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.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Ready or not!

So far it is mostly the early self seeded bluebonnets in a bed out back that are already in bloom.
These bluebonnets established rosettes last summer before I even finished collecting seed pods. 
In addition to the over-achieving lupines out back however, yesterday I noticed one of the "regularly scheduled" bluebonnets in bloom on the plants growing alongside the curbing out front.
That "on time" bluebonnet, in combination with buds shooting up over rosettes and taking shape atop leafy stems of all descriptions, signals to me our recent warmer Spring weather has triggered The Great Unfurling.
Oxeye daisies are gearing up.

Pomegranate bushes have leaves left from last year dancing above the new growth emerging.
Every Fall I chastise myself for not pulling out more of the residual Vinca ground cover.  Then every Spring it decks itself out in purple blossoms, and all is forgiven for another season.
I'm noting swellings at branch nodes on even the typically tardy leafers - the sumac and althea are perhaps only a couple of weeks away from greening out. 
Sumac (Rhus lanceolata)
Althea bushes, while not native, are very well adapted to Texas weather and they've responded to warmer soil with opened seed pods in preparation for generating new plants as well as new leaves on established specimens.

Seed pods open up like flowers as a predictor for beauty yet to be realized.

The bottlebrush tree, another well adapted non-native, is getting ready to do...something! I'm not familiar enough with bottlebrush to recognize if these are blooms-to-be or simply new leaves on the way but they are very attractive in their own right...whatever they are.

Now that the bottle tree has a couple of years under its belt, I'm optimistic if these are not in fact blooms in progress, that the eventual flower display will (finally!) justify my interest in having one.

On a "blink and you'll miss it" timer, this spirea bush (cultivar unknown) is mere hours away from being covered in delicate white blossoms.
And as you'll see on the stem close up to the buds to the left in this closer shot, even the aphids are back (if they ever really went away).
I never noticed aphids on the spirea before, which probably means only just that - I never noticed. I'm coming to realize most of the activity I notice going on in my gardens has always been going on, right under my nose.  Since things are doing reasonably well without my intervention, watching and waiting for natural systems to balance themselves out over time is usually a safe move.

A safe move depending on your gardening goals, that is.  The spaces here behind the fence are private. Except for close friends or family, we don't invite visitors in.  If things look a little ragged, we don't mind.  Other than grabbing a shot for those of you coming here to read blog posts I don't have to get beds "viewing ready" for anything or anybody.  And the many lessons to be learned? They will wait until the pupil is ready.  This garden is keeping to a schedule all its own.


Debra said...

That first photo could be used to define the word 'blue.' I really like my spirea. It was here before we moved in so who knows what kind it is but it is super tough and so pretty in the spring. I never really pay much attention to it though so maybe it also gets crops of aphids. Love althea.

Tina said...

I couldn't agree more with you and your statements in the last couple of paragraphs. Gardens/regionally appropriate plants work and it's best to leave them to their devices, to a degree, of course. How do we get those not as in tuned with natural plant rhythms as you to understand that, though? To teach American homeowners (and commercial landscapers, as well) that it's just fine and in fact, better for wildlife, leaving seed heads on flowers for the birds, or leaving a few aphids because the green lacewings or spiders will have something to eat. Or, not using insecticides so that pollinators are not poisoned. We have our work cut out, it seems.

That said, your garden plants are looking wonderful and I hope you enjoy the "unfurling" to come!! Happy Spring!

Kris Peterson said...

I've always wished I could get bluebonnets going in this garden - we do see them growing wild along the local roads this time of year (although none have the height and depth of color of the native Texas varieties) - but they haven't "taken" in my garden, at least not yet. If the flowers on my fairly new Callistemon are any indication, your bottlebrush is definitely getting ready to bloom. You've got a good start on spring, Deb!

Donna@Gardens Eye View said...

Love seeing the bluebonnets....and I also keep my back gardens for me and a little more wild.

TexasDeb said...

Debra: I think that is why bluebonnets are so universally appealing. That blue!!!

The spirea is in bloom now, the althea is showing leaves. It only takes a few days for major changes to appear. Hard to keep up!

TexasDeb said...

Tina: Thank you! The unfurling is proceeding apace, as they say...

I just spent a few days a couple of hours east of here and with all the rains they are getting it looks a lot like I imagine Ireland to be. Green-green-green everywhere you look. It was an abrupt reminder that while things are much better here than they have been, we still have a way to go!

TexasDeb said...

Kris: I am betting dimes to dollars you'll get bluebonnets going if you keep up your efforts for a bit longer. The seed are viable for years and once a certain mass is reached you are generally assured a good showing with sufficient water provided. I'm also betting if you get some established in your spaces the care you provide will result in some spectacular color.

They'll take your spring heat and drought and come back for more!

TexasDeb said...

Donna: Oddly enough the areas out front look more on the wild and wooly side than our back private garden beds.

I am an unabashed bluebonnet freak. Cannot get enough!

Linda Lehmusvirta said...

This has been the craziest winter ever, even though every year is crazy! Your early birds are just lovely.

TexasDeb said...

Linda: This winter was one for the books all right. After all the injuries and insults offered, I am deeply grateful for every single blossom and leaf!