• 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…

  • Gardening,  Thoughts

    Whatever thrives, thrives.

    As it turns out, a lot of my extra energy and oomph in getting this blog going again with steady entries was that I had the free time to work on it! Forest was at various grandparent’s for the last week of July and first week of August and because Chris and I were actually home and not galivanting about for work or pleasure, there was time to just be. And now, he’s back home, swimming lessons are back on schedule, there are bedtime routines, and school started today! Needless to say, life is full once again. I’m currently trying to figure out how to navigate my never-ending creative ideas…

  • Gardening

    Purple Hyacinth Bean Happiness

    I couldn’t tell you the last time I grew purple hyacinth bean, Lablab purpureus. Ok, so a quick search through my archives suggests it may have been back in 2013, and wow what a different scenario the garden is now compared to then. I decided to grow this continental African native this year on its own trellis in one of my beds, primarily after my cucumbers failed to thrive earlier this summer. It was such an easy replacement and the beans grew very well, tolerating the drought conditions happily. I wasn’t sure if they would bloom in the constant heat but alas, they have rewarded my patience! A certain delight…

  • Gardening

    Ruby Eclipse Sunflowers

    One of the highlights of early summer were the Ruby Eclipse sunflowers I sowed in the spring. I planted a couple of different varieties and these were the only ones to come up but it wasn’t until they bloomed that I was able to figure out which ones they were. I watched as they went from knee high to chest high and then eventually towering over my head. I thought these were tall but I have a tithonia right now (Mexican sunflower) that’s several feet taller than these sunflowers were! I originally bought these from Floret but I believe you can find them other places online. I’m saving seed for…