Wednesday, April 22, 2009

spring's gone sproing.

Let us all take a moment to mourn the passing of the best weather Austin's had so far this year. On Monday it was in the low 80's and gloriously unhumid (as opposed, I suppose, to inhumid), and the last in a stretch of perfect days. After I checked the forecast, I went out and took a whole bunch of pictures of all the spring flowers before the heat nuked them. This is the best the show's going to get until fall, so I figured I'd might as well wallow.

So, on Monday, first of all, we have my twobonnets, the twin results of many, many bluebonnet seeds strewn throughout the yard.  I'm hoping that the lack of germination is directly related to the drought, and hope that maybe there'll be more of a show next year.

Souvenir de la Malmaison in the afternoon. I swear that it's nearly impossible to take a bad picture of this rose. And the scent, which I used to be unimpressed by, has really grown on me this year.

Louis Philippe has filled out a lot in the last few months. I cut it back really hard in February, and I think that helped a lot. The flowers aren't as showy in this much shade, but I'm impressed that it's doing so well with so little sun!

Gruss an Aachen, guaranteed for flower porn. See all those subtle shadings of color? Those disappear the minute it gets above 90F, so I'm enjoying them while I can. And I'm showing remarkable restraint in only posting two of the pictures I took. I took a LOT of pictures.

Duchesse de Brabant, at peak bloom, and smelling freaking incredible. I do have to admit that it's really hard to photograph this rose and do it justice. I should probably try lying on the ground and aiming the camera skyward, as all the flowers nod.

And at last, long after I'd given up hope since I planted the bulbs so late, daffodil Thalia started blooming on Monday. Lousy timing for Thalia, but at least I have some consolation that my pricey impulse buy of a ton of bulbs off the Lowe's bargain table wasn't totally in vain. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that they'll be back-- earlier-- next year. I love the flowers' elegant form. I've heard that they're fragrant, but I was in a hurry when I took the pictures and forgot to smell them.

Belinda's Dream is in full bloom, too. This is another rose I have a hard time photographing from close-up. The flowers on this plant always seem to show insect damage and a good amount of wear and tear, but I know a lot of people go crazy for the hybrid tea-like blooms. I have mixed feelings about this rose, but that's a subject for a separate post.

And for comparison purposes to the last few years, the requisite long shots of the garden:

I am also thrilled to announce that soon I will finally have a hammock to lounge in in the garden. The fine folks at Teak, Wicker & More, an online store that sells a huge variety of patio furniture, contacted me about reviewing one of their products on this blog. After much deliberation and nearly crashing my poor computer with the number of tabs open in my browser, I decided that what I really needed was this hammock stand. I have long been of the opinion that the peak of decadence is lounging in a hammock surrounded by flowers, and now I have the perfect excuse. For testing purposes, of course. I aim to be thorough.

Until then, I'll be out in the garden, trying to get as much done as possible before it's too hot to move.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day - April

Ah, April, my favorite month of the year! And it's especially nice this month since we finally got some rain here in Austin, which led to insanely fast growth of everything in the garden and me finally getting a much-needed break from watering everything.  

In other news, I can now say that I garden with one hand tied behind my back.  

Still Life With Wrist Brace:

Yup, I managed to sprain my wrist pretty spectacularly.  Sadly, the bag is pretty much there just to keep the brace clean-- I'm under strict orders to keep that hand immobile, which is especially annoying because it's my dominant hand...and it's April in my garden and I have important things to do, *&&^$^$!!!

So if I can't work in the garden, at least I have something to look at.  Now that it's April, the roses have started blooming! I got around to my pruning pretty much on Valentine's Day and was a little worried that would mean that everything would bloom late and be victims of a heat wave. Right now, the weather is perfect for the show. In a bit of serendipity, I noticed something a little odd when Maggie started blooming last week. Did the flowers spontaneously change color? Nope, that's Belinda's Dream up there at the top of the fence, rather than in front of Maggie where she's supposed to be. Er, oops?

And on to the flower porn...

Marie Pavie:

Thomas Affleck, in a picture that finally accurately captures his color:

Madame Alfred Carriere, climbing up a mesquite tree and absolutely smothered in sweet-smelling blooms:

Gruss an Aachen:

Archduke Charles, showing off its color-changing flowers:

From foreground to background: Duchesse de Brabant, Louis Philippe, and Blushing Knockout:

Double Knockout:

Full list of roses in bloom:

Rainbow Knockout
Pink Knockout
Pink Double Knockout
Double Knockout
Blushing Knockout
Marie Pavie
Martha Gonzales
Belinda's Dream
Souvenir de la Malmaison
Duchesse de Brabant
Louis Philippe
Archduke Charles
Madame Alfred Carriere
Gruss an Aachen
Perle d'Or
Thomas Affleck

Also in bloom is my tough and trusty favorite, ice plant:

And a more unusual addition to the garden, here's the bloom of a native manfreda. The flowers smell like black tea:

Also, for the first time, the hardy aloe is blooming. I'm not sure of the variety-- I got them bareroot at The Natural Gardener. They seem quite happy in part-shade:

And finally, finally, after 2 years, the back border is finally filling in to the point where I don't see mulch and I see much, much less of those ugly landscaping bricks. This makes me very, very happy:

And as a surprise for Bloom Day, the datura opened its first bloom. I thought I'd yanked out all of the datura last fall, but this one came back from some roots I missed and I decided to let it stay for old times' sake.  It's freaking huge:

Also blooming: Canna "Australia" planted against the house, pink Himalayan indigo, caryopteris, catmint, thyme, yaupon hollies, bulbine, verbenas, Mexican feathergrass, salvia greggii, Marilyn's Choice abutilon, narcissus tazetta (planted very late), broccoli, snapdragons, and the last of the pansies. The bluebonnets are winding down and will be done within the next week or so, sadly, but they've had a good run.

Have a great Bloom Day, everyone!  Check out Carol's post at May Dreams Gardens to see everyone's GBBD posts.