Saturday, April 9, 2011


I have a problem with plant nurseries.  Just walking into one causes my brain to malfunction.

My left brain -- the part that is aware that every plant I set in the cart means one more hole that must be dug, and one more thing that must be watered, every day, for at least two weeks?  Well, it automatically decides to take a snooze as soon as I cross the threshold...

but my right brain shifts into overdrive!  It goes absolutely crazy from all that color and texture, trying to think of the infinite ways in which they could possibly be combined.

Which is how I ended up with all of these.  In case you're wondering, that's 50 or 60 holes I will be digging this weekend.
Guess I'd better go get started.

Friday, April 8, 2011


When one looks at the photo at the top of my side bar over there, it might appear as if this self-professed "hippie" is living awfully large up there on the side of her hill, and you'd be right, but not for the reasons you might have imagined.   Wanna take a tour of our house?

See that photo above?  Well, picture yourself standing where I am standing with my camera.  Now walk straight ahead, through the kitchen, until you run into the bed.  Did you enjoy your tour?  The only thing you missed was the small bathroom and two shallow closets with folding doors, that are tucked behind the refrigerator and cabinets there on your left.

In truth though, despite these relatively small living quarters, we are living large up here.  We've got great porches, a big stone terrace, a nice open garage with a big utility room attached, and such beautiful views out every window that I never feel cramped or closed in.  Oh yeah, and there's that space downstairs.  I just love it when some repairman or other comes to the house, and I tell him that the equipment is downstairs.  It always cracks me up, to see the look on their face, when we have to turn around and head back out the front door to get there!  Anyhoo, if we were up north, you'd probably call that space a walk-out basement, but we don't have basements in Texas, so we just call it The Man Cave.

Well, thanks for stopping by!  I hope you enjoyed the tour.  Think you can find your way back to the door?

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Our New Lawn Decor
I suppose we're making some progress here, with regards to the merging of our two households.

The garage doesn't have near as much stuff piled in it now, but I'm not certain whether that's due more to John's diligent unpacking...

... or if, thanks to those killer winds that came through this week, it's because half of it is now strewn about our property!
 There have been many, many trips made to donate stuff to the thrift stores,  but I'm still miles away from being able to park my car in the garage, or use my dining room for actual dining...

...and then, of course, we've got that two week vacation coming up...and the bathroom remodeling project...and a new kitchen floor to be installed...and, well, one of these days, things are sure to settle down.  Right?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Knockout Roses in a MacDonald's Parking Lot
A few days ago I decided it was time to write a post, informing all my northern readers that they could stop feeling envious about our weather now, for we had reached the point where spring wasn't quite so wonderful anymore.  It had hit the upper 80's several times at that point, with lows mostly in the upper 50's or 60's, and our house had turned into a mosquito incubator overnight.  They were absolutely eating me alive! ('though, of course, they never touch my dear hubby)

The upside of that was that we could finally plant our warm weather veggies.  There is a great nursery in far west Austin, called Natural Gardener.  It's owned by John Dromgoole, the guru of organic gardening who brought us the wonderful Ladybug soils and ammendments, and it's a gardener's wonderland!  They have a huge selection of heirloom veggies and wonderful native plants, and the best display gardens ever.  The only problem is, I can never seem to get out of there for less than a hundred dollars, so maybe it's just as well that it's such a pain to get to.

Imagine my glee, then, when I opened up the latest Hill Country Sun this weekend, and found an ad for a new branch of Natural Gardener, just a hop, skip and a jump away, in Drippin'!  This one is primarily just a place to buy their soils and mulches in bulk, but the ad did say "great selection of herb and veggie transplants, just in", so of course, we went to check it out.

Sure enough, they had filled the porch area around their office with all kinds of great tomatoes and other veggies -- the neat heirlooms and such that you'll never find at the box stores.  They even had a tomato I'd read about called "Mortgage Lifter."  With a name like that, it's gotta be great, right?  Of course, I hadn't checked the weather forecast in a couple of days, but surely it was safe now to buy these tomatoes and peppers.  Surely!

So, what was the temp when I woke up this morning?  Thirty-frickin-four degrees!

Should I even bother to plant them now?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Knockout Rose
From 20 degrees to 80, down to 15, then back up to the 70's, all in the same month -- could anything be more bizarre than a Texas winter?  Our poor plants stay in a constant state of confusion!  March is the time of year when we usually get a long enough warm-spell to trick the fruit trees into blooming, but invariably, one last cold front will blow through and zap them all.

Coral Honeysuckle
This is why I suck at growning veggies.  In all of my previous gardens (mostly perennials), I have taken a "survival of the fittest" attitude, which is why they always ended up being filled with so many natives.  There was no spraying or dusting, no hooping or staking, no cold frames or floating row covers.  If you couldn't hunker down and come back from a freeze, and thumb your nose at a few grasshoppers, you didn't deserve a place in my garden!

I'm afraid it allowed me to become a very lazy gardener.  Guess I will have to work on that fault, huh, if I ever hope to actually feed myself from this garden of mine.

Salvia greggii/Autumn Sage
In the meantime, my friend Paula said I should post pictures of all my best plants so far -- the ones that managed to pass their first survival-of-the-fittest-test, this year's "Big Freeze."

Number one, up at the top there, is the amazing Knockout Rose.  I'm not a fan of roses, which are way too finicky for my tastes, but I came home one day to find that DH had stuck this one in the worst bed on our property -- a bed that has killed everything I ever planted in it, including those two Copper Canyon Daisies (the toughest plant around!) on either side of it.
Sedum -- most of my succulents died, but not this little cutie, a great trailer/creeper! 
But it hasn't killed that rose.  She may not be thriving, but she's still alive and kicking!  As are all the rest of these beauties, including those amazing heucheras I showed you a few days ago.

Red Yucca/Hesperaloe parviflora
So there you have it, my list of Spring Super-Troopers.  The next test will be Sizzling Summer Test.  We'll see who's still kicking then!
Texas Betony