Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Spring Starts in February

It's still mid-February, but the plants think it's time for spring here in north Texas.

The early iris are in bloom.

The camellias have been flowering for several weeks.

The fat saucer magnolia buds are starting to open. 

The evergreen euphorbia has burst into bloom and is sprouting new stems.

The chartreuse flowers are quite eye-catching!

I pruned the roses by a third and they are starting to put out leaves as well as flowers.

The profusion of berries on the Burford hollies are as pretty as any flower buds.

I have a swath of about a dozen Guara plants
(Perestroika atriplicifolia), sometimes called Pink Wand Flower, that looked like a tangled thicket of sage brush. 

 Cutting back the long stems revealed the fresh new growth emerging underneath.

The salvia plants and the mums were ready for the same trimming.

Removing all the fungus poxed old leaves on the hellebore brought dozens of flower buds into view. 

This leather-leaf mahonia has been struggling along for two years, but it found the energy to flower.
For a hot, usually dry area, we attract a lot of fungal diseases!

Along the side yard fence, where we are trying to naturalize a dry, weedy area into a woods (large dose of imagination required), we decided to start 'nesting' our trees. These short twig fences are holding shredded leaves in place in an effort to give the young trees some extra help competing for moisture.

It's raining now, just what it's supposed to do in the spring!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Gardening Books Galore!

I'm not a very good librarian. My garden books tend to wander around from room to room and then fail to return to their shelf of origin. So I didn't realize how many garden books I really had until I gathered them all together for a good sorting!

After I took this picture, I found  a few more...not including my Master Gardeners Textbook.

But out of all these titles, I only found one I was ready to take to the used book store - the same place I found all these treasures in the first place.

I do love garden books. And different books fill different needs.

Some are for reference: trees, wildflowers, roses, herbs, pests, diseases, garden history.
Some are for ideas: garden design, color combinations, garden crafts, plant selection.
Some are for inspiration, for the chance to visually walk through beautiful gardens on just the right day, at the perfect hour.

After the book shelves were freshly dusted and orderly, I chose two books to keep me company by the fire.
Every page (each full color and beautifully photographed) of 'Town Gardens' by Caroline Boisset and Frances Lincoln (1989) is delightful. I don't have a city garden, but this book is a rich source of ideas for people who like the idea of garden rooms, or are interested in creating intimate spaces in a larger yard. I see something new every time I open its pages.

'Secret Gardens of Santa Fe' (1997) by Sidney LeBlanc and Charles Mann is a mini escape to New Mexico. This book illustrates why that state is called the land of enchantment! Page after colorful page of private gardens, steeped in the history of this unique city.

When its cold and windy winter outside, there's nothing like a garden book for company. 

In spite of the crisp weather, some things are blooming. 
The prostrate rosemary bushes are covered in tiny blue flowers.

The cilantro is in full flower.

'Pioneer Twirl' is leafless, but flowering.
I love this color and can't help but notice how it echos the winter sunsets on Lake Richland Chambers!