Sunday, May 31, 2015

End of Month View - May 2015

As you might have gathered from reading my or other Central Texas garden blogs or listening to the news, our area has been getting a lot of rain over the past month, including torrential downpours during the last several weeks, which has led to severe flooding and destruction in some parts of the region.

The rain has positive and negative effects on my garden.  On the positive side, it is getting plenty of water and I don't have to use supplemental watering.  On the negative side, too much water makes the garden soggy and results in root rot.  Not to mention, the heavy rains and strong winds have taken a beating on some of the plants, especially some of the tall varieties in the garden.

Let's take a look around to see how the garden is fairing after our record-setting rainfalls:

Veggie Bed

The vegetables are generally doing well, despite a couple of the tomato cages being knocked over by the strong winds.  The tomatoes, eggplant and green beans have been producing well.  The peppers are getting a slower start than normal.  I don't think they are as big of fans of the cooler temperatures and heavy rain.

You can even see a little pond has formed in the park behind our house.  This has dried up significantly in the last week.  After last Monday's heavy rains, the water was nearly at the level of the gravel path.

Shade Bed

The shade bed is filling out with summer-time plants, though there isn't much blooming right now.  Over the past month, I added some Mexican petunia pass along plants from a neighbor, as well as some Frostweed transplant pass alongs from fellow Central Texas garden blogger Tina of My Gardener Says.  I look forward to the new additions blooming later this year.


The deck border also doesn't have much blooming at this point.  Many of my parsley plants were cleared out after they toppled over from root rot or pests (I couldn't quite decipher what caused the root damage).  The artichoke additions from earlier this year are filling out and I hope they will produce next year.

Bulb Bed

Gladiolas, day-lilies and Black-Eyed Susans are going strong in the bulb bed.  I still have some open spots that I hope to fill with some perennials that will help keep year-round interest.

Central Beds

The middle beds are a bit sparse at the moment.  There are some zinnias, cosmos, and shasta daisies blooming, but most of the beds are full of spent bluebonnet, sweet pea, and larkspur plants that have dried up.  However, I don't want to remove the plants because I'm hoping they will reseed so I can enjoy the same blooms next year.

Rose Border

This is the first season for my rose border, so the plants are still quite small and only produce a couple blooms from time to time.  I keep looking forward to what this bed will look like a couple years from now.  In the meantime, I'm enjoying the sunflowers that bloomed in part of the bed.  I tried to do succession planting with the sunflowers, but seeds planted after the first round didn't take.

Pomegranate Bed

The main eye-catcher in this bed is the foliage of the canna lilies.  There are even a few plants started to show off their orange blooms.  Since I did a lot of dividing of the canna's last year, I won't be surprised if a lot of them don't flower this year.  Then again, I won't be surprised if they do flower, since they are very resilient plants.

Front Fenceline

As is the theme in my garden right now, not too much is blooming in this bed.  The only blooms are some purple ones, found in both the spikes of the Mystic Spires salvia, as well as the Black Knight butterfly bush.

Front of House

The front house borders have really filled out from this time last year when many new plants were added.  The yellow oleander is finishing up blooming while the lantana are just getting started.

In the very front bed, the vitex is putting on quite a show with its lavender blossoms, which are highly favored by many butterflies and other insects.

All in all, the gardens are doing well after the heavy rains.  I just hope the rains will lighten up to limit future flooding, but I wouldn't mind some steady rains continuing throughout the summer to help Texas continue out of drought and fill up the lakes again.

Thanks, as always to Helen over at The Patient Gardener for hosting the End of Month View garden meme.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

May 2015 Harvests

There was a bit of a lull in my veggie production during April as the fall/winter veggies wrapped up and I was waiting for the spring and summer veggies to mature.  Now that we are nearing the end of May, my warm season veggies have started to produce, despite the cooler than average temperatures.

I got some of my first peppers of the season:  gypsy, pablano and mariachi (pictured above), as well as a flavorburst yellow pepper.

This week, I saw my first eggplant, tomatoes, as well as green beans.  The beans are going strong, but the tomatoes are splitting a lot more this year than I remember last year.  Maybe it is from the excessive rains we've been having?  Since I planted many more tomato plants than usual this year, I'm hoping for a bumper crop.  We'll see if that happens.

Finally, there has been plenty of Swiss Chard this year, more than I and the hubby can eat, so I've given quite a bit away to neighbors and friends.  Swiss Chard is certainly a Texas Superstar veggie in my book, at least, based on my last two successful years with it.

