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.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Blame that sky

It was another morning sky playing around with colors like this that had me upstairs on the balcony for starters.

"While I am up here", I thought, "I might as well take some wide shots.  Just in case." "For the meme!".

So I did.  Then I went out front and took more wide shots there. Like so.
These wide views don't allow much appreciation of new plants recently placed (due to scale) but next year! Next year I'll be happy to point out new blooms in the mix.
 Just to be evenhanded.
Last winter's freeze damage has been erased for the most part.  When it gets a little further into the season I'll feel free to take out a few of what were potentially "replacement" agaves.  That should create more interesting negative spaces in these curbside beds.
Not much new going on anywhere at the moment.  Fall's major blooms are behind us now.  The flurry of transplanting and seeding that characterized September and early October has been replaced by the institution of support services in the form of hand watering and weeding as needed.  Speaking of weeding....

One of the results of editing wide shots was a renewed resolve on my part to get out and weed more.  I have no excuse not to at the moment.  The path and bed weeds are all taking full advantage of my laziness.  Raking those pecan leaves off the front curb and putting them in the compost would be doubly beneficial.

Yup. As October closes out and plants begin to go dormant, these wide shots remind me it is time to do a little less appreciating and a little more maintenance.
The bed to the left of the "bench triangle" is filling in very nicely with new plantings and self seeded wildflowers.  Basil and jalapeno are nearly over, and my attention will turn to the bed on the right hand side where oregano and purpleheart plant masses will be reduced.
Looking at the shot to follow, my attention was drawn to a pretty bold takeover maneuver being attempted by the bristly mallow on the day lily.  "What day lily?" you'd be excused for asking. It is there, over to the right of the miniature rose, completely surrounded by mallow.
Problem solved.  Temporarily at least.  I'm monitoring how assertive the mallow continues to be when it gets colder. Wait, monitoring sounds like lab coats and clipboards.  I'm just keeping an eye on things, trimming runners and pulling out seedlings as needed.  Mallow seedlings come out easily so I'm feeling brave.

While I'm temporarily using a narrowed frame, let's hear it for passalong plants, and natives to boot.  Tina of My Gardener Says is the source for these welcomed natives.  (Thank you, Tina!) Hopefully as time goes by, I'll have my own extras to share.   Out front? Yarrow!

In this instance passalong plants are acting as a "favorites" cognate.  As in, "my favorite kind of beer is cold and free, not necessarily in that order".  Out back? Salvia lyrata sorry, Heartleaf Skullcap!

Now that can read "my favorite kind of plants are passalongs and natives, not necessarily in that order".

Shared plants are part of the repertoire in nearly every bed.  Pavonia! More skullcap!  Maybe a goldeneye?!
We'll see how much sun this spot gets as the oaks continue to grow overhead.  It looked to be a great dappled light spot this year, but these plants were just put into play and next year?  Remains to be seen.  That's part of what keeps gardening from getting boring, yes?
I have passalongs from family, friends, even local interest sites.  I look at those plants and am appreciative for all of it, for all of them.  But I digress.

Here we go, back to the wideness for one last shot.  Bidding a fond farewell to The Hub's Plethora of Potted Plumeria.
They are last legging it, nearly done for the season, and before too long will be taken out of their pots to overwinter.  But not as long as they still sport even one flower.  The Hub won't consider touching them until then.  Plumeria consider it time to go dormant when nighttime temperatures begin to fall into the 50's.  The predicted low last night? 42.

And there you have it.  This post, digression and all, is my end of October - beginning of November contribution to Heather at Xericstyle's monthly wide shot meme.  Hope you'll join in and share your very own wide views of the places you care for.


Tina said...

Firstly, that sky shot and your front garden shots--lovely, lovely!

You can appreciate while maintenancing, it's just a little less relaxing.

The thing about so many natives is that they do grow, spread and take over, don't they? You will be cursing me over the Heartleaf Skullcap and maybe the yarrow in a year or so. I hope it doesn't ruin our friendship!

