Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Blue Skies Again!

Finally! Blue skies and sunshine. Ever since the middle of February, it has been like Seattle in North Texas. Cloudy skies and some form of precipitation almost every day.
We desperately needed the rain, but it is nice to look up and see another color besides gray.

Depending on where you look up, you might see some other colors like the pink flowers of this redbud tree. Just in the last couple of days we have had sunshine, I have noticed a lot of growth in plants.

Sunny afternoons are a perfect time for spring cleaning in the garden. The big chores are cutting back the remaining dead stems on last year's plants and removing leaves that my oak tree dropped in the backyard and leaves from the neighbor's trees that blew into the front yard. 

I have a bunch of small boulders that I hoped to put around the backyard rain garden (middle left where the edging is) to give it some definition, confine the frogfruit, and just to do something with the rocks I piled up in the side yard. The weather kept me from doing that this year and I am kind of afraid to take on any new projects with a tour scheduled for April 25 and 26. Maybe after that?

Around front, the golden groundsel is coming into bloom. Those flower stalks shot up almost overnight after the last snow melted a couple of weeks ago. In the background, the possumhaw holly still has its berries. Not for long, though. Cedar waxwings are all over the neighborhood. I have read that the birds wait until berries are nicely fermented before eating them. It seems to give them a little buzz. 

Bluebonnets are everybody's favorites. They are just starting to bloom. I hope they keep blooming through the end of April because they are not too pretty when they start going to seed. But bluebonnets are annuals so you have to let them go to seed if you want more flowers next year.

I raked through the mulch in the front garden because it was getting compacted and a little too thick in some areas. I am hoping this will help the mulch breakdown and allow some of the annual wildflower seeds to sprout.

One wildflower that is having no trouble sprouting in the mulch is Liatris. I uncovered hundreds of little seedlings everywhere I raked. I knew this was going to happen when I delayed cutting off the dried flower stalks last fall, but they looked really nice when backlit by the sun.  

Now a question. This plant popped up in some decomposed granite that I spread last year. Another plant sprouted in the granite last year. It did not survive when I transplanted it to a flowerbed. This one is out of the way, so I thought I would leave it to see what happens. I assume it is some sort of thistle because of its prickly leaves. Does anyone know what kind? I hope it is a native variety and not a foreign invader. It is over 12 inches in diameter.

12 comments:

  1. Once that weather switch flips things kick into high gear almost immediately, don't they! Here in Central Texas we are a few weeks ahead of you warmth wise, and plants are changing daily. Bluebonnets are everywhere, redbuds blooms are fading, and the mountain laurels are putting on quite a show.

    Trowels crossed you are pleased with how things look on your tour. I maintain seeing a garden that is not absolutely at its peak in every way on tour is a GOOD thing if the folks touring are wanting to learn anything about the realities of gardening in an area. Your bluebonnets going to seed is a great example. Perfection, if it even exists in a garden, is fleeting!

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    1. TexasDeb, I keep looking at my photos from past years to get an idea of how things will look. It should be OK at the end of April. There are too many things I don't have control over so I can't worry about it. I always play up the fact that the garden is constantly changing throughout the year. It is much more interesting than a lawn, whether the plants are blooming or not.

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  2. Loving this weather! What tour are you a part of? I'm in Lewisville, I've never been on a garden tour before and would love to attend.

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    1. Laurin, the Plano Garden Club hit me up when my garden was on the Plano Waterwise Landscape tour last year. There are five gardens on the Plano Garden Club tour. This is a fundraising event for the Club. Tickets are $15 to view the five gardens ($12 if purchased in advance.) You can copy and paste this link into your browser for more information: http://xl1.esiteasp.com/planogardenclub/home.nxg . There will be a story in the Plano Profile soon and I will post a link when it is online.
      This year's Plano Waterwise Tour will be on May 16 and the Dallas Waterwise Tour is on June 6. Both of these tours are free. You just get a map and drive to any or all of the gardens that you want to see. It is always interesting to see what others are doing in their gardens. I will post some links for these tours in the future.

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  3. Will be interested to hear about your thistle.

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    1. I thought you might know what it is Collagemama. I think I figured out what it was when I found one last year. I need to do some more digging if some experts don't let us know. I will keep it in the garden until it blooms, gets unruly, or is identified as foreign invader.

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  4. All those prickly beasts look similar to me, but I think that is bull thistle (cirsium horridulum). The wildflower center has some good thistle info. http://www.wildflower.org/mobile/expert/show.php?id=6793

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    1. Thanks Ally. That is a strong possibility. I look through all the plants in the Cirsium family and I think horridulum is the closest match. I may have to wait until it blooms to be sure.

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  5. Tour - that will be great, wish I could head over your way. (I'd hold off until after the tour to do anything new...just enjoy maintaining and savoring) That is always wild to hear how spring is so pent up, that things grow out so quickly after cool, cloudy weather.

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    1. David, I have been pent up and ready to do something outside just like those plants. It is best not to do anything major until after the tour because my projects always take longer and become bigger than originally planned.

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  6. I am notoriously poor at plant ID but could it be Argemone albiflora? Now I'm anxious for the bloom so we can all know what your mystery rosette is hiding!

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    1. That is a possibility, TexasDeb. The leaves do look somewhat similar. I had not considered prickly poppy.

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