Saturday, June 7, 2014

June... the home stretch

June and early summer heat and humidity (and mosquitos) have arrived, along with some lovely new colors in the garden. Gardening, more than any other pursuit, has taught me to appreciate every season, even the ones I'd rather spend mostly indoors or in the water.

Why 'the home stretch'? Well, I'm about a month away from my due date with Baby Boy, so my garden is about to go into mostly auto-pilot for a while. Anything that's happening right now is light maintenance on existing plants. New plantings are over with for a while. (Daydreams are always ongoing.)

Peter's Purple Monarda, a new addition given to me by fellow garden blogger Vicki at Playin' Outside. True to her description, it is thriving in hot sun with relatively little water. Because this is a recent transplant, I've been giving it the occasional sprinkle, but not as much as I would water most transplants. 

Plumbago blooms are officially back!

A volunteer Horsemint popped up in the decomposed granite next to the Blackfoot Daisy in the parking strip. This is a cousin of the Monarda, I'm told.

Blackfoot Daisy is blooming like crazy, as if to say, "Yes! This is my weather."

My daughter's green bean plant is thriving in the veggie garden box.

Both tomato plants are growing to monster proportions, and have given up a few tasty red 'maters. There are lots more green ones, and the girls are I are on daily Tomato Watch.

Spearmint is happy these days.

The Purple Pocket Garden is choked with purples and greens, and the volunteer Wild Morning Glory has made it to the top of the trellis and then some. I'd put Peter's Purple Monarda back here, but I'm afraid it wouldn't get enough sun and conditions wouldn't be dry enough for it to thrive.
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On a recent HEB Plus trip, I couldn't pass up this succulent planter. My daughters and I both fell in love with the big-leaved Kelanchoe and other cuties in this square pot.

On the same HEB trip, I snagged a citronella-scented geranium for the deck, to try to ward off mosquitos. I don't know that it really works, but it smells like citronella, and at least I feel like I'm trying. This little guy seems pretty thirsty--it starts wilting after 36 hours of no watering.

The last decent downpour brought up the third rain lily bloom of the year on this particular plant. It doesn't last long, but it sure is pretty. I wish I could get it to spread.

Plumbago Row--it's blooming quite a bit more than this now.

The kitchen "Jungle Bed" is rapidly approaching jungle status again, to my delight. That flax lily really is coming back, and I think the ginger has managed to claim a wider territory.
Turk's Cap is back! I love the intense, firey red of the whorled blooms. Reminds me of manicured fingernails.

View from the front door... the gradually encroaching jungle.

The loquat thrives in all the weather Texas has thrown at it so far, but I think it is happiest when things are warm and wet.

Front yard view of the Jungle bed and Loquat, from the sidewalk.

Another view I seldom think to photograph--the Eastern wall of the front yard. Texas Mountain Laurel and Cenizo stand out and hide the Esperanza, Plumbago, Liriope and straggling Pavonia under the Texas Redbud. I have really neglected this bed so far this year. Other than getting choked with Bermudagrass, it is surviving my neglect quite nicely so far. I'm sure I'll need to give the Redbud supplemental water soon.

Same bed, viewed from the neighbor's driveway.

What's this thing sticking out of my Cenizo? A volunteer Fruitless Mulberry is my best guess. A neighbor down the street has one as a mature tree, and the neighbor across the street, whose yard is populated entirely by volunteers, has something that looks like a taller, more tree-like version of this. I guess I'll have to cut it down--it's so close to the house and not a particularly desirable tree. But it has been fun to watch it grow so far.

See? There really is Esperanza there.  The canary yellow on these is so pretty--my camera doesn't do it justice.

Yeah, I need to clean up this bed.

Another rare view, from the Eastern wall to the street. Someday these plants will reach more varied heights--this is as shrubby as it gets in my front yard.

Sidewalk view, heading West (uphill). There's the DIY tree swing my husband installed on our Arizona Ash. It's a big hit with the girls and at least one of our neighbor kids.

Methley Plum and friends... not so many blooms these days, but it's all looking lush, green and happy.

Well, Autumn Sage is blooming.

Un-staged view of the pea gravel sitting area in the backyard.

Tiny Meyer lemons... whether any will reach maturity remains to be seen, but they're fun to watch.

The Veggie Box, with the screen pulled up. I had to yank out the Crookneck Squash that smothered my fennel and was threatening to do the same to several neighboring herbs and plants.

In its place, I planted a diminutive yellow bell pepper...

...and a watermelon that certainly won't be diminutive if it thrives.  Silly, I know.

Monster Tomatoes, growing through the bird netting. The netting serves as an unintended support for these vines. Oh well!

The Cardinal Climber I planted as a transplant in... early May? It had been looking puny, but lately it has rebounded. It is both climbing and blooming very nicely. No hummingbirds yet, at least as far as I've seen.

I'm increasingly confident that the Echinacea/Purple Coneflower that died to the ground last fall will bloom this year. Hooray!

Remember that bare patch of dirt where I dropped some wildflower seeds earlier this year? Some of them are coming up! Not enough to where I can identify them yet, but there are some promising rosettes and sprouts. The biggest green sprout, however, is a pumpkin transplant. My kids made me do it, I swear!

My dear husband was kind enough to move the heavy firepit succulent planter for me, to the spot where the Chinese Tallow used to stand. Only problem: it tipped over on the way, dumping plants and decomposed granite into the grass. He put everything back and blocked some holes in the bottom with large rocks, to keep the remaining DG from spilling. I probably need to re-add DG, but the succulents haven't shown signs of suffering from this turn of events.

Pavonia/Rock Rose started blooming right about when Turk's Cap did. Now it's making up for lost time.

...and trying to smother a Crinum Lily. 
Colorful view from the sunniest side of the Rainbow Bed.

Salvia 'Mystic Spires' is filling out and blooming heartily in the sun. Its buddy in the shade is growing at a much more modest pace.

Lots of sunny yellows here. My husband and daughters bought me a yellow Gerbera Daisy, and though I wouldn't have chosen it, I did go ahead and transplant it into the strip along with my other yellows. It's not native or particularly well-adapted to this area, as far as I know, but it is cute when it blooms, and they seem to do well in neighbor's yards.

Our last sunflower at the peak of its beauty.

More Rainbow Bed shots--the Pink/Purple end.

My parents overbought Irises by one, which they passed along to me. This one is Bearded Iris 'Savannah Sunset', which shows a pretty sunset-hued bloom on the tag. I'll keep an eye out for that next Spring. I planted it in front of my Leucojum (Snowflakes), where it might bloom at roughly the same time, perhaps somewhat later in the season.

My Fall Aster transplant is far from blooming, but is showing plenty of reassuring new green growth.

Here's the subdued shady end of the Rainbow Bed.

Tropical or Scarlet Sage is still blooming, and also spreading out nicely.

Here's its buddy in somewhat deeper shade.

My big white 'Natchez' Crape Myrtles are starting to bloom... which is unexpectedly early compared to their history.

A tiny Aloe Vera was another HEB purchase. I repotted it, but haven't watered it. It's on a shelf in the afternoon-sun side of the deck.

My Multiplying Onions seemed to be bursting at the roots, so I pulled them out and set half out to cure, put the other half back in the ground to see what they'll do next. Keep multiplying? That would be nice.
I've used plenty of the green tops, but I've never used the small bulbs before.

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