• Gardening

    The Irises of Spring

    Iris season came and went pretty quickly in our yard. I say quickly, but in reality it was just that I was barely down near the pond during their blooming period so I wasn’t exactly noticing their blooms. I spent a lot more of my time up in the edible garden working on those beds there and trying to stay on top of it all–which of course I have not stayed on top of it all. I’m far behind on so much and will likely never catch up this season. I was thinking a bit the other day about how much time I used to spend outside before I had…

  • Gardening

    March in the Garden

    The garden really began unfurling last month and I was rewarded with some wonderful blooms, especially in my native bed in the edible garden, such as this columbine (Aquilegia canadensis). I’m really enjoying this Helenium brevifolium in the bog garden! Adding in coastal germander (Teucrium cubense) several years ago has been great and it has reseeded itself in several areas in the garden. We think this is a hitchhiker Spiranthes vernalis in the bog garden. The fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus) was magnificent for several weeks up near the street and I wish I could bottle up its blooms to drag out in August! I almost missed all of the irises…

  • Gardening

    Spring Garden Abundance

    We returned from our west Texas adventures for Spring Break to much greener pastures here. Yes, there were some plants blooming in the Davis Mountains but as we lowered in elevation and drove east, the greening climbed significantly. I was glad to return to see I hadn’t missed some blooms, particularly the penstemons, which I knew were coming. The Penstemon laxiflorus is just beginning and I am delighted to get to enjoy them once again. I transplanted these pineland milkweed, Asclepias obovata, seeds before we left and worried they wouldn’t take well without some constant watching but they have thrived. I’ll leave them in the pot for a month or…

  • Gardening

    How can you grow native plants if there aren’t native plants to buy?

    A discussion that Chris and I get into on occasion is, how can gardeners grow native plants when there aren’t native plants to buy? Ok, sure, there are native plants to buy but the diversity of native plants is terrible, as you will see further into the discussion below. To take this idea even further, some gardeners and ecologists think gardeners should be growing by ecoregion or habitat type, not by USDA hardiness zone, which is the prominent method of identifying plants that will grow within a certain gardening region. Some recent discussions on social media prompted me to really ruminate on this issue and write about it, so let’s…

  • Gardening

    Scratch and Sniff Butterfly Ginger

    Ever since the gardenia died after the Snowpocalypse in 2021 (there are a couple of tiny shoots coming up, but it is basically gone) I haven’t been able to enjoy that heady aroma in the garden. The next best thing is the butterfly ginger which blooms in the autumn, though it doesn’t waft its scent from backyard to frontyard like the gardenia. It’s not a bad consolation and will lift your spirits while cleaning up the potting bench or starting new seeds, but you do have to force your face into the flower to drink in the full scent of the flowers! I keep hoping some of our other gingers…

  • 30 Days of Writing,  Creative,  Gardening

    Second Summer | 30 Days of Writing

    Second Summer has arrived. We still get that tease in the early mornings that perhaps we can pretend it is fall. That has been quickly dissipating, though, as the day warms up. In August I decided to get a head start on some fall veggie crops and sowed kale and cabbage seeds, which all germinated. In my head I envisioned planting them all out mid-September and by October there would be great growth with the cooler weather. I went ahead and transplanted the kale and cilantro seedlings on Sunday evening and am hoping that adequate mulch and frequent waterings will get them through the upcoming high 90s, possible 100*, temperatures.…

  • Gardening

    The Pond is Back in Business

    August 12, 2022 August 19, 2022 4.5″ of rain on Friday and the subsequent runoff upstream has filled the pond back up! The saying goes that a flood will break a Texas drought and it looks like that’s where some of us are heading this coming week, starting with the DFW area overnight. August 12, 2022 August 19, 2022 August 12, 2022 August 19, 2022 – Lost my chance to get that tire this go around! Next drought!

  • Gardening

    Wingstem Delights

    The garden is running wild these days but one corner of the garden is a delight and that is the wingstem corner, Verbesina alternifolia. I added this plant in several years ago when I realized the deer didn’t touch its cousin frostweed and then set out to find other similar plants. I found wingstem, which in Texas is only native to a few North Texas counties. It has done really well here, though. I am working on growing out another cousin, Verbesina helianthoides, which I discovered growing at Mission Tejas State Park last spring and quickly found seeds at Prairie Moon to order. They have germinated and I hope to…

  • Gardening

    A Queen Visits Tadpole Hollow

    Last night I had a few minutes to check on the garden before I went to a community meeting and as I was walking back towards the house I noticed a butterfly was nectaring on the tropical milkweed. It flicked its wings a few times before I figured out it was a queen, Danaus gilippus, and a male to boot. The queens usually visit in late summer but we don’t always have them. I’ll have to keep an eye out for females because on the occasions that I have had queens in late summer, they will often lay eggs and I will host caterpillars. I haven’t raised any caterpillars this…