Sunday, September 22, 2013

September Garden Update: Fall at Last!

I managed to catch a couple of butterflies on the plumbagos. One is a Pipevine Swallowtail, I believe--the black one with blue on the lower wings. The other may be an American Lady--black, orange, a couple of white spots and white wing margins. My iPhone photos don't do justice to these beauties. 

Pipevine Swallowtail (above)

American Lady (above)

The big vegetable garden box--my interest has waned considerably since the birds and squirrels ate all my tomatoes and chewed down the stalks of several other plants. My husband offered to build a support structure for some netting, once we get this thing moved over to the sunny spot in the side yard. For now, I'm hoping the pepper plants covered with leaves and flower buds might actually yield peppers, now that the weather is starting to cool.

In spite of my relative neglect, sage is hanging on, and flat-leaf parsley and multiplying onions are coming back.

Yesterday, on the Autumnal Equinox, I seized the cool morning and did some dividing and transplanting of the perennials. This lantana was languishing in the front yard, in too much shade. I moved it to a sunny spot in the back.

Side view of the deck. Some HEB vincas in hanging baskets and a lone hosta from Red Barn adorn this side.

The official butterfly garden/bird sanctuary section of the back fence is looking pretty shabby. The Tropical Butterflyweed did perk up considerably after our whopping, glorious 3.5" of rain on Friday. Hiding behind it is a Wisteria vine that I hope will make a comeback in the spring. There are some dead Echinacea/Purple Coneflowers, too. It would be nice to see them again, but I don't hold out much hope.

The kids.

The other side of the deck, where the anole lizards like to hang out (and, I presume, catch mosquitos). Another hanging Vinca, and my new "succulent corner".

Here's the Succulent Corner. I still have a half-dead Kelanchoe in the ground. I'm waiting to see if it perks up again this winter. It has been one of those plants that brings itself back from the dead over and over, and I don't have the heart to yank it out when it looks shabby.

A houseplant--I'm not sure what kind--is trying to make a comeback after my girls ripped it out of a pot recently. 

Here's the cheery chimney/stairs nook, where the tough-as-nails Asparagus Fern continues to swell out of its big container. Catmint is trailing beautifully. Lemongrass is a new addition; I hope it'll make it, mostly for ornamental value. In the small blue pot, I planted some Black-Eyed Susan and Chinese Paper Lantern seeds a while back. They're not exactly thriving.

Yesterday, I decided to spruce up the little pocket garden next to the chimney and turn it into the Purple Pocket Garden. To the two Purple Heart (Wandering Jew) stems and the wild Morning Glory, I added Oxalis (purple shamrocks), a few more Purple Hearts, and a purple-toned Coral Bells.

Then I discovered, to my delight, that the Oxblood Lily bulbs I planted, then transplanted, then gave up for dead last year... are back! And about to bloom! Can't wait to see this gorgeous red pop.

Here's that wild Morning Glory. It won't be blooming much longer, with the temperatures and daylight dropping off, but it has been luscious all summer long. I love those little purple flowers, and love how they peek out every morning and hide every afternoon.

You can see the Coral Bells and Oxalis here.

I had too many Purple Hearts, so I stuck one in the Rectangular Planter of Death. I hope it proves me wrong.

An aerial view of the Purple Pocket Garden.

Oh! I almost forgot. What's this green, leafy thing doing in the back? Well, it's a Phillipine Violet, and if I'm lucky and chose it well, it will bloom this fall. Yes, with purple flowers.

The Spearmint is tough as nails. I love this plant. The Jalapeno next to it looks lush and leafy, but hasn't given up any peppers since April. Still holding out hope for this one.

Natalie's garden is about as bare as it's ever been. We'll plant carrot and lettuce seeds soon, I promise.

Along the Eastern side of the property (the one that gets the harsh Western sun, but mostly shade), I dropped in a couple of Wild (Red) Columbine flower bushes. Both have a couple of blooms on them. Again, not hoping for much here, but it would be lovely if they prove me wrong.

