Excuse me, what season is this?

February 13th, 2013 Posted in Techniques, Tools, annuals, books, butterflies, children, early spring flowers, garden tools, indoor water catchment, pruning, rain water collection, roses, winter color

Okay, we’ve seen crazy winters before, but this really takes the cake: on the way to work, I spotted this Mexican tithonia blooming against stems blackened by freeze.
mexican tithonia flower with frozen stems

This annual is usually toast long before now. But thanks to this weirdo weather, it’s fueling overwintering butterflies who probably wonder, as we are, “What season is this?”

It’s typical to spy the first heirloom “Grandma’s flag” iris about now, also flowering in that drive-by garden that never takes a break.

White Grandma's flag iris

Nearby is the lavender version. Which is your favorite?

Lavender Grandma's flag iris

Some of my bulbs are still pushing themselves out of bed, but this narcissus ‘Gigantic Star’ was ready to get up!

Narcisuss Gigantic Star

My friend Holly’s Paperwhite pass-alongs spiral into an upcoming bouquet.

Paperwhite narcissus spiral

This is not the first time that my eager beaver Mutabilis arrives in time for Valentine’s Day. It’s painful to cut back roses when they’re blooming, but she’s overdue for a spa day this weekend.

Mutabilis rose Valentine's bud

So, what about those pruners, hmm? Really, we don’t want to “carve” our plants with dull pruners. A sharp, clean tool makes the job so much easier. Guess what? Trisha shows us how to do it without getting a degree in tool sharpening! Spoiler: you can even use your kitchen oil spray and a toothbrush to clean off last year’s grunge.

Trisha Shirey sharpens garden tools

As I venture lightly into spring cleaning, the creative plant spin is upon me. I’ve earmarked a perfect spot to add lots of Black Pearl peppers (Capsicum annuum ‘Black Pearl’) against silvery yuccas. My solitary experiment last year was successful, but UT’s hardy-all-summer group put these annuals on my list for sure.

 Black pearl pepper

Daphne makes ‘Black Pearl’ her Pick of the Week for its gorgeous purple leaves that look great with any ensemble! On-going flowers and fruit are a bonus all summer.

Black Pearl pepper flowers and fruit

As Daphne tells us, the fruit is edible, but watch out: as they ripen to red, they rate over 30,000 Scoville units!

Black Pearl pepper red fruit

Bookmark this one for later planting, since Daphne notes that they can’t go in until night-time temperatures are reliably in the 60s.

Judy Barrett, publisher of Homegrown magazine, gardener, former nursery owner, and book author, can tell you how weather, gardening philosophy, and plants have changed in the past few years. To tell some of her eye-opening stories from organic gardening to herbs, she joins Tom this week. Get ready to learn and to laugh with Judy’s true homegrown wisdom!

Tom Spencer and Judy Barrett Central Texas Gardener

Not only has she been a game changer in the garden, she’s taken it online with Homegrown, my salvation in its print days and now in its new rendition.

Judy Barrett's Homegrown magazine

In her conversation with Tom, she culls a few secrets from her many books that have also marked my garden path of knowledge. Good grief, Judy’s got it tapped for gardening right here, right now!

Heirloom Plants Judy Barrett

Obviously, I love Judy and her husband Bob! They represent all things good as they’ve forged a path of wisdom and wit to guide our footsteps.

Herb book Judy Barrett

You also don’t want to miss Judy’s recipe book and her very first, wonderful book on tomatillos that got me growing them. Find out more!

A HUGE change since Judy first started Homegrown is our sensitivity to the watershed, thanks to her help in changing our garden practices.  If you think you know it all, these Earth Camp fifth-graders at the Becker Elementary Green Classroom have a few lessons to teach us! With kids like these, our future is in safe hands.

Thank you to Mundi for providing the music, “Clippers,” from their wonderful DVD Apple Howling!

I know that many of you already capture shower water while waiting for it to heat up. Daphne’s got a super duper tip on how to collect water WHILE you shower!

Shower water catchment Daphne Richards

Get her explanation and whether we can use gray water from the kitchen sink.

Here’s a big SHOUT OUT and THANK YOU to Barton Springs Nursery, who’s signed on as a local underwriter!

Another ORGANIC SHOVELFUL OF THANKS to Geo Growers, our continuing production underwiter!

Thanks to them, we can grow a few more CTG blooms. Please be sure to thank them too!

And thank you for stopping by! See you next week, Linda

  1. 7 Responses to “Excuse me, what season is this?”

  2. By Hella on Feb 14, 2013

    Crazy season for sure: My nacrcissus have already finished blooming. The hyacinth bulbs I bought from Home Depot at the end of the season last year for a “song” are blooming and perfuming the whole garden.
    The gerbera from last year set one very red flower – I thought, it had died!
    Several other shrubs should be trimmed back but they are putting on flowers and the butterflies are visiting. What is a person to do? I cannot deny them their food!!!


    Linda reply on February 14th, 2013 4:35 pm:

    I know, Hella! I just do a little pruning here and there to keep those guys fed! I’m so thrilled about your gerbera! I have never had any luck with them, but I love them so.


  3. By Nicole on Feb 14, 2013

    This early spring is really scary in terms of thinking about global warming. It really is already upon us, and going even more rapidly than apparently envisioned. Is anyone else worried about this summer?

    FWIW, during the terrible summer of 2011, I would just take showers with the plug in, and would not use soap, and then later, scoop the water out with a pail (and then a glass to scoop into the pail) and go water plants. Would give my toddler a bath in the same way. Soap is overrated and you can use leave in conditioner sprays for little kids, etc. after they get out. It was a little tough on my back, but it was the only exercise I was getting anyway, so that was okay.

    P.S. Trisha looks great! What is different? Is it longer hair? Has she gotten in shape? I need her secret!


    Linda reply on February 15th, 2013 9:21 am:

    Thanks, Nicole! What great tips. I love your great attitude about your back!!!
    Interesting on Trisha, too. I need her secret too!


  4. By Lee Gunn on Feb 18, 2013

    Where did you get the orange flat edge bucket?


    Linda reply on February 19th, 2013 9:13 pm:

    I’ll ask Daphne but I can swear I’ve seen these at Home Depot! Back soon!


    Linda reply on February 20th, 2013 6:22 pm:

    Hi, Lee! Daphne says she got it at either Target or HEB long ago. But I know I’ve seen them somewhere!


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