would be way too vigorous for your persimmon–it would kill it. Let me think on that one. Are you sure you want something to climb on the tree? Perhaps a gentle vine, instead. Recently I was reminded about snapdragon vine, a native with tiny little purple snapdragon-type flowers that attract butterflies. But I’ll keep thinking and perhaps others will have ideas for you. . .


  6. By Cindy, MCOK on Mar 14, 2009

    Add me to the list of gardeners who move things around a lot. One of my friends says my plants should have wheels!

    Thanks for that pic of the Tinka tulip. I see that yours is also more pale yellow than white. It reminds me that I should never rely on a plant’s description unless I’ve seen it blooming and can verify the accuracy of said description!


    Linda reply on March 14th, 2009 2:53 pm:

    Hi, Cindy! I love that. . .plants on wheels. Sometimes mine feel like they’re on a motorcycle. You know, I’ve had some bulbs that ended up looking more white. Maybe it’s your spot–do they get tons of sun? Linda


  7. By Vertie on Mar 15, 2009

    So glad you decided to play along, Linda! You have a lot more options than I do for the game. Your Lady Banks looks wonderful. I got some of the ground orchids at Zilker fest. I don’t think they’re native, but they do seem to like it here.


  8. By Annie in Austin on Mar 15, 2009

    Your variety is wonderful, Linda – so many things I like and have killed..In Illinois the columbines happily crossed and sprouted all over the garden but down here they die so fast it makes me dizzy. At least I haven’t killed the Lady Banks.
    Have you had the Buff Beauty for a long time? Maybe they grow differently in Alabama -Phillip at Dirt Therapy had a rather terrifying post about pruning one,

    I’ve seen the ground orchids in that big planter bed near the Zilker Park building – bought one a couple of years ago but never had a bloom…so yours looks triumphant to me!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose


  9. By Nancy on Aug 7, 2009

    How do I care for ground orchids over the winter in Round Rock, TX? They are planted in the ground and doing great! Lots of beautiful flowers.


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