Welcome September

Welcome September!  This is my favorite time of year.  The gorgeous foliage and crisp autumn air.  I am so excited to say goodbye to summer.  Tomorrow is September 1 and expected to be 103 deg F but I am still gonna celebrate fall.   To start off, I am offering an art wallpaper for your computer desktop that captures the feel of fall along with a calendar for September.

Click on the link below and set as wallpaper or save to your computer:

http://gardenlifedesigns.com/september_wallpaper__right_click.htm

Enjoy September and remember to “bee” positive!

I Love This Plant: Redbud with a Twist

I rarely buy plants at full price.  But, when I want a particular speciman plant, I usually have to order it from a catalog or online which means full price.  That’s why I like to pick a nursery with an excellent reputation and a money back guarantee to back it up.  I chose Springhill Nursery because they have a lifetime guarantee. I am not really sure what that means but I figure it will cover the all-important first year.  I have ordered from a bargain nursery for even garden variety bulbs and plants and have never been happy.  So when I landscaped the front of the house, I wanted a specific tree that was only available through the mail.  A weeping redbud.  In full bloom they look like this:

This isn’t mine.  Mine looks like this:

When I first got it, it arrived in a long thin box and I didn’t see it until about 9PM.  My mother was with me and when we opened the box, I was amazed.  The tree was supple and the root system was full and gorgeous.  It pays to pay for quality.  When I planted it in February it was just a twig sticking out of the ground.  My sister with the black thumbs called it a stick for a couple of months until it sprouted leaves.  She was then shocked that it was really alive.

Anyway, this little tree has withstood the summer heat beautifully.  I have supplemented with 1 gallon of water a week and I can’t wait to see it this spring when it is covered with gorgeous purple blooms.

Happy gardening and remember to “bee” happy!

Garden Visitor: I Love This Spider

This is a Garden Spider.  Also known as a Writing Spider.  We grew up calling them China Spiders.  I loved Charlotte’s Web as a child and this has to be the spider the book was written about. These are beautiful creatures and always welcome in my garden. Their webs are as spectacular as the spiders themselves. I am so excited to find someone else who loves spiders. Here is a great post with tons of information about these arachnids:

This Garden Is Illegal: Hanna’s Web: My Garden Spider Resident

Fountain Update: Form vs. Function

My fountain has become very functional vs. the decorative properties that I had originally envisioned.  I will be re-thinking the design of this little pond for next year but for the remainder of the summer, it has become an oasis for the birds.  This summer has been rough on them and it isn’t unusual to see birds walking around dragging their wings with their beaks open trying to cool off.  So between my cleaning efforts (see my previous post,https://gardenlifedesigns.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=117&action=edit ) the pecking, pulling and investigating of my little feathered friends, and the digging of the squirrels, the view of the fountain is less than idyllic.  You can see in some of the pictures below that they have even pulled out the fountain hose so you can really see the black hose pulled out from the rocks pouring out water into the fountain.  It is really a popular hangout though and I regularly see anywhere from 7-20 birds walking around in this shady garden and waiting for a turn at the running water.  It is heartening to see what an oasis it has become for the birds.  The neighborhood squirrels hang around too digging through the mulch to the moist ground beneath and laying flat out on the ground to cool off.  Here are some pics of my suburban oasis:

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We Can Learn A Lot in A Day: Daylilies

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“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on… Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,  yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you?”  Matthew 6: 26-30

I Miss this Plant: Summer Casualties

I would love to tell you that I never lose a plant and that I have an innate sense of where every plant will thrive best and give them the exact care they need.  Unfortunately this is not the case.  I have always loved Forsythia.  The bright yellow blooms in late February/early March signal spring has arrived and brighten up any landscape when not much else is going on.  I knew I wanted one, I just wasn’t sure where to put it.  So I bought a small shrub about 3 years ago and nursed it in the back yard until I had a  home for it. This is the blooms in Year 2:  When I finally got around to landscaping the front yard this year, I used a yellow and purple colorscape and finally had a home for my Forsythia shrub.  I am not a fan of shaping this shrub and that’s just as well as the yellow blossoms bloom on last year’s wood.  So in December when it was dormant, I gently transplanted my Forsythia into a large bed in the front surrounded by Yellow Knockout Roses.  The plan was that the Forsythia would bloom and then when it’s leaves came in in the summer, the Knockout Roses would take over the show.  Great plan right?  Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and gardeners don’t you?

Needless to say I have lost my Forsythia to the summer heat.  As a new transplant, it should have had enough time to re-acclimate since I moved it in December and it was beautiful this spring:

But this summer has been brutal even by Texas standards and although the knockouts are great and most of the salvia (Mealy Cup Sage) I grew from seed are doing fine, sadly my beautiful Forsythia did not survive.  Here is what it looks like now:

So long for now but I will be getting another.  I may just put it under the tree for a little shade next time.

 

Happy Gardening and remember to “bee” positive!

 

 

I Love This Plant: Santolina

When planting my front yard landscape, I wanted a very drought tolerant plant for an area that gets lots of sun and very little attention.  It also had to have yellow flowers if it flowered at all.  I was willing to compromise with the flowers since this really had to be a desert plant.  So I was thrilled to find two very scrawny santolina (aka lavendar cotton) plantlets at Lowe’s this spring.  It was the middle of May and a little late for planting something I intended to ignore but these were small plants and I hoped they would survive the summer.  I am glad to report that these little champs are going strong and about 10 times the size they were when I planted them.  I love the grey green foliage and the little pom poms of flowers.  They have required not one drop of water after 60+ days of over 100 deg weather and drought.  They appreciate poor soil and are evergreen.  I am thinking about replacing the entire lawn with these plants. OK, my husband Randy would draw the line at that but I am slowly taking over by planting new beds every year and he hasn’t even noticed!  HAHAHAHAHAHA!   The yard will soon be mine all mine!

Happy Gardening and remember to “bee” positive!