My Fall Garden Chores List

The weather is gorgeous and I feel compelled to be outside.  I walk around with my clippers and snip here and there and have decided to get organized.  so here are my garden chores:

  1. Prune those pesky suckers under the live oak tree.
  2. Prune the Crepe Myrtle Tree so that it doesn’t affect the cable TV wire next spring
  3. Remove the dead holly that didn’t make it through the summer and replace (fall is a great time to plant shrubs)
  4. Plant daffodil bulbs (but not until November)
  5. Turn the compost and remove the compost that is ready
  6. Spread compost in the cutting garden and shade garden
  7. Remove tree seedlings from the vinca minor bed
  8. Cut back the lilies and cannas for the winter
  9. Fertilize acid loving plants
  10. Remove any dead plants in front landscape
  11. Mulch front landscape
  12. Build up azalea bed
  13. Clean out pots and add soil to compost
  14. Prune roses and tie up climbing rose branches
  15. Weed beds in the front landscape
  16. Plant fall flowers in annual bed

Whew.  You would think just reading this list would make me tired but actually I am looking forward for the chance to get out there and garden.  That’s when you know you are hooked.

Addictive Gardening and remember to “bee” positive!

Big Day for Garden Life Designs

Well today was an exciting day.  I had a very important vendor interview for the Deep Ellum Outdoor Market which is a very swinging arts and crafts market in the coolest part of downtown Dallas.  In preparation I made a custom sign with the market’s logo to demonstrate my custom art work and also brought along several other samples of my work.  I was running a little behind because I had a little trouble finding their office.  It turns out that they are working out of a place called Workhaus which is a shared workspace.  I parked in a lot behind the building next to an old empty office chair.  I figured maybe somebody just wheeled it out the back.  I didn’t see a pay station or a parking attendant so went into my interview.  Meeting the organizers of the market was very fun and laid back and I was approved as a vendor.  As I was walking to my car, there was an old guy sitting in the chair.  I asked if he was the parking attendant and he responded but I couldn’t understand what he said but he held out his hand.  I gave him $2.  So I either paid for 20 minutes of parking or gave money to a homeless guy.  Either way, it was a good day.

P.S.  For those of you who asked, Liriope, aka Monkey Grass, which I referred to in yesterday’s post, looks like this:

Happy Gardening and remember to “bee” positive!

I Love This Plant: Spider Lily

This is a Spider Lily (Lycoris radiata)  They are stunning.  They bloom in the fall September-October on tall sturdy stalks directly from the bulb.  The spear-shaped leaves appear later and remain throughout the winter fading in about June when the heat tops 95 deg.  These are truly garden divas.  The color and the stark blooms sans any leaves show up as a surprise every year.  Spider Lilies naturalize beautifully and I have spread them around my shade garden.  They are relatively pest free and not picky about much.  More sun and water and they bloom like crazy; less sun and water and they hang out looking much like liriope until conditions change.

Spider Lilies are hardy to zone 7 which makes this definitely a southern favorite and they often grow wild in the lower states.

Happy Gardening and remember to “bee” positive!

Fall Gardening Chores

Even though gardening in Texas will continue well into December, I am still working on reclaiming parts of my garden from going native through the hottest part of this summer.  I am Irish by descent and though my people have evolved past bursting into flames when exposed to direct sunlight, my idea of gardening in August is running outside to move the hose and then running back in to grab a bottle of water and 15 minutes in front of the fan to recover.  OK it’s not that bad but pretty close.

Over the next couple of weeks I will be working outside more and more.  This is a busy time for gardening as clean up, raking, planting fall vegetables and spring bulbs come into play.  I found a great article listing the usual fall chores for gardeners.  It is here:

http://www.mercurynews.com/home-garden/ci_18947735?source=email

I will be taking photos of my work and also keep you informed on the development of the tadpoles.  They are still looking healthy and fat.

Happy Gardening and remember to “bee” positive!

Encore Azaleas ‘Autumn Empress’

I love Encore Azaleas this time of year.  They re-bloom in the spring and then again in the fall and even sometimes in January.  This particular variety is ‘Autumn Empress’ and I have them growing by my pond.  ‘Autumn Empress’, has an upright, thick growth habit (4 feet tall and 3 feet wide) with large deep, green leaves. It produces semi-double, deep pink 2.25 inch to 2.75 inch in diameter blooms. It starts to bloom a little later in the spring than do most azaleas. These azaleas require full sun with afternoon shade or light shade and well drained, slightly acidic rich soil. It is supposed to have a fast growth rate and be drought tolerant.

In my experience, these azaleas are more forgiving of dry conditions than the other Encores but all Encores require babying especially for the first 2-3 years of planting.  I love the blooms though and the twice or three times a year they bloom makes it worth the extra trouble.  It is about now that I will fertilize all my azaleas, gardenias, and camelias and any other acid loving plants I have.  Azaleas aren’t heavy feeders per se but they do love acid soil and the soil in this area is alkaline.  So I planted them in almost pure peat moss and fertilize with a special mix twice a year.  When not in bloom these shrubs are evergreen.

Happy Gardening and remember to “bee” positive!

Butterflies and Tadpoles

I have been working on a new set of butterflies.  My first in this series is the Madagascar Sunset Moth.  This is a real butterfly:

And this is my drawing:

I know this butterfly is not from my garden but this creature is so beautiful I couldn’t resist trying to portray it.

I have also been studying up on tadpoles.  They are doing great and growing.  Apparently they eat algae which I have plenty of.  Also even a little chlorine will kill them so I will be getting some dechlorinator for the pond.  I get a little tense when I see blue jays hanging out in the pond but hey circle of live and all.  I will keep you posted.

Happy Gardening and remember to “bee” positive!

I Love This Plant: Obedient Plant

I really do like this plant even though it is definitely a poser.  Here is what I mean: 1.) First of all its name, Obedient Plant (Physostegia virginiana).  It is named that because apparently you can bend one or more of its many flowers on each stem and they stay where you put them.  However, I call it the Dis-obedient plant because it never stays where you put it.  Each summer I have volunteers everywhere!  And 2.) Its other common name is False Dragonhead, see, definitely a poser.

Here is why I love this plant.

  1. It blooms this time of year with multitudes of white, pink, or lavendar flowers.  Mine are lavendar
  2. It grows in the shade or the sun or whatever
  3. It is very forgiving about water and feeding and generally doesn’t mind being ignored
  4. The many volunteers don’t mind being pulled out of the ground and given away or shoved in the ground somewhere else.  They usually don’t even wilt a little but just keep right on growing.
  5. Their bloom time is about a month
  6. They are pretty much pest free
  7. They grow in zones 3-10 which is really varied
  8. I got them for free from a gardener who was getting rid of her extra volunteers.

Regardless, this is a staple for my garden and I look forward to them every year.

Happy Gardening and remember to “bee” positive!