Tuesday, April 15, 2014

GBBD April 2014: Here come the roses!

After two unusually strong cold snaps five weeks apart, the roses have started to bloom in Central Texas.

'Old Blush' is always one of the very first to bloom.  I post a photo almost exactly like this nearly every spring.
'Old Blush' rose

'Mutabilis' usually blooms next, each blossom changing from apricot to pink to fuchsia in a matter of days.  (Earth-kind)
'Mutabilis' rose

'Sunny Knock Out' rose is a relatively new addition to the garden.  (Earth-kind)
'Sunny Knock Out' rose

While those three are in full-on flush mode, 'Buff Beauty' is just getting started. She wants to put out long arching canes, but I don't have the space, so I've pruned her back hard into a trellis rose. She's never had more buds than this year.
'Buff Beauty' rose

Also in bloom but not pictured: poppies, bluebonnets, larkspur, cilantro, sweet peas, spiderwort, columbine, yellow daisies, 'May Night' salvia.

Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.  Visit her April GBBD page to see springtime blossoms all around the world.

Words and photos © 2009-2014 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Spring poppies

Spring is popping up all over!  The gardening tours, fairs, shows and sales are in full swing, and the poppies are at their peak.
poppies

I'm sad that none of my bread seed poppies returned, but these are lovely.
red poppy

The roses will be blooming next...

Words and photos © 2009-2014 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Foliage Follow-Up: A Tale of Two Gardens

It was the best of times,
chard and cilantro

it was the worst of times.
freeze-damaged boxwood

Some of the prettiest foliage in my garden is in the vegetable garden, where the cold-loving green leafies and herbs are having a field day. And some of the worst looking foliage is on the perennial shrubs that were leafing out with tender new growth before our last fierce cold snap. The salvias and boxwood were hit particularly hard.

Thanks to Pam Penick at Digging for hosting Foliage Follow-Up on the day after Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, to give foliage plants their well-deserved due.

Words and photos © 2009-2014 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - March 2014

It's a rather blah Bloom Day this March. Looking back at previous March GBBD posts, I'd usually have a few daisies, irises, poppies or roses blooming by now. Thanks to a hard freeze a couple of weeks ago, everything's been delayed or knocked out this year. The one new bloom so far are the species tulips, T. clusiana, and there aren't many of them!
species tulips

That's it for this Bloom Day post. Five more days until the start of spring - can't wait! Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. Visit her March GBBD page to see blooming flowers all over the globe.

Words and photos © 2009-2014 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

An icy start to March

Last night, our budding spring gardens got slapped back in a "thundersleet" storm.
icy oak tree

To gardeners further north, digging out from heavy snowfalls, I imagine these photos don't look all that bad. But our southern gardens don't like hard freezes in March one bit, particularly after five icy freezes earlier this winter.
catkins under ice

Like a boxer on the ropes, these warm-weather plants have suffered one too many right hooks to the jaw, and they're slow to get up.
droopy globemallow

I fear my irises may be done blooming for this year,
droopy irises

but hopefully not the bluebonnets.
bluebonnets on ice

The poppies and four-nerve daisies had just started to bloom. Waa, poor little daisy.
icy poppies and daisies

I expect the gopher plant will be fine,
icy gopher plant

but I'm not so sure about the Texas mountain laurel buds. (The tree itself will be fine, of course, and live to bloom another day.)
icy Texas mountain laurel

All the roses are heavy with ice,
icy Old Blush rose

with icy rosebuds,
icy Mutabilis rose

and icy new foliage. Fingers crossed all will be well.
icy Dame du Coeur rose

This Pacific chrysanthemum had new foliage coming up from the roots - SLAP!
Pacific chrysanthemum on ice

The ice made interesting patterns on the agave,
icy agave

and the feathergrass.
icy feathergrass

Well, time to fill up the bird feeders and move on with life.
icy bird feeder

No use crying over droopy icy plants - what's done is done. Guess I should have listened to Punxsutawney Phil. What wins and losses are you seeing in your late winter garden? Leave a comment and let me know.

Words and photos © 2009-2014 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Last days of winter


Last days for gray winter skies,
gray sky

last days for cold frosty mornings,
cold

last days for cool-weather vegetables,
cabbage

last days for sleepy owls seeking shelter from north winds,
Owl

last days for hot apple cider,
cider

last days for warm coats, fuzzy hats and gloves.
winter coat

I'm enjoying it while it lasts! When temperatures hit triple digits and everything's wilting this summer, what winter joys will you miss most?

Words and photos © 2009-2014 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Goodbye, broccoli

I'm in week three of the annual end-of-winter garden clean-up. Salvias have been pruned, weedy grasses have been dug up and tossed, bird-planted hackberries have been cut to the ground, henbit has been pulled. Now my attention turns to the veggie garden.

Beets, baby Romaine, spinach and garlic can stay,
garden greens and garlic

but those headless broccoli plants have got to go! Time to make way for potatoes, peas and, before we know it, the Three Sisters: squash, beans and corn.
broccoli shoots

I'll leave a couple of flowering stems for the bees, then for seed.
broccoli and bee

Flowering winter vegetables are an important food source for bees between seasons.
bee on broccoli

Carol Ann Sayle at Boggy Creek Farm says broccoli leaves are edible, so this year I'm saving the small tender leaves to eat, along with the last of the side shoots. I plan to cook them like collard greens: after a quick blanch in boiling water, I'll drain, chop and sauté them in olive oil with lots of garlic and freshly ground black pepper.
broccoli leaves

The rest of it goes in the compost bin. Goodbye, broccoli, until next fall.
broccoli in compost bin

What's headed to your compost bin to make way for spring?
bolted broccoli

Words and photos © 2009-2014 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.