My family was in town over Memorial Day weekend, so they were able to help me eat a bit of the abundant chard.  We had sauteed chard with garlic, lemon juice and red pepper flakes (recipe here).  My mom used the chard stalks for a cream of chard soup, which she combined with some garlic, onion, potatoes, chicken stock, black beans and left over jalapeno cheddar sausages.  It was delicious, but unfortunately I do not have the exact recipe to share, as it was really just a left-over concoction soup and I was not involved in the process (besides growing the chard).

Hopefully May is an indicator of the productive warm-weather season ahead.

My harvest totals so far this year include:
  • 7.5 oz Cherry Bell radish
  • 3 lb 13.9 oz kale (several varieties)
  • 6 lb 10.3  oz Flash collards
  • 5 lb 13.2 oz Ruby Red chard
  • 5 lb 13.9 oz Fordhook Giant chard
  • 7 colanders salad greens (lettuce, spinach, arugula) 
  • 1 lb 2.9 oz Meyer Lemons (5)
  • 1 lb 1.2 oz Broccoli (5)
  • 7.1 oz cilantro
  • 6.5 oz parsley
  • 4.0 oz spinach
  • 2.9 oz Pablano pepper (2)
  • 2.8 oz Gypsy pepper (2)
  • 0.8 oz Mariachi pepper (1)
  • 2.4 oz Flavorburst yellow pepper (1)
  • 13.6 oz Black Beauty eggplant (1)
  • 1.8 oz Grape tomato
  • 4.2 oz Pear tomato
  • 1 lb 1.7 oz Early Girl tomato (4)
  • 1 lb 11.5 oz Blue Lake green beans

Monday, May 25, 2015

In a Vase on Monday: Remembering the Fallen

Today is Memorial Day in the United States - a day in which we remember those that died while serving in the armed forces.  So, toady's vase is in honor of those that have fallen fighting for our country.

My garden has been loving the record rain we've been having, however, the heavy rains have beaten down some of the flower stalks, including the gladiola and sunflower that are in today's vase.  It seems only fitting that the fallen flowers be used as a symbol to remember those that have fallen for our freedom.

Today's vase includes:


Purple gladiolas...

Bright red zinnias that were pass-along seeds from my friend, Melissa's, garden.

Then there are the Black-Eyed Susans...

And finally, some sprigs of blooming parsley to round out the bouquet.

While the rains have been beneficial in some parts of Texas, too much of a good thing can be devastating.  This weekend, the Blanco river in Hays county (about 60 miles or an hour drive south of where I live) has seen record flooding since the 1920's, with hundred's of families loosing their homes, several dead and more missing.  My thoughts are with those that are dealing with loss from the flooding.  My husband and his paramedic co-workers are also on my mind, since they work in the area that has been hit hard by the flooding and will have several long, stressful, and potentially dangerous shifts ahead of them until the flooding subsides.

There is a lot to think about and be grateful for today.

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting the In a Vase Meme every Monday.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day - May 2015

The higher than average rainfalls in Central Texas over the last few weeks have my zone 8b garden bursting with blooms this month for Garden Blogger's Bloom Day, hosted on the 15th of every month by Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

First, my poppies wrapped up their blooms this month, much to the disappointment of the buzzing bees, who could always be found on the blooms.

The larkspur has been putting on quite the show, adding an English cottage garden feel to my hot Texas garden.

The larkspur looks a lot like delphiniums, but does much better with the heat and drought of Texas.

Another English cottage-y garden feel flower blooming right now are my foxgloves.  I haven't had luck with these other years in Texas, since they tend to like a bit cooler and wetter conditions than we normally get.  However, we are having a cooler and wetter season this year, so they are loving it, and so am I.

Wrapping up the English cottage garden blooms are the Graham Thomas antique roses.

A few weeks ago, I added some annuals to the courtyard to give it some color and included impatients, kalanchoes and torenias.

In the courtyard, the pansies that were planted last fall are still going strong, especially with the cooler than average temperatures we've been having.

In the shade garden, the agapanthus is starting to bloom, but hasn't reached its full glory just yet.

The gladiolas are just starting to bloom.  I love these vibrant purple varieties that always bloom first.

Volunteer sunflowers, planted by the birds, are also opening their blooms.

As are other annuals, like the blanket flowers,


and zinnias.

The gardenias are filling the air with their intoxicating fragrance.

And the insects are enjoying the nectar of the black-eyed Susans, 

as well as the asters.

Then there are a handful of other reliable Texas blooms, like the prickly pear cactus,

bi-colored iris,



pink skullcap,

and lantana (which the hummingbirds are absolutely loving).

That wraps up my May blooms.  Be sure to stop by May Dreams Gardens for many more May blooms in other gardens around the world.