From the producer: March 20, 2009

March 19th, 2009 Posted in Uncategorized

This week’s champ is the first flower ever on my Peggy Martin rose, a Katrina rescue, thanks to Dr. William C. Welch. I planted it last year, on a trellis at the sunniest part of Amelia’s fence.

Peggy Martin rose

6′ or so away, it gets shadier, but with blasts of late afternoon sun. The columbines I planted last year under the mountain laurel were not looking too happy.  Two weekends ago, anticipating the rain, I moved them to the other side of the laurel, where they get gentler sun. In their place, I’m trying these sedges, Carex morrowii ‘Variegata’. I really like the way they brighten things up.  Want more!

Carex Morrowii 'Variegata' sedge

The blank spots, where larkspur seeded, will be filled soon with my baby Plumbago scandens.  They’re still tiny from last fall’s planting, but they made it through the dry fall and our few freezes.  Oh, and in front of that rock, I’ve planted a Hymenocallis, so we’ll see what happens.

I ran into expert Scott Thurmon at the nursery, and he really thought the new sedges looked like ‘Frosty Curls’ instead.  Anyway, he approved.

Earlier in the week, I’d called him to do a CTG segment in May on “soft sculptures.” We’re still thinking of ideas, so if there are soft sculptures you want to know about it or suggest, let me know!

I also saw some Carex glauca and nabbed them for the front room bed.  Here they are in their little pots.

Sedge Carex glauca

Since clearing out the nandinas, I didn’t want to plant anything in front of the window, but it looks a little bare.  I’ve considered neat stones to temper the foundation, but when I saw these, I thought I’d give them a try.  I need to get a few more for behind the butterfly iris.  Since the rain came, this bed has already exploded into action, too, and in a month, there will be barely a bare spot.

In the cat cove, the blue-eyed grass made it back again!

Blue-eyed grass

Along with the calylophus.

The starflowers (Ipheon uniflorum) keep coming, along with oxalis.

Spring starflower Ipheon uniflorum

At its entrance, against the shed, the spiraea has it’s week or two of glory against the Lady Banks before I do some severe shaping. By the way, check out Lancashire Rose’s post on the history of this rose.  Fascinating! And we just glued the cat statue to a rock, to be placed in the right spot when I can move a spiderwort.

Spiraea and Lady Banks rose
Here’s a view to the yard with the milk can I rescued from Scooter’s mechanic’s recycling pile.

Spiraea with milk can
I want to renovate the cat cove, as I told you before, but I haven’t had a brilliant idea yet.

In the meantime, I simply had to deal with the shed “entrance.”  I put down these leftovers years ago, as a temporary entrance. . .well, you know how that story goes.

It had moved up the “annoyance” priority chain, so we hit the rock place and loaded Scooter with Mexican patio flagstones.  This is a reminder to check on price, since they were much more costly than native ones. I honestly didn’t realize it would be so much more. But once you’ve got your car loaded, you don’t take them out!

Even before I finished, the cats discovered their new patio. The big gap on Sam’s left is a huge cottonwood root.

With decomposed granite, I smoothed out a bed, placed the stones on top, and moved them around until I had the right fit.  Then I filled the gaps and covered the root with the granite.  I swept it in, sprinkled it, and  squinched it in with my fingers.  The next day, I repeated the routine. As it settles in, I’ll give it another dose of granite for a nice hard surface.  I’d considered a more elegant flagstone presentation, but the straight lines will make it easier to mow past.

In the den bed, can you believe this?!  ‘Patrick’ abutilon, Sweetness narcissus, Tinka tulip, white oxalis and Valentine rose all at once.  To the left are Spuria Iris Orientalis, and Buff Beauty rose, not yet in bloom. Butchart it’s not, but what the heck.

Valentine rose, Patrick abutilon, spring bulbs

To the right are columbines in back of ‘Country Girl’ mums and asters.  Daylilies between them.

Hinkley columbine

Well, rats, I meant to tell you about this earlier, but here’s a great event this weekend.  This east Austin fair gets better every year with all kinds of info, including hands-on demonstrations on edible landscaping for people and wildlife.

A Passion for Plants Garden Fair
March 21, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Govalle Park
Free admission
(512) 854-9600

For more events and Skip Richter’s latest tips garden tips, check out his new blog.

Until next week, Linda

  1. 18 Responses to “From the producer: March 20, 2009”

  2. By Pam/Digging on Mar 19, 2009

    What a riot of gorgeous spring color in the den bed, Linda. You must be enjoying that. I’ve noticed the ‘Valentine’ rose in my old garden is just starting to bloom. What a trusty, yet romantic, standby that rose is. I may have to find a place for it in my new garden, though sunny, deer-proof beds are hard to come by.


