April prepares her green traffic light and the world thinks Go. ~Christopher Morley, John Mistletoe
This is one of the few times during the year that I love living in Texas. Despite the wind, Spring is fabulous here and I am in love with all the green finally emerging. This is a great time for Jude as he is almost a pro at the whole walking thing and really (really, really) likes being outside. The kiddie pool (cheap, plastic, and awesome) is already full of grass clipping and crazy, makeshift toys afloat.
We have worked super hard to get something of a vegetable and herb garden started and I vow…. do you hear me?….I VOW to really put an effort into maintaining our beautiful organic veg and herbs this year. The last few years have really been a wash <insert excuses excuses excuses>. I am still determined to do buckets, containers, and raised beds since dirt here doesn’t exist. Honestly, I was shoveling up some dirt on the side of the house and came up with fully formed clay pots. It is not good dirt.
So forgive the absence as we were really enjoying the sunshine.
p.s. The above photo was taken at my parents West Texas farm. My sweet baby cherry tree was in full bloom. It was a root transplant I took from my grandmother’s cherry tree and is 3 years old. It makes my heart sing to see it thriving.
The above picture was taken last spring at my parent’s farm in West Texas. We will be packing up the family and headed that way for Easter weekend on Friday (dogs and all!). Not only will it be interesting to see how we manage the 4 hour trip, but it is Jude’s first trip. I am excited and slightly (tremendously) anxious already.
Spring is definitely here and I have been itching to get my hands in the dirt. It was almost 90 degrees today, and I couldn’t resist throwing on the flip flops and sun dress and getting outside while the wee one napped. I managed to plant a few herb seeds before he woke.
My mind is totally focused on spring. I have tons of overwhelming ideas just bursting to get out. I am feeling good physically, and got the OK from the doc to resume all my normal activities. April will be full of change and growth but am too tired to go into much detail. I have many projects and goals running around in my head but more on that later. For now, I must see if I can get this baby to sleep more than an hour at a time…..and by hour I mean 1o minute increments.
If all this cold and rain is any indication, my beautiful garden is soon to be a victim of winter. Despite the spoils of the season, I love this time when the air is crisp and the first sign of dropping leaves emerge. I am still conflicted with sadness, as I see the flower babies that I nurtured all summer begin to fade away. I definitely need to get outside with the camera more and capture the last hoorah.
I wish I had more to say lately, but I just don’t. Everything is hanging in limbo and I am trying to have patience. I kinds of feel my garden babies are feeling the same way. So many are still hanging around in pots, eagerly awaiting a new home. Without breaking into tears and regaling a sob story, I just am ready to move. Having to spin back and forth is making the week days really suck, and general motivation to get the everyday things done is becoming a hard thing to muster.
Until then, I and the plants will just have to stay watered and appreciate the sunshine. My poor peppers and tomatoes are having survival confusion. One day, they look great, and I even have some peppers and tomatoes harvesting now. Yet, some days they look as if they are ready to hand themselves over to the wind, and bugs. Some really are looking really straggly. I haven’t seen a huge amount of growth with the peppers and one of my poor tomato plant looks done in. Alas, all I can do is be patient and wait.
I guess that is the lesson, isn’t it? patience, patience, patience. Until I find the Impatients, here are some roses.
It is spring picture time my children. Now line up and comb your leaves and let me get you in the best of light!
Everything is in bloom and it is time to take our spring portraits. Today’s bloom is the first Calla Lilly flower emerging from the moist, shady soil by the porch. We will call her Trudy Calla Lilly: Say cheese Trudy!
Strikin’ some more poses……
This year’s decision to concentrate on container growing has hit a snag. A serious budget snag, to be precise. I have purchased many pots and containers over the years, but most of the budget went to planting plants strait into the ground. Unfortunately, most of the aforementioned containers are in use and the ones that are left are not even close to the size I need. Here’s where the snag really sets in; I got a really good deal on some Cadenza roses. I really need to keep them containerized for a few years in order for them to be as mobile as possible. I could easily spend hundreds of dollars purchasing containers and trellises that are not even of high quality. Money spent on these expensive items is a serious issue right now. The plain truth is that there is nothing in the budget for anything else but dirt. Therefore, I made the decision (or was forced) to get handy and start reclaiming lumber to build the things I need.
It is good to learn how to use recycled materials for garden solutions rather than head out and buy something new and less effective. Discarded ceder fence posts soon became the perfect solution for sturdy trellises.
It also became the perfect opportunity to get PCH involved in the gardening process. PCH had a great time designing and building the first one. That was about all I managed to get out of him, but it was a victory none- the-less.
Once we g0t the hang of how we wanted the wire wrapped, everything flowed smoothly. I managed to get 3 finished in a few hours. The time spent was also relaxing. The shade was cool and the breeze was refreshing. I also enjoyed knowing that the interesting and rustic trellises might be ugly to some but to me they were free!