Next to the Columbine, a Carolina Jessamine vine is crying for more sun. Actually, it's probably done for this season. Time to transplant it soon, too, I think. If it bounces back in the spring, it'll be a miracle.

Here's the other side of the new "bed" along the Eastern fence. It's pretty much overgrown St. Augustine grass, a little Asian Jasmine creeping over from the neighbor's yard, and a few weeds. I'm not sure what it'll become yet, but I'm thinking I'll start with bulbs and flowers and go from there.

Here's the little side yard where the most container garden action is.

Moving to the front yard, here's the view from the front door. It's a jungle right now. I'll have to trim back the Plumbago and Ginger, but I honestly like the view. I know it's cumbersome for guests, though, so I'll trim it... soon. In the pot is an 'Aubrey Orange' Chrysanthemum. Gotta get in the fall spirit, right?

Here's the other side garden, in the front yard, that gets that sweet SE morning sun. These liriopes are ready to meet their new neighbors, the Texas Redbud, Plumbago, and Esperanza. There's another green bush back there. I'm not sure exactly what it is, I just know we can't kill it without actually digging it out of the ground. So I just cut it back when it gets too unruly. Speaking of plants I can't kill, the wild onions are starting their fall show, too. I stopped trying mow or otherwise snuff out these guys last year when I saw how pretty their bloom is.

In the Front Parking Strip of Death, I took the moppy, floppy, spent Blackfoot Daisy, chopped it back, dug and transplanted two sections of the rootball. This is one of those masochistic plants that might just love that kind of thing. It bloomed like crazy with very little water all summer, and just petered out within the past month. So I put the transplants at regular intervals, elsewhere in the Death Strip.

Here's one.

Here's the other. Not pretty, I know. I must be patient.

The driveway-side bed is looking decent, especially after a few recent rains. The Methley Plum looks downright hearty. I pruned some suckers off the bottom recently.

The Autum Sage looks gorgeous, about a week after a nice grooming trim.

The Caradonna Meadow Sage bushed out a bit this year since I transplanted it from the Front Death Strip, and it made a couple of rounds of pretty purple spikes. It hasn't rebounded again, and it might be done for the year.

The one Mexican Feathergrass that does not get run over by car tires, bike tires and foot traffic looks nice and healthy.

The Front Parking Strip of Death. Someday it'll be much more picturesque.

The Loquat just keeps looking better and better, and regularly growing, no matter what the crazy central Texas weather throws at it. No fruit yet--this fall might be too soon, but I'll keep an eye out.

The Jungle in front of the kitchen window. The girls and I regularly see Black-Chinned Hummingbirds feasting on the nectar in those cute red Turk's Cap flowers. I suspect the show will end soon--last year we only saw them when the weather was hot.

Hey, I did get around to planting those Liriope. As I did with the front Jungle strip, I included several plain green "Giant" ones, and one "Aztec" variegated one.

Here are those pretty (or pesky?) wild onions again. My neighbor doesn't seem to mind them, either.

There's one more Rock Rose (Pavonia) languishing in this spot. I need to find a better home for it, I'm just not sure where, yet.

Esperanza, in all her glory.

My neighbor caught me gardening yesterday, and paid me the compliment of asking for advice for low-maintenance shrubbery for his side garden (Western sun, shade). Off the top of my head, I told him he could have one of our dwarf purple Crape Myrtles, whenever we get around to digging and transplanting them. I'm also thinking Creeping Fig would look great against that reddish-orange brick. Maybe an evergreen ornamental grass, like Bicolor Iris, would round out the look for when that Crape Myrtle is bare in the winter.

Right now, his bed is overgrown with Horseherb, which is lovely, but also interspersed with some weeds I can't find the heart to love yet. I'm excited to see what transformation takes place.

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