  3. By Linda on Mar 19, 2009

    Thanks, Pam. It was your enthusiasm about this rose that convinced me to try it. I’m not sure that they get enough sun in my garden, either, but I definitely don’t have a deer problem. If they don’t work out, I may be hitting you up as a possible adopter!


  4. By Annie in Austin on Mar 19, 2009

    For those of us who used to garden in another climate, it can be overwhelming at first to see plants that “should” bloom in different seasons be in flower at the same time.

    After a few years we no longer expect tulips to open & finish, then columbine & iris take a turn, then roses bloom from June through August and chrysanthemums confine themselves to October. When you show us everything at once it doesn’t look wrong anymore, Linda, it looks the way Austin should look – Spectacular! And love the new paving.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose


    Linda reply on March 20th, 2009 3:24 pm:

    Annie, well…sometimes it goes like that! But what I’ve enjoyed most in Austin gardens the past years is combining plants for a progressive show, rather than putting all our eggs in one basket season. At the same time, this year has been strange. But aren’t they all?! Linda


  5. By Miki on Mar 20, 2009

    Linda, The flowers are beautiful and so Sam. miki


    Linda reply on March 20th, 2009 3:24 pm:

    Miki, so are you. Love, Linda


  6. By mss @ Zanthan Gardens on Mar 20, 2009

    March is definitely one of the blooming-est months in Austin. Lot’s of variety in each garden and from garden to garden. You have tons of things blooming and it’s so different than what I have blooming. I keep seeing abutilon and am very tempted by it but haven’t researched it enough to try it.

    Your ‘Tinka’ tulips caught my eye because they look like my Tulipa clusiana. Looked it up and saw they are a T. clusiana hybrid. Now I’m curious to compare.


    Linda reply on March 21st, 2009 3:30 pm:

    Melissa, indeed they are, but there does seem to be confusion between Lady Jane & Tinka. More exploration needed here! In any case, reliable little wonders. Linda


  7. By Cindy, MCOK on Mar 21, 2009

    It’s all looking good, Linda! I wish I could get blue-eyed grass to grow for me but several attempts have ended in dismal failure. I think it needs leaner and meaner soil … maybe I’ll try again!

    I’ve got that Carex glauca around my pond and just love it. Blue-gray/blue-green foliage always gets my attention!


    Linda reply on March 21st, 2009 3:31 pm:

    Cindy, now I’m really excited about my new Carex glaucas. Will get more. Thank you for the heads up from someone who’s grown them.

    Yes, my blue-eyeds are in a mean lean situation, where I’ve worked in lots of decomposed granite over the years. Linda


  8. By Jenny on Mar 21, 2009

    Linda, everything is looking so lush and green. What is the mounding plant in the front of the front bed? It looks as though it might be skull cap.Does it stay that way.
    Someone commented about your blue eyed grass. I find this plant bordering on the invasive. Once I let it into my garden it has just spread everywhere. it was from seeds on my lot so it is a native. I find the ones at the nursery are somewhat shorter in growth. I tried growing the yellow ones from seed but had no luck.


    Linda reply on March 21st, 2009 5:47 pm:

    Wow, I wish my blue-eyed grass was invasive! But you’ve got its favored spot, I think.

    On mounding in front, there’s pink oxalis for now and beyond it are purple asters, which will cover that space when they go dormant. I wish it could be skull cap, and you know, now I may try it! But once the tree leafs out, I think it’s too shady for it. Still, thanks for the idea. That would be a glorious combination. The mounding ones on the right side, which I’m loving, are the Huntington Carpet rosemary. Linda


  9. By Vickie P on Mar 22, 2009

    I enjoy your blog so much. Thx for sharing…


    Linda reply on March 22nd, 2009 3:41 pm:

    Vickie, you made my day! Thank YOU for sharing. . .Linda


  10. By Robin at Getting Grounded on Mar 22, 2009

    Linda, your kitty made me laugh with the way he owned the new patio steps immediately. Such a guy! Your garden is so full of color! I love the mixture of colors and texures you’ve got going on. I just planted Patricks Abutilon this spring; have you found it to be as hardy as Marilyn’s Choice?


    Linda reply on March 22nd, 2009 3:43 pm:

    Hi, Robin! It seems like half my garden projects end up being for the cats.

    This was my first year for abutilons, so I don’t have Marilyn’s Choice (yet). But Renee from Renee’s Roots told me to look at a Patrick at Barton Springs Nursery where I got mine (named for Patrick Kirwin). It’s as tall as the building! So, I think it’s pretty hardy. Mine just keeps on going and going. Linda


    Robin@Getting Grounded reply on March 22nd, 2009 11:03 pm:

    Linda, I also bought my Abutilon at BSN, but I didn’t see the one you mention they have growing there. I’ll have to check it out!


    Linda reply on March 23rd, 2009 11:20 am:

    Robin, seems like it was near the building by the bird cage. Wander around back there and you’ll see it! It’s even got a label. Linda

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