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Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.



Sunday, August 31, 2014

Plans for TransPlantation

The hostessed monthly wide shot meme seems to be missing in action at the moment. Regardless, I'm posting wide shots because I find the discipline of taking in my spaces as a whole on a monthly basis to be very useful, especially when it comes to planning.  And oh boy, do I have plans!

Fall is "get to work" time in Central Texas gardening circles.  New plants dug in and seed spread are able to take advantage of gentler temperatures.  If the weather stays within usual bounds, seasonal rains will water newbies in, helping them get roots established in preparation for the little bit of winter cold and whole lot of summer heat to come.  It can be an exciting time, an opportunity to make changes, and I have lots in mind.

The changes I want to implement reflect my desire to more directly support local pollinators. I'd begun the work last year, putting several native flowering plants out front.  Unfortunately I hadn't taken into consideration how close the overgrowing live oak branches already were to completely shading out those front spaces.  Those trees aren't going anywhere so the solution will have to lie elsewhere.
I realized I need to turn my attention more towards my back garden spaces.  In this overhead view it is apparent I've let well adapted non-native plants take over a lot of my sunniest spaces here.  I intend to address that with a series of substitutions, transplanting out and passing along non-native plants that have become a little too successful where they are.  I'll work to open space for new native plants and have plans to spread seed for others.
Looking out from a flat footed perspective I readily admit I see nothing "wrong" with these back garden spaces as things currently stand.  The problem is more that they no longer accurately reflect my philosophy or priorities.
Take this bed for example.  It is currently dominated by a volunteer Meyer Lemon, rosemary, a bit of verbena and various mostly non-native transplants thrown in there over the past 2 seasons.

I've been delighted to have a self-seeded native "weed", Bristly mallow, (Modiola caroliniana) establish itself along the front left rock edging underneath the bird feeder.  I like its scalloped leaves and the tiny orange flowers it sports in April.  Between my pruning and the birds' attention I feel optimistic I can keep the mallow corralled to this and other areas where I'd like it to function as a ground cover.

The non-native Jewels of Opar (Talinum paniculatum) with their deep taproots are going to be moved to less hospitable spaces.  The ox-eye daisy mounds (Leucanthemum vulgare) and the garlic chives (Allium tuberosum) will be passed along and/or relocated.  A straggly orange daylily will be transplanted into more sun in another bed where it will hopefully partner well with coneflower and wine cup.

The Mexican feathergrass (Nassella tenuissima) might get moved back a bit, but stays in the bed.  There is a small coneflower trying to survive in there, and I hope to get it a little breathing room.  The large throwback orange cosmos in the corner is coming out.  I'll keep trying to dig out recurrent ruellia (whoo boy - I know what puts the "rue" in ruellia!) and a bit of liriope on the other side of the feeder pole rock pile stays put.   I'm not sure what will go in the opened spaces yet but I know I want to use natives.
Looking from the far back, I visualize changes for the rest of these beds as well, but realize I can only get so much done in one growing cycle.  For the next few weeks my focus will be on replanting the sunnier beds closer to the house. These shadier areas will get whatever leftover energy I can muster as cooler weather kicks in.

I'll continue to dig out ruellia, (so much ruellia!) and other pushy plants I originally welcomed that no longer deserve as much space as they've taken.  I have multiplying clumps of variegated liriope I hope to organize into more of an edging effect, some aloe to thin out... Oh, there's plenty of work to do!
As my parting shot, a fond look at the one corner I'm essentially ignoring for the moment where the Hub's plethora of potted plumeria are in full bloom. August is their time to really shine, and our entire family appreciates the way their fragrance dances around on late summer breezes.

And that's officially it for Summer 2014 here at Austin Agrodolce.  It has been a delightful season really, with unexpected rains and not too many triple digit days.  Now, as the weeks of waiting out the heat wind all the way down, I want to state it plainly here in part to hold myself accountable:I intend to rededicate my energies towards using a wider variety of native pollinator friendly plants.

Regular reader, occasional visitor or first time drop in- it is always an honor to have you come along for the ride. I hope you'll stick around to see what comes next!

6 comments:

Tina said...

You know I'll be around to check out the coming changes! I love your overhead shot--it's a really cool way to look at a garden. It is always about revamping a garden, isn't it? Priorities change, light and weather conditions notwithstanding, gardens are organic--they don't "stand still" in part because the gardener is always changing and evolving. At least, that's the hope! Onward through the seasons!

TexasDeb said...

Tina: Your own spaces and your posts about companion plantings have been so inspirational and informative both. I'm happy to have good examples leading the way. Excelsior!

debra said...

Ooh, looking forward to seeing the changes and to more evidence of fall. Felt a slight breeze this week and spotted lacewing eggs ...two sure signs of some cool mercy on the way. August felt brutal this year yet your space looks green and lush. Nicely done =)

Travis Heights Garden Mama said...

It looks wonderful (and so weeded!). I have so many "challenging" spots I'm tempted to plant a bunch of ruellia to fill in the spaces..
The plumerias also look wonderful!

TexasDeb said...

Debra: A random late 1/2" rain is what triggered that lush look. We just happened to be under the right clouds at the right time. For once.

I really like that: "sure signs of cool mercy on the way". I think August will always feel a bit brutal even if the temperatures are a bit moderate as they were this year. We all get in a big hurry for the cooler days to come and yet I'm always sad to see summertime close up shop.

TexasDeb said...

THGM: Ha. "So weeded!". You are a good garden friend, lady.

I have a real love/hate relationship with Ruellia. Ruellia loves the heat and I love the blooms and leaf form and would be absolutely 100 percent OK with its localized spreading tendencies if the birds didn't end up spreading it everywhere. E. VER. Y. WHERE. If you do dig some out, when the teensiest bit of root breaks off (and it nearly always does) it comes right back. It takes patience.

But. I'm stubborn as they come and I'm convinced I can have my Ruellia and enjoy it too as long as I keep it back in our "wilderness" areas further from the organized beds. I've got several clumps targeted to dig out after it cools down a bit so if you want to come get some? Be my guest!