The garden is never so good as it will be next year. Thomas Cooper

Linda/patchwork said...

Looks good.
I am so behind, getting garden stuff done.
Love those big agaves. And, you have spineless prickly pear out front? The deer ate mine.

TexasDeb said...

Tina: I'll never curse over a plant that spreads. The plants that die altogether? Now they are where the regrets kick in.

Love that Thomas Cooper quote. I need to stitch that into a pillow or something.

TexasDeb said...

Linda: I can't imagine you don't have other resources, but if not, you let me know when/where we can meet up as necessary and I will spot you a dozen spineless cacti pads, no questions asked. I've always got extra agave as well. Say the word.

Debra said...

Look at the plumeria! I remember how tiny they were when I first found your blog this year. I'm still planting and transplanting. My skullcap has just taken off this fall. Do you let them clump or should I thin them out?

Kris Peterson said...

I've been slow to get to my maintenance activities too - I've been way too preoccupied with digging rocks and grass roots out in the front yard - and now the pruning and weeding tasks are piling up. And then there's all that planting I want to do! Luckily, we rarely get frost and I'm banking on another couple of months to get that done.

I have to say that I'm mighty impressed by both your seedlings and the "plethora of potted plumeria." My friend just gave me 2 plumeria cuttings, which I'm also going to plunk into pots. I've killed them before but perhaps the third time is the charm.

TexasDeb said...

Debra: Plumeria are impressive (to me) that way. Every year (at least here) they start over from sticks and by the end of their season they are glorious. It cools off, the leaves fall, The Hub trims them back and down, rinse lather repeat.

You should probably check with somebody else - the skullcap are new to me. I hear they are very "spready" so it sounds like you do what you'd like in terms of how concentrated you want them in any one area.

TexasDeb said...

Kris: I take zero credit for the plumeria - they are The Hub's pet project. He got a "stick" from somebody he works with a while back and now we end up with more cuttings than we can give away.

It's funny - there are a couple of spots in the front and back where we took grass out years ago and I still occasionally run into a stray strand of it that somehow managed to survive. As weeds go, St. Augustine grass is an easy one to pull at least!

Travis Heights Garden Mama said...

Those plumeria look gorgeous! It looks wonderful..

TexasDeb said...

THGM: Thank you! I'll pass the compliment on to The Hub. He babies those plants along and they like it, judging by the blooms and lush foliage.

Rock rose said...

What a lovely sky shot and of course, with camera in hand, to share the roadside plantings. Don't you just love agaves for their dramatic structure? Your plants have made it though a dry summer and that is a testament to the kind of plants we should be growing. What is this mallow? Does it flower? I don't think I know it. I have so many passalongs- in fact if I took them all out I wonder what I would have left. Of course they multiply and that is why they are passalongs. I have been ripping out heart leaf skullcap but know I will never be rid of it. I saw a lovely clump in a garden a few years ago and thought- I must have that. Well now I have it in all its abundance. As to your husband's collection-Wow!-but what do you do with them in the winter? Out of their pots? I tried to root one given to me by my dentist but alas, it did not root. Such lovely blooms.

TexasDeb said...

Jenny(Rock Rose): Thank you! I get in trouble with fast spreading plants over and over. I hope I've learned a few tricks about dealing with aggressive plants that will help me out with keeping the skullcap manageable.

The mallow is bristly mallow (bird planted) and it is considered a weed. It has cunning tiny peachy orange blooms in April-May that I fell in love with. It has scalloped leaves a lot like skullcap - maybe that is a warning sign? - spreads by reseeding and stoloniferous stems. I'm tracking how much time I'm spending pulling it out versus appreciating where it is. More on that in posts to follow, probably.

The plumeria overwinter as sticks in the garage. Every year we think they've croaked because they take so long to re-emerge. We might have extra sticks this year - would you be interested in trying again?