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.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Snow is pretty, but...

This morning, I opened the front door to this.

More frozen precipitation. This is our fourth round since last week. We have seen it all; freezing rain, freezing drizzle, sleet, and snow. In fact, we had all of those since last night. 

It is all very pretty, but I am ready for some warm days so the predominant color of my landscape will be green and not white or brown. I am also ready to dig in the dirt a little. I have a few plants that I want to move around and a few in pots of plants that need to go in the ground.

It is hard to do much gardening when the ground is covered in snow.

It looks like this yucca has been nibbled on by rabbits. I did not think rabbits would eat the tough leaves of yucca.

This is the parkway area between the sidewalk and the street. Bluebonnets are somewhere under that snow. Their blooming may be a little delayed this year because of this late seasons snow. I have a feeling a lot of spring growth will be delayed this year.

In the backyard vegetable garden, onions and garlic are holding their own under the snow. The cold weather is not a problem for them. The garlic was planted in November and the onions in February. In the background are a couple of plastic pots that I placed over the crowns of a couple of asparagus plants that pushed a few spears out of the ground. I picked two spears before the icy weather hit last week.
Somewhere at the base of this trellis are some English pea seedlings. They sprouted the week before last. I covered them with frost cloth before the ice hit last week and have not uncovered them since. I hope they are still alive. 

I have three rows of potatoes (marked by sticks) growing planted behind this Pine Muhly. They were planted two weeks ago. The ice and snow will not affect them since they have not sprouted yet.

The sky is clear for the first time in over a week. The warm sun is causing steam to rise off of the fence. Although the temperature will not rise much above freezing today, the radiant heat from the sun should help to melt some of the ice and snow away. Driving to work tomorrow could be tricky since the temperature will dip into the 20s again tonight and any water on the roads will refreeze. The temperature will be in the mid-50s for the weekend. Maybe I can do some gardening if the soil is not too muddy.