Thursday, August 21, 2008

Browsing at The Natural Gardener

The Natural Gardener is a great nursery with an organic focus, specializing in native, well-adapted, and drought-tolerant plants. I also enjoy wandering through their many display gardens and planted niches, many of which have been added over the past year or so. Here are some pictures from today's visit.

The butterfly garden:

Drought-tolerant plantings around the new "southwestern stream" water feature:

Other panoramas:

And a cool idea-- limbing up a beautyberry bush into a small tree:

Monday, August 18, 2008

Bloom Day, August 2008

Well, there's no huge show going on right now, especially in the back yard, but in the sunny front yard, the new garden is filling in.

For instance, the datura.  There are six datura in the front yard, and right now, they're all blooming like crazy.  The scent is amazing.  Here's a long shot down the front porch, where the first three plants are.  I have to admit that I didn't expect them to get this huge:

This datura is from Diana of Sharing Nature's Garden, and it started blooming just in time for Bloom Day. I'm guessing it's a different variety than the ones I got from Barton Springs Nursery, since it's much more compact and better-behaved, and I'd describe the scent as more melon than lemon. I quite like it. I'm going to have to save some seeds from this one to try in the backyard.

A comparison in flower sizes with the BSN datura:

Sweet Almond Verbena, formerly in a pot on the back deck. Can you believe this baby was only a foot and a half tall back in May? I'd estimate that it's at least six feet tall now; it's certainly taller than me. It's a more awkward-looking bush than I expected, but the flowers smell heavenly. I'm thinking about training it into a tree form:

"Son of Bubba" desert willow. And yes, I bought it because of the name.

Pioneer rose "Thomas Affleck," being completely worry-free, as usual:

The one section of the backyard that I've been watering faithfully in this heat. Sadly, the second flush of roses missed Bloom Day by about ten days and now it's just shades of green and grey with the occasional bit of purple foliage thrown in:

The half-completed front bed is filling in, although I'm gnashing my teeth over the inability of any trailing plants to actually grow to cover up those el cheapo landscape bricks without smothering everything within five square feet. Next year, I tell you, next year! I'm rooting many, many ice plants along the edge as we speak. Also, I feel the need to mention that I've gained a new respect for Pam's ability to take stunning pictures of her front yard that don't feature her neighbors' cars:

A favorite combo (for me and the many neighborhood cats) of catmint, Russian sage, and Pink Knockout. Not terribly original, but I like it:


Duchesse de Brabant, a bit past her peak:

One tough plant! The common name is "Bluebeard," but I need to dig through my huge pile of plant tags to find the botanical name. This is the one thing that remained uncharred in a bed that I kept forgetting to water. And it was mostly in the shade of some volunteer sunflowers, and I'm pretty sure that this plant is supposed to want part-sun. Color me impressed, and I love the blue-purple hue. I'm going to have to get my hands on more of this:

And as usual, moss verbena and blackfoot daisy are still going strong.  I love both of these plants!

And that's my Bloom Day.  As another Austin garden blogger commented, the macro lens IS my friend!  ;D