March 31, 2008

I think I'm in Heaven

I think I'm in heaven. When I first began gardening, about 2 1/2 years ago, someone said to me, "You won't realize for several years what you have really accomplished." This spring, I am beginning to understand what she meant.

I have worked very intensely on preparing beds for my 100+ roses, and stayed commited to completing my park using the strategies of organic gardening. I have enjoyed interplanting verbena, dianthus, iris, various clovers, etc. This year, I have really made an effort to stay ahead of the weeds.

The day my son Walt said, "Mom, your garden isn't even blooming yet; but it's already beautiful." - I knew that I had really accomplished something. I walked outside and really looked at the yard, enjoying the new foliage on the roses, admiring the orderliness of the layout, and the paths. I had a sense that this is going to be the best gardening year I have had sofar.
This first photo you may find a bit odd. For me, however, it is quite sentimental. It is symbolic of the natural habitat I am creating, a habitat that invites geckos, butterflies and ladybugs to make their home in my yard. This is my gecko castle, one of my favorite spots in the garden. It has been recently rearranged by the grandhcildren.

My husband had these old bricks piled up in another corner of the yard for a couple of years. Every time I would ask if he would like to get rid of them he would say that he wanted to keep them, because he might use them sometime. I finally asked if I could just move them to another part of the yard, because to me they were an eyesore. While I was moving them, I noticed that the geckos seemed to have staked a claim to the pile of bricks. I love geckos, so I was quite excited. As I piled them in another part of the yard, I dubbed them my gecko castle.

All of these photos, taken early this morning, can be clicked on to view a larger version.

On the left above is one of my clovers, a sweet baby named Dark Dancer. Until I discovered this plant, I didn't realize that 3 and 4 leaf clovers are completely different plants. As Dark Dancer matures, four leaf clovers begin to show up. One of her "cousins," Salsa Dancer, is in another bed in the front yard. On the right is one of my newest salvias, with her first blooms. I love the raspberry color.

Whoever would have thought parsley could be so lovely? I expect to share my parsley harvest with the Swallowtail butterflies, as they loved it last year. Hopefully I will also be able to grow plenty foruse in my green juices and smoothies.

I'm also hoping to harvest grapes from my grape vine this year. After planting it, I was told that grapes don't really produce well in this area. If it doesn't produce, I will probably replace it with a flowering vine. Isn't this a sweet plant? It is a Scottish wallflower. I especially love the photo of her peeking through the fence on the other side.
Below, right, is my raspberry bed. I'm so excited about this one. It reminds me of a trek through an Oregon forest when I was 19. I was singing as I walked through the woods, singing classical music, and love songs, and eating wild raspberries off of the bushes. The trail guide came back to check on me once in awhile, as I was trailing behind everyone else. I was so naive I didn't even think about their being bears in the forest! That night when we made camp, I asked why they were putting the food up in the trees, and they said because of the bears. I laughed. I thought they were joking. When we were driving home, there was a newscast about two girls who had been dragged out of their campsite by bears in Yellowstone National Park, and had been killed. I did not realize until that moment that the bears presented a danger. If I had, I'm sure I would have worked harder at keeping up with the group.

I seem to have become especially fond of clovers, and have several varieties planted around the yard. This one is called an oxalis - but I am assuming that is a member of the clover family.The irises are really the glory of the garden right now. I'm going to have to move them after they bloom, as they are spreading really fast in the rose beds - and will crowd out the roses. They are so amazing. The colors are just brilliant.

The roses are also beginning to bloom as well. Some of the climbers are covered with buds. This pale yellow bloom is from a bush called Mutabilis. It is her first bloom ever.

The salmon colored bloom on the far right is a knockout rose. I planted hedges of the red and pink ones last year. They did SO well, that I decided to plant some of the blush knockouts this year, in front of my China and noisette climbers. The name of the blush rose escapes me at the moment.

Dianthus and verbena really thrive in our Texas climate, so I have planted them throughout the beds, as borders, etc. I am considering letting the verbena overgrow the paths and just blanket the whole side of the yard. This lovely coral verbena on the left is going to be my weed control under the China and noisette roses outside the fence, along the street.

This pink and maroon verbena is all along the fence in the back yard, below my crepe myrtles. What a show they put on along with the crepe myrtle when they are in bloom!

The picture below does not do justice to this lovely purple petunia, which actually seems to glow. It survived the winter, buried beneath the weeds. My petunias never bloomed in the fall, and I thought they had died. What a delight to find them beneath the weeds when I cleaned the bed, and to watch them bloom in all their glory this spring!

I have to agree with my son, Walt, that the garden is looking really lovely this year even before it is in full bloom. I love walking through the paths, and noticing the new little buds and blossoms. It is different every day.

This garden teaches me each day that no matter what is going on in the world, there is beauty to be seen and appreciated, beauty to bring us comfort and peace.My bachelor buttons have come up wild from seed, remnants of last year's planting. It makes me smile just to imagine how gorgeous the purple oxalis on the right is going to look next to the fire witch dianthus when it blooms.

I am also thrilled with what is developing in my shade garden on the north side of the house. It took me quite a while to figure out what to do with this area as it is primarily shady - but gets some hot sun in the summer.

We are seldom on this side of the house; but it was such an eyesore. Now it is a pleasant surprise every time we take a step out the side garage door. The gorgeous purple blooms are delphinium. I have also planted ferns, and behind it all, there is a clematis that will have red blooms. At the top of the fence, the wisteria is peeking over from the other side.

The yellow groundsel to the left is a native Texas plant that was given to me by Josephine, whom I met on the Dave's Garden site. Josephine is one of the developers of the Texas Native Plants website. The groundsel is taking over this bed along the north wall, just to the east of the fern/delphinium bed. Perfect - because nothing else that I planted there seemed to like the location

To God be the glory.


Elaine Cooke said...

Hi Mary, No I have never been a teacher but with all the years behind me and the way I love gardening I have taught a few things to the younger generation. Loved that wall flower. I have never seen one of those up here in Canada.Have a nice day, mary. Elaine Cooke


Whoaaaa! That parsley absolutely Rocks!

Elaine Cooke said...

Just love your front yard, mary. Elaine Cooke

Elaine cooke said...

Love that parsley bed.Elaine Cooke