When I say rustic, I mean rustic. These old fence posts are aged and worn. I simply used a saw, some old bailing wire and a few tie techniques my father showed me and voila! a simple trellis for the rose to climb on for a while until a more permanent solution can be made.
These flower babies need planters and soon. Now that I have the hang of the trellises, I should be brave enough to make the planters. My plan is to make them at least 10 gallon size. The main problem is that there is only so much time in the day and week. I am already overextended beyond belief.
It started raining and got dark before I could post final product pictures. Although the bed is very pretty, it isn’t finished by a long shot. Over the next month or so, once these plant babies have grown and spread, we will add exciting textures and interesting foliage to give the little garden some serious personality. Until then, feel free to offer suggestions and ideas. HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE!.
What an amazing day of digging, flowering goodness. We finally got up and around about 10:30 and headed outside. What awaited us was an under worked, front flower bed of no shame, with several beautiful Indian Hawthorns and holly in full bloom. We broke everything up in 4 phases. Simple really. Right?
Phase 1: was to get all of the over run grass out of the bed. To do this, we had to de-mulch and shovel the heck out of it. Then to pull,it was time to pull pull pull, which was simple enough work but labor intensive. We hit a snag when we discovered how awful the soil was. It was amazing anything was growing here at all. The best kind of soil is a mix of clay and sand mixed nicely into a sandy loam. The optimum word here is MIXED. What we actually found was not necessarily a mix of sand and clay as much a layer or pocket of each at various ratios. We were literally pulling pockets of ready mixed clay for sculptures; and still had enough sand to fill a small pit.
This is a seriously striated and unbalanced soil sample. a layer of solid clay with a layer of solid sand!
Ahh grass free and mixed!
When this was finally done BFS and I were ready for some serious lunch at Cafe Brazil, which was so nummy and delicious. Whilst out and about we made a quick stop at the garden centers where we picked up a few things and then back to the ranch…er farm….er, sorry, suburbia, ready for Phase 2.
Phase 2: All about reconditioning the soil to promote good healthy growth. FRK disappeared for a few hrs to take an awesome nap, BFS did the edging while I worked the amended soil into the dirt. Again, simple but labor intensive.
Finally the good part.
Phase 3: All about planting the pretty pretty flowers. there was plenty of plant to go around the bed. At the garden center we picked up some creeping Pansies, Lavender and Rosemary and it really pulled together nice. At this point, it was time to get our grill on. FRK decided he was going to treat us to t-bones and fresh grilled veggies. He and BFS cooked an amazing feast while I finished off the mulching part of phase 3.
Phase 4 is all about the clean up, fertilizing, and watering, unfortunately it started to rain before I could get to the fertilizing and watering part. But the drinks on the porch replace that phase nicely and I will get up extra early and finish the job.
What a wonderful day. I enjoyed every second of it. I loved the quality time spent with peoples I love. The smells of the freshly unearthed clay mingled with the voices of children playing, and people BBQ’ing reminded me of the lake. I truly felt sad for people who shut themselves in and never truly enjoy being outside. Possibly I enjoy the gardening aspect more than most, but today was so fulfilling to be outside and immersing myself into the dirt. This may not be the acres of land I am used to but it feels like the most rewarding. I have a sense of satisfaction right now that defies the average.
It’s Go, Go, Go
Today marks the start of the official spring planting season for Texas. Easter weekend is always my traditional day of planting and is one of my favorite days of the year. According to the Farmer’s Almanac we should be out of any predictive freezes so the time is right. Since I am at BFS’s house this weekend his front bed is getting the royal treatment. This bed is about to feel like she’s having a spa day, full of dirt reconditioning, weeding, planting, fertilizing, and mulching. This little bed will be breathing a nutrient filled sigh of relief once we are done. Sound crazy do I? I don’t see how gardening is any different than rooting for your favorite sports team. Especially here in suburbia where the competition is high and HOA fines are penalties. So consider this Season Opening.
The above picture is the target. Today we are basically preparing the soil. I went into more detail in the previous post about the specific of what will be planted, but only a few border and highlight plants will be going in today. We will mostly be focusing on getting the soil up par. I want the dirt nice and delicious for when the specimens go in. Specimen plants being those you really want to shine in the bedded arrangement. As you can see, there is much work to be done. It is a challenge to keep up with even a small front garden and when it hasn’t been worked in a while, and this boor bed baby really needs some TLC.
Super awesome BFS has been hard at work killing the unwanted grass and getting the sprinkler system ready…. As soon as I can get these lazy bums up and out the door we are go, go, go. I guess we stayed up too late last night watching Strange brew and having a few brews of our own. (What’s that all aboot, eh?) I will post pictures of out progress later tonight and Happy Easter weekend to all and good luck to any of you out there gardening this weekend yourself. I know several said they would be, but the chance of thunderstorms might interfere. I would love to see pictures and comments on how your spring gardens are doing. Ta!