Friday, November 7, 2014

A little envy is ok...

Neighborhood pomegranate tree.. This is not the first time I've admired them and wondered just where in my garden I could place one. They handle the heat well, but can get quite big and bushy. But look at those fruits! I'm sure there's an area of grass that could be replaced with a circular bed with one of these as a focal point..

The rain has awakened a few seeds in my front bed. I'm hoping to see drifts of bluebonnets, winecups, evening primroses and coneflowers in the mulched areas this spring. Here and there I see hints..

The guy above is my lone early bird who popped up a few weeks ago..

In the meantime the local blooms have simmered down (except the Mexican mint marigold which smells delicious and keeps putting out cheerful yellows). My zinnias, started from a casually thrown seed packet, have brightened up again since the peak of summer faded in September. I'm enjoying their old-rose color in the fall light..

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Ms. Nosy...

Psst- gardener lady.. Why are you sitting inside that warm dry house? Wanna let us in? If not, we'll just sit in the dry spot on the back porch and watch you through the back door. We call it "People TV"..

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Hello fall..

No really- we flirted before, but now you've come to stay a while. I spend more time raking, less time trimming, and no longer have to mow my (probably fungus ridden) yellowing grass. The chickens love the pecan nuts that fall from the trees on the borders of our yard, though they rely on me to crack crack crack the shells for them. My cucumbers plants have put on a last hurrah, and I harvested a glossy eggplant for dinner this week.. After keeping my head down in a barrage of work-days, I plan to walk the neighborhood on days off this week, keeping an eye and ear out for crunching leaves and cool-weather greens popping up in neighbors yards..

Things I noticed in the cooler days in my back yard:

The mistflower in the back is white, not blue.. It has always been eaten before it flowered, but has been spared this year. I'm glad to see the white blooms, which smell lovely. If I had time I'd stalk whatever bug has decided to chomp large bites out of the leaves..

The (known) white mistflower in the front was low key but hardy through the summer, then put on a beautiful show of flowers that smell wonderful..

I saw a Monarch flitting around it, but it vanished before I moved to get a phone or camera :)

My chicks are adolescents now, wandering the yard with the big girls but coming back to their safe "chicken tractor" for dust baths and comfort.. Their brown and orange markings echo the feel of fall, so I've named two of them in honor of the season: Pumpkin and Walnut (though maybe I should change Walnut to Pecan for a more regional name!). Below is Cross-Beak (not my most inventive name) looking plump and happy in a dust bath:

Pumpkin (below).. standing almost on top of her sister..

I try to balance the chickens and the garden, but the hens seem to be winning over my new beds. They have plucked the leaves off my newly transplanted Henry Duelberg salvia, blackfoot daisy, flameleaf acanthus and purple salvias, so I may wrap the new plants in chicken wire for a few months to protect them.. Plants they ignore include:

Everpresent Carolina snailseed, putting on a pretty fall show of berries.

Tropical milkweed, laying down it's deep taproot in the new bed!

Cenizo blooming after a small rain..

They are happy to have pumpkin left-overs in the compost heap to eat.. I hope everyone had a fun Halloween!