Thursday, February 23, 2012

Spring Is Coming! Are You Ready?


Spring must be around the corner. The redbud tree, Cercis canadensis, is starting to bloom, again. Its timing is a little better than when it started blooming in October.

With spring coming, there is so much to do in the garden to get ready.


I should tidy up these Four Nerve Daisies, Tetraneuris scaposa, by removing all of the spent flowers that bloomed over the winter, but that would require lots of hands and knees time cutting picking out the dead flower heads or more drastic measures with shears or a line trimmer. I think I will just let them continue to bloom for now.


I plan to cut back all of the grasses this weekend to make way for their new growth. In a few weeks, the new growth on the Little Bluestem grass, Schizachyrium scoparium, will be as blue as the neighboring Pale Leaf Yucca, Yucca pallida.


Here is one last look at the Pine Muhly, Muhlenbergia dubia, glowing in the morning sun. It reminds me of those craft projects where you make Christmas trees out of Styrofoam balls and toothpicks. 


Here is a close up of the dried Pine Muhly flower spikes. Behind the Pine Muhly is some Mealycup Sage, Salvia farinacea, that will be cut to the ground since the winter was not cold enough to do the job. Most of the seedlings growing around the larger plants will be thinned out too. Speaking of seedlings…



Indian Blanket, Gaillardia pulchella, seedlings are sprouting in my decomposed granite pathways. Decomposed granite pathways must be the perfect medium for growing seedlings. More seedlings sprout in the pathways than they do in the beds. These guys will have to be removed.


Bluebonnets, Lupinus texensis, take advantage of the good drainage of the pathways and sprout there too. I will try to move some of these into the front yard prairie. This is a good time for transplanting. I have several plants that I want to move around soon so they can reestablish their roots before the heat of the summer. 


The picture above is for Pam and Tamara. This is what Eryngo, Eryngium leavenworthii, seedlings look like when they first start growing. The first year I scattered Eryngo seeds, I thought the seedlings were weeds and pulled out several because the leaves do not look like anything like the spiny leaves of the mature plants.


I have been working on the vegetable garden for the last couple of months. Broccoli, Swiss chard, and three types of onions are in this photo. I also planted garlic, leeks, and asparagus. I have three types of seed potatoes and all my summer vegetables yet to plant. It looks like I will run out of room before I run out of vegetables I want to plant. History may repeat itself and part of my prairie may be lost to agriculture, just as the great American prairies were lost over the last 150 or so years. Since my prairie posts may be getting a little repetitive, I will probably expand my topics and share more of my vegetable gardening adventures this year than I have in the past. I think the only reference to the vegetable garden before was of my squashed squash bug.


This past Sunday, I spent part of the morning doing something I don't do often enough. I just enjoyed the garden. I watched steam rise from the cold, wet fence as it was warmed by the sun. I walked around the garden taking pictures and observing what was sprouting and blooming. I watched and listened to the birds and they flew around the garden. 

Yes, there is a lot to do in the garden this spring and the above is only a partial list. I need to remember to take the time to enjoy the garden I am building and stop thinking of so many projects.

16 comments:

  1. There are few things in life more wonderful than lupin seedlings or late winter growth on adult lupins.

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    1. The bluebonnet is the state flower of Texas and roadsides will be filled with their blue flowers in another month or so. I agree about the seedlings, especially when they capture water droplets in their fuzzy leaves.

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  2. So nice to see you are taking time to enjoy the beautiful garden you have built there. Look forward to seeing the rest of your garden too.

    Bluebonnets promise to be spectacular everywhere this year. The rains arrived at just the right time.

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    1. Shirley, Even when I am working in the garden like I was today, I think I am enjoying the garden. Otherwise I would find something else to do. I do prefer the other methods of enjoying the garden that do not leave me with body aches.

      I keep hearing this will be a good year for the wildflowers. I wonder if the drought had a positive effect on the flowers. Maybe causing more seeds to sprout when it finally rained?

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  3. I agree with Shirley...good to see you enjoying the garden.

    I miss that steam coming off the fence. We're not allowed privacy fences here. They do make good backgrounds for plantings, though.

    We have tons of things coming up here. Especially, weeds.

    Have a good weekend.

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    1. Linda, I am trying not to think of new projects for this year so maybe I can get more relaxing enjoyment from the garden.

      The steam coming off the fences fascinates me. I am easily entertained by science and nature.

      The weeds do seem to be especially bad this year. I have been pulling since October.

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  4. Good reminder to stop and enjoy the garden. It's getting warm so fast I'm in a hurry to try to get things done! I didn't think anything lived in decomposed granite! I had been considering that for a pathway, but now I'm glad I decided on something else. I love your pale leaf yucca! It really makes a statement, thanks for naming it.

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    1. HolleyGarden, I am trying to do all of my transplanting as soon as I can. I fear we may have another early hot summer.

      Decomposed granite is great for pathways, but it has two negatives: seeds sprout in it and it gets trapped in the treads of shoes and tracked inside the house.

      I like the yucca too. It is a nice contrast to the browns in winter.

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  5. Down here in Katy, all sorts of plants - xeric and not-so-xeric, germinate in the decomposed granite: Blackfoot Daisy, Alyssum, Verbena, Gulf Coast Penstemon, Salvias, Bluebonnets, Toadflax and Thyme all find the gravel quite hospitable. I transplant what I can and throw the rest in the compost.

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    1. Cindy, I have been trying to sprout seeds of prairie larkspur for the last three years with no luck. This year, I plan to scatter all of the seeds in my pathways. Surely that will get me some seedlings for transplanting!

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  6. Love the fence pic, that is so fascinating. Like you, I could just sit there and just watch that, ha. I bet you're going to have a beautiful prairie garden this year. Is your rain catching you up from the drought like ours has? I think I read that we are now at a surplus and we should still have some rain this Spring. Fingers crossed for all of us!

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  7. Hey 1st Man. We are catching up on rain and a little above average for the year. Several area lakes are still a few feet below normal. According to US Drought Monitor, we are no longer in a drought up here in North Texas. Maybe we will have a "normal" summer this year.

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    1. We can only hope! Our yard was horrible last summer and I just gave up. But I'm about to start planning the flowerbeds around the house and some more plants around the house and we need a normal summer. Ha.

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  8. Thanks for pic of the eryngo seedling! I seeded them in some large LBS swaths and must have spent an hour looking for spiny seedlings.

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  9. Enjoy the garden. Great advice, as I too have too many projects. : )

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  10. I've been excited to see my Eryngo seedlings coming up in several places where I seeded them last fall. In fact I really need to get out there and thin them. Looking forward to seeing a bit of Plano Prairie Garden blooming in my garden later this year!

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