Monday, May 19, 2014

May Foliage Follow-Up

After a belated Bloom Day post, here comes the belated Foliage Follow Up. Thanks, as always, to Pam Penick at Digging for hosting this monthly tribute to all things leafy.

Starting in the backyard, I've shuffled the succulent pots around a bit, since they didn't seem to get enough sunlight in their previous corner. Either the neighbor's towering Cedar Elm is offering deeper shade than it did last year, or the angle of the sun isn't quite right at this time of the season. They are still vulnerable to attacks by my #1 biggest and most beloved pest, my 3-year-old daughter. They'll just have to find a way to survive her. She can't seem to stop herself from plucking off leaves and stems.

Here's the fairly healthy Catmint, along with the Sedum/Kelanchoe combo succulent pot. My 3-year-old really loves those Kelanchoe leaves--she can't stop collecting them.

In the firepit planter, the sedums are coming back nicely. A little sprig of this one migrated to the shady Purple Pocket Garden somehow, and is doing surprisingly well there. Sedums in the shade?
I wish I could remember the name of this one. Some sort of Mangave? It looked great last year, before it got hit with multiple frosts. This is actually the best it has looked so far this year. I'm still hoping for a full recovery.

The "Rainbow Bed" isn't quite as vibrant these days, since the Knockout Roses stopped blooming and Pavonia/Rock Rose hasn't quite started yet. But the contrasting foliage is fun to look at. In the back, Blanc Du Bois grape is making do with the overly-vertical trellis I gave it. There are aphids and tiny ants at the growing tips, and something has munched holes in a lot of the leaves, but it seems to be surviving. I tell myself I'm not doing anything about the aphids and ants, not because I'm lazy, but because I want to see if the local ladybugs will come along and let their larvae loose on the aphids. But I'm probably just lazy.
To my astonishment, grapes have appeared at the base of the Blanc Du Bois! They're tiny. I tried one the other day, knowing they weren't really ready, but fearing I wouldn't otherwise have a chance. It was sour, but satisfying.
Hidden among the Blanc Du Bois leaves are the hand-like leaves of the Cardinal Climber vine. There are a pair of these Cardinal Climbers weaving their way up the trellis, right along with the grape. Poor planning on my part, but those little hands and tendrils are surprisingly tenacious.
Here you can see the mingling of leaves - the wide grape leaves and the dainty, spiky Cardinal Climber leaves. Whatever is munching on the grape doesn't seem at all interested in the Cardinal Climber.

A couple of wide views: Here's the view from the Rainbow Bed looking East toward the neighbors towering Cedar Elm. The two biggest crape myrtles ('Natchez') look pretty good this year, and even have some new buds on them.

Here's one of the "medium-sized" crape myrtles, also looking fairly content this year. Fully leafed out, no buds yet... all the crapes in my yard seem to bloom later than their local brethren, perhaps because they're in part shade. Now that the Chinese Tallow is gone and no longer blocking significant sunlight, I'll be curious to see how this crape reacts.

One of the smallest crape myrtles on utility box screening duty in the NW corner of the backyard, flanked by two ligustrums we planted before we knew better. I gave the ligustrums a hearty chop early this spring.

Pampas Grass fills in behind the Crape Myrtles.

 Not much to see here yet, but there is foliage... Wisteria, Tropical Milkweed (coming back from the dead of winter), Purple Coneflower/Echinacea and Cardinal Climber.

Another wide shot--looking Westward towards our younger, more diminutive Cedar Elm. This would have to be the official tree of the neighborhood--I think the Cedar Elms outnumber the oaks here, and that's saying something.

The Purple Pocket Garden is thriving, and volunteer Wild Morning Glory / Purple Bindweed is beginning its annual climb up the trellis. This is one of the plants that came with the house, and was probably a volunteer in the first place.

There it goes!

Looking back toward the deck, another old friend, Asparagus Fern, has clearly bounced back again after dying back completely this past winter. Catmint and succulents adorn the pots on the steps.

Oh, that's where I put the other succulent pot--on the West side of the deck, where there's now ample afternoon sun, now that the Tallow is gone. Hens-and-Chicks seems to have brought along a non-succulent stowaway from the nursery. I'm waiting to see what it is before I pluck it out. "Dragon's Blood" sedum is thriving. Graptopetalum is barely limping along, thanks to damage by the aforementioned preschooler. If it can survive her, it can stay.

Moving to the front yard, it's almost all foliage right now in the pea gravel bed. The wind was really whipping the Methley Plum around.

Looking Eastward in the front yard--the freshly-trimmed Arizona Ash, the never-trimmed Loquat, and the gradually returning bed of Plumbago.

Another shot of the Plumbago.

Here's the bed I formerly called the Jungle Bed, until everything but the Texas Mountain Laurel died back over the winter. It's all coming back nicely, though not quite back to Jungle status yet. (Ginger, Flax Lily, Liriope and Turk's Cap.)

Lovely, lush loquat. The girls enjoy riding the lower limbs, pretending they're riding horses. So far, the loquat is tolerating the abuse.

 Happy May Gardening!


  1. Kids and small trees- my youngest is slowly yanking all the small branches off my mountain laurel! They'll love the loquat fruits though!

    1. Yeah, maybe there should be a "kid-proof" distinction to go along with "deer-proof". It will be fun when there are loquat fruits! We had tiny ones this year, that I'm sure the squirrels loved.

      Thanks for stopping by!