Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Bluebonnets Make the Difference

The garden receives attention at this time of year that it does not receive at any other time. 

It is not because of the blooms on the yuccas. And it is not because of the cactus or the bright yellow blooms of four nerve daisies. It is all because of the bluebonnets.

The bluebonnets make the difference. Is there anyone in Texas that does not love bluebonnets? Passersby that never comment about my garden will comment about the bluebonnets. Cars creep by so the occupants can get a good look. Mothers sit their children on the curb in front of the bluebonnets to take their picture. 

I said this before and I believe it is true: having a familiar and beloved flower in my garden, like the bluebonnet, helps to bring about more acceptance of my lawnless landscape.

I think the bluebonnets are the main reason I found this sign in my front garden last week. My garden was actually selected for the neighborhood Garden of the Month award! I never thought that would happen. I even nominated my garden last year at the peak of the fall bloom. There were more flowers blooming then, but no bluebonnets.

I have a few bluebonnets blooming around my bottle bush in the back garden. I think I may start calling the bottle bush a bottle bluebonnet instead. In fact, I will label it a bottle bluebonnet for the upcoming tour.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Identified and Eradicated

A couple of weeks ago I asked for help identifying a thistle-like plant that was growing in my garden. Ever since then, I started noticing them along roadsides everywhere. Thanks to Jackie, a neighbor on the Nextdoor website, I have a positive identification for the plant.

This is musk thistle, Carduus nutans, an invasive weed from Eurasia that is now in almost every state. Musk thistle is a biennial and can grow up to six feet tall. This one was quickly growing and was already a couple of feet tall and wide. It quickly dwarfed the chocolate daisy on the right. You can read all of the dirty details about this foreign thug on the website.

Once the plant was identified as an invasive species, its fate in my garden was settled. It had to go before it had a chance to flower and produce seeds.

So I took my trusty shovel and removed the musk thistle from my decomposed granite pathway. It was quite heavy and prickly. After giving it a few chops with the shovel, I carefully placed it in a lawn refuse bag so it can be composted into a useful garden addition. Good bye and good riddance, musk thistle. I knew I had reason to be suspicious of you.