Monday, June 10, 2013

Herb Garden Progress

The last thing to go into this herb garden are the herbs! 
First came the blank slate decisions:
 Location (sunny)
Size (generous)
Shape (center circle)
Style (raised bed, stone to match house)

 Next came the heavy contract work to create the Hardscape.
This included installing the stone walls, adding the amended soil to the raised beds, installing the irrigation system, and putting down the pea gravel walkway.

Then the first plantings: Large Perennials.
We now have all of the Arborvitae hedge in place.

Across the lake side we are just one plant short of completing the Japanese Boxwood hedge.
They will grow together to form a two-three foot wind screen.
The wild and sustained winds of spring threatened to blow the young plants right out of the ground! 

I need four more Goodwin Creek Lavender to complete the center circle. 
This is the type of lavender most highly recommended for Central Texas. 
I have been to multiple nurseries trying to track down a few more plants, but no luck yet!

Above on the left is the bit of stick fencing I improvised to protect the smallest herb plants until I could get all the boxwood in place.
I have amended the whole bed with cornmeal and dried molasses.
Both are natural fungicides, and both are used as food by native beneficial soil microbes.
Fire ants have invaded this corner of the raised bed.
In the lovely loose earth of a raised bed, fire ant colonies can be completely invisible until it's too late. (The wretched, nasty biters swarmed my gloves before I could get them off!).
I put in those two very aromatic society garlic plants to see if that will discourage them.
But the dry molasses should really do the trick.
Just in case, this weeks purchase will be DE powder (diotomaceous earth). 
DE powder is composed of finely ground shells, tiny pieces that are so razor sharp they slice up anything small that comes in contact with them.

On another part of the property, the beautiful blue blossoms of Vitex,

and the sunset hues of the floribunda rose 'Livin' Easy' are showing off their colors.
Happy gardening!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Texas Pioneer Roses

Highly valued for their disease resistance and wonderful old world scent,
Pioneer roses are the hardy survivors of our Texas climate.
Rescued and propagated by the Texas Rose Rustlers,
the plants in this collection were discovered throughout the state,
thriving on their own in abandoned home sites and old graveyards.

Antique Roses come in a variety of colors.
This lovely white rose is 'Gideon Lincecum',
named after an 1800's pioneer Texas plant collector.
I ordered three for the front courtyard.
Nearly thornless, they get quite large, up to six feet, and sport large hips in the winter.

I love the fluffy yellow centers!
If you would like to learn more about the Texas Rose Rustlers, here is the link to an excellent article from Texas Monthly magazine:

In the back butterfly garden I am trying to collect a harmonious palette of colors.
This is a challenge because flower color doesn't always (maybe I should say rarely) look the same in the garden as it does in the nursery, or in a catalog.

I want bright color contrast in this area,
so I am working with colors that oppose each other on the color wheel:
Blue & Yellow

       Daisy                                  Rose                               Daylily   
            Mealycup Sage                        Verbena                                 Yarrow      
The misfit is in the middle of the bottom row.
This verbena reads fuchsia (redish-purple) in bloom, instead of the bluish-purple I expected.
There are only three of them, so it won't be difficult to take them out and find them a different home.