Friday, September 13, 2013

Garden Visit: Sharon's Succulents

Everybody seems to be getting rain except us!
 Watching the nightly news reports of flooding in states to the north, and the east, and the west of us - it seems they've gotten our rain by mistake. 
They have more than they want, and we haven't any. 
We need Pecos Bill to lasso those clouds and drag them down here!

Meanwhile, what's surviving the heat and drought in the gardens of other Texas Master Gardeners? 
A visit to my friend Sharon's garden is always a treat. 

She collects a variety of interesting plants,
 and so I always learn something new.
This time it was the succulents that were looking particularly beautiful.

Aren't the variety of leaf shapes wonderfully exotic? 
And the range of color succulents can display is amazing. 
For instance, look at the dusty turquoise rosette below,
 paired next to a 'blossom' with hints of lavender.

In Sharon's garden her succulents don't sit in direct sunlight all day. 
Large trees dapple the light, and the succulents obviously love it.

I like the way the wine bottles edging this part of the garden pick up the blue-green of the plants.

This handsome container is a great example of the basic, no-fail 'Thriller, Filler, Spiller' combination.
The thriller is the tall heavily branched plant at the back, the filler is the paddle-shaped succulent in the middle ground, and the spiller is the tiny leaves draping the sides.

Look at this color combination - the way the peach colored flowers bring out the delicate edging of the gray succulents! So pretty!

Sharon said her garden was kind of crunchy after all the heat stress,
but when we went looking, we found all sorts of color.
Here's a "color  quilt" of her September garden...

And in another part of her property I found these!
A hubcap collection....

This gardener is also an artist! 
Sharon works with found objects, including hubcaps, to create colorful sculptures. 
I commissioned one for our lake house. 
It's gorgeous! 
I'll feature it another post!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Garden Update from the Land of Hot & Dry

In an endurance contest with our seemingly endless, scorching temperatures
 my husband laid these beautiful stone paths for me.
I'm so delighted  with them (!).
With no water to float the Boston Whaler, and no wind to move the Hobie,
  he worked off his frustration in the garden.
Hopefully there's a giant storm brewing somewhere, a gully washer that will fill this reservoir!

One pallet of stone didn't stretch quite far enough - we're a few yards short of connecting to the sidewalk by the dock.

It's been a long hot summer - day after day of temperatures topping 100 degrees and no rain.  But, we garden on...  The lake has dropped so low that our irrigation system starting sucking up mud instead of water, clogging every head.  The watering system starts running in the very early morning hours, when there is less evaporation loss, so we didn't catch the problem until plants started dying.

In contrast, the new beach started to support a small forest of growth.
We spent an afternoon hand cutting some very tall, very well adapted plants.
The lake may be low, but we still want to see it!

 Here's our circle green waiting to be surrounded with a collection of native plants that will attract the birds and bees.  The two tiny Golden Rain trees from the Arbor Day Foundation (on the right) are holding their own.  The Italian Cyprus trees have new growth, but we lost a number of the smaller plants including lavender, an Iceberg rose, germander, rosemary, daisies....

But there are more survivors than quitters.
We planted six of these new Black Diamond Crepe Myrtles in the front, and they are tough stuff!

In spite of the heat they have doubled in size and continue to flower.

I love the purplish-black leaves, and the fact that the blossoms don't bleach out.

I cut back the guara (Gaura lindheimeri) two weeks ago, and it has responded with a new and vigorous flush of flowers. Guara is a perennial Texas native plant and a great favorite of butterflies.
The 'Gideon Lincecum' prairie roses have doubled in size, display healthy true green leaves, and continue to bloom.
The Knockout Roses (I have about a dozen of this classic double cherry red variety) are struggling - prone to black spot, and have disappointingly washed-out leaf and flower color. 

I wish the flowers were able to hold the deep cherry color they displayed in the spring!

That's the garden update as we anxiously await FALL!