Friday, March 28, 2014

Total Deck Redo

Through the years my back deck has had many well changes. The first year we had a arbor put up and planted the rose Mermaid. Though it was beautiful in the spring covered in thousands of yellow single roses the thorns were deadly. Mermaid covered the 10'x45' arbor in 2 years stayed for 4 years. Next it was just a deck with plants being added slowly. Turned out great but since this last winter my tender tropicals suffered. So I will be posting pictures of what it was and the progress we are making with it.

                                         FIRST YEAR AFTER THE MERMAID REMOVAL




Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Texas Bluebonnets

Well the Texas Bluebonnets are going into bloom. Nothing like seeing fields of this beautiful wildflower looks like a beautiful blue ocean.

Lupinus texensis … the Texas Bluebonnet. Standing just over 12 inches, the Texas Bluebonnet is a mighty big flower in the hearts of Texans. No one can deny its beauty. And as they worm their way through the cold Texas earth and raise their violet-blue heads to the expansive sky above, there is no denying that spring is just around the corner.

Did you know that Texas has 5 state flowers? Texas is so large it couldn't have only one. 

The five state flowers of Texas are:
  • Lupinus subcarnosus, the original champion and still co-holder of the title, grows naturally in deep sandy loams from Leon County southwest to LaSalle County and down to the northern part of Hidalgo County in the Valley. It is often referred to as the sandy land bluebonnet. The plant's leaflets are blunt, sometimes notched with silky undersides. This species, which reaches peak bloom in late March, is not easy to maintain in clay soils.
  • Lupinus texensis, the favorite of tourists and artists, provides the blue spring carpet of Central Texas. It is widely known as THE Texas bluebonnet. It has pointed leaflets, the flowering stalk is tipped with white (like a bunny's tail) and hits its peak bloom in late March and early April. It is the easiest of all the species to grow.
  • Lupinus Havardii, also known as the Big Bend or Chisos Bluebonnet. The most majestic of the Texas bluebonnet tribe, it has flowering spikes up to three feet. It is found on the flats of the Big Bend country in early spring, usually has seven leaflets and is difficult to cultivate outside its natural habitat.
  • Lupinus concinnus is a tiny little lupine, from 2 to 7 inches, with flowers which combine elements of white, rosy purple and lavender. Commonly known as the annual lupine, it is found sparingly in the Trans-Pecos region, blooming in early spring.
  • Lupinus plattensis stretches down from the north into the Texas Panhandle's sandy dunes. It is the only perennial species in the state and grows to about two feet tall. It normally blooms in mid to late spring and is also known as the dune bluebonnet, the plains bluebonnet and the Nebraska Lupine.
Yeah I know they are all Lupinus but still different. 

Planting Bluebonnets:

Bluebonnets grow best in soils that are alkaline, moderate in fertility, and most important of all, well drained. Full sun is also required for best growth. Seed may be planted September 1 through December 15; however, for best results, plant seeds no later than mid-November.

This allows seed time to germinate and grow throughout the winter months, during which time a heavy root system and a sturdy plant is developed to produce an abundance of spring flowers.

Bluebonnets produce large, hard-coated seeds that may cause them to have a low germination rate the first year or two. As the hard seed coats wear down by rain, abrasion and decay, the seedlings begin to sprout.

Fertilizing is not recommended as it will produce more leaves but not more blooms. Some seed will begin to sprout in 4-10 days. The germination process can continue over 18 months or more.

This year I have added the Ladybird Johnson Bluebonnet with a darker purple bloom.

Also have planted seeds of the Aggie Maroon Bluebonnet for next years show of bonnets. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Staghorn ferns

Staghorn ferns are members of the Polypodiaceae plant family, and belong to the genus Platycerium. Eighteen species are presently recognized along with many varieties and hybrids. Staghorns are tropical plants native to the Philippines, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Australia, Madagascar, Africa, and America. In their native habitat they thrive as epiphytes, plants that derive moisture and nutrients from the air and rain. In the case of staghorn ferns, they are generally found growing harmlessly on tree trunks, branches, or even rocks. Rain provide moisture and adds nutrients into the root area. These plants have become a favorite of mine, love the shape and sizes they can get. My main place to get them is at a nursery here in Houston called "Another Place in Time" the owner Mike has many beautiful one mounted on boards for instant beauty. I now have five differant ones and I'm planning on adding more to the collection. 

So go buy you one of these special ferns give them a try!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Gardening tip: If your new to gardening and just don't know where to start. Find a plant that you really love to look at. Can be a rose bush, some sort of flowering tree such as plumeria, or angel trumpet plants even a hibiscus. Then surround that plant with a mix of annuals and perennials.

A bed in my yard may have hibiscus, angel trumpet, bulbs of all kinds, lantanas, coneflowers and so on. Garden for yourself and do what makes you happy, after all it will change and change and change.

Here are a few shots of last years side yard:

hibiscus bed 

roses and others

Try this again! 2014!

Well going to try to continue with the blog this year. lol The yard was beautiful last year but with this strange winter we had I lost a few things. Added a few trees in the fall the Curly Willow, the Weeping Willow, a maple tree and one other tree I forget the name of put will post later. Been a busy pre-spring cleaning and refreshing of beds even added one so far.
Pansies are still in bloom

Ivy Geranium

Side yard after clean up

Plants to be planted

View of side yard and half of backyard

Wishing well filled with succulents